Thursday, June 17, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: WITH ENEMIES LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS FRIENDS

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

Sometimes politicians can be judged on the enemies they make as well as the friends they have.

This being the case, Gov. Bill Richardson probably is grateful for a couple of Enron day traders whose recorded conversations have stirred outrage around the country in recent days.

By now everyone should have heard about the outrageous taped conversations by Enron execs cheering "Burn, baby, burn as a forest fire shut down a large transmission line into California four years ago, worsening that state's energy crisis and driving electrical costs even higher.

The Enron jokers boasted about ripping off "those poor grandmothers in California," who they derisively dubbed "Grandma Millie."

"Now she wants her (expletive deleted) money back for all the power you've charged right up her (expletive deleted) for (expletive deleted) $350 a megawatt hour," one of the Enronoids scoffed.

It would be hard to find villains more villainous than these yuppie-weasel versions of Snidely Whiplash.

As revealed in transcripts of the Enron tapes, our governor, who was secretary of energy at the time, was held in even more contempt than Grandma Millie, at least by a couple of Enron traders.

But with enemies like this, who needs friends?

Richardson's name comes up in another recorded conversation, apparently made in August 2000, by another couple of Enron boys (not the same two who disrespected Grandma Millie).

"That (expletive deleted) Bill Richardson," said one of the men, identified only as "Matt".

"He's (expletive deleted) gone!" said the other, called "Tom" in the transcripts. "The (expletive deleted) Bill Clinton, he's ( expletive deleted). Ah, all those (expletive deleted) socialists are gone."

Noting that their company was Bush's largest contributor, both Matt and Tom fantasize about Enron president Ken Lay replacing Richardson as secretary of energy. That, of course, didn't happen.

For more transcripts and audio excerpts of Enron conversations, CLICK HERE

Big political weekend: Starting Friday out-of-state politicians will be invading Santa Fe as the city plays host to three national meetings.

On Friday and Saturday the Democratic National Committee's Platform Drafting Committee will be holding public meetings at Santa Fe Indian School, hearing testimony on domestic issues such as health care, the economy, education and civil rights.

Among those scheduled to speak - besides our governor of course - are former Labor secretary Robert Reich, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack - who, even more than Richardson in recent weeks, is frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for Sen. John Kerry. Indiana Gov. Joseph Kernan is tentatively scheduled to speak.

Members of the public who would like to testify or submit written comments should e-mail the committee at platform@dnc.org, or fax at 202-572-7897. Because schedule and space are limited, interested parties should submit written comments as well.

With all those Democratic governors in town, it's only natural for the Democratic Governors Association to meet. They are having their annual summer policy conference here Friday and Saturday at Hotel Santa Fe.

They've got a three-hour meeting scheduled Saturday to discuss energy, transportation and technology. The rest of their schedule consists of a cocktail reception, dinner, breakfast, a golf tournament and attending The Buckaroo Ball.

Then starting Sunday is the Western Governors Association meeting at the Eldorado Hotel, which goes on until Tuesday. They've got a lot of receptions and one "gala dinner" scheduled.

But they've also got scheduled sessions on the proposal for regional presidential primaries, the drought, energy and other issues. Among the speakers scheduled include Interior Secretary Gail Norton, Intel president Paul Otellini, and national political pundit Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

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