Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guv Seen Playing In APS Board Election, Susana Critic Korte Targeted, Plus: More On Kari And The Cops; Shock Waves Downtown Over The Latest 

The wife one of Governor Martinez's political favorites is taking on ABQ School Board member Kathy Korte, giving rise to speculation that the Guv's muscular political machine could dump money and resources into the effort to take out Korte, the Guv's arch-enemy on the board.

Korte is the firebrand on the seven member board and its critic-in-chief of all things Susana. She will seek re-election to another term at the February 3 election.

Peggy Muller-Aragon is Korte's announced foe. She is the wife of attorney Robert Aragon, a member of the state Board of Finance and the recent unsuccessful GOP state auditor candidate. His political fling with Susana goes back to when he was a Democrat and endorsed her first Guv run.

Peggy Aragon is a school teacher who describes her political views as "very conservative."

To the Alligators and insiders this seems like a pretty obvious play by Martinez to rid herself of Korte who has proved to be an effective and outspoken opponent. She has repeatedly criticized Martinez's education proposals--so much so that Korte says she recently lost her job over it and has filed a lawsuit.

School board elections are usually sleepy affairs but this one could get nasty fast and maybe expensive. Candidates have been spending around $15,000 on these races. That could be easily surpassed if the teacher's union gets involved for Korte and if the Martinez Machine comes after her.

Two other school board seats are also up for grabs in the February balloting. Also in 2015, the new board is expected to name a new superintendent to replace Brad Winter who is interim superintendent for the state's largest school district. He has said he will not seek the job permanently. Who the new Super is will be a big deal for the Governor who clashed repeatedly with former Superintendent Winston Brooks.


Hell hath no fury. . . like a scorned district attorney. The roofs of ABQ's downtown government office buildings shook Wednesday with the news that BernCo District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is on track to pursue murder charges against two ABQ cops who shot and killed homeless camper James Boyd.

This news came on the heels of APD sending allegations of bribery against the DA to the attorney general. Any connection between Kari's newfound wrath for APD and APD's seemingly ill-advised decision to go after her? How loud can you say "Duh?"

But that's not going to be the big story if and when criminal charges come down. The conservative press may find fault with any charges because Brandenburg has decided not to recuse herself from the case while she is under investigation. But that will be like a canary chirping at the Super Bowl. America is not going to hear it. It's what they will see--time and time again--that deplorable video of the Boyd shooting. And what do you think will be the reaction in Ferguson, Missouri  and elsewhere if there are criminal charges against the officers?

If this happens, it's going to be big. Very big. So big that if Brandenburg pulls it off and there is a successful prosecution (and if the bribery charges fade) you could see her running for higher office--like maybe mayor in 2017. Say what?

Gov. Martinez was a district attorney who went on to become governor. BernCo DA Steve Schiff was elevated to the ABQ congressional seat in 1988. Former Attorney General Jeff Bingaman rode that office to the US senate. Former AG Anaya claimed the governor's chair in 1982. Prosecutors are naturals for higher office. It just didn't seem that the gun shy Brandenburg was ever on that track, refusing to stir the hornets nest at APD even as its inhabitants inflicted mortal stings across the community.

Brandenburg seems the most unlikely of characters to take on the Nixonian culture that haunts APD and that has led to so many lost lives, disgraced our city nationally and cost us tens of millions in lawsuits with more to come. Not to mention the businesses that shy away from coming here because of the frequent shoot-outs on the banks of the Rio. (We had another fatal law enforcement shooting just this week).

Something had to give and it appears something just did. Stay tuned.


One of the helpful aspects of the recent recount in the state land commissioner race is that it revealed no major fundamental counting problems with the recent election: The SOS says:

The final vote totals are 249,993 for Aubrey Dunn and 249,337 for Ray Bennett Powell, a difference of 656 votes. The original difference between the candidates was 704 votes.

There was this that tidbit that might deserve some further exploration:

The largest discrepancies were in Sandoval and Colfax counties, where a combined 269 fewer ballots were accounted for than were reported on Election Night.

The county clerks there (and the county commissions) might want to take a deeper look at that.

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