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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dinelli Says He "Is Comfortable" That His Mayor Bid Will Qualify For Public Financing, Plus: Mary Han Case Draws Network Interest, And: Final Wrap on Legislature '13 

ABQ Mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli says he "is comfortable" that his mayoral campaign will qualify for $362,000 in public financing, but if it doesn't he will continue his bid with private financing.

Dinelli has to collect 3,600 individual $5 donations from registered city voters. No small task and one that in the past has kept a number of candidates off the ballot. But he has had help from the Dem party organization, volunteers and his own paid consultants. He has to turn in the required donations on Monday.

Mayor Berry has opted out of public financing and has been busy raising private cash to fund his re-election bid.

A candidate also needs 3,000 individual petition signatures to get on the October ballot. Dinelli says he is well over that number.

If he does quality for the public money, Dinelli will be the only candidate to do so this cycle. Republican Paul Heh says he can get the petition signatures to make the ballot, but opted out of public financing. Ditto for Dem Margaret Chavez who is collecting petition signatures, but is not going to pursue public financing.

THE ECON BEAT

ABQ is still fighting the recession blues as evidenced by the econ news that continues to inform us that job creation is essentially nil in the metro. Attorney Jeff Baker comes with an idea he says might give the scene some spark:

New Orleans has Jazz Fest, which earns that city $300 million each year. Austin has South by Southwest, which generates $165 million each year. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta had a $117 million impact for our city in 2011. Can we pull off 2 major events each year? The State Fairgrounds, in the heart of Albuquerque, could be a great venue for a music festival showcasing regional and local musicians. Like the Balloon Fiesta, it can start small and grow. The State owns the Fairgrounds--does the Governor have someone in her Cabinet who can talk to New Mexico’s musicians and promoters and figure out what type of music is going to attract people from out of state?

Thanks, Jeff. Under Gov. Richardson we had a NM Music Commission, but it was disbanded under Governor Martinez. Still, there would seem to be plenty of other avenues in state government to explore your concept.

A NEW DUMPING GROUND?

UNM having a major management role at the Sandia National Laboratories? Someone throw up the red flags. UNM has become a political dumping ground of sorts for two successive administrations and has had its hands full managing its own athletic department. Now they want to manage Sandia with it's $2.4 billion annual budget. UNM says it means it could have more UNM people at the labs. That sounds more like a threat than a promise. Imagine the politicians who already wield enormous pressure over the UNM administration getting their hands on the job roster for the fabled federal labs. Washington, please save us from ourselves and kill this idea in its crib.

HAN CASE

The mysterious death of noted ABQ defense attorney Mary Han has caught the eye of the CBS News broadcast "48 Hours." A producer for the program has been making inquiries about the case which has raised a number of questions about police procedures as well as those of the Office of the Medical Investigator. Attorney General Gary King says his office will take a look at the case. He is also asking the US Department of Justice to investigate as part of its civil rights investigation of APD.

Han, 53 at the time of her death, was a high-profile civil rights attorney who handled a number of lawsuits against the police. She was found dead in her car in her garage in her ABQ home. Authorities ruled it a suicide but the family of Han is suing APD over the investigation and is not convinced she took her own life.  No word on whether 48 Hours will produce and air a report on the Han death, but a producer in New York confirms they are investigating.

EVEN MORE SESSION '13

Nicole Brady
Monahan & Dyson
It is rare for a legislative session to leave so much to analyze in its wake, but this one was a doozy, with the Dems divided and  the GOP Guv winning key legislation.

We sat down with KOB-TV news anchor Nicole Brady and veteran political reporter Stuart Dyson for last Sunday's Edition of "Eye on New Mexico" to give it a final treatment, as well as the first take on the '13 ABQ mayoral contest. (Video is here.)

Dyson and I were our usual irreverent selves, but Nicole did her duty and made us get serious and introduced a myriad of topics. However, not before Dyson said he appreciates the gesture, but will not take advantage of the Legislature's decision to allow restaurant patrons to begin drinking adult beverages at 10 a.m on Sunday morning, instead of noon. "I'm too old!" He declared.

Aah, the march of time...

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