Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

8-7 Names in the News

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Hollywood heartthrob Val Kilmer appears out of the running for governor. Early this year he gave numerous indications he might be serious but that has waned.
The first indication was the reported acceptance of a movie role and negotiations for another. Then the Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell dropped a bombshell. Kilmer owes the federal government over $500,000 in back taxes.
So it appears Kilmer needs to make some money right now. He has plenty of assets, including a ranch on the Pecos he'd like to sell for $33 million. At times in the past, he has tried to sell portions of the ranch, which has been his home for 20 years.
It doesn't appear Kilmer will be working at raising a campaign kitty just now. That leaves Lt. Gov. Diane Denish as the only Democrat definitely in the race.
That's probably best for Democrats. Kilmer's name would give him a boost but he has a problem with making off-hand remarks in interviews that get him in trouble. Those remarks would be sure to hurt him in any primary or general election.
The 2010 state elections are especially important to both parties. The governor and Legislature elected next year will realign congressional and legislative districts following the decennial census.
Kilmer doesn't look as hunky as he did in his younger days but that doesn't mean New Mexico will be left out of the good looks game. Late last month Rep. Martin Heinrich was named by The Hill, a daily Capitol Hill paper, to head the list of the Capitol's 50 most beautiful people.
As I understand, his competition was not just the other 534 members of Congress. It also included their staff. Heinrich also was named president of the House freshman class back in January.
Heinrich may be a hit in Washington but he knows he's also on another list. The National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted his seat and that of Democrat Rep. Harry Teague in the 2nd Congressional District.
Altogether the NRCC has targeted 70 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House. Heinrich is the first Democrat ever to win the 1st Congressional District seat.. Several opponents for Heinrich have been mentioned over the past months but the field seems to now be down to one, Republican Jon Barela.
By now, every New Mexican likely has heard that Bobby Olguin, owner and chief cook of the Buckhorn Tavern, in San Antonio, NM, bested the Food Network's Bobby Flay in the great Green Chile Cheeseburger Cook Off.
I promised to let you know when it would appear on television but didn't learn the date until our son ate there three days before. That was too late to get it in a column. I understand now that Olguin has won, there is a line out the door almost all the time.
Mine That Bird ran his first race last week since the three grueling Triple Crown races. He finished in the money again but only in third place. He'll run at the Travers Stakes the end of the month before stopping in New Mexico to make an appearance at Ruidoso Downs' All American Futurity on Sept. 7.
Randy Saavedra, director of the state Administrative Office of the District Attorneys has resigned his office following conviction on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Last December, it was revealed that Saavedra had kept an employee on the payroll for almost a year on leave with pay. Saavedra said it was cheaper than firing her for being disrespectful and lying.
Job security for state employees does not mean they can't be fired. It means there is an administrative procedure to be followed. Saavedra's solution sets a very bad example for the state personnel system.
KRQE-TV, in Albuquerque, reported this was at least the third time Saavedra had put an employee on leave with pay rather than going through the dismissal procedure. Saavedra had been director for only three years.
DWIs are serious business but Saavedra deserved to be fired earlier for not doing his job.
FRI, 8-07-09

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



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