Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Confidence Game: Rio Rancho Mayor; Santa Fe Chief Face Votes, Plus: Heinrich Chases Money; Wilson Weighs War, And: My Wednesday Bottom Lines 

Usually it's the Big Duke City grabbing the headlines, but today it's Rio Rancho and Santa Fe pushing ABQ off the front pages as they both confront major controversies. It's Censure Day in the city of Rio Rancho. That's when you're the mayor and you lose the confidence of the public and city council because of fiddling around with your city issued credit card and otherwise doing weird things. Mayor Kevin Jackson insists he won't resign. He probably needs to worry more about being indicted. If Rio Rancho councilors don't vote a no-confidence measure, the voters may do one on them.

In Santa Fe, there's also a no-confidence vote slated for today, not on Mayor David Coss, although he has come under fire for his city's crime wave, but on the Santa Fe police chief whose department is not only wracked by the crime wave, but wrongdoing charges against members of the SFPD. It will be Santa Fe's cops voting today. It would be unusual if such a vote were to go against a sitting chief.

Mayor Coss says the chief has his confidence, but wall-leaners are asking how much confidence does Coss retain with a Santa Fe electorate increasingly restless about law and order?

Meanwhile, back here in River City political watchers needn't fret over a lack of controversy. There's always something brewing. Currently, it's the recall effort against GOP City Councilor Don Harris of the far NE heights. His foes are gathering petition signatures and have launched
this Web site. Don is even coming under fire from fellow R's which means he has a fight on his hands.


He's not as busy as Big Bill when it comes to fund-raisers, but ABQ Dem congressional candidate Martin Heinrich is no slouch in making the rounds. He had his hand out last night at a "young professionals" money raiser and three of his fellow ABQ Dem city councilors--Cadigan, O'Malley and Benton--will host a fundraiser June 27th at Cadigan's house with the top tickets going for $500. There's three levels of giving--$100 is Juniper, $250 for Pinón and $500 for Cottonwood. Maybe a good excuse for not giving is to say you're allergic.

By the way, the Alligators are saying that Herb Denish, husband of Light Guv Diane Denish and major city lobbyist, is showing Heinrich the ropes and helping him line up heavy-hitting donors. Heinrich is trying to raise an impressive number for the second quarter and scare off other potential Dem challengers for the seat held by GOP US Rep. Heather Wilson.

One other note. Heinrich has hired Envision Communications to do his media. The Washington Post reports the firm, formed earlier this year, "boasts an impressive roster of longtime Democratic House strategists, including Peter Cari, a past political director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Jen Burton, who has been with Murphy Putnam Shorr..."


Meanwhile, ABQ GOP US Rep. Heather Wilson, who stiff-armed the ABQ Tribune and refused to comment recently on the ultra-unpopular Iraq war, is talking to the paper again. She's trying

to come across less hawkish on the no-end-in-sight insight conflict, but doing so without changing her fundamental position which is to keep the troops there. But pressure is mounting in the ABQ district. Will Wilson and other R's in swing districts move away from the White House later this year? If they do, they won't be taking baby steps.


Statistics can often disguise the truth, but this batch from the Governor's office feels right. Richardson praised a new report that showed New Mexico’s economic growth was the 5th strongest in the nation in 2006. New Mexico’s economy, adjusted for inflation, grew at a strong 6.2 percent rate last year--the fifth fastest in the nation and nearly double the national average of 3.4 percent, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis..."

We say "feels right" because of the biz buzz we see in ABQ and Cruces. The best news is the unemployment rate, barely noticeable at less than 4% of our workforce. But it's not all Pollyannish for our New Mexican economy. Home foreclosures are on the rise.


Between a rock and a hard place describes precisely the position of Dem US Rep. Tom Udall these days when it comes to the proposed cuts for Los Alamos labs. The anti-nuke crowd is
mad at him for not voting for the cuts and hastening the day LANL is put out of business, and the pro-nuke crowd is scoring him for so far not being able to stop the cuts. Udall labored in relative obscurity until this year when the Dems took over and he found himself with a plum spot on the House Appropriations Committee. What's that old saying? "Be careful what you wish for." Yup, that's the one.

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