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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Praying For APD, Susana Sinks In Another Poll, And: Bribery By Taco? Santa Fe Mayor Cancels Giveaway; We've Got Expert Advice For Him  

APD Chief Garden Eden
It's down to prayer for the ABQ Police Department and its beleaguered Chief Gorden Eden. Here he is recently asking for divine guidance before the congregation at ABQ's New Beginnings Church. And, boy, could he use some.

There's that Federal grand jury looking at whether APD illegally tampered with police lapel camera video; the continued severe under-staffing of the department; the ongoing Dept. of Justice consent decree mandating reforms and the department's continued sparring with the civilian oversight board and last but not least the crime wave that has seen the city rank among the worst in the nation for both violent crime and property crime.

Eden's tenure as APD chief is likely to end December 1 when a new mayor takes over. Several of the major candidates say they intend to replace him. The rumor mill has Eden, a Republican and former US Marshal for NM, perhaps again applying for that position in the Trump administration. After his troubled tenure at APD that seems a stretch--even if he has the good Lord on his side.

SINKING SUSANA

Another poll confirms what others have shown in recent months: Gov. Martinez is no longer a popular Governor. In fact, she ranks 42nd in popularity among the nation's governors in a Morning Consult poll conducted over a multi-month period and released this week. Martinez's approval rating is 43 percent and 48 percent disapprove.

Meanwhile, Sen. Martin Heinrich's approval rating remains slightly below the important 50 percent mark as he embarks on his '18 re-election bid. He scored a 48 percent positive rating. Sen. Udall's approval rating was 53 percent. In days of yore New Mexico senators routinely won approval ratings of 60 percent or more. The public of today is more cynical about politics and politicians of all stripes. Still, Heinrich's campaign reports:

Martin is on track to file record-breaking fundraising numbers this quarter, reporting more than $1.3 million raised and $2.5 million cash on hand in his re-election bid for the U.S. Senate.

A NEW TINGLEY?

There's a glimmer of hope that we might get a new arena for the 21st century at the NM State Fairgrounds (Expo NM). Expo Manager Dan Mourning says a study has been commissioned from arena designer Populous to finally look at replacing dilapidated Tingley Coliseum which can no longer host major concerts like Garth Brooks and the like.

Mourning says the study will be under $100,000 and look at building a multi-purpose arena for a wide array of events including concerts, sports and more. He expects it to be completed by summer. Financing a new arena is an expensive proposition but if the city, BernCo and the state come with bonding capacity and Mourning is able to attract private investors, as he says he hopes to, it might have a shot. Tingley is over 60 years old, ancient by building standards, particularly in the digital age.

"The cities in our region are passing us by and I'm getting tired of it. We deserve this, especially the next generation that we want to keep here," declared Mourning.

Chief Eden and I will pray over it, Dan.

TACOS FOR VOTES

What do you mean you can't buy New Mexico votes with tacos? Who made that one up? The news:

A political action committee offering tacos for votes during an early-voting event Wednesday with Mayor Javier Gonzales have quashed the idea. The decision to stop the taco giveaway comes amid bribery accusations against Pre-K for Santa Fe by the spokesman of another political group that has called the mayor's proposed tax on sodas and other sugary drinks to fund pre-K unfair.

Bribery? Ye Gads! New Mexico voters have been lining up for free political chow since Coronado bit into his first Navajo Taco. So how will the taking of the tacos impact the May 2 vote on the sugary drinks tax? Only analysis from the top experts can provide the answers.. . .

Veteran Democratic political consultants Alan Packman and Scott Forrester report that their in-depth study of taco consumption patterns in the City Different--gathered through in-person surveys at various taco stands and smart phone users ordering take-out--say the cancellation of the taco giveaway has several shadings:

Joe, it's important what kind of tacos we're talking about and how the Mayor explains this. If we're talking top-of-the-line steak tacos in a soft shell, our study shows the sugar tax would lose approximately 274 votes because of the taking of the tacos. Folks really go for those.

Now if we look at chicken taco vote buying, the impact is slightly less for Mayor Gonzales. Voters denied free chicken tacos (with a nice homemade, hot salsa) are put off by the cancellation, but not as bad as the steak taco eaters. We estimate the loss at 149 votes.

Then there's the lowly Taco Bell taco. You know, the one with the kind of low-rent meat that Santa Feans only eat in a pinch. If the tacos being served by the mayor were to be similar to Taco Bell tacos, then he'll lose only about 42 votes for the sugary tax.

After digesting the Dem consultants taco report, we turned to Gov. Martinez's longtime political operative Jay McCleskey and asked him what advice he would offer Mayor Gonzales:

If I were him I would immediately produce TV spots suggesting the tacos were poisoned and the giveaway had to be canceled to save lives. Of course, the inference being that the nefarious opposition was behind the poisoning. This would shore up the shell-shattered taco vote. 

McCleskey has sent his advice to the Dem consultants along with his standard fee of $16,844 per paragraph.

Steve Fitzer, a consultant to Sen. Heinrich who says he fears all could be lost for Mayor Gonzales, came with a Hail Mary plan:

Joe, in order to reverse this Mayor Gonzales needs to push forward and hold a free chicharrones giveaway on the downtown Plaza the Sunday before the election. Get away from the tacos and really put some buying power on voters' plates. He could recoup the lost taco voters and the event would be so close to the election that bad PR would be too late to force him to cancel. You can never go wrong with chicharrones. 

It was near fatal mistake for the mayor, but thanks to New Mexico's top political consultants--and chicharrones--he may still pull this one out.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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