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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Guest Blog: Don't Be Blindly Loyal, Vote for Rick Lass for PRC

This is a guest blog by long-time health care advocate and progressive Democratic activist Charlotte Roybal of Santa Fe.

The following editorial by the Las Vegas Optic expresses my views on the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) race in Northern New Mexico where Democrat Jerome Block Jr. is running against another candidate, Rick Lass. As a life-long Democrat, I cannot support a candidate who is unwilling to tell us where he stands on PRC issues. Many other Democrats share my views on this race and have come out in support of Lass. Unfortunately, Block's troubling statements and actions in this campaign have demonstrated such poor judgment, dishonesty and instability that we cannot support his candidacy.

We hope other Democrats will consider voting for Rick Lass for PRC in November. This of course means that you must take the time NOT to vote straight party ticket in the north. For more information go to Rick's web site at: www.ricklass.net.

Las Vegas Optic Editorial: Don't Be Blindly Loyal

Make no mistake about it, northern New Mexico is solidly Democratic. As a result, the party sometimes takes this area for granted.

Some people are loyal to the Democrats, others to the Republicans or Greens. But no party has a monopoly on wisdom and that's why we recommend against blind loyalty to your party. As such, we encourage voters to think twice before they vote straight ticket for any party.

Look at the District 3 race for the state Public Regulation Commission. It's between Democrat Jerome Block Jr. and Green Party candidate Rick Lass; no Republican entered the race. Amazingly, Block beat five candidates in the June Democratic primary — all of whom had more experience for the position involving regulation of utilities and insurance. But Block had an asset the others didn't — a politically powerful name. Both his father and grandfather had served on the PRC's predecessor, the State Corporation Commission.

In our view, Block's lineage shouldn't serve as a reason for his election as commissioner. Indeed, he has nothing much to offer the people of northern New Mexico.

The biggest problem with Block is that he seems to have an unhappy relationship with the truth. It's been well-documented in this newspaper that Block lied about having a country music band perform at a local rally. Indeed, he paid the band for a performance that never happened. A band member said he gave the money right back, but there's nothing to show for it in Block's campaign finance report. (PRC campaigns are publicly funded.) To make matters worse, Block has lied about his arrest record and inflated his educational credentials.

So if you vote straight-party Democrat on Nov. 4, you would essentially be supporting a candidate who would not only be ill-prepared to handle the responsibilities of PRC commissioner, but also not have the integrity that the public rightly demands of its leaders.

So far, the Democrats have yet to repudiate Block's candidacy. Maybe they don't want to go "off message." But we think it's time the party machine recognizes reality.

This is a guest blog by Charlotte Roybal of Santa Fe. Guest blogs provide our readers with an opportunity to express their views on topics of interest to our readers. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

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October 2, 2008 at 11:55 AM in 2008 PRC Election, Guest Blogger, Santa Fe | Permalink


Right on.....
these are important positions in critical times.
With this bail out malarky going on...who knows who to trust now.

Posted by: mary ellen | Oct 2, 2008 2:13:21 PM

I sometimes look at a candidate by asking myself if I would hire that person to run my business. Rick Lass has the education, skills and energy that will allow him to do a fine job as a PRC commissioner. My vote will be to hire Mr. Lass to conscientiously, openly and ethically look after my community’s best interest.

Now ask yourself who would you hire to manage your business? The differences between the two candidates are easy to see.

Don’t vote straight Democrat or Republican; look for Rick Lass on the ballot.

Posted by: Patrick Alarid | Oct 2, 2008 2:15:54 PM

I agree that Jerome Block is neither qualified nor ethical enough to be PRC Commissioner. I would argue that electing a qualified candidate from another party (Green in the case of Mr. Lass) is better than electing a poor Democrat who will besmirch the reputation of our party, and who will be even more difficult to remove in 4 years.

However, voters can still vote straight Democrat by marking the "Democrat" bubble on top of the ballot, then mark the exception in the PRC race by marking the bubble for Rick Lass! Every partisan race will be voted for the Democrat, except the PRC race, which will be counted for Lass. You don't have to mark every bubble on the ballot to vote for one exception.

Furthermore, if you mark the "straight party" bubble and do nothing else, then you haven't voted on the ballot questions or judge retentions. Please vote your whole ballot!

Posted by: Proud Democrat | Oct 2, 2008 3:26:20 PM

Proud Democrat:
Thanks for the detailed explanation of how to vote dem but still vote for Rick Lass. Now let's get the word out.

Posted by: Charlotte | Oct 2, 2008 4:00:37 PM

I voted straight Democratic ticket all my life but I am voting for Rick Lass. Block has no business being anywhere near the PRC. He would be really awful in that job. Pass it on.

I have met and talked with Lass and he is impressive, honest and hardworking. He deserves the job.

Posted by: Norteno | Oct 2, 2008 4:15:48 PM

Wow, Charlotte Roybal! Aren't you a Democratic Party State Central Committee Member?!?! Its againat party rules to endorse/help any other candidate of another party.

Posted by: | Oct 2, 2008 8:45:41 PM

I believe that rule is for County Chairs and Vice Chairs. I have not seen the rule that you are referring to.

Posted by: Charlotte | Oct 2, 2008 10:43:36 PM

I hope that Chairman Colon would do the correct thing and (or maybe you - Charlotte Roybal- will do it on your own) and resign from the SCC.

-OR- you can go be a Green or Independent and take all the progressives with you!

Posted by: | Oct 3, 2008 8:31:52 PM

Progressive Democrats are Democrats that want reform of the old crooked machine politics with bribes, stealing and giving all the jobs to cronies. You want to get rid of Progressive Democrats? Then you must be one of the crooks or getting money or a job from one. Why else would you be for politicians who are not qualified and crooked?

Chairman Colon and others should get together and encourage Block to remove himself from the ticket for the good of the party and NM

Posted by: reformer | Oct 4, 2008 1:13:10 PM

I thought the democratic party was the open party with diverse ideas and people. You can't even write your name when you make comments. Be brave and say who you are..

Posted by: charlotte | Oct 4, 2008 2:29:30 PM

I do not live in the district that Jerome Block is seeking election to the PRC on public money (if I am not mistaken). The only things that have gotten my atention concerning Mr. block have been newspaper articles and items on blogs. I am not advocating support for Mr Lass.But I would like to point out as a candidate for this commission myself one has to think about the fact that the PRC is the most powerful commission in the state. In some instances more powerful than the governor or the legislature. It is a quasi-judicial commission. They are entrusted with decisions that affect our everyday lives. They regulate electriciy, telelphone, water, insurance, fire and safety and other venues related to utilities. In making your decision in this race, I suggest that you research the facts on both candidates,not hearsay and draw the conclusions that would help make you vote for the best possible candidate.We have a commisioner on there now that has been accused of sexual harassment which he denies(he is a republican). Neither the democrats nor the republicans would ask him to step down even if it was a appearance of impropriety. He will finsih his second term with a salary of $90,000 a year. I understand that he will trade places with Patrick Lyons in the next election cycle as both are termed out of their present offices. The voting booth is private, vote like your future depends on it. Thanks Stephanie DuBois

Posted by: Stephanie DuBois | Oct 6, 2008 2:44:16 PM

I'm glad to see that many Democrats, even elected officials, are finally speaking out in this race and throwing their support to Rick Lass. As a Green Party leader I am neither afraid to, nor discouraged from, supporting Democratic candidates who are deserving of my esteem. True, most races this year have no Green challenger, making it much easier, but I cannot see how Dems could find anything redeemable in advocating for candidate Block.

This is such an important message to voters this year, and beyond. I'm hopeful that in publicizing this ability of folks to vote straight party (a practice I oppose but acknowledge as widespread) but also go down the line to mark a vote for a candidate outside of their party, we will see the better candidate triumph over blind partisanship.

Posted by: Michal | Oct 6, 2008 9:42:14 PM