Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Chavez File: Big Player, Small Game? Weekend Bash Sends Him Back On The Trail; Our Exclusive Analysis, Plus: Clippings From The Blogroom Floor 

Mayor Martin Chavez
The first thing you noticed at the Saturday bash sending ABQ Mayor Marty out on the campaign trail to seek a third, four year term was the huge portrait of his honor on the side of his Nob Hill headquarters. How tall is that thing anyway? Fifteen feet? Actually, it's symbolic. At 53, Chavez has clearly outgrown the mayor's office, but his "lifepath" has had some twists. Not that there's anything wrong with being mayor, as the kids say, but the promise of what was to be hung unfullfilled in the weekend air as Chavez mounted the stage and asked ABQ for a "mandate" and to make him the first mayor to win back-to-back terms. The question of campaign 2005 is why not?

ABQ politics has settled into a pattern of sniping over issues of little importance. The grassroots anti-government populists of the past like businesswoman Elizabeth Cook and attorney Hess Yntema have laid down their arms. The Big Duke City is no longer the be all, end all. If you don't like it here, you move out to Rio Rancho or south to Los Lunas. Unlike yesteryear, today there are choices. What happens in ABQ is important, but not urgent. The Legislature's recent actions stripping ABQ of power over its water rates and zoning reflect this new political reality.

There is an air of alert apathy in our River City. The massive growth west of the river and beyond the city limits signals the inevitable future. No David, however clever, will stop this Goliath. Not at this late stage. So ABQ is not looking for a sea change, but a steady hand, someone who can escort them along the side of Goliath and not get crushed in his footsteps. They want a manager. The mayor's re-elect slogan "Leadership. Vision. Results." is way above expectations.


If there had been no ABQPAC fundraising scandal, no high-profile divorce, and no APD evidence room scandal, the march to re-election would be unchallenged. "You are going to hear personal attacks," the mayor warned Saturday. And he may be right. Chavez's second term has been devoid of any defining issue to argue over. What kind of growth you are for comes closest, but is that going to excite the masses? If this is to become a contest, it will likely revolve around character and personality. It could get nasty.

For now though, as one Alligator put it,"the poker game hasn't started. Let's get all the players at the table and then we'll see." He was referring to the latest weekend rumblings that the Republicans may finally have a candidate to join Dems Chavez, Griego, Espinosa and Steele. But no matter who joins the game, they will be aiming their fire at that fifteen foot tall man on the side of a Nob Hill building.


GOP attorney Don Harris was at the Marty Party Saturday and so was City Councilor Tina Cummins who Harris is thinking about challenging in the Oct. 4 election. Harris ran a spirited but unsuccessful campaign for district judge last year....Also at the Marty Party: old ward heeler and former Ambassador to Spain Ed Romero, ABQ South Valley Republican Fernando C de Baca and South Valley gadfly Andrew Leo Lopez. Others mixing it up: ex Dem councilor Tim Kline making nice with the gal who defeated him four years ago, GOP Councilor Sally Mayer.

Clovis takes it on the chin like noone else when it comes to the proposed national base closings. So e-mails New Mexico State University economics professor Dr. Chris Erickson from Las Cruces: "In percentage terms, Curry County took the largest hit of any county in the nation from the base closures. Defense estimate: 20.7 % of employment, My estimate: 26%." Thanks Dr. Chris, but Ouch!

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