Saturday, September 19, 2009

Obama uses message to discuss economic progress

With the next G20 Summit approaching in Pittsburgh, President Barack Obama used his Saturday morning address to discuss the progress in stemming a global economic crisis. In the video, Obama talks about the impact of the Recovery Act, and pledges that lobbyists for big Wall Street banks will not prevent real reform for the future, including a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. September 19, 2009.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Mayors' Races That Won't Even Be Close"

Updated: 12:40 pm

Some races around the country will be clearly competitive, including the open seat races in Houston, Atlanta, Seattle Charlotte, Miami and even Toledo. Others, in cities like New York, likely will not be close according to a national blog.

We still don't know just how close the three-way race for mayor is in Albuquerque, because there hasn't been any published or broadcast polling, and the campaigns are not sharing their own internal polling.

We anticipate the Albuquerque Journal will publish its polling results on Sunday, Sept 27th -- just one week before the election.

Josh Goodman, who writes for Ballot Box, a blog which covers City Hall politics (among other things), wrote yesterday:
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez is facing two state legislators who are giving him a stiff test.
Well, Goodman got it half right. Romero is a former state senate president pro-tem and State Representative Richard "RJ" Berry has been juggling summer sub-committee meetings with his mayoral campaign.

Goodman says there won't be much suspense in the New York City mayor's race, "Michael Bloomberg has led in every poll by double digits. His lead, combined with his limitless supply of campaign cash, suggests to me that, just like in 2005."

His post also provides analysis on mayors' races in Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Raleigh, and say's the safest incumbent is in Buffalo. Byron Brown won re-election there on Tuesday.

The closest race appears to be in Boston, home of the New England Patriots (okay, so I'm a huge fan of the team). Goodman wrote:
The toughest case is Boston. There's a reason that Thomas Menino is sometimes called "mayor for life." He's been mayor for 16 years, winning reelection easily three times. In the most recent poll of which I'm aware, he scored a 73% approval rating.
To avoid a runoff election in Albuquerque, one of the three candidates will have to at least 40% of the vote.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A No Holds Barred Mayoral Debate in Albuquerque

The producers at KNME TV were kind enough to share this video from the city's latest mayoral forum at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Wednesday night. The crowd, of about 250 people were much more vocal than other forums we've attended, although it never turned into a "shout down" and no one was called a "liar."

For now, watch the video while we do some fact checking on some interesting statements made by the candidates.

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Nearly a third of New Mexicans have no health care insurance

More than 31% of non-elderly adults in New Mexico are being left out in the cold with out any private coverage for medical care.

That percentage translates into 468,000 adults without health care insurance in 2008, and that's up from 363,000 in 2001 according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released last week. And, those numbers do not even include people who've lost their insurance after being laid off this year due to the economy.

Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new analysis of last week’s U.S. Census numbers regarding the uninsured. Sebelius warned the U.S. health care system has reached a breaking point. She said:
The status quo is unsustainable, and continuing to delay reform is not an option. These numbers only serve to further confirm a reality that far too many American families live with every day.

The percentage of people with employer-based coverage also decreased, from 57.3% of the population in 2001 to 53.4% in 2008. The report also reveals more and more workers, some 281,000 people employed both full and part time, in New Mexico are not receiving any health insurance at the workplace. That's a jump from 26.9% in 2001 to 31.4%. Those numbers include 9,000 people from high-income households who are now uninsured.

Those sobering numbers seem to confirm that health insurance reform cannot wait another year. Nationwide, the number of uninsured increased from 39.8 million in 2001 to 46.3 million in 2008.


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report showing the cost of private health care premiums are far outpacing the growth in employeewages:
Over the last ten years premiums have increased by 131%, while wages have grown 38% and inflation has grown 28%.
Sebelius notes, “In states across the country we’ve seen the health care coverage situation go from bad to worse. And, it’s clear that losing insurance isn’t a problem that plagues only the poor or the unemployed – it could happen to anyone.”

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Colón Picks Up Support from Padilla in Lt. Gov. Bid

New Mexico native and former Naval Officer Matthew Padilla is expected to formally endorse former Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Brain Colon for Lieutentant Governor of New Mexico in next year's party primary.

Padilla had been considering running for himself, but tonight he'll tell urge his supporters to back Colon at a candidate's forum in Santa Fe County.
The next decade is one that will undoubtedly see increased global opportunities and challenges that will impact New Mexico. A New Mexico that does not improve and address our education emergency will not be able to compete. Furthermore, a New Mexico that does not incorporate sustainable development into our long term planning will miss out on future green jobs and may be at risk of losing its rural heritage as water becomes increasingly scarce. Addressing these issues will require strong new leadership in Santa Fe.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Early In-Person Voting Begins Tomorrow

Updated: 5:37a

While voter turnout in city elections has been historically low, it appears the requests for absentee ballots is on the increase in Albuquerque before next month's election.

The city clerk’s office began distributing absentee ballots on September 1st. Completed applications have been accepted in the office since September 9th.

Four early in-person voting sites open tomorrow. Voters who show up at these locations, the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, City of Albuquerque Records Center, APS City Center in ABQ Uptown, and at Ladera Plaza, have until 5pm to cast their ballots. Anyone voting in person must present photo identification.

City Clerk Randy Autio told us he's processing about 1000 requests for absentee ballots everyday, and staffers had to work over the weekend to clear a backlog of requests for applications. Autio said they are caught up.

Unlike state-wide, or county elections, voters have to complete an additional step before getting their application for an absentee ballot.

Strangely, this official form, called the Absentee Ballot Application Request Form, has to be completed before you can even apply for an absentee ballot.

And, if you don't request it online, via email, in person, or by calling 311, you better hope the postal system in your neighborhood operates quickly and efficiently, because all absentee ballots have to be received by the city clerk by 7pm on October 6th. The last day to cast an absentee ballot in person, at the clerk's office, is October 2nd.

"The City of Albuquerque is following the same system it has always followed," said Under State Municipal Election Law there was a request required before sending the application out,” said Autio.

That’s because the city operates under State Municipal Election Laws which require one additional step compared to other county elections. In order to vote absentee in next month’s election, voters in the Duke City are required to complete both a request for application form and an application for absentee ballot before receiving an actual absentee ballot.

“It appears in this election season the absentees become popular with the campaigns in order to get the vote out, which is great expect that it puts a great strain on our office to respond quickly,” said Autio. “Campaigns are walking the neighborhoods and getting requests and bringing them in, so they’re coming in all kinds of different forms.”

Correction: The original post incorrectly reported the last day the clerk would receive an absentee ballot is October 2nd. In fact, that is the last day to cast an absentee ballot in person at the clerk's office. Absentee ballots will be accepted at City Hall until 7pm on October 6th.

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