Friday, July 05, 2013

Former Governor Dave Cargo Dies in ABQ, Mayoral Race Flatlines In July; No Joint Appearances Slated, Plus: State Senator Ends Up In Hospital As Hearing With Guv Cabinet Secretary Boils Over 

Cargo in 2006
Former Governor Dave Cargo died in ABQ at the age of 84 in ABQ on Friday morning. Details here and here. More on the Monday blog.

The word from the ABQ mayoral campaign trail is that there will not be a single joint appearance by the three contenders in the month of July. The election is October 8 and early voting starts in September so there will be time for debates, but a whole month without any action speaks volumes about the lack of interest so far in this contest.

Republican Mayor Berry will use July to raise money for his effort. We've posted an example here--a $250 pop invite from prominent ABQ trial lawyers Turner Branch and Margaret Moses. (Click invite to enlarge).

Dem contender Pete Dinelli opted for public financing which gives him about $340,000 to spend. Berry went for private fund-raising so he hopes to raise significantly more than what Dinelli gets.

Republican Paul Heh is the other hopeful. He is also raising funds privately.

Berry has run into some early trouble over the city campaign law that says people doing business with the city can't contribute to the mayoral campaign. There will be a hearing on the matter soon.


Sen. Ortiz y Pino
A Wednesday legislative hearing featuring one of the Governor's cabinet secretaries got hotter than a Fourth of July firecracker. As the tension intensified, ABQ Dem state Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino suffered a burst blood vessel and was rushed to the hospital where he stayed overnight for observation. His friend, Democratic consultant, Harry Pavlides, reports that the 72 year old lawmaker is feeling fine and plans to attend a scheduled legislative hearing Tuesday.

What got Ortiz y Pino and other Democratic Senators on the interim Legislative Health and Human Services Committee so upset? The details:

Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier abruptly left a legislative hearing Wednesday after three hours of questioning by legislators about the agency’s handling of an audit of 15 state behavioral health service providers. The audit, sought by the Republican administration and challenged  by Democratic lawmakers, found mismanagement, possible fraud and $36 million in overpayments to the nonprofit providers. Squier’s appearance...at a hearing in Albuquerque followed her department’s halt to payments to providers identified as having high error rates in billings. Democratic legislators repeatedly questioned whether some of the providers have been wrongly portrayed as fraudulent while details of the audit...remain confidential...

Squier apparently isn't used to much scrutiny, Her spokesman by way of explaining Squier's premature departure from the hearing said the legislators were "incredibly rude" but the paper reports Squier answered many of their inquires "testily."

Come on, Sidonie, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen--or the Cabinet.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. Thanks for stopping by this week.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan

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