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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

No Backdown; Clerk Sets Redo Hearing On Denying Gonzales Over $600K In Public Financing, Plus: Alligator Strike On APD Chief And More About Susana's Job

Ethan Watson
No backdown. Manny Gonzales is going back before the City Clerk Wednesday with over $600,000 in public financing for his mayoral campaign hanging by a thread. 

Supporters of the Sheriff were hoping that a district court ruling last week that said he had been denied due process when the city clerk denied him the taxpayer money would cause the clerk to back off and release the funds. Instead Clerk Ethan Watson, an attorney appointed to his post by Mayor Keller and confirmed by the City Council, took Judge Bryan Biedscheid up on his offer to have another hearing that was not legally faulty to determine whether Gonzales' campaign committed signature fraud. 

Watson released this statement shortly after the 5 p.m. court deadline signaling his intentions: 

Following the District Court ruling last week, I have elected to afford Sheriff Gonzales a hearing during which he can address the matters related to whether he met the requirements to be certified for public financing. That hearing will be held Wednesday morning, and I provided Mr. Gonzales the attached notice to ensure he understands the issues that will bear on my decision. The meeting can be viewed on GovTV. I will make my decision on whether to certify Mr. Gonzales by the end of the day on Friday.  

Watson said the hearing will being at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the city council chambers. The Clerk's full statement on the hearing and his case against Gonzales is here

The Sheriff’s boosters are going to have to prepare for the worst. 

One way to soften the blow of losing public financing would be to have big private donors who are currently giving to the outside committee supporting Gonzales--Save Our City PAC--also donate to Gonzales' campaign. At last report that committee had raised nearly $200,000.

Under city regulations individual donations to the Gonzales campaign would be limited to $6,250. The outside committees supporting Gonzales and Mayor Tim Keller can accept unlimited amounts. 

Gonzales is fighting a two front war--with Keller and also radio talk host Eddy Aragon, the only Republican on the ballot and who is eating into Gonzales' conservative and Hispanic support. 

The Sheriff's forces are now contemplating legal challenges of Aragon, including one concerning his legal residency and another about the use of his radio station as a financial platform for his candidacy. 

If they could succeed in removing Aragon from the ballot, they see the Sheriff's chances of prevailing in a first round victory increasing. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote November 2 a run-off election would be held in December. A three way race obviously makes a run-off more likely. 

ALLIGATOR STRIKE

Chief Medina
They've appeared to bury the hatchet in public recently but there still appears to be unresolved tension between APD Chief Harold Medina and BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez. In a leaked audio clip Medina is heard joking with a group of apparent law enforcement buddies, remarking:

Raul doesn't charge nobody. He doesn't charge criminals, much less anyone else. 

The chief's comment is greeted with raucous laughter by those in the room. It's unknown when the comments were made. 

Torrez is seeking the Dem nomination for attorney general next year and is running against State Auditor Brian Col√≥n. 

As for the Chief, you've just been the victim of an Alligator Strike. Congrats. . .or something.  

SUSANA'S JOB

The naming of former Gov. Susana Martinez to a slot on the board of directors of the nonprofit Daniels Fund with an annual stipend of $50,000 brought out her detractors, many of whom suffered at her hands when she held power. Among them is Brent Eastwood:

The new so-called “job” that Susana Martinez has is a joke. She got it from a crony. Martinez was never qualified to be governor in the first place. Martinez has been unemployed so long because she lacks private-sector experience, integrity, intelligence, and know-how. She never understood the 21st century economy. She has a terrible moral compass and is corrupt. Martinez has numerous character and personality flaws. She is an adulteress and substance abuser and this played out in public for the world to see. She never governed as a conservative. She is a RINO and former Democrat who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Obamacare. She believed in big government “solutions” and she was weak on the border. She is also a never-Trumper who then hypocritically begged Trump for a job. Martinez destroyed the New Mexico Republican Party. We can only hope and pray she stays out of government and politics. 

Martinez has mostly withdrawn from public life since leaving the Guv's office at the end of 2018. 

We wrote in that Martinez blog: "Never mind that Skandera and Martinez, 62, were notorious for fighting with the public schools and teachers unions and favoring charter and private schools over their public counterparts.”

Former State Rep. Bob Perls writes that we mischaracterized charter schools:  

Hi Joe, I had a strong reaction to your characterization of “favoring charter and private schools over their public school counterparts”.  Charter schools are public schools.  Full stop.  No ifs and or buts.  Especially in NM with our limited charter school laws, there are no corporate charter schools, teachers have to be certified as do administrators and all schools must take all applicants up to a ceiling.  Other states have come loosey goosey charter school laws that might make a few appear to be more like private schools, but in NM all students are admitted on a lottery system to a public school open to all.  In fact, the only difference between a NM charter public school and a mainstream public school is that the teachers actually have input into how the school is run and managed with our public charter schools.  

Bob Perls, 
Author of the original NM Charter School Co-Founder, Public Academy For Performing Arts

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021