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.
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
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.
Rio Rancho Solar Plant on Hold
Reality intrudes. Where’s the money? Cut through the hype, the warm fuzzies of “green jobs,” and you still need money, lots of it. There’s lots of gullibility in the mix–from Bill Richardson to Jeff Bingaman to the city fathers of Rio Rancho–what’s missing is real money. New Mexico Watchdog still on the trail of Green2v and the elusive half a billion dollar letter of credit that’s not worth the paper….. Well, you know how that sentence finishes.
Mystery Surrounds Backers of $500 Million Bonds for Rio Rancho Solar Start-Up
What kind of an outfit presenting a $500 million letter of credit has its “corporate offices” in a UPS store on the west side of Sin City? The kind of outfit that is part of the team behind the effort to get Rio Rancho to issue half a billion in industrial revenue bonds to launch solar start-up Green2v. Eclipse Aviation on steroids? There are some mighty strange things in this story we report at New Mexico Watchdog.
Diane Denish Used State Planes 143 Times, Charged Taxpayers $208,000 Plus
The Lt. Governor has no real power. She sits on boards, presides over the Senate, votes in cases of a tie, etc. But she has a small staff, and no executive powers to direct any part of state government. Yet, she flew around the state for brief meetings, photo ops and parades. Sometimes her only passenger in a jet with two pilots (costing us over $1,200 per hour) was her husband. What’s interesting is the comparison between our Lt. Gov. and the Governor of the entire state of Texas. That state has five times the land mass of New Mexico, a lot more people and a whole lot more photo opps awaiting. But Perry uses state aircraft “sparingly” according to a report by Texas Watchdog. In the period of time they examined, he used state jets only five times, not including eight trips to responed to the Hurricane Ike crisis. Denish, by comparison, used state planes 26 times, and her use spiked before elections. We hash it out over at New Mexico Watchdog.