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Monday, September 21, 2015

Guv Puts Her Head In The Clouds And Takes A Dive, Jobs Outlook Dives With Her, Plus: City Election Debate Here Continues, And: It's Time To Assess Iconic APD Chief Bob Stover 

One of the Alligators says Lt. Governor John Sanchez--first in the line of succession if something were to happen to Gov. Martinez--offered to pack the Guv's parachute this weekend when she went skydiving over Socorro with hubby Chuck Franco. The Guv and Chuck politely demurred. :)

Martinez and Chuck Franco ended their highly supervised airborne adventure safely but the stunt seemed an apt metaphor for the Martinez years--flying high above the state's deep-seated problems.

This governorship epitomizes the permanent campaign--constantly in attack mode, offering slogans rather that substance and always eyeing the next step up the political ladder.

Even the skydiving stunt near Socorro was more of the permanent campaign, paid for and performed for GOP fat cats who were attending a Socorro fundraiser put on by NM House Speaker Don Tripp.

One could argue that Big Bill was also in permanent campaign mode. But it was his good fortune to preside during a time when the state was on the move, not undergoing a transformational economic and social change that has plunged it even further down the worst lists and most significantly has resulted in a historic net migration out of a Sunbelt state.

Seeing the state's Governor with her head in the clouds and slowly drifting downward seemed to mimic the state's destiny during her years at its helm.

OPTICS WATCH

Reader Greg Lennes thought the Guv's sky dive was a loser in the optics department:

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Rhode Island legislators sky dived for charities, but Governor Martinez is just doing it for the Republicans' campaign coffers. Maybe our high flying Governor is hoping to be noticed as a possible Vice President candidate. R.I. legislators did it for the community food bank. I guess Governor Martinez is just a copycat for the wrong reasons.

Gov. Martinez has had her trouble with the state's Catholic church but she really is blessed. The opposition party was again completely silent on the stunt, despite the obvious opportunity pointed out by Lennes. The political stage is hers alone.

But there are signs of opposition life, if only short breaths. Dem Party Executive Director Joe Kabourek pushes back in this op-ed against absurd allegations made against Attorney General Balderas by former GOP Chairman Harry Yates, Jr. He asserts that Balderas conducted a "fishing expedition" to ensnare Secretary of State Duran on criminal corruption allegations. Sorry, Harvey. That was no fishing expedition. Hector caught himself a whale.

DID SHE NOTICE?

Hey, Guv. Did you notice while you were 10,000 feet over Socorro that when it comes to job creation around here, the sky is falling:

Despite three years of job growth, New Mexico’s unemployment rate is among the five worst in the United States. Data released by the state indicate the state added 3,000 jobs during the 12-month period that ended in August. As layoffs in mining, construction, and the oil and gas industry continue to drag on the economy, the overall pace of job growth has slowed since the first part of 2015. The slower growth was enough to help push the state’s unemployment rate to 6.7 percent in August. 

No doubt the oil bear is hammering SE and absconding with hundreds of jobs. It is the health care sector--and especially the government Medicaid program that is creating jobs.

(Oops, we did it again--giving the government credit for creating jobs when Speaker Don, his assistant Nate and Dr. No keep telling us it can't be done.)

For the jobs junkies, here's the blow-by-blow state report.

ELECTION BEAT

Reader Alan Schwartz comments on our opposition to the proposed one eighth of a cent increase in the city's gross receipts tax that would raise at least $250 million over 15 years to finance improvements to the BioPark which include the zoo and aquarium:

Joe, I have voted against the zoo measure for the reasons you listed plus:

--No assurance the City will continue to support the BioPark in the budget or simply supplant the tax revenue.

--The past history of a special tax intended for capital items used to pay salaries. Other than the Otter exhibit there are few specifics on how the money will actually be spent. I noticed that on the diagram of future work a disclaimer said that items shown were for illustrative purposes only.

Reader Mick disagrees with our support of the Charter Amendment that would give the city council power to confirm or reject the mayor's choices for police and fire chief:

Joe, I'm against you on the election question about city council having veto power over additional mayoral appointees. That would be alright if we had a council/manager form of government. But it's the mayor's job to run the city and to implement the policies set by the council and outlined in the Charter. The last thing that I'd like to see in my city is some of our current councilors having the ability to hamstring the mayor on these critical appointments. They already have that power for a few appointments (city clerk and city attorney) and they can always control the budgetary process to express their displeasure with the 11th floor's actions. I urge your readers to vote no on that item.

Well stated, Mick. We see the police crisis as ample reason to give future mayors pause over the appointment of the APD chief. In the Federal system many presidential appointments require Senate confirmation. We don't see this as a threat to executive power but as enhancing the power of the legislative branch which in the modern era has been diminished compared to the city's mayor. (The fire chief confirmation is along for the ride on this one and is not as urgent).

BOB STOVER

Chief Stover (Bralley)
Time is running out for Bob Stover, the former ABQ police chief who is stricken with lung cancer. He is a giant of a public servant, even if back in the 70's we and other newbie journos pestered him to no end over the crime stats. He really did it all, serving not only many years as chief, but also county sheriff as well as ABQ's chief administrative officer. That's in addition to effectively mentoring hundreds of young police officers.

Bob had a passion for Albuquerque and a deep respect for its culture and diversity. No wonder former APD officer and now US Marshall Conrad Candelaria was among those first in line to honor him.

Why didn't today's APD consult with Chief Stover as it drifted into crisis? Probably because his style of pre 9/11 policing was seen as passe by the new generation. Too bad. He could have shown them a thing or two and maybe saved some lives and millions in lawsuit settlements. (He had his own crisis management when police went on strike).

Stover presided over a city (in the 70's and 80's) that was growing leaps and bounds and he grew with it. The pernicious gangs had yet to take hold and the drug epidemic was in its embryonic stage. Still, he kept a lid on things and managed the city's reputation more than ably. He will go down in history as one of the fathers of modern Albuquerque. The only regret he must have is to see our city regress from its peak years when the likes of himself, Harry Kinney, Pete Domenici and Pat Baca held sway.  They ought to name a couple of buildings and a city park after the guy to remind everyone of what was--and what still can be.

Thanks for the memories, Bob.

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