Monday, April 09, 2012

"Petitionitis" Break Out Infects Political Bloodstream; What's To Be Done? Plus: Different Guv Spokesman, But Same Song, And: Making The Peace Between Susana And Gary 

NM Supreme Court
"Petitionitis" has broken out in New Mexico. Have there ever been more challenges of candidates' right to be on the primary ballot? We can't think of one. The state Supremes will decide a wheelbarrow full of lawsuits this week so we can get on to the issues that really matter to the voters. But one thing is clear before we do that--we need some legislative remedy.

Much of the trouble this year is over the failure of a host of candidates to comply with the new election requirement that they have the number of the district they are seeking election to listed on their nominating petitions. If they don't, they are supposed to be kicked off the ballot. In cases where there are only two candidates, the judge essentially decides the election. Not good.

We need a legislative remedy. Failure to list the number should result in a reasonable fine, not nullification of the democratic process, even though some in the "transparency at any cost" crowd won't like it. We earlier suggested that the secretary of state simply put the number on the nomination petitions that candidates pass out. We trust the Supremes will decide not to hijack the people's right to decide their elections and this week find a way to place the "numberless" candidates on the ballot.

As for the multitude of lawsuits over whether signatures on nominating petitions are valid, this is, in part, a byproduct of the overly partisan and polarized political environment that we now live in. Back in the day, we used to give an opponent a pass as long as he had the required number of signatures. Not anymore. Even if your opponent has the signatures, you dun him with a lawsuit for having ones that look suspicious. What's the point? Just to put the needle in.

No doubt there will be a couple of candidates who find themselves getting the judicial death penalty this week because they did not collect enough valid petition signatures, but our judges need to tread carefully. Those of us out here in the bleacher seats like to have a choice when we go to the polls.


We're baffled why a legislative candidate who needs maybe 40 or 50 valid voter signatures to get on the ballot needs to hire a professional consultant to go out and get those John Hancocks. Can't you do some door-knocking yourself at work and get exposed to the people you hope to represent? Well, not all the candidates agree with our take. Taos County District Court Judge candidate Helen Laura Lopez is one of them. We'll give her the floor for a moment, but her plea for understanding just doesn't bring a tear to our eye. You're on, Helen:

Collecting petition signatures is more complicated than you think. It requires engaging with potential signers. Most people do not know the process and require an explanation. Most want to know about the candidate and it requires the sell. Many want to use the opportunity to be heard on their favorite issue. Then there is the matter of the venue. There are few public places where you catch foot traffic like a big city has. Most retail places do not allow politicians to stand at their doorway. Government offices do not allow it. Schools and churches do not allow it. House to house is tough in rural areas where it requires a car with a driver and where houses have dogs and no house number. Aggressive candidates go to the forbidden sites until we are kicked out. On the technical side, the official form is absurdly small print with insufficient space to enter the required information..

Well, Helen, when there is a will there is a way. But maybe we need a new way? It's not like making the requirements to run for public office easier is going to result in a bunch of Bozo the Clown candidates running. (Hmm. Maybe Bozo would be an improvement?)


Not to give you the Monday blues, but....

Lack of job creation is keeping commercial real estate mired in the recession. CB Richard Ellis’  numbers for the first quarter’s office and industrial space in Albuquerque indicate those markets remain in the doldrums. Vacancies grew to a historic 19.03 percent in the office market, while industrial space remained at a 9.26 percent vacancy during the first quarter.

This bear market has been going on so long it seems like the "new permanent."


Despite coming from different political parties, the current gubernatorial spokesman is finding common ground with his predecessor. Martinez flack Scott Darnell sounded eerily like Gilbert Gallegos, the spokesman for Governor Richardson, when he came with this spin for Martinez on the down and dirty Downs deal:

Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said the contributions were permissible under state law and didn't influence decisions on the fairgrounds lease. The state Board of Finance approved the lease last December. The governor voted for the lease. 

How many times did we hear that from Bill's crowd: "Campaign donations don't influence our decisions." But they do. The system these days is akin to legalized bribery. But you already knew that.


It's still a great country, this USA of ours. Look at this quote from down-home golfer Bubba Watson upon winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday:

When asked if he'd ever believed this day would come, Watson said, "I never got this far in my dreams."

Will your kids be as lucky?  Please pass that quote on to them. Despite the troubled landscape of today, we will have yet another renewal of the American spirit because of guys and gals like Bubba.


He avoided a major clash with fellow GOP Senator "Lightning Rod" Adair when Adair decided to retire rather than run, but Alamogordo area State Sen. Bill Burt will not get a completely free ride. Longtime Dem activist Stephanie DuBois will be the Dem nominee to try to stop Burt from winning the seat he was appointed to fill by Governor Martinez when Dianna Duran left it to run for secretary of state. Still, this is a heavy GOP district and Burt is a well-respected radio station owner in Alamogordo, He will keep his eye on DuBois but he won't have to spend anywhere near the money he would have had to if Adair had decided to stay stay and fight.

Speaking of Rod, Alligators say he is already busy doing what he said he would be doing when he announced his retirement--serving as a a campaign consultant. They say Adair has picked up a GOP State Senate client in the ABQ area. Confirmation to come...


Our coverage of former NM GOP Governor Gary Johnson dissing fellow GOP Governor Martinez as "Palin-esque" brought this zinger from blog reader and talk radio pioneer Mike Santullo

Joe: Your analysis regarding Gary Johnson’s comments on Sarah Palin were “Spot On!" This guy, who is yet another egomaniacal politician, has a lot of nerve pointing fingers at her. Not that I’m a Sarah Palin fan, but he doesn’t have much to offer the nation. To him, being elected Governor was just another trophy on his mantle. What we have here is another example of  “the pot calling the kettle black.” 

Maybe we can make the peace here. Gary, when you're done running for president as a Libertarian, Susana appoints you to run the state's medical marijuana program. You then take Susana to Neiman Marcus (on your dime) so she can look more "Palin-esque." Do we have a deal, Guvs?

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