Saturday, July 18, 2009

ABQ Mayoral Candidates File Financial Reports

This October's election is the first publicly financed Mayor's race in Albuquerque's history. Taxpayers are funding all three 2009 mayoral campaigns. It will be the second publicly funded city councilor's race.

Friday was the first financial disclosure deadline for the candidates.

It's no surprise that incumbent mayor Marty Chavez, who only formally announced his intentions to seek a record third straight term, and fourth overall, last Sunday, has spent the least amount of his city funded treasury, but it appears Chavez took legal advantage of additional money, he had collected from donations he received for a possible gubernatorial run.

In December 2008, he reported to the NM Secretary of State's office that he spent $22,350 with Lake Research and another $4,481.90 with InteleServices for a political robo call.

The robo call asked respondents if they "think the Mayor of Albuquerque, Marty Chavez, is doing a good job as mayor, and if the election were held tomorrow would you vote for him for re-election?"

On Friday, Chavez reported he paid nationally renowned political website producer Buzz, Inc. $6079.50 to build a new site for this fourth mayoral campaign since 1993. He also received in kind contributions of $3,245, including nearly a $1000 in legal services from personal-injury attorney Will Ferguson. The Chavez team also paid $716 to rent the Taylor Ranch Community Center for his campaign announcement last Sunday. The largest expenditure reported was to $10,000 Resolution Graphics and another $7928.55 to Gold Communications.

Chavez campaign manager Mark Fleisher received $3,000 and was credited for another $2,000 in in-kind contributions.

Republican state lawmaker Richard "RJ" Berry reported spending the most of the three candidates. His financial disclosure indicates he's spent $66,258.72 on his campaign. Richard Romero has spent $60,631.31, and Mayor Martin Chavez has spent the least. He reported expenses of $36,970.91 with another $3,245 received in in-kind contributions.

Berry's political consultant Lincoln Strategy Group has earned $17,253.27. The campaign also paid National Ballot Acces $12,512.32.

Romero, meanwhile paid former campaign manager Neri Holguin $17,917.05. Holguin resigned from the campaign, and was replaced by Murray Fishel, a nationally known campaign consultant, during the 4th of July holiday.

The financial disclosure reports are available online.

Each candidate qualified for public financing by April 1st. All three had to collect 3,287 contributions of $5 each from registered Albuquerque voters in a six-week period ending March 31. Mayor Chavez qualified for the most money $328,680. Richard Berry received $319,220. Richard Romero' report did not indicate how much he received in public financing.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Limit to Mayoral Term Limit Discussion

Just four days after incumbent Albuquerque Mayor Martin J. Chavez announced his formal bid for a record fourth term and third straight, one of his opponents is pledging to serve only eight years if he's elected.

On Thursday State Representative Richard "RJ" Berry said:
Term limits for the mayor are the will of the people and needed to keep life-long politicians in check.
Last year, Chavez successfully argued in State District Court that term-limits violated the state's constitution. Two weeks ago he told me at 770KKOB that the court action was not an end run around the voter's will.

On Thursday, Chavez told KOB TV 4's Stuart Dyson if he's elected that this, the fourth term will be his last. But, Dyson writes that minutes later Chavez backed off the statement:
Well, I think it's unwise to definitively say never, never, never because I want folks to understand they have to deal with a mayor at full speed.
But, Richard Berry says that's what Chavez said after being re-elected in 2005:
Chavez told the people of Albuquerque that he wouldn't run for mayor again, but he did not keep his word. He changed his mind, sued the city to throw out term limits for the mayor and went on with politics as usual.

Berry added:
Voters are asking me what this mayor could possibly hope to accomplish in sixteen years that he hasn't had a chance to get done in twelve. Twelve years is a long time. They believe it is time for a change at City Hall.

Former State Senate President Pro-tem Richard Romero, another challenger for the 11th floor office, has been critical of the mayor's 4th bid. He says he favors the City Charter's intent of a two-term maximum for the City’s top executive. In April, Romero told 770KKOB, "cronyism at city hall is causing the city irreparable harm."

On Sunday, Michael Passi, a member of the city charter task force, wrote a commentary for the Albuququere Journal on this issue. Passi noted:
If we lose executive accountability at a time when we've allowed the incumbent to eviscerate our prudent term-limit laws, we are risking a government operation that is purely political and fails to serve the people with integrity.

Chavez has been elected mayor of Albuquerque three times -- in 1993, in 2001 and in 2005. The only other mayor to serve more than one term in Albuquerque is Harry Kinney.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Herrera Highlights NM Balloting Standards in D.C.

A Congressional Subcommittee has chosen New Mexico as model of efficient provisional and overseas balloting.

New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera is heading to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. She's been invited to testify about New Mexico’s provisional balloting process and overseas voting process.

Herrera will appear in front of the House Subcommitte on Elections. The hearing begins at 2pm and can be viewed on a streaming video feed here.

Provisional ballots, in the state, ultimately decided the 2008 Democratic Presidential caucus in New Mexico. That vote was certified by the SOS one day before the deadline.

The trip comes just one week after Heath Haussamen reported the Secretary's website was restored after crashing.

The hearing, titled “Examining Uniformity in Election Standards” intends to obtain as much information as possible about the New Mexico program in order to develop a more robust Federal system.

Herrera said New Mexico’s laws and administrative rules have been recognized as the standard for the development of Federal voting-related laws and guidelines:
It is truly an honor for New Mexico to be considered a model for provisional ballot and overseas balloting procedures.
Herrera said she will continue to pursue legislation that assures every New Mexican the ability to vote.
Our legislation has streamlined provisional balloting and simplified the voting process for our citizens who are out of the country during elections.

Prior to the 2008 General Election, The Secretary of State’s Office issued Uniform Administrative Rules through the New Mexico Administrative Code which standardized the qualification and counting of ballots.

In 2008, The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office procured a partnership with the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to design a streamlined voter registration/ballot delivery program.

FVAP simplifies the process for Uniformed Service Members and their Families and other United States Citizens residing overseas to complete their voter registration application and absentee ballot request form.

Photo Credit: Mark Bralley

Monday, July 13, 2009

Barela Woos District's Tea Ralliers with "No New Tax" Pledge

Jon Barela (Right) with former State GOP Chairman Allen Weh

On Monday, Republican Jon Barela, who wants to unseat first-term Representative Martin Heinrich (D-NM1), signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”

Barela's pledge means he will oppose all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals or businesses. He said he'll also oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

Barela announced his pledge on his Facebook page. If he's looking to pick up ABQ Tea Rally supporters this might be a way to attract their support and early campaign contributions.

Barela who announced last month said:
Government spending is out of control and the money to fund that blank check in Washington is coming out of the paychecks of New Mexico workers and costing us jobs right here at home. Unlike the Washington politicians, I understand that small business, not big government, holds the key to job creation and increasing taxes is not the answer.
Since its rollout, with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigueur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.

Democrat Supporter May Be Stripped From State and County Party Position

Democrat Robert Aragon infuriated dems when he introduced Barela at his June 18th campaign announcement.

At the time Aragon said:
I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I’m a New Mexican first. I’m enthusiastically supporting Jon Barela because I know he’s one of us and he’ll always put New Mexico first, and that’s more important than partisan politics.
We've learned Bernalillo County Democrats will have a meeting on July 23rd at 7pm and are considering stripping Aragon from his post as a ward chair and from his County Central Committee status for those comments and more that he was recorded making in this video.

Democrat Bernalillo County Chair Ana Canales confirmed she has received formal complaints from the membership regarding Aragon's status as a ward chair. Democrats have cited rules in section 12-7 of the state party rules as a reason they're considering the removal. Aragon has said he will fight the action with his attorneys.

Photo Credit: Mark Bralley

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chávez Says ABQ Crime Rate "Unacceptably" High

On a hot summer day in Albuquerque the 2009 City Election is beginning to heat up. Mayor Martin J. Chávez announced at the Taylor Ranch Community Center today that he's joining a three-way race for the city's top elected office. He wants voters to give him an unprecedented fourth term and third straight.

Chávez told 770KKOB he's been an "activist mayor" and that his record demonstrates his vision of the future for the city. But, that record is under attack by two challengers, former New Mexico Senate President Pro-Tem Richard Romero, and current State Representative and local business owner Richard "RJ" Berry.

On Friday, the mayor said he believes crime is "unacceptably high," but public safety will continue to be his number one priority if he's re-elected October 6th.

Last week, Chávez announced that he's directed Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz to add another 100 police officers to the force, but Romero says that while he supports getting more cops on the street it smells like election year politics. Romero says only 42% of the city's current police officers work on the street.

Both Romero and Berry have said they're frustrated with the nearly 9% increase in property crimes year over year. Romero told reporters on Thursday that if he's elected he will replace Schultz.

According to FBI statistics released recently, property crime in Albuquerque has increased from 29,293 reports in 2007, to 31,907 in 2008, a nine percent increase in one year.

Mayoral Candidate Richard RJ Berry's Burned Out Truck
Was Recovered in the East Mountains

Berry proposed his own crime fighting plan after Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies recovered his stolen truck. On May 23rd he said:
We are in need of new solutions and new commitments if we are going to reduce property crime in Albuquerque. This is a quality of life issue. We need a Mayor who will take this head on and get results.
El Paso, whose population exceeds Albuquerque's by approximately 90,000 people, reported only 19,702 property crimes in 2008, or nearly 12,000 less crimes. And in Denver, a city with a population that exceeds Albuquerque's by approximately 70,000, the city saw a decreasing rate of property crime and reported only 19,316 crimes in 2008, once again far less than Albuquerque.

While the mayor prepares to announce in Taylor Ranch on Sunday afternoon, Romero is organizing around 100 volunteers to knock on doors.

While campaign election signs can't be planted in front yards, street corners, or on billboards until August 7th the election campaign has been underway for months and months. The mayor has already received several union endorsements including one from the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees Council 18. But as Marjorie Childress reported Local 624, the bluecollar workers, are not happy with the selection. They say AFSCME's endorsement doesn't represent their views.

All three candidates received public financing on April 1st. The first financial disclosure statements will be filed on Thursday, July 17th. The City Clerk, Randy Autio will draw the candidate's ballot position on Thursday, August 13th at 5:01pm.

Residents who want to vote in the city election have to register with the Bernalillo County Clerk's office by September 8th. The City of Albuquerque has posted all election deadline dates here.

Bookmark and Share