Thursday, April 22, 2010
Gov. Blames Journal for '1 of Worst' Label
By Michael Coleman
Journal Washington Bureau
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington chose New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for a dubious distinction Wednesday, naming him to a list of the nation's most unethical and incompetent governors.
Richardson's office called the Washington, D.C.-based group's report on him "ridiculous" and cited the Journal as the culprit for his inclusion.
"Governor Richardson has led the way for ethics reform in New Mexico," said Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia. "It's also difficult to take it seriously, since it relies almost exclusively on the Albuquerque Journal as its source."
The CREW group cited Richardson, a Democrat, for using state investments to benefit political allies, pay-to-play scandals, rewarding friends and associates with state jobs or benefits and failing to make state government more transparent.
The nonprofit group, which monitors government integrity issues, cited 11 governors after reviewing the job performance of all 50. Other high-profile governors making CREW's "worst governors" list include Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Democratic Gov. David Paterson of New York.
The remaining governors listed are: Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island, a Republican; Jim Gibbons of Nevada, a Republican; Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a Republican; Sonny Perdue of Georgia, a Republican; Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a Republican; Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a Republican; and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, a Republican.
POT PULPIT: On Tuesday, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson — like other marijuana legalization advocates around the country — took advantage of the calendar date, 4/20, to illustrate a point about the war on drugs.
The date 4/20 is pot slang for a national day of pot consumption, or simply making a time to smoke pot. Johnson, a former marijuana smoker and alcohol drinker, now does neither and routinely discourages drug and alcohol use.
Johnson, who might run for president in 2012 and has launched a political action committee to spread his views, issued a statement Tuesday saying the war on drugs is a loss. He said legalizing marijuana could help cut the crime rate.
"It is time we cut the crime rate in this country," Johnson said. "The current prohibition laws are forcing drug disputes to be played out with guns in our streets. We need to put a stop to this criminal drug element in our country."
Johnson also said current drug laws hurt Mexico and many Central and South American countries.
"If it were not for the prohibition laws in this country, the drug cartels would not be in business,' he said.