Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Jackson Six; Rio Rancho Council Pans Mayor, Plus: Top Santa Fe Cop Survives Vote, And: The Latest On Pete, Bill, Heather & Steve
It's now just a matter of time. Last night's vote of no-confidence in Mayor Kevin Jackson by the Rio Rancho city council likely seals his fate, with political observers expecting a mayoral resignation soon. Jackson has been in the bunker since allegations of financial chicanery surfaced. His press has been awful, with the Rio Rancho Observer calling for his resignation. Now he cannot command even one vote on the six member city council. As the symbol of government in the city of 70,000, Jackson will now come under unbearable pressure from the business community and the public at-large to get out. He will or face removal by other means. A new mayor would be selected by the city council.
Another no-confidence vote getting attention around the state also took place Wednesday, but unlike Mayor Jackson, Santa Fe Police Chief Eric Johnson won a no-confidence vote taken on him by officers in the Santa Fe police union. 59 officers were in favor of retaining Johnson, with 30 wanting him out, despite an ongoing federal investigation into the department's narcotics division and a crime wave that has been sweeping the capitol city. Johnson said he bears "no grudges" against those who advocated for the measure and plans on meeting with disgruntled officers in the weeks ahead.
Cops tend to close ranks when one of their own is under fire. Chief Johnson would be mistaken if he mistook support from fellow cops for public support for his administration's crime fighting efforts. Multiple rapes remain unsolved; residential burglaries have skyrocketed and a sense of security can no longer be taken for granted. One assumes Chief Johnson would gladly forsake his no-confidence victory in exchange for having those problems solved.
NEW ABQ COUNCIL CANDIDATE
There's political news in ABQ, too. The race for a SE Heights city council seat is getting hotter. Word comes to your blog that Blair Kaufman, an elected member of the Central New Mexico Community College Governing Board (CNM, formerly TV-I) since 1995, has jumped into the race. Kaufman, a career educator and currently an APS principal, describes himself as a "moderate Democrat" who is getting in the race because the other three contenders don't "represent my views." He singled out Rey Garduno who has developed a head of steam with the district's liberals which is represented by Martin Heinrich who is giving up the seat to run for Congress.
Kaufman, 56, says the main issue in the October election is to ensure that the district, which contains many older neighborhoods, gets "its fair share" of city government attention. He describes himself as "fiscally responsible" and believes his years of building name ID on the CNM board puts him in a good position to get the necessary petition signatures and raise the money to challenge Garduno who he calls the "frontrunner." Ad agency owner Joan Griffin is also in the district six race.
Hey, did I mention that politico Jeff Armijo sits on the CNM board with Kaufman? He does and he too made a bid for higher office last year when he briefly sought the Dem nomination for state auditor but had to withdraw when faced with sexual harassment allegations. Jeff can tell Blair no matter how rough the campaign gets, it can always get rougher.
UNDER THE SCOPE
Big Bill must feel like he's under a microscope as the national scrutiny continues unabated. Here's the latest from the Washington Post's The Fix.
...We remain skeptical about his chances of winning the nomination for a simple reason: his unpredictability. That trait makes covering Richardson a delight--he is always ready with a witty one-liner and regularly treats reporters as though he's know them for decades. But, his tendency to veer off message is less appealing when it comes to the highly scrutinized atmosphere of a presidential campaign. Richardson is, frankly, too real.
A piece in the The New Republic captures Richardson at his most real... "Richardson thinks his informal approach is precisely the kind of authenticity that voters want, but in presidential politics, where every utterance is sifted for its ideological content and examined for clues about the candidate's readiness for the job, style takes you only so far." In the piece, there's a number of examples of this informality: he twice uses expletives on the record, he tickles the scalp of a young woman he doesn't know, he says that all North Koreans are named "Kim."
Taken separately, none of the incidents (with the possible exception of massaging the scalp of a total stranger) are a big deal. Taken together, however, they paint a troubling picture for a man who wants to be the next leader of the free world."
Massaging the scalp of a total stranger? Now that's giving the public service.
THE PETE BEAT
And "The Fix" is now ranking NM GOP US Senator as #9 on its list of most vulnerable senators in '08: "Domenici (R) has weathered the initial storm over his role in the dismissal of former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. But the issue remains in the news, and there is the distinct possibility it will rear its head again in New Mexico. Could the swirl of controversy combined with Domenici's health problems over the last few years make the incumbent decide against a seventh term? We think so, and for that reason keep this seat on The Line. (Previous ranking: 8)
We'd agree that a turnover in the Pete seat is more likely to occur from a Domenici retirement, rather than an upset at the polls by a still to be determined Democratic challenger. The Fix has ABQ GOP US Rep. Heather Wilson ranked as the eighth most vulnerable House member for '08. GOP Rep, Steve Pearce or Rep. Tom Udall do not make the vulnerable list/ Pearce put away his last two elections with about 60% of the vote. Also, a Hispanic Democrat would have the best chance of giving Pearce a hard time, but none are running. Udall's northern seat is safe Democrat and no one has announced a primary challenge.
MY BOTTOM LINES
I hope you didn't show up at the home of ABQ City Councilor Michael Cadigan last night for the fundraiser he and wife Traci Jo are hosting for fellow councilor and congressional candidate Martin Heinrich. If you did, you walked away without any munchies because the party is actually June 27th, not last night as we first blogged and subsequently corrected.
We don't know yet if Michelle Lujan Grisham will be showing up at any Heinrich parties. The former Secretary of Health is still considering a congressional run and expected to make a decision soon. She is the only potential challenger to Heinrich we see left on the field. Of course, we're the ones who told you to show up for the non-existent Cadigan party Wednesday night.
Keep us posted on all things political. Send your news and comments via the email link from the top of the page.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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