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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

SOS: A Man's Job? Plus: APS Woes; Would An Election Change Help? Plus: Voting Already Underway In ABQ Election, The Oil Bear Bites NM Deep And Watching John Sanchez 

Here's a gender bender for you: After three secretaries of state in a row have been felled  by legal woes, how about if Gov. Martinez makes history and appoints a man to the post if, as expected, Secretary of State Dianna Duran resigns? Its only happened twice in the 100 plus years of New Mexican history and that was at the beginning of statehood but voters are probably willing to support anything that might break the SOS hex. . .

In ABQ, a number of folks are once again urging that elections for the ABQ school board be held at the November general election or with the October city election instead of February. They argue the candidates would get more scrutiny and the public would be more involved in who gets on the seven member board which for decades has botched the hiring of APS superintendents, the latest being the Valentino debacle.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment to change the timing in 2014 but it needed approval from 75% of the voters and it mustered only 58% support. Maybe it wouldn't make much of a difference. After all, secretaries of state are elected in the higher turnout general election and that hasn't stopped the cascade of scandals in that office. . .

Cheryl Haaker of the League of Women voters picks up on the dismal turnout for the school board balloting:

Joe, I checked out election results for the last two school board elections (half the Board is elected every 2 years). This is the depressing and disturbing result:

District 1. (2015) Analee Maestas: 453 votes
District 2. (2015) Peggy Muller-Aragon: 1961 votes
District 3. (2013) Lorenzo Garcia: 848 votes
District 4. (2015) Barbara Peterson: 1877
District 5. (2013) Steven Michael Quezada: 855 votes (he ran unopposed)
District 6. (2013) David Robbins: 1098 votes

These were the numbers of votes these candidates received which put them onto the APS Board. Out of a city of at least 550,000 (and APS's district covers more than just the city) this is absolutely shameful. If the school board elections were to be combined with the municipal elections (October of odd years), turnout would undoubtedly be better, although municipal election turnout is also pathetic. . . Speaking of the October Albuquerque Municipal Election (October 6), the League Voters' Guide is now up on the website and will be coming out in hard copy next week. Would you help us spread the word?

Thanks for that turnout research, Cheryl, and consider the word on the guide spread.

It surprised us to learn from that guide that voting in the city election actually began Tuesday with voting sites at the City Clerk's Office and the City Records Center on Menaul already open.

We're also reminded that if no candidate gets 50% of the vote in a city council race there will be a runoff election between the top two contenders on November 17. Will that happen in that three way race to replace Councilor Rey Garduno in the SE Heights? It could.

ODD COUPLE

Here's a seemingly odd political couple--Gov. Martinez tams with fellow GOP Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas to pen a column advocating work requirements for  welfare recipients. The piece ran in the Washington Times, an outlet that appeals to conservatives and a wing of the GOP that sometimes voices suspicions about Martinez.

THE OIL BEAR

It's another wild bear market in oil. We remember the one back in the 80's when the price crashed to $10 bucks a barrel and cratered the state budget. The state comes with  this tidbit on the current bear:

Lower oil prices have stifled new oil well drilling, and there were only 50 oil rigs in New Mexico in July 2015, down from 94 in July 2014. It is estimated that a typical oil rig directly supports 50 to 70 high- paying jobs.

That's as many as 3,000 jobs lost to the oil bear. One suspects it will eventually show itself in the economic numbers for SE NM, not to mention the daily lives of those impacted.

SANCHEZ WATCH

He's going to stay pretty quiet until after the '16 election when he's expected to launch his bid for the '18 GOP gubernatorial nomination but he is going about his business:

Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez was unanimously re-elected by his peers from across the nation to serve as West Regional Chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA). As a member of the NLGA Executive Committee, Lieutenant Governor Sanchez will continue to represent New Mexico, as well as 15 other states and territories, and help chart the course of issues to be pursued by the association and its members.

Sanchez had a great summer. Why? The immense Monsoon rains had city roofs leaking at a record pace. Sanchez owns a roofing company. The question for him now is whether the roof on the Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse starts leaking. If it does, his chances of getting that roof over his head get mighty cloudy.

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