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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fed Cuts Kick City Economy In Middle Of Mayor Race, And: Ready for Mayor 2017? Plus: Allen Weh For Senate--Or How About Governor? Plus: Gatorgate Email 

The Feds are zapping $8 million out of the ABQ economy as 2,100 civilian workers at Kirtland Air Force Base are forced to take off one day a week between now and the end of September. It's part of the government's "sequestration."

That isn't going to help perk up the anemic city economy that Dem Pete Dinelli will do his best to hang around the neck of ABQ GOP Mayor Richard Berry in the October election...

Meanwhile, back at the economy (Do you have to do it, Joe? Sorry, yes we do). The latest:

The Albuquerque metropolitan area’s economy declined even more in the first quarter, as the area ranked 96th among the nation’s top 100 metro areas in terms of its postrecession recovery.
The 96th overall ranking is a decline from the 92nd ranking in the fourth quarter, according to the MetroMonitor report issued by the Brookings Institution. The area ranked 100th in employment, 87th in unemployment, 70th in GDP and 51st in housing prices, Brookings said.

So where's the finger-pointing, the vigorous political debate over all this? Where, oh where, is the leadership that can help get us out of this mess? The Republicans in power are reactionaries, happy doing nothing and the Democrats are simply hapless. There is no plan. We are adrift...

How about ABQ Dem City Councilor Ken Sanchez drawing no foe for his re-election bid for a third four year term from the city's west side? That's going to make Ken take a look at getting an early mayoral bid going for 2017. He'll have company. Republican Councilor Dan Lewis is already taking up a '17 mayoral bid, but first he has to win re-election in October. These guys are sure in a hurry, aren't they?...

WEIGHING WITH WEH

Allen Weh
Let's not assume too much yet about the 2014 election--like the assumption that Governor Martinez will have no GOP primary opposition next June. Sure, it's very likely she won't, but what if former GOP Chairman Allen Weh who fought her for the nomination in 2010 decided to take her on again?

He might--if Gatorgate, the shady Downs deal and/or emailgate start taking a toll on her.

He's been talking about running against Dem Senator Tom Udall, but his chances of prevailing against him are less than slim. Would he be better off taking on Martinez? Probably, if a scandal were to wound her.

We asked Weh where he was at in his consideration of a US Senate run. He told us:

I am still working through the process. 

He then added in a reference to our work on Gatrorgate, emailgate and the Downs racino lease deal:

You've had interesting reporting the past few weeks...

Weh will be closely watching all the reporting on the Martinez administration in the days ahead. As a successful businessman he can kick-start a campaign with his own cash. That gives him more time to make a decision about 2014.

GATORGATE EMAIL

A reader writes of First Gentleman Chuck Franco and Gatorgate--a subject covered extensively on the blog this week:

You think Chuck would like to go to Disney World with us? We're planning to take a family vacation And while we've got the trip all set up, this whole Gatorgate controversy got me thinking--let's see if Chuck wants to go. We'll get the State of New Mexico to fund most, if not all of the cost of our family vacation. It'll be great! 

Unfortunately, I'm not a state employee so there'd be no overtime pay for me, but what-the-heck, I'd even be willing to go halfers on the gas, but we'll need one of the state's Suburbans--the Tahoe is too small. We've got six kids for goodness sake! I'm hoping that Chuck could show us around some of his old gator hunting grounds in Louisiana because we pass right through it on our way to Orlando, FL, right? Chuck, it's Disney World or bust! What do you say?

EMAILGATE

A bizarre sidebar to emailgate--the hijacking of Governor Martinez's campaign account--continues to unfold. The latest:

A former Democratic political consultant under investigation by federal law enforcement agents for hacking the governor’s email made his initial appearance in Albuquerque federal court Tuesday on charges of receiving child pornography.
Jason Loera, 44, of Albuquerque, was arrested May 31 in California on a warrant from U.S. District Court in New Mexico charging him with receiving images of child pornography. He was released on $20,000 bail to Pretrial Services for placement in a residential treatment facility, according to court documents.

The hijacking of Susana's campaign email account--allegedly by former campaign manager Jamie Estrada--is an interesting story, but what everyone is really interested in is in the emails that see the light of day as a result of the hijacking. Is Estrada holding some of them back? If released, would they damage the administration ? That's the big question.

OUR WELFARE STATE

Another reader writes:

I knew we had a huge population on Medicaid but this blew me away: New Mexico's population in  2012 was 2,085,538. According to a NM Business Journal article, New Mexico’s Medicaid rolls are expected to grow to more than 700,000 beginning in 2014 when Medicaid expansion takes effect. That's 34% of the state's population.

Without jobs being created I can't see any way out of this mess without adding even more responsibility being placed on our young working people what are already being bankrupted with future debt.

ALLIGATOR AT THE ROUNDHOUSE

The Roundhouse is in a summer slumber with lawmakers not scheduled to come back until January. One of our Alligators found that out on a recent visit there and decided to liven the place up with some rock and roll.  We dedicate this video to Chuck Franco, the state's top Gator hunter. Yeah, now we're havin' some summer fun...

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