Monahan Overview Of A Few Current Issues

On February 7 and February 4, 2019, political blogger Joe Monahan on his political blog “New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan” gave an exceptional summary of many political issues going on in New Mexico, especially with the New Mexico Legislature.

Below are excerpts from the January 7 and January 4 posting on New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan January 7, 2019 with the blog link below:

Thursday, February 07, 2019

“The Latest Zeitgeist: Tax Warning To Santa Fe From ABQ, Trump In El Paso; His Interior Secretary In Hobbs; Visits Prompt Talk Of GOP Retaking Southern CD, Plus: Radio Days; Latest ABQ Ratings And All Those PM Talk Show Hotshots

Here’s the Thursday zeitgeist direct from the frontlines of La Politics. . .

–The landslide defeat of a property tax increase for the ABQ Public Schools is putting Santa Fe on notice. Legislative proposals to raise the gas tax and food tax–already hard pressed to win–may be dead money in the aftermath of the APS wreck. Voters are tax tired and if the Dems overreach as APS did they could run into a buzzsaw.

–On the other hand, raising the personal income tax on households making $300,000 a year or more just might be in line with the populist overtones seen in this week’s mail in election.

–Crooked Krebs is the big “get” for Attorney General Hector Balderas, his biggest yet because the AG’s criminal charges against former UNM Athletic Department Director Paul Krebs might be a momentum maker to finally reform the transparency resistant department. Balderas may need the cushion of goodwill. Insiders report his staffing practices at the AG’s office are soon to come under media scrutiny.

–MLG’s “goofy” video against the border wall debuted to mixed reviews after she posted the video shot several months ago on her campaign Twitter account as President Trump finished delivering his State of the Union speech. The video showing her crashing through walls has gone viral. It’s one of those love it or hate it deals but if the point was to get attention, it worked.

–President Trump is coming to El Paso Monday and that will have NM impact. The El Paso media market spills over to southern NM. His visit will excite border wall supporters in beleaguered Hidalgo County where immigration problems have prompted widespread news coverage. In liberal Las Cruces the Trump visit will reinforce the disdain for the commander in chief’s border wall.

–The visit showcases how difficult an issue this is for Dem southern Congresswoman Torres Small. She has now come out in support of the wall concept for certain areas where she believes it could work. That moderate position may not satisfy either side. Cruces liberals want no wall or physical barriers at all and conservatives want the whole border walled.

–Also, on Wednesday Trump’s new Secretary of Interior was visiting oil booming Hobbs to remind everyone of the regulation friendly White House that is taking credit for the immense amount of energy coming out of the ground. It is in the Permian Basin in SE NM that the R’s hope to stage their comeback against Torres Small, arguing that many conservatives who did not vote in ’18 will vote in 2020.

–But Yvette Herrell is complicating the GOP’s Torres Small challenge. After her embarrassing 2018 defeat many in her party see her as washed up but she is already campaigning for the nomination, hoping to keep others out. But possible alternatives are popping up, including Claire Chase. Watch her.

–Chase was recently elected chairman of the board of the NM Oil and Gas Association as well as chair of the Independent Petroleum Association of NM. The family oil business is Mack Energy, where she serves as director of government relations and spends a good deal of time in DC. The company founder, Mack Chase, is her husband’s grandfather and is listed by Forbes as the wealthiest person in New Mexico with a net worth of at least $700 million.

The company is based in Artesia and has operations in the booming Permian. In other words, self-financing a good deal of her congressional campaign would be on the table if she were to run.

–Chase, 35, is a NM native and graduate of Roswell’s NM Military Institute. Here’s a bio and short video of her conducted by Oil and Gas Investor. A January poll conducted by Herrell asking voters their preference for the GOP nomination for the southern seat included Chase. The game is not on yet. Will it be soon?

Monday, February 04, 2019

MLG Says Early Childhood Amendment Will Be “Fight Of My Life” Plus: Where Other Key Issues Stand At Session, And: Our Monday Bottom Lines

The debate around key issues facing the 60 day legislative session is gaining more clarity as we flip the calendar to February. Here are the takeaways:

–For the first time in a little noticed interview MLG drew a line in the sand on the proposal to tap the $17 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund School Fund for very early childhood programs. She said:

“I have every intention of having the fight of my life on this issue. Our ‘pinch,’ I think, will be an indication that we expect about a third of what we’ll need for early child education to come out of the permanent fund. I think we might be closer to an open dialogue by folks that have said no deal.”

–That “pinch” under legislation sponsored by ABQ Dem Rep. Javier Martinez would withdraw one percent of the fund’s value annually, adding upwards of $150 million year to early childhood programs, but key players see negotiations taking that percentage lower.

–The fight the Governor says she has every “intention” of having will be with conservative Senate Democrats who have repeatedly blocked the amendment which, if approved by the House and Senate, would go to voters in 2020. The House is supportive of the measure that does not require a gubernatorial signature.

–However, it will require gubernatorial power to crack the conservative D’s or bring them to the table. That may indeed require the “fight of her life” that she has now publicly pledged.


–Conservatives aren’t necessarily “cracking” over the Guv’s push to hike the statewide minimum wage from $7.50 to $10 an hour, it’s more like they are yielding to the political reality seen in last year’s election results.

–Even conservative Senate Dem Clemente Sanchez, who has battled with minimum supporters in the past, is proposing a $10 an hour minimum, albeit his would not take effect until October 2020 while others would take effect this year.

–Sanchez is also proposing that the $2.13 minimum wage for tipped employees stay on the books, something restaurant owners are clamoring for. He and they may get it. (The tipped minimum is higher in cities with higher overall minimums).

–Interviews we’ve had with tipped workers in ABQ found opinion mixed but overall they expressed support for the status quo. Many are making near $20 an hour under the current structure and in no mood to rock the boat.

–Interestingly, in a Sunday op-ed piece MLG did not make mention of the debate over the minimum for tipped employees, a signal that she is not locked down on it.

–Santa Fe’s minimum wage is already north of $11 an hour and would not be impacted by the $10 an hour mandate. Las Cruces is also now over the $10 an hour mark. However, ABQ is in the low $9 an hour area so minimum workers there would benefit from the increase.


–There are not many believers in Santa Fe that state film incentives, capped at $50 million a year, should be completely lifted. Such a move would threaten to blow a hole in the budget in future years. Because they have gone over the cap over the years, Hollywood is now owed over $300 million due from the state, a huge sum in a budget headed toward the $7 billion area.

–MLG’s support of removing the incentive cap is seen more as a negotiating play than her hope for the final result, meaning an increase from $50 million a year to a yet to be determined number, but the cap stays.

–The position of Dem Senator Carlos Cisneros of Senate Finance seems likely to carry the day:

“(He) said he would support loosening the cap. The film industry, he added, has been good for the state. “A complete drop–that’s unpredictable,” he said, cautioning that the state needs to have some certainty about how much it is paying in incentives in future years, particularly in lean budget years.”


In characteristic style, both posts are informative reflecting someone who has been in the reporting business for a very long time and who has tremendous sources in the political world of New Mexico.

If you like politics, I suggest you add “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan” to your regular reading.

The link to the blog is:

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.