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Friday, April 20, 2012

Bipartisanship At Starbucks, Plus: Berry Unloads On Council & Gators Strike, And: Rio Rancho Goes To The R's 

Keller and Ryan
Here's some good old-fashioned bipartisanship on display at our local Starbucks. ABQ Democratic State Senator Tim Keller pals it up with ABQ GOP Senator John Ryan. That looks like a cigarette in John's hand, but it isn't, although we're sure the conservative Republican will not be voting for any tobacco tax hikes anytime soon.

As for Keller, he ought to enjoy this moment of bipartisanship. Former GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. helped recruit former Dem Senator Shannon Robinson to run against Tim this year--as a Republican. Keller trounced Robinson in the Dem primary four years ago.

Harvey and company will pour in the bucks--not just the Starbucks--in Keller's SE Heights district amid talk that Keller may run against GOP ABQ Mayor RJ Berry next year. That's like throwing nails down in front of a guy's tires, Harvey.

BERRY UNLEASHED

Speaking of the mayor, he unleashed a torrent of criticism of the four ABQ city councilors who called on him to make unspecified changes in the ABQ police department where numerous police shootings are prompting lawsuits and threats of an investigation by the Department of Justice. With uncharacteristic bombast, the mayor punched back:

It is apparent that these four councilors have lost their confidence in one of the finest police departments in America – I have not and the community as a whole has not. Law-abiding citizens in Albuquerque are safer now than they have been in a long time, and we will continue to make public safety a top priority through innovative policing and community involvement.

That's tougher talk from Berry than we're used to hearing and that means--you guessed it--an Alligator strike. Here it comes....

The thing the public is finally seeing about Berry is the thin skin and petty vindictiveness those who work closely with him very often ascribe to the mayor. This darker side of Berry's personality hasn't made it into the media before. With the heat turned up ever so slightly it appears we're getting to see another side of the once "laid-back" and easygoing RJ Berry. It seems he isn't much of a nice guy at all...

Well, nice or not, we blogged a number of months ago of the much sterner face Berry shows behind closed doors than the one on public display. It surfaced last year when a number of 11th Floor staffers rotated out of the office and made comments about the mayor to associates.

ANOTHER GATOR STRIKE

And while we're at it, here's another Gator strike. We quoted Dem Dona Ana County Commissioner Scott Krahling, a member of the board of directors of Spaceport America, for calling on Santa Fe and the Guv to come with more funding for the Spaceport so plans for visitors' centers don't come unraveled. Here come the Gator jaws, Scott...

The first thing Scott Krahling needs to do is to get his Dem buddies in the Legislature to pass some reasonable limit on liability legislation that will encourage future success of the Spaceport. They already have blocked the past attempts, likely because most of them are lawyers and see a potential gold mine here at the expense of the rest of us New Mexicans. We are still at a disadvantage nationally on this litigation issue and this could turn out to be the Achilles heel of the project, not lack of visitors' centers.

A point well made, Mr. Gator. It was the Dems in the Legislature that killed an important Spaceport liability bill (although early foot dragging by the Guv on the Spaceport didn't help matters. She says she will try for a bill in the '13 session), 

NO QUIT

We blogged this week that retired Marine Johnny Luevano might want to give it up now that a court has disqualified him from the ballot in the ABQ west side state House seat held by Dem Rep. Moe Maestas. Republican Luevano took issue with that reference and fired back with this:

I am the son of an illiterate day laborer father and a house-maid mother, so if there was an ounce of quit in me I wouldn't be talking to you today. I think the point to be made here is that I am not the one running scared, if this race would be such a rout why won't Moe man up and face me on the issues?

Okay, Johnny, we're done underestimating your chances. With a working class background like that, we gotta believe you relish the fight ahead to salvage your political future.

RIO RANCHO ELECTION

Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack is a Democrat now facing a den full of Republican lions, says reporter Eric Maddy:

Conservative candidates Mark Scott and Lonnie Clayton won Rio Rancho city council seats Tuesday, defeating incumbents and completing the change of political philosophy in just one election cycle. Scott defeated one-term councilor Steve Shaw in District 4. Clayton defeated District 6 councilor Kathy Colley. Coupled with Chuck Wilkins’ outright victory over three-term councilor Mike Williams on March 7 and District 5 councilor Tim Crumm, conservatives will now have a 4-2 majority. The results are seen by many as a blow to Mayor Tom Swisstack. Though city elections are technically non-partisan, Swisstack represented the city for several years in the state Legislature as a Democrat.

That's some welcome news for the R's here who continue to fret over Obama's early polling lead as well as the one of Dem Martin Heinrich against Heather Wilson in a mock US Senate match-up.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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