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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Will One Man Pave The Way For A New And Improved APD? Plus: Burning Up Over BernCo Tax Increase And Close Race Developing For NM Dem Party Chair 

Reynaldo Chavez
Sometimes it's just one brave and determined individual who brings down an institution rife with corruption and puts it on the path to true reform.  Think John Dean and Watergate. Here in River City, the Alligators are getting the vibe that former APD records custodian Reynaldo Chavez may be the one man who makes the big difference. His steadfastness under enormous pressure is holding and that could mean the house of cover-up cards finally comes tumbling down.

Chavez is not backing down from his assertion that APD lapel camera footage was illegally altered, even as City Attorney Hernandez trots out a report that says original footage could not be altered. However, that report does not address whether copies of the footage distributed to the press and public were illegally altered.

Well, never mind what Hernandez is telling us, it's what she's telling that federal grand jury investigating the question that really matters. Yes, in case you missed it, in a rare move the feds have confirmed the grand jury has started a criminal probe into the altering allegations. Mayor Berry and Hernandez have just eight months to go before they are done. That's plenty of time for sleepless nights on what may be coming their way in their closing act. Don't say we didn't tell you.

MYOPIC TAXATION

Get ready for a BernCo gross receipts tax nearing 8 percent. Last night the BernCo Commission approved on a three to two vote a three-sixteenths increase in the GRT, pushing it to 7.5 percent in the ABQ city limits. The tax was opposed from both the left and right but the three Dems got it through, over strenuous objection from GOP Commissioner and ABQ mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson. He pointed out the tax is expected to raise $30 million a year while county officials report a deficit of only $8 million for the next budget year.

The wrong move at the wrong time, the commission was told by opponents, who noted it comes as the population and economy stagnate. And the commission just raised the gross receipts tax in 2015. The county manager was unconvincing that enough consolidation and spending cuts have been made to the bloated county bureaucracy that sprang up during the go-go years. She and the commissioners continue to live in the past but taxpayers will be paying for that myopia well into the future.

ANALYZING SUSANA

The armchair political analysts were busy on social media in the wake of Gov. Martinez's threat to start furloughing state workers next month to resolve what she said is a budget shortfall for the final three months of the current year. Harold Martinez was one of those who said the Guv was engaging in a cynical maneuver:

Do you really believe furloughs will occur? You should know better, amigo. This is all political posturing, merely an effort to have state employees contact their legislators to accept Martinez's budget and avoid a furlough. I say call her bluff. (Most state employees would love a vacation, even an unpaid one.)

CLOSE RACE DEVELOPING

Our insiders and Alligators reported some new energy and new faces at last weekend's Dem Party precinct and ward meetings. The advent of Trump has brought more participation and there's also a close race developing in the election for a new state party chair, according to this longtime Dem participant and observer:

Joe, It seems as though the race for chair of the NM Democratic Party is between former Santa Fe County Chairman Richard Ellenberg and Juan Sanchez III, the party's current vice-chair under outgoing chairwoman Deb Haaland. It will be a close race. Candidate Rusty Pearce of Las Cruces has some votes but Ellenberg and Sanchez are the front-runners.

Ellenberg is closely aligned with the forces of Sen. Bernie Sanders while Haaland and Sanchez are seen as having a higher comfort level with the Clinton wing of the party. State Central Committee members will meet April 29 to select the new chair.

SPRING/SUMMER BLOG SCHEDULE

With the arrival of the warm weather months and no general election this year, the political news will slow some and we'll adapt to those months by bringing you NM Politics with Joe Monahan Tuesday through Thursday rather than the current five days a week schedule. Of course, if big news breaks out we'll break in no matter the time or day. And you can always find us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on La Politica. Our new schedule is effective next week when we'll look forward to starting the blogging week with you Tuesday, April 4.

Thanks for your continued interest and support.

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