I couldn’t help but notice that the recent anti-DWI commercials being shown on television and run on the radio are the same commercials that have run over the last year or so, but with one notable difference: Governor Bill Richardson has been replaced with a distinguished looking silver haired actor with a sonorous voice. At first, I didn’t think much of this but upon reflection I realized that it is another example of our current governor’s administration to do everything they can to wipe out the former governor’s legacy. In this case, a measurably successful campaign against the ongoing issue of drunk driving in New Mexico.
I can understand the desire by a new administration to put a new face on the government. I can also understand the desire to change the tenor of how business has been done by the state government. What is notable is the unnecessary expenditure of re-editing both a television commercial and a radio spot to take out the image and voice of the former governor. An actor had to be cast and presumably paid, as well as the time spent by an editor to alter the original video commercial and the audio as well as generating new copies for all of the radio and video media outlets where this commercial would be presented.
We are all of us very, very aware of our current Governor’s drive to save our state’s money and to use it in the most efficient ways. Selling the jet, and most likely the Railrunner, choosing not to appoint anyone to fill "unnecessary" jobs (like Film Commissioner) and eliminating other jobs outright all seem like steps in the general direction of prudence. This administration has to understand that since they have taken the office through general election we, the citizenry are willing to allow them to try out their ideas, but only insofar as they are actually proving to be more efficient and prudent. Sell the jet? Sure, but only if when you have to traverse this large state in a rapid way you aren’t spending more money, more fuel, more man hours to do what you could have done in a more efficient manner with the state owned jet that you chose to sell because it was your predecessor’s idea and not yours. The same goes for the Railrunner. If a private interest can run the commuter rail line in a more efficient and profitable way without making the fares outrageous, or the schedule even more limited than it already is then by all means sell it. But, if you are looking to sell the Railrunner because it was one of the great achievements of Governor Richardson’s administration and it galls you to think that he will be remembered for improvements like it and the highway GRIP projects, and a new wing of the UNM Hospital, and a reduced rate of DWI then you are operating from your ego and not, as you say, with the best interest of the State of New Mexico in mind.
Governor Martinez can, like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, strike the name and image of those who have offended her or her sensibilities from the cultural record. She can denigrate their achievements through word or deed. These things she can and is doing, but this will not elevate her or make her more successful in her attempts to achieve. It will only serve to make her look small, vindictive and ultimately forgettable.