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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Colón Comes In; Former Dem Chairman Casts Wide Net As He Kicks Off '17 Mayoral Bid, Plus: A Heckuva Real Estate Deal 

Brian Colón (Bralley)
Brian Colón cast a wide net as he embarked on his quest for votes in the 2017 ABQ mayoral race. Speaking to a large and enthusiastic gathering of about 1,000 at the Hotel ABQ, he stayed away from specifics that could pigeon hole him on the left or right and instead hewed to a message that he hopes translates into something for everyone:

As Mayor, I will initiate and strongly promote programs and strategies which provide everyone with the opportunity to get a job and rewards those who take the risks in creating those jobs. It is time for us to bring a new perspective to growth in our city with the long term vision of creating a healthy and sustainable economic environment.

Even on the hot button crime issue, Colón stuck to generalities:

We need to establish trust in the community between our residents and those who have vowed to protect and serve. We also need to provide more opportunities for employment, have affordable, accessible programs for drug addiction, and compassionate care for the mentally ill if we want to reduce crime and in Albuquerque

Stuff like that is not going to get him into any hot water but he will feel the heat from his opponents who will demand he put some meat on the bones. He did come with something to chew on when it came to the ABQ Public Schools. He plans to create a Chief Education Officer. . .

whose sole responsibility is to work directly with the APS Superintendent in reforming policies within the district. “We must change the players at the table, demand innovation and strive for excellence.

Colón, 47, is employed by Robles and Anaya, a prominent law firm that has done much work for governments in the state. His political tradition is that of a happy warrior, a master of the meet and greet and eager to work across the aisle. His Dem critics say he has been too eager to pal with the R's, but in a low turnout mayoral race his conservative ties could be of help.

Colón is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in New York and came to Valencia County as a small child. He was a fund-raiser for former Gov. Bill Richardson and is no slouch in that department. In addition to that grassroots army that he showed off at his announcement he says he has already raised over $200,000. That puts him squarely in the first tier of mayoral hopefuls as the starting gate forms for the October 3 election.

That first tier also includes Dem State Auditor Tim Keller, Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis, former BernCo Dem Commissioner Deanna Archuleta and current GOP Commissioner Wayne Johnson who says he will announce next month. A large group of second tier candidates have also lined up and will try to break through.

The first key test will come at the end of April when candidates must submit petition signatures from 3,000 registered voters. Political pros say you will need to collect about 5,000 to make sure you have enough valid ones. That should not be a problem for the first tier contenders, but some in the second tier will fall short and the field will be winnowed.

HECKUVA DEAL

Depending on how much renovations cost, it appears Bernalilo County got a heckuva deal:

Bernalillo County officials have announced plans to purchase the Alvarado Square office building in Downtown Albuquerque for $2.7 million – a dramatically lower price than the 2013 market price of $11 million. . . The purchase will be financed with money the county has in savings. Those funds will then be replenished through the issuance of gross receipts tax bonds, as well as through the sale of some of the more than 150 buildings the county has in its inventory.

With a stagnant population, a flat to shrinking tax base and economy with us for the long term--consolidation and even downsizing--are the new code words for local bureaucrats.

REAL CLEAR

Michael Barrio checks in with the news that the well-known and well-followed Real Clear Politics of DC will team with the Credit Union Association of New Mexico to host a day long conference on biz issues in Santa Fe on Tuesday, February 1:

The event is designed to include multiple perspectives on pressing state issues in 2017 from the credit union industry and NM business. Alan Webber, Gary Tonjes, Jason Espinoza, Ona Porter, Nyika Allen and others will be joining to discuss poverty, economic development, and community reinvestment.  Caitlin Huey-Burns, national political correspondent for Real Clear Politics, and Jennifer Rubin, a journalist at The Washington Post, will give the keynote address--"View from the 4th Estate" - which will focus on the 2017 political landscape.

The event will be held at La Posada de Santa Fe. Sign up info is here.

THE BOTTOM LINES

In a first draft Wednesday we blogged that the UNM regents has five members. It has seven. And we did not mention that two new regents Gov. Martinez named require confirmation by the state Senate. Both of her picks--former Rep. Don Tripp and former Senator John Ryan--are expected to be easily confirmed.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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