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Sitting Through a Candidates Forum

I attended the Albuquerque City Council Candidate forum organized by the Albuquerque Metropolitan Board of Realtors, the Apartment Association of New Mexico, the Commercial Association of Realtors New Mexico, the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico and the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties.

You can read about it over at the New Mexico Business Weekly online. Overall, it was pretty unexciting. For the most part, people said exactly what you would expect them to say on some of the hotter topics:

Affordable housing was a hot topic given the pending $10 million general obligation bond that will be on the ballot Oct. 6. The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce has come out in opposition to the bond question, arguing the bill could prevent implementation of the workforce housing ordinance.

Katherine Martinez, director of government and community affairs for the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico, who is running against Debbie O’Malley for the District 6 seat, said there should be a focus on keeping housing affordable across the city by evaluating legislation that puts additional fees on the building industry that are then passed to homebuyers. Her comments were echoed by Harris and Jones, who preached incentives rather than mandates for creating such housing, and Brad Winter, the incumbent in District 4. His opponent, Paulette de’Pascal, added that there should be input from all stakeholders when creating mandates for things like affordable housing — a stance she reiterated often during other questions. De’Pascal owns Success Group International, a marketing, public relations and consulting firm.

Yup, as reported, Ms. de’Pascal was very fond of using the phrase “input from all stakeholders.” So, I’m guessing that must have been something she learned during her studies.

This is not to say there weren’t a few amusingly bizarre moments. For example, Joan Griffin commented that she was in part motivated to run because she was tired of hearing about “men picking up men in public restrooms.” I kid you not, she did say that line.

Then there was Paulette De’Pascal’s claim that she has “no enemies other than her ex-husband as widely reported in the Albuquerque Journal.”

Oh, and I almost forgot, Councilor Debbie O’Malley decided to try and “discredit” her opponent Katherine Martinez by pointing out that O’Malley’s family has deeper roots in the North Valley. How backwards is that? Maybe Councilor O’Malley would like to pass a city ordinance barring any recent migrant from another state from voting or seeking public office until their family has been in New Mexico for two or more generations.

I’m glad I live in the East Mountains. If you want to experience what I sat through, radio station KANW-FM 89.1 will broadcast a recording of the forum Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.