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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Election '11: Game On In Payne-Jones Council Duel; Hit Pieces Flood Mailboxes, Plus: Readers Write On Licenses, And: The Session: How Slow Is It? 

(Anti-Payne mailer)
City Election 2011 is hitting its stride. The mail wars are fully engaged in the premier battle featuring incumbent GOP City Councilor Trudy Jones and her Republican challenger--former councilor Greg Payne.

Jones, a quiet personality on the council for the last four years, ran unopposed in 2007 for her conservative-leaning NE Heights seat, but this year finds herself in a battle royale with Payne who sports the title "political consultant" among others.

Both are in the mailboxes with aggressive pieces that come as early polling locations prepare to open tomorrow.

ADMINISTERING PAIN

In one of her first hit pieces (of which many are anticipated) Jones is firing away over Payne's 2001 disorderly conduct arrest. He infamously tossed a soda can at a passing cyclist while he was a passenger in a car. He then stonewalled the cops when they asked him if he had been drinking something other than soda. Payne eventually attended rehab after the '01 bust. He points out that the incident is now over a decade old and that since then he was elected to a term as an ABQ state representative.

FIRING BACK

Here is Payne's retort to Jones as early voting approaches in the city and the Oct. 4 election day nears. He scores Jones for not supporting a ballot question asking ABQ voters how they feel about the controversial red-light camera program and also dumps on her for backing a $450 million Downtown events center that Payne says the city can ill afford.

Also weighing in on this contest is ABQ GOP Mayor Berry. He is being used in "robocalls" into the district to prop up Jones. If she loses the seat, the council could take a turn against Berry on key issues. There are currently five R's on the nine member council who in the main vote down the line with Berry. Payne would not and that could blockade Berry's bills.

Jones has received heavy backing from the real estate community from which she hails, pulling in over $60,000 in donations and hiring Gov. Martinez political consultant Jay McCleskey to package the Payne character attacks. Payne will be lucky to spend $10,000, but he has launched an intense door-to-door campaign, often a path to victory in these low turnout city elections.

MORE ACTION

Unlike Jones, GOP Councilor Brad Winter is not on the endangered species list, but his Dem rival is giving him reason to not go to sleep on the campaign trail. Retired government administrator Bill Tallman takes on the issues of the day as he launches this strike against Winter, the senior member of the council:

Albuquerque has lost over 27,000 jobs in the last three years, our police department is in disarray, and rather than spend on city priorities, we’re pumping millions of dollars into boondoggles like sportsplexes.

Winter’s job creation plan means building a new $25 million dollar sportsplex facility we neither need nor can afford...He stands “100 percent” with Police Chief Ray Schultz and voted against the Department of Justice investigating APD.
This is where we differ. I believe we must better invest and manage taxpayer dollars if we are to turn our local economy around. I believe we need new leadership to replace Chief Schultz if we are to clean up APD...

Winter joined the council in 1999. District 4 is heavy R. The proposed $25 million sportsplex Tallman mentions is on the city election ballot as a bond issue.

THE WORST IN 50 YEARS

How bad is the ABQ economy? The city's top administrator calls it the worst in the "last 50 years." Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry came with that rare economic analysis from the current administration while sparring with city union leaders. And that begs the question: if the city economy is in the worst shape in 50 years, what is the administration doing about it?

The folks at the city's economic development department have been as quiet as church mice for the last two years. No major new business development has come into the city during that time, the work force has continued to shrink and the construction industry--often the key around here to getting the party started again--remains in a depression.

Not that a mayor and city government can halt or reverse a national tide. But there has been no "talking up" of Albuquerque from the city's leadership--the mayor, the city council and the business elite. It's like everyone is waiting for something to happen or for someone else to say something.

Perry's outburst at least frames the severity of the problem. Maybe the administration can now come up with some ideas to combat what it sees as the worst economy here in 50 years.


BEATING THE RECESSION

The economy is certainly challenging, but former NM GOP Governor Garrey Carruthers ('87-91) has navigated the troubled waters most nimbly. Take a look:

(New Mexico State University) Business College Dean Garrey Carruthers, also vice president for economic development, made this year's top 10 with a $209,000 per-year salary --up from $166,000 in April 2010. He wasn't among the top 10 in 2009-10.


That's a 26 percent pay raise in the depths of a downturn. Seems Garrey's political training is coming in handy. Meanwhile...

No across-the-board, university-wide raises have been awarded since before the economic decline. And that's fueling discontent among some of NMSU's most prominent class of employees: the teaching and research faculty who are the engine of a college campus.


Maybe Governor Garrey can give his colleagues some tips on how to up those paychecks?

TAKING LICENSE

It's not as though Susana hasn't already moved the needle on the matter of allowing illegal immigrants to get a state driver's license. Don't you suspect the unbending and unrelenting rhetoric against the licenses has started to scare off those who would use the law for nefarious means? If you send a strong message that you are going to rigorously enforce the law--as Martinez has done through her bully pulpit--a crook is going to think twice. From that standpoint, well done, Guv. So why not now go ahead and craft your own compromise bill, declare victory and come back to the Legislature later for the rest of the pie? If you do, your conservative base isn't going to freak out and the vital independents are going to love you for it.

THE READERS WRITE


Readers have questions that they would like to see posed to the Governor. First up is Greg Lennes in Las Cruces:

Joe, I wonder if our Governor will support birthright citizenship with her fellow Republicans. Seventy-nine Republicans in the House have signed onto Iowa Rep. Steve King's proposal to repeal birthright citizenship, and four Republicans in the Senate have signed onto a similar proposal from Louisiana's David Vitter. That would be interesting. Someone should ask her.

Another reader writes:

Doesn't the fact that Governor Martinez's grandfather was an illegal immigrant make her a second or third generation "anchor baby"? There are some who would like to equally place those born to "illegals" as not American and not entitled to full benefit under our Constitution or laws. Curious a
s to what Ms. Martinez's stance is on that issue.

Well, Martinez has come out against Texas Governor Rick Perry's support of the Dream Act," which would ease the path toward citizenship for illegal immigrants who are students and entered the USA before they were 16 years old. We haven't heard her comment on anchor babies. Will someone ask?

Reader Greg Worley writes:

So, do we now get the Tea Partiers screaming about her being an "anchor baby" and demanding to see the "original" birth certificate?


On another subject involving the Guv, former NM GOP Chairman John Lattauzio writes:

Isn’t it a stretch comparing Governor Martinez speeding at 48 MPH with Bill Richardson travelling over 90 MPH on Albuquerque streets?


Susana's driver was recently busted for going 48 in a 35 mile per hour zone. Former Governor Richardson's driver was hitting 90 while on the interstate.
Whose infraction was more serious is a judgement call, but the critics say both of the Governors were going nowhere fast.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Dona Ana County State Rep. Joe Cervantes is the nephew of State Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, not her cousin, as we blogged Monday in a first draft....No, we don't understand why former NM Governor Gary Johnson is not being included in all these GOP presidential debates. He has no chance of winning, but neither do most of the others on the stage. Johnson is conducting a serious effort, appearing on national talk shows and on the stump in New Hampshire...

State House Republicans say they are "frustrated" by what they see as the "slow pace" of the special session. How slow is it? It's so slow that Speaker Lujan is letting Rep. Andy Nunez take hour long naps, instead of the usual half hour...It's so slow that Senator John Pinto is writing extra verses for the potato song he likes to sing at the end of the session. I
t's so slow Tim Jennings and Kenny Martinez were seen exercising on treadmills. Now that's slow.....

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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