Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Congressman Martin Heinrich--Not a Wild Liberal by Anyone’s Standards

Heather Wilson would have New Mexican’s believe that Martin Heinrich is some kind of wild tax and spend liberal who thinks money grows on trees. The truth of the matter is Martin Heinrich is a middle of the road democrat. Over the last four years as a congressional representative, he has voted to protect New Mexicans and their jobs. He has also attempted to encourage legislation that would promote job growth in our state. He has gone out of his way to respect and protect tribal lands in our state.

When Heinrich first took office, he found that Wilson had neglected veterans to the point that it was shameful. Heinrich set out to fix the problems and to show veterans the respect they so richly deserved. Wilson had hid the truth of that neglect with lies and false information. Heinrich understands the value of moving our national labs forward because of the number of jobs they provide for our local economy.

The best term to describe Martin Heinrich is not wildly liberal but pragmatic. He looks carefully at issues and then makes the best decision for the New Mexicans he represents. When faced with the type of economic downturn brought on by mistakes made by Wilson and Bush no one could have ask for more.

Heather Wilson on the other hand has proven to side with fringe groups such as the Tea Party when it could help her campaign. She is the archetype of what is meant by extreme. Her views are often extreme right winged. Her voting record showed that she would never have dreamed of disagreeing with President George W. Bush on any major issue. She was the one that handpicked the people who failed when it came to correctly overseeing the NMFA in Santa Fe for Governor Martinez. Heather Wilson is known for corruption. We cannot afford to have Heather Wilson as a U.S. Senator.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mitt (The Twit) Romney’s Trip Abroad

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney would love voters to think that his statements in Israel and England were born out of stupidity but in truth, they are aimed at increasing gas prices in the United States.

We all know that when there is instability in the Middle East gas prices increase. What better way to increase instability than to encourage Israel to attack Iran. Why would someone supported by the gas and oil corporations wish to increase instability in the Middle East? The result will be that gas and oil corporations will reap more profits and the president will look bad in the eyes of the voters because of increased pump prices.

Mitt Romney is many things but a “Twit” is not one of them. He should be ashamed of his behavior. To put the interest of his own campaign and that of oil and gas corporations before the safety of American Troops and the American People is unspeakable.

The Middle East is a area where international diplomats have worked hard to maintain the peace in a sensitive and often difficult environment. Presidents have always treaded carefully when making remarks so as not to offend either side or unbalance the situation. Peace has always been the major objective when it comes to the region in question.   

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Selling and Buying of Public Offices in New Mexico

It was a dismal day when a democratic candidate opened his hand and accepted large sums of money (i.e. campaign donations) from big oil and gas companies to run against other democratic candidates for the Public Regulation Commission.

It was even a more dismal day when that same candidate sided with the Republican Party to gut the New Mexican Voter Action Act in court. The act provides for public funding of candidates running for public offices such as Public Regulation Commission, The New Mexico Court of Appeals and The New Mexico State Supreme Court.

These are public offices that we do not want brought and paid for by large corporations because they have a direct affect on the daily lives of most New Mexicans and their pocketbooks. To have one of our own candidates help the Republican Party in their cause to advance the selling and buying of public offices in this state is just unforgivable. It saddens the voting public.

Senator Tom Udall is leading the charge in Washington D.C. to try to put an end to the undesirable consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling when it comes to the Citizen United cases.

It will be very difficult to get a new provision pasted in Santa Fe that will provide publicly funded candidates a way to match private funds acquired by the paid corporate co-conspirator candidates who run in future races.

Public funded for elections were created to level the playing field for all candidates in this state. Without the matching funding to overcome the outrages amounts spent by corporations, the field will be total unbalanced.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gun Control—Do We Need More Laws?

I am a gun owner for my own self-protection and that of my family. Criminals do not follow the laws when acquiring a gun. More laws will not keep criminals from owning guns. It will not stop people from killing each other. It will create an illegal black market for those items, which could increase gun crimes.

There are already laws that prevent the mentally ill from buying guns. There are also laws to prevent convicted felons from owning guns. Anyone wishing to buy a gun in a store must go through a background check.

Legal gun owners are hunters in this state. They pay a fee to get licenses to hunt. The money from those licenses goes to help pay for our children’s education. Hunting for some families is a valued part of their culture.

I do not begin to understand why anyone would want an AK-47 or a gun that shoots a hundred rounds of ammo. Those guns are not for hunting or for self-protection. Those types of guns are designed for war. At best, I can say I have friends that just like the feel of the way they shoot. You could compare it to any other extreme sport.

I do believe that gun owners should be taught how to fire a gun correctly. They should know how to load a gun. Gun owners should also know how to clean a gun and store one. Gun safety is a very important part of owning a gun. My mother taught me about guns for the age of ten up. The one piece of advice I remember most from her was “never point a gun at someone unless you are willing to take a life.”

If legislators are going to spend time in Washington debating ways to prevent mass shootings, they should look at spending bills to help the mentally ill. Medical research into what causes some people to turn to mass violent. Early warning programs in schools that help people before they cross a line would do far more to protect innocent victims of mass shootings.

Anti-bullying programs that make sure all children are treated fairly would also be a big help. Funding for programs that help schoolteachers and support staff to detect early warning signs would be very helpful in preventing mass shootings in this country. More funding for free or low cost mental healthcare would also be of help to individuals who are unstable. More laws to allow mentally ill individuals to be held in a hospital until they are safe to themselves and others.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Effects of Crime Scene Facts and Details on Judge’s Physiological Health

In the last few days after the Aurora Colorado killings, we have been hearing about the physiological effect of seeing and hearing the gruesome details of this case on Americans. Surly anyone who has heard the news is sickened by the horrific deaths of twelve innocent moviegoers. The senseless death of an innocent child must be especially disturbing to most people.

With any luck, the public will never see the horrific crime scene photos. The mere fact that one of the victims took his own photos of his injuries and then posted them to the web was difficult to view for most individuals.

Judge William Sylvester will not only have to see crime scene photos but study in detail the facts of this case. I am sure that Judge Sylvester is accustom to seeing horrific crime scene photos and reading horrific details of criminal cases on a regular base. Criminal court judges average about a thousand cases a year. They get a close-up view of humankinds inhumanity to humankind on a daily bases.

With physiologists expressing such open concern for the general public, why does no one every question the physiological effects of working in the criminal division on judges and their staff. We keep our military people from working in a war zone for too long in order to prevent lasting physiological damage. We provide mental health care to police officers after each officer involved shooting. Yet, we never hear of any healthcare being supplied to criminal court judges. These people can end up working on the bench for twenty to thirty years. At no time do we limit the number of years a judge can serve in the criminal court division.

One has to wonder do judges suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome because of working many years in the criminal division of the court system. How is their view of the world changed by what they see and hear in the day-to-day court cases that come across their desks?

A good support system is necessary for criminal court judges. At no time should these judges be cut off from the public. Over the past few years, we have seen examples of criminal court judges who have simple falling apart in front of the public. Without the public being involved in the lives of these judges, how can the voters be assured of their mental health while serving on the bench?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Democratic Party of New Mexico Leadership

At yesterday monthly meeting of the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County, some people were questioning state party leadership when it comes to how Governor Martinez has been treated in respect to inappropriate activities.
The governor has a very high popularity rating despite such problems as:
  • Darren White being approved as general manager of the Downs Racino after resigning from the mayor’s office because of questions of involvement with his wife’s traffic accident. White was very involved in lobbying for the Downs to the governor before the contract for the fairgrounds was settled. 
  •  Emails between the governor’s top campaign official about the Downs 25-year contract before the contract was settled. The governor received large campaign contributions from individuals involved with the contract. 
  •  Request from the governors campaign chief of staff to the educational department that resulted in list being prepared that separated Union from Nonunion teachers and provided their email addresses.
  • Oversight of the NMFA, which is the state’s bank when it comes to capital projects and the bonds that pay for those projects. Fraud in an audit provided to Wall Street and Investors could cost the state’s taxpayers in lawsuits. The state could also face increased interest rates on future capital outlay projects.
If any of these incidents had occurred during Bill Richardson’s time as governor the press and the Republican Party would have been all over it. (Like white on rice) Governor Martinez is getting a friendly pass that keeps her popularity rating high despite her running on a platform of open and honest government.

Where is the State Democratic Party's leadership on these issues? And exactly what does the governor have to do to get their attention?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Let New Mexicans Manage New Mexican Businesses

The people who run the balloon fiesta in their infinite wisdom have hired an out of state management company by the name of Ovation Food Services. They also run the concessions for Isotopes Park. Why hire a management company from Florida?... Surely, there are good food management companies here in New Mexico that would be more reasonable with their management style. How is driving away locals a good use of open space in this city.

Small food vendors are pulling out because the price for a seat at the table is far too high. It is also unclear if there are any real benefits from the increase in cost to the vendors. For any remaining vendors the management company is looking at price fixing. Increased cost caused by a demand by this company will only result in higher prices for food at the balloon fiesta. It will also result in less local food being sold at the fiesta. This will be a sad loss for the residents of our city.

Local residents are saying that they will not attend because of the failure of the balloon fiesta management when it comes to taking into consideration the hardship on small vendors.

Will this become an event where increased prices drive the entire event into the red? What is a Fiesta like without the local people attending? Why are we not trying to decrease unemployment in this state by hiring locally? It is worth noting that larger local companies do not have the same problems with the 30% revenue sharing demand as do the smaller vendors. It looks like the voters are going to vote with their feet on this issue.

People wanting JR’s BBQ turkey legs will just have to attend the state fair this year or have their balloon watch party catered. The pueblos are looking at developing their own shopping center in the near future so maybe we will still be able to buy our Indian Taco. At which point, people can watch the mass ascension of balloons from local neighborhood parks as they enjoy eating the food of local vendors who cannot afford a seat at the table in the balloon fiesta park.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Give Small Business Owners a Break on FICA Taxes

Republicans are always saying that we do not give tax breaks to small businesses so that they can grow their businesses. Here is a prime example of how small business leaders have to pay more in taxes than people who work for someone else.

Anyone who has ever worked for themselves knows that when you run your own company you are double taxed through FICA. While employees pay 4.2% at present, employers pay 6.2% for all income earned under $110,000. Social Security charges small business owners twice for their taxes. (Once for the employee’s portion--Once for the employer’s portion of the tax.) How does that encourage or reward the job creators of this country? Since legislators are already looking at the law that lowered employees contributions to 4.2% from 6.2%, now would be the time to make a change that could help small business owners.

The answer to this problem is to raise or remove the cap on FICA for people earning more than $250,000 and have small business owners only pay once for their FICA tax. This would put more money into the hands of small business leaders without harming middle or low-income earners. It would also be a pay as you go type of change in the laws.

Republicans say they favor lowering taxes on small business owners so here is an opportunity for them to put their money where their mouth is!

Friday, July 13, 2012

NMFA Scandal on Martinez’s Watch not Richardson's

The fake audit that was circulated by the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) was not produced until six months after Governor Martinez took office. Martinez needs to stop blaming Bill Richardson for things that did not happen on his watch as governor. Richardson kept close watch over the NMFA while he was in office because he knew that it was the one government agency most prone to fraud.

It should be very interesting to find out why an agency controlled by Governor Martinez succeeds in producing and distributing a false document just six months after she took office. How many of the current board was appointed by Governor Martinez with the help of Heather Wilson? Was there any off the record emails between that agency and Governor Martinez? Was there any oversight by the current governor when it came to that government agency?

What was the controller trying to cover up with the false audit? Will the governor’s failure to keep a close eye on this government agency cause future problems and raise the cost of interest for capital projects?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Republican Judge’s Failure to Communicate

One of the most important skills a judge can have when making rulings in court cases is that of the ability to clearly and precisely communicate their understanding of the laws to all concerned. Judges have to make sure that both defendants and lawyers understand their reasoning when it comes to rulings.

Judges who fail to correctly communicate, with either the District Attorney or the defense lawyer, often find other lawyers asking for another judge. Due to the high caseload in criminal cases in the second district court, it would be ill advised to have a judge that no lawyer wished to practice in front of. Cases are not decided overnight like on television but take months and sometimes years of hard work to resolve. Lawyers need to be able to trust the decisions made by a judge.

Governor Martinez appointed Judge Samuel L. Winder to the bench in the second district court. This week the judge made a decision in his courtroom, which should have been communicated to the lawyers long before they faced him in his courtroom. It is not wrong for a judge taking over a case to have second thoughts about the actions of the prior judge. It is wrong for a judge to not be able to communicate his reasoning to both lawyers when putting them on the spot in his courtroom. Clearly, both sides in this case expected a far different outcome.

It is very important to the district attorney’s office to be able to plea-bargaining with criminals to reduce the cost to taxpayers when it comes to court cases. If the lawyers cannot feel confident, that a judge will communicate any misgivings before negotiations reach the courtroom then their ability to resolve cases becomes a financial issue for the court system as a whole. One has to wonder if maybe Judge Winder in a fit of political grandstanding just wanted to draw attention to himself. His ruling did get him on the evening news and the front page of the metro section of the local newspaper.