Thursday, September 19, 2013

Upcoming Visit By AZ Guv Brewer Brings GOP Split To Fore; We Have The Scoop, Plus: Mayor '13; Readers Write Of Minimum Wage, Write-In Candidate Writes & Hard-Hitting Union Ad Draws Attention 

There's plenty of drama among NM Republicans over the upcoming ABQ fund-raising visit of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Political operatives for Governor Martinez are none too happy that Brewer will be appearing at the home of well-known businessman Tom Tinnin Sept. 27. That's because Tinnin, a former chairman of the state fair commission, called out the Martinez administration for pushing the commission to approve a controversial 25 year racino lease for the Downs at ABQ.

Tinnin said of the deal: "I found it very distasteful and I didn't feel it was professional."

He told the Governor as much at the time the commission rammed through the lease in 2011.
Subsequently, he resigned his seat on the state Board of Finance.

(Journalist Phil Parker conducted a revealing interview with Tinnin about his personal meeting with Martinez over the racino lease).

Since then it's been learned that the FBI has been investigating the lease.

The Tinnin fund-raiser is to benefit the coffers of the state Republican Party--not the Martinez campaign. The Governor is not expected to attend and efforts by her operatives to persuade Brewer not to come have been to no avail. She is not about to plunge into the internecine warfare of state R's and surface the spilt publicly.

But that split is there. For insiders it will be on full display when Tinnin is joined by former NM GOP Chairman and wealthy oilman Harvey Yates, Jr. as they showcase Brewer at Tinnin's North Valley backyard.

Yates recently penned  an op-ed piece for the newspaper that said there is reason to pay attention to allegations of corruption within the Martinez administration. He wrote:

I was concerned when rumors of impropriety began to seep from the Martinez administration. But as to corruption, I was skeptical. Now, months later, I am not so skeptical.

An organizer of the Tinnin dinner says the point is to raise money for a cash starved Republican Party, not to highlight any split within the GOP or hurt Martinez. She says that notion is coming from the Guv's camp and adds that a Guv political operative recently contacted a representative of the Republican Governors Association in an effort  to have them pressure Brewer not to appear. We were sent an email that confirmed the contact.

Tinnin and his family have a generations-long presence in the city and state business community and the dinner is sure to be a sell-out, with Brewer providing the star power.

What's interesting is that while state Democrats have thrown in the towel on thwarting Martinez's re-election next year, it's trouble in her own backyard (or Tom Tinnin's) that has the Guv reaching for the Rolaids.


Now to our ongoing coverage of the October 8 city election...

Reader Danny Hernandez writes of the debate over the minimum wage in ABQ and our coverage of it:

Joe, In your Tuesday blog your write that Mayor Berry originally did not support the minimum wage but "arrived at the right place" after some pressure from mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli and pro-worker groups.

But if you read the article in the Sept. 16 Albuquerque Journal titled "Penalties proposed for wage law," you get a different twist. It reads, "Anyone else who calls will be referred to private attorneys who have already agreed to represent employees who need help, (City Attorney David) Tourek said."

In other words, the city still won't protect minimum wage employees by enforcing the existing ordinance. Instead it will ask minimum wage employees to sue their employers!

No, the Berry administration didn't arrive at the right place; it's just spinning so you think it supports the minimum wage ordinance when it does not.

(Democratic City) Councilors Ken Sanchez, Rey Garduño and Isaac Benton have it right: We need to change the wording in the minimum wage ordinance to force this and future administrations to enforce the law that was so overwhelmingly supported by the electorate.


Also on the minimum wage front, reader Matthew Henderson, executive director of OLÉ (Organizers in the Land of Enchantment), reports:

Joe, I wanted to make sure you noticed (since no one else has) that the deadline for the initiative to partially-repeal the Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance came and went Monday. The City Clerk tells me that the New Mexico Restaurant Association folks never turned in a single petition signature.

The minimum wage increase to $8.50 an hour was approved by 66% of the voters at last year's November general election.


Our fair and balanced coverage of Election '13 continues with APD Chief Banks responding to a hard-hitting TV ad from the police and fire unions that we posted here Tuesday. Says Banks:

We have over 90 officers at any given time on graveyard that will respond to the needs of citizens.

The ad said there are "less than 60" officers on graveyard.

Banks does admit that APD is low on officers.

Then Chief Banks opens a new controversy, saying:

We actually slowed downs our response time in getting to our calls for service to make sure that we are taking all the necessary efforts and not just rushing into a scene...

Banks say that doesn't mean cops are ignoring calls or taking longer than needed to respond. Frequent APD critic and retired Sergeant Dan Klein fires back:

I would like to see the order that explains this. Is there one? Is Banks just making this stuff up? When responding to 911 calls for help seconds delayed means lives not saved. There has got to be some follow up on this. The public is not safe.

Lora Cunningham
So far, the public safety ad is the best written and produced of the mayoral cycle (our view(, The ad was produced by Cunningham Productions. The firm is run by actress and producer Lora Martinez Cunningham an ABQ native who has an impressive list of Hollywood acting credits and currently teaches film acting at ABQ studios.

The problem the unions have and the good news for Mayor Berry is the issue of raising enough money to give the ad a widespread audience.

As for Cunningham, we have a feeling the political community may be hearing more from her.


We received erroneous info on the exact times and dates for the three TV Mayoral debates. Here's what is happening.

This Sunday at 4 p.m. KOAT-TV will host the three contenders for one hour.  Sunday, September 29 at 10 a.m. the candidates will appear on KOB-TV. KNME-TV will host a one hour debate Monday, September 30 at 7 p.m.


Joseph M. Torrez
ABQ Mayoral write-in candidate Joseph M. Torrez writes:

I see Albuquerque as the premier international city of the Southwest, attracting thousands of tourists every month to enjoy a City of Lights. I see healthy children & young people from every ethnic background. They are physically healthy, academically inspired, physically safe, spiritually vibrant, and mentally healthy. I see multicultural families who are laughing together, enjoying life, and have more than enough to feed and care for their families.  

I see all women and our children protected and safe from sexual predators, stalkers, human-traffickers, and domestic violence. I see our streets safe from violent crimes, with our law enforcement officers equipped to serve all citizens of Albuquerque with dignity & respect. I see compassionate tolerance replacing toxic speech.  I see a city filled with entrepreneurship continually starting home-based businesses, small businesses, and not being over-taxed. I see prosperity and generosity overflowing throughout our city. 

Torrez manages Luna Lodge Apartments in ABQ. He told us he is an ABQ native and a graduate of Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma.

The newspaper has begun profiling the three mayoral candidates whose names appear on the ballot. First up is Paul Heh.


We posted a video Wednesday promoting downtown ABQ courtesy of Debbie Stover, executive director of the Downtown Action team. It drew this retort from reader Jon Knudsen who uses the pen name Johnny Mango and who writes for the web site Duke City Fix:

Congratulations on 10 years, Joe! Debbie Stover's video on downtown is careful not to mention the closing of Route 66 to pub crawlers two nights a week as well as other concerns. I wrote a piece on it that is posted here. The headline reads "The Issue that Berry, Dinelli, & Heh Ignore: Downtown's Locked Up Most of the Time." I really think downtown should be an issue in the coming mayoral election.

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