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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Irony Department: City Economy Sags But Mayor Gets Reward, Plus: "Goodbye ABQ: Land Of Violence"; NYT Op-Ed Piece Fires Up Readers, And: Our Bottom Lines 

Mayor Berry
Forbes reports that of 200 metro areas in the USA ABQ ranks 200 for projected job growth through 2016. The Brookings Institution reports that ABQ is in a double-dip recession. And that makes this news all the more strange:

Mayor Richard Berry was appointed the Chair of the Metro Economies Standing Committee for the US Conference of Mayors. . . by USCM President, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento. Said Mayor Berry. “I believe that cities and mayors are in a unique position to leverage transformative change that improves their local economies, and I am enthusiastic about continuing this conversation with innovative mayors from around the nation.”

So, Mayor, when does the double-dip recession and last-in-America job growth end and the "transformative change" begin? Just asking. . .

This sure isn't going to help transform us. It's another scathing indictment of the horrendous violence (Omaree's murder, police shootings, two homeless men killed by three teens, etc. etc.) that has afflicted the city. A New York Times op-ed piece from author and UNM creative writing teacher Justin St. Germain headlined "Goodbye Albuquerque Land of Violence" landed yet another blow to the city's reputation.

After departing ABQ for another job, St. Germain describes the violence against the homeless and the violence by APD which is under investigation by the Justice Department. Blog readers reacted, including Jeffrey Baker:

One person’s negative comments are not newsworthy. The fact that the New York Times prominently featured this journalistic stab to the heart is newsworthy, and deeply troubling.

Reader Douglas Carver writes:

A friend of mine who is from New Mexico but left (one of the young and bright people NM cannot retain) who has heard me complain about the perpetual crisis that is Albuquerque forwarded it to me, asking if things were really this bad. The only answer I had for her was--Yes, it is this bad, and worse. My young son's grandfather sent it to me as well--all of my son's grandparents will breathe more easily if my family leaves this state.

AND MORE. . . 

Diane Denish
Reader and 2010 Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish writes:

This article should break the cycle of denial in which the mayor of business leaders, and other elected officials live. Seems ironic that it comes at the same time legislators are pondering giving huge incentives to Tesla (up to $500 million) to come to NM. 

Given the violent behavior of adolescents, the homeless population, the lack of behavioral health services, the poverty level and the achievement gap--many of us are left wondering about a legislative body (Democrats and Republicans) ...and a Governor that would invest up to $500 million to attract the Tesla gigafacgtory but not in our children. Can you really call them leaders if they can't find a way to put $500 million into programs for children from birth to age five, fund public education improvement without selling it off to the highest bidder, find a way to rebuild a substantial behavioral health system and create meaningful jobs? The money is there, and it belongs to all New Mexicans not the corporations. Or perhaps it just underscores that corporations are people. Little did we know. . .

Reader Rick Allan wonders about the political angle:

That the "story" of Albuquerque and its overlay of misery and failed leadership is not the centerpiece for a base-exciting progressive campaign to oust the incumbent governor is mind-boggling. It doesn't take any "inside the beltway" campaign consultants to figure this one out. The issues are all out there on a large silver platter!  What's she done? Where are the "metrics? All pointing in one direction--down, down, and down. Does NM want four more years of this? For Gary King to be the slightest bit hesitant to just go out there and slam Martinez's record and pose the rhetorical question --four more years of this?--just doesn't make sense.

Alan Wagman writes:

Joe,  A few months ago, I suggested at a meeting with the Dept. of Justice that DOJ inform Mayor Berry that if he negotiated a contract with the police union that kept in place contract provisions that limit civilian oversight of APD, DOJ would consider it to be an act of bad faith. Well, here we are: The mayor has negotiated a contract with APOA that keeps in place provisions that limit civilian oversight. DOJ has responded by issuing a joint "Statement of Principles" with the city that assures the public that the city is acting in "good faith." 'Nuff said.

THE BOTTOM LINES

We blogged Monday of the dearth of joint appearances between Governor Martinez and Gary King thus far in Campaign '14, and that it could be a while before we see them together. Well, at least we won't have to wait beyond September 22. That's when the pair is confirmed to appear at a real estate/construction candidate forum at the ABQ Marriott. This will be a Martinez-friendly crowd even though the city is in a double-dip recession, construction remains in the doldrums and housing is flat.

That's one joint appearance confirmed between King and Martinez. For those who like a wager, what is the "over/under" on how many times Martinez will agree to appear with King?

As we blogged Monday, Martinez has not responded to an October debate invitation from ABQ's Congregation Albert which has been hosting them for years, but does not offer an obviously Martinez-friendly audience.

And here comes Martinez in the middle of the campaign getting tough on food stamp recipients by reimposing work requirements. You can bet the crowds in Tanoan are rattling their jewelry in celebration. It's another sure sign that her pollsters are telling her to fire up her conservative base. Of course, the day she announces the work-for-food-stamps-news we get word that unemployment in NM has jumped. You fill in the blank for that one. ..

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