Martinez fundraising, a hot tool and shooting video
Feds at the Roundhouse
After nearly seven years of clean living, the specter of scandal is apparently about to manifest itself within the administration of Governor Susana Martinez. Last Friday CNBC tweeted the news that highly influential state Republican operative Jay McCleskey was being investigated by the FBI. In the accounts that followed, New Mexico Political Report and the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on active FBI investigations involving current and former associates of Martinez’ political organization. Federal agents are taking a look at the campaign finance and contract awarding activities undertaken by McCleskey as he helped Susana Martinez to the state’s top political post.After that announcement, former New Mexico Economic Development Department Division Director of International Trade Brent Eastwood came forward to state that he too has been questioned by the FBI regarding “governance” matters at the roundhouse. The former official, now part of DC economic think tank GovBrain, is also part of a whistleblower lawsuit alleging corruption and mismanagement at the highest levels of New Mexico government. He says that his contact with the feds is unrelated to the McCleskey investigation.
An Ionizer is Missing
Taken together, Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Labs are our nation’s premier nuclear weapons research and storage centers. The vast array of structures south of town include everything from the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex (where over 2000 nuclear devices are stored) to Sandia’s Melting and Solidification Laboratory. With all that very precise, life and death work going on, it wouldn’t seem likely that high-tech radioactive tools would get lost, but they do. Scientists at Sandia confirmed late last week that one of their radioactive ionizers is lost. The device, used to neutralize static electricity, went missing in April during shipment from a remote test site back to Burque. It contains small amounts of element Polonium 210, an alpha-emitter with known cancer-causing effects. In a letter to Sandia CEO Jill Hruby dated Oct. 26, 2015, Department of Energy enforcement director Steven Simonson “elected to exercise (its) discretionary authority and not pursue further enforcement consideration of the issue” because in part the actual nuclear safety consequences of the Po-210 ionizer were low due to the nature of the isotope and the robust container housing the source. The hot object has been officially declared lost somewhere in Central New Mexico, case closed.
Skate Park Shooting Controversy
Nearly eight months after being gunned down in a firefight that involved several teenagers at Los Altos Skate Park—a shooting APD has classified as a matter of self-defense—the family of 17-year-old Jaquise Lewis is moving forward with a lawsuit against the city alleging a breach of the Investigations of Public Records Act. Legal counsel for the family say they want cell phone videos of the incident released to the public, in an effort to vindicate Lewis, whom they say did not possess or fire a gun during the March 22 standoff. The family has also been clear that if, indeed the recordings show Lewis to be the instigator of the violence, then they’ll “live with that.” On Wednesday, Nov. 4, a hearing was held with District Judge Victor Lopez presiding. Though representatives of the city were no-shows, Judge Lopez’ ruling will send the case to trial. A trial date of Nov. 20 has been set.