Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Money is Power in America

Riots in poor neighborhoods and business districts going on for days are not getting the voices of the public head. The real answer would be to move the riots and protests into rich neighborhoods. Making the rich fear home damage or destruction would get the issues settled much faster. Making the rich white people breathe tear gas would bring the reality home. Taking the fight to the people who have the ear of local politicians would produce results. Having African Americans or Hispanic Immigrates marching up and down the tree-lined streets with well-manicured lawns of the rich would get their attention quickly.   

America is not a democracy. Our country has become an oligarchy, where the rich elite control the power both politically and economically. The people need to take the fight for equality and justice to the front doors of the people who wield the power to make changes in this country.  

Showing up on the doorstep of your local state and federal representatives might just get a reaction, especially during an election year. Nothing like having a picture of their homes on the evening news to get a little action to settle the voting public’s issues.

So, the next time the voting public has an issue in New Mexico don’t forget to take the protest to the people in control.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Debunking the Myths of the Judicial Selection Commission

After reading recent articles published in the Albuquerque Journal as of late, you might think that the Judicial Selection Commission is a nonpartisan group of judges, lawyers, and lay people who represent the best interest of all the voting public. Boy! Would you be dead wrong.

The commission that picks judges is not nonpartisan but bipartisan in nature. This means the group is made-up of an equal number of democrats and republicans. Leading republicans and democrats in state government appoint these individuals, not elected, to the commission. As we, all know our leading democrats got their positions in state government by leaning to the far right of the Democratic Party in the first place.
Here is a list of the commission members who nominated candidates for the second district court this year and the names of the people who appointed them. Party officials do not appoint judges to the commission and the state bar appoints lawyers from both parties to the commission:
The Honorable Nan G. Nash
2nd Judicial District Court
Kevin Martinez, Esq.
Walter K Martinez Law office
Appointed by Speaker Ken Sanchez
Kelly Smyer
Appointed by Speaker Ken Sanchez
Patricia Williams, Esq.
Wiggins, Williams & Wiggins
Appointed by Mary K Papen
State Senator Linda Lopez
Appointed by Mary K. Papen

Clara Moran, Esq.
Appointed by State Bar


The Honorable Roderich T. Kennedy
New Mexico Court of Appeals
Robert M. Doughty, III Esq.
Appointed by Governor Martinez

Michael  Brasher
Appointed by Governor Martinez

Mary Torres, Esq.
Appointed by State Bar

Jason Bowles, Esq.
Appointed by State Bar

Robert J. Gorence
Appointed by State Bar

Also not listed as either Democrat or Republican is:             
David Herring, Dean
UNM Law School

The Honorable Edward I Chavez, Independent
New Mexico Court of Appeals

As you can see this group of Individuals is far from being nonpartisan. Two candidates have sued the Democratic Party saying that their names should be place on the ballot in November because they are democrats selected by this type of commission to be appointed by Governor Martinez until a partisan election is held. This would totally exclude any say that the voting public might have in the selection of judgeships.

I have no problem with candidates for judgeships having to prove their legal qualifications, experience, and moral ethics. However, I do have a problem with those individuals having to prove that they lean to the right.

Therefore, the next time a candidate says they should be voted for because the Judicial Selection Commission chose them, you might want to ask yourself just how far this person leans to the right.  

And the next time the Democratic Party Chairman says he approves of this selection process, you just might want to ask yourself exactly how far to the right does he lean.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Breaking Down the Digital Divide for New Mexican Children

I am taking courses at UNM for a Training and Technology degree. One of the common issues that we face is the lack of support for individuals who live in small towns and cities to have equal access to the internet. In large cities such as Albuquerque libraries have free internet. A lot of coffee shops also have free internet. The problem is that smaller cities and towns have no access to internet without paying large sums of money for the privilege.

In the field of education, we call this issue the digital divide. It has a profound effect on the ability of children and adults to succeed in a world that is more and more dependent on the internet for things like education and job applications. Once a child could move from a small city or town and find a higher paying job in the larger cities. Without the experience of using the internet that road to success is blocked for individuals coming from small cities and towns. What we take for granted in the larger cities is something that not all New Mexican children have access to today.  

Roads were not built for just those who could afford them or for big cities. Bridges were not built in this country only for the rich. The internet is a superhighway for the information age. Children and adults alike need access to that highway if they are going to get anywhere in today’s society.  

The first step to improving this issue is to stop giving children physical books and start giving them e-readers. This would give them access to many free books through the internet and through online book companies. Next, all cities should have free internet access in their libraries statewide. This would give online access to adults and children alike. Lastly, small towns and cities in New Mexico should be given support by the state to develop the infrastructure that would allow reliable access to the internet.  

By building this infrastructure the state would build a pathway for our young people to attain jobs. An infrastructure would also attract companies that could provide much needed jobs in this state. As in the past where companies would not come to towns and cities that did not have highway access now companies will not come to towns and cities that don’t have access to the informational highway we call the internet. The current governor of New Mexico lacks the foresight to invest in such projects. We need a governor that knows how to attract jobs and provide a good education to our children.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Opening the Primaries to Independent Voters

The Winds of change are blowing in the Democratic Party. The party chairman has changed his mind and now supports open primaries. Young women, and yes men, who decline to state a party, will be able to vote in the Democratic Party Primary in 2016. The chairman said that he will change the party rules to allow independents to vote even without a change in the law.  Representative Emily Kane and State Senator Bill O’Neill will introduce a bill to open all primaries to independent voters this next year during the annual meeting of the legislature.  

The Republican Party, to no one’s surprise, does not welcome the change. We can count on Governor Martinez vetoing any bill pasted that would open the primaries to independent voters if by some chance she was reelected. The Republican Party stated that they fear that independents would move their party more to the middle and therefore do not want young people involved in the voting process unless of course they are die-hard extremists.

Currently, there is a lawsuit working its way through the court system that would force the major parties to open their primaries because of the constitutional right to allow everyone to vote. The issue does have merit since no voter should ever be turned away during an election paid for by taxpayers. Perhaps the court will say that if the state pays for the cost of a primary election than that vote should be open to all taxpayers and not just members of the major parties. This would allow republicans to keep their closed dying primary system for a little more time until they drive all rational people from their party.  

At any rate this is a small victory for the voting public since it will increase voter turnout during the primaries. It will allow more of the public to have a say in their local, state, and federal government. Too often primaries are limited to one party and the general election is nothing more than a formality. Perhaps this will force more candidates to attend open free events prior to very late November.

Both parties still need to deal with the fact that fewer candidates are attending free open events where young people can speak to the candidates about their issues. I had my nineteen year old daughter speak to Congresswomen Michelle Lujan Grisham about her experience when it came to Obamacare at the National Night Out event. She will now have the assistance of her congresswomen to help her get through a broken system. Most young people cannot afford $50 or a $100 just to be able to speak to an elected official during the campaigning season. Congresswomen Lujan Grisham is one of the few elected official that still care enough about young voters to get out and attend free events where the younger people can find time to talk with their representatives. Parades are not a good venue for these types of discussions since very little serious conversation goes on while you are walking a parade route.    

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

National Night Out and the Decay of a Neighborhood

The entire purpose of National Night Out is to get people to care about their local community. If more eyes are on the street than less crime happens. You would think that a mayor would want communities on the edge of troubled areas to be the first to have gatherings on such a night. You would think that the mayor would reach out to community groups that were falling a part to help them to develop the network to have strong neighborhood associations. With Mayor Berry and the communities that surround the International district in the Southeastern part of the City of Albuquerque you would be entirely wrong.

Parkland Hills Neighborhood association is just one example of a group that has falling by the wayside during the administration of Mayor Berry due to a lack of caring and administrative support. The Parkland Hills Neighborhood Association has not updated it website since December of 2013. It did not put on a gathering during National Night Out. This neighborhood association is on the fringes of an area of the city that has been in a downward spiral since the beginning of the Great Recession. The first major business to go in that area was a movie rental store on the corner of Kathryn and San Mateo. Next was the Lovelace Hospital. Lastly, came all the small stores along San Mateo between Kathryn and Gibson along with the local branch of the Bank of the West.

The bank moved because it became unsafe for people to work in that neighborhood across for the old hospital site. Customers were being approached by aggressive homeless people at the teller machine. Drugs were being sold out of the local McDonald’s parking lot on the corner of Gibson and San Mateo. The local Seven-Eleven on Kathryn and San Mateo was selling tall cans of beer to individuals who clearly had a drinking problem. Police can be seen next to that store on a weekly base. The City would do nothing to stop the behavior. The Mayor moved a needle exchange into the neighborhood down the street on San Mateo. Businesses like payday loan companies started to move into the strip along San Mateo.

The homeless are beginning to spend more time moving into the Parkland Hills neighborhoods. It started a few years ago when people in the neighborhood notices that businesses along the West side of San Mateo were being broken into for their cash. Drug addicts were shooting up behind the stores. Within a few months one car wash was just out of business because of all the break-ins. Next it was the laundry facilities at a local apartment complex where individuals were breaking in to get the quarters. Before long groups of homeless individuals were crossing the streets every morning to invade the nicer neighborhoods looking for places to break into and just hanging out. On one occasion you would have saw a homeless women wrapped in an old dirty blanket ambling down Ridgecrest Drive while being passed by well-dressed joggers. Parkland Hills is an older neighborhood with residents in their later stages of life. This makes them a prime target for drug addicts looking for an easy mark. Yet, you see a mayor who cares nothing for the community. He is too busy dumping sex offenders in the streets across San Mateo to be bothered with what it is doing to an old neighborhood in that area.     

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Problem with Political Power Grabs

The problem with limiting the number of people who vote to either elect an individual or place someone on a major party ballot is that it drives people out of the party. People who desire control often attempt to drive people out of their party. Just look at what the Tea Party has done to the Republican Party in the last few years. I have friends who are republicans and they are ashamed of their own party for the lack of inclusiveness. In the past, I have always told them that they are welcome in the Democratic Party. I have to wonder if that is the case at present.   

The lawsuit that would open the primaries up to people who decline to state a party would invite more individuals to vote during the primaries. You can never criticize encouraging more people to cast ballots in our state. The Democratic Party is moving in the wrong direction under the current chairman by excluding voters from key processes. The party does not have large open events because that would allow all the voters to get to know the candidates.  It has become all about giving exclusive access to candidates to only rich people who can afford large dollar events. We are less than a hundred days away from the election but we are seeing very few open events where people can get to know their candidates.

It would be very sad to see the Democratic Party go the way of the Republican Party by only reaching out to the rich. In the past, we would be seeing large campaign events that welcomed everyone to shake hands with the candidates and ask valuable questions. Now all the parties are asking give me $50 or $100 or more dollars just to be in the same room with a candidate. The Fourth of July event at the balloon fiesta field saw just one lonely candidate with a booth. I still remember a time when the event would have been packed with candidates who were interested in getting to know the voters.

I hear from some that candidates are not the best we have every picked. I hear that some are 9 to 5 candidates who limit the amount of time they wish to spend on the job. This will not encourage the type of interaction that can solve issues facing our country or our state. You have to fear that without more voter involvement that our voting process is becoming one where only the rich and powerful matter and that more of the voting public will become disenfranchised. More women are likely to become disenfranchised because they are often the ones who earn the least in this country and this state. You have to wonder if maybe that is the goal of some individuals who see women as only play toys.