Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Crime And The Economy; Making The Link, Plus: Home Building Sags But Can Retirees Really Help? And: Sanchez Vs. Sanchez For State Senate Slot? 

AG Balderas
Our readers have repeatedly tied ABQ's persistent crime problem to the problem of attracting business here and relieving us of this long-running stagnation. That argument has largely been ignored by the business community and current political leadership. Both insist that tax incentives and regulatory relief are the answer. But there could be a change in the narrative. Attorney General Hector Balderas dips his toe in the water with this recent statement:

New Mexico is the second most dangerous state in the country, we can't grow jobs or improve education until our children are safe in their schools, our families are safe in their communities, and our officers aren't subjected to dangerous repeat offenders out on the streets. It's time to attack violent crimes, close the child pornography loophole, and take an actionable approach to fixing the systemic failures in our justice system.

Will we see more of the political class connecting the state's social conditions crisis to its tepid economic outlook? Alligators in Santa Fe say there has been a reluctance among some lawmakers to publicly voice the connection--not because they disagree with it--but because they fear it will scare more businesses away. Also, the argument fell on deaf ears during the last gubernatorial and mayoral campaigns as the Democrats wrote off their candidates early and were unable to engage the public.

Meanwhile, that stagnant economy keeps...well...stagnating:

The pace of home construction in the Albuquerque metro area has taken a step backward during the first five months of the year, getting off to the second slowest in what is likely decades, according to building permit numbers from DataTraq.

John Garcia, head of the Home Builders Association, has been on the state economic scene a long time. He says:

"Population is a huge driver of home construction. We focus on job growth, where we’re at the mercy of business. We need to improve our population growth." Garcia says he sees potential for Albuquerque to be a retirement destination for Baby Boomers. The housing niche for that age group is called “active adult,” which has a legal age limit of 55 years.

Obviously, Garcia has it right on jobs being the key to boosting the population and thus the housing market. But he's adding a twist to the dialogue that we also noted from Mark Lautman, the economic developer who heads up the NM Jobs Council composed of both D's and R's. Both are now touting ABQ as a retiree destination. But retirees are notorious for not boosting the overall economy. And many of them want to live in adult communities, not big houses that are difficult to maintain in their golden years.

You can't be too hard on Garcia and Lautman. Their backs are against the wall in this difficult environment. And they may stay in that position until the reality that Attorney General Balderas and others are pointing out is confronted. Widespread crime (#2 in the USA) and poverty (also #2) are major hindrances to attracting jobs and reviving our construction industry.


Reader Stephanie DuBois, a Hillary supporter, comments on the Monday blog featuring Dem contender Senator Bernie Sanders and the inroads he has been making in his quest for the 2016 prez nomination:

Joe, Sanders does say all the right things that liberal Democrats want to hear. He is articulate and forthright in his speeches. And Democrats can really drown in it. But why has he been an Independent all this time and only now wants to wear the Democratic brand? Hillary is and always has been a Democrat. Our party is fractured enough without backing someone who registered as an Independent. Is he a member of the independent party? Just my thoughts. 

By the way, Bernie is 73 not 74 as we blogged in a first draft Monday. Hillary is 67. Sanders won election to the Senate from Vermont as an independent but switched to D to run for the White House.


Sen. Sanchez
You heard it here first. Alligators out of Valencia County are reporting that the GOP may have a 2016 opponent for Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. And his name is Sanchez. We're told he is in the judiciary in Valencia County, but we want to make sure we have the right Sanchez before we go into detail. Suffice it to say, Michael Sanchez will be targeted by the Guv's political machine in '16 as he was in '12.

Do you remember the last famous New Mexico Sanchez vs. Sanchez political contest? Sure you do. It was back in 2000 when Dem House Speaker Raymond Sanchez was defeated by ABQ roofer John Sanchez who is now lieutenant governor. Maybe the majority leader should change his name to "Sanchez Michael" to make sure his folks vote for the right Sanchez. . .

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the autho
website design by limwebdesign