Neighbors in Albuquerque concerned about swastika

A Nazi symbol displayed in the window of an Albuquerque home has neighbors upset. KRQE-TV reported that a swastika flag was displayed at a westside house. The house is near Unser and Ladera and one neighbor, who said they were part of a bi-racial family, said it disturbed her. “My grandkids live with me. I don’t want them walking by and seeing that, or having to be afraid to walk down the street,” Dawn Candelaria told the TV station.

Amid investigations, UNM AD resigns

The head of the University of New Mexico Athletics is leaving as the program finds itself the subject of a special audit and under increased scrutiny thanks to fundraising and spending habits. UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs announced Friday he will step down effective June 30 of this year. Krebs first began his job as athletics director in 2006. As in many states, UNM coaches of high-profile programs—football and men’s basketball—are the highest-paid state employees. Interim UNM President Chaouki Abdallah praised Krebs and noted that he had been trying to leave for some time.

Complaint says state Rep failed to disclose conflict

A complaint accuses an Albuquerque state representative of improperly directing state money toward a charter school project overseen by his brother. The complaint names Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, of the ethics violation. David Pacheco, an architect and Paul Pacheco’s brother, designed and oversaw construction in early 2015 of a campus building for ASK Academy, a charter school in Rio Rancho. The year before, Paul Pacheco requested $900,000 of state taxpayer money earmarked for capital outlay projects be used for the charter school. The state ended up awarding $230,000 that year to ASK Academy, which became part of a $6.9 million bond issued to ASK Academy in February 2015.

Medical pot patients wait for weeks past deadline for approval

Jason Barker has been a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico for the past year and a half. His qualifications for the state program amount to his complex posttraumatic stress disorder diagnoses, a condition he said developed after being molested as a child, dealing with physical abuse as an adult and working as an EMT in South Carolina. When his PTSD symptoms get bad, Barker said he usually avoids the outside world “because things become that hard to deal with.”

Related: DOH gets warned about medical marijuana delays

This happened earlier this year when the state Department of Health, which administers the program, delayed Barker’s renewal in the program for 58 days total and 28 days after its expiration. State law requires each medical cannabis patient renew their cards every year, though that waiting period is supposed to last one month at most. The waiting time made Barker unable to legally purchase cannabis, putting him in what he called “a legal grey area.”

During the time Barker didn’t have access to cannabis, his PTSD symptoms kicked back into gear.

Officials: ‘Islamic refugee’ report in NM by conservative site false

It didn’t take long for a local TV station to shoot down a report by a conservative website that authorities arrested an “Islamic refugee” in New Mexico after actually calling the law enforcement allegedly involved. Judicial Watch reported the arrest on Wednesday and cited law enforcement sources. The report said the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI were involved in the arrest. The website claimed the woman was arrested by a Luna County sheriff’s deputy with gas pipeline plans. But when KRQE-TV actually called the named local and federal law enforcement, all said the report was not true.

KRQE cracks down on stories about advertisers

A directive from a New Mexico TV station to its employees about news coverage involving advertisers raises questions—especially with the timing coming hours after management removed a reporter from a story critical of a “client.”

In a memo on Nov. 18 of last year, news staff were instructed that any story involving advertisers must first be approved by the news director before moving forward. KRQE-TV News Director Iain Munro sent the memo. “If you are doing a story that may involve a client, that is good or bad, I need to be notified before any calls are made on the story,” Munro’s memo read. “No exceptions.”

NM Political Report learned from a source familiar with the situation that on the same day, before Munro sent the memo to employees, KRQE sent a reporter to work on a story about a military veteran’s group.

Report: Governor’s party cost taxpayers almost $8,000

The Susana Martinez holiday party at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe that ended with complaints to police after moving to a second location cost taxpayers nearly $8,000 according to a report by a local TV station. The governor’s party took place on Dec. 13 at a ballroom at the Eldorado Hotel and was for the governor’s office. According to KRQE-TV, that party came from the governor’s budget and cost $7,900.  That is state money that is allocated by the State Legislature for the governor.

DA wants sheriff’s office to look into new Downs deal allegation

Second Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is asking the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to investigate a complaint alleging that a state official committed perjury by claiming the governor’s office had no role in the makeup of a committee that evaluated bids for a racino lease. An EXPO New Mexico spokeswoman dismisses the allegations as “the same regurgitated accusations by a radical left wing activist whose allegations have been consistently discredited.”

The complaint, filed last month to Brandenburg and State Auditor Tim Keller by private investigator Michael Corwin, accuses EXPO New Mexico Executive Director Dan Mourning of lying in a sworn affidavit. Keller referred the complaint to Brandenburg’s office earlier this month. Corwin, who’s done opposition research for a number of New Mexico Democrats including former Gov. Bill Richardson, formerly ran a political committee critical of Gov. Susana Martinez and particularly what has become known as the Downs deal. Mourning wrote the affidavit in question in July 2013 when the State Auditor, then Hector Balderas, was investigating the awarding to the Downs at Albuquerque of a 25-year racetrack and casino lease on state fairgrounds, which EXPO manages.

Public Education Department chose to deceive

Charles Goodmacher is the government and media relations director for NEA-New Mexico
Every New Mexico student deserves the opportunity for an education led by high-quality teachers. The system brought in when the Public Education Department threw out the old one is doing the opposite – driving great teachers away and limiting the time available for the teachers who remain to provide a high quality, well-rounded education as they sacrifice that to a test-driven standardized curriculum. New Mexico students are being short-changed by the new evaluation system implemented by Secretary Hanna Skandera, based on the false assertion that 99.8 percent of teachers were evaluated as satisfactory under the prior evaluation system. This figure was stated again and again, before legislative committees and to the media — so much so it became accepted as the truth as shown in these May 16 and July 26, 2014 Albuquerque Journal articles and this KRQE story on the new system. They used that political claim to impose their system, which unfairly subjects students to over-testing and thereby short changes students with an emphasis on only those subjects that are easily tested.