“Bidness” as Usual Express: The Eric Serna–John McCain Connection

From Santa Fe to Austin to Washington – it’s (as Molly Ivins would say) just the way they do “bidness” around here.

Let’s start with Eric Serna. Remember him? Once upon a time he was the young up-and-coming politico who, when he ran for Corporation Commission in 1982, populated the highways with all those god awful billboards that made him look like Eddie Munster?

Most recently Serna was in the news when he resigned his post as N.M. Superintendent of Insurance after coming under investigation by the state’s Attorney General. One of the many questionable acts that was being given scrutiny was Serna’s 2004 grant of a controversial waiver allowing a Dallas businessman by the name of David Judd Disiere (who had been convicted of insurance fraud in Louisiana) to do business in New Mexico.

A few months later an oil production firm owned by the Dissiere’s wife (Southern Management Services Inc.) serendipitously donated $20,000 to the nonprofit foundation which Serna been using his position to promote.

Just doing bidness.

When the shady deal all came to light, who should rush into the breach to assure state regulators that everything was on the up-and-up, but Disiere’s attorney – gold-plated lobbyist and former Texas Congressman, Kent Hance. Continue reading

Memorial Day 2008: True Respect

On a bipartisan vote of 75-22, the US Senate last week passed the GI Bill for the 21st Century.

John McCain, who is campaigning in Albuquerque this Memorial Day, has joined President Bush in opposition to the new GI Bill. Bush has threatened to veto it when it arrives at his desk.

In view of the huge gulf between the Bush-McCain “Support our Troops” rhetoric and the reality of their actions, here are three items worth pondering on this Memorial Day 2008. Continue reading

Greenwashing Mayor Introduces the New Art of Ethics-washing

Dan McKay reported in last Friday’s Journal that Mayor Martin Chavez is taking on the issue of ethics at City Hall. McKay writes:

Mayor Martin Chávez says he wants to transform the ethical culture at City Hall– starting with new training for employees, independence for the city clerk and termination for those who flout the rules.

Chavez says, “…we want to weed out the bad apples.”

Also on Friday, this website featured an investigative report by Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen Welsome about Chavez’s relationship with Marc Schiff, the architect who pled guilty to felony charges connected with the Courthouse scandal. That cozy mayoral connection appears to have resulted in the public getting overcharged millions of dollars for the design and construction of the Balloon Museum. Continue reading

The New G.I. Bill: McCain’s opposition aligns him firmly with Bush

Yes, it was a big government program about which former Senator Bob Dole spoke in these glowing terms: “It changed America; it may have changed the world.”

Passed in 1944, the G.I. Bill of Rights made available to sixteen million veterans of World War II, like Dole, generous educational opportunities and home ownership. It helped build the American middle class that drove the post-war economic boom of the 1950s. Continue reading