Inside the Capitol

Monday, November 23, 2009

11-30 Some Random Thoughts

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- Herewith are some random thoughts that crossed my mind while floating on the Amazon last week.
When the University of New Mexico hired football coach Mike Locksley, it obviously wanted to hit the big time with more wins and national recognition it never has received.
That recognition came quickly with a botched investigation of a charge that Locksley had hit an assistant coach. ESPN quickly was all over it.
The lesson here is that internal investigations don't work. "We've investigated ourselves and found no problems," is something the public just isn't willing to accept any longer.
UNM isn't the only culprit. The military does it and so do police departments Over the years, I have talked with local police in several communities who say they dread being assigned to internal investigation units because they know they are supposed to protect their buddies even if they know they're guilty as sin.
New Mexico has had its problems with disciplining guilty police. The Law Enforcement Academy Board can take action against local law enforcement officers who are reported by local police chiefs or sheriffs.
The problem is that almost no reports are made. The LEA Board also is empowered to hear citizen complaints but has not done so because it does not have the time or staff.
At times the board has even claimed it doesn't have the authority to deal with problem officers. Complaints by courageous citizens such as Paul Borunda of Las Cruces have forced Attorney General Gary King to issue a letter acknowledging the LEA Board has that authority.
* * *
Last month, Sen. Tim Eichenberg pulled out of Democratic lieutenant governor race. His departure was a surprise because money wouldn't have been a problem for him and he was the only non-Hispanic in the race.
Eichenberg told one source that he didn't want to make the investment because he didn't think current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish could win the gubernatorial race.
When the comment became public, Eichenberg softened his words but it caused people to wonder if maybe Denish's campaign had applied some pressure on Eichenberg because he wasn't the right balance for the ticket.
* * *
How can Americans put any credence in the frequent scoldings by former Vice President Dick Cheney in which he constantly admonishes questioners to "remember?"
"You must remember" prefaces a large number of his arguments to justify actions of his administration. But his great memory completely failed him when called to the witness stand to explain how it was revealed that Valerie Plame was a CIA spy.
The revelation ended Plame's career. She and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, and their children are now New Mexico residents.
Plame's outing came just days after her husband revealed in the New York Times that he had not found the evidence President George Bush wanted of Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger.
* * *
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the New Mexico GOP's death have been greatly exaggerated. When our state turned blue again last year, the New Mexico Republican Party was said by many to be in shambles.
Fundamentally that was wishful thinking. True, New Mexico's Republican majority in Congress suddenly became all Democratic for the first time in 40 years. But such things have a way of changing.
State GOP Chairman Harvey Yates has launched a 180-Degree Turnaround Campaign, which he terms one of the most aggressive and comprehensive campaigns in the history of the New Mexico Republican Party.
And the recent surprise victory of Republican R.J. Berry in the Albuquerque mayoral race will be a morale boost for the party.
MON, 11-30-09

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



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