Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sign Of The Times: Tagging A Bank, Plus: Heinrich Poll Says He's Way Ahead, And: More New Mexico Politics For A Blogging Thursday 

We don't think we're headed for riots in the street as they are in Greece but the economic strain in New Mexico is apparently giving rise to some illegal protest activity. We snapped this pic over the weekend at a Bank of America branch that had just been tagged. But this was not ordinary graffiti. This was dollar signs juxtaposed with the sign of the devil--"666."

KOB-TV says it received this email explaining the tagging:

"We the working class are tired of being slaves to the credit system and financial institutions...we must take direct action against the institutions that have failed us... through peaceful acts of civil disobedience, our first action has been to target these same financial institutions that have robbed the people blind.

The incident comes as ABQ is experiencing record unemployment, officially put at 9.2 percent, but unofficially much higher. The city is also suffering widespread home foreclosures that you see in the legal sections of the papers as well as a commercial real estate crash.

The Great Recession's blow has been cushioned by unemployment insurance that lasts for many months and plenty of cheap home entertainment in the form of video games and Netflix. But eventually the frustration and anger pour forth. We've seen that reflected in the public polling. Now we're seeing it in broad daylight--on the side of a bank building in the middle of the city.


Now layoffs appear likely in the Las Vegas, NM school system.

Rep. Heinrich
How vulnerable is ABQ Dem Congressman Martin Heinrich in his first race for re-election? Not very, if you believe his latest poll. It shows Heinrich trouncing Republican challenger Jon Barela 55% to 38%. The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner research, which we have found to be pretty straight shooting over the years, says Heinrich's job approval is also at 55%. The survey was taken among "500 likely general election voters" April 28 to May 2. You can read the polling memo here.

This is the first poll of the cycle that we've seen that puts Heinrich over the magic 50% re-elect mark. It comes at an important time. Respected DC political handicappers Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg are now saying Heinrich's district is "lean Democrat" not "likely Democrat." That's an important distinction, especially for fund-raising. But this poll calls into question the claims that Heinrich's seat is in serious play for the GOP.

While the R's argue that Barela will do well with Hispanics in the district, the Heinrich survey shows him beating Barela 68% to 24% with Hispanics. Among Anglos, Heinrich wins over Barela 48% to 44%.

If this poll has it right, Heinrich has lost hardly any traction since he scored a 56% win in 2008 over Republican Darren White to claim the seat held by the R's for 40 years.

A February Public Policy Polling survey had Heinrich beating Barela 45% to 36%.

No incumbent congressman has ever been defeated in the history of the ABQ district. Democrats outnumber R's in the district 197,000 to 133,000. Analysts here say the district has taken on a more liberal hue, demonstrated by the Obama and Heinrich landslides. Also, in 2006, Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, an accomplished campaigner, barely kept the district from swinging to the Dems. Given this backdrop Heinrich polling at 55% is not extraordinary.

Barela's best hope is for a low turnout election in which the Democratic base is unexcited about Heinrich and an extremely sour national mood penetrates the ABQ district. But with no evidence of that yet, the betting money remains heavily on Heinrich.


A reader thinks they have busted Public Regulation Commissioner candidate Teresa Becenti-Aguilar for violating the $500 limit for contributions to a PRC candidate. They appear to be right.

According to Becenti-Aguilar's finance report filed with the Secretary of State, she accepted a campaign contribution of $1,000 from Santo Domingo Pueblo on December 16, 2009.

Becenti-Aguilar is ruuning for the Dem nomination for the District 4 PRC seat, along with Andrew Leo Lopez, Hank Hughes and George Galanis. It is the seat currently held by Dem Carol Sloan who leaves the post after being convicted of felonies in a jealous rage case. The district takes in most of Indian County in NW NM.


A reader writes from the Bernalillo County District Attorney's office:

(Democratic Bernalillo County) sheriff candidate Sisi Miranda has requested my personnel files, and those of dozens of other employees of the District Attorney’s Office. In addition, she has requested copies of all of our communications, which seems to include phone records, emails and more...

..She asked for records of her opponent, Pat Davis, who works in our office, as well as records for lots of other employees in our office...I can’t imagine what purpose such a request could serve except to engage in a fishing expedition for scandal against Pat and/or our office...

A spokesman for Miranda says her request is nothing for employees at the DA's office to worry about, and that it is not as invasive as our correspondent asserts. The campaign says it is seeking information on Federal funding for the office to see if Davis is in violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits political activity on the part of workers who receive most of their pay in federal monies.. They say the request for info will not violate the privacy of the DA's staff.


Former NM GOP Governor Gary Johnson knows how to grab a reader's attention. From a Salon piece on the likely 2012 presidential candidate:

"It's never been a consideration that I would enlist the services of a prostitute, myself personally," he says. "But if I were to do that, where would I want to enlist that service? Well, it would probably be in Nevada, where it's legal, because it would be safe."

Johnson continues to drive the GOP establishment crazy, but his support of abortion rights and gay unions may resonate with the next generation of R's. The legalize drugs thing, however, may not be too popular with young parents of either party.


This is something we'll keep our eye on in light of the legal troubles of Dennis Montoya who is challenging Court of Appeals Judge Linda Vanzi in the Dem primary. A reader informs:

The state Constitution says to be seated on the state court of appeals you have to have the same qualifications as a member of the Supreme Court--be a lawyer. If Montoya isn't a lawyer, he can't be seated on the court regardless of what the voters might decide.

The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court is looking into allegations of misconduct against Montoya.


Rod Kennedy has company. In an early draft Wednesday, we blogged that Kennedy was the lone R on the 10 member NM Court of Appeals. There are two, the other being Jonathan Sutin. We're glad to hear that. We hate to think of Rod having to eat lunch alone.

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