Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Election '11: Battle Of The Bonds; Key Groups Weigh In On Mayor Berry's "Pet" Projects, Plus: Payne Vs, Jones, APD Lawsuits And The Media Beat 

Conservative opposition has surfaced to Mayor Berry's special $50 million bond proposal. The GOP oriented Rio Grande Foundation, very often an ally of the Mayor, says voters should reject the $25 million bond to rebuild the Paseo del Norte and I-25 intersection as well as another $25 million to construct a 35 acre sportsplex:

...It is a bad idea to place the Interchange and the sportsplex on the same question. I also found the history of the various sportsplexes to be interesting and concerning. While I appreciate Mayor Berry’s attempts to create amenities for the City, we have long stressed that government should focus on the basics. It does not appear that a sportsplex would rise to the level of something that taxpayers should be forced to pay for (all taxation is force).

On the other end of the political spectrum, the ABQ Firefighters are also urging voters to reject what they call the Mayor's "boutique" projects because he promised to make funding public safety his top priority. The firefighters say the Berry bonds jeopardize that goal. They came with this Web video to make their case.

The ABQ Journal has been a down-the-line supporter of the Mayor's since he took office in 2009. They stick with him on this controversial $50 million proposal that Berry calls "ABQ: The Plan":

The two projects that make up the Plan’s first down payment on the city’s future balance a dire transportation need with a local recreation complex that has the potential to draw big regional dollars and serve as a hub of economic activity.


A reader comes with these comments on the battle between GOP City Councilor Trudy Jones and fellow Republican and former Councilor Greg Payne:

Joe, Not everyone in District 8 is rooting for Trudy Jones for City Council. Not after the treatment we received in New Holiday Park neighborhood last year from not only the City but Trudy Jones. We put up a
little web site about it which is getting a lot of traffic lately with the election and all. We think everyone should know that she is unresponsive to the people that elected her.


Nearly 1,000 votes have been cast early in the Payne-Jones contest in District 8. That compares to 174 early votes in council district one where there is no council race. We can probably expect about 4,000 total votes cast in Payne-Jones. Dist. 4 also features a competitive race between Dem Bill Tallman and incumbent GOP Councilor Brad Winter. 673 early votes have been cast there. Total city turnout is predicted by analysts to hit about 35,000 voters or a bit over 10 percent of the registered. Councilors Debbie O'Malley and Rey Garduno are also standing for re-election but are unopposed.


Reader and retired ABQ police officer Dan Klein has been watching the numerous lawsuits leveled against APD and he has this update:

Joe, The city settled two more lawsuits against the police department this week. The first involved the Reserve Officer who was arresting prostitutes, $175,000 for three prostitutes. I heard there are 11 more prostitutes suing over this, so I am sure it will cost us more in the future.

The second cost us $150,000 because APD officers have been handcuffing grade and middle school kids. This might end up as a class action so expect more money.

Of course our Chief said he "knew nothing" about any of this stuff, but by gosh he is the guy to fix it now.

I think the current chief has cost the citizens around $15,000,000 since he became chief, and Mayor Berry won't fire him. As I have said before, just how much money do we have to hand out for this chief's

$15 million? And the Mayor and the ostrich-like City Council aren't up in arms?


The AP has this analysis of what's next now that the Legislature and Governor have been unable to strike a deal on redistricting:

Now all that is left is the race to the courthouse. Expect Democrats, Republicans, Native Americans and Hispanic activists to join the legal fray — just as they did in redistricting lawsuits a decade ago....


A reader especially tapped into the state economic development scene comes with this today:

Governor Martinez and Secretary of Economic Development-designate Jon Barela have been touting the relocation of the Union Pacific (UP) fueling station from El Paso to Santa Teresa as if they discovered and recruited the project. Well, Governor Richardson and then economic development secretary Rick Homans negotiated the deal with UP about five years ago.

The diesel locomotive tax abatement legislation that enticed UP had a sunset clause requiring them to start construction in three years or the tax abatement would not kick in. Due to market conditions, UP decided to postpone the start of the project, but they said they would return for the same deal once their business improved. Well, they came back this year and the Legislature reinstated the tax abatement incentive. So there is a happy ending. Several thousand construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs will come to Southern NM. But it is disingenuous of the current players to proclaim victory, que no?

They say to give credit where credit is due. Senator Bingaman also played a role in the UP relocation as did Big Bill. It came to fruition under Susana's watch, so she gets some credit but all of the headlines.

More on the econ beat from the NM Voices for Children:

The poverty rate for New Mexico climbed by two percentage points between 2009 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released new data from its American Community Survey. During this same time frame, the employment rate decreased by two percentage points. The poverty rate for New Mexico went from 18 percent to just over 20 percent, while employment—specifically the rate of persons over the age of 16 who have a job—fell from 56 to 54 percent. Median household income fell almost $1,000 during that time period—even when adjusted for inflation.....


From a new study "How people learn about their local community" from Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism:

Asked the sources of news they use at least once a week to get local news and info, 74% of respondents said local TV news, which included by the station and the Web site...The study found that Hispanics are more than four times more likely to use local television than newspapers as their top source for local political news (37% vs. 9%). For African-American adults that figure is almost double (36% versus 19%)...

Veteran KRQE-TV broadcaster Mike Powers is wrapping up over 25 years on the air with KRQE-TV. He departs for Montana in a couple of weeks. Hasta luego, Mike....

Thanks to the folks at the Richard L. Lucero Española Public Library for providing us with wireless access Monday evening so we could complete the blog. Coincidentally, we received this news release:

A collection of an estimated 1,300 books on New Mexico and the Southwest, donated from a private collection, will be offered for sale Oct 7th-8th to benefit the Española Public Library. The sale will be conducted in the former Hunter Motor Co. building located at 531 Paseo de Oñate. The sale will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Librarian Teddie Riehl said that most of the books are out of print first editions in very good condition and some are new. There will be a table of scarce New Mexico titles priced well below market price.

Reporting to you from Española, I'm Joe Monahan.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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