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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

No New Mexico Roadblocks Seen For Hillary While R's Hope For a Meltdown; More On Where She Stands Here, Mayor Berry Spins 800 Job Vacancies, APD PR Nightmare Continues And Senator Sanchez Says No Dial Tone On Guv's Phone 

This is Hillary's big launch week and everyone wants to know what she'll  be up to in New Mexico--if anything. We have the answers. . .

New Mexico's Dem primary is in June of '16, long after the nomination is decided so there won't be a Dem campaign here. Clinton, however, can be expected to mine the state for campaign dollars and high-profile Hispanic support that she can market nationally.

Many ask if New Mexico will resume its swing state status in '16. That is very unlikely. After two big Obama wins, NM is reliably blue. In March of last year Public Policy Polling did a match-up of Hillary and Governor Martinez as the GOP prez nominee. Hillary swamped Susana 53% to 39%. Clinton had healthy leads over all the GOP prez candidates surveyed in that poll.

The TV stations doing their '16 budgeting can pretty much forget about those good 'ol swing state days when millions was pumped in here for TV ads. The public can also consign to the good 'ol days all those visits from presidential candidates. That is unless some kind of curve ball appears out of the blue and takes NM into the red zone. . .

Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich announced months ago that he would support Clinton for the nomination. He repeated that support this week. That early nod gave reason to speculate that perhaps Heinrich--an ardent environmentalist and westerner--could be tapped for Secretary of Interior should Hillary take the White House. ABQ GOP Congressman Manuel Lujan was named to the post by President Bush in '89 so the speculation is not far out. Of course, there would be a slight problem. If Heinrich left the senate in '17, Republican Governor Martinez would get to name the replacement for the two years left in his term.

Also on the very early bandwagon for Hillary was former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez. He could be a job seeker if Clinton takes the prize. Senator Tom Udall tweeted his endorsement of Clinton on Monday.

One NM Dem not on the Hillary bandwagon is former Governor Big Bill Richardson. He's had a rocky relationship with the Clintons because he failed to endorse her 2008 presidential bid after he dropped out of the race. Says he:

I don’t see a path for anyone not named Clinton, You know I don’t get along with her. I’m not a Ready for Hillary person. I’m trying to be honest with you. It’s very likely going to be an unstoppable train.

ABQ Dem US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has endorsed Clinton and is helping with fundraising. Northern Dem US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan is sidelined from an open endorsement because of his new role as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The NM GOP has been launching attacks on Clinton and says it will continue to do so in the apparent hope that Hillary falters and NM gets put in play.

EARLY MONEY

The '16 fundraising is well underway for Democratic Bernalillo County District Attorney candidate Raul Torrez. He says he's already raised a boatload of cash--over $104,000.

So far he's the only candidate in the contest, with four term Dem incumbent DA Kari Brandenburg on the fence about seeking a fifth. She could self-finance a race and get in at anytime. Obviously, Torrez is raising the bar early in an effort to keep her out. His campaign report filed with the secretary of state is here. No R's have announced for DA yet.

BERRY PATCH

Here's the Mayor Berry spin on the somewhat shocking news that the city of ABQ has over 800 job vacancies in a  town that is starving for well paying work:

While there may be that many listed on paper, about 400 of them have been disqualified because they don't fit within the city's budget, said Mayor Berry. Berry said Albuquerque's job vacancy rate is one percent lower than the national average when compared to similar city governments nationwide. He said he's worked hard to make the city more efficient and doesn't want to waste taxpayer dollars by hiring people to fill jobs that aren't needed. Basically, the city is getting by with the number of employees it currently has. He admitted, though, that some employees have to work overtime in order to make up extra work. 

The city's job vacancy rate may be one percent lower than the national average, but what Berry doesn't say is this:

. . . In the Milken Institute’s annual index of the country’s best-performing cities. Albuquerque placed 179 out of 200 in the large city category, falling 24 spots from its ranking of 155 in Milken’s 2013 index of best-performing cities. . . The index is designed to measure how well cities are “promoting economic vitality based on job creation and retention, the quality of new jobs, and other criteria.”. . . Albuquerque placed 20th among large cities in the Milken index in 2004.

And that's why Mayor Berry needs to be filling those vacancies at a much higher rate than other cities that have much more vital economies.

THE APD NIGHTMARE

When, oh, when will the long nightmare of APD management end? The latest PR disaster:

APD announced two police officers are under investigation for possible use-of-force violations. Chief Gorden Eden made the announcement on YouTube, in a two and a half minute video that raised more questions than it answered. We know that you’re accustomed to and enjoy seeing good news posted on our social media sites,” he said in the video. “We also have a responsibility to inform you of everything that goes on inside your police department.” The information, posted on social media after 5 p.m., was limited: “Possible misconduct – excessive use of force – by two of our officers was recently brought to our attention by an APD employee,” Eden said.

No media interviews allowed. Just another effort to bypass critical questioning and control the story. And the ABQ Chamber of Commerce thinks business is going to come into this city with that bunker mentality prevailing? If only it were just a nightmare. . .

And there's more. It seems there's always more:

KOB-TV feels it's important to tell you about alleged wrongdoing on the part of those who are paid by your tax dollars, such as police officers. But it can be hard to do when our cameras get shut out of public hearings. It's happened several times. There's a concern that banning our cameras is a violation of the Open Meetings Act. But the hearing officers disagree and continually prevent our cameras from being present. Back on Feb. 25, fired Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear was there to fight for his job back. Hearing Officer Pat Bingham never started the hearing because he didn't want KOB's cameras there. "I object to it, Ms. Levy objects to it. Her witnesses object to it. Obviously the staff objects to it," said Pat Bingham.

What will it take to blast open this bunker, let the truth prevail and let the process of reforming and healing our police department get underway? Where in the name of Harry Kinney is the AWOL city council that allows this infection to fester? It's a damn shame.

NOT REACHING?

Martinez & Sanchez
State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is disputing Governor Martinez's statement that her staff has tried to connect with him to discuss a possible special session of the Legislature. We noted Martinez's remarks on the Monday blog, but a spokesman for Sanchez says:

Senator Sanchez wanted to let you know that the Governor and her staff have not reached out to him or his staff nor "tried to connect.". . . This quote from her in your piece is false:

"Martinez said she has not spoken directly with archrival and Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez but she said her staff has tried to connect."

They know where to reach him--his law firm in Los Lunas. (Governor Chief of Staff) Keith Gardner has his cell and the senator's Chief of Staff Lorraine Montoya is in his Capitol office every day. 

Hey, maybe we can do some of that Big Bill "Green Chile Diplomacy" and invite Michael and Keith for lunch at Barelas Coffee House where we can settle this special session deal. Don't forget your credit card, Keith, you're buying. . .

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