Posts Tagged ‘Election’

Corruption is Only One of the Problems

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Everyone in New Mexico knows that under the 70+ year Democratic rule of our state corruption has flourished liked bacteria in a petri dish. But, what is less understood is that the total disregard for the rule of law, especially within the ranks of the elected and appointed leaders of the current administration, is not simply limited to padding wallets and stealing from taxpayers to fatten campaign funds. In an attempt to curry favor with one political voting block or another, the Administration has shown the most cavalier attitude toward laws and regulations – changing and discarding them on a whim with a complete disregard to the constitutional process.

We’ve seen it time and time again. Appointees have held midnight meetings to circumvent the legislature and “rewrite laws” as they see fit. We’ve seen others take illegal administrative liberties to steal your water from right under your land. There has been little to no fiscal accountability for state agency after state agency for years. Of course, for the majority of New Mexicans these might seem like actions that “don’t really directly impact me and my family.”

Well, let’s see if we can bring this down to the simplest terms. If lying, cheating and stealing aren’t enough to get your blood boiling, then maybe the raping of children will put you over the edge:

Because CYFD acted as if this regulation did not exist, CYFD failed to notify ICE and released Juan Gonzalez when he was charged with molesting a 3-year-old girl and raping a 6-year-old boy in 2005 when he was found not competent to stand trial. He walked.

Then, in 2008 Gonzalez was arrested again for (allegedly) raping a 4-year-old.

This was preventable.  In fact, the rules and laws were on the books to prevent this from happening. But, the current administration opted to make their own rules. They assumed, as they have all along, that they are above the law:

The Richardson administration did not want to enforce the regulation, for whatever reason, so, rather than engage in the legal process to change the law, they just substituted their own view of what they wanted the law to be.

And now, because of the administration’s arrogance and chutzpah, another innocent child, a 6-year-old little girl playing at a local gym has her life shattered by the act of a (suspected) criminal that could have been prevented.

It’s time the voter’s sent a clear message that they’ve had enough. Regardless of your political affiliation, make sure you vote in the upcoming primaries and encourage your neighbors to do the same. It’s time to send the lawless and self-interested packing and put people in office that will put public service above self-interests.

Ever More Open Society – Except in Government

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

We live in the information age.  A quick web search, and you can find information about almost anything.  Overall, I think this is a good thing.  In my mind knowledge is power.  The ability to learn and find answers quickly makes overcoming some previously insurmountable challenges surmountable.

Yet, there is one place in our society where open sharing of information is seemingly going in the wrong direction. Ironically, this place is called the “public sector.”

New Mexico’s Open Meetings Act is meant to help ensure public involvement and to prevent backroom deals in state and local government, but violations of the law are widespread, an investigation by The Independent has found. School boards, universities, town councils, county and state commissions, and boards across the state have broken the law, casting a shroud of secrecy over government officials’ deliberations and bargaining.

Violating the Open Meetings law can contribute to a culture of political secrecy and corruption, Foundation for Open Government Executive Director Sarah Welsh told The Independent. It also raises questions about the legality of decisions reached based on issues discussed during illegally convened closed sessions.

And, it’s not just the violation of open meetings that is troublesome:

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says a state agency violated the Inspection of Public Records Act when it redacted information from public documents before giving them to Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh.

Now it appears the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) is in the process of correcting that violation.

Sarah Welsh, the sunshine group’s executive director, recently made her own request for some of the public records DFA had provided to Weh with redactions. The agency provided the records to Welsh without redactions, which allowed her to see that DFA had inappropriately blacked out routine information – such as handwritten notations of account numbers or notes such as “OK to pay” – before providing the documents to Weh.

“They provided different information to me and to the Weh campaign, which is not the way it’s supposed to work,” Welsh said.

Story after story have shown that increasingly all levels of public government feel free to act with impunity in keeping the public in the dark:

Attorney General Gary King is accusing Gov. Bill Richardson of violating the state open-records act by withholding the names of those in the 59 political jobs Richardson said he eliminated.

“It seems implausible that your office would make a formal announcement (about the layoffs) when it had no set of records to support its numerical assertion,” Chief Deputy Attorney General Albert Lama wrote in an opinion this week. “It creates the impression that some staff member in the Governor’s Office possesses, contrary to your response letter’s assertions, records pertaining to the 59 exempt employees …

At some point, the voters are going to say enough is enough.  And, it’s increasingly looking like that point may occur this November.

Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Confirmed

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

When considering the polling prior to the outcome of the recent Albuquerque mayoral election, I noted that a strong anti-incumbent sentiment was in play:

In 2008, incumbents were swept out of office. Sure, it was a huge Democratic sweep. But, it was just as much an anti-incumbent sweep. People wanted new blood. They voted for “change.”

The Obama administration and the Democrats now in control of the Congress misunderstood this vote for change to mean the country was endorsing a shift to the left and bigger government programs. This wasn’t and isn’t the case at all. The vast majority of Americans are not extremist – neither right nor left. Instead, they are firmly planted in the center.

So, the change they were voting for was against the incumbents, and the direction in which they were taking our country, which ironically enough was towards bigger government programs. Now, it seems to me that the anti-incumbent sentiment has not subsided. It is still alive and well.

My observation regarding the anti-incumbent sentiment seems to be confirmed by a recent Pew Research Group study:

According to the Pew Research Group, the number of people who would like to see their own U.S Representative re-elected has reached a low point — the same type of low point seen in the 1994 and 2006 midterms when the parties in power suffered large losses.

“About half (52 percent) of registered voters would like to see their own representative re-elected next year, while 34 percent say that most members of Congress should be re-elected,” according to Pew. “Both measures are among the most negative in two decades of Pew Research surveys.”

And, in more bad news for Democrats, Republicans are currently much more enthusiastic about voting in 2010.

I’d argue that these results also apply to the Governor’s office and any swing legislative districts in 2010. Spend time talking to people about politics, and you’ll see its true. Its probably the reason behind State Senator Eichenberg’s recent candid observation:

He wrote that Eichenberg told the crowd at the Southwest Learning Center in Albuquerque that due to Denish’s “complacency or complicity” with the ‘pay-to-play’ atmosphere surrounding the administration of Governor Bill Richardson, and standing quietly behind him,” that he was unwilling to invest a half million dollars in a losing campaign.’

Bralley writes Eichenberg said, “I looked her square in the eye when I said that. I told her I didn’t think she was going to win.”

I’d say the numbers support his assertion.

Congratulations Albuquerque You Made a Good Choice!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

RJ Berry’s election win last night is a win for Albuquerque and New Mexico. Mayor-elect Berry is exactly the type of new leader we need in New Mexico. He is a 3H guy – honest, humble, hard-working – who take his responsibilities very seriously. Congratulations to RJ and his family!

I think the GOP needs to be careful about misinterpreting this win as a vindication. As the Democrats are quick to point out, the majority of votes went to the Democratic candidates, not the Republican candidate. However, more important is this fact noted by Eye on Albuquerque:

But what’s also clear is that a solid 65% of voters wanted someone other than Martin Chavez to be mayor.

There is no mistaking it. There is a strong anti-incumbent sentiment out there among the voters. As Don Harris’ City Council race demonstrated, that doesn’t mean that anyone can win a seat, but it does mean that voters will choose a truly qualified leader over the entrenched incumbent. We saw it last night in the mayoral race, and we also saw it in Dan Lewis’ win over Michael Cadigan. Dan was another 3H type of candidate.

So, where does that leave us. Well, Lt. Governor Diane Denish needs to take notice. Try as she may, its a little too late to disengage herself from the scandal fraught Richardson administration. As the economy crisis continues to worsen, people will rightfully be blaming the incumbents and those who enabled them, and looking for viable alternatives.

Taxpayers Paying to Advocate More Taxes

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

I’ve noted in the past that the problem with state created “Authority” entities is that they are nothing more than a license to tax without accountability:

Here comes the bad part. When elected government officials raise taxes, we at least have an opportunity to vote them out of office the next election cycle. The same is not true for government created Authorities. These folks are appointed, not elected, so the taxpayer has no recourse whatsoever.

It basically boils down to “Taxation without Representation.” The last time that got out of control there was a revolution in this country.

The Rio Grande Foundation points out one more reason to fight against the creation of Authority entities:

Now, enclosed in your most recent water bill from the government-controlled Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority, “customers” of the authority are receiving the following notices alerting them to the 1/4 cent transportation tax on the ballot with language that clearly endorses the tax. Check out both sides of the insert below:

Nothing like making taxpayers pay to promote additional taxes on taxpayers. Angry and want to take it out on someone? Well, you can’t take it out on the folks running the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority because the state conveniently set it up so that these people are appointed and not elected to this fee increasing non-accountable entity.

But, don’t bottle up that anger. Redirect it toward something useful. Vote one of the biggest proponents of this tax increase out of office – Mayor Marty Chavez. You know, the guy who has been trying for years to force this tax increase on the public in order to build his trolley on Central.

In fact, Mayor Marty Chavez is on the Governing Board of the organization, which means he approved this misuse of funds. Make no mistake, a water authority spending your money to push a transportation tax to build a trolley is a misuse funds. Just another example of politics as usual from Mayor Marty.

Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Still Strong

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I’m man enough to admit that I’m shocked by the polling numbers released from the mayoral race this weekend in the Albuquerque Journal:

It’s a tight race for mayor of Albuquerque, but Richard Berry appeared to have a slight edge over three-term incumbent Martin Chávez 12 days before the Oct. 6 election, a Journal Poll found.

Richard Romero was a close third in the poll, just two percentage points behind Chávez.

Thirty-one percent of the registered, likely voters polled last week supported Berry, 26 percent chose Chávez and 24 percent sided with Romero. Nineteen percent were undecided.

The race clearly isn’t over yet, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., which conducted the poll.

Now, my surprise does not come as a result that more voters think RJ Berry would make a better mayor than politics as usual Mayor Marty Chavez. I’ve always been a fan of RJ Berry’s [disclosure: contributed to RJ Berry campaign in the past]. But, I was convinced that the limits imposed on the campaign as a result of public financing would provide a benefit for the incumbent that would be insurmountable.

This still may be the case. However, I do think there is something else going on here. A lot has already be written about the way that the two Democratic candidates in the race are splitting the vote and that the politics as usual incumbent is bleeding conservative votes to… well, to the more conservative candidate. But, I think there is something more going on here.

In 2008, incumbents were swept out of office. Sure, it was a huge Democratic sweep. But, it was just as much an anti-incumbent sweep. People wanted new blood. They voted for “change.”

The Obama administration and the Democrats now in control of the Congress misunderstood this vote for change to mean the country was endorsing a shift to the left and bigger government programs. This wasn’t and isn’t the case at all. The vast majority of Americans are not extremist – neither right nor left. Instead, they are firmly planted in the center.

So, the change they were voting for was against the incumbents, and the direction in which they were taking our country, which ironically enough was towards bigger government programs. Now, it seems to me that the anti-incumbent sentiment has not subsided. It is still alive and well.

If the 12-year mayor rightly gets voted out of office, it should serve as a warning to the other incumbents running for office in 2010. Our budgets are in the red. Our school systems are failing. Everyday more of our family, friends and neighbors are losing their jobs and their homes while big government rewards big business with taxpayers funds.

It’s going to be harder and harder for the incumbents to convince folks they’re part of the solution when the the truth is that they created the problem.

Bode Aviation Video

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

The surveillance video of Bode Aviation’s negotiations with the City of Albuquerque [hat tip: Peter St. Cyr], and the role Mayor Martin Chavez plays “messing with” contracts is unnerving at the least. Watch the video, and then ask yourself, “How does this guy get elected term after term?”

Bode Surveillance- Short Version from Richard M. Romero on Vimeo.

Why isn’t this more front and center in the campaign? Oh right, publicly funded campaigns don’t allow the campaigns enough resources to get the truth out. Explain to me again how this has improved the process?

Election Cycle 2010 is in Full Swing

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

When it comes to political campaigning, it is often said that no one is really paying attention until after Labor Day. Of course, what they are talking about is the Labor Day preceding that year’s November election (i.e. Labor Day 2009 and Election Day 2009).

However, we now have undeniable evidence that our election cycles have been greatly expanded. This year’s election day marked the official start not of Election Cycle 2009, but of Election Cycle 2010. Last night was the first debate of the Democratic Lt. Governor candidates of 2010. I know I keep repeating the year, but I just can’t get over it. Seriously, it’s not like these folks are running for President of the United States. They’re running for a position that really doesn’t do much other than collect a salary and break the occasional tie vote:

This money fits in well with the theme in a cable television ad from the state GOP last week lambasting [Lt. Governor Diane] Denish for casting tie-breaking votes on a bill to expand the hours of operations for nontribal casinos in the state while taking tens of thousands of dollars from gambling interests. The ads refer to statements Denish made prior to being elected that gambling was bad for the economy. The ad calls Denish’s votes “a pay-to-play jackpot.”

What’s even more bizarre than a Lt. Governor race getting media attention fourteen months before the election? The fact that the six candidates think that campaigning for raising taxes in tough economic times is a solid campaign strategy:

Several Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor who attended a forum Wednesday at the NEA building on Botulph Road said they’d like to repeal state personal income tax cuts for upper-income bracket taxpayers — a plan pushed at the outset of Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration.

That’s right, the state has gone an unrivaled spending spree over the last seven years, and rather than cut waste, these folks want to take more out of our pockets. Of course, some of the folks running for the relatively high-paying low stress job, are the same legislators that approved these massive budget-breaking spending sprees, so I guess its CYA time.

Now, in case you’re thinking this expanded election season is limited to the Lt. Governor race, think again. It looks like the Secretary of State office is also kicking it into gear for Election Cycle 2010:

Attention candidates and potential candidates of any party: The Secretary of State’s Office is hosting “candidacy seminars” at the Roundhouse next week in an effort to teach budding politicians the basics of filing for public office and convey some general understanding of election laws and regulations.

The free three-hour workshops — scheduled for 9 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Wednesday — will cover such topics as opening a campaign account, campaign finance reporting laws, withdrawal dates, hardship exceptions for online reporting, financial disclosure requirements, in-kind contributions, etc.

Wow, I wonder just how many people are going to show up for this? Now, don’t get me wrong, people running for state offices have always started toying with the idea this early. It’s not uncommon for them to put out feelers to check for support levels. But, this is way beyond that. This is full official campaign mode at a very early time. I guess on the upside if the Secretary of State asks budding candidates to sign in, a simple records requests will make it clear, which seats are in play for 2010.

Mayor Chavez is Right… Enough with Politics as Usual

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

With only a few weeks left until the Albuquerque City elections, the mayoral debates are coming with increasing speed. There looks to be an interesting mayoral debate coming up on Wednesday, September 16. Here is the info I received:

The Alibi is joining forces with KNME-5, the New Mexico Independent and KUNM 89.9 FM to bring you a free—totally free—mayoral debate on Wednesday, Sept. 16 (details below).

“The Line” host Gene Grant, KUNM’s News Director Jim Williams, New Mexico Independent Editor Gwyneth Doland and I will moderate. We’ll pose your burning questions about your city to the candidates.

Audience members will be given notecards and can submit their queries at the start of the throwdown. Or, film a question, upload it to YouTube and send the link to (Extra points if your backdrop relates to the subject of your question.)

R.J. Berry, Martin Chavez, Richard Romero
Submit video questions for candidates to
See what people are already asking at
Wednesday, Sept. 16
National Hispanic Cultural Center
1710 Fourth Street NW
Doors open at 6 p.m., debate at 7 p.m.
Seating is first-come, first-served. About 300 available.
Hear it live on KUNM 89.9 FM
Watch it and live-blog it at and
See it Friday, Sept. 18, on KNME-5

After the mayoral debate, join Alibi and local politicos for discourse, libations and complimentary canapés. Municipal DJs play eclectic Americana and rare groove as citizens of Albuquerque snack and mingle.

Downtown at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central), Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 8:30 p.m. 21+

Now, it’s not often that an after debate party complete with libations and complimentary canapés is advertised to draw in a crowd, but believe it or not, that’s not what I think makes it potentially interesting. What makes it a potentially interesting debate is the timing.

The mayoral election is just now starting to get some attention. This is one of the effects of a taxpayer funded mayoral campaign. None of the candidates have really had the cash necessary to pound home the issues, or each other’s shortcomings.

A lot of people might think that’s a good thing, but the truth of the matter is, intended or not, this has worked to the advantage of the incumbent, Mayor Marty Chavez. If you’re a fan of Mayor Marty, then it’s great. If not, well, not so great.

Mayoral candidate and State Representative RJ Berry is starting to make some noise about the Mayor’s “real record of accomplishment.” Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the taxpayer funded campaign is going to provide enough resources for the message to get the penetration that is needed to be effective.

On the upside, the Mayor is spending his equally limited funds playing defense, which in a campaign is never a good thing. You can listen to the radio ad here [hat tip: New Mexico Independent]. In the ad, the Mayor denies ever turning Albuquerque into a Sanctuary City or pushing a trolley for Central, and implies that anyone who says otherwise is guilty of politics as usual.

Ok, first let me address the obvious. If anyone is to be equated with “politics as usual”, it would have to be the Mayor who fought a legal battle to overturn term limits, so he could continue… Yup, “politics as usual.” Geez, talk about opening mouth and inserting foot. Mayor Martin is practically the poster child for politics as usual.

Enough of that. Let’s get to the meat of the matter. If there is one thing I hate, it is politicians who attempt to rewrite the history they helped create. Of course, I’m not the only one who has that pet peeve. I think you ought to take a listen to this segment from the Jim Villanucci show circa 2007 [hat tip: Eye on Albuquerque]

It’s kind of hard to deny the facts two years later, when anyone can go back and find the truth.

Effective immediately, Albuquerque police officers who find illegal immigrants will no longer contact either federal immigration agents or the border patrol.

Sorry Mayor Chavez, that politics as usual tactic of denying your record just doesn’t work in the modern age. [side rant: This originally came from a KOB-TV news story, which is no longer available. Is it really too much to ask for MSM news outlets to keep their articles up in perpetuity?]

Now what’s even funnier than Mayor Marty Chavez denying in his campaign ad that he is being maligned on his record of turning Albuquerque into a sanctuary city? It would be the Mayor pretending he doesn’t want to build a trolley on Central. First, in order for us to all be on the same page, let’s look at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of a trolley:

  • Main Entry: 1trol·ley
  • Variant(s): also trol·ly \ˈträ-lē\
  • Function: noun
  • Inflected Form(s): plural trolleys also trollies
  • Etymology: probably from 1troll
  • Date: 1823

1 dialect English : a cart of any of various kinds
2 a : a device that carries electric current from an overhead wire to an electrically driven vehicle b : a streetcar powered electrically through a trolley —called also trolley car
3 : a wheeled carriage running on an overhead rail or track
4 chiefly British : a cart or wheeled stand used for conveying something (as food or books)

I hope you noted the use of the word streetcar to define the word trolley. Also, pay special attention to definition 2a and compare it to this definition of a “modern streetcar” found on the City of Albuquerque website:

Streetcars feature a pole that touches an overhead wire, called catenary. Once the power reaches the streetcar through the trolley pole, it is fed to motors, which are called traction motors that are located on each wheelset.

Pretty dang close, wouldn’t you say? Yet, the Mayor wants us to believe he doesn’t want to reach into our pockets and pull out additional tax money to build a trolley. He can call it a modern streetcar. He can call it a light rail system. But, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s itching to build a trolley. Just another fine example of politics as usual.

What’s that you say? You are still not convinced tha
t Mayor Marty is a politics and usual kind of politician. Well, let’s look at the other half of his claim. He only supports building a trolley system “if passed by the voters.” REALLY?

Time for another trip down memory lane. Let’s go back to November 3, 2006 to see what Mayor Chavez tried to do when he thought no one was looking:

[The transportation] tax was originally sold to the taxpayers as a means of modernizing the transit system and fixing streets, and it has done that. The tax has also “ballooned in dollars received.” In other words, it brought in a lot more than expected. Yet, rather than let the temporary tax sunset, the Mayor and City Council want to make it a permanent tax while no one is looking.

It’s the old bait and switch, and it is blatantly UNETHICAL.

So, the truth is that Mayor Marty only supported seeking taxpayer approval once he got caught with his fingers in the taxpayers’ back pocket. C’mon everybody. It’s time for the chorus… Just another fine example of politics as usual.

So, how about we close with the closing thought from Mayor Chavez’s radio ad?

You mean a candidate would intentionally distort the truth just to get elected? Unfortunately true.

Haven’t we all had enough of politics as usual?

The Makings of a Perfect Storm

Friday, June 19th, 2009

During last year’s election cycle, the perfect storm was created, and Democrats from the Roundhouse to the White House prevailed. Come the day after the election, there were some lost seats that astounded everyone:

Nobody thought Karen Giannini was going to win.

Not local political junkies (like us at NMI) watching tight races on election night; not her new Democratic colleagues in the state House of Representatives; and certainly not her incumbent opponent, Rep. Justine Fox-Young, who was sitting in what everyone considered a safe Republican seat.

But somehow this Air Force veteran and divorced mother of three defied all odds and expectations by beating her well-financed incumbent opponent.

And she did it without spending a dime.

Of course, next year’s election is shaping up to be a little different. There are no indications on Main Street USA that the economy is improving. Quite the contrary, with even the Administration having to admit that the massive bailouts have been a failure. Instead of creating 3.5 million new jobs as promised, the bailouts, at best, have saved or created 600,000 jobs:

Just 10 days before taking office, Obama’s top economic advisers released a report predicting unemployment would remain at 8 percent or below through this year if an economic stimulus plan won congressional approval.

Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment in May rose to 9.4 percent.

Biden said the White House is keenly aware of the gap between the rhetoric used to sell fast passage of the legislation and the reality that has 14.5 million people unemployed. The administration had predicted that the stimulus bill would create or save as many as 3.5 million jobs.

14.5 million people in America are now unemployed, and what lays ahead in the future? Well, for the answer we go straight to the top:

President Barack Obama offered stern words for Wall Street and a prediction of 10 percent U.S. unemployment even as he said the “engines” of an economic recovery have begun to turn.

Now, I know that some of you will consider leaving comments that unemployment is a lagging indicator, and that the economy is turning around. Personally, I don’t think so, but honestly, it’s nothing more than an academic discussion. What’s important is the political reality come Election Day 2010.

All of these people are not going to suddenly be employed by that point, and the people’s concerns quelled. Hungry, unemployed people really don’t care about lagging indicators. They care about providing for their families. In fact, if the public opinion trends continue, we have the makings of a Jimmy Carter situation:

Nearly seven in 10 survey respondents said they had concerns about federal interventions into the economy, including Mr. Obama’s decision to take an ownership stake in General Motors Corp., limits on executive compensation and the prospect of more government involvement in health care. The negative feeling toward the GM rescue was reflected elsewhere in the survey as well.

A solid majority — 58% — said that the president and Congress should focus on keeping the budget deficit down, even if takes longer for the economy to recover.

Yet, Congress is going to keep on spending because that is what Congress does – at least of late. We’ve got bigger and bigger and vastly more expensive programs coming down the pike. Now, you couple these federal problems with the never ever ending list of political scandals plaguing the Land of Enchantment, and you have the makings of a new perfect storm.

A storm where those that were swept in the last election cycle with little to no effort, could very easily find themselves just as quickly swept out. With this being the case, it’s probably no surprise that new candidates for the Roundhouse are starting to emerge at what may seem to many a very early date. Take for example Nate Gentry, a former aide to Senator Domenici, who has already launched his website to take on the accidental incumbent noted at the beginning of this post in House District 30.

Let the games begin.