Thursday, March 17, 2011

CNM, Wells Fargo Oppose PNM Rate Hike

So does the State of New Mexico.
Well, maybe these outfits don’t directly oppose PNM’s rate increase request. But they have provided a lot of money to a group that does which puts them in the oppose PNM camp.
In the case of the state the figure is over $100,000 from something called the individual development fund account. See below.
Wells Fargo Bank and Foundation threw in at least $25,001 with at least $10,001 coming from the CNM Foundation.
The numbers come from This is the financial supporters section of the website of Prosperity Works, which, it says on the website,, “builds the capacity of families, organizations and communities and advocates for policies that generate economic prosperity for all New Mexicans.”
I hadn’t heard of Prosperity Works until receiving a semi-coherent email from a staffer named Carmela Starace. Ms. Starace calls herself a group. “I am one of only a handful of groups still fighting…,” she said in the email. She said the group “advocates for low income New Mexicans called Prosperity Works.” Odd name for an individual, “Prosperity Works.”
Whatever. Dangling modifiers aside, the intent is clear. PNM is evil and due no rate increase. She says, “…this rate hike is just a way to deliver big payouts to PNM shareholders at a cost to New Mexicans.” Of course she forgets, or maybe doesn’t know that large numbers of New Mexicans, me included, own PNM shares. Nearly all of these New Mexican shareholders, again including me, are well short of being plutocrats. (“Plutocrats” is a V.B. Price word, by the way.)
Starace says the rate request includes “riders.” No idea what sort of riders. Bicyclists?
My temptation to be less unkind to Ms. Starace with regard to her writing is tempered by her having six other people on staff. Surely someone is available for editing. My only excuse for my typos is that I’m proofing my own stuff, a guarantee of lack of success. That’s no excuse, just a fact.
So do the group’s “partners,” which include two Albuquerque middle schools (Grant and Wilson), the CNM Center for Working Families, Los Alamos National Bank, New Mexico Bank and Trust and 11 other financial institutions.
Other “funders” include the McCune Foundation, that paragon of support for everything left in the state.
My only request here is that when outfits such as Prosperity Works roll in asking for money, understand that mostly guilt is what they’re peddling. ACORN ran this scam for years. The providers of the big bucks might deny opposing the PNM rate hike request. But by lending credibility—and a lot of money—to Prosperity Works, they become part of whatever is being advocated. They can’t assuage that guilt and support PNM.
According to, “The Business Service Division (of the Department of Workforce Services) is responsible for the administration of the statewide Family Opportunity Accounts Act program. The Family Opportunity Accounts Act provides $1.5 million to support Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s) targeted to families with children. FOA's are interest-bearing bank savings accounts, in which every deposit an individual or family makes is matched with state and private dollars. The funds in the account are restricted for use in placing a down payment on a home, starting or expanding a micro-business, or paying for college or vocational education.

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