Thursday, February 4, 2010

Johnson plans economic plan rollout

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who’s sounding more and more like a potential presidential candidate, plans to announce his “Three Point-Plan for Economic Prosperity” Tuesday at a press event in Washington.

Ahead of the trip, Johnson has been meeting with economists from around the country to discuss his plan.

“We believe we have adopted a plan to bring America’s economy into long-term prosperity,” Johnson said in a news release. “This would include cutting expenditures, cutting taxes and shrinking the federal involvement in the economy.”

Johnson is the honorary chairman of his Our America Initiative, a national issue-based advocacy committee.

“As I look at the public debate, I don’t see ideas being presented that are going to solve the current problems and provide for long term prosperity,” Johnson said. “What we need is a new direction.”

“Based on discussions with the people we have been meeting, as well as my own governing experience and significant research with economic experts, we have developed an initial outline of commonsense approaches to begin to renew our economy,” Johnson said. “I look forward to presenting this outline to the public, and to continuing the public dialogue regarding lower taxes and reducing our deficits.”

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Schmitt criticizes Obama's space plan

'American leadership is absent from space – is this the future we will leave to our children? I hope not,' Schmitt, a former Apollo astronaut and U.S. Senator says.

Editors note: On Monday, President Barack Obama ditched plans for America to return to the moon. While pledging to increase NASA's budget by six billion dollars over the next five years he called for the space agency to stay close to Earth and do research. Former U.S. Senator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt disagrees and has long advocated a Return to the Moon.


Once again, the President has exposed his basic belief that America is not exceptional, that Americans should apologize for protecting liberty for 250 years, and that the human condition would be no worse off without our past expenditure of lives, time, and treasure in freedom’s behalf.

Since 1958, space policy, like naval policy before it, has set the geopolitical tone for the interactions between the United States and its international allies and adversaries. The President’s FY2011 budget submission to Congress shifts that tone away from leadership by America by abandoning human exploration and settlement of the Moon and Mars to China and, effectively, leaving the American Space Station under the dominance of Russia for its remaining life. With the Station’s life inherently limited by aging, these proposals sign the death warrant for American sponsored human space flight.

The President proposes to cancel the American plan to return to the Moon, the six-year old Constellation Program. In spite of funding neglect by the previous Administration and Congresses, Constellation is well on the way to developing the organizational framework, hardware, and generational skills necessary for Americans to continue to be leaders in the exploration and eventual settlement of deep space.

Ceding the space race to China and Russia

Protecting liberty and ourselves will be at great risk and probably impossible if we now abandon deep space to the any other nation or group of nations, particularly a non-democratic, national socialist regime like China. To others would accrue the benefits – psychological, political, economic, and scientific – that accrued to the United States from Apollo’s success 40 years ago. This lesson from John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower has not been lost on our ideological and economic competitors.

An American space policy that maintains deep space leadership, as well as providing major new scientific discoveries, requires returning to the Moon as soon as possible. Returning to the Moon prepares the way to go to and land on Mars, something we are a long way from knowing how to do, and trains new young Americans in how to work in and with the challenges of deep space. This also continues a policy in which freedom-loving peoples throughout the world can participate as active partners. Even more pragmatically, settlements on the Moon can send badly needed clean energy resources back to Earth.

The President also proposes Americans either (1) ride into space at the forbearance of the Russians at a cost of $50 million a seat or (2) wait for the “commercial” launch sector to succeed in developing acceptable and affordable means of placing astronauts in near-Earth space.

On the one hand, do we really want to go continue to go, hat in hand, to the Russians to access a Space Station American taxpayers have spent $150 billion to build?

What happens as the political and ideological interests of the United States and an increasingly authoritarian Russia continue to diverge? On the other hand, do we really want to put all our national space access eggs in the one basket of unproven “commercial” launch capabilities? What happens if a risk adverse NASA and Congress make those potential capabilities unaffordable?

Further, if such human launch capabilities are truly “commercial,” with NASA only one customer, why should not investors carry most of the funding load instead of the taxpayer?

Adverse consquences

Finally, the President’s space budget continues the fiction that political policies that erode both liberty and incomes can successfully counter nature’s inexorable changes in climate. It is one thing for NASA to continue to provide objective space-based sensing of climate variations so that we can understand the natural forces of change and prepare for it – it is quite another to turn the space Agency into an advocate for political initiatives that are doomed to failure but with lasting adverse consequences to all Americans and their economy.

The right and continuing space policy choice for the Congress of the United States remains as previously approved by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Returning to the Moon compares in significance to President Jefferson’s dispatch of Lewis and Clark into wilderness of the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson’s decision had unquestioned and critical significance to American growth and survival.

As with the American West, human exploration of space embodies basic human instincts – freedom, curiosity, and betterment of one's conditions. America’s unique and special society of immigrants still has such instincts at its core.

Harrison H. Schmitt is a former United States Senator from New Mexico as well as a geologist and former Apollo Astronaut. He currently is an aerospace and private enterprise consultant and a member of the new Committee of Correspondence.

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Montoya kicks off 2010 re-election campaign

Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya, the only woman to hold the post here, wants a second term, and on Wednesday night she hosted her first campaign event at Artichoke Cafe in Albuquerque.

In her first term, Montoya, a native New Mexican and mother of two girls, said she increased the use of technology and budgeted updates, provided hands-on assistance to taxpayers, tackled tax lightning issues, and froze property values for senior citizens, who are often on fixed incomes.

Montoya said her priorities as assessor include taxpayer equity, making sure our seniors and veterans benefit from allowable exemptions, and continuing a professional and citizen-friendly office.

Late last year, Assessor Montoya decided to act on court decisions that ruled new property owners were being taxed unfairly. Montoya decided she would help to eliminate “tax lightning” and would roll back tax property tax values. Thanks to Karen’s no-nonsense approach in Bernalillo County, policy makers at the state level have started work on crafting constitutional remedies to fix the tax lightning problem for all of New Mexico.

“If taxpayers are being unfairly taxed, I’m the first to make it right,” says Assessor Montoya.

Montoya also worked on an awareness campaign aimed at veterans and their surviving spouses to make sure they take advantage of a $4,000 allowance on the appraised value of their homes and property.

Montoya, who worked as a Senior Appraiser for the New Mexico State Tax Property Division, before being elected in 2006, told us she wants to dedicate office resources to new training programs for her 120 employees in her second term.

She is a New Mexico Certified Appraiser and served as Chair of the County Valuation Protest Board. She is currently a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers.

Assessor Montoya was also the Vice Chair of the New Mexico Association of Assessing Officer’s June 2007 to June 2009 and she is currently the Chairwomen for the Property Tax Force Committee.

Video: Heinrich gets bipartisan support for cybersecurity amendment

U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-1) won bi-partisan support for an amendment he introduced on the House floor today.

The amendment includes Sandia National Laboratories in a proposed program to enhance the nation's defenses against computer attacks, and helps to enhance federal cybersecurity research and development activities, which are needed to address national vulnerabilities in cyberspace.

“Sandia National Laboratories is a leader in defensive cybersecurity research and development for our nation’s intelligence community and has been home to countless high-level security advancements. Including our National Labs, and utilizing their cybersecurity expertise, will be critical to keeping our nation’s cyberspace secure,” Rep. Heinrich said.

The Heinrich’s amendment to the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (HR 4061) was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The Act is slated for a full vote in the House on Thursday.

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Mayoral candidate donates yard sign money to charity

Carlsbad Mayoral Candidate Wendy Amato presents a $1,000 check to Jonah’s Food Pantry

Wendy Amato, who wants to be Carlsbad's first female mayor, is forgoing yard signs and giving the money that she would have spent producing them to a community food pantry

"Think of all the money candidates spend on yard signs that could be going to help make our community better." Amato said. “It doesn’t seem right to spend money on ugly signs that nobody likes, when there are people in our city who are unemployed, hungry, and going without heat or electricity. Not to mention the aid that places such as Haiti need right now.”

“Going without yard signs makes my campaign more difficult, but that just means I have to work harder," Amato added.

Amato also urged her supporters to give money to charities such rather than to her self financed campaign.

“I cannot in good conscience accept money from people when there are so many other pressing needs in our community,” Amato said. “I also hope to set a standard where political candidates give back to the community, instead of just asking people for money.”

Before presenting the check, Amato and campaign volunteers toured Jonah’s House and learned how the group provides food to individuals and families in the community. “I am so impressed with the work and dedication you bring to help those in need,” Amato told volunteers and staff. “Often in the election season, people talk about petty issues and forget that there are many people in Carlsbad who need food, shelter, and necessities.”

Amato faces City Councilor Jeffrey Diamon, Dale Janway, Roosevelt Armendariz, Tom Mathis and Garry Adams. Incumbent Mayor Bob Forrest is not seeking re-election in Carlsbad.

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Whistleblower protection act passes NM Senate

The New Mexico State Senate today passed SB 96, on a vote of 38 to 2. This measure's sponsor Senator Wilson Beffort, R-Albuquerque, said it is aimed at protecting public employees who report illegal and unethical conduct is critical for ethics reform.

She said, "Those who retaliate would face money damages, in addition to any criminal charges they would face based on the illegal conduct that was reported."

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

A similar measure was vetoed by Gov. Bill Richardson last year.

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Fire fighters union endorses Colón for Lt. Gov.

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 244 has endorsed Brian Colón in the Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor.

"Brian Colón has proven to be a strong advocate for the public employees of New Mexico. He understands that fire fighters have a critical role in public safety for our community," said Diego Arencón, President of IAFF Local 244.

Local 244 represents 861 members of the Albuquerque Fire Department and the Bernalillo County Fire Department.

"I am honored and humbled to have the endorsement of the membership of Local 244. As a father, a husband and your next Lieutenant Governor, I know just how important it is that our first responders have the resources they need to keep our families safe. In the Roundhouse, I will be a partner with Diane Denish to make that a reality," said Colón.

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Mullins' volunteers struggle to file FEC report

Republican 3rd Congressional District primary candidate Tom Mullins still has not filed his year-end financial report, which was due on January 31st, with the Federal Election Commission.

Mullins told us this morning that his volunteer campaign team is having difficulty "converting the numbers using the data forms on the FEC's website."

For now, he is posting his financial report on his campaign's website.

"We posted the numbers on our blog this weekend," Mullins said after discovering the information had not been uploaded to the official government site on time.

"We are going to pay a couple of hundred dollars in fines and get this sorted out, and report on time from now on," Mullins said.

Mullins indicated $45,274 fourth quarter receipts, which is almost $7,000 more than his primary opponent Adam Kokesh.

Mullins claimed $14,300.64 in expenses from October 1 to December 31st and had $30,973.36 cash on hand, significantly more than Kokesh who reported only $4863.13 cash on hand. However Kokesh's campaign claims it raised more than $30,000 with a "birthday bomb" donation campaign tied to Kokesh's 28th birthday on Monday.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Lujan's year-end report showed receipts of $112,073.84 in the final quarter and an election cycle total of $532,073.17. He ended ended 2009 with $284,852.61 on hand.

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Forbes endorses Turner for governor

'New Mexico needs a leader who is honest, conservative and fiscally responsible. Doug is that leader,' Forbes says

Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Doug Turner has picked up the endorsement of Forbes Magazine CEO and financial expert Steve Forbes

“I am proud to endorse Republican candidate Doug Turner for governor,” Forbes said. “Doug knows how to manage and grow a successful business and is the type of leader who will work hard to get New Mexico back on track.”

Forbes, who has known Turner for a decade, said he is impressed with the Albuquerque public relations agency owners' "hard work ethic and commitment to doing thing the right way for the right reasons."

"New Mexico needs a leader who is honest, conservative and fiscally responsible. Doug is that leader," Forbes said. "He has a proven track record in both the public and private sectors and will bring fresh ideas to New Mexico’s government. Doug's experience as a community leader and small businessman make him exactly the kind of Governor New Mexico needs right now. He's not a career politician and I can’t think of anyone else better to get the job done."

Forbes said he is supporting Turner because, "Doug will clean up Santa Fe, slash the size of state government and put an end to the wasteful spending that is bankrupting New Mexico."

Forbes currently serves on the boards of The Heritage Foundation and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and has been monitoring the nation's economic woes.

“Our nation is facing hard economic times right now, and we need the kind of leaders who believe in American initiative and enterprise.” Forbes added, “New Mexico is in the same boat, and needs someone like Doug Turner who knows what it takes to help our businesses prosper and create jobs.”

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Powell commends AG's action on Whites Peak land swaps

“We must keep White Peak open to hunters and the public,” the former land Commissioner says

By Ray Powell

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons has been at the center of controversy for his decision to trade away White Peak state lands in northern New Mexico. Sportsmen, elected officials, leaders from northern New Mexico communities, and I have been critical of the exchange.

Lyons has been under investigation by both the New Mexico Attorney General and New Mexico State Auditor regarding the process for selling, exchanging, and leasing of trust lands. Today, Attorney General Gary King sued the State Land Office in the New Mexico Supreme Court, requesting an emergency stay for the White Peak Exchange.

The decision by the Attorney General to protect lands treasured by hunters and used by generations of northern New Mexicans is a good one. I fully support the decision to take this case to the State Supreme Court.

From the onset, this exchange needed more oversight and scrutiny.

Affected groups, local communities and the public were never consulted. The danger, as noted by the Attorney General, is that more White Peak exchanges are forthcoming in the remaining nine months Lyons has in office.

The State Land Office’s proposed land exchange around White Peak represents a case study of what not to do when one is responsible for our public lands.

I am committed to working to reform the policies and procedures at the Land Office to increase transparency and accountability and prevent abuses like this from happening in the future.

Powell, who served two terms as land commissioner from 1993-2002, is making his fourth bid for the office this year.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Breaking News: High court halts Whites Peak exchanges


The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to grant Attorney General Gary King's emergency petition -- just one day after it was filed -- effectively putting a halt to four land exchanges at Whites Peak.

The State Land Office has until February 15th to respond.

As we first reported last night, King believes Land Commissioner Pat Lyons violated the law because the public auctions were set up so there could only be one bidder.

King called that scenario for all practical purposes a "sham."

NM Court justices could set a new legal precedent, because the petition filed on Monday addresses a relatively narrow question never addressed by a New Mexico court:
Does the Commissioner violate the duty imposed on him by the Enabling Act, the New Mexico Constitution, and his fiduciary obligations to the trust by conducting substantially constrained “public auctions” in order to achieve a predetermined result?
“We’re not saying that the land commssioner doesn’t have the authority to do exchanges, but in this particular case it appears he steered it to one bidder,” King told us last night

King said the court hearing "is a good valid way for two parties that disagree to get a resolution to a dispute.”

Lyons has defended the trades saying he followed the same process used in land trades for decades by the State Land Office. He told the New Mexican "the trades resolve management problems and will help create a quality hunt area on public lands around Whites Peak"

Rael picks up tribal endorsements

Lawrence Rael, one of five Democratic primary candidates for lieutenant governor, announced he has received the endorsement of the All Indian Pueblo Council and 7 separate tribal governments, including Isleta Pueblo, Santa Domingo Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, San Felipe Pueblo, Zia Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo and Pojaque Pueblo.

“Lawrence’s ability to build partnerships and get good things done would have been enough to earn our endorsement,” Isleta Pueblo Governor Robert Benavides. “But what really sets him apart is his integrity and the respect he shows to everyone he works with.”

Rael has worked closely with cities and tribal governments throughout the region. First as City Manager of Albuquerque and later as Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments.

“Whether it was getting a Rail Runner station in Santo Domingo, helping with Bosque restoration projects in Isleta, or arranging meetings between local mayors and the All Indian Council, I have always enjoyed working with the tribal leaders,” Rael. “I’m honored that they’re supporting me in my bid for Lieutenant Governor.”

Rael, faces former party chairman Brian Colón, State Rep. Joe Campos of Santa Rosa and state Sens. Linda Lopez and Jerry Ortiz y Pino. Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano withdrew from the race last month.

Four Republicans are also campaigning for lieutenant governor, including state Sen.
Kent Cravens of Albuquerque, 2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate J.R. Damron, former state Rep. Brian Moore of Clayton, 2002 Republican gubernatorial nominee John Sanchez. Albuquerque nurse Bea Sheridan has dropped out of the race.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Whites Peak land swaps head to NM Supreme Court

After months of investigating, the State Attorney General’s Office filed a petition with the NM Supreme Court, on Monday, asking the justices to stop four controversial land exchanges at Whites Peak — contending the swaps violate state law and are unconstitutional.

In fact, the petition characterized public auctions, used by the State Land Office and private ranchers, in the bidding process, as “shams.”

Attorney General Gary King said he believes Land Commissioner Pat Lyons did not follow the “procedural safeguards that are necessary to assure the state got the best deal” through the public auctions.

“By the time they got to the point where they published the public auction the parameters had been set so there could only be one possible bidder,” King said. “The public auction requirement for State Trust Land exchanges with private parties appears to be predetermined in the first two of the four proposed deals.”

But, the land office’s Chief Legal Counsel Robert Stranahan said he is confident “we have done exactly what every commissioner in the history of the land office has done.”

King wants the High Court to issue a writ of mandamus and an emergency stay to halt the deals with Express UU Bar Ranches, Stanley Ranches, CS Cattle, and Galloway Ranch.

Lyons wants to trade 14,000 acres of trust land -- most of it in the Whites Peak area north of Ocate, but the deal also includes 3,600 acres near Espanola and 40 acres at near Mesa Del Sol (South of Albuquerque) -- for 9,600 acres now owned by the four ranchers.

‘Deal doesn’t add up’

State Rep. Brian Egolf, who has characterized the deals as being too secretive, said the court filing is “a very positive step.”

Last year, Egolf called for more legislative oversight of the State Land Office and grilled Lyons about how the deal benefits public schools –the beneficiaries of the trust.

“I’m very glad that the attorney general has recognized, like so many other people, that this deal doesn’t add up and is asking for intervention so that the beneficiaries of the trust and the people of New Mexico just don’t get stuck with the damages,” Egolf said.

If the court decides to hear the case they could set a new legal precedent, because the petition filed on Monday addresses a relatively narrow question never addressed by a New Mexico court:

Does the Commissioner violate the duty imposed on him by the Enabling Act, the New Mexico Constitution, and his fiduciary obligations to the trust by conducting substantially constrained “public auctions” in order to achieve a predetermined result?

“We’re not saying that the land commssioner doesn’t have the authority to do exhanges, but in this particular case it appears he steered it to one bidder,” King said. “From my perspective this is a good valid way for two parties that disagree to get a resolution to a dispute.”

But Stranahan, said while he recognized King was testing a novel constitutional legal theory, he cautioned him against challenging some exchanges and not others.

“If they want to void this particular sale … then I’m assuming the attorney general is going to go in and void all similar sales, which could include some of his [King's] own land,” Stranahan said. “If he’s seeking to pick and choose which things he’s going to go after he needs to remember that the Enabling Act doesn’t have a time sensitive restriction on it. You can go back and void anything.”

Stranahan maintains the exchanges benefit the people of New Mexico, because “by consolidating the lands and taking out in holdings we're going to increase our land value by $13 million. No one seems to care about, the AG certainly doesn’t.”

He believes there is a political angle to the current controversy and said his boss, Lyons “has shown political fortitude to try to do this.”

“Lyons has been the far most productive commissioner in the history of the office,” Stranahan said. “You can’t try to claim that he’s not good at what’s he’s doing, because he’s obviously been the best.”

He claims the office, which has sought creative ways to develop state trust land, is being blocked by anti-development people.

“We are prohibited from law improving and developing them ourselves,” Stranahan said. “It seems to me that it’s just a desire for us to sit on the land and not do anything. Commissioners have done that in the past. We’re proactive. We’re out there trying to find solutions.”

King disputes claims that his legal action is just a politically expedient act in an election year.

“After being actually advised by our office that we had concerns about these particular land exchanges they decided to do it anyway,” King said. “This particular filing in the court didn’t come out of the blue. There have been lengthy discussions about what we think the requirements of a good land exchange are. If he had decided to do this kind of deal after the election then we’d be in court next year.”

Attorney General King says the unusual step of bypassing the lower courts and petitioning the Supreme Court was taken because of the constitutional issues in question, the immediate effects on the public interest, and the fact that more White Peak land exchanges are proposed.

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Serrano starts campaign for Bernalillo County Commissioner

Construction company owner, Dan Serrano, an advocate for splitting up the Albuquerque Public School's district and creating a separate district on the city's Westside, announced his 2010 campaign for a seat on the Bernalillo County Commission.

He's vying for the District 1 seat being vacated by Alan Armijo is term-limited after his second consecutive term.

The Democrat father of three greeted supporters at a local resturant and said his campaign's guiding theme will be, "Putting our community to work."

A small business owner, former police officer, and chairman of the Albuqerque Westside Chamber of Commerce, Serrano said he supports "practical economic development and the growing need to combat the crime in New Mexico communities that makes it hard for business to thrive."

"People need to get back to work now," Serrano wrote in a campaign email news release. "A safer community and an educated workforce attract business to New Mexico. We only have to invest in ourselves to create long-term opportunities."

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Colón opens state campaign office

Democrat lieutenant governor primary candidate Brian Colón, who kicked off his 2010 campaign last fall, opened his state campaign headquarters office in Albuquerque --on Sunday afternoon.

Colón urged over 150 people who attended the office opening to participate in Thursday's Bernalillo County ward meetings -- where delegates will be elected to the party's state pre-primary nominating convention.

After addressing the crowd, Colón, an Albuquerque attorney and former party chairman, told us that he wants to improve the state's business landscape -- including making sure that local companies, win the big American Recovery and Re-investment Act contracts.

Colón, who's wife is a teacher, also told us he recognizes that to continue economic development in the state, companies need well-prepared students, and he'll work to improve the state's graduation rates by putting what ever resources are needed inside classrooms.

Campaign co-chairs announced

Last week, Colón announced his campaign co-chairs. Ambassador Edward Romero, Ladonna Harris, and Lenton Malry will serve as advisers and co-chairs. Colón, said that he will soon announce his Colón Captains in all 33 counties.

Ambassador Romero served during the Clinton administration as Ambassador to Spain. Ambassador Romero lives in Albuquerque and is active in a number of civic and philanthropic organizations.

Ladonna Harris is the president and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity. She is a national leader on Native American issues and lives in Albuquerque.

Lenton Malry is a former State Representative and Bernalillo County Commissioner. Malry has had a long and distinguished career as a public servant spanning more than 40 years.

"Whether it was fighting for full-day kindergarten in the legislature or working as a Principal in the Albuquerque Public Schools, I have long believed that the future of New Mexico is our public schools. I am proud to support Brian because I know that he will, as our next Lieutenant Governor, wake up every day fighting for our schools so that his son and all of New Mexico's children will receive the best education possible," Malry said.

Colón, the former Democrat Party of New Mexico Chairman, faces State Rep. Joe Campos of Santa Rosa and state Sens. Linda Lopez and Jerry Ortiz y Pino, both of Albuquerque, and former Mid-region Council of Goverments Executive Director Lawrence Rael. Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano withdrew from the race last month.

Five Republicans have announced their candidacies for lieutenant governor — state Sen. Kent Cravens of Albuquerque, 2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate J.R. Damron, former state Rep. Brian Moore of Clayton, 2002 Republican gubernatorial nominee John Sanchez. Albuquerque nurse Bea Sheridan has dropped out of the race.

Davis enters 2010 race for Sheriff in Bernalillo County

Patrick Davis, a former University of New Mexico Police Lieutenant and the youngest New Mexico graduate of the FBI's National Academy, announced his 2010 candidacy for Bernalillo County Sheriff at the Sandia Courtyard Hotel & Convention Center on Sunday.

Davis, a Bernalillo County Democrat, has served in the law enforcement community for 10 years, and is currently serving as a program director and public information officer with the
Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office.

Davis, who earned a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice said he is focused on community policing

"In a community faced with such daunting challenges, it is time that we refocus and stand together against crime and criminals," Davis said.

'Targeting efforts on repeat offenders'

Davis said his campaign is about reshaping the way the county approaches law enforcement.

"So many other cities have realized success by embracing new technology, targeting efforts on repeat offenders and listening to the concerns of the communities we serve," Davis said. "New criminals are using new tactics to victimize our citizens. Its time that law enforcement responded with new ideas and new energy."

He told us he doesn't want 300 deputies driving around waiting for crimes and said he wants to engage the community in fighting crime along with his command staff. He also said he's monitoring the 2010 Legislature, and recognized that resources could be tight.

Still, Davis wants to make sure lawmakers in Santa Fe protect deputy pay raises, training and D.W.I. grant money.

Davis also told us he's closely watching Sandoval Demorat Rep. Jack Thomas'
HB 174, which is legislation aimed at curbing gang recruitment, with stiff new penalties. He wants to ensure the bill, if approved, won't face legal challenges or become to cumbersome.

Davis is not only the youngest candidate in the field, he's also an openly gay man in the community. In fact, his partner has been recognized for his work on the BCSO's swat team.

"I came to Albuquerque because I love its people and its culture, and wanted to be a part of the next generation of our community," Davis said.

He said being gay is just another indication of the state and county's diversity and that deputies, who are aware of his sexual orientation, just treat him as another cop.

Davis faces a number of Democrat primary opponents including interim Sheriff Manny Gonzales, Felix Nunez, and Marie "SiSi" Miranda. APD Commander Conrad Candelaria reportedly dropped out of the race last week.

The Republicans are also fielding several candidates to replace former Sheriff Darren P. White who accepted a job with the City of Albuquerque as Chief Public Safety Director. They include
William Kurth and Dan Houston among a few.

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Miranda kicks off campaign for Bernco sheriff

She's a veteran APD commander and retired Deputy Chief II, now Marie "Sisi" Miranda wants to be the first female sheriff of Bernalillo County.

She ramped up her campaign with a Friday night fundraiser, which was hosted by martial arts masters Phil Romero, Frank River and Kurt Saenz at an Albuquerque restaurant on Friday.

She told us her priorities will be to restore public trust, implement ethics reform and accountability in government.

"No more back door deals out of public view, no more promise made, but not kept, and no more operating under the cloak of darkness," Miranda insists.

She also wants to take guns and gangs off the street, and work with the Albuquerque Police Department to combat an increase in the property crime rate -- which often turns violent.

Miranda also said she want to put a stop to mixed-age rave parties on the mesa -- calling them "a terrible problem that needs to be stopped."

More brain, less braun

Miranda also gave us "the word" on what it would mean to her if she's elected the first female sheriff in the county, talked about diversity in community policing, and her experience cleaning up the embattled ABQ Police Crime Lab.

Miranda has a Bachelor's Degree from New Mexico State University in Foreign Languages and a Masters in Organization Management.

She faces a number of Democrat primary opponents including interim Sheriff Manny Gonzales, Felix Nunez, and Pat Davis. APD Commander Conrad Candelaria reportedly dropped out of the race last week.

The Republicans are also fielding several candidates to replace former Sheriff Darren P. White who accepted a job with the City of Albuquerque as Chief Public Safety Director. They include William Kurth and Dan Houston among a few.

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Lujan Jr raises $112k in fourth quarter, Kokesh cash strapped

This weekend, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan reported that he raised $112,000 in the fourth quarter -- smashing the fundraising effort of at least one of the two Republican primary candidates vying for the 3rd Congressional District in the 2010 election.

Tea Party activist and war protestor Adam Kokesh reported he collected just over $38k in the final quarter -- October 1 to December 31.

Farmington Republican Tom Mullins' report was not available online Sunday morning.

Lujan has $285,000 cash on hand and has raised $520,000 in the current election cycle -- with more than half, $289,000, from Political Action Committees. Lujan reported that he's returned over $11,000 in contributions. He spent spent $39,000 in the fourth quarter.

Lujan reported raising $79,000 in the third quarter of 2009.

Kokesh is cash strapped

Kokesh's Federal Elections Commission report shows he has raised a total of $142,000, but in the year end report filed this weekend he reports spending nearly $65,000 in the final quarter and has -- according to the federal report -- only $4,800 cash on hand.

He's planning an on-line fundraising campaign on Monday to raise money in conjunction with his birthday.

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