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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A PR Campaign On Child Abuse; Is It A Campaign For The Election, Too? Plus: Our Exclusives: First Candidate Enters ABQ Mayoral Race And Rep. Pearce Backs Yates Over Rogers In GOP Battle 

Can a website solve New Mexico's child abuse problem? Yeah, we agree with you on that one. But that's what the Martinez administration rolled out this week--a website listing state resources on child abuse accompanied by a $2.7 million PR campaign to spread the word that we need to "Pull Together." The cynics immediately cried: "Election Time" and they have a point. . .

The state has plumbed new lows in a wide array of social well-being rankings since Martinez took over but she has largely ignored them, or inflicted more harm than good when she did act by causing chaos in the state's behavioral health system.

But now with the November election fast approaching and with the GOP worried about keeping control of the state House that it captured in 2014, the administration rolls out the PR campaign. (It was also interesting that it came just a day after the newspaper did a big front page spread reporting child abuse here is "off the charts".)

Reliable insider polling shows the Governor's approval rating sinking below the 50% level for the first time in her over five yea tenure.  Let me repeat that. Below 50 percent.

We can't give the source for that polling--yet. But it is reliable and recent and it has her at 45% approval. That's following the December holiday staff pizza party disaster and a continued weak economy around the state.

The R's plan is for "an all crime all the time" campaign similar to what they did in the last legislative session, but there is vulnerability in that and that's why we are probably seeing a PR campaign on a key social issue.

But where's the beef--the resources actually needed to address child abuse? That was the question being asked by Archbishop John Wester of the Santa Fe Archdiocese. In his first venture on to the field of La Politica since taking over his post a year ago, Wester was forceful. He called a news conference to comment on the administration's sudden embrace of the child welfare problem, saying:

We agree with the government’s call to pull together. This is truly an important step. It is important to remember, however, that when we pull together, we need to pull resources together. For example, programs for children need to be funded. The “PullTogether” campaign underestimates the lack of access to the Internet for the people in poverty. An online directory is not a silver bullet. These problems need a large-scale effort to create systemic change. These decades’ old problems, which have recently boiled to a heating point of tragedy, can no longer be ignored. A resource directory is wonderful, if it is directing people to fully-funded programs, which has not been the case in New Mexico.

The Archbishop's full comments are here and in them he urges the Governor to support a constitutional amendment that would let voters decide if they wish to devote a portion of the state's $15 billion Land Grant Permanent School Fund to early childhood education. That's the kind of  resources he says are needed to reverse the state's descent to the bottom of the barrel in child-well being rankings.

And what about that $2.7 million for the PR blitz that raised eyebrows since the Children Youth and Families Department seems chronically understaffed and short of funds. A group of parents came with this:

Parents of the OLÉ Working Parents Association criticized CYFD's plan to spend $2.7 million on an ad campaign to inform parents about child care assistance availability, saying that it isn't awareness that stops parents from enrolling; it's the way in which CYFD caseworkers treat parents. “CYFD would not have $2.7 million in reverted child care funds to spend on advertising if they hadn't turned away so many eligible parents or charged them co-pays that they can't afford,” said Diana Maze, a parent and leader of the OLÉ Working Parents Association said.

ARCHULETA IS FIRST

Former Democratic Bernallio County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta put up this Twitter account this week with the logo you see here and for us that means she's the first candidate to enter the 2017 ABQ mayoral race. Our Alligators report she will have a gathering of friends today at the Bow and Arrow Brewery to tell them she is running.

Archuleta would be the first woman elected mayor of the city. In 2009 she was named an Assistant Secretary of Interior under President Obama, leaving the county commission shortly after getting elected to her second term in 2008. Previously she was the regional director for the Southwestern Wilderness Society. With that resume she would seem to have a base with progressive Democrats, especially environmentalists.

Archuleta
Here's a tip: Insiders report ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is a player behind the scenes on this one. She is looking seriously at an '18 run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Archuleta is married to pediatrician Tom Rothfeld and lives in the North Valley. She has a teenaged son from a previous marriage.

She is the first in what could be a crowded field. Among others being mentioned as possible contenders are former NM Democratic Party Chairman and attorney Brian Colon who is already openly campaigning; State Auditor Tim Keller, USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner, City Councilors Ken Sanchez and Dan Lewis, Republican businessman Steve McKee and R Celina Bussey, cabinet secretary for the state Workforce Solutions Department. Mayor Berry says he won't seek a third term and is obviously eyeing the '18 GOP Guv nomination but if that doesn't work out he could always change his mind.

PEARCE ENDORSES YATES

The blog exclusives roll on (Hey, kids, we're working it for ya)

The split in the New Mexico Republican Party just got more open and wider. Southern NM Congressman Steve Pearce says it's time for controversial NM GOP National Committeeman Pat Rogers to hit the road. Pearce formally endorsed Harvey Yates, former chairman of the state GOP, in his bid to oust Rogers who has held the post for eight years and is very closely associated with the Governor's political machine, led by Martinez consultant Jay McCleskey. Says Pearce to the delegates to the state GOP convention in May where the race will be decided:

Pearce & Martinez
The National Republican Party has failed to live up to its promise. Just as I was one of the first people in the Congress to say it was time for a change in the Speaker of the House, even with my high regard for Pat Rogers, I think it is time for a change.

We need people setting the national direction of the party who understand what it takes to create jobs. Harvey is a successful business guy. He knows what it takes. That’s why I am proud to support Harvey Yates for National Committeeman.

We need people speaking nationally for us as Republicans to take stances that are based on principle, people who will speak out against corruption. Harvey is a man of principle and integrity. He wrote and published a book about the crony capitalism corruption of the Bill Richardson Administration. That’s why I am proud to support Harvey Yates for National Committeeman.

And here's the topper from Pearce.

I sincerely hope you will join me in supporting Harvey Yates for National Committeeman. If you would like to speak to me personally, please call Andrea Goff at 575-390-8050 and she will arrange a call for us.

You mean the Andrea Goff who presented evidence to the US Attorney about McCleskey's alleged campaign finance wrongdoing? A federal grand jury investigated McCleskey but did not indict him. Goff issued a letter that said she feels she is being threatened by Jay. Yep, that Andrea Goff. She's been a longtime fund-raiser for Pearce and him putting her name out there now was a clear signal that Pearce's split with Gov. Martinez, known in closed circles, is public and pronounced.

You don't have civil war in the GOP yet, but you are headed for it if the gubernatorial contest features Machine favorite Mayor Berry against Lt. Governor Sanchez who is the Pearce-Yates fave. The first round in the fight for the future of the GOP is May 21 when state Republicans decide the Yates-Rogers contest.

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