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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ethics Hall of Shame Charter Members: Chavez, Sanchez, Mayer, Loy

Kensanchez
Into the Ethics Hall of Shame: Ken Sanchez

It's a sad day when a Democrat is the deciding vote that kills a meaningful ethics reform package. Albuquerque City Councilor Ken Sanchez did just that yesterday when he voted with Republicans Sally Mayer and Craig Loy against Brad Winter's bill to clean up city elections and government.

The measure needed at least 7 votes to pass because it would change the City Charter. It only got 6 because of Sanchez. Evidently doing the dirty work of Mayor Marty Chavez, Councilor Sanchez came down on the side of pay for play and against clean government. He therefore is a charter member of our new Ethics Hall of Shame. We'll use the Hall to spotlight those whose votes and actions serve to hold back the forces of government ethics and campaign finance reform, or those whose personal corruption merits a showcase. Since our Hall of Shame is bipartisan, the names of Craig Loy and Sally Mayer, have also been added.

Mayer
Into the Ethics Hall of Shame: Sally Mayer

Those councilors who voted FOR the ethics reform measure were Republicans Brad Winter and Don Harris, and Democrats Debbie O'Malley, Martin Heinrich, Ike Benton, Don Harris and Michael Cadigan (although councilors run for office on a nonpartisan basis). A heart-felt shout-out of praise goes out to all of them!

According to an article in the Albuqueque Tribune, Winter's bill would have amended the City Charter to:

  • Clarify the power of the city's ethics board.
  • Set guidelines for reporting campaign contributions.
  • Protected city workers from being forced into campaign work.
  • Set rules aimed at preventing contractors from influencing politicians through campaign contributions.

Councilor Winter was justifiably angry and upset about the defeat of his bill, and pledged to put the matter to the voters in the form of a referendum in the next city election in 2007. He said the loss would make ethics the dominating issue of the next municipal election, according to an article in the Albuquerque Journal. He added:

"I am appalled. ... I am in shock that this failed, and the people of Albuquerque ought to be very disappointed. I guess that's ethics and politics."

Cloy
Into the Ethics Hall of Shame: Craig Loy

It's telling that the three councilors who voted against these reforms have all been known in the past for their allegiance to Democrat-in-name-only Mayor Marty Chavez on a variety of controversial issues. From their 'No' votes, we can assume that Mayor Moneybags was really the force behind this effort to keep things just as they are -- with those who "donate" money to his campaign getting preference on contracts and more, with city employees pressured into supporting candidates, often on City time, with "gifts" galore paying off politicos and with an ethics board with no real power to enforce compliance. So, you guessed it, Mayor Chavez is the fourth charter member in our new Ethics Hall of Shame.

Martymoney_4
Into the Ethics Hall of Shame: Marty Chavez

The excuses being offered by those who killed the bill are, well, priceless. As quoted in the Tribune article, here's Ken Sanchez:

Sanchez said while "there is definitely a need for ethics reform at the state level," it isn't as necessary for Albuquerque.

"I feel we've done a great job," Sanchez said. "We live up to the highest standards of ethics."

I guess he's already forgotten about the ABQPAC scandal, among others. And all the rumors about how and why Mayor Chavez got such extravagant "contributions" from the corporate development community and others who seek to do business with the City.

Meanwhile the Journal article had this to say about Sally Mayer:

Mayer raised several questions about Winter's proposal, but she was especially critical of provisions that would prevent the mayor and councilors from trying to steer city contracts to their campaign contributors when an independent review committee recommended a different bidder.

Oh me, oh my, Sally. I completely understand. It's so difficult to attract "pay to play" bucks when you can't promise anything in return!

The Journal also reported:

Winter's legislation would have explained whose gifts must be rejected. It said city officials should not take gifts from city employees, contractors and certain other people who have dealings with city government.

The legislation defined the gifts that should be rejected, offering a list that ranged from real estate to restaurant meals, discounts, the use of property, tickets to events and nearly everything else with identifiable value.

Imagine having to conduct city business without "gifts" to show the way! You can't tell the players without a scorecard or, in this case, without a list of who gave what to whom.

Not surprisingly, I'm with Matt Brix on this one:

"You really have to ask yourself, where is the sincerity in ethics reform?" said Matt Brix, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, which worked with Winter on the bill. "The public needs to question why there was not a unanimous decision in favor of amending the charter."

I'm questioning alright, along with many others on both sides of the aisle. And we'll keep it up until we get some real reform locally and statewide. With all the corruption and cronyism that's been exposed within our ranks in NM, we can no longer ignore those who work to keep it that way, in either political party. Hear that Democrats? No free lunch for you anymore. Enough is enough. We'll be watching very closely, especially when the NM Legislature considers ethics reform in January. Count on it.

June 6, 2006 at 02:27 PM in Ethics & Campaign Reform, Ethics Hall of Shame | Permalink

Comments

This Hall of Shame could get very full very fast unless politicians start waking up.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jun 6, 2006 2:51:56 PM

Sanchez just showed his true colors. Nothing but a water boy for the mayor. Shameful.

Posted by: Nmexdem@aol.com | Jun 6, 2006 3:32:51 PM

No one can complain since the voter turnout for this primary was SHAMEFUL in itself!

Posted by: | Jun 6, 2006 4:01:29 PM

Thanks for the post, Barb. Are you a constituent in the first (Sanchez), seventh (Mayer), or eighth (Loy) council districts? If you would like to call and let your councilor know what you think of their vote, the mail line at the council office is 768-3100. If you’re uncertain about what council district you live in, please see this map: http://www.cabq.gov/council/ccmaps.html.

Posted by: Matt Brix | Jun 6, 2006 5:35:57 PM

I am not surprised to see Sally Mayer's name on this Hall of Shame list. I read that there is a petition drive to recall her. I think they need at least 3,055 signatures on the petition. I would really like to sign this petition. If anyone has more information about this, please post it. Thanks.

Posted by: Mandala | Jun 6, 2006 10:56:50 PM

Needless to say, other than the Alibi, this won't appear in the print based press. Right here on DFNM is a good start. I'd like to see the blanching light of public scrutiny shine brightly on these sad sack public servants.

Posted by: suz | Jun 7, 2006 4:26:47 AM

It is Wednesday, and now we have Marty's candidate as secretary of state. You are right, Barb. If we can't win locally why worry about Washington. With a 15% turnout what can we expect? Let's go after the nonvoters! Who are they and what are their issues? How do we find out? That should keep us busy between now and November.

Posted by: jeanne Carritt | Jun 7, 2006 9:22:46 AM

The nonvoters are busy shopping at Walmart, watching American Idol and keeping up with the latest celebrity outrage. They can't be bothered with the responsibilities of a democracy. They aren't citizens, they're consumers.

Add to that the fact the county and state democratic parties do almost nothing to build the party or get information out there and you get this apathy. Plus too many people believe all politicians are crooks and they're not far off the mark are they?

Posted by: I Vote | Jun 7, 2006 9:57:49 AM

I was at the party at the Hilton last night and they introduced Ken Sanchez and got him up on stage. Sickening.

Posted by: Nmexdem | Jun 7, 2006 10:59:23 AM

I really like this hall of shame concept. I hope you keep it up. We need to keep pointing out crooked politicans in our own party as well as theirs.

Posted by: east mountains | Jun 7, 2006 12:00:14 PM

Unfortunately, I AM in Mayer's district and I certainly DID write to her on this. Somehow I don't believe it will do much good. But of course I had to do it.

Anyone else in the districts of Mayer, Sanchez or Loy? I join with Matt in encouraging people to complain about this.

Posted by: barb | Jun 7, 2006 5:37:55 PM

Dear Councilors,
First of all, let me applaud six of you for doing the right thing in support of last night's Ethics Reform Bill. For those of you who didn't vote in favor, all I can say is shame on you. The e-mails, phones are ablaze with controversy today. Something one of you does not need at this point. Comments made in the newspaper today, do not bode well for you. In fact in the eyes of 'Public Opinion' your ability to govern is now being questioned. How dare the three of you call yourselves 'Councilors'. You may think that this ("residents are too stupid" as quoted by one of you several years back), kind of action will go unnoticed, but not anymore. Do you really think that you'd get away with this crap in say, Texas, Colorado or Arizona? You bet you wouldn't. With a sound Ethics Bill in place, I guess $9,200 wouldn't be enough for some, especially since I'm abusing you so much. This scandalous action will surely hurt you politically. For some, it will be a political "Career killer". Good riddance.

Kevin S. Smith
One of thousands of insulted citizens

Posted by: Kevin Smith | Jun 7, 2006 5:40:38 PM

An open letter to City Councilor Mayer:

I am writing to you in response to your email of May 29th. I am having it published so that you will read it. I was one of the four people you singled out in your rambling missive to your friends. It is true that I have often been critical of you and your track record as a City Councilor. It is also true that I supported one of the other three candidates in the last election. However, criticism is not “abuse” and disagreement does not “undermine” everything you try to say or do. You’re a politician, deal with it. If you’re judgment can’t be challenged and you are so sensitive and feel abused, then do something else. Nobody forced you to take on another four years. Like it or not, you represent everyone in District 7 not just the ones you like or who agree with you. You do not have the right to “refuse to have anything to do with” those who disagree with you. That right was forfeited when you took your oath of office and if you continue to pick and choose who you represent, and who you respond to, then you should be removed from office.

Believe it or not, I have purposely stayed away from your HEART ordinance as I too love animals very much. The process of passing this controversial (and potentially unenforceable) ordinance has been very enlightening to the people of District 7 and in fact, the people of Albuquerque. Throughout HEART’s development and debate you purposely excluded many of the people who had the same goal (if not the same approach), namely reducing the number of animals euthanized in the city’s animal shelters. This was no surprise to me. Throughout your tenure as District 7’s Councilor you have repeatedly excluded those who disagree with you. Your “Heart of the Heights” meetings are a perfect example. Despite repeated attempts to receive email notification regarding the time, place and topic of your “public” meetings, I never receive them. I ask you, if you have “taken certain people off the list,” is your meeting truly a “public” city oriented event or is it a meeting of your fan club?

In your most recent email manifesto you complain that “$9,200 a year isn’t really enough money to do something (you) don’t enjoy.” I agree. But it is the pay for the position that you voluntarily campaigned for, and spent almost $60,000 to get. You don’t get to do only half the job or pick and choose which part you are going to do. In any other field, if you do half the job you get half the pay. Or more likely you get fired. That is what this recall is about.

Right now the citizens of District 7 are determining your fitness to continue to represent them. They are evaluating your attitude, your commitment, your performance, and even your competence. It’s not about your Lack of Communication, Alarm Ordinance, HEART, or any single issue. It’s about your willingness and ability to do the whole job. The truth is almost 60% of the district didn’t vote for you in the last election. You have upset a lot of people, many of whom supported and voted for you in the last election. You can’t blame your adversaries all of the time (“sour grapes”). This time it really is all about you. No where to hide and no one to hide behind.

Until you directly and personally attacked me and two others who had absolutely nothing to do with the recall effort, I was content to sit on the sideline. Your foolish email has brought me into the fray; another, stupid miscalculation on your part. Your little rant has crossed the line. You have personally attacked those who VOLUNTEER their time and have for longer than you have been in office. You have proved to anyone who is paying attention that you are in over your head, and that you are unfit to continue as a City Councilor.


Kevin Smith


P.S. – A note about email: You’re a public official; if you send an email to anyone you should expect everyone to see it, especially if you engage in personal attacks.

Original email dated May 29th 2006

From: Sally Mayer [mailto:sally.mayer@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Monday, May 29, 2006 9:15 PM
To: Mayer, Sally; George Marquez
Subject: Fw: recall handout

Hello,

In case any of you missed the newspaper on Saturday, a group of people, in response to the animal ordinance have started a recall effort on me. They are going door to door to registered voters getting signatures to have me recalled - removed from the Council. They need 3,055 signatures in order to force the city to have a recall election. There is one item on this special election "recall yes or no". This would have to be a special election at a cost of around $250,000. After the votes are counted if the opposition has one more vote than the people who want to keep me in office - I will be removed from office immediately. I don't even get two weeks notice ):

I work hard to be a good City Councilor. I'm certainly not perfect and have probably done at least one thing that everybody has disagreed with at one time or another. But having said that, I was re-elected last October (7 months ago) in an election that was fair and honest.

I'm attaching the handout that this group of people is giving out as they go door to door. I'm going to respond to the things they have said that are not true. I would welcome your feedback, even if you disagree with me. I know, in my heart, that this is all about the animal ordinance and a few people that want a second bite of the election apple. The dog breeders that oppose HEART have joined forces with the people that opposed me in the last election and have drummed up other complaints to make this look like something more than just the angry dog breeders trying to get revenge and intimidate other elected officials from other municipalities from passing similar legislation. My removal from the City Council won't make the HEART ordinance go away but it will make other lawmakers think twice about doing anything controversial especially anything to protect animals. My guess is that Cockfighting will remain legal in New Mexico.(it is not legal in Albuquerque)

If I am removed from the Council, of course I will be sad because I love this job but I believe the HEART ordinance was the right thing to do for animals and the right thing to do for Albuquerque and so did 5 other councilors..

Here goes my response:

I try to treat everyone with respect until they are disrespectful to me. I do not believe that just because you are an elected official that people have the right to abuse you. There is a small group of constituents that have maligned me, tried very hard to treat me in an abusive manner and undermined everything I have tried to do or say. I just refuse to have anything to do with them and I believe that is my right.

My Heart of the Heights meetings are public meetings and the dates are posted on the Website. Anybody can come, I have never refused to let anyone in. They are not by invitation only. I have an e-mail list that I use to send out notice on these meetings, you all are on it. It certainly doesn't include everybody, in fact I have taken certain people off of the list. Again, I believe that is my right. I like to be chatty and talk about things like my new grandson (cutest baby in the whole world) and there are certain people I just don't want reading that. People like Penni Adrian, Kevin Smith, Anne Mitchell, Abby Harris and others don't like anything I say or do so why should I expose myself to their criticisms over and over. Maybe I'm wrong about that but $9,200 a year isn't really enough money to do something I don't enjoy.

When people say I don't listen, or in this case "disregard their opinions" I think that is not an accurate statement. I am never going to agree with everything everyone says. First of all that would literally be impossible since there are many different sides to every issue. Secondly, I was elected to weigh options but make up my own mind - that's representative government.

The list of problems that I have corrected in District 7 is a long one. I'm proud of what I have done and what I will continue to do. Of course I have addressed property damage, crime, disrepair and neglect of shopping areas and most of all - traffic problems. I won't go into detail here but I believe each one of you could come up with something I have done that affected you or your neighborhood in a positive way. Maybe not.

Yes, I introduced and supported the Animal Ordinance. I even did most of the writing, research and assembly. I have been working on it for three years. I have never hidden that fact - it was part of my campaign. I believe it is an important issue not just for animals but for our whole community. Wouldn't it be nice to be featured on "National Geographic" or "Animal Planet" instead of "Cops". I know I have said that before but I really mean it.

The animal ordinance - HEART - will not cost any additional money. We passed the budget before we passed the HEART ordinance and there were no additional appropriations for the ordinance. Anything else you hear is just not true.

HEART does set standards for the humane treatment of all animals but there are very few news ones that weren't covered in the existing ordinance. That was the point of the ordinance. Let me address some of the misinformation about the ordinance in the handout.

1) Violations of the existing animal ordinance (pre-HEART) are petty misdemeanors. In fact all violations of city ordinances are petty misdemeanors except for our red light camera violations which are civil.

2) 8 ft leash was already in the existing ordinance. I looked into that and it is a public safety issue so I carried it over. Not all people are comfortable with dogs and need to know how close a dog out on a walk can get to them or to their kids or their own dogs.

3) Commercial kennels and shelters including the city shelter must keep dog food in an insect and rodent proof container. It does not address residential property with regard to food storage.

4) All of the HEART ordinance was copied from other municipalities. The only original thing we did was to combine ordinances from places that were dealing with the same sorts of problems we are faced with. It was amended quite a bit. The finished bill does not mention "annoys" or "disturbs". We got that from Roundrock, Texas but we amended it out.

5) Every person receiving a citation from the city has to appear in court just like a traffic ticket if they don't want to pay it. The woman who started this effort is an attorney and knows this but is betting that the public doesn't. Again, this is no different from the existing ordinance. Yes, animal abuse can be reported by anyone - thank goodness!!!!! so can excessive barking. It is the job of the Animal Service Officer to investigate. They are pretty good about sorting out the real complaints from the frivolous ones - of course that procedure is in place.

6) My ordinance does not affect most pet owners, at all. It lists the basics that most everybody does naturally. It does say you have to take your dogs and cats to the vet "periodically" not annually - what's wrong with that? Yes, it does say you need 2 perches of different circumferences if you have a bird. If that is too burdensome, please don't have a bird because it is not good for them to keep their feet in the exact same clenched position every day 24/7.

7) Yes, it sets standards for animals in the back of pick up trucks - that protects the animal but it is also an issue of public safety. I won't pass on the e-mails I have gotten that caused me to clarify that part of the existing ordinance - they were all horrific.

All in all, this boils down to money and "sour grapes". It will cost breeders and fanciers a lot more money- $150 if they choose to not get their animals spayed or neutered and it will cost them a lot more money - $150, to keep having litters. This type of ordinance is in effect in several other cities and they have had positive results. We are forced to kill 300 unwanted dogs and cats every week. I personally could not ignore that any longer. Something had to be done. 21-25% of the animals in the shelter are purebred dogs and cats so everyone is part of the problem.

I'm sorry this is so long and drawn out. I hope I don't come across as too whiney. This didn't go to my whole e-mail list. I'm sending this to you because I feel that you are my friends. I really do welcome any feedback you care to give me about this and I hope if they knock on your door that you will refuse to sign the recall petition.

Thank you for reading all the way down to here. I don't mean to be too dramatic but I guess I am upset by this.

Sincerely, Sally

Posted by: Kevin Smith | Jun 7, 2006 5:43:27 PM

The Hall of Shame should include Gov. Richardson and his Cronie Gerald Peters, A/G Madrid, Robert Vigil, Michael Montoya, Rep. Cunningham, Tom Delay, George W. Bush, Pres. Dick Cheney, Rep. Wilson, and hundreds more that have done nothing to fight corruption and cronyism. Are New Mexican's going to continue to vote for the Lesser of Two Evils? I not. Eli Chavez

Posted by: Eli Chavez | Jun 8, 2006 4:36:14 PM

Sally Mayer cares more about animals then she does humans. She votes against everything that would improve a human life. But she is willing to write pages and pages about how we have to treat animals.
Freakin fony balony

Posted by: Mary Ellen | Jun 8, 2006 5:31:28 PM



V.14 No.16 | April 21 - 27, 2005
News/Opinion Archive
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Letters
Calamity Sally
Dear Alibi,

Recently, I found myself defending an article that I wrote and was published in the Alibi letters section last month. I was seated along with about 20 other civic leaders around a conference room table. Our monthly neighborhood association coalition meeting started on time, following the agenda on topics of importance and interest to the residents of this particular Northeast City Council district.

Then, like an unexpected gust of wind, fashionably late and trailed by her assistant, our city councilor made her entrance. (I envisioned a scene right out of The Wizard of Oz.)

Yes, the same city councilor who has over the past few years avoided questions and explanations regarding her actions, arrived to demand answers and explanations with a "What have you got to say for yourselves" kind of attitude, brandishing copies of e-mails and newspaper articles authored by various constituents including myself. These materials were universally critical of her lackluster performance over the last three years and the councilor intended to answer these criticisms in an aggressive, intimidating manner that could only be described as "Helmsly-esque." Nevermind that these aggressive attacks were more suited for opposing candidates in an election year than for volunteer leaders who donate their time and energy to solve problems in their neighborhoods. It was time for her to have her say!

Others spoke out against the spirited volley which ensued. Was a district coalition meeting the appropriate place for what could only be called campaigning or even political grandstanding? Was it the proper venue for addressing criticisms by personally attacking critical constituents? It appeared that our councilor (tax collector) walked into a hornet's nest. One does not walk into a room full of people and throw a skunk on top of a table and not expect repercussions.

In an election year, one would think that making amends and working with your constituents would make perfect sense, not continuing with the same old condescending, "Who are you to question me" attitude. Imagine, a city councilor coming to a civic meeting with one agenda in mind; to personally challenge a neighborhood president on his observation, his opinion, of her performance and voting record. Imagine, if you will, a city councilor coming to a meeting with the sole purpose of intimidating those who disagree with her pandering to developer powerbrokers and ignoring the people who elected her. How dare we? How dare her! But then again; who comes to a gun fight with a knife?

City Council District 7 is in trouble. Divided by adversity and contempt, our district has been abandoned, sold out, and left with a legacy of higher taxes, higher fees and rate increases. The district's general appearance is deplorable, as if it were forgotten like East Berlin after the war. Drive it, live in it, and look around. Tell me councilor: Do you like what you see? Or don't you ever visit your district

Posted by: Kevin Smith | Jun 8, 2006 10:15:42 PM