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Friday, June 29, 2007

Santa Fe Mayor Loses Confidence Vote; Canaries In The Coal Mine? Plus: The Pete Beat; He Switches On Immigration, And: Even More Foley Fallout 

Mayor Coss
Never mind that only about 30% of the union members "in good standing" turned out Thursday to decide a vote of no confidence in Santa Fe Mayor David Coss. He lost it 112-53 and the message heard will be much louder than the 165 AFSCME members who had it delivered. It is a rarity for any mayor to lose any vote of confidence; that Coss did signals the political crisis he faces in guiding the state's capital city. The vote weakens him further in the eyes of a public already doubting his leadership in the face of a crime wave that has Santa Feans hitting the Home Depot to buy extra security bars for their adobes. The union vote was mainly over insider issues, but Coss's general leadership was also cited, an oblique reference perhaps, but a reference nonetheless, to the can't-get-it-done Sante Fe police department and Coss's inability, or refusal, to act.

Coss could dismiss the confidence vote as the work of a disgruntled union boss, but he would be better served to use it as an opportunity. Fresh leadership for the beleaguered police department, housing vouchers and/or even more financial incentives to attract police and a revamping of the recruitment division into a can-do, instead of a can't-do department, could be a start. And, yes, try to patch things up with the union and restore their confidence.

One of the great qualities of Santa Fe is its "live and let live attitude." Crime has been and should always be the exception to that rule. Mayor Coss and his city are at a crossroads. Letting Santa Fe quietly slip into a zone of tolerance for crime is not an option. 112 city employees are not personal enemies of the mayor; they are the canaries in the coal mine. Mayor Coss and his city council would be well-served to heed their chirping.

THE PETE BEAT

More than one astute observer has remarked that NM GOP Sentor Pete Domenici's approval rating slide in the Survey USA poll to the anemic level of 51% is due not only to his being tainted by the US attorney scandal and his hang tough policy over Iraq, but also because of his embrace of the immigration bill which has proved highly unpopular among conservative Republicans. Up for re-election in 2008, and maybe with that Survey USA poll in the back of his mind, Pete switched sides and voted with the majority to kill the controversial measure Thursday, as did Dem Senator Jeff Bingaman.

Immigration reform will now be less of an issue among Republicans next year, and if our view that the GOP is getting ready to get out of Iraq prevails, that hot potato could also cool, giving Domenici a chance to campaign on issues that work for him, assuming he makes the run.

FOLEY FALLOUT

The arrest of Roswell GOP State Rep. Dan Foley for an alleged violent outburst, including spitting at a cop and screaming profanities and being physically restrained, fires up our email box. The NM GOP has issued a "no comment" on the arrest of their minority whip, prompting comments like this:

"For the sake of fairness and consistency, why hasn't GOP Chairman Allen Weh called for the resignation of Dan Foley? Weh pulled (then-ABQ GOP) State Rep. Rory Ogle into a meeting with former Bernalillo County GOP Chairman Ken Zangara, and they all but pushed him into retiring from his seat when the (domestic violence) spat with Rory and his wife hit the papers. Where's the outcry from Weh against Foley? The best they could muster is "no comment." That's ridiculous! Obviously, Foley lied to save his ass. The police report is nowhere close to reporting what Foley was telling newspapers and other media." Wrote one Republican.

While the GOP is taking hits over Foley's arrest, some of the Alligators checking in here wonder if state Democrats would actually consider supporting a Republican in a primary against Foley next year since it is nearly impossible for a Democrat to win the mainly Chaves county district. "Could they rise above partisanship and do it?" Asked one.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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