Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Susana's September Stall: Time To Change Things Up Or Hammer Corruption Harder? Plus: Lobo Woes Solved By The Alligators; Read All About It, And: Mary Jane Mugging Updated 

Susana's September stall has the second-guessers and armchair campaign managers coming out of the woodwork, offering their pearls of wisdom for her just as they have for Dem nominee Diane Denish.

Martinez quickly corralled 45% of the vote with a tough anti-corruption message, but she's hit the wall, according to insider campaign polling, prompting worried R's to wonder aloud if her message needs retooling for the final 40 something days of Campaign 2010.

The Dona Ana County DA has milked the "Richardson-Denish" meme, but the teat could be running dry. Corruption and anger alone is not often a winner in New Mexican politics despite the consultants and pollsters insisting it's different this time. In '94, Gary Johnson, the last R to take the Governor's chair, championed a populist anti-tax message as well as demonizing the Democratic legislative leadership of the era.

Martinez has been a one trick pony--and not a bad one at that--but analysts of varying stripes tell us she may have to make a turn here and come with some kind of economic message to get the final five percent needed to take power. Others argue that Martinez must maintain her present course and continue to work to tie Denish directly to corruption and pay-to-play so when voters start to break, the lieutenant governor has a fifty pound yoke around her neck and won't be able to move. The Martinez campaign has been vociferous in trying to do that with Denish's husband, lobbyist Herb Denish, and more is expected.

But in the event that the effort to make Herb and Diane "Mr. & Mrs. Corruption" doesn't move the numbers, the Alligators say Martinez should be preparing "plan b." From the armchair:

How am I going to feel better about my situation and that of my kids' after hearing what Susana has to say? Can she talk about the future and a hopeful outlook? The complete concentration on the negative campaign has its adherents, but will it alone carry the day? We could see some problems with it in the next ABQ Journal poll.

That next Journal poll that Gator speaks of is expected to fall on the state's driveways Sunday, October 3. Expectations are building among political types that Denish will have closed the gap from the Journal's first poll taken in late August and which showed Susana leading 45% to 39%.

Martinez seems to have stalled because of the singularity of her message, but also because Democrats are meeting with some success in casting her as just another "Republican politician." In the north, they are seen making headway by labeling her as a Texan. Also, the national environment--with Obama now battling--seems to have improved just a bit for beleaguered Dems. But in a Governor's race that could be spandex tight, every bit counts.

Martinez's campaign has so far chosen not to explore her personal narrative, ala Obama, to cast her in a softer light to swing voters. Without an established identity of her own, the Dems have had a free hand in giving her one.

The bottom line? Martinez had what it takes to get this far and the corruption issue could still be the jackpot, but not all voters are attack dogs. And it's harder to personalize corruption to the everyday life of the voter than it is the very tangible and scary economy. Susana may yet need some diversity to get her stalled campaign bus moving again.


Meanwhile, the message may be somewhat thin, but Denish is now on the economy and jobs beat pretty much full-time.


Two days after President Obama visits ABQ, VP Biden will do a strictly political stop for Dem nominee Diane Denish. From Dem Light Guv nominee Brian Colon:

Vice President Biden is coming to ABQ to support the Denish~Colon ticket on September 30th @ 4:30PM. Please consider joining us at the Albuquerque fundraiser one week from Thursday. We must push back on big Texas money funding our opponent's campaign. It is a two-tiered event seeking contributions of $500 and $1,500.Give me a call at (505) 270-2154...

The Biden fund-raiser will be at the ABQ North Valley’s Los Poblanos Inn.


Leave it to those wily Alligators to come with a fiscally prudent solution to the horrid mess that has engulfed the University of New Mexico athletic department.

It goes without saying that the entire department needs to be purged then reborn. UNM football coach Mike Locksley and Paul Krebs are dedicated, but clearly the wrong fit as we wrestle here with an institutional crisis that is inflicting long-term damage. Donations to UNM are down, the school's prestige nationally is suffering and we continue to deal with the politicization of the university brought about under Goner Big Bill. (Sorry, we mean Governor.) The solution? The athletic department needs to be purged and reborn.

To do that UNM will have to buy out yet another contract--this one for Coach Locksley at nearly $1 million. Go ahead and do the buy-out, but hire the new coach at a salary of around $300,000. Locksley's salary is $750,000 so you save $450,000 with the new hire.

Next, Krebs, making north of $400,000 including deferred compensation, needs to be shown the exits, along with his key assistants and the entire communications staff. And here's the kicker: Make basketball coach Steve Alford the new AD. Pay him an extra $100,000 a year and UNM athletics still saves $300,000 a year for a couple of years.

Alford, a citadel of sanity amid the anarchy, is currently paid $1,149,000 a year. He may resist taking on the extra chores and risking the possibility of slipping into the mud pit himself. But he and the university would be doing our  student athletes and New Mexico a big favor if we did this switch now.

UNM will reclaim its reputation. The time for forward and positive thinking is here, but that doesn't mean postponing the necessary house cleaning. At the least, these suggestions could get the conversation of change going as we await a new governor and soon, we think, a new president of troubled UNM.


There's no reason UNM can't dig out of its mess. Look what's happening right in our own backyard:

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology was ranked on two Newsweek lists released this week, earning a spot as the 10th most desirable rural school in the country and the 19th most desirable small school. The rankings were based on a variety of factors and included mostly private colleges, which makes the publicly-funded Tech stand out.


Here's an update on the ABQ mugging of Las Cruces area State Senator and majority whip Mary Jane Garcia. The 73 year old suffered a broken leg, but physical therapy should get her back in shape. Then she can go back to Santa Fe in January and take it out on Stuart Ingle.

And a reader writes of seeing Mary Jane on Sunday:

She was at the Denish event in San Jose and was in a wheelchair, but gave a fiery speech in support of Diane. She mentioned she'll need surgery on her knee due to the mugging, but I don't think calling Susanna a "Tejana" was the reason for the mugging!


Some wags think if ABQ Mayor Berry is going to look at privatizing any city functions as he looks for budget savings he might start with the city's economic development department. We blogged as much recently, but  reader Fred Gurule says the mayor should go further:

Berry shouldn't privatize the City's Economic Development Department (EDD). He should eliminate it. Aside from the city's EDD, Albuquerque has the state's Economic Development Department, the state's Economic Development Department's Economic Partnership, and Albuquerque Economic Development (AED) Inc.

What have these four publicly-funded agencies done in the past year? I guess attract fake solar companies that can make announcements but never materialize. Solar Array Ventures, Green2V, and others have gotten attention and pats on the backs for the politicos running these agencies, but not one jobs has been created or one gross receipt generated.

Why not end the backbiting between these agencies and give the city EDD's couple million dollar budget to AED, Tell the Economic Partnership to hit the road out of town (their bylaws state they are supposed to work statewide and then give the economic development leads to the local agencies. Instead, they hijack Albuquerque deals to get the publicity for Richardson and (state economic development director Fred) Mondragon), and get the dozen or so folks off the city payroll as their roles aren't much different than that of their counterparts at AED.

Whether this is the path to take to restructure our area's economic development plan is open to debate, but that a restructuring is needed as we deal with this deep recession is not. 


This recession hit ABQ with full force in late '08, leading to this stat:

The Albuquerque area’s per capita income, which is total income divided by the population, fell to $35,165 in 2009, down from $35,415 the previous year.


Harry Teague has already won re-election over Republican Steve Pearce, 55% to 45%. Well, not really, but that's what these Associated Press election night test results say. The two hopefuls still have to earn the vote. They tried some of that in this Monday KRWG radio debate.


We've received word that readers of Albuquerque The Magazine have named us as their best blogger for 2010. The mag will publish its "Best Of" edition in December. I want to thank each of those who took the time to give us a vote of confidence.

Over the years we've taken our share of lumps from the politicos and our lovable critics (and given a few too) but the New Mexican public has always been more supportive than I could have ever hoped.

Gosh, we make our share of mistakes--more than we should, really. But I think readers get it that we are animated by bringing them an unique brand of coverage of politics, people and this daily life we share together. And we try hard with each and every post.

Thank you, New Mexico!

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