While results of the state’s primaries have unfold, the question of whether or not the status quo in New Mexico remains narrow and shallow has already been answered in many arenas. Here in Albuquerque, the floundering “Racino” project chugs along despite there being little market based evidence supporting its existence. The Racino is the gambling enterprise at the New Mexico Downs horse racing facility. But evidence supporting its multi-million dollar renovation and multi-decade lease are secondary concerns when political favoritism and cronyism exists. Never mind that its “security consultant” is failed Albuquerque director of public safety, failed congressional candidate, failed county sheriff, and failed state secretary of public safety Darren White. When you deliver votes to the Martinez/McClesky administration, it doesn’t matter whether you succeed at anything, only that you deliver votes—or at least appear to do so. However enamored folks are of Mr. White, we’ve seen that such love is subject to immediate termination. When one’s actions overstep your authority and create a conflagration that burns into your employer’s office, as White did last summer in the scandal locally cherished as “White Gate,” we see how quickly we go from being public safety czar, to czar of nothing.
It seems, Mr. White is headed for yet another such disaster of over stepping his abilities and experience. In the real World, it's referrred to KSA and O's (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics). You see, the Albuquerque Downs have floundered as a casino enterprise and the Governor has scheduled it for massive renovation and remodeling. Mr. White’s position as “security director” at the Downs didn’t exist prior to his termination last summer with the City of Albuquerque and was solely created for him by Governor Martinez to provide a “soft landing” and easy income given he hasty departure from the public payroll. But it seems a job without a purpose is not enough and given that over $30,000,000 is on the table for the construction of the Albuquerque “Racino,” Mr. White has a new title as he so casually asserted in a recent meeting. As the “Construction Manager” of the project, Mr. White now oversees the expenditure and operations of one of the largest projects currently underway in the city and the state. Interestingly enough, Mr. White seems to not have a general contractor’s GB-98 license as required by the state’s Construction Industries Division never mind any real experience managing anything for profit. But since Mr. White’s position as security director lacks purpose, it’s not surprising his position as construction manager lacks substance. As the self-appointed “Construction Manager” has no real experience in building, never mind running a private enterprise, it only makes sense that Mr. White bring in some help. Not surprisingly Governor Martinez’s second favorite lawyer and Texas-Tech graduate, Mark Shoesmith, is involved in the project. But our Eyes tell us this did not make things better, in fact things went from bad to worse.
Mr. Shoesmith was involved in the City of Albuquerque’s Sunport observation deck scandal where a project scheduled to cost $1,200,000 ended up costing over $700,000 more and closed out at nearly $2,000,000 because of unexpected ADA and code requirements. That’s a whopping 58% increase in budgeted costs. (See “Price of Airport’s New Deck Soars,” Albuquerque Journal 09/23/1997 Page--A1). To think that the Sunport’s observation deck was either underfunded because of code compliance oversight speaks of people not knowing what they are doing in the management of such a project. To think otherwise suggests people were cutting corners. Or perhaps the additional funding just disappeared as such much money simply seems to do in large scale public projects in New Mexico….
Combining the efforts of Mr. White and Mr. Shoesmith with a $30,000,000 project appears to make little sense unless the state’s taxpayers are ready to foot the bill for a project that, based off of the experiences and previous results of these two persons will probably exceed $45,000,000. With a “construction manager” who has no experience managing large scale projects without taxpayers being responsible for cost overruns, and a favorite government lawyer who only knows how to finesse the system so that cost overruns continue to be burdened by the taxpayers, a perfect storm looks to be in the making.
Perhaps Mr. White and Mr. Shoesmith will call upon the experience and skills of Albuquerque mayor RJ Berry. He ran his campaign on his much promoted experiences in the private sector as he spent government funds on various construction projects under his wife’s company and he does hold a GB-98 license. Our Eyes have told us he already is intimately involved…
Incidentally, in case anybody hasn’t noticed, the observation deck at the Sunport is still closed and it’s unknown when it will reopen after it’s short stint of use….perhaps after spending tens of millions of dollars, the new and improved “Racino” will stand boarded up as well.
Quote of the Day
Does this sound familiar? This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes