Thursday, September 24, 2015

City Election '15: Davis Vs. The Machine In SE Heights As Hot Race Gets Hotter, Plus: Analysis Of Winter Vs. Chavez Council Contest, And: More BioPark Debate 

It's Pat Davis vs. The Machine in that three way battle for the SE ABQ City Council seat. At least that's how Davis, a progressive and longtime arch-foe of Gov. Martinez, would like the liberal district to view the contest.

We're posting a mail piece Davis has sent out featuring a rare attack on the Governor's political apparatus that has been dubbed the "Machine" because of its efficacy in polishing off Dem foes and often launching vicious attacks against anyone who dare challenges its hegemony.

Davis, head of the activist group ProgressNowNM, has been one of those who hasn't backed off. Not surprisingly he is being put through the Machine's wringer which is backing the candidacy of Republican Hessito Ynetma. Also in the race and giving Davis headaches is Democrat Samuel Kerwin, a 22 year old UNM student who could peel Dem votes away from Davis, keeping him below 50 percent and forcing a run-off election with Yntema.

More analysis on this contest from former ABQ City Councilor Greg Payne, a onetime Republican turned Democrat and a veteran campaign consultant:

Davis clearly has the edge in this contest but it still bears watching. Even if the Machine loses, if it can hold him to 55 percent or below that will be a victory for them. If they can't beat him, they want to weaken him because they know he will use the council seat as a vehicle to attack both Martinez and Mayor Berry.

Davis was featured in a newspaper front-pager recently over his DWI arrest that worked hard to raise questions about his character. Now anti-abortion protestors have set up shop outside his house. With the final stretch to the October 6 election straight ahead, the hits are going to keep coming from both sides.


Did you know...As few as 3,000 voters in SE Heights District 6 could cast ballots. That's in a district with 37,000 voters. . . Hessito Yntema gets his Hispanic roots from his mom's side. His dad is attorney Hess Yntema, a Republican who once held the council seat his son now seeks. . . KOB-TV thought it was a big deal that candidate Samuel Kerwin was running for the city council at the young age 22. They invited him on to talk about it. But, oops. They forget to give equal time to Pat Davis and Hessito Yntema. The station has since corrected itself. . .

We asked analyst Payne for his thoughts on the District 4 NE Heights council race featuring GOP incumbent Brad Winter and Dem Israel Chavez:

This one is Winter's to lose. He has been on the council since 1999 and while that might be a disadvantage in some respects, his name ID and generally positive image make him tough to tackle. I think his opponent needed to soften him up much earlier and now has limited time to pull off the upset. 

Winter and his attorney wife Nann are building a home in Florida but Brad, an ABQ native, says if re-elected he is committed to serving a full four year term. If for some reason he left before his term expired, Mayor Berry would appoint a replacement.


On the subject of equal time, let's give some to a proponent of the proposal to raise the city's gross receipts tax by an eighth of a cent to raise money for the ABQ BioPark. The measure is on the Oct. 6 ballot and it's estimated it would raise at least $250 million over the 15 year life of the tax. We've argued against it. Paul Mondragon, a local banker who is a past president of the BioPark Society, argues for it:

Every reason given for being skeptical of this proposal are exactly the reasons that now is precisely the right time to support our BioPark, to stimulate job growth, business expansion, and airport traffic. There are very few things that we can brag about on an international level, and to believe that these amenities do not add up to make Albuquerque more attractive to those living outside our city and state is nearsighted.

If the BioPark isn’t fully funded, and the facilities begin to shrink and decay over the next few years, it probably won’t be the final straw that drives my family out of Albuquerque, but cumulatively, it may just be the last straw for a business looking to relocate here, or another business professional or business owner looking for a reason to stay. The proposed funding equates to 1 cent for every $8 spent, not including groceries or medicine. It’s worth it to maintain and enhance the BioPark.

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