Thursday, January 14, 2016

TV Ads On NM Child Poverty Rock The Martinez Boat; Legal Action Threatened To Get Them Off Air, Plus: SOS Intrigue As Rebecca Vigil Makes A Play 

Allen Sanchez, CEO of CHI St. Joseph's Children, says he wanted to rock the boat over New Mexico's soaring child poverty and hunger rate. He did that and more Wednesday as the Martinez administration went ballistic over a series of TV ads that Sanchez unveiled that parody the state's tourism campaign--New Mexico True--to make their point.

"New Mexico Truth" didn't just rock the boat. It hit it with a torpedo. (The ads are on the
NM Truth website.)

The Guv's political operatives attacked the ads on social media and the Department of Tourism not only attacked them but said it will ask a court to force them off the air for alleged copyright infringement. That, of course, will mean the ads will get even more attention than the $200,000 CHI St. Joseph's put up to finance them. (We are one of the consultants for the group).

The ads, aimed at building support to finance early childhood programs by using a portion of the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund, have a bite to them. One 15 second ad, shows a magnificent scenic backdrop and intones:

This is New Mexico where we celebrate our unique cuisine and turn a blind eye to our children. . . New Mexico Truth.

And another:

This is New Mexico where you can discover your inner child and uncover severe childhood poverty. . . New Mexico Truth.

The harsh reaction from the state Tourism Department came right out of the Guv's campaign playbook:

We're completely disappointed that anyone would try to steal the New Mexico True campaign--which shines a positive light on our communities--in order to trash the state and shamelessly promote their political agenda. Not only is this smear campaign on our state in poor taste, but also a blatant copyright infringement.

Well, the truth does hurt. Sanchez retorted:

If you don't like the campaign, you can change the (child poverty) numbers. . .Poor child outcomes has been the subject politicians have been talking about for decades. My question is what is it going to take to come together as a community to solve the problem? This campaign seeks to raise awareness and I hope drive important conversation. It is important to celebrate the good in our state but we also cannot ignore our challenges,”

The ad buy is not an insignificant sum but a number of PR professionals thought the administration would have been better off ignoring the ads or issuing a statement saying it is indeed aware of the child poverty and hunger problem and has solutions for it. But as we've said before, the administration is strong on offense but not so much on defense. Remember, the ads are not being produced by a political opponent, but by the Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI).

The ads (also running on radio) will indeed be seen by some as cringe inducing but the same could be said of the state's perennial ranking as last or near last in the USA when it comes to child well-being, the stagnant economy, the violent crime and other pernicious social maladies that have kept the state in the nation's cellar. The only way to begin to change that is by changing the conversation. New Mexicans will now see a change in that conversation on their TV screens. And that's a good thing.


This one is going to get them talking. From former Dem Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil:

Joe, We are circulating petitions statewide and if I am able to secure 5,000 petition signatures by filing day, February 2nd, I will make a formal announcement that I am seeking the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State in the June primary  . If I do not reach the threshold to go to the Democratic Pre-Primary Nominating Convention, March 12, I will not enter the race. 

Vigil (formerly known as Vigil-Giron) held the SOS position for three terms, longer than anyone in history. She gained national prominence as one of the highest ranking Hispanic elected women and served as president of the National Association of Secretarys of State

Things went bad for her when she was indicted in 2009:

Vigil and three others-- consultant Armando Gutierrez and husband-and-wife lobbyists Joseph and Elizabeth “Daisy” Kupfer--were indicted by a state grand jury in August 2009 on charges related to the alleged embezzlement of federal money meant for voter education. . . In November, 2012, District Judge Reed Sheppard dropped the charges against Vigil, ruling that the 39-month delay in bringing the charges to trial weighed heavily against the prosecution.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver recently announced she is seeking the Dem nomination for the SOS post. If Vigil manages to get those signatures and get on the ballot, you could have a tense primary between the two.

It was just late last year that GOP Secretary of State Dianna Duran was sent to jail for 30 days over a campaign finance scandal. Vigil has strenuously argued her innocence since the day she was indicted but Oliver can be expected not to let sleeping dogs lie.

The SOS post is on the '16 ballot because of Duran's resignation. There is no R candidate yet in the race. Whoever wins in November will serve out the final two years of Duran's term.


In a first draft Wednesday we said Dem State Rep. Dona Irwin represents SE NM. She is from the SW--Hidalgo, Luna and Grant counties.

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