Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Pro Tem Papen Hits Fund-Raising Circuit, Plus: Alligator Strike: Blog Answers Pushback On Why Susana Snubbed Gov. Brewer, Also: Pearce Scampers Over Gov't Shutdown 

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State Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen comes with a fund-raiser announcement that has the eyes of the Santa Fe lobbyists popping. She's asking $650 a pop or $2500 for a table of four. The event will be held tomorrow night at the well-known watering hole The Bull Ring. She says the cash will go to her "Pro Tempore" committee.

State Senators are not up for re-election until 2016. But all 70 state House members are up next year.

Besides guffawing at the price tag of that Mary Kay event, several of the Santa Fe wall-leaners wonder if she will dish out some of the cash to those House members who could decide if the Dems retain control of the chamber. Or will she hoard it for '16 and dish it out to those Senators who were key in making her Pro Tem over Senator Pete Campos at the start of the '13 session?


With Mayor Berry riding high in the polls, Democrats are trying to deliver some good news next Tuesday night in the District 7 City Council battle. Some of them think candidate Matt Biggs could help in that regard. They think he should bow out of the race and endorse fellow Democrat Diane Gibson.

In polling conducted for NM Politics with Joe Monahan on September 25, Republican City Councilor Janice Arnold-Jones is at 46 percent, shy of the 50% she needs to avoid a run-off election with the second top vote-getter. That's where Biggs comes in. He was running at 11% while Gibson was at 28%. The argument being that if Biggs were to get out this week and back Gibson she would pick up enough Democratic support to force Arnold-Jones into a November 19 run-off.

(More poll analysis here.)

The race is key because election observers believe whichever party controls District 7 will end up controlling the council. Currently it is divided 6 to 3 in favor of the R's.

Biggs is a twentysomething making his firs bid for elective office. Several Dems arguing for his withdrawal say Biggs, a former Marine who served in Iraq, might make a good candidate for Bernalillo County Sheriff in 2014.


Reaction now to our scoop that Governor Martinez snubbed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer when Brewer attended a Friday night NM GOP fundraiser in the backyard of Martinez critic and ABQ GOP businessman Tom Tinnin.

Following that blog, the Guv's spin room went into overdrive to convince the public there was no snub--that Martinez had to attend the Governor's Awards For Excellence in the Arts the same night the fund-raiser was held. She couldn't find a way to make appearances at both? With weeks to plan ahead? Maybe she needs Bill Richardson's scheduler.

Another reason they planted in the newspaper--that Martinez did not want to attend a fund-raiser that could hurt the cash raising efforts of ABQ Mayor Berry. Say what? Berry has a huge lead in the polls and is outspending Pete Dinelli two to one. He doesn't need more money.

Nowhere does the press mention that host Tinnin had a falling out with Martinez and resigned from the state Board of Finance over Martinez's handling of the controversial 25 year racino lease for the Downs at ABQ. Neither is it mentioned that one of the fund-raiser's co-hosts was former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. who has said that he is no longer skeptical about corruption charges that are hovering over the administration.

And we'll throw a new angle in on why the Governor was not at that event and why it showcased the split in the state GOP:

The person in charge of selling tickets was none other than Anissa Ford. Who's she? She's the former campaign aide to Governor Martinez who the Governor's spokesman publicly described as "a disgruntled former campaign staffer who was extremely bitter when she wasn't offered a position after the campaign."

And that's the real story on why a sitting Governor of this state stood up another sitting Republican Governor.

The Governor's political operatives do their best to throw up the smokescreens, but they are no match for the veteran Alligators of La Politica. And that, dear readers, (and the Fifth Floor) is what we call an Alligator strike.


It didn't take long for the federal government's partial shutdown to cause big trouble for one member of the state's congressional delegation. Southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce just could not get his story straight. And that had the sideline viewers gaping with astonishment and wondering just how deep a hole Steve was digging for himself.

Before the shutdown the conservative Pearce left open the possibility of not voting to shut down the government unless Obamacare was repealed or modified as part of the deal. That report is here. But when the government closed down on Monday Pearce, a tea party adherent, "clarified" his stance, saying he would not vote for any measure that reopened the government unless it included changes to Obamacare.

And get this. Pearce, already looking slipperier than an oil spill, came with yet a further "clarification" following that one. The paper reported his new position: "He would vote for a bill to keep government running as long as it makes clear that members of Congress and their staffs don’t get any special treatment – such as federal subsidies – under Obamacare."

Pearce explained his flip-flopping this way: "Time causes great changes in this business."

The compilation of all of Pearce's changes on this politically crucial issue are here.

Pearce got hurt after the paper headlined his first position by saying he would not vote to shut down the government. That was picked up by this blog and other media.

The certitude of the headline over that first article clashed with Pearce's ambiguous stand but by trying to appease both sides Pearce left himself open to that headline.

Now after giving three positions on the most important issue of them all--funding the US government--Pearce makes a cat on a hot tin roof look calm.

Watching all of this from the sidelines is likely Dem congressional nominee Rocky Lara, a former. Eddy County commissioner who is getting early support from US Senator Martin Heinrich and House Dem leader Nancy Pelosi.

As the only member of the state's congressional delegation to support the shutdown in federally-dependent New Mexico, Pearce takes the political hit. We're sure it won't be long before Rocky puts on her boxing gloves and starts throwing some punches Steve's way.


With Mayor Berry running far ahead in the polls, we asked one of our readers who backs the Mayor to give us his reasoning. Jim McClure responded:

I give Berry credit for responsible financial leadership at a time when many cities avoided tough decisions. He appears to be the first mayor in recent memory to stand up to the unions: The public employee unions appear to be mildly disgruntled but not in open revolt, which suggests a healthy level of labor-management tension. The city appears to be doing most things right in terms of public services and responsiveness to citizens, and Berry has avoided such red-ink projects as a new events center or the Central Ave. streetcar. 

Berry has not done much to create jobs but also has refrained from killing them. I would like to see a more focused effort to attract private-sector employment, but there's a limit to what a mayor can do to counteract an unfavorable tax climate, an undereducated work force and the recent minimum-wage referendum.

Berry has made some missteps in housebreaking the police department, but the problems there are systemic and long-term. Unless APD's few trigger-happy sociopaths were hired after Berry took office, Chavez and Dinelli may share some of the responsibility for the department's culture. Berry's initiative to curb property crime appears to have been successful, at least in my neighborhood. I'm pleased that Berry has embraced the Justice Department's investigation and appears to be committed to long-term reform.

Pretty persuasive, Jim. Now let's hear from the Pete Dinelli and Paul Heh supporters.

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