Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On The '13 City Election Beat; Early Vote Centers Open Today, Plus: Yet Another City Election Soon, And: Notes From 10 Years Of Blogging La Politica 

Sometimes the overreach in political campaigns is just plain funny. Look at this piece hitting the mailboxes in ABQ in anticipation of the Oct. 8 election.

Does that fella really look like an ABQ union boss?

And get a load of the slim cigar clenched in his teeth. Haven't seen anything like that since the 60's. But it does grab your attention and one supposes that really is the challenge these days. Consultants are pleased if you only take a brief glance at their stuff....

The ABQ job market is pretty much explained by a spate of news stories from the past week. At Intel in Rio Rancho. 400 well-paying jobs are lost to cuts, while it's announced that the national chain Joe's Crab Shack will open in ABQ, creating low wage openings. The other jobs--also low-paying--that will be created will be at a new movie theater complex in ABQ Uptown.

Not that the Shack or the movie theatre jobs aren't welcome. Glad to have them. It just illustrates the challenge the city faces in getting higher paying jobs that create a more robust economy...

Speaking of wages, Mayor Berry won't admit it during an election season, but he did do a flip-flop on enforcing the minimum wage. He made headline news February 20 when he said it was not the job of the city or the city attorney to go after businesses that flouted the law by refusing to pay the new hourly minimum wage of $8.50.

But the Mayor, perhaps feeling heat from mayoral challenger Pete Dinelli who has attacked Berry for not being supportive of the minimum, has said the city has taken one restaurant to court and ordered two other businesses to pay the minimum wage. It was enacted when 66% of the voters approved the increase at last November's election.

Well, however he got there, Berry did end up in the right place...

Meantime, Councilor Ken Sanchez is proposing that there be criminal penalties for employers who violate the minimum wage law.


And the elections just keep coming. ABQ voters will trek to the polls November 19 to vote on a proposed ban of late term abortions. The vote was brought about by citizen petition.

The City Council decided the abortion election should be held the same day as any run-off elections for the council or mayor. That would be November 19.

If a city council or mayoral candidate does not get 50% of the vote Oct. 8 there is a run-off between the top two vote-getters. We appear to be headed for at least one run-off. That would be in city council district 7 where Diane Gibson, Janice-Arnold-Jones and Matt Biggs are waging battle.

If there are no run-offs, the council has decided the November 19 election will go on, but be conducted by mail.

Back to the October 8 election...Today is a big day. City Clerk Amy Bailey says 12 early voting locations across the city open today which are expected to attract thousands of early voters. All the info on that as well as absentee voting can be found here.

We had a bit over 84,000 voters cast ballots in the 2009 ABQ mayoral election. Will we reach that number this year? Unlikely...


A reader writes:

I find it funny how New Mexico Competes which ran radio ads in support of  Gov. Martinez and the behavioral healthcare fiasco is trying to identify conservatives who are opposed to Obamacare and its impact in Roswell. Did they not get the memo--Martinez has embraced parts of Obamacare as being a good thing for New Mexicans. She obviously does not think it should be repealed, and right now Obamacare is one of the few things that is delivering jobs and money to New Mexico's anemic economy, something that Susana has failed at miserably despite calling herself a "job creator."

 If it wasn't for Obamacare, things would be much more bleak for Susana and the GOP in a state where there are few good paying jobs and a widespread need for financial assistance.


Ask me what has been the biggest change in New Mexico politics since we began this blog in September 2003 and we have a quick answer--the enormity of the money in the political process. It was already huge in '03 and is now gargantuan.

Stories about it don't seem to resonate much with the public. Veteran pollster Brian Sanderoff has long said that the public's eyes tend to glaze over when it comes to murky campaign financing because they see both sides as pretty much out of control and feel powerless to do anything about it. So they look away.

And what's been the biggest political story of the last 10 years? There have been many, but when those who come after us look back at this era, the fundamental change in the state's economy and how that played out will be what stands out.

The national financial crisis broke out in September 2008, taking New Mexico and the nation into the abyss. That we have only partially emerged from it five years later and lost more ground in a wide array of quality of life measures is a transformational story.

And what of 10 years from now? Will the New Mexicans of 2023 have found a way forward, or will the stubborn stagnation that has taken hold define our future?


Debbie Stover, executive director of the ABQ Downtown Action Team, writes:

We put out a video to showcase downtown. The comments we are getting are so positive, I wanted to share them with you. I don't know about you, but I could use some positivity in my life right now!

"Positivity" is a new one on us. The dictionary says it's "the state of being positive." And when grappling with New Mexico La Politica that's always a good idea...

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