Coal Habits Die Hard
Ratepayers should be nuclear over PNM proposal
The Daily Word in Uber, APD and APS
After hitting .309 this season and with 56 RBIs under his belt in 2014, Isotope First Baseman Clint Robinson gets called up to LA.
San Pedro Boulevard has the potential for walkability.
This sister of an APD shooting victim speaks out at World Socialist Web Site.
Uber is denied by the state Public Regulation Commission, yet continues to operate in the Albuquerque metropolitan area.
A man is suing Albuquerque Public Schools for having him arrested when he was 12.
A federal judge issued an injunction against the city of Ruidoso, N.M., over a violation of the First Amendment.
The Brookings Institution says our town is in the midst of a double dip recession.
Here is what’s going on at the vast nuclear weapons repository and 24-7 hot refueling center next door to us.
Thirty-six million dollars in Burque’s outstanding senior lien airport revenue bonds have an A+ rating, according to Fitch.
In this week’s fishing report, please note some dude named Robert “caught a 42-inch, 26-pound tiger muskie on Saturday at Bluewater Lake and later said, “It was a big, fat guy.”
Citizens United screws with local primary races
Democrat PRC candidate Al Park made a last-ditch attempt in Federal Court to prevent his opponents from spending their campaign funds.
Park, a PAC and the Bernalillo County Republican Party used the argument that money is speech to make their eleventh-hour stand on Friday at 4 p.m. Primary election day is tomorrow.
First, some background. In New Mexico, candidates for the Public Regulation Commission and statewide judicial posts can use public financing to run their campaigns. Contenders were able to get about $30,000 from the state make a run at the PRC job. Democrats Cynthia Hall and Karen Montoya chose this option. Park, on the other hand, filled a war chest with more than $150,000 for the primary race.
Because he raised so much money, matching funds were triggered. Montoya and Hall were due another $60,000 in public cash to keep up.
But a year ago, the Supreme Court ruled that matching funds are unconstitutional in Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett. Just as with the Citizens United ruling (famously pummeled by Stephen Colbert), the Bennett decision is based on the idea that money is political speech. Therefore, matching funds dilute the speech of people who donated to privately financed candidates. And that speech, said our nation's justices, is protected under the First Amendment.
At the hearing Friday, Park argued that thousands of contributors would be impacted if his opponents could spend their matching funds. The contenders with private war chests would also suffer irreparable harm, he said. "If these candidates lose, there is no recourse."
Park, by the way, voted as a legislator in favor of the bill that brought public financing to these races in 2003—a fact he acknowledged during the hearing. But, he said, that was before the high court ruled on Bennett. "The Bennett case is the law of the land."
New Mexico's Voter Action Act, he pointed out, was patterned after Arizona's law, which was at issue in the Bennett case.
But, argued lawyer Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, there are some key differences. In some Arizona races, candidates are given as much as $250,000, she said. In New Mexico the initial sum is much smaller. That makes the matching funds more crucial. She represented Judge Victor Lopez, a publicly financed candidate for the Court of Appeals who would also be affected by Friday's decision.
Sedillo Lopez said in New Mexico, judges are never allowed to know who donates to their campaigns because there's a threat that a contributor may later have a case before the judge. She added that those who chose to gather private donations still host fundraisers, and "it's not like they wear blindfolds to those fundraisers." That's why public financing is critical to the independence of the judiciary, she said.
In the 2012 legislative session, a bill was introduced to do away with New Mexico's matching funds. The secretary of state and the attorney general testified in favor of the measure. But it failed. The constitutionality issue was still part of Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran's justification for not issuing the matching funds to the candidates. She was finally forced in State Court to release the funds on Friday morning, leaving the candidates just a few days to spend $60,000. The afternoon hearing in Federal Court attempted to block them from using the money even though it had been dispersed earlier in the day.
PRC candidate Hall said in an interview this afternoon that she wasn't sure she could spend it all, but she's going to get pretty close. Radio ads and robo-calls kicked up over the weekend, and she's got a staff of people working 12-hour days, going door-to-door and making phone calls. She couldn't get any TV ads on the air because she got the money too late, she said.
"In the past two days, I’ve thought, Gee, how different my campaign would have been if I had gotten this money when I was supposed to." That was back on April 30, she said. The secretary of state will be taken to task, she added. She's not sure yet whether she will sue Duran, she said, but "I think we'd be doing the public a favor."
The Supreme Court's decisions in Citizens United and Bennett are out of touch with what citizens really want, Hall said. The idea that money is speech gives power to the wealthy: "It elevates the value of private money over the value of voters' interest in fair elections." Eventually, the Supreme Court usually catches up with a cultural shift, she added, and around the country, people are working to overturn these bad calls.
Al Park’s omission
During our endorsement interview, we asked attorney and PRC candidate Al Park about a potential conflict of interest in contracting with the state if he gets elected.
That day in early May, he told the editorial panel, "Over 50 law firms in the state have risk management contracts, and we've got a really small one." He failed to mention his firm— Park & Anderson, LLC—has made more than $600,000 from that contract in the last 10 months.
Read the whole story here.
What’s in the Mud?
Public Regulation Commission candidate Al Park is a member of a three-lawyer firm that contracts with the state to handle risk management cases.
The Daily Word in cocaine, doves and plus-size
We might lose 50 post offices.
Politician wears blackface to say he’s Germany’s Obama.
Guy backs car into someone’s living room.
State on a $70,000 hunt for teachers who change students’ test scores.
FBI curriculum: Mainstream Muslims are likely terrorist sympathizers.
Auditor says chairman is blocking a review of the PRC.
Journal complains of the number of police escorting a bike safety ride.
The recession has affected yet another business: Cocaine.
Doves are tasty.
Department of Transportation wants to ban e-cigs on planes. Here’s a list of other stinks that should be banned first.
American Apparel and a plus-sized debate.
The Daily Word in AK-47s, sex workers and Darth Vader
Judge stops Gov. Martinez' license verification effort.
MVD didn't issue a driver's license to a teen who had his birth certificate and Social Security card.
Did BernCo put out this recycling plant fire in Southwest Albuquerque fast enough? And why is it always on fire?
Corrections secretary's boyfriend accused of shooting a gun on prison grounds.
PRC tech says he was fired after reporting employees were browsing online porn at work.
Man shot and killed by APD this week held a loaded AK-47, says Chief Schultz.
Those who profited off 9/11.
August was the first month since 2003 without the death of a U.S. solider in Iraq.
Darth Vader: Noooooooooo!
Justice Department sues to stop AT&T from buying T-Mobile.
George R. R. Martin is creepy, rape-y and racist, writes hilarious blogger.
Prosties and strip clubs in Tampa prep for the GOP convention in 2012.
Toddler wears fake T&A for pageant.
Did you hear about the guy with the $16 house?
It's OK if you think parenting is miserably hard work.
The Daily Word in Phil Spector, religion and a new oil sheen
The Burqueño who saved the little girl from a kidnapper is being praised and rewarded by people around the country.
What's this about a new oil sheen in the Gulf?
President Obama tells Assad to split.
In Japan more than $78 million was found in the post-earthquake wreckage. The people who find the wallets and cash and safes keep turning them over to authorities. Weird.
California high court won't hear Phil Spector's appeal.
Coco Chanel: Nazi agent?
The taxonomy of graffiti.
Veteran APD officer made a deal with a decoy prostitute, according to police. He was arrested.
This person could die if she combs her hair.
Hey little girls: It's never to early to think about dieting.
Religion is going … going … gone in nine countries.
U.S. agency wants to know what it would take to travel to another star. Figuring it out could take a hundred years.
Not everyone is meant for college.
The Daily Word: Geronimo, heroin, therapy kangaroo
Geronimo's great-grandson objects to bin Laden's codename.
House approves antiabortion package.
A lot of heroin in Albuquerque ($300K sold daily), says the Sheriff's Office.
"Seal Team 6, a unit so secretive that the White House and the Defense Department do not directly acknowledge its existence."
PRC investigates whether the gas company broke any rules during the cold snap.
The AP won't cover today's GOP presidential primary debate because of restrictions placed on the press by sponsors FOX News and the South Carolina Republican Party.
Pelosi wants more transparency in fraking.
Last WWI vet dies. He was 110.
Things are getting better, so Glenn Beck became irrelevant, argues WaPo columnist.