Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No Shortage Of Hopefuls For Top Dem Party Job, Plus: Mayor Marty Smoked On Cig Ban, And: Bill Gambles On Vegas 

There's no shortage of applicants for the position of executive director of the NM Democratic Party, reports chairman Brian Colón who adds that "about 25" applications have been received to fill the shoes of outgoing exec Matt Farrauto. A fair share of the applicants come from out of state. A finalist list will be drafted from which a new ED will be selected. Colón would not discuss scuttlebutt that Art Terrazas Jr. a Las Cruces political operative who supported Colon for the chairmanship, was in line for the post, but other party insiders told me to look elsewhere.

"Terrazas helped Colon win the chairmanship. If he pays him back with the director position, it would be doing exactly what he campaigned against," claimed one of them.

It is a major decision for Colon who will want to pick someone without ethical baggage since that has been a headline maker for the state's majority party, as well as someone who has the ability and temperament to run a war room during the 2008 campaign. State GOP Chairman Allen Weh recently named Adam Feldman of Kentucky, an experienced campaign operative as the R's executive director and also put in place a new press officer, signaling the preparations for the months of hard fought political battle which will climax with the November '08 election.


Months ago he said he needed to win in Nevada. Now Big Bill says he needs "to show some strength" there in the January 19 Dem Prez caucus. He continues to work the state harder than the other candidates, but isn't delusional, saying Iowa and New Hampshire are the big momentum makers. It's hard to believe, but we are now only seven months away from the Nevada vote, and the Prez campaign will be over in only eight.


Maybe we should all head to Farmington for lunch today where the San Juan County Democratic Party announces "a fabulous luncheon will be served" and where ABQ Mayor and potential 2010 Guv candidate Marty Chavez will appear. What is really shocking is the lunch buffet is apparently free. When is the last time you heard of that?

We say ""potential" Guv candidate because Chavez is keeping his options open, including yet another run for ABQ Mayor in 2009. He would not rule out the possibility when questioned by a reporter last week. Meanwhile, Chavez has been surrounded by controversy of late--with the city council overriding his jail funding veto--with the red light program--and with the cellphone and smoking bans. The Mayor's smoking ban on all city owned property has led to a a half-serious effort to force a recall election of Chavez. It would take 22,000 signatures by mid-August to get a recall election. Are there that many smokers around?

The only recall election held in ABQ happened back in the late 80's. And guess what? It was also over smoking. Then-Councilor Richard Chapman proposed a tougher smoking law and was subjected to a recall. He survived the effort, but I can't recall what happened to his smoking law--I think it passed the council--and I can't tell you where Richard is these days. I lost track of him.

ABQ Council
We should thank the ABQ City Council today. Last night,on a 6 to 3 vote, they overrode Mayor Chavez's veto of a pay hike proposal, and the measure will now appear on the October ballot. Since the 70's, voters have refused on ten separate occasions to raise the pay of the councilors who get 10% of whatever the mayor is making (about $100,000 a year now), but it will be city voters' pleasure to vote "no" an eleventh time. If the councilors feel they are underpaid, they can feel free to meet less often. Voters won't miss the extra laws.


We noted Monday the political fix that Rep. Tom Udall finds himself in over budget cuts for Los Alamos labs in his northern NM district, but several emailers wanted to know why Udall is being singled out. "What about Pete and Heather" asked one reader referring to GOP Senator Domenici and GOP Congresswoman Wilson.

There are a multitude of political angles on the Los Alamos-Sandia Labs cuts, but the most immediate one impacted Udall. If the Senate does not restore the money, each member of our congressional delegation will be the target of finger pointing, and each will do their best to avoid having that finger touch them.


KRQE-TV wanted to follow up on our story about the letter going around to politicos asking for money for the defense fund for former state senate powerhouse Manny Aragon, but we both were having trouble tracking down Cate Stetson, the lawyer and former Bernalillo County Chairwoman who insiders say is spearheading the drive. Maybe if we spelled "Kate" as "Cate" we would have had an easier time. That's the correct spelling of her name, and here's her high-powered background...

Gerry Maestas of Española thinks we strayed Monday when we said Los Alamos labs has been over funded. "Over-funding the labs, Joe? What do you base that on? Do you have some insight to what the funding levels should have been? Or is it an anti-nuke philosophy?" Asks Gerry.

No, it isn't an anti-nuke philosophy. The statement was based on the insight of former congressional aides who think Los Alamos, unlike other defense agencies, was spared budget cuts at the end of the Cold War when they should have been weaned from some federal dollars...

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