Lobbyists Gone Wild

When New Mexicans think about John McCain, I’m guessing most have a pretty vague, but favorable opinion about him. I certainly did, primarily because of his efforts on campaign finance reform several years back. But now, under the scrutiny of the Presidential race, I’m beginning to see McCain in a different light because of the ambiguity created by our current campaign financing system.

Media Matters reports that McCain has 24 staffers or advisors that were either registered lobbyists in 2007 or were previous lobbyists, including pretty high up positions such as his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager and his senior policy advisor.

And his campaign co-chair and national finance committee co-chairman, former US Representative Thomas Loeffler (R-TX) is a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on trade issues, according to the Houston Chronicle. Continue reading

Personal reflections on Obama’s speech

Barack Obama’s speech from Philadelphia today was a eulogy on the twentieth century’s conversation on race. Seeing a candidate – a Presidential candidate no less – pen a speech that holds the mirror up to all of America, equally, unashamedly and nakedly, made me exhale deeply and say, “finally.”

As one who has advised several candidates, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to green light that speech. Obama and his team have at stake millions of dollars, millions of supporters and incomprehensible pressures to win on November 4th. That’s not to be underestimated or undervalued. Above all, if Obama does not win, he will not be able to enact the new ways of governing about which he so eloquently speaks. In spite of, or more likely, because of all that, Obama and his team made a bold decision: to say what everyone is thinking, but no one wants to say out loud.

As a child, my lens on race was shaped by classmates making fun of me or chasing me home from school because I looked different than they did. As an adult, I came to understand race through my deep friendship with Carolyn Goodman, whose son, Andy Goodman, was murdered by the KKK in Mississippi during Freedom Summer 1964. Continue reading

SunCal’s Perverse Socialism

Today’s Albuquerque Journal reports the latest development in the taxpayer handout to SunCal story.

From the Journal:

SunCal Companies defaulted on $184 million in loans– losing five properties in foreclosure. At least nine lawsuits are pending in those states.

Moody’s last month removed a bond rating on one SunCal company responsible for four developments in Southern California.

Coco offers her take on all of this at Duke City Fix.There is a breathtaking perversity to the whole scheme: The handing over of millions of dollars tax revenues to an out-of-state developer to support the construction of more rooftops just when the economy is tanking and state revenues are already projected on a downward curve. (Watch the latest Eye on New Mexico for a sobering economic forecast.) Continue reading

Women & Creativity 2008

In the mist of this exciting time for politics and movement building we need to remember to pay attention to our creative souls. Watching movies, salsa dancing or sitting with a group of friends in our book club has saved me from going crazy on many occasions. Women & Creativity 2008 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center offers this opportunity in the month of March.

I’m making room in my calendar for a few of these great events and I encourage you to do the same. I’m shining my boots and getting ready for Pistolera on March 12th. These ladies (and a guy) rock! I was lucky to see them last year at the historic Golden West Saloon.

You can pick up your booklet at the NHCC, Mark Pardo salons or go to the NHCC website to download the schedule. See ya there!

Blogging LIVE from Wellstone Action in Albuquerque

I’m blogging from a Wellstone Action training seminar that the Center for Civic Action (where I work)is co-sponsoring. I’m sitting here in a roomful of future New Mexico candidates and campaign managers.

In a word, it’s inspiring.

Paul Wellstone, one of the icons of my generation, believed in the politics of conviction. One of the trainers just told a story about from Paul’s last re-election campaign for US Senate in 2002.

With only 20 days to go until election day, and the race in a dead heat, Wellstone had to cast a vote on the Iraq war. All the pundits and consultants advised him that a vote against the war would guarantee his loss in his re-election effort. Nonetheless, Wellstone stood up on the Senate floor and spoke out passionately against the reckless rush to war. He then joined with just a handful of Democratic Senators to vote against the war resolution. Continue reading