Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Guv Talks Economy, Mayor Candidates Start Lining Up Saturday; What They Need, Plus: Special City Election Gets Underway; It's Below The Radar 

Taking a look at Governor Susana's most recent statement on the state's economic dilemma, she appears to have gotten half of it right:

Are we competitive, as far as our tax structure, or are we so high and so costly and have such a poor education system that they don't want to live here. We can't keep doing the same things over and over and overtaxing business so they can't keep their doors open and they move and they take their families with them.

Our tax structure is not the issue. How could it be when we had a mega-bull market in New Mexico with essentially the same tax structure we have today? That big expansion ended as the economy crashed everywhere in 2008.

Businesses are shutting their doors because there is not enough demand in our economy because we don't have enough jobs--not because of taxes. Just ask them.

The Guv gets it right when she says people don't want to live here because of the education problem. It's not that our teachers are lousy, it's that our students are not prepared. People from outside the state want to send their kids to schools where the kids do well.

Many of our kids don't do well because their parents don't value education. A possible long-term solution: That constitutional amendment that would allow us to tap the nearly $12 billion permanent fund for very early childhood programs--programs that instill the value of education in parents and break the generational cycle of under performance that haunts this state.

No guarantees but when you are 49th or 50th on the list, you have to take a chance and invest in human capital. If it was okay to take a chance and lose when we put millions in state funds in Eclipse Aviation, Schott Solar and a stack of other private sector ventures that went belly-up, why can't our generation muster the courage to finally say enough is enough?

Sorry to interrupt you Santa Fe. You can go back now to getting autographs from Dog the Bounty Hunter or the other really important stuff that occupies your time up there.


It won't be quite as hard for an ABQ mayoral candidate to get on the October ballot as we first thought. You will need 3,000 signatures from registered voters, instead of one percent of the total number of those registered. There are about 362,000 registered so if the old rule of one percent had not been changed by the council you would have needed 3,600.

The problem for candidates is qualifying for public financing, For that you need $5 dollar contributions from the one percent of those registered or about 3,600. That is a very high hurdle, but if you do it your campaign is funded by the city to the tune of $360,000 or thereabouts.

You could have a candidate get the petition signatures but not the donations. Going forward from there is unrealistic.

Come this Saturday candidates will trek to the city clerks' office downtown to pick up their petition forms and receipt books to qualify for public financing. They will have only until April 1 to collect the needed signatures and donations.


Ballots started to go out this week in that below-the-radar March 11 ABQ special election that would make a mayoral candidate get 50% of the vote instead of 40% to claim the office on the 11th floor of city hall.

The proposed change was forced on the ballot by the citizen petition process and if it passes it is sen as hurting the re-election chances of Mayor Berry. The Bernalillo County GOP fired the first volley against the measure which is being voted on in an all mail-in election:

It is up to each and every one of us to stop this scheme headed up by AFSCME and other unions who collected the signatures to require this vote. It's an obvious ploy by AFSCME and their liberal allies to take over city government.Please help stop this from happening. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Forward this email. Tell them to vote no. Explain the costs. When you consider the cost of this special mail in election is roughly $600,000 and estimates are that runoffs can cost as much as an additional $800,000 the fact is we simply can't afford it. This is money that could be used to buy new fire trucks, hire more cops, maintain our parks or lots of other things that are more important than allowing a small few to control who runs our city.

Supporters argue a majority vote should be required to elect a Mayor and urge support for the ballot measure.

Participation is going to be low. This is a somewhat confusing process issue. But it is a key event in this year's election, If it passes, the odds of taking Berry out go up. He won in a three way contest in 2009 by getting 44% of the vote. If this measure had been in effect at that time, he would have faced a run-off election with the top Dem vote-getter and in a Dem dominated city Dem analysts think he probably would have lost.


The city of ABQ has traditionally had a solid record in addressing homelessness. Mayor Berry says it's continuing:

Mayor Berry, the Albuquerque Heading Home [AHH] Team, and the City’s Family & Community Services Department gathered to celebrate a major milestone reached through the two-year-old program AHH. The goal for February 2013 was to provide housing for 160 individuals; the AHH team surpassed that goal by 11 people, not including their families who have also been housed with them. Last week approximately 150 volunteers gathered together to survey people struggling with homelessness across the city. Around 420 individuals were surveyed, from those surveys, data was collected that shows AHH is having a true impact on the Albuquerque community.

Congrats to the volunteers....


Sen. Ortiz y Pino
ABQ Dem State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino responds to a critic heard on the Wednesday blog:

Joe, I was amused at the "longtime Democratic alligator's" critique of the op-ed I wrote for the New Mexican. I read the piece over after reading your blog, and honestly don't think I need to defend myself against his take.

Yes, I said it was refreshing to see the Governor break with the majority of her Republican colleagues in other states on implementing Obamacare; and I did suggest if she works with the Democrats she can get more done than by lashing us at every opportunity...but I also said that her best chance at re-election to distance herself from staunch conservative issues...and that ginning up faux issues only divides the state. Not sure that's gushing, but I think it's accurate. And I wrote the piece 3 weeks ago. Not sure she's following my advice...in fact Keith Gardner has sniped at me in passing that my op ed indicates I'm not working collaboratively on the Health Insurance Exchange.

That's an interesting comment on Keith Gardner. The lanky staff chief headed underground last year when explosive comments he made about the Legislature came to light on a leaked audio tape. Keith is a pretty tall guy, but he's doing his best to lay low.

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