Wednesday, December 03, 2014

ABQ Economic Engine Could Use Some Fuel; We've Got The Latest From The Biz Beat, Plus: Dunn Lashes Out As Recount Looms, And: Readers Weigh In On WisePies Arena 

Former longtime ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez was fond of saying that "Albuquerque is the engine that drives New Mexico's growth." Well, these days that engine could use some souped-up fuel.

As we near the close of 2014 the most generous description of the ABQ metro economy is sluggish. While the state reports NM added 9,100 jobs when comparing October of this year with October of 2014, ABQ won only a tiny fraction of them--about 300 jobs. . .

The local housing market reflects the continued funk. CoreLogic reports:

In Albuquerque, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 2.0 percent in October 2014 compared to October 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, decreased by 0.5 percent in October 2014 compared to September 2014.

That's about enough of an increase to keep up with the rate of inflation and not much more. Of course, it goes backs to hose jobs number. Without robust employment growth housing can't start making the big moves we've seen in our neighboring states. . .

There is a glaring irony to the jobs picture in the state. It appears Gov. Martinez's decision to go along with Obamacare and expand the state's Medicaid program has been the most effective economic development tool she's picked up in the last four years. From the state:

Education and health services continued to add considerably more new jobs than other industries, with an increase of 4,900 jobs, or 3.9 percent, over the year. 

Maybe Susana should send Obama a Christmas card for the gift of more government funded jobs. It is probably responsible for ending the state's jobs recession, albeit only in an anemic way.


Powell & Dunn
Republican land commissioner candidate Aubrey Dunn, Jr. is lashing out in all directions--at the NM Supreme Court, at Dem Land Commissioner Ray Powell, Jr. and his "40 attorneys" and at 873 New Mexico voters who say they registered to vote at state motor vehicle offices but were unable to cast ballots. You can read it here.

Dunn is clinging to a 704 vote lead over Powell. The Supremes are going to hold a hearing December 8th to decide the procedures for the required recount. Dunn indicates he thinks he may get a raw deal from the Supremes because all five are Democrats.

Dunn is entitled to gnash his teeth, but he jumps the shark when he says the 873 provisional votes cast by those who registered at motor vehicle offices are cast "in a state that gives driver's licences to illegal immigrants."

Aubrey sported a big black cowboy hat during the campaign, but now he's acting like a Nervous Nellie run amok. It isn't pretty and those folks who exercised their legal right to vote after registering at motor vehicle offices have every right to be offended.

Aubrey, we're sending you to Walgreen's where you can pick up a free prescription for some chill pills. Now lets get this thing counted and decided. . .


You have until noon today to get your application to the Bernalillo County Commission to become the ABQ state senator who replaces Tim Keller who will be giving up his SE Heights seat to take over as state auditor. Then again you may not want to devote too much time to that.

The Alligators and insiders have been saying for weeks that it appears ABQ Dem State Rep. Mimi Stewart has the votes on the five member panel--composed of three Dems and two R's--to take the prize when the commission fills the vacancy at a Thursday meeting. If she does get it, the commission will then get to fill her state representative seat with an appointee. A possible name? Former ABQ state Senator Bernadette Sanchez is now a resident of the district.


In describing the University of New Mexico basketball arena--"The Pit"--athletic director Paul Krebs called it the "most iconic"  building in the state. Probably not a bad nomination, but the most iconic? What about the famous Roundhouse? Doesn't that beat out the Pit for "most iconic? Have a nominee? Email it in to jmonahan@ix.netcom.com.

Meantime, readers weigh in on the renaming of the Pit as the WisePies Arena at a cost of $5 million over ten years. Matthew Sample writes:

I can just see it now, opposing teams and fans will call it the Pie Hole Arena. Just wait. It's also pretty interesting that the naming rights deal is backloaded. Only $100,000 a year for the first two years and then $600,000 a year for eight years. Hopefully they will be around for the back years to really pay up.

Steve Chavez, one of the ABQ businessman who started WisePies, also has other major business interests that for now are footing the bill for the naming rights. Still, Chavez does seem to have a knack for rhetorical hyperbole and the finances on the Pit deal will obviously be very closely watched in the years ahead.

Ray Seva says:

Too bad Rudy’s BBQ (my favorite eatery in ABQ) didn’t get the naming rights. “The Rudy’s BBQ Pit” seemed like a natural fit!

Carmie Toulose writes with tongue in cheek (we think):

Joe, I can't resist. We are a poor state, especially now. Why stop at naming arenas and stadiums? With the reduction in anticipated state revenue, why not increase the budget by selling naming rights to state agencies or parts of agencies?

I can see the Walmart Department of Human Services, the Toys R Us Child Protective Services Division, the College Board Department of Higher Education, the PARRC Department of Public Education, the Sandia Hotel and Casino Department of Indian Affairs and the Toyota Motor Vehicle Division of the Department of Taxation. Think of the new revenue stream that would open up!

Sounds like fun, Carmie. How about the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Roundhouse?

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