Inside the Capitol

Friday, July 26, 2013


Dear editors,
Except for a farewell column, which I have yet to compose, this is about it, I think. House cleaning, preparing for showings of our house and doing most of the cooking for Jeanette, who isn't able to get around much, yet, have left little time for writing.
If our house doesn't sell quickly, I may beg you to take me back for awhile. In case get the urge to write occasionally after moving to Phoenix, I might send you a guest column for no charge, which you can use or not.
It has been great working with all of you. The billing for July will be one-half.
I'll miss you.  Jay

Monday, July 22, 2013


No columns for Wed. or Fri. We have put our house on the market and are cleaning out 48 years of accumulation in preparation for an open house for all multiple listing realtors in town on Wednesday. Of course, there is no telling how long it will take for the house to sell but we'll be busy for awhile.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No columns for 7-19 nor 7-22

We're cleaning out the house and giving everything back to our children that we have stored for them all these years.

Monday, July 15, 2013

No column 7-17

Thursday, July 11, 2013

No column Mon, 7-15

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

71213 Security, surveillance and a mistake

71213 741776

SANTA FE – Last week I wrote about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In the column I mentioned that the signing took place on July 4, 1776.
I should have said the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. It was signed only by John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, and Charles Thompson, the secretary on July 4th.
Congress also voted on the 4th to have the Declaration embossed on parchment. The embossed copy was signed by 50 members on August 2.
This mistake was pointed out to me by the respected Librarian
Emerita of the Alamogordo Public Library, June Harwell. I apologize for the mistake. I knew better because Harwell had contacted me about the same mistake before. I had no reason to slip up again.
To all my readers, please take the time to point out my mistakes or to disagree with my opinions.
For 25 years, I listed my contact information at the end of my columns. At the urging of family members, I discontinued the practice about a year ago for security reasons.
Actually, I never received anything I would call a threat during all those years. While covering the tumultuous effort to dig up Billy the Kid and his mother 10 years ago, I received an odd phone call from someone who was completely unfamiliar.
I shared the story with a fellow writer who allowed as how I wasn't smart enough to know a threat when it hit me in the face, All I can say is that I went on to compile all my columns on the subject of the Kid and I'm still around to talk about it. The book is called "Billy the Kid rides again." By the way, that saga continues.

I think we are overly concerned about security. If security screening at an airport ever were to catch a single terrorist, we would hear about it ad infinitum. Some say airport security makes them feel safer. It just makes me feel irritated that I had to get to the airport two hours early to stand in line.
Gov. Susana Martinez is overly security conscious. She promised a transparent government, unlike that of former Gov. Bill Richardson. But she rejects records requests, often because it would compromise security.
Except for major public events, she does not like people to know where she is going. Gov. Richardson sent out a list of everything on his calendar at the beginning of every week.
Gov. Martinez doesn't want people to know where she is going. She has even rejected requests for the whereabouts of her large security force because that could compromise her security.
Now the first gentleman even gets security. Yes, that happens at the national level and probably in some states. Bill Richardson had a large security force because he liked to travel with an entourage.
But in New Mexico, large security forces are more of an exception. We talked in the last column about former Gov. Dave Cargo's security force of one.
Surveillance is a related issue. Many are incensed at the number of surveillance cameras that seem to be everywhere. I say the more the better. They do catch crooks. And I don't care if they are always looking at me because I don't plan to do anything wrong – or even embarrassing.
Drones are another related issue these days. They are like mobile surveillance cameras. They started out small, looking like model airplanes. Then without much notice, they morphed into something that looks more like a supersonic jet fighter that fires bullets and drops bombs.
It doesn't bother me that they track down terrorists in other countries and snuff them out. I feel safer.

Jay Miller can be contacted at 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Phone: 505-982-2723. Fax: 505-9840982. Email: I'm hiding this column from my family.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

7-10 Cargo was a colorful governor

71013 Cargo


     SANTA FE – Former Gov. David F. Cargo died last Friday. He was a former governor for 43 years. That had to be some sort of record. He was elected at 37, New Mexico's youngest governor ever and one of the youngest ever in the nation.

     Cargo was born into a Democratic union family in Michigan. The story is that before leaving Michigan with a master's degree in political science and a law degree, he researched which state would provide the quickest path to the governor's office.

     The answer was to go to New Mexico and become a Republican. Ten years later he was governor.

     But the Republican Party never really was home to Cargo. That's how he got his nickname "Lonesome Dave." He didn't come up with the name but he was proud of it. He said it was easier and cheaper to work alone.

     Cargo wasn't really lonesome. He had many friends. But none of them were in the Republican Party hierarchy. His friends were mainly independents, Hispanics and union members. 

   Cargo always had trouble winning Republican primaries. His GOP problems never were more obvious than when he had to find someone to run with him for lieutenant governor.

     The rule back than was that gubernatorial candidates had to find a running mate even in the primary.

     The night before filing day, the Forge at the Inn of the Governors was crammed with Republican leaders from throughout the state. My wife and I were sitting at a table that included Rep. Milnor Rudolph from Mora County.

     Cargo came to the table and asked Rudy to run with him. Without a moment's hesitation Rudolph turned him down. Cargo continued his table hopping.

   With no backing and no money, Cargo ran an entirely retail campaign. He had no ads in the papers or on radio or television. His motto was "Why buy the back page when I can get the front page free?"

   And that he did. Cargo always had a biting quip with a strong message. The media loved him. During his first campaign, Cargo drove the state in a beat up Chevy, painting his name on every roadside rock he could find.

   When he ran for reelection, Cargo got a few good sized donations. His observation: "I have $56,000 to spend this time and I don't know how I'm ever going to spend it. Today's campaigns spend 100 times that amount.

   Cargo is the first governor to have his bust placed in the state Capitol. That happened two years ago as a result of legislation passed unanimously in the 2011 Legislature.

   As with many of Cargo's doings, the story of how it happened doesn't seem to make much sense. During the first year of his administration, sculptress Storm Townsend was commissioned to create a bust of Cargo.

   Townsend says she doesn't remember who paid her but she cashed the check at Safeway and had enough money for a nice Thanksgiving turkey. Cargo says he paid her $2,000 out of his own pocket.

   The placement of the governor's bust also raises some questions. It sits between the busts of two territorial legislators near the west entrance of the Capitol. I can remember seeing those two busts in that location ever since the building was dedicated in 1967. They have been the only busts I ever have seen in the Capitol.

   But the joint memorial allowing placement of Cargo's bust in the Capitol approves its placement in the office of the governor, not in the Rotunda, which the Legislature controls.

     Cargo wasn't just a Democrat in Republican's clothing. He believed in more limited government than many Republicans do. His budget proposals were measured. He chose as his chief of staff was Marilyn Budke, executive director of the conservative Legislative Finance Committee.

     And Cargo almost didn't bother with a security staff. Red Pack was about it. Cargo said when the two took long trips, he would drive while Pack slept.



Wednesday, July 03, 2013

No column for Mon, 7-8

Monday, July 01, 2013

7-5 What really happened at Roswell

70508 flying saucer


     SANTA FE -- What do you suppose really happened on July 7, 1947 at the Roswell Army Air Force Base to cause Col. William "Butch" Blanchard to announce that a flying disk had been captured?

     An announcement of that magnitude would have to be carefully considered and not issued without direction from the highest authorities in Washington, D.C.

     The mystery of what happened at Roswell hinges on what took place behind closed doors that day. Official records indicate that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary occurred at the base during the entire week. Everyone who believes that, please raise your hand.

   No mention is made of anything unusual being brought to the base. There is no mention of a flying disk press release, no mention of calls from throughout the world seeking further information, no mention of calls to Eighth Army Headquarters in Fort Worth or to top officials in Washington, D.C.

   There are people who believe the Army's story. I put them in the same category as the crazies who talk about bodies being found. There had to be much activity. Numerous personal accounts tell of a flurry of officials and workers who flew in for some purpose.

   Placitas, N.M., UFO researcher Karl Pflock considered the question of why Col. Blanchard issued the news release and concluded that Blanchard was a "loose cannon."

   My guess is that Pflock felt he had exhausted all other explanations. Blanchard simply overreacted. That's possible except that it doesn't explain why such an embarrassment to the military didn't end Blanchard's career. That's what normally happens.

   But Blanchard, who disappeared for awhile after issuing the news release, continued his rapid advance through the ranks in increasingly responsible positions. In 1965, he became vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force and promoted to a four-star general.

   Blanchard was considered a sure bet to become chief of staff when he suddenly died on May 31, 1966 of a massive heart attack in his office at the Pentagon. That sounds more like someone who always played by the book and was part of the team.

   It appears someone much higher in the chain of command may have badly misjudged the best response and likely paid for it with an early retirement.

   The military's latest explanation is that it was covering up the discovery of a spy balloon it was developing to detect Soviet nuclear testing. Some of the material found fit that description. But those balloons were landing all over New Mexico at the time and shouldn't have triggered that big a reaction from the Army.

   My inexpert guess is that something else fell out of the sky in the days before July 7. Besides spy balloons, research was being conducted in New Mexico on much more advanced aircraft using German scientists captured two years before.

   The Soviets also had taken their share of scientists and a feverish race was on to see whose scientists would be first to perfect some of the advanced projects Hitler had his scientists developing.

   One of those projects was revealed in a November 2000 Popular Mechanics article based on information released by the Air Force in 1997, fifty years after the Roswell crash.

   In the late '40s, we were developing what was called a Lenticular Reentry Vehicle. It was a modified disk, flat across the back, and partially nuclear powered. The technology for takeoff had not been developed so it was designed to be taken by a heavy-lift balloon to 170,000 feet and released.

   At the 1997 Roswell UFO Festival, a film company had a display depicting the '47 UFO crash. The spacecraft was shaped just like the pictures in the Popular Mechanics article.

   A retired aircraft mechanic from Alamogordo, who was employed at White Sands Proving Grounds in 1947, had been telling me for a year that he had worked on spacecraft there and he was sure one of them was what crashed at Roswell.

   He just happened to be at the exhibit the same time I was. He pulled me aside and said he worked on a craft just like that.