Thursday, March 27, 2008

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: COIN FLIPS

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
March 27, 2008


Hey kids! Wanna ditch school and get paid?

Back in June 2003, Gov. Bill Richardson announced what his staff called a “bold and comprehensive new plan to reduce truancy in New Mexico schools,” saying, “Truancy is a gateway crime that has been neglected far too long.”

But earlier this week, Richardson’s office announced the unveiling of the new state quarter, saying, “Representatives from First National Bank will be on hand for the public to purchase the newly released quarter. Children under 18 will receive a free quarter.”

That’s nice.

But the ceremony, scheduled for 11 a.m. April 7 in the Capitol Rotunda is during school hours, at least for Santa Fe Public Schools.

Drawn and quartered: Speaking of the state quarter, I have some crow, or maybe some roadrunner, to eat.

Two years ago, when the governor announced the state was seeking ideas for the state quarter design, I made a, well, bold prediction in my blog about the eventual result.

“Though Richardson cautioned against trying to cram too many icons on a tiny quarter, I’m betting on unabashed clutter,” I wrote in 2006. “Many will want to include representations of the three largest cultures in New Mexico — which most likely means a conquistador, an Eagle Dancer and a cowboy. Albuquerque probably will lobby hard for a hot-air balloon — which might have to share the sky with a Virgin Galactic spaceship. The Zia symbol’s got to be in there somewhere, and to symbolize Los Alamos, an atom symbol (that’s so much more tasteful than a mushroom cloud). And don’t forget the roadrunner, the yucca, maybe a Georgia O’Keeffe datura flower, and how about some bats flying out of Carlsbad Caverns?”

I guess I forgot to mention Roswell aliens and Chimayó chile ristras.

But I was wrong.

The design turned out to be a simple Zia symbol over the outline of the state.

Kos and effect: Just a few months ago, when Richardson was running for president, one of his harshest critics in the left blogosphere was honcho Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos blog.

In September, he called Richardson “the buffoon of this campaign” over the governor’s statement that “Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary.”

“What a stupid thing to say,” Zúniga fumed. “What an epic pander — easily the biggest pander this cycle. ... I can’t believe I ever flirted with voting for the guy.”

But now, the blogger has changed his tune. “For the record, I am rooting for a Richardson VP nod. I’ll be writing about that later this week,” Zúniga blogged on Tuesday.

Stay tuned.
What are you gonna do, bleed on me?
Only a flesh wound: The state Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed 3rd Congressional District candidate Jon Adams’ lawsuit challenging petitions filed by Democratic primary rival Don Wiviott. The high court unanimously upheld state District Judge Daniel Sanchez’s ruling that Adams wasn’t specific enough in his lawsuit that claimed more than 900 of Wiviott’s signatures were invalid.

However, Adams, in a news release later, still insisted Wiviott had committed “massive fraud” with his petitions and said he’s considering an appeal to the federal courts.

Remember that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the Black Knight keeps on fighting even after King Arthur cuts off all his limbs? “Come back here and take what’s coming to you!” the Black Knight shouts, “I’ll bite your legs off!”

The congressional glut: Just in case you were afraid there just aren’t enough candidates for that 3rd Congressional District race, another independent candidate is trying to get on the ballot.
Building contractor Ron Simmons, 62, said Wednesday that he’s starting to gather petitions for the race and already has launched a Web site.

“I know I’m unknown, but I’m serious,” he said.

Simmons said he moved to New Mexico in 1970 and has lived in Nambé, Chimayó and Santa Fe.

He described himself as a “lifelong Democrat,” but said he became upset with the party over its superdelegate system in choosing the presidential nominee at the national convention. Simmons changed his voter registration to “declined to state” in January, he said.

He’s hosting a meet-the-candidate/petition-signature-gathering party at 1:30 p.m. April 5 at the Randall Davey Audubon Center on Upper Canyon Road.

Simmons isn’t the only indie seeking the seat. Former Green Party member Carol Miller of Ojo Sarco is making her third try for the seat.

Getting on the ballot won’t be easy for either of them. Independents need nearly 6,000 valid signatures of registered voters by June 4, the day after New Mexico’s primary election.

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