Richardson moving on to bigger things

By Ned Cantwell: State Columnist

As a self-appointed and sadly unpaid public relations advisor to Gov. Bill Richardson, it is disheartening to learn I can no longer leave the state. Every time I do, it seems, I return to find Big Bill boiling in a pot of trouble.

Not to brag or anything, but I am back at my desk after trips to Arizona, California and Aruba. (Memo to tax accountant Dean Friesen: These jaunts were for the sole purpose of gathering column material, and are therefore totally tax deductible.)

Here is a sample of the valuable information I gathered for my readers. High school graduation trip? Disneyland, good. Aruba, bad.

California was instructive, too. There, I learned, a state assemblywoman has introduced legislation requiring textbooks be no longer than 200 pages. She thinks, says the San Bernardino Sun, “big ol’ textbooks are so last century.”

State limitations are to be commended, and in New Mexico a good place to start would be how many times a year the Albuquerque Journal is allowed to pick on our governor.

What’s the deal with all the folderol over Big Bill’s new airplane? Sure, it costs $5.5 million, but if you were governor, wouldn’t you buy one? You bet you would.

What most critics fail to comprehend is that this sleek new jet will fly from Santa Fe to any town in New Mexico in 35 minutes or less. That can be really important if you have to inspect state roads in, say, Jal.

Listen, by his own admission, Gov. Bill Richardson is a man in a hurry, an impatient fellow who, jazzed on Super-Sized Snicker’s Bars, is in a hurry to get things done for the Land of Enchantment.

That is why he is in trouble on another front, leading to the spurious charge that, in Bill’s view, highway speeding laws are a suggestion, not a rule. How unfair.

The governor travels in a $60,000 Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV. Given his penchant for running from the cops, maybe he needs to switch to a $25,000 Ford Escape.

In a most recent episode, Bill’s Lincoln was chased by a detective, two backup squad cars and a police airplane before the detective realized whom he was chasing and called time out. “Disregard. Looks like the guv,” he barked into the radio.

You have to understand that when the rest of us hear sirens and see flashing red lights, we know we are in a heap of trouble. The guv just figures it’s another escort.

To his credit, Bill Richardson said he has informed his drivers to cool it. “…I am not above the law,” he said.

Well, bull. If the governor wants to fly around our state in a $5.5 million jet and zoom 100 mph on our highways, I say, more power to him.

Am I kissing butt here? You bet I am. Because I think Bill Richardson will be leaving New Mexico and going on to much bigger things (Big Billyroo and Hillary, Too!), and I want to go with him. I want to be Bill’s press guy. Goodbye Billy Sparks.

The day will come when New Mexico will no longer have either Richardson or this columnist to kick round any more. Right, Billy Boy?… err, ah, I mean, Bill?… umm, Mr. Richardson, sir?

Ned Cantwell is a syndicated New Mexico columnist with delusions of grandeur. Contact him at: