Monday, September 28, 2015

Analysts, Alligators And Insiders Weigh City Election Outcome As Final Stretch Commences, Plus: BioPark Backlash? Not Yet, And: Days Of Duran (Cont.) 

Let's head out to the campaign trail for the final full week of City Election '15. . .

With the October 6 election in sight our analysts say the odds are high that the balance of power on the nine member city council will not shift as a result of the election. They are forecasting that Dem hopeful and Gov. Martinez arch-enemy Pat Davis will obtain 50 percent of the vote in SE Heights Council District 6--scene of the most intense battle this season. Davis has been stung by the Guv's machine but, the analysts say, the liberal bent of the district is emerging and that Davis is in line to score 50 percent in this three way race. That means he would avoid a run-off with Republican Hessito Yntema and keep the seat in the Dem column.

Up in GOP leaning Council District 4 in the NE Heights our insiders, analysts and Alligators are predicting longtime Republican Councilor Brad Winter will triumph over Dem challenger Israel Chavez. Winter has been hit but has sustained no serious damage and the insiders say a low, low turnout means GOP voters will tip the balance to Winter who first came to the council in 1999.

If those predictions are right the Council will stay 5 to 4 Democratic which means the Dems will not have the sixth vote needed to override vetoes from Republican Mayor Richard Berry.

Berry may be sensing the shifting tide in the Davis district. He released a video condemning the gruesome photos used by anti-abortionists against Davis. Is the Mayor looking to soften up Davis a little if he eventually comes on the council? Maybe.

No paid media campaign has emerged to attack the tax hike to finance improvements to the city BioPark and the analysts say that means the odds favor passage. The proposed one eighth of a cent increase in the city gross receipts tax would raise at least $250 million over its 15 year life. There is also a $3.9 million bond issue on the ballot this year that would go to the BioPark. Just how much does the BioPark need? It's not a question that has received much debate.

The gross receipts tax is now well over 7 percent in the city and tax foes see another increase as a detriment to business and further hurting low income individuals who pay a higher percentage of their income in the tax than the well off. But unless there is a last minute paid opposition campaign the images of grandchildren enjoying the zoo and aquarium with their grandparents is likely to prevail.

There is also the question of why we are not financing the BioPark improvements with bond issues backed by property taxes as traditionally has been done. It speaks to the city's fiscal condition under Mayor Berry (sorry, Mayor Marty has been gone for six years and Berry now owns it). But Berry won't even say if he will vote yes or no on the BioPark tax increase thus completely avoiding the bond issue argument. Not that anyone in the sleep-walking media is pressing him.

One other point: Berry and the Berry media keep saying that Mayor Marty funneled money used to back bond issues to the city's general fund to finance ongoing operations and that's the root of the bond capacity problem. But Berry took office in December 2009. He's had nearly six years to follow through on his promise to reverse that. We need bigger bond issues to shore up an aging ABQ. And after six years don't we need more than a blame game from City Hall and its media cohorts to explain why we continue to lag so badly?


Dianna Duran's decision--for now--to stay on as Secretary of State and fight calls for her resignation as she battles corruption charges--has heated up the email. Here's Dem Stephanie DuBois--who is running for Otero County Clerk--a job previously held by Duran--countering Dianna:

Joe, I am not afraid to challenge Dianna Duran because she needs to be challenged, We cannot allow her to continue to serve the public when she has obviously screwed the public trust.  I think the people (la gente) should picket her office and put a great deal of pressure on her to resign. We have sent a very bad message to the people of New Mexico and it will heighten the possibility that more elected officials will get better at being corrupt.  This must go to the people especially those who elected her and put their trust in her when she promised to clean up the past corruption in the Secretary of State's office. I believe now the Governor, a Republican, cannot really throw Duran under the bus and will find a way to keep Duran in office. We, the people cannot allow Duran to stay there without consequences. We just can't. 

We may be headed for a game of who blinks first. The state House--controlled by the Republicans--is looking at impeaching Duran in the January legislative session. Will Duran blink and resign if she is impeached? Will the House fail to impeach? Will Gov. Martinez find Dianna a private sector job and make it easier for her to step away? Will the charges against Duran be reduced to misdemeanors so prosecutors get a conviction but Dianna gets to keep her pension? Never a dull moment in La Politica. . .

P.S. Duran has complained that the media has been running photos of her that are unflattering, so today we posted her official photo. Hey, it's the least we can do for the blogging gift the SOS scandal has bestowed.

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