Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mayor '13: Early Signs Point To Run-Off; Two Dems And Two R's Will Make Up Field, Also: Don't Bank On It; Tight Money Drags Down NM Economy, And: Where's Keith? Martinez Chief Of Staff Goes Underground 

Pete Dinelli
Margaret Chavez
It appears it will be a four way race for Mayor of ABQ this year and it also appears there is a good chance we will have two elections--the initial one on October 8 and a run-off election a month later featuring the top two contenders.

Margaret Aragon de Chavez, a Democrat and ex-wife of former Mayor Marty Chavez, will make a formal entry into the race Sunday at West Mesa High School.

Like the other other three candidates--Republican Mayor Richard Berry, retired Republican APD Seargent Paul Heh and Democrat Pete Dinelli--she apparently has collected over 3,000 signatures from registered city voters and will quality for the ballot. Signatures will be turned in to the city at the end of the month.

However, Heh and Chavez have no cash to start with. They did not qualify for public financing and both report having less than $100 on hand. Dinelli qualified for public financing which pumped some $360,000 into his campaign, Mayor Berry, in his first campaign report, says he so far has raised $250,000. Many of his donations came from the business and development community--traditional GOP donors.

Outside money will also be coming into the race for Mayor in the form of super Pacs.

With four contenders vying for votes, it becomes difficult for any candidate to reach the required 50% in the first round. The most likely outcome is a run-off featuring Berry and Dinelli. But there is a long, long way to go and who knows what surprises will pop up?


When it comes to the public viewing candidate campaign reports on the ABQ clerk's web site, it's a mess. Unlike the Federal Election Commission web site, we can't directly link to the contributions and expenditures for you. It also takes too much digging around to get at the reports--way too much for the average citizen.

City Clerk Amy Bailey and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry need to have a pow-wow to come up with a system that is easier to use and fully transparent. They are not the authors of the current mess, but they could clean it up. (If they do, we'll even have the Alligators buy them lunch at Barelas Coffee House).


Tom Udall is now close to having a million bucks in the bank for his 2014 re-elect, but the question still remains: Who will challenge the first term US Senator? No Republican has announced and the only one expressing any serious interest is former NM GOP chairman and businessman Allen Weh. Udall is one of the state's top vote-getters and the state has become increasingly blue for the federal races. Don't look for a last minute flood of GOP entrants to take him on.


Heather Wilson. Remember her? Well, she is like a lot of New Mexicans these days--seeking greener pastures. The news:

South Dakota's Board of Regents says the search for a new president for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has been narrowed to four finalists. They are acting president Duane Hrncir; Rochester Institute of Technology dean H. Fred Walker in New York; Desert Research Institute President Stephen Wells in Nevada; and entrepreneur and former Congresswoman Heather Wilson of New Mexico.The finalists are scheduled to be on the Rapid City campus on Thursday and Friday.

Heather's husband, Jay Hone, is an attorney who landed a job with the Martinez administration.

Heather, a former five term ABQ GOP congresswoman, has played out the political string here. Her defeat in the 2012 US Senate race was the end game. And it didn't help that her mentor--former US Senator Pete Domnenici--was humiliated when news broke that he had fathered an illegitimate child during his first US Senate term in the 70's. Then there is the going nowhere New Mexico economy...Plenty of reasons for Heather to high-tail it outta here---if she can.


Jerry Walker
New Mexico banks are tight-fisted and have withdrawn from the community. So complained reader and ABQ architect Joe Craig on the blog this week. He was speaking mainly of the big name banks and it brought this missive from Jerry Walker, president of the Independent Community Bankers Association of NM :

The frustration that prompted the comments from your reader could be heard in any city, town, or village in New Mexico. In the "good old days" our home-owned banks and bankers had the ability to make loans because they knew their customers and understood their local economies. While our member bank presidents still have those relationships and knowledge, the ability to serve their customers--especially if we are talking about commercial loans secured by real estate--has been severely curtailed due to the passage of the Dodd/Frank Act.

This law, which was intended to get a handle on the the "too-big-to-fail banks," has had an enormous negative impact on smaller community banks...The level of scrutiny and criticism by the regulatory agencies for almost any size commercial loan is frightening....

Meanwhile, the "too-big-to-fail" banks that were bailed out continue to operate as usual. "Too-big-to-fail" equates to "too-big-to-regulate" and, apparently "too-big-to-jail."

We continue to carry this message to our congressional delegation and advocate for a two-tiered regulatory structure that will allow our home-owned banks to do what they do best: Loan money  without fear of regulatory reprisals simply because a box is checked on an examiner's form.

And to Mr. Craig's other point, the bank leadership is out there. Even in the Duke City. The bank presidents may not be attending as many lunches as they once did. It's not because they are not engaged and supportive of their communities. It's because they are buried under a sea of compliance issues and are back in their offices trying to figure out how to make loans that will not be criticized due to the new regulatory scheme that was brought about by Wall Street greed and corruption.

Jerry Walker is no Occupy Wall Street type so when he calls out the corruption on Wall Street it is noteworthy.


Keith Gardner
Reader Bob Ortiz writes:

Joe, What has happened to (Governor Martinez's Chief of Staff) Keith Gardner? He has not been seen on TV since he proclaimed the Workforce Solutions' new computer and website a success (We now know it was anything but that). I find it interesting that at the Governor's news conferences for signing the new legislation he appears to be absent as well. Has Keith become that much of an embarrassment to the Martinez administration?

Thanks for the note, Bob. Let us take a stab at an answer.

Keith is lucky to have a job. His obscenity laced tirade against then state senate leader Tim Jennings that was caught on tape and leaked to the media would have been enough to end the career of just about anyone. On top of that, there are his missteps when it comes to dealing with certain legislators and lobbyists.

But Martinez has a very tight inner circle--some might say there are not enough of them to even form a circle. Gardner, a former Roswell legislator, is tight with the Governor's main political adviser--Jay McCleskey--sometimes referred to as the "Fifth Floor" because of the large influence he wields over Susana whose office is on the fourth floor of the Roundhouse. To maintain that influence you have to have a chief of staff who will play ball. Our guess is that there are few if any potential Gardner replacements out there who would satisfy McCleskey and the Guv. So Keith stays as chief instead of being shunted off to a high-paying job in the state bureaucracy, but now he stays underground.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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