Monday, September 22, 2014

Will Turnout Get High From Marijuana Vote? Plus: Pearce Pans Rocky With Negative TV, And: Another Round Of Yates Vs. McCleskey 

That Friday decision by the NM Supreme Court paves the way for Bernalillo and Santa Fe county voters to be asked their opinion at the Nov. 4 election about decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The vote will be nonbinding.

The Democratic-controlled county commissions stand accused of trying to help Dem candidates by working to get the pot proposal on the ballot over the objections of the secretary of state. But will many thousands of voters now decide they have a reason to go to the polls? It's doubtful. This is not legalization and again it is an opinion poll--not a real vote with real impact.

Still, some consultants argue that if the marijuana cause boosts turnout even just a couple of dozen votes in the two hotly contested state House races in Bernalillo County, it could impact those hard-fought battles in favor of the Dem candidate. Another question: Will pro-marijuana groups kick in media money to advertise the measure? That could have an impact. . .

The ABQ Journal poll of likely NM voters shows marijuana legalization (not decriminalization) going down 50% to 44%, but when a less conservative sample of all registered voters is asked--support for legalizing pot jumps to 49% and opposition is at 45%. One of our readers experienced in polling thinks support could actually be higher, depending on how the question is asked:

I can guarantee you the results of the Journal poll question on the use of marijuana would have been significantly different if the word "recreational" had not been included in the wording of the question.
That word raises the negatives and should have been left out.

The word "recreational" was used in the polling during the run-up to the vote legalizing marijuana in Colorado...


Southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce, favored to win re-election to another two year term, is taking no chances as he comes with a negative TV hit on Dem challenger Rocky Lara. She was first out of the gate with a negative ad. Now he portrays her as a candidate being bankrolled by "liberal special interests." The spot also says Lara and House Minority Leader--"San Franciso liberal"--Nancy Pelosi--are good buddies. We suppose that invokes dread among the voters Pearce is targeting---if they even know who Pelosi is.

For her part, Lara comes with her second negative ad on Pearce which accuses him of voting to up end the Medicare program by voting for the Ryan budget in 2011 and supporting tax cuts for the wealthy. Pearce maintains there were no Medicare cuts in the Ryan budget.

This second ad from Lara--narrated by a senior citizen--is tougher on Pearce after an opening volley against him that drew mixed reviews. But it still rings soft if the goal is to eject Pearce now and not wait for a second chance in '16.

The problem seems to be that Lara wants to stay likable while still going negative on Pearce. The campaign could have avoided this if it had put up positive introductory ads on Lara over the summer and then went after Pearce. While Lara is a solid recruit for the Dems, apparently a million bucks in the bank isn't enough to do the job the complete way these days.

We rank the Pearce-Lara contest likely Republican.


Gary King would love to have a million bucks in the bank. As it is, he is pretty much broke. So how is he defending himself against the myriad of charges he is fielding from Gov. Martinez? He
makes a lengthy case
against various TV ad accusations on his web site, even if it will be seen by only a very small fraction of the voters who are seeing Martinez's TV.

The New Mexico Governor's race is ranked likely Republican.


The bad blood between former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates Jr., Governor Martinez and her chief political adviser Jay McCleksey is still flowing. Yates had a falling out with McCleskey early in Martinez's term when he saw the power McCleskey was accumulating and shutting Yates and other top R's out.  McCleskey is known as the "Shadow Governor" because of the sway he has over all things Martinez.

Yates, who as party chairman memorably endorsed Martinez in the 2010 GOP Guv primary, hails from an immensely wealthy SE NM oil family, and is not one to give up the fight. He's back this election season, scorching McCleskey in the Las Cruces Sun-News. He says Martinez's political operation is quick to label any critics "sexist" or "racist" and by doing so. . .

 They wish to taint the offending party so markedly that other potential questioners will fear to raise the offending issue. . . Issues that should be addressed are not. People with information about corruption do not reveal it. Reporters hesitate to ask questions. Newspapers hesitate to write stories. No one wants to be classed as "racist," or "sexist" or as some other politically incorrect degenerate. Too often, the politically correct mute button is effective.

. . . Ask Gov. Martinez why she granted her political operator, Jay McCleskey, inordinate authority to effect state government, or suggest that McCleskey is using her as a profit center. Or say , "You ran on "bold change" in New Mexico. Where is the 'bold change'"? The PC MUTE button is likely to be aimed at you by McCleskey, by the governor or by one of McCleskey's dutiful servants.

If you are female and raise such questions, the PC MUTE button is apt to be, "She is wild-eyed and disgruntled" — meaning you are a screwball who cannot deal with the governor's admirable administration or McCleskey's upright fundraising operations. If you are a male who raises the questions, the PC Mute button likely will be, "What he said smacks of sexism." And if you happen to be an Anglo, that also presents the PC MUTE button master an opportunity for an allegation of racism. . .

The National Journal last year came with a similar critique of McCleskey's tactics. The Governor's office said the magazine, founded in 1969, was a "tabloid" and "racist" and sexist."


Reader Norm Gagne writes of APD:

On the issue of police conduct, it is interesting to compare the new Albuquerque Police Department patrol cars with the old ones. The old ones were white with colorful markings and the legend, "In Step With The Community" on the side. The new ones are predominantly black with very dark windows. Conspicuously missing? "In Step With The Community."

There is a slow change of consciousness under way (finally?) about APD and the root causes of the problems it has had dealing with the public and which prompted a Department of Justice civil rights probe. ABQ City Councilor Klarissa Pena is touting an increase in the gross receipts tax in to better address mental health issues. The tax is unnecessary and unfair to the lowest income residents. It won't pass but her proposal is advancing the debate on what we should do. And from the Bernalillo County Commission comes this:

Bernalillo County announced it has purchased an 8-acre site in the South Valley for $732,646 for use as a residential transitional living facility to help young people recover from drug addiction and rebuild their lives. The money came from discretionary capital outlay funds allocated over two years from a number of state representatives and senators of both parties. . .

Where change is slow taking hold is on the 11th floor of Government Center where Mayor Berry and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry continue to fight pleas for new faces in the upper reaches of APD to implement a sorely needed cultural change in the way the city is policed. Without that, Berry is putting a band-aid on a tumor. 

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