Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Alligator Alley: Our Sources On ABQ Council Intrigue And Light Guv Race Win Plaudits, Plus: RJ Berry Has Left The Building; Introducing Our Heavy Metal Mayor  

You have to hand it to our Alligators--our longtime political sources who stay anonymous but come up from the waters with juicy info on the coming and goings of La Politica. For example. . .

During the ABQ mayoral campaign they said look for the westside city council Democrats to band together and form a voting bloc, even as Dem Tim Keller was winning a 62 percent landslide mayoral victory. And that happened this week which we'll explain in a minute.

Then, one of our second-generation Gators said look for youthful Silver City State Senator Howie Morales to give serious thought to an '18 run for the Dem nomination for lieutenant governor once Senator Michael Padilla dropped out over sex harassment charges from years ago. Padilla did drop out and Howie announced on Facebook Tuesday by putting up his lieutenant governor logo.

Back to our nine member ABQ city council. They elected westside Democrat Ken Sanchez as council president this week, rebuffing a bid by Dem Pat Davis, who represents one of the city's most liberal districts.

And how did Sanchez do it? He formed a conservative coalition with Republican Councilors Winter, Harris and Jones who were joined by Sanchez's fellow westside councilors Klarissa Pena and newly elected Cynthia Borrego. Sanchez voted for himself and took a 6 to 3 victory. Davis and his fellow non westside Dems who supported him--Gibson and Benton--were left in the dust.

Sanchez, Pena and Borrego are from districts that supported Keller but are more conservative socially and economically and heavily Hispanic. Pena dragged her feet in endorsing Keller in the run-off and all three Westside councilors have been sympathetic towards the Santolina development project for the far Westside--not a fave of Keller's.

And how about this? Conservative Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones was rewarded by Sanchez and company for her support by being given the chairmanship of the important council budget committee. A Republican heading up the most important committee on a council commanded by the Democrats with a 6 to 3 majority? Counting council heads just went to the top of Keller's to-do list.

Remember, a 6 to 3 council is a veto proof council, but only if all the Dems stick together and don't play coalition politics. Do we really need to say "Stay Tuned?"


Not only did his fellow councilors reject him as the new council president, they also passed over Pat Davis for vice-president of the council which they gave to Republican Don Harris. That loss of stature can't help Davis as he seeks the nomination for the ABQ US House seat being vacated by Dem Michelle Lujan Grisham who is running for governor.

Davis has already lagged his chief opponents--Damon Martinez, Deb Haaland and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez--in fund-raising. And he has been scored by fellow liberal Dems for being too cozy with former ABQ GOP Mayor Richard Berry.

Davis backers don't deny his candidacy has faced its share of troubles but they argue that with so with so many Hispanic Dems chasing the Dem nomination and Davis the only prominent Anglo progressive, he could still eke out a victory in the June primary.

Meantime, Davis is leaving ProgressNow NM, the liberal advocacy group where he has served as executive director, to campaign for Congress. Former ABQ Dem State Rep. Stephanie Maez says she will take on the ED role permanently at the start of the new year.


Any doubt that there is a cultural change at City Hall ended this week when Mayor Keller took to the stage of the downtown Sunshine Theater Saturday night to introduce metal heavies Trivium. He led the crowd in a chant of "Trivium! Trivium" and on came the band with a blaring set of head-banging numbers. Mayor Berry, as they say, has left the buildingp

On Facebook a reader said the best part of the video clip comes after Keller leaves the stage just before the band comes on and you hear someone in the crowd say, "Holy shit, that's the Mayor!"

Of course, in a few years they could still be saying that about the mayor, but in a whole different context.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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