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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dem Guv Association Ready To Change Attitude On NM Guv Race After Richardson Intervention; Contest To Get "Second Look" Plus: Martinez Responds To King TV Attack, And: The Bill For APD Crisis Skyrockets  

Richardson & King (Bralley photos)
Expect a change in attitude from the Democratic Governors Association when it comes to the New Mexico gubernatorial race. That's the word from former Governor Bill Richardson via his political network. He tells an associate to spread the news that the DGA is ready to announce it "will take a second look" at the prospects of unseating Governor Martinez. Richardson once headed the DGA.

That news follows a comment from Vermont Governor and current DGA head Richard Shumlin that the race against Martinez isn't winnable and he has to devote resources to races that are. But Richardson--whose ire was aroused when during the primary Martinez attacked him in a TV spot--spoke with Shumlin about Dem Guv nominee Gary King and explained that the race is not a lost cause and needs to be watched.

The reversal in course by the DGA is expected to soon go public. It won't erase all the damage done but combined with King's hard-hitting TV spot on Martinez and his decision to dig into his own pocket to finance it, the reversal should put more wind in his sails and cash in his bank account.

Will the DGA "second look" be accompanied by a decision to raise funds or donate to King? That remains to be seen. . .

The Richardson associate who passed on the DGA news from Bill said he expects Richardson to get more involved in the NM campaign. He did interviews recently with the newspaper and your blog to respond to Martinez's TV attack. He seemed to indicate that he would not be much of a presence here but now we're told he is likely to be more active. That could include fund-raising on behalf of King.

If King's unexpected negative TV hit on Martinez jarred her camp, they aren't saying. The Guv's camp came with a narrow response to the ad:

In King’s ad, it states he would demand women are paid the same as men when doing the same work, but what King fails to mention is that the liberal American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) praised Governor Martinez “for her support of New Mexico’s Equal Pay for Women Act and for developing measures to narrow the gender wage gap.” -

And the state GOP weighed in with this.

Neither the Martinez or GOP response mentioned other elements of the King ad, including the state's jobs dilemma. It is not a conversation she appears to want to have, hoping to center the conversation on King and his record as attorney general.

NOT WELCOME

With opposition trackers monitoring every move that Martinez and King make, avoiding embarrassment is high on the list of a campaign's priorities. And the candidates will go pretty far to ensure it. Look at this from Deming:

While the (Governor's) meet and greet was open to the public, the meeting did not go on without incident. Scott Chandler and supporters of the Tierra Blanca High Country Youth Ranch were asked to leave before the Governor arrived at the restaurant. Chandler is owner and operator of the ranch that takes in at-risk and troubled youth. Chandler said he, nor his group, were there to protest the governor, but were there to give her a petition. The group was asked to leave by plain clothed state police officers. Chandler and his group left quietly. Chandler's ranch has been under investigation by Children, Youth and Families and the New Mexico State Police for alleged mistreatment of youth living at the ranch. Chandler reached a settlement in court with CYFD to be in agreement for an operating plan at the ranch. Chandler's petition had 1,000 signatures in support of the ranch.

What if Chandler had stayed? On what grounds could the Governor's security remove him?

$30 MILLION GONE

What could the city of ABQ do with the $30 million awarded to victims of APD shootings since 2010? How about not raising garbage bills by the two bucks a month as was recently approved? How about providingng more services for the mentally ill and homeless who are at the nexus of the police crisis--without raising taxes?  Make your own personal pick.

The citizens and the media have not established the link between these millions of payouts and how it impacts the running of the city and their personal finances. Maybe that's another reason why this crisis drags on year after year.

The latest settlement came Tuesday in the shooting death of Christopher Torres in 2011. District Judge Shannon Bacon ordered the city to pay his family $6 million in damages. TV news reported that because of a state statute, the city is only required to pay out $400,000 of the $6 million in damages.

The case now moves to federal court, where the city could be on the hook for the $6 million, plus, much more in punitive damages.

The huge dollars going out the door represent the collective failure of the city to police the police. $30 million seems like the tip of the iceberg when one considers there have been over two dozen fatal police shootings since 2010. So where's the outcry? Some very pointed Senior Alligator analysis comes in:

If this were an Hispanic Democratic Mayor, rather than an Anglo Republican, the Northeast Heights would be coming unglued, demanding that someone--other than the taxpayers--should pay.

And this stand out quote from a member of the Torres family:

I did not want to put my family through this, that's the last thing I wanted. Three years ago I reached out to the mayor, I sent him a letter I said let's sit down, let's see what we can do about this, let’s see if we can’t work together to try to deal with this problem… I got no answer,” Steve Torres said.

And don't blame Judge Bacon who also presided over a case in which a jury awarded $10 million in damages to the family of an Iraq war veteran slain by APD. She's just doing her job--the job no one else cared to do.

(Bacon's complete ruling is posted here.)

If it's any consolation for taxpayers, that city council vote to increase the city's gross receipts tax to finance programs for the homeless and mentally ill has been postponed until Aug. 4. It is not expected to pass.

HUGE DEFEAT

The primary defeat last night of US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is one of the biggest upsets we've ever seen. Cantor of Virginia was knocked out by a Tea Party contender. It is also a very big loss for southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce. Remember, he voted for Cantor to be House speaker instead of John Boehner. Now Cantor, 51,  has a job hunt to commence and Pearce has to look for a new horse to ride. And you can bet Gary King was eyeing that big upset of a seemingly popular Republican most carefully.

VINTAGE ALBUQUERQUE 2014

It's no exaggeration to say that next Friday night (June 20) you have the welcome opportunity of tasting the best food and wines in New Mexico and at the same time contribute to the welfare of New Mexico's children. Vintage Albuquerque is now in its 23rd year and this Friday night's  "Grand Tasting" at the National Hispanic Cultural Center can't be beat. We're glad to help out. The details:

If you can only attend one event and a casual outdoor party is your thing, the Friday Fiesta can’t be beat. Over 30 wineries will pour over 100 wines with local restaurants cooking up perfect compliments for your culinary pleasure, truly a mouthwatering culinary extravaganza! A silent auction featuring wine, art, jewelry and other goodies provides perfect shopping opportunities for those who want to take home a piece (or pieces) of the action.

Vintage Albuquerque supports arts, music, dance, theater and other artistic education programs. Our benefactors have had a tremendous impact on New Mexico children throughout the years, and we are happy to support their efforts and successes.

The list of restaurants participating is enough to make the mouth water, so treat yourself. Tickets to the June 20th Friday evening Grand Tasting are $85 and can be purchased here or at the event which runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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