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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Lawsuit Over City Campaign Cash Rules Raises Eyebrows, Also: Radio Talk Wars For ABQ? And: Too Much Healthcare Charity?  

Al Park
The latest news on the mayoral front is a real eyebrow raiser. The story itself is interesting--a lawsuit has been filed by several city contractors to overturn the city ban on mayoral candidates receiving money from businesses or owners of businesses that have contracts with the city. The eyebrow raiser and what has Democrats talking is the attorneys who filed the federal lawsuit.

It was a team effort--stalwart ABQ Republican attorney Mickey Barnett's law firm was joined by none other than ex-progressive ABQ Dem State Representative and attorney Al Park. Yeah, we're off to the races on that one...

Overturning the contribution limit would benefit Republican Berry. Unlike Dem Pete Dinelli he did not opt to receive public financing of some $360,000. He is raising private money and at last count had banked $250,000. But he has run into trouble. $17,000 of those donations are being called into question because it appears the donors do business with the city--a no-no under the current law. (The full lawsuit is posted here.) (Dinelli had $200 in questionable donations and donated them to charity),

The lawsuit says the restrictions are unfair, saying unions and others who do business with the city are free to donate. The Barnett-Park suit--if successful--could pave the way for Berry to start taking contractor money in time for the October election. but it would also give Dinelli and mayoral hopeful Paul Heh the opportunity to accuse Berry of pay-to-play and soil his choir boy image. Dinelli's campaign is already on it:

With all of the issues of this election breaking against the Mayor--our flailing economy first and foremost--the Mayor's political cronies have launched a desperate attempt to buy this election and cling to their power...They want to legalize pay-to-play contributions and put the corporate special interests in charge of our government to maximize their bottom line. That's simply unacceptable....

PARK'S PLACE

Park lost his bid for the Dem nomination for an ABQ Public Regulation Commission seat last year after it was disclosed here that his law firm raked in hundreds of thousands in state contracts from the Republican administration of Susana Martinez. Since then he has been dubbed a DINO--Democrat in name only.

Park is a close personal and professional friend of NM Democratic House Speaker Kenny Martinez who, like Park, is an attorney. Park was a key ally of Martinez when Martinez, in 2006, launched a coup attempt against then House Speaker Ben Lujan. It failed, but Martinez did become Speaker following the 2012 election.

Speaker Martinez lost progressive support in March when in the final seconds of the legislative session he gave in to the Governor and rammed through a corporate tax cut. His ties to former GOP State Rep. Keith Gardner--now the Guv's chief of staff--were called into question by Dems outraged by the Speaker's cave in.

Now Park surfaces again in the Republican camp and that's going to keep the spotlight on the Speaker and how much behind the scenes footsie he is or isn't playing with the R's.

A Senior Alligator comes with the suspicions:

Al Park teaming up with Mickey Barnett should be a giant red flag for Democrats statewide. Once a star of the progressive cause, Park sold out to the Martinez Administration for a lucrative legal contract when he was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and it cost him his race for the PRC. The question Democrats needs to ask: Is Park the only one? Why were other supposed progressives so quick to push through at the last minute of the legislative session the Martinez corporate tax cut?  Was it out of principle? Or do Democrats need to start following the money with their own leadership? 

In La Politica, you always follow the money.

PRESS BASHING

Some  Dems are not only running against the R's, they're also taking on the newspaper. From Bernalillo County Dem Party Chair Ana Canales:

The Republicans are beginning their attacks on us, even digging up old news. They may have the Albuquerque Journal and the money on their side but we have the votes. The number of registered Democrats is greater than the number of registered Republicans. So why do they win? Because we do not get our Democrats out to the polls. Let's start our own attack campaign but let's do it by having block parties, house parties, precinct meetings, etc. 

TALK WARS?

Some of our media Alligators are speculating that if conservative talker Rush Limbaugh leaves 770 KKOB-AM radio at the end of the year, we could get one of the market's FM stations going to an all-talk format with Limbaugh as its centerpiece. That could be the first serious competition in decades for #1 ranked KKOB.

Limbaugh, as we blogged this week, is having conflicts with Cumulus, the company that recently purchased KKOB and where his broadcast is carried weekdays. The talk FM format has been growing in popularity.

Limbaugh has had some problems with advertisers since a boycott was launched over remarks he made, but still has a large core audience.

TOO MUCH CHARITY?

Blogging New Mexico
Reader "D" writes of our comments this week on the very long patient wait times at publicly funded University of New Mexico Hospital:

...Your statement about the free health care at UNMH becoming "nearly Third World care" is patently absurd. There are two tiers of health care in the U.S., and millionaires don't have to scrum for appointments at the Mayo Clinic the way us working stiffs have to beg to get in to see a general practice doctor or a dermatologist. What "indigent" and "other" people receive at UNMH is somewhere between "excellent" and "better than what half the world can aspire to. That it takes a little, or a lot, longer to get your free treatment or surgery isn't going to keep this taxpayer up at night.

 Liberals act as if money can be pulled from thin air, and any limits on charity are an affront to humanity. Deep down inside liberals must know that you are picking the pockets of the hardest working citizens, to help the least productive among us. Is that noble? Sometimes I'm not so sure. 

...Let's keep some perspective. I've personally been furloughed, my coworkers laid off, and I will likely never see another raise even as my health care costs skyrocket, and more is asked of me at work. More health care for the charity set is way down on my list of priorities. (Love the blog).

We welcome your thoughts, musings, commentary, analysis and existential angst.

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