Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saying goodbye to a King

Bruce King, a three-term Governor of New Mexico,
will be laid to rest on Saturday
(Photos: MG Bralley)

Hundreds of Bruce Kings friends and supporters will join his family in Moriarty on Saturday morning to celebrate the former governor's life and say their final goodbyes at a funeral service in Moriarty at 10am.

On Thursday, Gary King told reporters the family thanks everyone for the outpouring of condolences and shared several stories about the beloved political legacy. He also told us stories about Kings campaigns, his favorite job Speaker of the House, and how the former Governor and his mother Alice King (who died in December) always tried to make life better for New Mexicans.

Listen to the audio from the Attorney General's news conference -- he tells us the "cowboy governor" thought his greatest accomplishments were his grand kids and developing new funding programs for schools in New Mexico.

Flags have been flying at half staff for more than a week, and on Friday hundreds of people filed past King's casket lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Santa Fe.

This morning's service will be broadcast on several local TV stations digital stations, and streamed lived on other websites.

We'll have live reports throughout the morning on 770KKOB, and recap the services in our evening report and on Sunday.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Video: Attorney General King, 'I'll miss his advice'

'He'd be tickled. He and President Clinton were good friends. They fought a lot of political battles together' -- NM Attorney General Gary King.

Former President Clinton will attend services

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King confirmed that the former President Bill Clinton will attend the funeral of his father, former three-term Gov. Bruce King on Saturday inside the Moriarty High School gym at 10am.

"The Clintons have certainly said that they developed a lot of their campaign style -- a lot of their philosophy of how policy should be approached -- by watching my father and my mother," King said. "We are very touched that President Clinton wants to come."

King, who is still recovering from neck surgery, is still wearing a neck brace, and says that being raised on a farm helped prepare him for his parents deaths -- former First Lady Alice King died last December.

"He sort of taught me to be philosophical about this," King said. "I think those of us who grew up on farms and ranches are more comfortable with life and death, because you see a lot of it, I think, growing up on a ranch. We know that it's a part of the natural cycle of life. In actuality we miss him sorely."

Picking up the slack

King revealed that he use to call his father at home for advice whenever things are "rough" at the office and for political advice. Now he says he feels like he'll have to pick up the slack and continue the family philosophy of public service.

"I think that there's still a lot of things that need to be done for children in New Mexico," King said. "I think that there is a lot of things to be done, you know, to make New Mexico the place he thought it should be, and I suspect that I will give some speeches as we go through that encourage a lot of other people to adopt that philosophy of focusing on what's the best for the people of the state of New Mexico and let's get together and get that done."

Funeral Arrangements

Flags continue to fly at half staff around the state and the former governor's body will lie in state on Friday at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

King said his father's wishes were for a simple service "without a lot of speeches and eulogies," but they are going to make an exception and let the former President, who became Governor of Arkansas during King's second term, say a few words. He also does not want pictures taken of the family during the service or burial.

"Not everyone in the family -- the nieces, nephews, and grand kids -- they didn't all sign up for public service," King said.

Security has been tightened but the public is still invited to the funeral. Parking is expected to be very limited near the high school.

King's burial in the Estancia Valley will follow the funeral service.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Video: Letters swayed Berry to retain Chief Schultz

Updated with Audio at 10:45p

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz will keep his
post in Richard Berry's administration.

Mayor elect Richard RJ" Berry who made crime, especially reducing property crimes, one of his top campaign issues in this Fall's municipal election is retaining Police Chief Ray Schultz.

Berry, who met with Schultz several times before tonight's announcement, says letters from businesses and citizens' groups, and even members of the police union, helped sway his decision.

"I know he shares my vision for a safer Albuquerque, a better quality of life for our citizens--he's committed to using innovative approaches to attack property crime and gang violence," Berry said this evening. "I'm very excited that he'll be joining me in my administration."

Schultz told us he will consolidate his organization-- on the 5th floor of police headquarters -- by reducing the number of bureaus and is making other changes to improve the efficiency of the police force.

Keeping politics out of policing

Two commanders get three stars

Berry also announced that commanders Beth Paiz and Allen Banks will become deputy police chiefs. Berry called each of them "rising stars."

Schultz immediately gave them three stars signifying their new rank.

We interviewed Paiz and Banks for our morning newscasts. You can hear them starting at 6am on 770KKOB.

Paiz says she's excited to get down to "business" heading up the investigations unit.

Dan McKay at the Albuquerque Journal reports Paiz will be only the second woman to be a deputy chief to serve in APD, and Banks is the first African-American deputy chief since the 1970s.

Banks had been heading up the internal affairs department at APD before tonight's appointment to the lead APD's support bureau.

Union supports reappointment

We also interviewed APOA Union President Joey Sigala who says that his members have always been able to work with Chief Schultz. He says while labor and management don't always agree they always feel comfortable sitting down to discuss issues with him.

Sigala told us that his team sat down with three different "branches" of the transition team and provided input on the Chief based on various questions they were asked.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who was appointed Public Service Director, was sentimental in welcoming Schultz to the Berry Administration, calling him "a dedicated professional who's done a fantastic job for the city."

White says he's personally responsible for contributing to some of the gray hairs on the side of Schultz' head -- recalling how then Sgt. Schultz had welcomed him to the APD police force's overnight shift in the SE Command when he was still just a patrolman.

Berry told reporters he is still "in the process" of considering appointments at the Albuquerque Fire Department. Chief Robert Ortega did not attend the evening news conference.

White told reporters that the team has made no decisions regarding changing any APD policies dealing with how police officers can deal with questioning suspects about their immigration status. He said those discussions and decisions will be made after Berry is sworn in on December 1st.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Powell launches campaign for State Land Commissioner

Powell wants Oil and Gas Industry to pay their fair share of royalties.
(Photo: Peter St. Cyr)

Democrat Ray Powell, who served in the office from 1993-2002, formally launched his campaign for State Land Commissioner on Saturday in Albuquerque. He's calling for green-energy job creation and economic development, land conservation, and ethics reform within the State Land Office.

He said he wants to bring back his team and is looking for creative options to maximize the value of the state's lands, create jobs, and build a new energy economy while providing ethical leadership.

"As a candidate for State Land Commissioner, I bring a record of ethical leadership," Powell says. "I have worked to create thousands of new jobs for New Mexicans. I have a track record of generating more money for our schools and a proven commitment to healing and protecting our state lands. I’m eager to return to the State Land Office where there’s much to be done!"

In this video, Powell cautions against ideas to tap the state's permanent fund to help offset the state's current budget shortfalls

Powell faces three other Democrats including Santa Fe Commissioners Harry Montoya and Mike Anaya and PRC Commissioner Sandy Jones in the state's primary election. On the Republican side, GOP activist Bob Cornelius and retired law-enforcement agent Errol Chavez are running. They’re all battling to replace the GOP’s Pat Lyons, the current land commissioner who is term limited from seeking re-election.

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