Saturday, October 3, 2009

Obama selects another New Mexican to serve in D.C.

New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Pamela Hyde is moving on, and moving up.

On Friday, President Barack Obama announced her appointment to become Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Governor Bill Richardson, who withdrew his own nomination to become U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration, is congratulating Hyde.

“Hyde has been with my administration since day one and has been a tremendous asset for the people of New Mexico, providing greater access to quality resources they need to be successful in life,” Governor Richardson said. “She not only improved the services available through the Human Services Department but took on the task of improving and streamlining the way behavioral health services are administered in our state, something no other state has tried, much less accomplished.”

Hyde will continue serving as Secretary of the Human Services Department until she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Hyde has 30 years experience in management and consulting for public sector systems of health care and human services and has held several key public sector management positions, including those of a state mental health director, state human services director, and city housing and human services director.

Earlier this year, Hyde was honored with the American Medical Association’s top government service award for a career in public service, the Dr. Nathan Davis award, which she was nominated for by Governor Richardson.

Meanwhile, Governor Richardson has named Katie Falls to serve as Secretary-designate through the transition.

A release from the governor's office stated that Falls was named Deputy Secretary of the Human Services Department in January, 2006.

She has been with the department since 2003 where she served as director of the Income Support Division before being named Deputy Secretary. Ms. Falls also worked for the Department of Health from 1995 to 2001 where she served as the Deputy Director of the Division of Health Improvement. She also worked for Navajo Indian Health Services and Albuquerque Indian Health Services from 1990 to 1995.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weh Picks Two Lea County Campaign Chairs

GOP gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh, who operates an aviation company in Albuquerque, announced today that he has recruited two campaign co-chairs in Lea County.

Russell Black and Jana Hodge have joined the Allen Weh 2010 team’s grassroots effort to mobilize New Mexico voters. Among other duties, Black and Hodge will organize volunteers in Lea County and make sure Weh’s many supporters in that county turn out to vote.

Black is a former police officer and the morning host on 95.7 KPER in Hobbs. He has worked for campaigns in New Mexico for many years and is a member of the Lea County Tea Party Patriots.

“I first met Allen Weh interviewing him on my radio show,” Black said. “I noticed right away that there was something different about the way he answered questions. It was like talking to a friend who was answering from the heart, not giving the answer that would get the most votes.”

Hodge owns Phoenix Environmental LLC, a Hobbs-based oil and gas service company that has been in business for nearly a decade. She’s a member of the Lea County Republican Women’s Club and an active member of the county party.

“I am a firm believer that the state should be run like a business,” Hodge said. “Allen is a successful businessman who understands that you can’t spend money you don’t have if you want to be successful.”

Weh said, “Russ and Jana are natural leaders who will help us expand our base in Lea County and make a key contribution in taking our state in a better direction.”

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sheriff White endorses Berry in Albuquerque's mayoral race

After claiming to be neutral in the 2009 Albuquerque mayoral, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, switched gears and announced this morning that he's endorsing fellow Republican State Lawmaker Richard "RJ" Berry.

White indicated it is Berry’s position on crime and "the false attacks" by Marty Chavez that persuaded him to get involved. Both men have claimed Albuquerque has become a sanctuary city.

“I did not endorse anyone against Chavez in 2005, but Richard Berry is a good man and I know he’ll be tough on crime,” said Sheriff White. “I’m disgusted by the false, personal attacks made against Richard Berry and his family. Claiming Berry is not a businessman is like saying I’m not a cop.”

Just last week, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said he was upset at comments that Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez made at a recent debate about the crime rate in unincorporated parts of Bernalillo County. Albuquerque lies in the borders of Bernalillo County.

Richard Berry has made crime a centerpiece of his campaign, promising to crackdown on gangs, target property crime and end the mayor’s sanctuary city policy for criminals.

Mayor Chavez' campaign quickly responded to our inquiry about White's endorsement. Spokeswoman Joan Griffin, an email to us, wrote:
The Albuquerque Mayor's race is a non-partisan race. The Mayor is proud to have the endorsement of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police the Albuquerque Firefighters Association and the National Rifle Association.

But, the Berry campaign isn't wasting anytime promoting the endorsement by long-time Republican White. They've purchased radio time on 770KKOB and are airing these commercials.

In this spot, an announcer states "12-year incumbent Mayor Chavez wants to play games." The ad goes on to describe "facts" about one of Berry's top campaign issues the city's so-called sanctuary city policy.

The spot refers to a 2007 policy which prohibited Albuquerque Police Officers from checking the immigration status of criminals in their custody. Berry has said the policy attract criminals. Berry's ad states that some criminals that are suppose to be turnover to immigration officials were never deported.

Chavez' has regularly said anyone arrested for a crime who is later determined to be in the country illegally is reported to the I.C.E. for deportation, but that the custom's agency hasn't always followed up with deportation. Suspects not picked up within 48 hours can then be released back on to Albuquerque streets.

In the ad, White tells voters the "personal attacks against Richard Berry and his family are desperate and false." He urges voters not to be fooled by them."

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Monday, September 28, 2009

UNM Head Football Coach Accused of Battery

Updated 5pm

An assistant football coach at the University of New Mexico filed a police report with APD last Sunday, September 20, 2009. In the the police report, Wide Receivers' Coach Jonathan "J.B." Gerald alleges head coach Michael Locksley punched him in the face after a "heated" coaches meeting around 7:15pm the same night.

Gerald had been on leave all last week and missed Saturday's game against New Mexico State University.

Just before 11:30 this morning, Vice President of UNM Athletics Paul Krebs called me to confirm "there was an altercation in the coaches staff meeting last Sunday evening after the Air Force game."


Mr. Gerald said that earlier in the evening at about 1915 hours [7:15pm] he was attending a coaches meeting which he stated become "heated." Mr. Gerald said at one point in the meeting Coach Michael Locksley, who is the head coach for the team became angry with him and approached him in an aggressive manner. Mr. Gerald said that Coach Locksley grabbed him by the collar and as other coaches were attempting to intervene, Coach Locksley punched him in the mouth causing a small cut on the inside of his upper lip.
The reporting officer said he observed the injury and a scratch to Gerald's left forearm.

Mr. Gerald said he did not wish to file any criminal charges against Coach Locksley at this time however he did want the incident documented in a police report.
Updated: 5pm

At an afternoon news conference, Krebs says the school is addressing the "altercation" with both coaches and while Gerald has not returned to the team, Krebs said he would be welcomed back to the team with "open arms."

As of Monday, Geraldwas still on paid leave, and call to his home were not immediately returned to 770KKOB.

Locksley did not attend the news conference. Instead, he was back on the field preparing his team for this weekends game against Texas Tech.

Krebs said that the first-year coach, has apologized to his staff and team and accepted responsibility for his mistake.

In a prepared statement, released by the university's sports information office, Locksley wrote:

I apologized to Coach Gerald, the coaching staff and our team for my poor judgment. I would also like to apologize to Lobo fans. Like I remind our players, when mistakes are made, you acknowledge them and deal with the consequences.

Krebs told reporters, "In this business it is not uncommon for coaches to have heated discussions. Having said that, we cannot condone Coach Locksley's actions. You simply cannot put your hand on another coach."

Krebs said he considers the matter resolved, and blamed the partially blamed the incident on the stresses of coaching. He also said it was probably worsened by UNM's winless start.

Locksley has been given a verbal reprimand and followed it with a letter in his file. Locksley will receive no suspension.

Earlier this year, Locksley and UNM were sued by a former office assistant for sexual harrassment and wrongful termination. That suit is still pending.

Graduate Assistant Aaron Morehead is filling in for Gerald.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Udall and Bingaman Lead Fight to Reform Patriot Act

In this video, Senator Tom Udall discusses Justice Act legislation, aimed at reforming the Patriot Act, and other surveillance laws to better protect Americans' constitutional right to privacy while providing the government with the tools necessary to effectively fight terrorism.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman told radio reporters, on a teleconference call, that he thinks some provisions in the Patriot Act can be fixed, in a Justice Act measure being considered in Washington, this year.

“This Justice Act, which was introduced this last week, tries to make changes in various provisions of law that were put in effect during the Bush Administration which I think do raises serious questions about the rights of private records of American citizens,” said Bingaman.

Bingaman said he believes that while there may be not Republican co-sponsors of the Justice Act he believes it will get some bi-partisan support.

“I think there are things that were done, and should have been done, to strengthen our ability to maintain surveillance of terrorists activities, but I think we went too far,” said Bingaman. “And so, my own view is we can go back and make corrections in the legislation that was passed, and that would be a good thing to do. It’s all a question of how do you balance the need to maintain security in a very dangerous world and the rights of American’s not to be spied upon.”

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