I have been honored to work these past two years with the Rio Grande Foundation. But I’m off to other adventures. My farewell from New Mexico Watchdog is here.
Saving Mountains of Money by Privatizing State Operations
New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie is unveiling plans to save that fiscally troubled state $210 annually by privatizing such current state operations as motor vehicle inspections, state parks and turnpike toll booths. We’re looking at closing state parks to save money. Why not let an entrepreneur show what he/she can do to keep a park open, create some jobs and maybe turn a buck or two of profit? Golf courses–same idea. Garbage collection, street cleaning, servicing public vehicle fleets–if Jersey can do it with their morass of union connections and entrenched bureaucrats, a smaller state like New Mexico should at least be able to try some test privatization to see if it works better.
New Mexico Schools Flunk Transparency Tests: Sunshine Review
Most of the state budget goes to schools, and that’s where a lot of mystery remain for anyone wanting to see what happens to those hundreds of millions of dollars. The nationally respected Sunshine Review checked out the websites of New Mexico school districts and gave a general ‘F.’ But three districts did quite well and deserve our appreciation. New Mexico Watchdog reports.
Susana Martinez v. Diane Denish: What We Pay For Their Personal Security
Guess which ones wants taxpayer-funded full-time bodyguards and which one carries a .45? New Mexico Watchdog’s latest look at the candidates for Governor.
Martin Heinrich’s Lobbyist Godfather: K Street’s Robert Raben
Who is this lobbyist who took up Nancy Pelosi’s request and adopted U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich? Meet him over at New Mexico Watchdog.
Bill Richardson’s Mansion Not for the Little People
On that Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart ceremony in the Governor’s Mansion:
Looks like state subsidies of the film industry include a free event center for movie stars to get married. Also looks like the subsidies are breeding a new class structure in New Mexico. The elite glitterati get preferential and free use of state facilities like the Governor’s Mansion. The little people can just watch from the curb. New Mexico Watchdog reports
Whistleblower Sues New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
Changing New Mexico’s Culture of Corruption
I have been in Chicago over the past several days for meetings and training provided by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Part of the training included lectures on detecting and fighting public corruption. The speakers were a former IRS criminal investigator (think a CPA with a Glock) and a former high-level FBI agent. I came away with several ideas and specific suggestions for tackling New Mexico’s corruption epidemic. You can read the essay over at New Mexico Watchdog.
Denish’s Own Ad Makes Her A Witness in Major Criminal Case
It’s never a good idea to politicize a pending criminal case just to score points in an election campaign. There are consequences. NM Watchdog reports.
NM Venture Cap Program Continues Losses
This isn’t how anyone would invest funds for their child’s college tuition and expenses. But New Mexico, under the Richardson/Denish administration, has invested state funds in a fish company, an electric libretto designer (appropriately named “Figaro”) and a company that uses crushed glass to produce toilet bowl scrubbers (what, you don’t have one of those in your home?). Nearly $400 million has been committed to a program most known for its bad bets on Eclipse Aviation and Advent Solar (remember them?)
The latest report shows not much has changed in this bad bet for taxpayers. Word is the new State Investment Council and State Investment Officer are giving this Richardson favorite a much-needed hard look. Here’s the report from New Mexico Watchdog.