Thursday, October 08, 2015

Next Legislative Session Shaping Up As More Of The Same, Plus: Readers Write The Postmortem For ABQ Election '15 

Legislative Session 2016 is right around the corner, otherwise known as "The Recurring Nightmare." As she has every year since taking office the Governor in January will ask lawmakers to approve a measure holding back third graders who don't meet certain standards and also to repeal driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. As usual, both will eat up the clock and fail. Will the 30 day session become another pointless spectacle? You know the answer.

Susana is back again touting tourism numbers that may or may not be based in reality. It's kind of ironic, really. While the Guv says tourism is popping, the state is undergoing a historic population decline, losing 0.5 percent of its population for the year ended July 2014. It's great that we are getting more people to visit here--if we indeed we are--but what about keeping the people who already live here, Guv?

And, by the way, counting all the trips made in state by New Mexicans as a big deal for tourism is misleading. The state needs to be attracting out-of-state residents who will bring new money into our stagnant economy.


We may have had the worst voter turnout in modern history at Tuesday's ABQ election but that doesn't include the Alligators. Here's one of them peeling the onion on the action of the 28,800 voters out of 350,000 eligible who did show up:

The most voted on item was the bond issue for the Museum and Zoo--28,092.

The least voted on item was Charter Amendment #3, asking people to approve getting rid of the fine print on ballots--25,589 (it failed). Over 1,200 more people voted on the Charter Amendment asking for City Council approval of the police and fire chiefs (it passed).

The Charter questions were the lowest voted on items. Many voters skipped the three amendments and went straight to the BioPark tax. 27,052 voted on that tax which passed.

UNM political science professor Tim Krebs thinks putting the city election on the general election ballot would bolster turnout, but then the ballot could be so long it could turn off voters. He calls the crash in turnout to 8 percent of registered city voters "a threat to democracy" and says much of it is due to voter fatigue over the many elections we have. Perhaps, but when such a minuscule portion of the electorate is voting compared to just 10 or 15 years ago, we have to look deeper.


The readers write of Election '15:

Joe, I believe people may have voted for the tax increase for the BioPark  believing it would preserve one of the few good things our city still has. I was one of the 8% that did vote at the last minute. My conscience was bothering me. I felt I had to vote even though I'm guilty of feeling the same as most of the people who think it doesn't make a difference anymore. It's sad that our citizens are as despondent about the state of affairs as our elected officials are about the condition of our cities and state. But I get it, not a lot to be enthusiastic about these days. 

Reader Ron Nelson writes:

Joe, other states are also experiencing low voter turnouts. There is such a division of political and sociological views. That has created a division in this country to a greater degree than when we fought the civil war over slavery. This is causing gridlock of our political process and causing a severe division of ideologies that affects the abilities of this community and country to flourish and be strong.

On the bright side, there is excitement on the national stage with three outsiders of the political establishment making waves in the polls, and actually offering solutions to the problems that we face. Sadly, I predict, that even if one of them becomes the nominee and wins, they will fail because they will need to surround themselves with the established political hacks to be able to pull anything off.

Another reader writes:

Hello Joe, so we are going to be taxed a little more by the Republican regime that hates the mere mention of the word tax. Okay, we are stuck. The BioPark Society was formed  to solicit private donations from the public. If the taxpayers are now filling that niche, why do we need it? They managed to spend donation money, money intended for the BioPark, on the tax campaign. If they worked as hard on collecting donations there would be no need for the tax.


In our election coverage Wednesday we said ABQ Dem City Councilor Ken Sanchez ran unopposed in the Tuesday election. Sanchez was re-elected in 2013 and was not on the ballot this year.

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