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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Two Weeks To Go For Campaign '14; Thoughts On Bond Issues And Conny Amendments, Plus: King Supporters Push Back Against Pundits On TV Debate, And: Michelle's "Ass Kicking" 

Two weeks to go which means the most emotional phase of Campaign '14 is kicking in even as many ponder why there isn't more passion and emotion over the future of New Mexico in this election.

Is it a sign that the public has lost so much faith in government and politics that they turn away? Maybe. But in the face of a life-changing economic and social decline for a large swath of the state's population, the politicians are offering cautious baby steps and failing to ignite the imagination of the electorate. Passion and emotion will come back when leaders emerge with those qualities--and with big ideas. . .

Given that backdrop, it's hard to take the side of those who criticize NM pollsters Brian Sanderoff and Bruce Donisthorpe for underestimating the number of folks who will cast ballots and the conservative tilt of their voter turnout models. The state's problems are epic but the election is pedestrian as well as being a nonpresidential year.

THE WAY WE SEE IT

We don't endorse candidates but we do care about the future of the state and each election have thoughts and opinions on the bond issues and constitutional amendments. Here's some for this year:

One of the proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot this year sums up how Santa Fe is missing the forest for the trees. It would permit the giant $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to have more than 15 percent of the fund invested in foreign stock markets. Sure, let's invest more in Zaire, but not use the fund to improve very early childhood right here in our own backyard where the social conditions crisis seems to worsen by the hour. And just forget about those expert findings that over time an investment in early childhood delivers returns far greater than the stock market averages.

And then there's the little fact that 46 percent of the revenue of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index already come from foreign operations. The Permanent Fund already has more than enough foreign exposure. Enough said. For us it will be thumbs down on Amendment # 5. . .

As for the other four constitutional amendments, we see no urgency for any of them and will vote against. (The Legislative Council Service does a good job outlining the pros and cons of each of the amendments.)

On the other hand, you can vote with a clear conscience and confidence when deciding the Bernalillo County and state bond issues. The state bonds total $167 million. The county bonds total $27.5 million. We don't see a stinker in the bunch and their approval, besides improving the state, will also give us some sorely needed stimulus. . .

But then there's the Bernalillo County proposal to raise property taxes to finance open space acquisitions. Nix that one. The metro isn't going to get out of recession by raising taxes of any kind.

And even though it's only an advisory question, we'll be voting against the proposal to raise the county gross receipts tax by an eighth of a cent to finance mental health programs.  The gross receipts is the most regressive tax of them all, slamming lower income people disproportionally. The county needs to better prioritize its budgeting and hound the Bernalillo County legislative delegation to bring home the bacon to get this important task done.

Then there's that other "advisory" question on the ballot--to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. We agree with the intent and even though we often find ourself in agreement with conscientious County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley, we don't this time. Advisory questions need to remain in pubic opinion polls--not placed on election ballots.

DEBATE REACT

King
Gary King took heat when at Sunday night's TV debate he used his one and only opportunity to question Governor Martinez to ask her why she has hired out of state cabinet secretaries. Too soft, came the yell from the bleacher seats. A reader weighs in on that and more:

You get so much more info with visual cues than just words. Martinez gave off a very bad vibe visually. She has absolutely lost her luster to all but her base. With a massive lead she should have been calm and above the fray. She was not. She came across as angry, pinched and lacking in confidence. In short, not the way a leader looks. King didn't do any or much better, but the bar was set way lower for him because he has been hammered for his incompetence so much that not being on the mat at the end was a win.

King really only needed to convince the Democratic base that he wanted to be there. I think he did, although clearly he could have been stronger in how he did it.  He did the out of state cabinet question for a reason. It was to show the teachers and those hit by the behavioral health mess that he gets what the problem is. Mentioning both Public Education Secretary Skandera and Human Services Secretary Squier was strictly targeted to the reinforce what the base has been saying. Mirroring them in theory should help get them to the polls.

KING'S NIGHT

Most of the pundits, including us, thought King did OK at the debate but were looking for a stronger performance to perhaps change the dynamic of the race. But not all agreed. Back to the email:

I totally disagree on the debate summations, yours, TV, etc. King come off like a genuine caring fellow; no he is not the  brightest star in the galaxy of hopefuls, but he is all the Dems have and I will support him; frankly because Martinez comes off as self-centered and egotistical. When she walked away from the podium she walked off with an "I'm all there is" swagger. All she has done is throw up negative, backstabbling ads. Not once has she given any real solutions to the fact that New Mexico is the only state in the West that continues in a recession. The same for our lower pay, lack of good paying jobs, lack of real industry potentials, poor educational objectives, solutions for our college graduates continuing to leave the state for good jobs, more poverty than NM has  ever had and the inability for homeowners to sell their homes without having to sell for less than the purchase price. . .  I won't throw my vote away and will vote for Gary King.

SOS NEGATIVE HIT

An independent group took to the TV airwaves to take on Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran and call her "reckless" and incompetent." Now an independent group is using the mail boxes to take on her Dem challenger Maggie Toulouse Oliver:

A new Albuquerque-based "independent expenditure" group calling itself New Mexicans for Honest Leadership last week sent out mailers praising Republican incumbent Secretary of State Dianna Duran and criticizing her Democratic challenger Maggie Toulouse Oliver over the issue of voter identification.The mailer features a picture of a smiling man putting a ballot into a box. "He could be casting YOUR vote," the big-letter caption blares."

Oliver has to be wondering if that's all her foes are coming with because you know she was expecting something much more harsh. Stay tuned.

ADS AND MONEY

It's true that blogging and reporting on politics has often been reduced to following the TV ads and money. Reader Hal Gershenson weighs in:

Albuquerque teachers were not surprised by the media black-out of their massive rally on Saturday, but not to get a mention from you....that hurts. Nearly 800 teachers, family, friends and other union supporters marched down Central to vote early at the SUB. Nearly the entire Dem ticket was there from King to Keller to Keirnan and everyone in between and no one in the press seemed to notice. While the pundits and bloggers have been focused on the money and TV, this election is really about the ground game. Teachers, state employees, and families that were hurt by the behavioral health debacle are angry and active. If someone polled a sample of those groups they'd find a huge turnout, with plenty of Republicans voting for King. There's an underground campaign going by the victims of the Martinez administration that on that "those in the the know" seem to be missing.

ASS KICKING

We were surprised to hear that ABQ GOP congressional candidate Mike Frese had kicked the ass of ABQ Dem US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. We do hope her derriere withstood the force of his shoe leather. From the Frese campaign:

Sorry for the language but Mike Frese kicked ass in today's debate! The Republican candidate for New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, Dr. Mike Frese, faced off with Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham during a live, televised debate today. KOB-TV aired the debate live at noon. Mike went on the offensive when it came to showing contrast between his solid conservative values and Michelle's liberal agenda. Please help us keep momentum while she's still on the defense! Donate Now!!

Come on Mike Frese, you need to know the rules of La Politica. The following physical actions are permitted: backbiting, finger pointing, pouting, gnashing of teeth and supervised mud wrestling. Ass kicking is strictly prohibited.

Mike, since you have violated this rule in such cavalier fashion, Michelle will now be permitted to engage in the previously prohibited behavior of waxing away your chest hair and moustache. Ouch. Now behave out there. . .

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