Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Dennis Latta, director of the New Mexico Sports Authority and one of the Authority's two employees, says the Authority was created to pursue Gov. Bill Richardson's vision of major league professional sports coming to New Mexico. By major league it is meant the National Football League, National Basketball League and Major League Baseball. Latta told the Governor's Conference on Tourism yesterday that, "When we got into it, we realized that's not where the future was." For example, bringing an NFL exhibition game—just one game—to the state would have cost $3 million. Another conference participant put the NFL situation this way: New Mexico lacks the financial base, the population and the television market to support the NFL.
Big successes for the Sports Authority, Latta said, have been the New Mexico Bowl, the college bowl game in Albuquerque, and the recent Santa Fe Trail Horse race.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Diane Denish

This report is from, a blog of the Denver Post.

N.M. Lt. Gov. Denish here to raise funds
Article Last Updated: 10/28/2007 11:33:12 PM MDT

New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, a Democrat, is expected in Denver today for a private fundraiser. Denish, niece of the late Colorado cable-TV pioneer Bill Daniels, is a potential 2008 candidate for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. Denish created a federal political-action committee this year that gave $1,000 to Joan Fitz-Gerald, president of the Colorado Senate and a congressional candidate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Job Growth Continues Down

In September, the state's year-over-year job growth rate continued the downward trend of the past 15 months. The number of wage jobs increased 9,800, or 1.2 percent, during September, one-third the 3.6 percent growth posted from June 2005 to June 2006.
Metro areas provided 5,400 new jobs over the September 2006 to September 2007 period. The metro growth was: Albuquerque, 2,300 jobs, 0.6%; Las Cruces, 1,400 jobs, 2.1%; Santa Fe, 800 jobs, 1.3%; Farmington, 900 jobs, 1.7%.
The natural resources / mining sector provided just one example of the slowing growth. The sector added 700 jobs for the year, a nice 3.6% increase. But there were 2,000 new resources jobs between mid-2005 and mid-2006.
Over the year, construction employment has dropped 0.3% and information has lost 200 jobs, a 1.2% drop.
The figures were released October 25 by the former Department of Labor, now known at the Department of Workforce Solutions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some new numbers that are seven months old. The numbers report employment and weekly wages for March 2007 for the nation's 329 largest counties and for the states and compare to March 2006. Bernalillo County is the only New Mexico county making the list. For the March 2006 to March 2007 year, New Mexico's wage employment grew 3.2% while Bernalillo County's increased 1.5%. The state's job growth rate has since dropped by nearly half. Bernalillo County had 17,500 business establishments, a third of the state total, and employment of 332,300, which was 41% of the state's 819,300 employees.
The average weekly wage in Bernalillo County was $732, up 3.4% in the year, and $47.00 more than the states average wage of $685. As is almost always the case, the money is in the city.
Bernalillo County's percentage job growth was 113th among the 329 counties. Wage growth was 199th.
Establishments are business locations. A firm may have several establishments.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Richardson in Iowa

Governor Bill Richard’s presidential campaign office in Dubuque, Iowa, is next door to Sen. Joe Biden’s presidential campaign office. The meaning of the location probably has everything to do with availability of downtown storefronts. Even so, Richardson’s twenty-something Dubuque staffers can look next door and take solace in Biden being even lower in the Iowa polls than Richardson.
The literature includes a baseball card. The only direct baseball reference is a photo of Richardson, ball glove on his left hand and baseball in the right hand, that may have been taken during his visit to the Field of Dreams. Corn fields are in the background. Under the “positions played” section of the “Career Highlights” listed on the back of the card, there is no mention of Richardson’s baseball career, including no mention of his decades-long false claim to have been drafted by a major league team.
Both the baseball card and a letter-size sheet tout Richardson maintaining a balanced budget, something required by the New Mexico constitution. The sheet claims that as governor, “he cut $230 million in bureaucratic waste.”
In an October 18 speech in Des Moines, Richardson called for a new Marshall Plan to fight hunger and poverty in the developing world. The speech got about 12 inches in the October 19 Dubuque Telegraph Herald. The story, from the Associated Press, ran on page 16C, about six inches from the top.
Apparently the AP reporter didn't quire accept the premise of Richardson's proposal. The story said Richardson was "arguing" that "hunger and overpopulation are the greatest looming threat to the establishment of a stable world."
Skepticism—but on the editorial pages—may be appropriate. All the 1970s dire predictions of overpopulation guru Paul Erlich have proven incorrect.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Presidential Candidate Web Sites

We're in Iowa, Dubuque as I write. A thought on the Iowa trip came from the idea that Iowans are used to presidential candidates up close, personal and everywhere. New Mexicans lack the same closeness to the candidates. Our thought was to find a candidate event as we drove along Interstate 80. We started looking with Hillary Clinton, by far the leader of the Democrats. Clinton's Web site has a box headed "Upcoming Events" on the lower right corner of of the home page. The box had room for three events and a fourth barely shows. I couldn't figure how to scroll down the event list, but at least a few could be seen in a simple and easy manner.
Other candidates are different. Mitt Romney's "Upcoming Events" window is in the middle of his home page, easily visible when the site appears. Three events show. Fred Thompson's site shows nothing about upcoming events. Maybe there aren't any.
Bill Richardson has an "upcoming events" box on the lower left corner of his home page. Two events show.
John Edwards requires clicking on an "Events" header on the bar at the top of the home page.
Barack Obama's site was, well, different. The home page appears and wants you to login if you have and account or to create an account. The right side of the home page has seven headers, all starting with the word "My."
My? Seems to me that the last thing one wants in a candidate is an obsession with the word, "My." But, click on "My Events" and there is a page headed "Events" with three options, one of which is "Find an Event." Click on "Find an Event" and you have the option of "Search for an event near you." Enter some location data and click, yet again, and a map appears with pointy buttons pointing at locations. Click on one of the button and event data appears.
Many clicks are required. All in all a pain in the clicker.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Not only does enthanol eat corn and thereby run up the price of tortillas, it is a "lousy fuel," says The Economist in its September 29 issue. The better stuff has more than ethanol's two carbon atoms in each molecule. Butanol, with four atoms, is even better and octonal, with eight atoms, tops butanol. Scientists and entrepreneurs are now taking the next step, making their own fuel that behaves like gasoline but is not a hydrocarbon, or at least not a hydrocardon from the ground. So much for running out of fuel. Take that, Al Gore. The idea is to find molecules that are similar to hydrocarbons and turn them into fuel. "Synthetic biology" is the term of art. See

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The $100,000 House Races

The National Institute on Money in State Politics tracks political spending and reports through its Web site, A look at the report on New Mexico's 2006 house races shows that the $100,000 legislative campaign is well established in the state, sometimes even where the race is uncontested, as was the case for two of the 39 uncontested races in 2006. The unopposed big spenders were Representives Al Park of Albuquerque and Lucky Varela of Santa Fe.
The other $100,000 contests were in the southern part of metro Albuquerque (Districts 7 and 8), Las Cruces (District 37) and in District 54, in Artesia and Carlsbad.
The institute showed seven races that were competitive and 23 uncompetitive with no report on one district. In four of the seven competitive races, the loser outspent the winner, suggesting that money while money matters a lot, it isn't always the key to victory. In District 15 in the northwest part of metro Albuquerque, Traci Cadigan had a $44,000 spending margin over Rep. Teresa Zanetti ($92,000 to $48,000) and lost.
On the Web site, the institute says the data are incomplete. Still interesting, though.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Albuquerque Tribune

With circulation down to around 10,000 from about 45,000 in the mid-1980s, the afternoon Albuquerque Tribune has almost faded away. The Tribune's owner, Scripps-Howard, announced August 28 that the Tribune would be closed if no one bought it. Phil Casaus, Tribune editor, reports nothing new on the sale front, except a hunch and a hope. Casaus told the Albuquerque Press Women yesterday that Scripps closures of afternoon newspapers the past few years have happened within a few days of the announcement. More than six weeks after the announcement about the Tribune, he has no news. Therefore, something may be happening. Assuming the Tribune does close, Casaus believes it will be later rather than sooner, whatever "later" means.
"I don't think any one thing" explains the Tribune's situation, Casaus said. The challenge for newspapers is to "reinvent themselves for a younger audience." Figuring out how to make money from the Internet is the big part of that reinvention.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Art in Santa Fe

Keep Adding is a Santa Fe art group that offers, as one news release put it, "complete sensory experience." The group is good enough to have made the Top Stories section at
Apple says, "The Mac has become integral to the evolving nature of their work (of creating multimedia and installation art). Explains Keep Adding partner Noah MacDonald, 'I might work on a painting, then take a photo of it, put it in the computer, open it in Photoshop, digitally rework it, and from that get a sense of what I want to physically do next on the actual painting. The computer influences the physical end of what I do, because I can work on the paintings offsite, then come back and paint what I’ve envisioned on the Mac.'"
Keep Adding will be featured with other artists in a show running from November 3 to December 29, 2007, at 516 Arts in downtown Albuquerque.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chronic Disease Costs

The Milken Institute has figured out the cost of chronic disease by state. The institute, founded by Michael of junk bond fame, is known for quality research. See and then select New Mexico. The report was released today. The institute's release says, "'An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease' shows the current treatment costs of seven chronic diseases (cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders and pulmonary conditions) and the economic impacts of lost workdays and lower employee productivity across all 50 states and the nation as a whole."
Here are the New Mexico numbers.
Reported Cases of Common Chronic Diseases 2003 (As percent of population)
Cancers: 55,891 (3.0%)
Diabetes: 66,000 (3.5%)
Heart Disease: 91,897 (4.9%)
Hypertension: 174,914 (9.3%)
Stroke: 10,504 (0.6%)
Mental Disorders: 263,746 (14.0%)
Pulmonary Conditions: 224,103 (11.9%)

Economic Impact in New Mexico 2003
(Annual Costs in billions)
Treatment Expenditures: $1.2B
Lost Productivity: $5.8B
Total Costs: $7.0B

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fund and Taxes

When Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund was in Albuquerque last week, he didn't think Gov. Bill Richardson's tax change record was a big deal. That record is one of raising taxes more than cutting them until the 2007 legislature. That a Democrat cut taxes at all is the more important matter. Fund also said the tax cuts worked for the New Mexico economy, an assertion worth examination from someone with appropriate expertise.
Fund spoke in Albuquerque and Santa Fe at fund raising events for the Rio Grande Foundation, New Mexico's conservative think tank. Capitol Report co-sponsored the Albuquerque event.
Fund may also have had advance information about Newt Gingrich's decision to not run for president. On Thursday, Fund said definitively that Gingrich would not run. Gingrich made the official announcement on Saturday. Our understanding is that Fund and Gingrich have stayed in touch for many years.