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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Grade Fixing Saga; Will Voters Flunk Politico? Plus: Some Movers And Shakers, And: Readers React To CD1 News 

Teresa Cordova
Nothing captures the public imagination like a public official using their position for petty personal benefit. So it is with Bernalillo County Commissioner Teresa Cordova who burst into the statewide consciousness this week for going over the head of her son's English teacher and principal to have a failing grade revised which allowed him to graduate from Rio Grande High School. The cherry on top of the story was that the boy's father, former ABQ public schools board member Miguel Acosta, also was in on the grade fixing.

The coffee shop crowd wagged their tongues and their heads in disbelief at the special treatment with murmurs of "only in New Mexico" heard time and again.

Will Commissioner Cordova's overreach translate into a challenge when she comes up for re-election next year? She represents much of the ABQ South Valley and won the Democratic nomination with 23 per cent of the vote in an eight way race in 2004; her closet challenger garnered 21 per cent. Winning the Dem nod is tantamount to winning election as the district has so few Republicans they are on the endangered species list.

Incumbent Cordova could have expected at least one challenger in the highly political district, but with a brigade of outraged parents whose children received no special treatment calling her on the carpet, Cordova next June might find herself again facing a jammed pack primary. If memories don't fade, making the grade with voters could be a lot tougher for the commissioner than getting one fixed at the local high school.

MOVING AND SHAKING
Scott Darnell
The new press flack for the NM GOP is twentysomething Scott Darnell who has worked several campaigns here, including for President Bush and '06 secretary of state hopeful Vickie Perea. Darnell replaces former ABQ Journal reporter Charlotte Balcomb Lane who had a short-lived stint in the position. Maybe she can take a vacation cruise now with Marta Kramer.

You can't say Scott isn't a true believer, as witnessed in the photo displayed here in which he protests a 2004 John Kerry NM visit. At the time, Darnell was chair of the NM College Republicans. Will he get to protest visits from a 2008 Dem Prez nominee named Bill Richardson?

We told you back in March that Kentucky politico Alan Feldman would become the new executive director for the state GOP. Feldman, who as ties to the Republican National Committee will start work May 30, reports state GOP Chairman Allen Weh.

No official confirmation yet, but Alligator talk has Bianca Ortiz Wertheim, wife of ex-NM Dem Party chair John Wertheim and onetime director of cabinet affairs for Big Bill, leaving her project manager position at the Center for Economic Development at the University of New Mexico and heading downtown to ABQ's Government Center to work for none other than Mayor Marty Chavez. Reliable city hall and political sources say she is coming aboard soon, but we have not been told in what capacity. Will she also help out on a Marty Chavez for governor campaign against fellow Dem Diane Denish? Insiders say she will not be helping Lady Di, for sure.

MEXICO MANANA

A traveling reader, an attorney from southwestern NM, blogs in on his recent visit to Palomas, Mexico, located across the border from Columbus, NM where the Governor has ordered an increased state police presence because of ongoing drug related violence in Palomas.

"I was in Palomas last Thursday (Mother's Day in Mexico) on business and saw "Big Papi's" extra state troopers deployed pursuant to his order. It consisted of state police officers standing around the customs house while customs agents harassed people going into Mexico. Nothing about safety was discussed, only what we were doing and how much money we were carrying. Big Papi's "Order" only another grandstand ploy."

I haven't seen Big Bill referred to as "Big Papi," but we could always use another colorful nickname. As for sending more state police to the border being a grandstanding play, maybe. But remember when one state cop would be responsible for hundreds of miles of southern NM territory? It appears we at least have brought the numbers up enough to send some cops to the border if needed.

MORE TO THE STORY?
Your Blogger
Some skepticism greeted the news we blogged yesterday that Secretary of Health Michelle Lujan Grisham was leaving her cabinet position to plot a political career, with an eye on the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat held by Republican Heather Wilson, but considering other races too. Here's an example from the mail bag:

" I really don't think we need her to "decide" which office she will run for. There are those that will still say she didn't do a very good job at the jobs she had. Who would give up a job that pays $117,000 for no employment in sight? I think there is more to her story than we are hearing right now."

But an emailing involved Democrat, saw things differently: "We need somebody--Heather will tear pretty boy Martin Heinrich to pieces. His run is a joke. All she has to do is ask "Where's the beef"--what has he really done? Said the Dem of the ABQ city councilor, the sole candidate in the race thus far.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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