Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Blustery Spring And Blustering Politicos, Plus: Crunch Time For ABQ City Council Hopefuls, Also: Defending Pat Padilla & Carruthers Takes NMSU Prize 

It seems as though half of Texas has blown into New Mexico this very dry and windy spring. Our picture today--"New Mexico--Putting the 'sand' in sandwich for centuries" sums it up. But rest assured toasty June will soon arrive, banishing the winds (for the most part) and ushering in the blessed New Mexico summer which might even deliver some of the wet stuff that has been so sparse in yet another year of the super drought....

It's not only blustery winds keeping New Mexicans on guard. It's all those blustering politicos. We mean the many (is it dozens?) who claim to be running for Governor next year but in the end will retreat to the safety of their current offices.

The growth in "vanity candidacies" seems to be outperforming the soaring stock market. Those are ones in which the hopeful has no intention of being a hopeful but likes to have his or her name mentioned as a potential Governor.

State Senators aren't up for re-election next year so they can look in the mirror and admire themselves as potential chief executives as much as they like. For state representatives, it's trickier. They are up for re-election but they can say they are running for Governor or actually run, but get out in time to seek-re-election to their House seats.

The really serious candidates? Those are the ones out there starting to raise serious money. You can count them on a hand with two missing fingers. One of them is Susana Martinez, the incumbent Governor whose out-of-state fund-raising travel has had a noticeable uptick since the end of the legislative session...


There's mot much faking it if you are running for a seat on the ABQ city council in the October election. You have the month of May to gather the required 500 signatures from registered voters.

To qualify for public financing you have to get anywhere from about 350 individual $5 donations to nearly 500, depending on the size of the district you are running in. If you qualify for the public financing, you receive $1 dollar per registered voter in the district. That is in the $40,000 area.

Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, recently appointed to the District 7 NE Heights seat, is the only city council candidate listed by the city clerk as not seeking public financing.

Sixteen candidates (listed here)  have announced for the six council seats up for election on the nine member council.

West side Councilor Ken Sanchez is going to win another four year term--he is unopposed. Councilors Lewis, Harris and Benton start as early favorites to win-re-election.

A couple of the current 16 contenders will probably fail to get the needed signatures. We will have the final field at the end of May.


It's an open secret that Guv Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey has the run of the Fourth Floor at the Roundhouse and this report from the liberal advocacy group ProgressNow NM confirms that other open secret--That Jay, who managed Mayor Berry's, 2009 mayoral campaign, also has the run of the 11th Floor at City Hall:

Internal emails and documents...show that ABQ Mayor RJ Berry and senior staff used private emails to communicate with city contractors and to coordinate the use of city resources supporting a political action committee run by Berry’s political advisor and political donors. Business leaders receiving city funds for public works projects formed a political committee in 2011 and hired Berry’s chief political advisor Jay McCleskey to pass bonds paying for Berry’s massive new public works project, ABQ The Plan.

There we go with the private email accounts--again  The Dems are going to need to find their voice on this and other matters or else they will continue to languish on the bottom floors in Santa Fe and ABQ.

Berry mayoral election foe Pete Dinelli gave it a shot:

The information...illustrates the continuation of a disturbing pattern of ethical lapses and transparency failures by the Berry administration. The mayor and his political cronies have shown an incredible lack of respect for our laws made clear by the recent filing of three ethics complaints related to illegal campaign contributions and pay to play. I call for an immediate investigation by the city council as well as the independent audit department into any criminal misconduct by the mayor and/or his staff.


We blogged last month that some Dem insiders are worried about the past of former Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla as he mounts a bid for the 2014 Dem nod for state treasurer. His troubles include being indicted in the 90's on a criminal charge related to the county treasurer's office. However, he was found not guilty. Robert Marcotte, the attorney who represented Padilla back then comes with an in-depth explanation of the case which we posted here. An excerpt:

(Padilla) was accused of being a criminal and run out of office, all as the result of an audit by an individual who had insufficient knowledge as to the propriety of the short term activities and complex investment strategies employed by Patrick. Patrick was acquitted on the criminal charges and Patrick filed a civil law suit against the auditor which was settled to Patrick's satisfaction.

Padilla was elected county treasurer in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was a Bernalillo County commissioner from 1981-1984. He ran and won for treasurer in 2004 and 2008 and completed his final term last year. The current treasurer is Manny Ortiz. Padilla has done work for the treasurer's office under Ortiz.

Current state Treasurer James Lewis is term limited and will leave office at the end of '14.


There was an aggressive effort to torpedo the candidacy of former NM Guv Garrey Carruthers as president of New Mexico State University in Cruces but Carruthers, the longtime dean of the NMSU business school, squeaked through on a 3 to 2 vote by the regents Monday.

Although Dona Ana legislative Dems opposed his candidacy, largely because of his conservative environmental record, on the whole Carruthers' appointment should be a net positive for the school. The 73 year old is seemingly in good stead with Governor Martinez and she has the veto power over the eduction budgets. Also, although his reputation took a beating in the press leading up to his appointment, Carruthers, a native New Mexican, has biz and social connections that are long and deep.

Softening the blow for his critics is his age. At 73, Carruthers won't be at the helm for an exceptionally long time. The fervor of his foes to cause him pain may be diminished.


Rush Limbaugh
We've mentioned the possibility of talker Rush Limbaugh leaving his longtime perch at ABQ's 50,000 watt 770 KKOB-AM. Now it is looking more likely as Limbaugh tangles with the management of Cumulus radio--the new owners of KKOB and several dozen other stations that carry Limbaugh.

If Rush does end his over 20 year relationship with KKOB, it would be at the end of the year.

Where would Rush pop up on the radio dial? For sure another station would pick up the conservative host, but no other station in the market has the reach or power of his present outlet.


Have you seen this incredible video making the rounds? It's human history in a rapid-fire, two minute video and is a project of a high school student. Worth watching--maybe more than once.

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