Thursday, June 28, 2007

The State Of the Mayors: ABQ's Chavez Weighs Approval Rating; Santa Fe's Coss Can't Contain Crime Wave, And Rio Rancho's Jackson Pressured To Quit 

Mayor Chavez
ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez has had a rough couple of weeks with the City Council overriding his veto of a jail funding bill, continued controversy over the city's red light cameras, a ban on cellphones while driving and then the smoking ban on city property which prompted a recall effort against the Mayor. So is Chavez plummeting in popularity because of all this? It's hard to say, but a poll making the rounds shows His Honor's approval rating at a still high 68% of "likely municipal voters." That's according to pollster Brian Sanderoff who polled about the mayor at the request of a private client from June 1st through June 6. That's before some of the recent controversies, including the executive ordered smoking ban on city property, reached their peak. Sanderoff says:

"His approval rating is 68% among likely voters in municipal elections. Basically, the mayor's high approval rating is attributable to his performing nearly equally as well among Republicans, as well as Democrats. He doesn't drop off much among Republicans, which is unusual for a Hispanic Democrat. His approval ratings are highest on the West side and the Far Heights, which is also unusual."

The issue probably isn't Chavez's popularity as mayor--although he may have come off of that lofty 68% level since the poll was conducted--but how he stands up when he treks outside of the Big Duke City. The controversies that are readily absorbed by a city electorate may be having a different impact on the electorate elsewhere. Initial polls indicate as much, as he lags Lieutenant Governor Denish, his 2010 Dem Guv primary opponent, among Democratic voters statewide. Still, any numbers showing him holding steady are sure to be welcomed at a City Hall that seemed to jump off the tracks in recent months. And Chavez, as Denish well knows, is nothing if not resilient.


Things have been topsy-turvy in the state's largest city of late, but they are downright dangerous in Santa Fe, leading residents to ask: "How did things go so wrong so fast?" The capital crime wave continues with news of a bold mugging in the small city, a still unresolved series of rapes, and according to the Santa Fe Reporter, a drug infestation that has translated into a skyrocketing residential burglary rate and exacerbated other crime. Mayor David Coss sounds bemused in his interview with the paper, but not outraged and not motivated to break the back of the crime wave by reforming the police department and effectively attacking the drug infestation that is apparently responsible for the crime spike since he took over. The Santa Fe City Council has pumped more money into the SFPD, but still they tell taxpayers they cannot hire enough officers. Is there no "Plan B?" Is the storied city of Santa Fe going to be a high-crime district, and if you don't like it, too bad, leave it?

The AFSCME union is holding a no confidence vote on Mayor Coss today on issues not directly related to the crime wave, but it further highlights the strife that has beset the local government. The bumper sticker posted here calling for "no more" of the mayor may become a more frequent sight if Coss and the council can't get it together.


He has been unanimously censured by the Rio Rancho City Council and the credit priveleges of Mayor Kevin Jackson have been revoked. The online polls say the citizens have had enough. Yet he hangs on, perhaps hoping it will all go away. But it won't, so why stay? When you have effectively been fired from your job, do you still report to work? Jackson is not talking to the public about city business via the press. His attorney says Jackson is doing so on his advice. But who elected Jackson's lawyer? If you can't lead, Kevin, get out of the way and let the City of Vision regain its sight.

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