Before our debate in Las Cruces (and thus before the election or the Virgin Galactic crash), I sat down to discuss the issues of the day with former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alan Webber for a discussion with Fred Martino on KRWG’s Newsmakers.
Sometimes I’m glad to be just a plain old white guy. That’s what I thought after reading this piece on “Net Neutrality” in the Albuquerque Journal from an apparent Hispanic who takes former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez to task for his work in opposing “Net Neutrality.” There, I agree with Mayor Marty about something after years of (successfully) fighting his administration on streetcars and events centers.
Anyway, the article by Andrea Quijada of the Media Literacy Project (which is funded by a number of major left-wing foundations) asserts that Chavez is not “speaking on behalf of the Latino community” when he opposes efforts by the federal government to micro-manage Internet traffic speeds. Only supporters of “Net Neutrality” can speak for Hispanics. Echoes of Gary King’s assertion that Gov. Susana Martinez doesn’t have a “Latino heart.”
The only true statement in Quijada’s article is that “People like Martin Chavez do not speak for us.” I’m not sure who “us” is, but I agree with that. And neither does Quijada speak for “us.” How about we look at issues based on their merits and unintended as well as intended consequences for all Americans, not some mythical race and gender group-think.
Perhaps it is time for the political left to get beyond the “us and them” rhetoric?
I was asked by KRQE Channel 13 to discuss efforts by the federal government to take funds from Toby Martinez’ (who stole from taxpayers in the Municipal Courthouse scandal alongside Manny Aragon) pension in order to fulfill Martinez’ restitution requirements. Unfortunately, according to my reading of New Mexico law, the Feds can’t tap Martinez’ pension under New Mexico law despite his criminal conviction. Astonishingly, according to the report, Martinez’ pension is worth upwards of $473,000 which is illustrative of the incredible generosity of New Mexico’s underfunded pension systems.
Watch the full interview below:
Our friends at the Heartland Institute have some excellent research and information on right to work and its potential impact on New Mexico (including research from RGF).
Lastly, I had a letter to the editor in the Albuquerque Journal’s Business section on Monday which may have been missed amid all the election activity:
Letters to the Editor
Albuquerque Business Journal
In his column on right to work laws, Marshall Martin concludes that “there is little question having right to work may signify that a state is business friendly, one cannot be certain that having right to work is the deciding factor…”
That is a true enough statement. In the real world, “scientific” studies of economic systems don’t work. “Proof” that right to work is indeed good for the economy is as elusive as is “proof” that any law or system works.
What we do know is that eight out of 10 of the fastest growing states in 2013 were right to work. We also know that between 1977 and 2008, right to work states produced 44.5% more jobs and saw per-capita personal incomes grow 10% faster than states that do not have such laws in place.
Of course, right to work is not only an economic issue. It is a freedom issue. Workers shouldn’t have to join unions or pay union dues if they don’t want to.
It is true that no single economic policy change made by New Mexico’s Legislature is our ticket to prosperity, but a right to work law – which unlike most other “economic development” schemes won’t cost taxpayers a dime – is a good place to start.
So, the Legislature, whatever its partisan makeup, must embrace a variety of pro-market reforms if New Mexico’s economy is to be turned around, but right to work, a policy which according to Gallup is supported by 65% of Democrats nationally, is a great starting point.
According to pre-crash news reports, New Mexico is on the verge of spending $14.2 million to construct a southern road to the New Mexico Spaceport. According to the article linked to above, “That won’t be enough to pay for a full-fledged asphalt road, officials have said. Rather, it will pay for a less-durable type of covering.”
So, under current plans, the road is going to be built more cheaply than officials would like in order to “do something” to improve access to the facility from the south which is now possible only via a gravel road.
It would seem that this road should be put on hold indefinitely given the recent crash and that legislators might want to consider doing something more pressing with the $14.2 million.
As of Wednesday morning, November 5, it appears that New Mexico’s House of Representatives will be controlled 37-33 by Republicans. See this article from Rob Nikolewski at NM Watchdog for more details and comments.
The last election that saw Republicans in New Mexico elected to control the House also saw former Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower elected for his first term in the White House (1952). In other words, New Mexico’s Democrats have had a stranglehold on New Mexico’s Legislature for decades. That is at once an impressive display of political power and a cause of many of New Mexico’s economic and education woes.
It is now time for a Republican-led House and a Republican Governor to work together to push the best reforms that can be had in a Legislature that is still half controlled by Democrats with left-wing Majority Leader Michael Sanchez leading the Senate and controlling its agenda.
Only time will tell whether Sanchez is willing to compromise for the benefit of New Mexicans or whether he’ll be an intractable opponent.
The recent crash of SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave Desert was a tragedy. Unfortunately, the long-term impact on New Mexicans could be quite negative as well. Whatever economic activity we could have expected from the Spaceport is going to be delayed for years according to experts.
Of course, the Rio Grande Foundation has been a long-time critic of taxpayer funding for the Spaceport. I argued in a recent BuzzFeed article that “Space tourism is far more speculative and dubious than anyone actually knows. It’s like building an airport before the Wright Brothers had their first flight. That’s what New Mexico did.”
Unfortunately, those remarks look all-too-prescient today. New Mexico taxpayers will be further placed on the hook for operations and maintenance at the Spaceport in the years ahead in the hopes of keeping the facility prepared for tourist flights that may never come.
Check out the recent story for Channel 13 KRQE on the potential impact the accident will have on New Mexico’s Spaceport. Don’t think this is a relevant topic in terms of the political conversation? Recently, Alan Webber, the runner-up for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor and I debated a variety of issues relevant to New Mexico including the Spaceport. Footage of that is below the Channel 13 story and the discussion begins at about the 54:45 mark.
Recently, New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich sounded off in the East Coast liberal establishment’s favorite news outlet, The New York Times, about efforts by the Rio Grande Foundation and others who wish to devolve certain lands currently managed by Washington bureaucracies (specifically the National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management) to state control. Needless to say, he’s not a fan.
I responded with an article that ran nationally (shockingly, not in the Times) and generated an interesting column on the situation from the Albuquerque Journal’s Washington correspondent Michael Coleman.
I noted in my column that Heinrich (and Udall) enthusiastically supported federal monument designations in both Northern and Southern New Mexico. I was remiss in not pointing out that Heinrich and Udall have introduced legislation to designate an additional 45,000 New Mexico lands as “Wilderness.” This bill is unlikely to pass Congress, but it is very possible that Heinrich and Udall will convince a lame-duck President Obama to “use his pen” to designate the land by himself in yet another federal “land grab.”
By way of analysis and information relating to the election, Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing will be discussing what’s at stake this election on 770KKOB AM with Scott Stiegler from 5 to 6pm on Monday.
And, if you happen to be in or around Santa Fe or next to your computer, Gessing will be on Santa Fe’s NPR station, KSFR 101.1 FM watching the election returns come in on Tuesday evening from 7pm until all the votes are in or they kick us out of the studios. Fred Nathan of Think New Mexico will also be on the show for what will surely be an exciting evening.
Our friends at Right on Crime have put out a short new video on “overcriminalization,” a problem that has been around for decades but seems only to be getting worse. The case involves a fisherman who allegedly caught undersized red grouper and then threw the fish overboard. Instead of issuing Yates a civil citation, the prosecutor charged the fisherman with violating the “anti-document-shredding” provision of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as if he was destroying accounting records.