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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Manny Gonzales Becomes A Tough Talking And Proudly Defiant Sheriff; Will It Cost Him At The Polls Or Reward Him? Plus: Simple Ideas For Keeping The Kids Here, Also: The Golden Gate Bridge And ART 

Sheriff Gonzales (Pierre-Louis; Journal)
Is Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales ripe for a primary challenge and/or a strong challenger in next year's general election? He might be.

Democrat Gonzales' first two years on the job were relatively uneventful but now in his third year a recent outbreak of shootings by his deputies combined with Gonzales' insistence that he will not allow deputies to wear video lapel cameras has the sheriff coming across testy in public and hiding from media inquiries in a bunker.

That's not the firm but affable Gonzales voters got to know when he only narrowly defeated a Dem primary proponent in 2014 by a margin 51 to 49. He went on to win the general election over his GOP opponent by a still close 52 to 48 and become the first Hispanic sheriff in the county in memory.

Maybe this new tough talking, swaggering Gonzales is meant to impress law and order conservatives in the NE Heights as he prepares for re-election. If so, he's making plenty of enemies in the process and they are starting to speak out.

Whatever the case, Gonzales' brash personality and his in-your-face refusal to consider body cameras that are fast becoming standard operating procedure around the nation raises this question: If, as expected, Manny Gonzales seeks a second four year term will he be forced by a serious opponent to defend his actions before voters next year? Stay tuned.

KEEPING THEM HERE

Reader Michael Corwin, reacting to our Monday blog on the state economy, offers what he says are a couple of simple ideas that could help NM keep around the educated youngsters who are fleeing the state:

Two moves by the Legislature can do it: 1) Eliminate the portion of the gross receipts tax that covers business to business transactions. 2) In fields that require in-the-job experience in order to apply for a professional license, allow non-licensed people to subcontract from licensed professionals.

That’s it. In almost every other state developing and building a small business can be done through subcontracting work from a larger entity. Think about an architecture firm who takes on more work than they can handle, but not enough to hire full time. In NM any subcontract work is taxable raising the cost of the service by the tax amount (7% +). That then increases the cost of the service to the consumer, making subcontracting less competitive versus a firm that can afford larger full time staff.

Further, anyone who engages in the business of architecture (as an example) needs to be licensed, and any service provided must be taxed. Allow non-licensed people to subcontract work from a licensed entity (while they build up experience to become licensed themselves) expands the number of small businesses, and can do so without raising costs to the consumer. There are ways to offset the revenue loss, that can be done quite easily.

Problem solved. Keep our young folks here and let them develop small businesses.

Plenty of food for thought there and deserving of legislative review. There will be no major tax reform considered in the short January legislative session, says the leadership. They will wait to hammer a deal out with the new governor who takes office January 1, 2019. Corwin's ideas and plenty more will be waiting for them.

KELLER CAO

Will Sarita Nair, who served Chief Government Accountability Officer and General Counsel under State Auditor Tim Keller, be the city of ABQ's permanent chief administrative officer, the most powerful position in city government charged with running the day to day affairs of the city?

Well, she has the job for now. Mayor-elect Keller named her and several other staffers from the Auditor's office to cover key positions as he prepares to take office this Friday. But a note at the bottom of the announcement says the Najar appointment and the others are "on an interim basis initially" as Keller conducts his transition. Nair will be the city's first female CAO no matter how long she stays in the post.

The CAO must be approved by the city council.

Gov. Martinez will appoint a new state auditor to finish out the 13 months remaining on Keller's term.

#GIVINGTUESDAY

We had fun Election Night with our turnout contest. We took entries from our KANW 89.1 FM radio panel. The winner was Democratic activist Sandy Buffet who guessed that 98,000 voters would turn out for the mayoral run-off election between Tim Keller and Dan Lewis. The unofficial turnout was 96,813 so Sandy was very close.

The catch was the winner of the contest would have to donate $50 to their favorite charity. But it wasn't much of a catch for Sandy who happily gave her donation to the Roadrunner Food Bank which feeds thousands of NM families who need a helping hand.
And we agreed to match the winner's donation so our $50 donation has also been made.

The good news is our donation is being matched today which is #GivingTuesday. If you want to join in and offer a helping hand go here and designate your donation to the Roadrunner Food Bank. It will be matched 100 percent today, doubling the impact.

Congrats on that guess, Sandy. Now, let's see if you can do it again for the '18 primary election.

MAMA MIA!

The most outrageous quote of the month has to go to ABQ GOP City Councilor Don Harris. He compared the ART project to the Golden Gate Bridge. Really:

You might not realize how controversial the Golden Gate Bridge was. People hated it. It was going to destroy their way of life. It was going to be an environmental disaster. All the things that we heard about this, right? What we’re going to do over the next several years and hopefully the next several months is prove them all wrong.

But it's the critics of ART who have already been shown to be right not the political leadership that ignored the public will and forced the ART project onto the city:

--Construction of the gussied up bus project has been a disaster for dozens of businesses along Central.

--On the night ART debuted with Councilor Harris and Mayor Berry on board there was already an accident with a driver who turned left and collided with the ART bus.

--The affluent crowd celebrating the first ride on ART in no way represented the usual bus traveling public but was represented as what we could expect. But it's a sure bet hardly any of them will ever become regular ART patrons.

Like we said in our econ beat story Monday there's a new meme going around that criticizing ABQ is bad form and those that do so are out of touch. That's like accusing the staff at the insane asylum of being the ones off kilter. But that's how you get a veteran city councilor comparing a bus running down Central Avenue to one of the most iconic and successful bridges in world history. Mama Mia!

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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