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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Angry Bees Of The State Senate Tangle With Head Beekeeper Susana, Plus: Another Day, Another Police Shooting, And: Managing Up For 2012 

The Dems in the Senate seem like a swarm of bees these days. They leave the hive one at a time to go sting the Governor and then rapidly return. Senate Pro Tem Tim Jennings says the Governor is making "absurd statements." Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez rages over the Governor for overcrowding the special session agenda and Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia puts her stinger deep in the gubernatorial flesh. She shows up at the Guv's news conference to support her social promotion bill only to publicly retract that support, leaving Susana to pretend she didn't feel a thing.

No one wants to spend their time spinning their wheels and with the outcome of the controversial aspects of the Martinez agenda not in doubt--they will be put to death in the Senate--it's hard for anyone to see the point of all this. Also, lawmakers will be back in January for a regular 30 day session. Why can't it wait, they ask?

Even a number of Republican legislators are uncomfortable with the Guv jamming up the September 6 special redistricting session with controversial legislation, but are not saying so publicly.

The rebuke from Senator Garcia had to be especially painful for Martinez. It was the Guv's chance to showcase some bipartisanship over an education bill. A little cooperation with the "enemy" is just what this Governor needs about now. But apparently the bees of the Senate are in no mood to offer Susana any honey or take any from her. The head beekeeper on the Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse is going to have to look for a new strategy....

OLD FASHIONED HONEY


There's always the old fashioned honey that can do wonders for a Governor. Like the $5,000 contract for writing minimum qualifications for government jobs that her administration awarded Jeff Varela, the son of powerful Dem State Rep. Lucky Varela. The way the contract was awarded violated state rules and the administration got a black eye for it and so did the Varelas. Jeff Varela emailed this defense:

My father and our family are quite proud of our public service and the contributions we've made to helping people and public employees over many years! Why does the press not write about the thousands of citizens Rep. Varela has helped throughout his public service career, and the contributions he has made over 24 years in the Legislature? Obviously, the press paid little attention to the good, hard-working and committed public employees that are an integral part of NM's economy...

Thanks, Jeff, but that wasn't what the story was about. But you are right about your dad. He's served honorably for 24 years and appears to be a lock for re-election in 2012.

THE STAFFING

Another note on that very public diss of the Governor by Mary Jane Garcia. Where in the world was the Martinez staff? Didn't they have Garcia nailed down before the event? Or do they just tell Susana that Mary Jane is a crazy old lady and there's nothing that could have been done? Serving the Governor means protecting the Governor from embarrassment. Maybe Jeff Varela can include that in the job qualification standards he's writing up?

And, yes, Susana may say she is "humbled" by the VP chatter, but it is wearing especially thin as she struggles to govern here. And with advance notice that we will be applying for a pardon from the ABQ Journal's Bruce Daniels who has dubbed us "genetically conspiratorial," we can't help but again wonder whether it is national politics driving the Governor's agenda and not necessarily what is of concern here on the ground.

THE SHOOTING SPREE

Is there now any doubt that the Department of Justice will now launch a full probe into the long spree of ABQ fatal police shootings? They have plagued the city since the beginning of the Berry administration and seemed to have finally begun to dwindle. That ended Tuesday afternoon when the late August calm was interrupted by the news that the 20th police shooting and the 14th fatal one since January 2010 had taken place on the city's West Side.

It is academic whether the Tuesday shooting was justified or not (and the offender was armed). The fatal shooting rate here is off the charts and cries out for immediate out-of-town attention. That means Uncle Sam. The Tuesday shooting comes amid louder cries for reform of APD and its hierarchy, but the city's power structure is impervious. That's why the Federal investigation seems more necessary than ever.

Bring it on.

Now we don't know if Justice would confine itself to the police shootings, but an Alligator with a law enforcement background who monitors the action believes that would be a mistake. Folks at Justice, take a look:

APD's issues are not just the police shootings. They are the millions in lawsuits, the appearance of deep rooted corruption at all levels, the marital infidelity that has caused numerous problems, the very questionable hiring practices, etc. It appears we have the perfect storm of problems and I fear that if only one side of the dice is looked at (police shootings) all the other sides will not be reviewed and fixed.


MANAGING UP

A lot of us are waiting to see if and when Dem US Senate candidate Hector Balderas hires professional out-of-state campaign management for his important race. Martin Heinrich has on board campaign pro Adam Sullivan. He recently managed R
ep.-elect Kathy Hochul’s special election victory in New York.

Meanwhile, Alan Packman, 29, who managed Heinrich's significant 2010 US House re-election run has been signed by former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez. Before running Heinrich’s tense race, he managed grassroots efforts around the country for local and statewide candidates.

Politico Janis Hartley (ex-Big Bill scheduler) is handling fund-raising for Chavez and ABQ City Councilor Ken Sanchez is his campaign treasurer.

Chavez Dem congressional rival Eric Griego has signed Ed Yoon, 33, another no-nonsense out-of-state young pro who will be able to wage battle without worrying about stepping on toes. Yoon is no stranger here. He headed up the Defenders of Wildlife effort when they campaigned against GOP US Senate candidate Steve Pearce in 2008. No word yet from Dem House candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham on who will manage her effort, but with these races looking competitive, good campaign help could make a bigger than usual difference.

The above is an impressive roster of talent, and don't let the ages fool you. In the campaign management game over 40 is old.
In the days ahead we'll round up the campaign management teams for the GOP US House candidates.

Not that all these young hot shots are going to walk away happy. The youthful campaign manager for Dem Guv candidate Diane Denish was beaten like a rented mule for presiding over her 2010 loss to Susana Martinez. The last we heard of him he had found a job as a security guard at a back alley bar in Juárez where your pay is what you drink. Oh, the price of playing this game of ours.....

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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