Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A City Council Coup; Protesters Take Over As Frustration Boils Over, Plus; The Decaffeinated Dem Guv Primary; The Latest Analysis As Absentee Voting Starts, And: The Martinez Money Chase Brings In GOP Heavies 

How do you like the new ABQ City Council? Who said the revolution will not be televised? Isn't the fella in the yellow shirt taking a "selfie?"

Well, at least these five interlopers who took over the dais Monday night after their protest forced councilors to cancel their meeting look eager to serve.

And that's been the beef with the nine "real" councilors (and Mayor). They've played Rip Van Winkle through four years of fatal police shootings, millions in lawsuit settlements over the shootings and now a Department of Justice intervention. And the shootings--justified or not--keep happening. We've had four since mid-March. And what has the governing body of the city of ABQ done about it?

Would you have street protests and a takeover of the council chambers if councilors---in conjunction with the mayor and APD--had acted? Or even showed more than a passing interest in the topic?  Where were the hearings on APD? Where was the questioning of the APD chief? Where was the questioning of the mayor? The ABQ city council failed in its oversight responsibility by claiming it really had none.

The fact that many of the shooting victims have had criminal records or mental health issues makes it that much harder to convince the public to put pressure on their councilors to do something. That's a large part of why the federal government had to come in here.

With its continuing socio-economic decline (no, it's not a "self-esteem" problem) ABQ has become a more scary city and one much more divided between the haves and have nots. Dealing with the challenges of such a wide swath of the citizenry that is disenfranchised in so many ways has been too much for the politicians, the business community and the media. They are numbed by it all. We are in uncharted waters and may be in for a long, hot summer. . .


Is this the most under caffeinated primary election, or what? Absentee voting begins today but you would need Barry Ramo to detect a pulse in this thing. Dead? A one car funeral has more action. If it weren't for Governor Martinez, the TV sales managers would be putting up for the night at Joy Junction.

So what happened? And what will happen in the final weeks before the June 3 conclusion? Well, the quick answer is that the mother's milk of politics turned sour on the Dems. None of the five raised a serious amount of money that would let them mount an all-out campaign that would alert Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico that something big was going on.

That left wealthy Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber. By tapping his personal fortune for $450,000 he ended early April with a stockpile of $440,000--nearly two to one more than his closet competitor, Lawrence Rael.

A number of politicos urged Webber to go up early on TV and put the race away, but Webber dismissed that advice. Maybe he's like old Joe Kennedy who told his team:

Don't buy a single vote more than necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.

Whatever the case, how Webber deploys his cash in the final weeks could be key to the outcome.
 He told a campaign event recently he has cut TV ads. They are expected to go up next week.

Gary King remains the Rodney Dangerfield of Campaign '14. He gets no respect, especially after a last place finish at the Dem's March preprimary convention. Normally that would knock you out, but this being the campaign that redefines "low-key" King still lives. He will likely have to loan himself money to get a good sized TV buy, but if he does it, who knows? He has the highest name ID of any of the hopefuls.

State Senator Howie Morales of Silver City got the Dem hearts beating faster when he stormed that Dem preprimary meet and unexpectedly captured first place. But that Big Mo became No Dough as Howie was unable to convert a first place finish into dollar signs in his bank account. (Only $46,0000 in cash in early April). With heavy labor union support he'd like to be able to win it on the ground, but without television to give him air support, he will struggle.

Lawrence Rael plays hardball in his emails about Governor Martinez but his first TV ad was all softball. But he is up with a TV buy, while Linda Lopez and Morales seem unlikely to join him. That could help him consolidate the sizable Hispanic vote and emerge near the top of the field.

As the Dems try to sort themselves out, Gov. Martinez relished the news that the Dem Governors Association has no plans--at least not until the polls change--to ship any money down here for the eventual Dem nominee to give her a hard time.

And what a hard time someone could give her. She's spending big to prop up her numbers in light of damaging audio recordings released by Mother Jones magazine. She has enough cash to carpet bomb the state until November. And she very well may.


The five Dem Guv hopefuls have been ganging up on Gov. Martinez lately and refraining from sparring among themselves. We'll see if that is again the case at 5 p.m. today when the contenders square off during an hour long forum sponsored by the Media Literacy Project. The event, which we will help moderate, will be streamed live here.

Meanwhile, Gov. Martinez continues to raise major cash around the nation. This fund-raiser is sure to fuel speculation about her national role in GOP politics:

Every major Republican leader on Capitol Hill, from House Speaker John Boehner to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, is featured on the guest list for a May 21 fundraiser for Martinez in a tony neighborhood just outside Washington, DC. . .  Other "honored guests" slated to attend Martinez's event in Chevy Chase, Maryland, include: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House budget committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan. . . The fundraiser will be held at the $2.2 million home of Susan Neely, the president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, the soft-drink industry lobby.


If Hillary Clinton isn't running for Prez in '16 she has a lot of her NM supporters fooled. They're throwing a partyfor her at ABQ's Scalo restaurant on May 20. Cheap seats are $100. The hedge fund set can cough up $5,000.


Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver reports that the deadline to register to vote or to update voter registration for the 2014 Primary Election is today:

Individuals who are registering to vote for the first time can request an application by calling 243-VOTE or stopping by our office on the 6th floor of One Civic Plaza, NW.

For additional information visit here or call 505-243-VOTE (8683).


A variety of groups are working to get the word out on this today. One of them tells us:

Today thousands of donors statewide are expected to go online and give a boost to New Mexico’s nonprofit sector. Called “Give Grande New Mexico,” the 24-hour event is sponsored by the Community Foundation Coalition and will benefit more than 400 nonprofit organizations that annually provide millions of dollars of free or low cost services in New Mexico communities.

 “Everyone can be a philanthropist,” says Diana Dorn-Jones, Executive Director of United South Broadway Corporation, one of the nonprofit participants. “Most gifts will be matched by sponsors, so every dollar you give can go further."

Here’s how it works: go to GiveGrandeNM.org, choose one or more local causes around the state, click and give any amount from $10 up.

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