Inside the Capitol

Thursday, September 21, 2006

9-29 College Kids Are Investing Our Money

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- College students are about to start investing some of New Mexico's permanent funds. And why not? It's probably a great idea.
We're told they will be doing it under very close scrutiny of business professors and state investment officials. That's a darn sight better than what some state officials have been doing with our money the last several years.
Gov. Bill Richardson and former Gov. Garrey Carruthers jointly announced this month that students at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University will begin managing two $5 million portfolios of state permanent funds in publicly traded stocks and bonds.
Carruthers, who now is dean of the NMSU business school, says that instead of professors making up problems for students, they will get to solve real problems.
UNM already allows students to invest a $2 million chunk of the university's endowment. The school also is nearing completion of a full-service "trading floor," complete with stock tickers and Bloomberg terminals. NMSU plans a similar operation.
Actually, I wouldn't mind these students investing some of my portfolio. I'm sure they can do as well as any of my stockbrokers have done over the years.
To be honest, I haven't listened to a broker's advice in almost six years. When the 2000 election finally was decided in George Bush's favor, I figured he was bound to treat his old buddies well.
And since most of his buddies were in oil and gas, that's where I transferred most of my portfolio, over the strong objections of my broker, of course.
He's nice to me about it, now, and says he's very glad I've done so well. To tell the truth, I've done very well. That's how we've been able to take so many great trips recently.
And I'm about to do some more politically-guided investing. After reading that over $3 million has been put into television advertising for the 1st Congressional District race, I'm wondering why I didn't put the rest of my portfolio into broadcast TV long ago.
Oh well, we'll have a presidential race starting in just a few months and that is sure to keep TV stations in hog heaven.
* * *
In that 1st Congressional District race, Rep. Heather Wilson and Attorney General Patricia Madrid had their first face-off at Temple Albert, the scene of many such events over the decades.
Wilson made the more polished presentation. She has improved considerably since her first race in 1998. Both candidates presented their positions effectively, but we didn't learn much new and neither candidate gained or lost ground. Voters seem to have polarized on this race already. That $3 million of TV ads won't change many votes.
Although this debate wasn't televised, it might as well have been because there were cameras there and footage is being run on two Albuquerque stations and in the blogosphere.
It is Madrid who doesn't want many debates. It likely won't hurt her since neither candidate has much to gain from debates. But a bad slip could really hurt.
* * *
We've recently lost two ladies from the political world who were highly regarded in New Mexico. Gov. Ann Richards was a Texan but she liked New Mexico, especially Santa Fe, which she visited often.
She enjoyed expressing her affinity toward our state by referring to the number of times Texas tried to invade us before we became a state. Now, she said, we're just trying to buy up all your land.
Richards liked to hide out when she came to Santa Fe, but someone was always recognizing her in a gallery or restaurant and prevailing on her to appear before a group.
The other lovely lady who left us was Marjorie Bell Chambers of Los Alamos, the first woman to run for lieutenant governor and the first Republican woman to run for Congress. She lost both, but her fame came from the many positions in which she served both governors and presidents, Republican and Democrat.
FRI, 9-29-06

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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