Monday, October 01, 2007

After Chavez: Guessing Games Starts Tuesday, Plus: Q Gate Heats Up Final Campaign Hours, And: Our KANW 89.1 FM Election Special At 5 P.M. Today 

There will be a post-Chavez era in Albuquerque politics and its faint beginnings will start right after Tuesday's election results are tallied. But we have few clues on how the city's agenda will be shaped when Chavez retires from the Mayor's chair as he will likely do in 2009.

"Second termitis" is setting in. That's the disease most incumbents are afflicted with it as they complete the first half of their final terms. Mayor Marty is trying to control the infection by backing several council candidates in tomorrow's election, but no matter the outcome eyes will start looking toward the future and imagining it without a strong executive like Chavez because the odds are the next one won't be.

Most of the city council doesn't care for the Mayor. They find him overbearing and difficult to work with. But until now most of them voted with him these past six years and have done little to alter the direction he has set the city on. The fiercest opposition has been vocal, but infused with an anti-growth, condescending elitism that in '05 helped give Chavez the biggest election victory in city history. If it's true that powerful leaders are usually blessed with weak opponents, Mayor Marty qualifies.

How many city council roadblocks will be placed in Chavez's way in his final two years will be a key question as we count the election returns on KANW 89.1 FM Tuesday, but stopping Chavezism has to be a means to an end or the political becomes merely the personal.

History indicates the strong leadership of Chavez will be followed by a period of passivity. What ideas and personalities emerge to fill the forthcoming void will not be answered with this election, but when it's over that question will rapidly move to center stage.

Not again! After lambasting fellow District 6 city council contender Rey Garduño for not telling all on his ABQ Journal questionnaire, Joanie Griffin gets nailed for the same misstep.

Griffin, an ad agency owner, failed to disclose a 1994 state tax lien she and her late husband had leveled against them. The news came as Joanie flooded the district's mailboxes condemning Garduño's failure to disclose his 1989 misdemeanor shoplifting conviction.

Griffin said she did not reveal the lien because she believed it was against her husband, not her. Garduño said he inadvertently walked out of a department store with a telephone resulting in the shoplifting conviction. He said he thought it had been expunged from his record which is why he did not mention it to the newspaper. Earlier, District 4 council candidate Paulette de'Pascal admitted her college "degrees" actually came from an online outfit that required no class attendance. She did not explain that on her questionnaire.

The news that politicians omit negative facts about themselves is akin to hearing someone yell, "There's gambling in the casino!" All three hopefuls who got busted in Q Gate are first-time office-seekers which explains in part their trepidation about hanging out their dirty laundry. But by not coming clean, the rookie candidates paved the way for Election '07 to degenerate into name calling, anonymous blog blasting and mail pieces that gave new definition to juvenile delinquency. Not that Mr. and Mrs. Albuquerque are paying much mind to it. In this "modern" era they've seen it before and, to their chagrin, will likely see it all again.


Adult supervision wasn't only needed in some of the council races. Up on the 11th floor of Government Center where Mayor Marty presides, there was the not too shocking news that city computers and phones may have been used for campaign purposes. Guys, if you're going to run Marty for Governor, you might want to take some remedial courses in Campaign 101.

Don Harris
The most important race on the ballot Tuesday is not a city council contest, but the recall election of far NE Heights District 9 Councilor Don Harris. We've never recalled an elected official since adopting the modern form of government in '74. There seems to be something in ABQ's DNA that works against the California mentality where everything is put to a vote and where even a governor is not safe from getting the boot at mid-term. There's also the not so unimportant news that our fair burgh has not been afflicted with a preponderance of crooks serving on its nine member council. However, if Harris is recalled, it could dent the inhibitions that city voters have had about such efforts, potentially changing future politics.

The Harris recall is the most serious we've had, and he's taken it seriously. I've seen two more mail pieces from the councilor, one with the screaming headline: "Sometimes it's right to be against something."

Harris, who was fined $2500 for campaign violations, has fought to rebound from the political grave the intelligentsia had placed him in. That fight, combined with ABQ's political DNA, could make a difference.

Not to mention that Harris is spending a heck of a lot of money so he can finish the four year term he was elected to in '05. Looking at election records, we found that Harris has raised about $48,000 for this recall and spent nearly $47,000. The report says attorney Harris made a contribution to himself of $20,000. He received $5,000 from AFSCME. The labor union usually supports Dems, but in this case they don't want Mayor Marty to get more power. If Harris is recalled, AFSCME which has rocky relations with His Honor, would see him pick Harris' replacement.

For what it's worth, the ABQ Tribune, Journal and the Alibi newspapers have all taken Harris'
side in the recall battle.


We hadn't heard much lately from Paulette de' Pascal, challenger to incumbent District 4 Councilor Brad Winter. But that changed Sunday when she fired off a final hours news release demanding an apology from Winter for what he says on the flyer posted here. (Click on it to read it.)

"Your mailer says "de'Pascal was even accused of embezzlement by her employer for allegedly emptying the company's bank accounts." I was sued by my "husband" for work I did for our family's dental practice. Since Brad Winter has memorized my divorce papers, he should know that. Unfortunately, this isn't the only mistake his investigators have made helping him put together his misleading mailers, and "I call on Brad Winter to apologize...I've taken a lot of hits from him during this campaign, and I've done it like a man. Now it's his turn."

Paulette titled her release, "Honey Bee Stings Back." If she's elected, will she sport one of those retro "beehive" hair-do's? And what about Brad? Does he have a honey-do list ready if he is re-elected?


Some think that Kevin Wilson has come up with the coolest political flyer this city election season. The council District 6 candidate does this take-off on the cover of the Beatles Album "Abbey Road." Of course, if you are of the Pearl Jam generation or in with the Beyonce crowd, a Beatles reference may not do it for you. But for the aging liberal boomers of District 6 as well as the Nob Hill cafe crowd, Republican Wilson hopes to make some inroads with his Abbey Road.


It seems my favorite mistakes around this place includes repeatedly identifying ABQ City Councilor Ken Sanchez as a certified public accountant (He isn't), actually believing everything I am told about former Bernalillo County Commissioner Steve Gallegos and, last but not least, constantly misidentifying Conservation Voters New Mexico by another name, even though they have been a sponsor of this site for several years.

I did it again last week when posting a city council flyer produced by CVNM, so I am now subjecting myself to the traditional punishment of ten lashes with a wet noodle to be administered by CVNM honcho Sandy Buffett. And let me repeat: It is the Conservation Voters New Mexico. Even Ken Sanchez and Steve Gallegos know that. OK. Bring on that noodle.


Here's my game plan for Election ‘07 coverage. Join me today at 5 p.m. for our Election Eve Special on KANW 89.1 FM as I sit down with experts Erik Siemers of the ABQ Tribune, Democrat Terry Brunner and others to analyze the races and make these fellas make some predictions.

Tuesday we will be here with our regular blog keeping you up to date on last minute developments., Later in he afternoon I will head back over to KANW to kick-off our exclusive live Election Night coverage. That starts at 6:30 p.m. Lenton Malry will be back with us with us and have early results. State Rep. Larry Larrañaga will also be on hand, along with Dem State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino and others. If you’re out of listening range, you can listen to both of our KANW broadcasts at the station’s Web site.

Wednesday morning I’ll have post-election analysis and news for you at 9 a.m. on the state's largest radio station, 770 KKOB-AM. I'll be with host Bob Clark for the hour and we are sure to be kickin' it.


Big Bill raised $5.2 million in the third quarter. Here's the latest on that.

We hope you can be with us for all the fun and excitement as we help bring home another ABQ election. Thanks to New Mexico's Enterprise rent-a-car, Ladera Golf, Bill Campbell Agency (Realtors) and Serrano & Sons Construction for helping to make possible public radio coverage of Election '07.

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