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Diary of a Mad Voter

Well Then, Who Does Have Records About The New Mexico Layoffs?

The state finance and personnel departments, like the governor’s office, say they have no information about the 59 political appointees who are losing their jobs Friday. After Gov. Bill Richardson’s office claimed in December that it had no records about the political appointees who are losing their jobs -- except e-mails from reporters asking questions about the terminations -- I filed the a records request with the State Personnel Office seeking the information from that department.

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Gov. Richardson Isn’t Being Open, Accessible or Accountable

It’s nothing short of hypocritical that Gov. Bill Richardson has talked about the importance of “open, accessible and accountable government” and then flagrantly disregarded the requirements of the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act.

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Special Interests Undercut the Constitution

Some people don’t believe me when I tell them I don’t get too worked up about debates in Washington and Santa Fe over hot issues like abortion, climate change and health-care reform. But it’s true. I’m a registered independent partly because my views are all over the map and I have a difficult time reconciling my beliefs with those of the Democratic or Republican parties. But there’s another, deeper reason I’m anti-partisan. I believe both parties, and the system in general, are corrupted by corporate and other special-interest money.

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NMSU Asking For Trouble With President’s Bonus

New Mexico State University ran a transparent search for its new president. But there’s an especially disappointing provision in the contract given to new President Barbara Couture that has me worried the university may be taking two steps back for the one big step it took forward.

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Let’s Give The New Mexico Auditor Some Teeth

So in September, State Auditor Hector Balderas publicly shamed 87 government agencies in New Mexico by releasing to the media a list of agencies that hadn’t submitted annual and compliance audits to the state as required by law. It was the first time the auditor publicly released such a list, and dozens of agencies responded by immediately turning in late audits or at least calling Balderas’ office to make arrangements to get their audits done. But 34 agencies didn’t even bother to respond, though they’re required by law to submit annual audits. (Check out the list of the 34 agencies, courtesy of The Santa Fe New Mexican’s Kate Nash.) Balderas has basically no recourse to get those agencies to comply with a state law that is designed to help ensure those agencies aren’t rife with fraud, waste and abuse.

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A Lesson from the D.C. Sniper Case: People Need Each Other, Not Just The System

You can’t rely on the system. Before you mentally check out because of my use of the cliché “the system,” hear me out. I’m talking about any structure we put in place to organize and improve our lives, and that includes government, churches, the medical system and, in this instance, the law enforcement system. So let me start again: You can’t rely on the system. No one knows this better than a victim of domestic violence, and a month ago I had an opportunity to hear from a woman who understands this reality better than most.

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The Problem of Poverty Transcends Ideology

The pastor of my church caught my attention on Sunday when he said that some people live in such horrible circumstances that they can’t pull themselves out of poverty, and so we shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing poor people are lazy and just need to get a job. It caught my attention because it’s not the sort of thing you hear every day in an evangelical church. I found myself looking around to see who was offended by my pastor’s words.

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NM’s Rep. Teague Could Be In Trouble In 2010

Analysts and political operatives are increasingly saying that House Democrats could face significant election losses in 2010. New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District is, in my view, one of the seats most likely to flip. The GOP couldn’t have a better candidate to take on a Democratic incumbent than former U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, who is challenging current U.S. Rep. Harry Teague, D-N.M., next year.

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U.S. Attorney’s Letter in Richardson Case Was Inappropriate

“Hi. I’m not going to file criminal charges against your clients at this time, even though my investigation revealed wrongdoing. Know that I’m watching your clients. There are other investigations pending, and if circumstances warrant, I might restart this one as well.”

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“He’s Left A Great Void in Our Public Life”

Vice President Joe Biden touchingly described the loss of Sen. Edward Kennedy in a very personal statement, saying "He's left a great void in our public life, and a hole in the hearts of millions of Americans and hundreds of us who were affected by his personal touch throughout our lives." I'm among those lucky enough to have had the briefest brushes with the man in his element, in a committee room in the Capitol where I was staffing my then boss in a conference committee. The Senator's appearance was brief, but decisive. Once he walked into the room, there was little doubt that his amendment would be included in the final bill, though it wasn't in the House version. And after he spoke any doubt that might have existed vanished. He ruled the day. He elevated the otherwise mundane proceedings, at least for me, giving me a sense of the import and the great gift I had been given to be seated at a table in the nation's Capitol, having a hand in the people's business.

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