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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On The Economy Beat: An Interest In Keeping It Down? Plus: New Chamber Chair Steers A Bit Different, And: First US Senate Poll Doesn't Surprise  

Adelmo "Del" Archuleta
Now here's a scary thought. Is it possible the ABQ governing and political classes may actually not want economic development? From Governing:

A poor economy and all the problems that come with it actually benefit some people, giving powerful players less incentive to improve the status quo for the rest. Jane Jacobs...noted in The Economy of Cities, “Economic development, whenever and wherever it occurs, is profoundly subversive of the status quo.” And it isn’t hard to figure out that even in cities and states with serious problems, many people inside the system are benefiting from the status quo. They have political power, an inside track on government contracts, a nice gig at a civic organization or nonprofit, and so on. All of these people, who are disproportionately in the power broker class of most places, potentially stand to lose if economic decline is reversed. That’s not to say they are evil, but they all have an interest to protect.

We'd like to think the new chairman of the ABQ Chamber of Commerce--businessman Adelmo "Del" Archuleta--does not fear losing if economic opportunity expands here. In an interview he summarizes the major challenge for ABQ as education. He points out how much we lag and how that is scaring companies away from here and also putting a crimp in the size of the skilled labor force.

He’d like to see schools add “resource centers” to provide students with social support and help combat truancy. The issue “dearest to my heart is doing everything we can to close the achievement gap in our schools,” he said. Archuleta expects that during his term the chamber will maintain its stance on other educational issues. . .  supporting New Mexico Common Core standards, merit pay for teachers and implementation of the state’s teacher evaluation program.

That's pretty refreshing in that we didn't get the tired bromides about needing to cut taxes and regulations even more and how that will be the panacea for getting us out of this recession. Not that the chamber's education agenda gets at the root issue--which is getting results by investing in very early childhood education and breaking the generational cycle of educational dysfunction.

Archuleta also seems aware that the violent reputation of ABQ is another business killer. He says he has formed a task force to address what he calls the "APD dilemma."

Arhculeta, a native New Mexican, a son of a teacher and a husband to one, is president of Molzen-Corbin and has been around a long time. In the past he has also served as the chamber's chair, but those were much more placid times. That Archuleta is emphasizing the social conditions crisis here--if only around the edges--signals that he gets it. Now he needs to drag to the table his colleagues in the upper echelons of the city business community.

IN THE YEAR 2064

This week the state is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 1964. Perhaps Mr. Archuleta and his colleagues can ponder what ABQ will be celebrating in 2064 that took place in 2014? (Las Cruces in that far away year could very well be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the private osteopathic medical school that was announced this year.)

The fiscal austerity that dominates in Santa Fe and ABQ prevents more public investment in people and programs that might in the years ahead get the state out of the bottom of the barrel--or at least make the stay in that portion of the barrel more tolerable. And it would be good for business.

It's risky, of course. What isn't? Remember the incentives and subsides given to Eclipse Aviation, Hewlett Packard and Intel? They didn't quite work out as planned, did they?  Until Santa Fe understands that it has to be as flexible investing in human capital as it is in corporations, we will be at a standstill. . .

WEH Vs. UDALL

Weh & Udall
Unlike the Rasmussen poll that showed the race for Governor all tied up, the firm's survey of the US Senate contest will not stir any controversy. It was expected:

Tom Udall is comfortably ahead of his Republican challenger. . . A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds Udall with 54% support versus Republican Allen Weh’s 33%. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate in the race, and 10% are undecided. The survey of 860 Likely Voters in New Mexico was conducted on July 21-22, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Meanwhile, TV news reports that an on line poll sponsored by CBS News and the New York Times shows Gov. Martinez beating Gary King 48 to 40 percent. The online poll showed Udall beating Weh 51 to 44 percent. The Rasmussen survey released last week had Martinez and King tied at 43 percent each.

THE POT PLOT

Would this increase Dem turnout if it managed to get on the November ballot? If it were outright legalization it would. From ProgressNowNM:

The campaign to put reduced marijuana penalties on the ballot in Albuquerque submitted more than 16,000 signatures to the city clerk .  The city clerk must verify 11,203 of those names as city voters in order to send the measure to the city council where councilors will be asked to let voters decide the issue during the November election.

RETURN TO SENDER

We noted on the Monday blog that Las Cruces area Dem State Rep. Phil Archuleta had encountered heat for taking legislative per diem during the last legislative session, even though he could not attend the session because he was ill. Arhculeta's campaign points out that he returned the money.

He did so after criticism like this and don't think the GOP won't be hammering him for it come October. In fact, look for the R's--hoping to seize control of the House--to make the overall ethics of the Dems in the legislature one of their big themes.. . .

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