Inside the Capitol

Thursday, January 17, 2008

1-21 Little Green Men Beat Governor


Syndicated Columnist

      SANTA FE -- It appears likely that New Mexico will enter a float in next year's Pasadena Rose Parade. Reactions of those who visited the float decorating or watched the parade in person were so positive that tourism officials are excited.

      And of course, winning the coveted Grand Marshal's Award considerably raised everyone's spirit. The award recognizes excellence in creative concept and design.

      A final decision apparently awaits a review of inquiries from potential visitors and hits on the state tourism Web site,  After New Mexico's first float two years ago, the numbers were considerably increased so experience would indicate that this year's numbers will look even better.

      Volunteers working on float decorations report that the busloads of people who paid to stand in line to see the floats being decorated seemed much more enthusiastic about this year's entry.

      New Mexico's first float featured a mission chapel. California has every bit as many Spanish missions as New Mexico and has spent considerable money developing a mission trail. So how likely were Californians to come to New Mexico to see more missions?

      Apparently California, which is behind only Texas in sending us visitors, doesn't have nearly as many little green men running around as New Mexico does. So it is very possible that California visitations will increase.

      It also seems worth noting that having Gov. Bill Richardson on the float didn't win us anything but the little green men did. The governor just can't win for losing these days.

   And it also helped that Miss New Mexico 2007, Jenny Marlowe, also was on this float. Marlowe made numerous appearances around the Los Angeles area, ably assisted by Miss New Mexico 2005, Ane Romero, who now lives in the L.A. area.

   In addition to the 37 volunteers who signed in to help with float decorating, many more volunteers drove to Pasadena in an antique car caravan and held New Mexico rallies along the way.

   Then there were the sponsors who contributed around $75,000 toward the nearly $200,000 cost of the float. These included Isleta Resort and Casino, Value Options, New Mexico State Parks, the City of Roswell, Caddies and Vettes in Roswell, El Pinto Foods and Santa Fe Brewery.

   The delegation from Roswell was headed by Chamber of Commerce President Greg Neibert. The first information I sent out contained an incorrect name. Fortunately the Roswell Daily Record caught it.

   One other correction also is in order. I mentioned that Raul Rodriguez is the creative genius who designs and engineers the floats. Tim Estes is the engineer, who makes the designs work. He also is the owner and the person who worked with our Tourism Department on the concept for the float.

   Many New Mexicans weren't able to see our state's float, which was placed very near the end of the parade. The network channels that carried bowl games already had switched away to their games. Some people were able to surf around and find independent stations still carrying the parade.

   For those of you who never got to see it, I have asked the Tourism Department and Joe Micalizzi, a Hollywood filmmaker who created to put a clip from the parade on their Web sites. As of this writing, that hasn't happened yet but both sites have some good pictures of the float.

   I had some questions about my Jimmy Buffett paraphrase about spending four dreary days in a brown L.A. haze. In subsequent versions of the column, I changed that to four busy days, but I won't back down on the brown haze.

   It began affecting several people almost immediately. Tourism Secretary Mike Cerletti quickly developed laryngitis, as did others. I'm still nursing something from there.

   But the day of the parade was beautiful. And Cerletti didn't have to go to Iowa to campaign for the governor.

MON, 1-21-08


JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505

(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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