This article is written in response to the recent New York Times article by Marc Lacy entitled, "New Mexico Governor Rushes to Undo the Agenda of Her Predecessor," published on 8/29/11.
As a citizen of New Mexico, and labor activist, I am compelled to respond to Marc Lacey's piece from 8/29/11 on Governor Susana Martinez.
This puff piece paints a rosy picture of yet another in a destructive line of right-wing Texas billionaire-backed puppets out to privatize all government services. She is setting out to undo not only the previous administration's negative actions, as briefly summarized in the article, but many, many of the positive changes, as well.
One critical piece of information that your readers need to know about this governor is the fact that her actions have landed her administration in front of the state Supreme Court five times already, including: by the state legislature for overstepping her bounds with specific pieces of legislation, by a national immigrants rights group for illegal actions regarding immigrants, and by 100 local unions for her unilateral and constitutionally illegal firing of the entire Public Employee Labor Relations Board, which settles disputes between the administration and state employees. She has lost every case.
Foremost among these positive changes Martinez is attempting to undo is the right for state employees to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.
She has hired, with state taxpayers money, a union-busting contractor to head the management side of the table in current contract negotiations. The current proposal by the state sets out to gut the contract that state workers have fought long and hard for the past 25 years, eliminating most of worker's rights and fundamentally destroying all the union locals representing state service providers.
The governor has also been waging a constant campaign against the environment since her election last year, including rolling back sustainable building codes, making oil drilling less safe by trying to change the "pit'(drilling waste storage) rules, and denying the existence of climate change. This is especially remarkable given that we are in what every meteorologist and climatologist now refers to as a megadrought.
She continues to make attempts to privatize public education in New Mexico, firstly by firing 33 public employee service providers in the Public Education Department and trying to replace them with more expensive contractors, and now continuing to work with the corrupt and criminal contractor FEE (the misleadingly named Foundation for Excellence in Education) in her efforts to eliminate state-run education services.
As always, following the money is revealing: Martinez' election campaign had contributions of $450,000 from Texas billionaire Robert Perry, the same person who funded the "Swift Boat' ads during Senator Kerry's presidential campaign, as well as major contributions from the Koch brothers.
It is imperative that the New York Times reports, or at least makes the attempt to report, on all sides of a story.