New Mexico Independent » No foie gras on the menu this time

Eager to avoid charges of hypocrisy, leaders at a UN summit on the world food crisis, meeting this week in Rome, have banned foie gras and lobster in favor of a more modest menu. 

As the London Times Online reported today: 

“It does not look good if leaders discussing global starvation are seen to be dining lavishly,” an official of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. “At the last summit in 2002 we did not give enough thought to the menu and were open – unfairly, in our view – to the charge of hypocrisy.”

The 2002 menu, published by The Times, began with foie gras on toast with kiwi fruit and lobster in vinaigrette, followed by fillet of goose with olives and seasonal vegetables and ending with a compote of fruit with vanilla, all accompanied by an array of fine wines. This time the catering was scaled down. Leaders first ate vol au vent stuffed with sweetcorn and mozzarella, followed by a pasta dish with a sauce of pumpkin and shrimps, and then veal meatballs and cherry tomatoes, with a fruit salad and vanilla ice-cream for dessert.

The food summit opened today with the UN harshly criticizing U.S. policies supporting farm subsidies and biofuels, while slashing aid programs to the world’s hungry.

“$11 to $12 billion a year subsidies in 2006 and protective tariff policies have the effect of diverting 100 million tons of cereals from human consumption, mostly to satisfy the thirst for fuel for vehicles,” Jacques Diouf, head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization told the New York Times.

But Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil (a major sugarcane biofuel producer) snapped back, “It offends me to see fingers pointed at biofuels, when the fingers are coated in oil and coal.”

https://web.archive.org/web/http://newmexicoindependent.com/1101/no-foie-gras-on-the-menu-this-time

The right to fight | New Mexico Independent

I was looking at a posting the other day that talked about ethics and the need for ethics reform in New Mexico. The article talked about former State Sen. Manny Aragon and the recently defeated Senate Republican Whip Lee Rawson.

What I was shocked to see missing was any real discussion about the New Mexico Housing Authority and the people who are involved with it. Let’s recap some of the news.

You start out with former State Rep. Vincent “Smiley” Gallegos, who was able to get our very own Board of Finance to approve a few million dollars in bond sales for him to help “people in need” get affordable housing. Sounds good, but there turned out to be some problems.

First, we know of a judge who appears to have helped fix a few tickets, and she ends up somehow qualified to live just about rent-free in one of these houses. As for being “in need,” well, she made more than the New Mexico median income. Then we find out that the secretary for the speaker of the House of Representatives, Ben Lujan, who also made more than the median income, also happened to be living rent-free in a low income house.

But it gets even better than that. Then executive director of the Albuquerque-area housing authority, Gallegos is reported to have misused bond proceeds to do things like give himself roughly $600,000 in salary and benefits. That’s not chump change! And if that weren’t enough, it seems that Mr. Gallegos also used about $300,000 for a loan to a business that he owns, allegedly so that he could purchase lots in Las Cruces that had already been sold to the housing authority.

The hero of the day

This is only the start. But we wouldn’t know anything about all of this if it weren’t for one single lady in Las Cruces named Frances Williams. When she found out about what was going on, she started trying to find someone who would listen to her. The problem was that for some time nobody cared to hear what she had to say.

When legislators finally heard her, they introduced bipartisan legislation to address the problems she had brought to their attention. But then she was almost immediately hit with a frivolous lawsuit by Mr. Gallegos. He claimed — of all things — defamation of character and slander. It seems pretty obvious that Frances did not “defame” Smiley. His own actions did. A judge dismissed the lawsuit.

There is talk that this scandal goes way up the chain in New Mexico politics. Heath Haussamen’s blog of May 6, 2008 also discusses the relationship between Smiley Gallegos and current Speaker Lujan.

What makes this story so compelling, and so sad, is that we know that people — little people — actually got hurt. We just don’t know how many. In the ongoing courthouse scandal, with Aragon and others, yes there was an added cost to the taxpayers — perhaps a few million dollars. But in the Gallegos-Lujan scandal, people who actually needed housing got hurt, all because greedy officials were taking care of themselves with the money that was supposed to be used to help working people.

What happened to the people who saved and put money down in hopes of actually being able to own their own home? Just to see that dream disappear because of a small group of individuals’ personal greed?

Enough is enough

The attorney general of New Mexico has had this case since he took office. The former attorney general had this case. The Legislature has been fighting for some time — over the objections of people like Speaker Lujan — to find out what actually happened, to see if some light can be shed on the problem, so money can again go to helping the people who actually need the help. Why is it taking so long to get to the bottom of this issue?

The attorney general has said there is a lot of paperwork to look over and he doesn’t have the staff. That hardly makes sense. His office is supposed to investigate matters like this. He has staff to do this. Every time an issue is raised, you cannot say “I have to have staff.”

He already has staff. What he needs is courage. Why hasn’t this become a priority for folks like the attorney general of New Mexico? Can it be because the victims have no voice? (They have zero ability to hire a lobbyist and ask for help.) Or is it because the culprits have power?

A few legislators have stood up and tried to get this done, but for some reason the very people charged with looking into this seem unwilling to take any action. It raises suspicion.

Enough is enough. The longer this takes, the harder it is going to be to get documents and testimony from people involved, victims and perpetrators alike. People may move, forget or they may even die. The longer this takes the less likely we are to find out who really is involved in this scandal. The longer we wait the more likely it is people will forget the real hero who exposed this scandal — Frances Williams, the lady from Las Cruces who said, “Enough is enough.” She wouldn’t just walk away while people in New Mexico were being taken advantage of.

Thank you, Frances. And the people of New Mexico should thank you. Now all we need is another hero, like Attorney General Gary King, to step forward and do what is right. This has taken too long, and the people of New Mexico deserve better.

https://web.archive.org/web/http://newmexicoindependent.com/11324/mr-attorney-general-where-are-the-results-of-the-housing-authority-investigation

New Mexico Independent » ABQ helps Unser Crossing with money for roads and other improvements

The Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously last night in favor of a compromise plan to incentivize the Unser Crossing shopping center at the intersection of West Central and Unser. Councilor Ken Sanchez had previously proposed extending the West Central Metropolitan Redevelopment Area (MRA) to the intersection. This would have allowed the developer the benefits of an MRA designation, including the elimination of impact fees on new development as well as access to other public subsidies.

As previously described by the Independent, there is extensive support by area residents for the project, which was voiced at a City Council meeting in April. But a number of councilors objected to the extension, saying that MRA’s are intended for blighted areas and that extending this particular MRA would set a poor precedent since the area in question is not blighted. Instead, it’s located in an undeveloped area on the edge of the current West Central MRA. The compromise plan provides $1.8 million in public funds for infrastructure improvements at the site and on surrounding roads.

Councilor Rey Garduno, who did not support the extension of the MRA, told the Independent he was pleased with the compromise. According to Garduno, the issue was never one of councilors not wanting to provide support to an area that obviously needs more shopping options and other services. Given the burgeoning population in the area, he said, this is the right thing to do. He said he didn’t support the MRA extension itself though, because

…this area isn’t an area that fits the description of what an MRA is supposed to benefit. My concern was that we would start designating anything and everything as blighted in the future in order to bring public subsidies to a particular area. In this case, the developer probably doesn’t really need the public support given the population growth in the area but we were willing to give it through this measure to ensure that the development happens for that community. I also challenged the advocates to extend their fervor in support of other parts of the southwest mesa that are very under-served, such as Pajarito Mesa, and I will wholeheartedly join them.

The council also passed a resolution sponsored by Garduno calling on the federal government to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, that would have a cabinet level secretary. The department would promote peace and nonviolence as alternatives to war.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich along with 78 co-sponsors has introduced a bill to create such a department and the Albuquerque City Council voted last night to encourage that effort.

https://web.archive.org/web/http://newmexicoindependent.com/1098/abq-helps-unser-crossing-with-money-for-roads-and-other-improvements

Tim Jennings says he’ll seek GOP support to keep Senate post « New Mexico Independent

The Democrats scored an impressive victory in last month’s general election. They won all four congressional seats and padded their already healthy majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.

So is it possible that the GOP could play the role of kingmaker in an ongoing state Senate leadership battle?

Sen. President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, believes so.

The Senate Democratic caucus nominated Sen. Carlos Cisneros over the weekend as president pro tem, effectively pushing Jennings aside.

But Jennings said Monday he is reaching across the aisle for support to keep his job and that the battle for the post is far from over. Jennings acknowledged that he has solicited support from Republicans and Democrats over the past few weeks to keep his post.

Unlike the Senate Majority Leader, who represents the majority –- in this case, the Democrats — the president pro tem post is voted on by the full 42-member Senate in January.

Whoever becomes president pro tem must secure 22 of the Senate’s 42 votes on Jan. 20, the first day of the legislative session.

With 27 Democrats and 15 Republicans expected to be in the Senate for next session, Jennings would need to get pledges of support from seven Democratic senators as well as all 15 Republicans to keep the post. And Jennings is feeling bullish about his chances.

“I think I have the votes,” Jennings told NMI on Monday.

In an interview, Cisneros acknowledged that Jennings could conceivably keep his post by forming a coalition of Democrats and Republicans.

“It’s been done before. And that can indeed happen,” Cisneros said. But the Questa Democrat said he would not reach across the party aisle to find support. Instead, Cisneros said he would focus on solidifying his support among the 27 Democrats in the Senate.

Might Tim Jenning get the Roundhouse boot from his fellow Senate Dems?

It is unclear how many Democratic Senators supported Cisneros over Jennings in this past weekend’s caucus.

“I’ll stick to the party line,” Cisneros said.

Sen. Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, the Senate’s top Republican, wouldn’t say Monday whether Jennings had the support of every Republican in the Senate. But he indicated that the Roswell Democrat might be a better fit in leadership than Cisneros given the state’s difficult financial situation.

“He’s a known quantity,” Ingle said of Jennings, adding “he comes from a more conservative district in the state than Senator Cisneros… This year there are some money problems and we will have to deal with them in a conservative nature.”

New Mexico is struggling with a deficit estimated at around $500 million.

The Senate president pro tem is the Senate’s top-ranking leader and officially oversees the Legislature’s upper chamber when the lieutenant governor is not present. He or she works with the Senate majority leader, who controls the legislative pipeline and timekeeping in the body.

But over time the post of Senate president pro tem has accrued power and it is not uncommon for the senator filling the post to sit in on all kinds of back-door negotiations on important legislation. The last time a bi-partisan coalition elected a state Senate president pro tem was 2001, when three Democrats joined all the Republicans to oust longtime, powerful Senate President Pro Tem Manny Aragon and gave the top job to another Democrat, Richard Romero.

That caused a rift that was felt in every subsequent session, until Aragon and Romero, both of Albuquerque, left the Senate in 2005.

Jennings has not been afraid to court controversy or to challenge Gov. Bill Richardson’s power. Jennings came in for Democratic criticism last month for a robocall he made for Sen. Minority Whip Leonard Lee Rawson, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, days before the Nov. 4 election. Jennings’ calls prompted Gov. Bill Richardson to blast Jennings, saying that the Roswell Democrat might pay for his perceived disloyalty with the loss of his leadership post.

https://web.archive.org/web/http://newmexicoindependent.com:80/11247/jennings-says-hell-seek-gop-support-to-keep-post

Guv accused of engineering Senate leadership ouster « New Mexico Independent

Did Gov. Bill Richardson go against his word and help engineer a putsch against the state Senate’s top Democrat and longtime critic?

Sen. Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, accused the governor of doing exactly that Monday, a day after Senate Democrats nominated Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, instead of Jennings to be Senate President Pro Tem, a post Jennings has held for a year.

“Everybody tells me that he did,” Jennings said of Richardson. “Whether they have the courage to tell you I don’t know. People tell me he called people up to the office.”

Two calls to Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos seeking response were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

Tales of Richardson calling senators up to his office to lobby them on the leadership battle have circulated for weeks around the Capitol and were heard by more than a few lawmakers, including Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, a Jennings supporter. Papen said Monday she heard the same thing, although she didn’t know the names of those summoned to the governor’s fourth-floor Roundhouse office.

If the governor did inject himself into the fracas, it would contradict his statement shortly after the Nov. 4 election that he doesn’t get involved in legislative business or leadership fights.

“I don’t interfere in legislative leadership races. But I think the Sen. Jennings is going to have to answer to his caucus in how he interfered in race that the Democrat won,” Richardson said a day after the Nov. 4 general election. The governor was speaking of a robo-call Jennings made for the Senate’s second-highest ranking Republican, Sen. Minority Whip Leonard Lee Rawson. Rawson ultimately lost to Democratic challenger Steve Fischmann.

There was no love lost between Jennings and Richardson before the robo-call, but that episode escalated tensions, leading Richardson to blast Jennings for the Rawson call immediately and say he would have to answer to the Senate Democratic caucus.

Despite the Democratic caucus’ nomination of Cisneros, it appears that Jennings won’t accept the verdict. He told the Independent on Monday that he will attempt to reach across the aisle for GOP support to keep his post.

Unlike the Senate Majority Leader, who represents the majority –- in this case, the Democrats — the president pro tem post is voted on by the full 42-member Senate in January.

Whoever becomes president pro tem must secure 22 of the Senate’s 42 votes on Jan. 20, the first day of the legislative session.

With 27 Democrats and 15 Republicans expected to be in the Senate for next session, Jennings would need to get pledges of support from seven Democratic senators as well as all 15 Republicans to keep the post. And Jennings is feeling bullish about his chances.

It is unclear how many Democrats each man has lined up behind his bid for the Senate President Pro Tem post, and their supporters gave competing versions on Monday following this weekend’s caucus.

Sen. Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana, a Cisneros supporter, said she believed Cisneros had “the bulk of the Democratic votes in the caucus.”

“He’s a very good legislator,” Garcia said.

Papen, the Jennings supporter, meanwhile, said she felt confident “that there was a quite a large number of votes that went to Sen. Jennings.”

Coming after an election in which Democrats handily won at every level, Senate Republicans being asked to pick a top Democrat would present an irony, some say.

“The New Mexico Senate is the last stand for Republicans,” said Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque. “They’ve lost every other office in the state, and so now they have a chance to gain the New Mexico Senate and they’re going to go for it, and they have their allies.”

NMI’s Heath Haussamen contributed to this story.

https://web.archive.org/web/http://newmexicoindependent.com/11294/guv-accused-of-engineering-senate-leadership-ouster

The right to fight | New Mexico Independent

I was looking at a posting the other day that talked about ethics and the need for ethics reform in New Mexico. The article talked about former State Sen. Manny Aragon and the recently defeated Senate Republican Whip Lee Rawson.

What I was shocked to see missing was any real discussion about the New Mexico Housing Authority and the people who are involved with it. Let’s recap some of the news.

You start out with former State Rep. Vincent “Smiley” Gallegos, who was able to get our very own Board of Finance to approve a few million dollars in bond sales for him to help “people in need” get affordable housing. Sounds good, but there turned out to be some problems.

First, we know of a judge who appears to have helped fix a few tickets, and she ends up somehow qualified to live just about rent-free in one of these houses. As for being “in need,” well, she made more than the New Mexico median income. Then we find out that the secretary for the speaker of the House of Representatives, Ben Lujan, who also made more than the median income, also happened to be living rent-free in a low income house.

But it gets even better than that. Then executive director of the Albuquerque-area housing authority, Gallegos is reported to have misused bond proceeds to do things like give himself roughly $600,000 in salary and benefits. That’s not chump change! And if that weren’t enough, it seems that Mr. Gallegos also used about $300,000 for a loan to a business that he owns, allegedly so that he could purchase lots in Las Cruces that had already been sold to the housing authority.

The hero of the day

This is only the start. But we wouldn’t know anything about all of this if it weren’t for one single lady in Las Cruces named Frances Williams. When she found out about what was going on, she started trying to find someone who would listen to her. The problem was that for some time nobody cared to hear what she had to say.

When legislators finally heard her, they introduced bipartisan legislation to address the problems she had brought to their attention. But then she was almost immediately hit with a frivolous lawsuit by Mr. Gallegos. He claimed — of all things — defamation of character and slander. It seems pretty obvious that Frances did not “defame” Smiley. His own actions did. A judge dismissed the lawsuit.

There is talk that this scandal goes way up the chain in New Mexico politics. Heath Haussamen’s blog of May 6, 2008 also discusses the relationship between Smiley Gallegos and current Speaker Lujan.

What makes this story so compelling, and so sad, is that we know that people — little people — actually got hurt. We just don’t know how many. In the ongoing courthouse scandal, with Aragon and others, yes there was an added cost to the taxpayers — perhaps a few million dollars. But in the Gallegos-Lujan scandal, people who actually needed housing got hurt, all because greedy officials were taking care of themselves with the money that was supposed to be used to help working people.

What happened to the people who saved and put money down in hopes of actually being able to own their own home? Just to see that dream disappear because of a small group of individuals’ personal greed?

Enough is enough

The attorney general of New Mexico has had this case since he took office. The former attorney general had this case. The Legislature has been fighting for some time — over the objections of people like Speaker Lujan — to find out what actually happened, to see if some light can be shed on the problem, so money can again go to helping the people who actually need the help. Why is it taking so long to get to the bottom of this issue?

The attorney general has said there is a lot of paperwork to look over and he doesn’t have the staff. That hardly makes sense. His office is supposed to investigate matters like this. He has staff to do this. Every time an issue is raised, you cannot say “I have to have staff.”

He already has staff. What he needs is courage. Why hasn’t this become a priority for folks like the attorney general of New Mexico? Can it be because the victims have no voice? (They have zero ability to hire a lobbyist and ask for help.) Or is it because the culprits have power?

A few legislators have stood up and tried to get this done, but for some reason the very people charged with looking into this seem unwilling to take any action. It raises suspicion.

Enough is enough. The longer this takes, the harder it is going to be to get documents and testimony from people involved, victims and perpetrators alike. People may move, forget or they may even die. The longer this takes the less likely we are to find out who really is involved in this scandal. The longer we wait the more likely it is people will forget the real hero who exposed this scandal — Frances Williams, the lady from Las Cruces who said, “Enough is enough.” She wouldn’t just walk away while people in New Mexico were being taken advantage of.

Thank you, Frances. And the people of New Mexico should thank you. Now all we need is another hero, like Attorney General Gary King, to step forward and do what is right. This has taken too long, and the people of New Mexico deserve better.

https://web.archive.org/web/http://newmexicoindependent.com/11324/mr-attorney-general-where-are-the-results-of-the-housing-authority-investigation

New Mexico Independent | Penny stock day trading

Web Gain access to For Day-Trading Expats

When you live abroad, staying in touch with your family, businesses, as well as financial institutions back in the USA does not need to be a trouble or pricey. With a little preparation, a deportee can remain in touch, pay expenses, and manage money from anywhere in the world without greater than access to a Net coffee shop.

However if you mean to proceed running a business … or day trading … facilities (that is, high-speed Net access and also dependable e-mail as well as telephone interactions) is critical.

Framework in Honduras, and also especially in the Bay Islands, is enhancing virtually daily. A number of movie production services have made use of Roatan to movie tv series for the USA and also Europe, creating greater understanding of the islands and also more regular cruise ship visits– this exposure will remain to bring in international financiers.

Currently there have actually been some improvements to roads as well as electricity. Communications have actually advanced by leaps as well as bounds, with landline, cell, satellite as well as VoIP telephones, DSL and also dial-up Internet linking Honduras to the rest of the globe. Satellite as well as cable television service bring North American entertainment and also news into Honduran homes.

Mexico continuouslies be a land of contrasts, both geographically as well as socially. Indian neighborhoods in mountain towns maintain centuries-old customs … not far from cities where well-off business owners scamper around with mobile phone as well as wireless Internet.

In San Miguel de Allende, you could get all the features you anticipate in the contemporary world, consisting of reputable telephone solution as well as high-speed Net gain access to. You could get mail supplied as well as sent out reliably and also swiftly with among numerous mail forwarding companies. Numerous worldwide franchise business are right here, consisting of Domino’s Pizza and also Hit Video clip. In addition to acclaimed art colleges, San Miguel has one of the largest collections of English-language publications in Mexico in its public library.

In Thailand, brand-new condos to rent out in Chiang Mai can include complimentary endless high-speed Net (to rent out a 500-square-foot apartment would cost regarding $365 per month).

Beyond Bangkok, the United States Consular office has actually set up exactly what it calls “American Corners” in different universities across the nation. The goal is to foster good understanding between Thailand and the U.S. through a selection of ways. These include satellite programs, electronic video clip conferences, high-speed Net gain access to, and also book and also multimedia collections. One more objective is to promote discussion with individual residents, teams, organizations, and also the media with neighborhood details and social tasks.

Montevideo, 120 miles from Buenos Aires, is Uruguay’s commercial, educational, and also cultural center. It has a European ambiance as well as old-world charm. Ciudad Vieja, the old historical center, has actually sycamore-lined streets, outdoor markets, great restaurants, as well as sidewalk cafés. Residential property costs …

https://www.mensnewsdaily.com/buy-penny-stocks