Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Insiders: Top Power Spot On ABQ Council Set To Go To Winter; Griego Comes Up Short In Pre-Election Power Positioning, Plus: More On the Catholic Front 

Brad Winter
Sources deep on the inside at ABQ'S City Hall say all signs point to Brad Winter returning as City Council President when the nine lawmakers take the vote next Monday. If it happens, it will be a blow to Council VP Eric Griego who hoped to take the lead chair and use it to his advantage in his bid for Mayor. Our tapped in insiders say there was an understanding last year that Griego would assume the top post from westside Councilor Michael Cadigan who won the job with Griego's support. But the fly in the Griego ointment is once again westside Councilor Miguel Gomez, who refused to back Griego for prez last year and is again refusing to give him the nod.

"Cadigan can not go with Griego whose position against the Paseo Del Norte road extension has westsiders seeing red. Cadigan will face a tough re-election bid and if he supports Griego it would cost him votes. Without Gomez and Cadigan, Griego is left out in the cold," analyzed our inside source.

Winter has had the presidency before and tried to be a compromise voice on a then deeply embattled council. Things have been a bit smoother of late, but Winter's asc
ension to the presidency will fuel more speculation that he too will make a run for mayor. "Brad would have a good shot, but he has to make the decision soon. Raising money and putting together an organization takes time," said an R who would like to see the well-liked NE Heights councilor make the run.

Bob Schwartz
There seems to be an air of denial around town that the 2005 Mayor's race will be a quiet affair. Whenever you hear that prepare for the opposite. Big Bill crime advisor Bob Schwartz, who ran second in the Mayoral field in 2001, may again step up to the plate. Because he has a good-paying job, Schwartz supporters say the decision is tougher this time around, but they say it's wishful thinking that Big Bill will keep him out of the race. "Anyone who knows Schwartz knows he has a mind of his own," said one City Hall observer.

The formula in ABQ politics remains the same. If one strong Republican emerges that the party can rally around, look out; that person will be the odds-on favorite. Fortunately for Dem Mayor Chavez that has not happened in a long, long time. But the positioning has just begun. There is no favorite in this race until we see the full field and that may not be known for several more months. Don't say we didn't tell you.


The e-mail continues to pour in on over the NM Catholic Church's role in the NM prez race, Archbishop Sheehan's "alliance" with evangelicals and whether priests were directly politicking against Kerry from the pulpit as one of our correspondents claimed. If they were, one imaginative emailer pointed out a possible, if far-fetched, consequence.

"I thought of a tax implication on your posting about churches and "at least two instances where priests made their views known directly from the pulpit." If a 501(c)(3) does political lobbying, it could mean the loss of their 501(c)(3) status. So, I guess I hope no one gives you the names of a priest who did so... Those IRS guys can be persistent!" Exclaimed our political junkie.

Also casting a wary eye at Catholic politics is liberal ABQ Trib columnist V.B. Price

Thanks for all the e-mail on this one. It was one of the big uncovered stories of Campaign 04.'

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