Tuesday, January 09, 2018

A "Softer Susana?" Fuhgeddaboudit! She Comes Out Swinging Against Lawmakers On Crime Epidemic, Plus: The Libertarian Party Plays In The Political Big League 

Gov. Martinez (Sorber; Journal)
What's that about a "Softer Susana?" Fuhgeddaboudit!

No sooner had our digits hit cyberspace Monday speculating about a softer gubernatorial approach when Gov. Martinez reverted to form--blasting lawmakers from Mora to Mesilla and pretty much blaming them for the entirety of the ABQ and NM crime problem, even though she is now in her 8th year of governing.

Back in play was the stern look and the lecturing manner of a judgmental parent. And also back were the same wheelbarrow full of crime-fighting proposals that have been wheeled out year after year.

“Enough is enough,” Gov. Martinez said. That was the common threat throughout the governor’s speech Monday as she discussed her anti-crime agenda.“Every year since taking office I have called on lawmakers to get tough on crime,” she said. “Over and over again our legislature has failed to act.” 

Gov. Martinez is putting a lot of blame on lawmakers. She says she’s sick of being number one for car thefts and seeing the constant stories of criminals getting arrested over and over again. “That’s the revolving door I’m talking about. They’re making a mockery of the criminal justice system.”

Well, she certainly made a mockery of our hope that the softer Susana that unveiled her budget plan would stick around. But she is back to doing what she is most comfortable with and what she does best--attacking, blaming and campaigning.

Nowhere in her legislative agenda is there a mention that the crime epidemic here needs to be fought not only on the criminal justice front but also on the poverty, drug abuse and cultural (educational) fronts.

For most of her two terms she had a fellow Republican in the ABQ Mayor's office to help her kick-start major reforms but nothing happened. And her party controlled the state House for two years and could have perhaps compromised to get some of the agenda through. But her and Mayor Berry rarely collaborated and there was never any serious negotiating with the Legislature--just political posturing for whatever campaign loomed.

Lawmakers will relish rejecting just about all of Martinez's proposals, many of which are political window dressing, like the reinstatement of the death penalty for certain crimes. And she will probably relish believing that history will say she tried and tried, but those awful legislators would not cooperate and it is they and they alone who let the state sink into the cellar.

The Governor's crime plan is a script to absolve her and her administration from the damning verdict already being delivered to them in the public opinion polls. Softer Susana? Fuggheddabout it!


Rep. Ely 
Sandoval County Dem State Rep. and attorney Daymon Ely came with this op-ed that lays out a crime agenda different from the Governor's:

. . . But the biggest and most challenging problem is our mental health care system and lack of substance abuse treatment facilities. Our behavioral health care system has been decimated. 

People with, or at risk for, mental illness and substance abuse often have nowhere to go. As a result, MDC (the jail on the west side of Albuquerque) is now the largest provider of mental health therapy in the state. Once the inmate is released both the individual and the community are now at risk.

The citizens of New Mexico need more and better paid police officers, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, court staff, corrections officers, pre-trial service providers, and early childhood intervention, particularly at schools, and at behavioral health and substance abuse treatment centers.


Never mind the four Democrats chasing the governorship, presumed GOP nominee Steve Pearce first has to worry about trouble that could pop up in his own backyard. No, there's no talk of another R entering the race but there are rumblings about a Libertarian getting into the chase. That would be highly problematic for Pearce.

The southern NM congressman will need a unified conservative GOP base if he is to have a realistic chance to prevail over the Dem nominee in November. Even if a Libertarian took only two or three points in a three way race, it could spell Pearce's doom. That's because even the most optimistic of Pearce's supporters see only a very narrow win for him in a two way contest with his Dem rival.

The rumblings about a Libertarian entering were first heard when GOP Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. said he was thinking about it. Meanwhile, Dunn's son, ABQ Attorney A. Blair Dunn, has launched a Libertarian candidacy for attorney general.

Libertarian Princeton
And Lloyd Princeton who describes himself as a small business owner and entrepreneur is a Libertarian running for the ABQ congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham who is running for Governor.

In the past the Libertarians have often found it difficult to get on the ballot because of the large number of petition signatures required of third party candidates.

Libertarian presidential candidate and former NM Governor Gary Johnson made it much easier for the 2018 cycle when he scored over 5 percent of the state vote in the NM '16 presidential election--the threshold for a party to secure major party status and thus lowering the signature requirement.

While we wait to see if Dunn or another possible Libertarian Guv contender emerges and causes Pearce to lose what hair he has left, we can say that the entry of Blair Dunn into the AG's race is an unwelcome development for ABQ attorney Michael Hendricks, the sole R seeking the nomination. Democrat Hector Balderas is unopposed for the nomination and favored for re-election in November. Sharing his GOP vote with Dunn was not in Henrdicks' game plan.

Former GOP state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones is the lone candidate for her party's nomination for the ABQ congressional seat. Having Princeton on the ballot isn't going to help her any, but then the national R's don't seem interested in targeting the seat anyway.

Back on the Guv deal, the irony here is that it was a former GOP Governor--Johnson--who by performing well in '16 made possible an easier entry for a Libertarian Governor candidate that could be poisonous to Pearce. Maybe Steve should pick up the phone and ask Gary to keep the coast clear of any Libertarian Guv hopefuls. It could make the difference in who wins, or at least stop Steve from losing the last of his hair.


About that photo of Dem State Auditor candidate Brian Colón on the Monday blog. It was taken by reader Gabe Gallegos. Thanks for the fine shot, Gabe.

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