Gov. Susana Martinez and Her Men Who Mistreat Women: She used to prosecute guys like these. Now she surrounds herself with them.
Bad for New Mexico: Gov. Susana Martinez why do Keith Gardner, Jay McCleskey, and Hanna Skandera still have their jobs?
Bad for New Mexico: Gov. Susana Martinez why do Keith Gardner, Jay McCleskey, and Hanna Skandera still have their jobs?
IN-DEPTH: NEWS, VIEWS AND ANALYSIS
Prosecutorial Abuse: Not the First Time Martinez Prosecuted for Political Gain
April 23, 2013
Prosecutors, be they state or federal, are prohibited from using their office to pursue a political agenda. Efforts by New Mexico Republican party activists and Dirty Downs Deal players, Pat Rogers, Mickey Barnett, and Darren White to use the New Mexico US Attorney's prosecutorial powers for partisan political purposes led to the the biggest scandal of the Bush White House-- the firing of NM US Attorney David Iglesias.
Susana Martinez, has been no stranger to abusing her prosecutorial powers for political purposes. Martinez targeted Judge Murphy for entirely political purposes, bringing in her henchman, Matt Chandler, to pursue a witch hunt just so Martinez could have examples of "Democratic" corruption.
That prosecution collapsed under the weight of "burden of proof". There was no real evidence of the corruption that Martinez constantly cited in her campaign. Judge Murphy pled guilty to one misdemeanor count. Gone, were the felony bribery charges that never should have been filed in the first place. But they were filed-- solely for Martinez's political ambitions.
This was not the first time that Martinez abused her prosecutorial powers for political purposes. In the State v. Gonzales, No. 28, 645 the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the removal of Martinez's entire office, after she prosecuted a former investigator, Michael Gonzales, Jr. that worked for Martinez's predecessor and political opponent. The Supreme Court specifically cited, Court of Appeals Judge Michael Bustamante's statement that the “corrosive political atmosphere surround[ed] these prosecutions”.
The Albuquerque Journal pushed the prosecution of Judge Murphy having Mike Gallagher take the lead-- until the case fell apart-- from then on it was Rene Romo, who broke the news of the misdemeanor plea deal. What about the Journal editorial pages who more than once attacked the "corruption" by Murphy? Now there is only silence.
Prosecutions based on a political agenda are prohibited for good reason. Martinez must be held accountable for her actions in destroying a man's life solely for her political ambition.
The NM Democratic Party's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
April 10, 2013
A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when something is declared to be the truth, but it is in reality false, so many times that the repetition shapes enough peoples' actions, making the false becomes true.
Take the New Mexico Democratic Party's assertions that because of Governor Susana Martinez's "high" popularity ratings, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate will have to raise and spend $8 million to have a chance to defeat her in 2014.
DPNM has not been alone in this path to failure. Candidates for the New Mexico House were told by the political powers that be--under no uncertain terms--not to link their opponents to Susana Martinez's bad actions. After all they were told, Martinez is just too popular with the public. They listened and missed an opportunity to educate the public to her bad actions.
Potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates were told by top consultants, "wait until 2018", because Martinez's "favorability ratings are in the 60's". So Democratic voters in New Mexico have been denied a chance to support the likes of Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, and world-renowned Valerie Plame. All three quite capable of defeating Martinez in a head to head race.
Here's the self-fulfilling part: When you don't educate the public, they don't change their perspective. You must give them enough information to truly assess her actions. This is not rocket science.
A free-pass to Martinez only serves to lock in the perception of her easy path to re-election. Instead of shirking their responsibility, had the DPNM and the other Democratic "players", exposed Martinez's misconduct, which has been laid out in detail on this website, Martinez would be a one-term governor.
Now, Democratic voters are left with only one Democratic candidate willing to announce, Attorney General Gary King. But thanks to these purveyors of the self-fulfilling prophecy, King's fundraising is anemic at best. Democratic donors are themselves asking, "why give money when her favorability ratings are so high?"
Honest Services Fraud Prosecutions: Do Race and Party Affiliation Make a Difference?
April 6, 2013
The US Department of Justice is responsible for the prosecution of "honest services" fraud when such actions involve public officials. The federal government convicted Kwame Kilpatrick, a former mayor and state legislator from Detroit. It has indicted Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, and just recently some public officials in the Bronx.
The government is right to prosecute these public officials for their actions. But these high profile prosecutions raise an interesting question about honest services fraud prosecutions. Do race and party affiliation matter? These men are Black and for the most part Democrats.
Whereas in the Dirty Downs deal, one of the most blatant instances of honest services fraud committed by public officials and their associates ever, none of those involved are Black or Democrats.
Susana Martinez is Latina, while Pat Rogers, Darren White, Jay McCleskey, Dan Mourning, Keith Gardner, Ryan Cangiolosi, Scott Darnell, Mickey Barnett, Paul Blanchard, John S. Turner, Jr., Traci Wolf, William C. Windham, and the rest are all Anglo and for the most part Republican. And not just any Republicans, but White, Barnett, Rogers and McCleskey, were such influential Republicans that they helped get the US Attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias, fired.
White and Barnett even boasted to the Bush White House political director about their access to some members of the New Mexico US Attorney's office and the FBI, which they did to successfully blocked Iglesias's second in command from being appointed the US Attorney following Iglesias.
Honest services fraud cases are typically left to the local federal agencies to prosecute. Shouldn't all of those who corrupt the process, regardless of race or party affiliation, be prosecuted when they so blatantly break the law? One would guess that US Attorney General Holder would agree that justice should apply to all corrupt public officials and their associates not just those who are Black or Democrat.
Martinez Nixes Wage Hike
March 30, 2013
Shortly after signing off on cutting taxes for out-of- state corporations in an op-ed carrying her byline, (most New Mexico based companies do not qualify for that tax cut) Susana Martinez vetoed legislation raising the minimum wage.
Martinez has lived off of the taxpayer for most of her adult life. She has not had to fend for herself in the private sector. Perhaps that is why she doesn't think that the working poor should have a chance to earn their way out of poverty.
Martinez says she rejected the increase because the bill wouldn't make New Mexico "competitive" with Texas. Undoubtedly, Texas is the home to those out-of- state corporations who will benefit most from her corporate tax cut. It is the home to the largest campaign contributors to her various political committees and campaign funds.
Those working for minimum wage don't contribute to her campaigns-- they can hardly afford the basics like, food, water, rent, clothing, and utilities. From the start, Martinez has shown herself to be the governor for only a chosen few. Sadly, the state's Democrats have let her do just that by giving her a free pass citing her "popularity" ratings. Ratings, which are untested because, from the state Democratic party on down, Martinez has been left alone to do as she pleases.
The working poor in our state suffer day-to-day because the Democratic party in our state has become a spineless rudderless ship.
Martinez and Berry: A One-Two Punch for Economic Disaster
March 28, 2013
A just released study, found that Albuquerque was the only intermountain west regional metropolitan area to lose jobs in the fourth quarter. According to the study, “the national and regional recoveries had left Albuquerque completely behind,”
Mayor Berry and Governor Martinez have decimated our economy while their pals like Jay McCleskey and Darren White are handsomely rewarded through insider deals.
For too long Democrats have turned a blind eye to Martinez and Berry's conduct citing their poll numbers as an excuse for not calling them out. That smacks not of strategy but of cowardice.
National Education Expert Diane Ravitch Forms a New Group: Education Privatizers Beware!
March 20, 2013
Diane Ravitch is one of the nation's top education experts. She is absolutely no fan of the "Florida Model" that Hanna Skandera foisted upon New Mexico. Ravitch has launched a new group, The Network for Public Education, to counter the efforts of private companies to bleed public education dry.
Here is what she had to say about forming her new group, “The Network for Public Education will give voice to the millions of parents, educators, and other citizens who are fed up with corporate-style reform. We believe in community-based reform, strengthening our schools instead of closing them, respecting our teachers and principals instead of berating them, educating our children instead of constantly testing them. Our public schools are an essential democratic institution. We look forward to working with friends and allies in every state and school district who want to preserve and improve public education for future generations.”
Please support Ravitch and her co-founders' efforts to stand up to the corporations whose only goal is siphon public education dollars away from public schools.
ABQ Journal Again Ignores Illegal Conduct
March 17, 2013
Since the day the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce took over the operation of the Albuquerque Journal-- well at least the editor's role-- the Journal has ignored illegal conduct by members of the Martinez administration. The latest blatant example? Numerous actions by Hanna Skandera that on the face of it do appear to have broken the law.
But from the Journal only silence.
Skandera's actions appear to have violated the Gift Act, the Charter School Act, the Procurement Code, the Governmental Conduct Act, Federal Procurement Code Conflict of Interest law, and prohibitions against misappropriation of GO Bond funds.
Just as the Journal has ignored the blatantly illegal conduct of the administration and its associates in the rigging of the Downs deal, it ignores Skandera's wrongdoing. There is no doubt the editors of the Journal have done this. The only question is why?
Hanna Skandera, The Gift Act, Restricted Donors, and Her Congressional Testimony
March 11, 2013
Like many states, New Mexico prohibits certain individuals and entities from paying for travel and accommodation of a state officer or employee. New Mexico’s Gift Act makes no distinction between for profit and nonprofit entities in this prohibition. Neither does the US Supreme Court, who ruled in its Citizens’ United decision, that a corporation, be it for profit or nonprofit, is the same as a person under the law.
The Gift Act, NMSA 1978 10-16-B-2(D) defines a restricted donor as “a person who “will personally be, or is the agent of a person who will be, directly and substantially affected financially by the performance or nonperformance of the donee’s official duty in a way that is greater than the effect on the public generally or on a substantial class of persons to which the person belongs as a member of a profession, occupation, industry or region.”
The Foundation for Excellence in Education (“FEE”) is heavily funded by companies in the for-profit “virtual” education industry including K12, Inc., and Connections, Inc. New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary-designate, Hanna Skandera, is fully aware that funding for FEE comes from these virtual for-profit businesses because she has worked for FEE and help establish its Chiefs for Change unit.
Thanks to Christy Hovanetz, a fulltime salaried senior fellow at FEE, Skandera introduced legislation to greatly expand access of these two virtual education companies to New Mexico public education dollars. She has also opened the door in New Mexico to K12, Inc. and Connections Inc. by allowing them to provide for-profit management services to charter schools despite such a prohibition under New Mexico law.
In September 2011, FEE paid for Skandera to travel to Washington, DC to testify before the US House Education and Workforce Committee. She testified as the Secretary-designate for the New Mexico Public Education Department (in her official capacity) on 9/14/11. As part of her testimony, Skandera testified to her expansion of virtual education in New Mexico, “we are also pursuing effective virtual options”.
Further, Skandera specifically asked the United States Congress to give her funding flexibility to increase virtual school access to New Mexico. She testified; “I encourage Congress to consider flexibility for states in the use of federal dollars to pursue robust virtual school offerings for students in under-served areas.”
Skandera’s travel and accommodations were funded by FEE, which is funded by K12, Inc. and Connections, Inc. FEE is clearly the agent of Connections Inc. and K12, Inc. She then lobbied congress to give her funding flexibility to increase the virtual industry’s access to New Mexico education dollars and has allowed them to operate illegally in our state.
This is a blatant violation of New Mexico’s Gift Act.
Skandera Confirmation: Senators a "Yes" Vote Endorses Conduct You Oppose
March 7, 2013
There are "good government" Republicans as opposed to "McCleskey" Republicans. Senators Sue Wilson Beffort and Stuart Ingle have always been good government Republicans, guardians of the public's money. Both have been able to work across the aisle to do what is right for our state.
These days, though, New Mexico's Republican party has been hijacked by Jay McCleskey, for whom money trumps all else, including the governmental conduct act and state and federal laws against bid rigging, collusion and fraud.
Unfortunately, Education Secretary-designate, Hanna Skandera, has shown through her two years in office that she is a McCleskey Republican, through and through. She has authorized the use of government resources and employees for political purposes, misused GO Bond funds to reward A rated schools when the voters approved the funds for all schools, and colluded in rigging job qualifications, of a fully federally funded position, in order to eliminate qualified candidates so that the wife of Susana Martinez's chief of staff got the position.
That is just scratching the surface. She has traveled on state contractor paid trips, forced the taxpayers to spend tens of millions of dollars unnecessarily because she switched contractors to one favored by out of state interests, made decisions to personally benefit clients of a law firm she contracted with, illegally allowed private for profit management companies to operate charter schools despite a statutory prohibition.
While national media coverage has examined Ms. Skandera's conduct, read here, here and here, the Albuquerque Journal in bed with the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, has kept information about Ms. Skandera's conduct from the public.
The senators; however, know about her conduct and that it is proven through documentation. The question for good government Republicans is this, are you willing to drop everything you stand for partisan politics? You own her conduct if you do.
Complaint (with supporting documents) involving fraud, waste, abuse, misuse or mismanagement of US Department of Education (ED) program funds
March 4, 2012
Today, we submitted a complaint with full supporting documents to the Inspector General at the US Department of Education regarding the NM PED's hiring the wife of Martinez administration Chief of staff, Keith Gardner, by altering the job qualifications to require "recent" classroom experience within the past 12 months for this fully federally funded Administrator-Advanced position. The alteration of qualifications eliminated anyone currently employed as an administrator. Read our earlier pieces on this misuse of federal program funds here, here and here.
Skandera Confirmation Hearing
March 2, 2013
Hanna Skandera, NM PED Secreatary-designate, was graded today by NM's teachers on the second day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee chaired by Senator Linda Lopez. She received a resounding "F" from teacher after teacher for her lack of experience as an educator-- a requirement for the job under the NM constitution. ISPAC's Michael Corwin presented to the committee evidence of serious wrongdoing by Ms. Skandera during her two years in office including misuse of public resources, misuse of $1.7 million of GO Bond funds, the manipulation of the hiring of the wife of Keith Gardner, Governor Susana Martinez's chief of staff into a fully federally funded through the US Department of Education Title I program, contractor paid travel, and engaging in numerous conflicts of interest costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Read Corwin's testimony here and see the supporting documents here and here.
Certainty and the Rigging of the Downs Deal.
February 25, 2013
There is a great scene in the movie Zero Dark Thirty, where Jessica Chastain’s character, Maya, speaks up while her superiors offered qualified opinions as to the likelihood that Bin Laden is living in the compound where Chastain’s team has tracked him.
Her superiors offer estimates of “60%”, “a soft 60%” and “40%” that Bin Laden is in the compound. Maya suddenly interjects, “100% he’s there. OK, 95% because I know certainty freaks you guys out, but it’s 100% he’s there.”
Maya could have been speaking about the rigging of the Downs contract too.
In the case of the Downs deal, it is not just that the deal was rigged, but that the highest levels of the administration were actively engaged in doing so.
We have already covered the clear-cut collusion during the procurement period by Martinez’s chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, and her most important advisor along with others, but there is still even more direct evidence of this collusion.
In the Evaluation Committee’s Report, the committee states unequivocally that both the Downs and Laguna Development Corp. were “finalists”.
Per the procurement code, “Those responsible offerors who are selected for the short list are the short-listed offerors" or "finalist offerors". (1.4.1.D NMAC). By law Laguna then was entitled to “be accorded fair and equal treatment with respect to any negotiations and revisions of proposals.” (18.104.22.168 F NMAC).
Laguna was blatantly denied such equal treatment.
On October 12, 2011, Laguna requested in writing to enter into negotiations with the state over the lease. Laguna was denied its request. Based upon redacted emails released by the administration, it appears that it was Susana Martinez’s chief counsel, Jessica Hernandez, who denied Laguna’s request.
Laguna was denied this ability to negotiate despite the fact that the evaluation committee did not sign its report until October 28, 2011 so the request to negotiate came before the award was made and is allowable under the law.
Hernandez notified Larry Maxwell among others of her decision not to allow Laguna to negotiate despite being a finalist. Maxwell was later tasked with the assessment of Laguna’s protest and contrary to the law also denied that Laguna had the right to negotiate.
Maxwell’s inclusion in Hernandez’s email should have prohibited Maxwell, as a clear-cut conflict of interest, from ruling on Laguna’s protest. It did not.
The Downs; however, did engage in extensive negotiations with the administration irreparably altering the RFP to such an extent that by law it should have been reissued.
Was this fair and equal treatment for each finalist? It is 100% certain that it was not.
Editorial: Courage of Conviction
February 22, 2013
Courage is seldom demonstrated in government anymore. Covering one’s butt seems more important than doing the right thing for the public.
Yesterday sixteen Democratic legislators demonstrated the courage of conviction by standing up for public education to stand up to ALEC. Other Democratic legislators did not.
The cowards caved in to Governor Susana Martinez by passing a budget that gives her control over how public education dollars are spent. Virtual charter schools—check. Teach for America-check. Teachers with no clue on how to teach-check. Schools in Anglo districts with educated parents-check. Schools in poor and minority majority districts-nope. Experienced teachers who know how to teach-nope.
Here’s to the sixteen that showed true courage of conviction, Mimi Stewart, Christine Trujillo, Sheryl Williams Stapleton, Brian Egolf, Emily Kane, Elizabeth Thompson, Stephanie Garcia Richard, Nate Cote, Gail Chasey, Miguel Garcia, Eliseo Alcon, Phillip Archuleta, Georgene Louis, James Roger Madalena, Patricia Roybal Cabellero, and Jeff Steinborn.
A few Democrats appeared to hold their noses while they cast their vote in favor of the budget. A no vote would have sent a better message.
All in all this was a slap at labor, who helped get some of these "yes" men and women elected.
To the other Democrats who caved look in the mirror and ask yourself why your name is left off the list above…shame on you for selling out our kids.
Editorial: Speaker Martinez Time to Prove Yourself a Worthy Successor
February 20, 2013
At the very start of the 2013 legislative session, we overheard Keith Gardner, chief of staff to Governor Susana Martinez gush with excitement over newly ensconced Speaker of the House Kenny Martinez.
Unlike Senate Majority leader Michael Sanchez, who strongly opposes Governor Martinez’s bad for New Mexico agenda, Gardner told a table of lobbyists that Kenny Martinez would work with Governor Martinez.
It now looks as if Kenny Martinez has caved completely to Governor Martinez. Former Speaker Ben Lujan, a man of the people, would not have caved in this fashion.
Afraid to force Governor Martinez to veto a budget that is good for public education some Democrats in the House Appropriations committee allowed Martinez to grab control of the state’s public education funds from school districts.
As Rep. Christine Trujillo told the Albuquerque Journal the education funding in the budget bill was “hijacked” giving the Martinez administration control. Trujillo, along with Stephanie Garcia Richard, and Elizabeth Thompson were the lone voices on the appropriations committee willing to stand up for what is right.
Appropriations committee deputy chairman, Luciana “Lucky” Varela, went along with the budget failure, telling the Journal he did so because Governor Martinez threatened to veto any bill not giving her control of the education dollars.
So let Governor Martinez veto the bill!
Cowardice comes to mind, which is odd considering how Democrats kicked Governor Martinez’s political operation’s butt in the 2012 election cycle.
Rep. Mimi Stewart has proved herself far more willing to stand up for what is right and needed for this state than Kenny Martinez. But, it is not too late. Kenny Martinez should make sure that when the budget bill makes it to the House floor for a vote, that Democrats send it back to the Appropriations committee and take back control of education funding.
While at it, Kenny Martinez needs to explain why he allowed a Democrat and member of the House leadership, Mary Helen Garcia, to vote down letting the voters decide on raising the minimum wage.
Garcia, an apologist for Susana Martinez’s anti-working families agenda, needs to be taken to the proverbial wood shed by Speaker Martinez.
So Speaker Martinez, crunch time is here. Time to prove yourself worthy of being speaker of the house and walking in Ben Lujan's footsteps.
Dirty Downs Deal Players Deeply Involved in Bush White House Use of Private Emails to Conceal Actions from the Public
February 18, 2013
Before there was the Martinez administration Email-gate, there was the Bush White House Email-gate. Like Martinez, George W. Bush’s administration sought to conceal its actions from public disclosure by using private emails regarding public business.
Guess which New Mexicans were directly involved in communicating with the White House on private emails? Jay McCleskey, Darren White, and Mickey Barnett. Individuals directly involved in ensuring that the Downs at Albuquerque was given the billion-dollar racino contract.
The Martinez administration has refused to release emails from Pat Rogers to Jay McCleskey, Scott Darnell, Ryan Cangiolosi and Keith Gardner related to the Downs at Albuquerque. The New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, in charge of enforcement of the Inspection of Public Records Act, has definitively stated that those and other emails sent or received on private accounts are public record when they pertain to public business.
Think any of this is a coincidence?
The emails on the Downs constitute admissions against interest—evidence--of collusion between the Downs and the Administration during the bidding process. Collusion is illegal under both state and federal law. Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is being prosecuted by the Feds for just such collusion.
In the Bush Email gate, McCleskey, White, and Barnett communicated with Scott Jennings, the Bush White House deputy director of political affairs on the gwb43.com email server. McCleskey and Jennings discussed trying to get Pat Rogers installed as the US Attorney for New Mexico.
McCleskey was the regional political director for the RNC at the time he communicated with the White House on those private emails. It was the RNC, who owned and operated the server gwb43.com that the White House used to conceal its actions. Read McCleskey's emails here.
Darren White and Mickey Barnett both communicated to the White House about their insider access to unnamed key people in the New Mexico US Attorney’s office. They trashed AUSA Larry Gomez in order to keep him from being named acting US Attorney. Gomez was indeed not selected by the White House to fill the void left by Iglesias’ termination. See White’s email here.
Congressman Henry Waxman conducted an investigation into the use of the private email accounts by the Bush White House. Waxman released, via a hearing, close to two hundred of those emails. Read a letter from Waxman to the President’s counsel demanding that all of the emails be preserved.
Keith Gardner, Martinez’s chief of staff was recorded explaining to Brian Powell why he never used his state email account, “That’s all discoverable. That’s why I never email on my state email anything that can come back to bite my ass. It is all done off line. Shit I never use my state email cause it’s all done on different stuff I don’t want to go to court and jail.”
Concealment of public records is a felony in New Mexico. Obstruction of justice--concealing evidence of collusion--is both a state and a federal offense.
Editorial: Drivers’ License Bill: Compromise or Blow Our Economy and Public Safety?
February 14, 2013
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is floundering. She never separated her political operation from her government operation relying on “top advisor”, Jay McCleskey, to run both for her.
McCleskey crafted “a my way or the highway” approach for Martinez to govern by. However, this approach has failed both in the legislature and in the mid-term election. (continued)
Louisiana Trip: 31 Hours of Billing Is All In a Day's Pay
February 12, 2013
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to bill your employer for 31 hours of work in a day? Wouldn’t it be even better if your co-worker who did the same work you did could also do that too?
Wouldn’t it be even better if you didn’t have to document what you did in order to earn 8 hours of pay more than there are hours in the day?
The two NMSP officers from the governor’s security detail, Ruben Maynes and Frank Chavez, who drove with Chuck Franco, Susana Martinez’s husband, to Louisiana so he could go hunting did exactly that. They each charged the taxpayers 31 hours to drive with Chuck Franco on the first day of his trip. 62 man-hours just to drive 14 hours. (continued)
Susana Martinez: GOP Recruiter of Minorities and Women?
February 5, 2013
The national GOP has selected New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to be its chief recruiter of minorities and women candidates.
Due Diligence anyone? Martinez has surrounded herself with men who mistreat women. She has isolated New Mexico Hispanics and failed in every state that the GOP called upon her to deliver minority votes.
Editorial: Greed is Good!
February 1, 2013
Hanna Skandera is the Gordon Gekko of Public Education. Harsh. No not really!
Gordon Gekko, the character from the movie Wall Street played so brilliantly by Michael Douglas is loosely based on Junk Bond King Michael Milken. Milken following his release from prison jumped head first into profiting from public education tax dollars. Milken is a co-owner of K12, Inc. (continued)
National Media Exposes Skandera as Part of National Privatization Push
January 31, 2013
Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post wrote an extensive article on how Hanna Skandera and other state education officials closely associated with Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (“FEE”) have been writing education bills that benefit FEE’s corporate funders.
Hanna Skandera, New Mexico’s educations secretary designate serves on Chiefs for Change an entity within FEE. Skandera once headed up Chiefs for Change.
ISPAC began reporting on FEE and its ethically challenged founders including K-12, Inc., in the early Fall of 2011. Skandera’s relationship with FEE played a prominent role in ISPAC’s Skandera Report. (continued)
Graduation Rate Increase Update: A Not So Sleight Sleight of Hand
January 30, 2013
Since the start of her administration, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Hanna Skandera, her secretary designate for the Public Education Department, have demanded that students and teachers be held accountable by the results of standardized tests.
Mandatory third-grade retention and teacher evaluations rely heavily on standardized test scores. (continued)
Treading Water: Martinez and Berry’s Failure to Govern Has Turned NM into the land of Disenchantment
January 28, 2013
New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez is stuck treading water. She has not yet learned how to govern. Martinez, relying upon Jay McCleskey for an approach to running the state, never transitioned from campaign mode to governance.
New Mexico is still mired in an economic vortex while much of the rest of the nation has shown steady improvement for quite some time. Martinez has yet to promote any economic development approaches that have the slightest chance to increase employment. Lowering the corporate income tax, her main economic issue for the current legislative session, benefits too few New Mexico companies to make a difference. (continued)
ISPAC EDITORIAL: Sen. O’Neill’s Focus is on the Wrong Conduct
January 25, 2013
New Mexico State Senator Bill O’Neill missed the real problem. O’Neill told the media that he introduced a bill to turn New Mexico into a two-party consent state when it comes to recording conversations because he would feel “violated” if a conversation he participated in was recorded without his consent. New Mexico along with the majority of states allows for one-party consent to record a conversation. (continued)
Editorial: Drivers’ License Compromise
January 24, 2013
Governor Susana Martinez is now signaling compromise on her efforts to repeal New Mexico law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses. Until now, Martinez has been absolutist in her my way or the highway approach to dealing with this issue.
Her prior refusal to compromise was no surprise considering that her chief governmental and political advisor, Jay McCleskey, along with Pat Rogers, Darren White and other Martinez administration insiders have been pushing to eliminate this law for years. (continued)
State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode's IPRA Complaint
January 23, 2013
The Santa Fe Reporter has an article on State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode's lawsuit against Expo New Mexico and the New Mexico Racing Commission for their refusal to produce documents pursuant to her IPRA request. The article has a copy of Charlotte Rode's lawsuit. (continued)
Editorial: Influential Latinos Call Parent Involvement the Key to Reducing Latino Dropout Rates. Susana Martinez Should Quit Trying to Shut Parents Out.
January 21, 2013
Susana Martinez is still trying to eliminate a parent’s right to make critical decisions about his or her own children’s education. Martinez’s efforts run counter to calls by nationally prominent Latinos, who call parental involvement the key to reversing high dropout rates among Latinos. (continued)
New Orleans Pay to Play Similar to the Dirty Downs Deal
January 19, 2013
The US Attorney for Louisiana indicted Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, on multiple corruption charges stemming from alleged pay-to-play contract awards.
The US Attorney brought charges under Title 18 of the United States Code, Sections 666(a)(1-2). This code is enforceable by US Attorneys throughout the US.
There are some similarities between the conduct Nagin was indicted for and the actions of Governor Susana Martinez, high-level members of her administration and individuals close to her regarding the awarding of the contract in the Dirty Downs deal. (continued)
The Things You Hear in Restaurants
January 17, 2013
Restaurants have food and beverages. In Santa Fe during the legislative session they also have lobbyists and government officials. What restaurants do not have, especially in dining areas open to the public, is any expectation of privacy.
Speaking loud enough that people at other tables to hear you clearly makes what you say fair game. (continued)
ISPAC Editorial: Government As a Force For Good
January 10, 2013
According to the US Department of Labor, the Albuquerque Metro area lost more jobs from November 2011 to November 2012 than any other metro area in the country. During this same time frame, the majority of metro areas in the country experienced job growth not loss.
New Mexico is also one of five states with the highest level of people leaving the state for greener pastures. People have to go where the jobs are and they are certainly not here. (continued)
ISPAC Editorial: No Agenda Based on Collective Punishment is Worth Supporting
January 8, 2013
Governor Susana Martinez continues to refuse to cooperate on her overtly political agenda, eliminating driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and requiring mandatory retention of third graders not reading at grade level. (continued).
NM AGO ORDERS MARTINEZ ADMIN TO RELEASE RECORDS RELATED TO LOUISIANA HUNTING TRIP
January 3, 2013
The New Mexico Attorney General’s office has spoken loud and clear. The Martinez administration must now produce public records it sought to conceal.
The Attorney General is charged with the authority to enforce the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. In a determination letter regarding a complaint we filed against the administration over the denial of public records, the AG’s office determined that the administration did not have a valid reason for withholding the records, and “accordingly, we direct the Department to furnish Mr. Corwin with the records sought in his request.” Read the determination letter here.
The records in question that the administration, specifically DPS, must now release relate to the members of the New Mexico State Police Governor’s security detail who accompanied the governor’s husband on his hunting trip to Louisiana in September 2011. (Continued)
On Newtown and the Demonization of Public School Teachers
December 19, 2012
To most people teachers are heroes. The tragedy that unfolded in Newtown, CT showed just how accurate that belief has been. Teachers engaged in significant acts of heroism in putting their students lives ahead of their own. (continued)
ISPAC Special Investigation: Ryan Cangiolosi Falls Far Short of the Minimum Requirements for the UNM Health Sciences $125K Position.
December 13, 2012
Journal Editorial Ignores Skandera Conflicts:
Paper calls on APS to Cut Astronomical Costs Incurred From Skandera’s Cronyism
December 13, 2012
Journal Ignores Skandera’s Insider Deal Costing Taxpayers Tens of Millions of Dollars
December 7, 2012
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Michael Corwin, Treasurer.
Paid for by Independent Source Pac and not authorized by any party, candidate or candidate's committee. Contact us at:
Independent Source Pac
11024 Montgomery Blvd NE #128 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111.
Michael Corwin, Treasurer.