Wednesday, July 28, 2010

97 Days To Go; We Have The Latest Campaign Action, Plus: Di's Toughest Opponent: The Economy, And: Even More Summertime La Politica 

Now just 97 days before Election Day and less than that before early voting kicks in. Let's head out to the trail...

It is essential that Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish corral the lion's share of the Hispanic vote. GOP contender Susana Martinez has a natural entree to that group. Di has in rotation a TV spot aimed at Hispanic women. Now she has launched "Hermanas Para Diane," (sisters of Diane) to bond with a group Dems fear could stray to the R's. The kick-off is this Saturday and is headlined by LaDonna Giron, Romaine Serna and Lorraine Aranda. They write:

"Hermanas para Diane” was established by a group of strong Hispanic women who endorse and support Diane Denish. We believe in her platform that emphasizes strengthening the economy, supporting small businesses including those businesses owned and operated by women, and making decisions with a focus on the well being of our families....

Denish also continues to court the "young professional" vote. We (half-jokingly) pointed out that we didn't think Santa Fe attorney Geno Zamora, now over 40, and ABQ State Rep. Al Park, also past the 40 mark, qualified as "young," even though both were listed as such on a Di invite. Now Zamora comes with the latest:

Joe, thanks to your investigative coverage this past spring, Denish events that I and people of my age co-sponsor now contain the language "young-ish or young feeling professional event." Thanks, Joe. Obviously, you didn't ask my wife's opinion. She thinks I still act like a child....

Indeed, the language on Di's latest youth invite has changed. It reads:

Please join us for apps and drinks at the Santa Fe young, young-ish or young-feeling professionals event in support of Lt. Governor Diane Denish July 29, 5:30-7:00 pm @ The Railyard Restaurant 530 south Guadalupe Street. Suggested Contribution: $25 -$500. RSVP to: Kate Ferlic (505) 699-0705 Kate.ferlic@gmail.com

Thanks for the update, Geno. We'll see you in the prune juice aisle at Whole Foods.


It is the news backdrop that is Di's most powerful opponent. Consumer confidence continues to flat line or sink and then there's dreary news like this:

New Mexico’s national ranking slid to 46th in this year’s KIDS COUNT Data Book; down from last year’s 43rd. The report...ranks the states on ten indicators of child well-being, ranging from the prevalence of low birth-weight babies to child poverty and teen death rates. New Mexico has ranked in the bottom ten since the Annie E. Casey Foundation began issuing the report in 1990, and more often than not in the bottom five.

All that bull market money we had coming in to state coffers and so little to show for it. Eric Griego, ABQ Dem state senator and executive director for NM Voices for Children, pointed out:

Although New Mexico’s overall poverty rate for children under age 18 is at 24 percent, the situation is worse for children of color--with 40 percent of Native American children in poverty, 30 percent of Hispanic children, and 25 percent of African American children. Nationally, greater percentages of Native American, African American, and Hispanic children live without securely employed parents than Asian and non-Hispanic white peers.

Jobs for the parents and more early childhood intervention are possible answers. And New Mexico Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD reports that compared to 2000, we have made marked progress in lowering the teen birth rate and our infant mortality rate.

Camp Martinez, now watching the news closer than Sherlock Holmes looking for clues in a murder case, swung hard at the poverty report:

As governor, Susana Martinez will not accept or tolerate mediocrity and will stand up and defend children as she has done her entire career as Doña Ana County’s District Attorney. Today’s news is deplorable and further proof that every New Mexican, including our children, deserve a state government that functions properly and is able to deliver real results. For that reason, New Mexico is demanding bold change and will support Susana Martinez this November...

The problem for Martinez? What constitutes "bold change?" What will she do differently? Specific programs? Budgets? Goals?

Specificity and attention to detail remain her Achilles Heel, even as the day to day news breaks her way.


Continuing on the econ beat, Dr. Moises Venegas drew some immediate reaction when he emailed our blog:

“Why is there such poverty in NM and why have we had it so long? We will soon be celebrating 100 years of poverty as a state. Why do we not compare with our good neighbor states but find ourselves in the good company of the South? Are there patterns of poverty in NM, or as some Americans say, "they just do not want to work."

Republican Tony Olmi stepped up:

Joe, you might ask him who has had control of the Roundhouse and state government for 80 years and what he would propose NM should do differently to escape the Culture of Poverty. Who is stepping on whose shoe laces?

And reader Peter Ives came with this:

I sympathize with Dr. Venegas on the plight of our poor folks, but it's not for lack of any research being done. He could pop on over to UNM and read "Poverty in New Mexico: Who Are the Poor" by Adelamar Alcantara from 1997..

In addition, there are many social and economic statistics published by UNM's Bureau of Business & Economic Research...I wonder if any of our politicians has "Poverty in NM" on their shelf--or has even read it?

Thanks, Peter. If it doesn't fit in a thirty second campaign spot, the cynical side of us says it probably doesn't get read.


Are the Feds on top of this? ABQ-based First State Bancorporation has lost its listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange because its stock price has traded below $1 for too long a period. We've asked before why this bank that is saddled with sour real estate loans that are not coming back hasn't been shut down and/or merged by the Feds with a more healthy bank? Guess we're asking again before the loans explode and more damage is done.


If some of the many stubborn home sellers in New Mexico would start to crack under the pressure and lower asking prices, we could get to where we are going to--and where we have to go--that much quicker. We could then start rebuilding from the greatest housing bubble in state history.

Housing prices are set to decline for at least another year. But Santa Fe's inexorable decline is slow:

...The median sales price of houses sold in the city dropped from $307,500 to $288,000 in the second quarter of 2010. In Santa Fe County at the same time period, the median price of a home fell to $411,250 from $450,000.

These are still bizarre prices. Before this savage and epic bear market is through (it will be years) we expect the median price in the city of Santa Fe to flirt with the $200,000 level and the county median (held up in part by those Texans' million dollar mansions) to head toward the $300,000 area. When it does, the bubble will finally be burst and a new and saner era in housing can begin. We hope.


It's the ninth officer-involved shooting of the year in ABQ, a subject we blogged on June 16th.. Is Mayor Berry counting? He recently touted the arrest rate for property crime offenders, but this rate of shootings prompts a new round of questions. As we've said before, if the mayor, APD Chief Schulz and Public Safety Director White don't get a handle on this, the trial lawyers will. If and when the public has to start paying out, that's when the mayor will find that this story has more political punch than he thinks and that efforts to dismiss it are ill-advised.

KOB-TV reported that the police involved shooting rate in ABQ is much higher than other comparable sized cities. However, the link to the story was not working at blog deadline time.


The news that Jake Martinez, father of GOP Guv contender Susana, was a three time Texas amateur lightweight boxing champ, brought an email from Ernesto Baca who wondered if Jake had ever boxed Diane Denish's Uncle Bill. He sent this bio info:

Born in Greeley, Colorado in 1920, Bill lived with his family in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as a child. The family moved to Hobbs, New Mexico when Bill was a teenager, and he attended the New Mexico Military Institute in nearby Roswell. As a young man, he was an undefeated Golden Gloves Champion of New Mexico.

New Mexicans and Texans have been beating up on one another for generations but even though Martinez is a native of El Paso, it's hard for Denish to take advantage. She's a native of Hobbs, also known as "Little Texas" to political old timers.


There are--count 'em--12 candidates running in the Aug. 3 primary election for president of the Navajo Nation. The two winners will select running mates for the race for the office, which will be decided in the Nov. 2 general election.

Dems like that because NM Navajos are reliable D's. The more interested in voting, the better for them....

We blogged Tuesday that a poll conducted this month by Dem US Rep. Martin Heinrich showed him 13 points ahead, but it was actually 12 points...

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