Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mayor Marty: A Tin Ear Or A Quirky Council? We Blog The Big Veto Override, Plus: Habla Español, Diane? 

Mayor Chavez
Has ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez developed a tin ear? The question arises in the aftermath of the firm slap on the mayoral buttocks administered by the ABQ city council in the form of an override of a Chavez veto. Alligators want to know: Is this a one-time deal or is something more serious afoot? The council--on a 6-3 vote-overrode the mayor's veto (video) of a $9 million appropriation for the Bernalillo County jail. They found that money by delaying for six months the mayor's one eighth of a cent cut in the city gross receipts tax. He howled and stomped, but to no avail. After the override, I asked longtime city politics watcher and political organizer Steve Cabiedes for his thoughts.

"The mayor may be out of sync with the public. Look at the Democratic presidential candidates. They support letting the Bush tax cuts expire and using the money for social programs. The electorate in Albuquerque seems to want more services. Tax cuts don't capture the moment. They are not unappealing, they just don't pack as much punch right now because the pendulum is swinging the other way," argued Cabiedes.

Another question: Did the well-documented personal animosity between the mayor and Bernalillo County Commissioner Alan Armijo also play a role in the mayor's tooth and nail battle to stop the jail money? If so, it played into Armijo's hands.

And what of the mayor's hopes for the 2010 Democratic Guv nomination? Are tax cuts going to appeal to likely Dem voters? Not likely. Chavez's foes will probably use his ill-timed clash with the council to assert that, if elected Governor, Chavez would not be able to work with the NM Legislature. Some observers say the mayor may be fighting the last war--his 1998 campaign for Governor against Gary Johnson who effectively painted him as a tax and spend liberal. Is Chavez determined to avoid that trap again? It should be noted that the council did not vote against the Chavez tax cut---they delayed it by six months--showing that tax cuts may not be the flavor of the month, but they are no anathema either.


Chavez is dealing with a less malleable and a more liberal city council than years past. They say they are offended by the mayor's overbearing style and what one councilor terms his "intimidation tactics." Several of them are toying with a future run for mayor, but none has distinguished themselves with a catchy platform. Instead they content themselves with taking pokes at Chavez and getting more pork for their individual districts, or in this case a relatively minor appropriation for the jail. Chavez still commands the agenda for the state's largest city--even as a lame duck-- but he needlessly gave up some points in the jail imbroglio. If he doesn't take it personally, he should be able to move forward. If he chooses to fight yesterday's battle, it could start looking like 1998 all over again.


The state's #2, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, piqued our curiosity when we heard of two events involving her and the Spanish language. She was quoted in the Silver City Daily Press as having spoken in Spanish at a public event there, and she sent out a news release announcing she would help launch PBS's Spanish language TV network known as "V-Me" at KRWG-TV in Las Cruces. Had the Light Guv, a native of Hobbs, been doing some late night studying and become fluent in Spanish, we wondered? No, she reports, but she can put some sentences together in Spanish and enjoys doing so when the occasion calls. She has three more years to brush up on even more sentences as she seeks the Democratic nod for Governor, a primary in which half the voters can be expected to be Hispanic, if not all of them Spanish speakers.


It appears new NM Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colón is taking applications for the postion of executive director of the state's majority party. A posting for the job is here. Current ED Matt Farrauto is still on the job. We presume he can reapply. Colón says he made no job promises when he took over as chair earlier this year.


Here are the results from Tuesday's election for the board of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.

Send your news and comments via the email link at the top of the page.

Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign