Monday, May 11, 2015

Guv Seems To Want A Win Not A Deal On Special Legislative Session, Plus: Death Claims La Politica's Harry Pavlides; His Friends Remember 

Here's the problem. Gov. Martinez does not want a deal, she wants a win. A deal for a special one day legislative session to pass a $264 million capital outlay bill put on the table by state Senate Democrats could easily have been agreed to by the Fourth Floor with no one looking weak or eating crow. But the big construction bill--with widespread support across the state--is not enough. Martinez is now apparently holding out for yet another tax cut.

Unlike the capital outlay bill--the $5 million tax package would do very little to stimulate the economy--but it would give her that win over the Senate Dems.  And if she doesn't get what she wants she will likely tee up the ball for the '16 campaign and blame it all on the other side as her machine gears up for an attempt to color the Senate red.

Martinez pulled similar shenanigans during the last legislative session when confronted with a bipartisan compromise on driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. More than a dozen Senate R's went for it but it wasn't good enough for her--because it it wasn't a "win." So what do you end up with? Plenty of slogans for a campaign but no results that improve lives.

Martinez has little to show for nearly five years at the helm. Unless she throws out those high heels she digs into the ground in favor of some sandals, her legacy will remain that familiar one liner: "The nation's first female Hispanic governor." Well, that and $1.87 will get you a coffee at Starbucks but it won't get you a $264 million capital outlay bill that would stimulate a still dragging economy.


Let's go to the Alligator pond for the behind-the-scenes machinations on the elusive special session.

Joe, the Senate Democratic caucus is solidly in support of the capital outlay package that Sen. John Arthur Smith, representatives of Republican House Speaker Don Tripp's office and the Governor's staff hammered out over the past two weeks of negotiations. It is a compromise on road construction financing and it restores many of the cuts that the House made in the Tribal, higher ed and senior citizen projects that the Senate had wanted.

The latest a special session could act within the legal time frame to permit the bond issue to move forward is May 18. Thus there is only a one week window for the Governor to call us in and for passage of the capital outlay package. Where is the sense of urgency that ought to be characterizing this situation? We are talking jobs that could be created, yet she waited six weeks before starting the negotiations and now we are up against a deadline that could have been easily averted.

There is no disagreement among the three parties (House, Senate and Governor's negotiating team) over the outlay package as it looks now. The hang-up could be her insistence on including the tax cut package and on making one dependent on the other. There is no similar urgency on those tax cuts. They could be debated in seven months when the 30-day session begins.

Also, the Democrats are concerned that if we pass the compromise capital outlay we need to have some protection against her waiting until we leave town and then vetoing pieces of it that she had originally agreed to. The level of trust is minuscule.


We're mourning the loss of of our old friend and veteran New Mexico political analyst, consultant and pollster Harry Pavlides. In recent years he suffered from a number of health ailments and died Friday in ABQ.

Harry,  a native of ABQ, a lifelong Democrat and ardent enviornmentalist was wacky, wise and quite wonderful. A whirling dervish, he inserted himself into political campaigns for over 40 years, consulting a who's who of candidates including Bill Richardson, Marty Chavez, Dave Cargo, Jerry Ortiz y Pino and many, many more. To them and to all who knew him he was an unforgettable character, with a zeal and zest for the game that burned until the end.

In the 80'--when we first met him--he was one of the state's top pollsters working for both the ABQ Tribune and KGGM-TV (now KRQE). Since its inception 12 years ago, he has been quoted frequently on this blog for his insights on all aspects of La Politica--our original Senior Alligator. When we didn't quite understand something we could always turn to Harry for the real meaning. So many times he made us look smarter than we were, understand more than we thought we could and forced us to have the patience to look closer when we wanted to look away. That was a great gift but not greater than his steadfast friendship. We will miss him deeply. Others also remember. . .

Veteran NM pollster Brian Sanderoff, a longtime friend of Harry's, said:

Harry had a brilliant political mind and could recount every state and national election contest going back to the 1960's. His political predictions and prognostications were nearly always correct. But despite his prowess as a consultant, Harry should best remembered for his generosity. He would give the shirt off his back to help the needy or
his friends, even when he could least afford it himself. Harry loved a good fight, whether it be to battle his long term illnesses or to take on one of his political antagonists.

Former ABQ Mayor Jim Baca:

Harry was one of those individuals who would just never give up on his dreams. Despite his health problems, he always saw a silver lining in every political campaign he worked on. He was one of the most interesting characters I have ever known.

ABQ State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino recalled::

Harry was a man so consumed with politics that he could talk non-stop about a campaign, or a strategy while forgetting to eat or take his medicine. He was a never-ending fount of advice and an encyclopedia of information about New Mexico elections. And he was a loyal, rustworthy ally and friend.

He was happiest when working on an election: polling voters and analyzing the results; managing a field operation or advising a candidate on precinct-level strategy. Those were the days he was in his element, his mind racing almost as fast as his mouth, his energy level outstripping his body's ability to keep up.

But the last couple of years his infirmities sapped his strength and finally his joy. Unable to work at his usual breakneck pace, he still would call with campaign advice or legislative strategy. No one understood New Mexico politics better but it was his great sadness that a lifetime of offering blunt, honest opinions and of burning bridges with those who disagreed had at the end left him with only a small circle of intimates who understood him and used the priceless information he shared so readily.

I will miss Harry.  New Mexico has lost an under-appreciated gem. 

Harry Pavlides was 64.

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