Tuesday, October 13, 2009

(Updates x 2) Dem Josh Anderson Seeking Appointment to Berry's House Seat

Update 2: Via Twitter, we learned that Republican Jim White was appointed tonight by the Bernalillo County Commission to the House seat vacated by RJ Berry, by a vote of 4-1 (Hart-Stebbins voted no). Alan Armijo didn't allow any other candidates to be considered due to supposed time constraints. The Commission is dominated by Dems 3-2. I wonder what the outcome would be if the situation were reversed. Do you believe that Republicans would have appointed one of their own to a seat held by a Dem? You know the answer. Read more in a report by Marjorie Childress at NMI.
************
Update 1: Please call Bernalillo County Commissioner Alan Armijo at 505-468-7185 and encourage him to appoint well-qualified BernCo resident Josh Anderson to the Mayor-Elect Berry's vacant NM House seat. Armijo will have a big say in the decision.
************
We now have at least one Democrat vying for RJ Berry's House seat in District 20. As I mentioned late last night on Twitter and Facebook, AFSCME political director Josh Anderson is actively seeking appointment to the seat vacated yesterday when Albuquerque mayor-elect Berry resigned. 

Instead of representing his District at the Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature that begins at Noon on Saturday, Berry will be devoting his time to putting together a transition team and selecting staff to serve in his administration when he takes office in December. Berry's resignation was somewhat of a surprise as many believed he'd keep his seat until after the Special Session was completed.

Before Anderson came into the picture, there was only one candidate seeking the appointment. Republican Jim White, a 67-year-old retired Air Force colonel has submitted an application to the Bernailillo County Commission. White lost to Berry in the 2006 Republican primary for what was then an open House seat, and has never served in an electoral office. He is a former treasurer of the Republican Party of New Mexico.

Because the HD 20 seat is in Bernalillo County, the Commissions are taking applications for the slot, and will vote to determine who gets the appointment. There are three Democrats and two Republicans on the Board of Commissioners, and no requirement exists to require them to appoint a Republican to succeed Berry.

According to news accounts, the Bernalillo County Commission may vote for a replacement for Berry as early as tonight, at its previously scheduled meeting at 5:00 PM.

It would be wonderful to have a Democrat in Berry's former seat. If you agree, please contact your County Commissioner and put in a good word for Josh Anderson. This is especially important if you live in Berry's District. Click for Commissioner contacts. Click to find your District.

October 13, 2009 at 09:24 AM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Democratic Party, NM Legislature Special Session 2009 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Statement from Chairman Javier Gonzales on the Albuquerque Mayoral Election

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales released the following statement on the Albuquerque Mayoral election:

"Albuquerque voters today voted overwhelmingly for a Democrat to represent them as their Mayor. Marty Chavez and Richard Romero have received more than 55% of the vote. While there are still votes to be counted, it appears Richard Berry will be the next Mayor of Albuquerque. It is my sincere hope that Mr. Berry will work to unite the city of Albuquerque and respect its diverse population as we continue to make our way through difficult economic times."

Final unofficial results here.

October 6, 2009 at 11:22 PM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (33)

(Updates x 6) Results: 2009 Albuquerque Municipal Election

Update 11:13 PM: Chavez 35.05%; Romero 20.89%% ; Berry 43.88%; 181 Out Of 186 Precincts Counted. Voters approved all the bond issues, the transportation tax extension and the propositions to change the City Charter.
************

Update 10:13 PM: Chavez 35.34%; Romero 22.28% ; Berry 42.17%; 132 Out Of 186 Precincts Counted
************

Update 9:40 PM: Romero lagging with totals ranging from 23-25%, Chavez at 35-36% and Berry at 39-41% or so. Half of precincts counted.
************

Results at 8:30 PM:

Chavez 35.68%; Romero 24.27% ; Berry 39.85% with some more Dem district results in.

Results at 8:12 PM:

Candidate Absentee Early Total Percentage
RICHARD M. ROMERO 1,904 2,594 5,225 23.08%
MARTIN J. CHAVEZ 3,466 3,842 8,102 35.78%
RICHARD J. BERRY 3,994 4,460 9,273 40.95%

*************

First Number = Early Voting Totals: 7:09 PM
Second Number = Early Voting Plus About 90% of Absentee

    Berry:   40.85% --- 41.62%

    Chavez: 35.19% --- 36.03%

    Romero: 23.76% ---- 22.18%

Latest City Council:

Ike Benton 57.98%; Alan Armijo 42.02%

Dan Lewis 55.47%; Michael Cadigan 44.53%

**************

You can track the results of today's Albuquerque election at the City Clerk's page. Vote tallies from the precincts should start coming in sometime after 7:00 PM when the polls close.

Results will also be reported by:

RACES (Red = Unofficial Winner)

Mayor:

    Martin Chavez (Incumbent)

    Richard Romero

    RJ Berry

City Council District 1

    Ken Sanchez

City Council District 3

    Isaac Benton (Incumbent)

    Alan Armijo

City Council District 5

    Michael Cadigan (Incumbent)

    Dan Lewis

City Council District 7

    Michael D. Cook

    Write-In

City Council District 9

    Don Harris (Incumbent)

    David Barbour

    

October 6, 2009 at 07:08 PM in 2009 Albuquerque City Council Races, 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race | Permalink | Comments (19)

Need Voting Info for Today's Albuquerque Municipal Election?

Vote1
GO HERE

October 6, 2009 at 02:07 PM in 2009 Albuquerque City Council Races, 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 05, 2009

10.6.09 Albuquerque Municipal Election: Voting Information You Need

Images-2 After all the gnashing of teeth, knocking on doors, robo-calls, debates and discussions, it's time to VOTE in tomorrow's Albuquerque municipal election.

The polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, October 6, 2009. You must be registered in the City of Albuquerque proper to vote, and you must show a picture ID when you do (see rules).

On the ballot will be the mayor's race, Proposed Amendments to the City Charter, a Proposed Extension of the Quarter Cent Transportation Tax and Proposed Municipal Bonds. If you live in an odd-numbered City Council District, you will also be choosing a city councilor. Click for an official list of candidates and write-ins. If no mayoral candidate gets at least 40% of the vote total, there will be a run-off election on November 24, 2009 between the top two vote getters.

Find Your Polling Place:
Visit the Albuquerque City Clerk's page at www.cabq.gov/clerk/elections to check out the election info and click on the "where do I vote link." You can also go directly to a tool provided by the Bernaillo County Clerk to get the same info. These sources will also tell you in which city council district you reside. If you can't get through to the page, you can call the City of Albuquerque information line at 311, or get the info by calling the Democratic Party of New Mexico at 830-3650 in Albuquerque. Even if you think you know where to vote, please double check as some precinct voting locations may have changed since the last time you voted.

Information on Candidates, Ballot Questions and Bonds:
The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County League of Women Voters has an excellent nonpartisan election guide. The Albuquerque Journal also provides a guide to the election. The City Clerk offers a sample ballot. Note that the slot for City Council will vary, depending on your district.

Absentee Ballots:
If you have an absentee (mail-in) ballot, it must be received by mail or in person at the City Clerk's office by 7:00 PM on Election Day, October 6, 2009. Absentee ballots may only be mailed or hand delivered to the City Clerk's office by the Voter, the Voter's immediate family member or the Voter's care giver. No absentee ballots will be accepted at polling places.

October 5, 2009 at 04:34 PM in 2009 Albuquerque City Council Races, 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, City of Albuquerque, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bill Clinton Records Call, Sends Email Supporting Re-Election of Mayor Martin Chavez

ClintonChavez

Former President Bill Clinton has recorded a phone call urging Albuquerque voters to support the re-election of Mayor Martin Chavez in Tuesday's municipal election. You can listen to it here:

Clinton also wrote a letter that was sent to supporters via email today. Click for a copy of the email (pdf).

When he was serving as President, Clinton visited Albuquerque many times, including several trips when Chavez was serving his first term as Mayor of Albuquerque. Their friendship is well known. Mayor Chavez also supported Hillary Clinton for President and appeared with President Clinton at a rally for Hillary's campaign at the University of New Mexico's Johnson Center in early 2008.

Mayor Chavez got another high-profile endorsement last week when former DNC Chair and 2004 presidential candidate, Gov. Howard Dean, recorded a call and wrote a guest blog on DFNM supporting Chavez for re-election.

October 4, 2009 at 07:15 PM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Bill Clinton, Martin Chavez | Permalink | Comments (41)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Guest Blog by Sen. Tim Keller: Finding Clarity for Dems in 'Non-Partisan' Mayor's Race

TimKeller This is a guest blog by State Senator Tim Keller (D, SD-17).

I recently watched the movie “Street Fight, the Corey Booker Story” (a great rental, about the now legendary Mayoral race in Newark) and couldn’t help but reflect on why many people get sick of politicians during city elections. If you think the negativity in ABQ is bad this year, be glad we don’t live in Newark J . The movie also made me consider why this Mayoral race is unique and how partisanship can be a clarifying tool to cut through all the rhetoric.

Given where the numbers are, all Democrats strategically have one overarching objective, one we can all agree on: force a run-off by keeping the GOP candidate from getting 40%.

In a runoff, either Dem should win given our city demographics and a good grassroots effort (think Obama, Heinrich, etc). Both Dem candidates, regardless of their histories, have Democratic public records.

Whether a Dem votes for Chavez or Romero, it won’t have an effect on holding Berry below 40%.

I love passionate debates and action packed campaigns, but this late in the game Dem bitter infighting will only help the GOP. It drives down Dem turnout (frustrated, disillusioned people usually don’t vote). The important thing for both candidates right now is to pull votes away from the GOP candidate or else the Dems are out.

The numbers reality for Dems is that we have the equivalent of a Democratic primary. If you’re tired of all the negativity, and tired of politicians, there is clarity: vote for sure, pick a Dem based on your conscience, save your vehemence for the runoff against the GOP, and unite behind the Dem winner after Tuesday.

This is a guest blog by State Sen. Tim Keller. 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. To see a collection of guest blogs published on the DFNM blog, visit our archive.

October 2, 2009 at 08:58 AM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Guest Blogger, Martin Chavez | Permalink | Comments (10)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tonight: LGBT Reception for Marty Chavez for Mayor

From LGBT Marty Party:
You are invited to a an event for City of Albuquerque Mayoral candidate Marty Chavez. This is a non-fundraising event for members, friends and supporters of the LGBT community, to come together in celebration and unity.

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Beautiful Roof Top Deck of the Sunrise Bank Building
219 Central Ave. NW
5:00 - 7:30 PM
Master of Ceremonies Mr. Donnie Chase
Please RSVP to [email protected]
Click for FLYER (jpg) with more information

Hosted by members and friends of the LGBT community: James Hallinan, Sara Manns, Jesse Lopez, John Flemming, Brian Morris, John Chester, Jim Maddox, Brian Brown, Keith and Andre West-Harrison, Carrie Wells, Larry Stone, AJ Carian, Brian Johnson, Jim Sutton, Donnie Chase, Maggie Smith, Douglas Jones, Lynette and Ellen Curley-Roam

October 1, 2009 at 01:07 PM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Events, GLBT Rights, Martin Chavez | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guest Blog on Voting for Romero in ABQ Mayoral Election: Why it Matters

This is a group guest blog submitted by the individual politicos listed at the end of the post.

We need a progressive change at City Hall. That’s why we need Richard Romero for mayor.

The legacy of the past eight years can be captured in a few words that say so much about the values that have held sway in the mayor’s office during this critical time in our history: ABQPAC. Fighting the minimum wage increase. Blocking ethics reforms. Tax giveaways to SunCal. Unplanned and unfettered sprawl in a time of finite water resources.

That is why we are compelled to write today.

There is a progressive alternative. We know both Democratic candidates. We trust Richard Romero. He has the stature, the character and the values to lead Albuquerque in the right direction.

And his campaign has demonstrated it has what it takes to bring home the prize and secure a sustainable future. The recent Journal poll now makes it clear that Richard has the momentum to win this race.

What a breath of fresh air he will be!

Let’s review his record:

  • As a State Senator he fought to increase minimum wage.
  • He carried the collective bargaining bill allowing state workers to organize.
  • He’s an education reformer who has championed our public schools and supported innovative charter schools.
  • Serving on the board of Public Campaign, he was in the forefront, helping to lead the fight to pass clean elections public financing reform in Albuquerque.

We are proud progressives and long-time supporters of Democracy for New Mexico and the incredible work that Barb and her colleagues have done for our cause. Nevertheless, on this matter of vital importance and urgency, we disagree strongly with Barbara's personal endorsement in the mayor’s race that was posted on this blog. We asked for the opportunity to do this guest post to make it crystal clear that Barbara does not speak for us on this issue.

We stand with Richard Romero, a longtime fighter for progressive issues who we can count on. He’s what Albuquerque needs.

City Councilor Debbie O’Malley
City Councilor Rey Garduñdo
City Councilor Michael Cadigan
Representative Mimi Stewart
Representative Danice Picraux
Representative Eleanor Chavez
Sen. Dede Feldman
Sen. Eric Griego
Sen. Cisco McSorley
Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Sen. Tim Keller
Judy Espinoza, former NM Sec. of the Environment and candidate for Mayor

This is a group guest blog from the people listed above. 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.

BW Note: Just to be clear, my earlier post about my decision to vote for Marty Chavez was a personal statement by me. As most people know, the DFNM blog is an independent entity written and managed by me. The blog is not to be confused with the DFA-DFNM Meetup group which only issues formal endorsements based on the vote of our active members. I've had this statement posted for many moons at the About Democracy for New Mexico link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

To see previous DFNM coverage of the 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral race, please visit our archive.

September 30, 2009 at 02:43 PM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Guest Blogger, Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (45)

Guest Blog by Howard Dean: Why I'm Supporting Marty Chavez

DeanThis is a guest blog by Howard Dean, who has chaired the DNC, was a presidential candidate in 2004 and served six terms as Governor of Vermont. An MD, Howard is currently a key player in the battle for health care reform and the public option. He serves on the board of the Progressive Book Club and has reconnected with Democracy for America, the grassroots advocacy group that emerged from his presidential campaign's Dean for America.

As the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, I have had the privilege of traveling across the country. I have witnessed the best of America and I have also seen how rare it is to meet a public servant who delivers on his word. Mayor Martin Chavez is one of those rare public servants. Eight years ago, Marty Chavez came into office and changed “business as usual” at City Hall. After inheriting a major budget crisis, Chavez has kept his word by balancing the budget while protecting, and even expanding, important priorities like local jobs creation, after-school programs, seniors’ services, and public safety – fulfilling his commitment of having 1100 police officers for the city of Albuquerque.

When other urban areas are struggling with job loss and broken school systems, Chavez has ushered in an era of unprecedented job growth and economic development in the Duke City. Bringing high-paying jobs from manufacturing to Sony Studios, he clearly understands that when times are tough, real leaders roll-up their sleeves and get to work.

Mayor Chavez understands that investing in Albuquerque’s future not only means recruiting good-paying jobs, but also investing in our children and a strong educational system. That’s why he has taken unprecedented steps to promote positive initiatives between the City, APS and our private and charter schools as well as CNM and UNM. He founded the first New Mexico Charter School with an emphasis on Math and Science at UNM—the Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science (AIMS). In May, AIMS graduated its first class with each and every student going to college. That’s a proven track record we should all support.

I'm impressed with Mayor Chavez' commitment to combating catastrophic climate change. He embodies the sentiment of thinking globally and acting locally. I know some of his critics claim that it's all hype. That's just not true. You don't win awards like "Greenest City in America" from the US Conference of Mayors because your city has good PR, you win awards like that because you have a mayor that's taking action and leading in the fight against catastrophic climate change. Thanks to Mayor Chavez, 20% of Albuquerque's energy comes from wind, bus ridership is up and the buses are energy efficient, the city is only buying alternative fuel vehicles and it's required that all new and renovated city buildings meet green building standards. Those are real, progressive accomplishments and they show that you have a Mayor who thinks globally and acts locally.

To keep our children safe in and out of school, Chavez has worked with the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque school system, and local technology experts to stop child predators and inform parents and children how to protect against cyberstalking.

For our parents and grandparents, Chavez has expanded in-home services for the elderly, increased access to senior health services through new senior centers, and lowered the age for benefits to 55. These initiatives have become a model for cities around the country.

As the Governor who signed the first in the nation civil unions law, I am impressed with Mayor Chavez' commitment to equal rights. As Mayor, he has ensured that the city provides benefits to all couples.

I am proud to endorse Mayor Martin Chavez because he has had the vision and leadership not only to transform Albuquerque but to also realize that Albuquerque’s future has no limits. Chavez finds solutions to our most pressing problems – even in tough times – and gets results. Under his leadership, Albuquerque is making progress, but there’s more to be done.

Mayor Chavez has proven that his vision for Albuquerque is as vast as the city’s skyline. His experience gives him the best tools to build upon all his successes. At the end of the day, this election is not about Chavez or any of the other candidates. It’s about you, your family, your neighbors, and the future your city. It is your support this coming Tuesday, October 6th, that will ensure Albuquerque’s best days remain ahead.

This is a guest blog by Howard Dean. 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.

September 30, 2009 at 10:41 AM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Democratic Party, DFA, Guest Blogger, Howard Dean, Martin Chavez | Permalink | Comments (36)

RJ Berry: The Right-Wing, Anti-LGBT Rights, Anti-Women's Choice, Anti-Immigrant Candidate We Have to Beat

There's an email touting Republican RJ Berry's mayoral candidacy that's reportedly getting wide distribution this week in Albuquerque. In big, pink letters it proclaims that Berry is:

*THE ONLY PRO LIFE MAYORAL CANDIDATE

*THE ONLY PRO TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE CANDIDATE

Click to see the entire email (pdf).

As I've written before, Berry is one of those right-wing "marriage is for one man and one woman" guys. He's a dangerous foe of the LGBT community and doesn't even support domestic partnerships or civil unions, let alone marriage equality. Now we see that his supporters are also bragging that he's against a women's right to choose. And don't forget his hate-mongering on the immigration issue throughout this campaign.

Berry is not exactly a civil liberties kind of guy. He apparently believes that his personal religious beliefs should trump the U.S. Constitution, and that Hispanics should be targeted and harassed to prove their US citizenship whenever law enforcement officials feel like it. LGBT citizens? In Berry's world, they don't deserve the same rights under civil law to which everyone else in America is entitled.

What else can we expect if Berry manages to split the Democratic vote and win the mayoral election? If he implements the dangerous far-right agenda he's advocating, he just might roll back the green energy initiatives that are making Albuquerque a leader in the fight against catastrophic climate change -- and he certainly wouldn't advance any additional renewable energy initiatives. Remember, right-wingers don't believe that greenhouse gases are causing climate problems. Berry would no doubt implement a right wing social agenda. And he would likely adopt a wingnut crime plan that would result in unreported crime for things like domestic violence.

Albuquerque's municipal election day is Tuesday, October 6. You can vote early at four locations through Friday. When you do vote, I hope you think about who has the best chance to beat RJ Berry, whether it's by garnering at least 40% of the vote on election day, or beating him one-on-one in a run-off election on November 24. Vote with your head, not just your heart.

September 30, 2009 at 09:37 AM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Business, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, September 28, 2009

No Right-Wing Mayor for Albuquerque! Why I'm Voting for Marty Chavez

You may have noticed that I haven't written much about the Albuquerque mayoral race. That's by design. Being a blogger, I get all kind of "tips" from friends and foes of candidates, mostly very negative stuff about a competitor. After awhile, it gets old. For one thing, I don't like to see myself as a stenographer. For another, I've developed a massive dislike of the incredibly negative tone this year, and the narrow scope of the issues that are being "debated" in this race.

Can it really be that the two Democratic candidates have joined the narrow-minded "law and order - lock 'em up - three strikes you're out" crowd without any hint of shame? This used to be the territory of the Spiro Agnews and Ronald Reagans of the world -- not of Democrats who knew the issue of crime was complex. Dems traditionally were dedicated to studying the real roots of criminal behavior in order to change the conditions that cause crime. Yes, punishment was a part of that, but other factors were considered pivotal as well.

Now it's slogan city for both Marty Chavez and Richard Romero, as well as Republican RJ Berry. Who's "tougher on crime" in this race? The dialogue starts sounding like something from an old cowboy movie. Round 'em up and hang 'em! Very little consideration is being given to the power of intervention, education or counseling in reaching and helping to reform what amounts to a poverty-stricken underclass who have little hope of moving up in the ranks except via criminal activities. When decent-paying jobs are available and folks who've had trouble in their youth can be counseled and trained to fill them, crime goes down. Duh.

I guess this year's crop of mayoral candidates hasn't noticed that America's jails are full to the brim, and yet the alienated and unemployed underclass, as well as the underpaid segment of the working class, keep on growing. More cops on the streets and more jail terms aren't really a cure all.

Fake Issues, GOP Hypocrisy
I find many of the other "issues" in this campaign to be nothing more than surface static. And, not surprisingly, I find RJ Berry to be a disaster in terms of almost every aspect of his candidacy. 

RJ Berry is a hypocritical Republican who brags about his abilities to run Albuquerque like he runs his business, except that the business under his name is pretty much dormant. Instead he's been raking in the big bucks by having his Hispanic wife establish a company called Cumbres Construction -- and gaining access to $48 million in defense contracts from 2000-2008 -- helped along by the points the business gets due to her minority (woman, Hispanic) status. RJ is just the project manager, you know. Ah, the irony of a right-wing Republican going out of his way to take advantage of minority benefits that the GOP has spent decades framing as a nasty giveaway to undeserving people.

Berry is also hot to trot about Albuquerque's alleged status as a "sanctuary city," which is a massive exaggeration about a common sense rule meant to encourage undocumented immigrants to report crimes without fear of repercussions about their immigration status. Berry uses it in as a ploy as do many on the right -- utilizing code words as dog whistles to less than open-minded potential voters. He might as well say, "It's those dangerous Mexicans crossing the border who are causing all the crime in Albuquerque." 

Then there's the battle over who'd jettison more jobs in city government, and who'd do it faster. It pains me to hear Richard Romero pushing for staff cuts as a first priority -- after all, most of the "in-kind" jobs he says Chavez has added are slots for assistant city attorneys, 311 Call Center operators, veterinarians and animal-care officials. Romero has also been bagging ideas about an events center in downtown Albuquerque and the kind of light rail every city with an eye on the future has already built and is expanding upon if they can. This is supposed to pass for a positive vision for Albuquerque's future?

And of course you've heard about the huge issue of the scandalous trip Mayor Marty took to Paris -- after being invited by the French government, which footed much of the bill. Sadly, we've been subjected to this kind of direct mail tripe (and robocalls) way too often in this election cycle. Meanwhile, the serious and complex challenges we'll be facing in a world dominated by dangerous economic and climate-based problems are ignored or given short shrift.

And What About Marty Chavez?
I certainly don't agree with him on any number of issues. But I do think the Mayor has done many very good things for Albuquerque, along with some very questionable ones. He can be informed and enthusiastic about green energy issues and has been very effective touting Albuquerque as a world-class city around the nation and beyond. He's probably the best salesman for the city we've had since Clyde Tingley. He's passionate about bringing amenities to the city that are appropriate to the 21st century, and that can attract employers. After three terms, we all know his weak points, as well as his strong points. He's certainly not perfect. Like most politicos, he's a mixed bag.

But I do think Chavez has the capacity to be a great mayor -- not just a good one -- if he'd stop with the feuding and give up on the crazy idea of SunCal TIDDs. As for the SunCal issue, does anyone really believe that any new big developments are going to be built anytime soon in America? It's essentially become a moot point in this election given the economy and this era of tight loan funds. I won't be voting for or against a candidate primarily on this issue.

Divided Dems = Right-Wing Republican Mayor?
My worst nightmare is that there's a very good chance our two Dem candidates will cancel each other out and permit a very conservative Republican to win the contest -- thanks to the crazy "nonpartisan" nature of the election. Remember, Berry is getting lots of help from the Republican Party in this race, while the two Dems are on their own. This kind of help falls into a gray area in the nonpartisan race, but Berry's campaign says it's OK because the GOP has registered as a "measure finance committee." Because two Dems are candidates, the Democratic Party would be precluded from doing that, even if they determined it was kosher.

I can't imagine a right-wing throwback to the 1950s running Albuquerque in the 21st century, apparently hoping to attract jobs by spouting the tired mantra of "marriage is only for one man and one woman." Most clean, high-tech and green-tech companies are progressive employers with a significant number of LGBT workers. They'd think more than twice about starting up any ventures in a city run by a mayor who believes only some of Albuquerque's citizens are deserving of their full civil rights. I mean, Berry doesn't even support domestic partnerships, never mind marriage equality. If we want to be seen as a backwards town still operating like it's black and white movie time, RJ Berry is our guy. And it could happen -- if Dems don't understand the dynamics of this race.

I'm sure by now you've seen the latest polling done for the Albuquerque Journal that shows RJ Berry leading with 31% of those surveyed, Marty Chavez with 26% and Richard Romero with 24%. A whopping 19% of the "likely voters" polled were undecided. Does that mean they're really undecided or that they're so uninspired by the campaigns that they'll be staying home on election day? A candidate has to get at least 40% of voters in the October 6 election to avoid a run-off between the top two vote getters that would occur on November 24.

I have my problems with how the polls conducted by Research and Polling are reported in the Journal. The paper never publishes the full poll results, including cross tabs that provide info on the samples, questions and breakdowns of voters. Instead we get just what the Journal wants us to see. Convenient. But say, for the sake of argument, that the Journal poll is accurate. 

That means the Republican candidate has the support of only 33%, while the two Dems in the race have a combined percentage of 50%. It also means that Berry could be the winner if the supporters of the Dem who doesn't get into the runoff refuse to vote for the one who does. And I can surely see that as a possibility -- especially since Romero has spent almost the entire campaign trying to take Marty down in often nasty ways. 

In fact, Romero has even gone so far as to join forces with Berry at press conferences and candidate forums to bash Chavez in tandem. That always helps the Dem cause. It's also a well known fact that many Romero supporters simply can't stand Marty Chavez, and vice versa. Will they vote for the other Dem if he's the runoff candidate? Or will they let a Republican take the reins in New Mexico's biggest city? Can we really afford to have RJ Berry as mayor at a time when it would clearly be a disaster to have the failed policies of the right dominating our local government?

My Take
Personally, I don't think Romero has much of a chance to win, especially if he gets in the runoff. I highly doubt he could get many Republican votes to bolster his totals against Berry or Chavez. And he doesn't seem to have the momentum to get 40% of the vote, given that his voter base is almost exclusively Democrats, with a significant number of "progressives."

If the polling in the Journal is accurate, and Berry IS in the lead by 5 points over his nearest competitor -- and that holds thru October 6 -- what can we do to prevent a Republican takeover of the mayor's office? 

I know many progressives won't like my answer, but I think the prudent thing to do is vote for Marty Chavez. Yes, that's right. Voting, especially in a three-way race, often has to be strategic if the worst result is to be avoided. It doesn't look to me like Romero has run a campaign powerful or inspiring enough to put himself over the 40% mark. And it seems to me that Romero would have a real problem beating Berry or Chavez one-on-one because he's attracting few crossover votes from Republicans and independents.

So what will I do on October 6? I'm going to vote for Marty Chavez. There. I've said it.

You know as well as I do how critical I've been about the Mayor over the years. That's not negated. But given the state of the race and the real possibility of a right-wing mayor getting elected who's horrible on LGBT rights (and many other issues), I think my vote has to go to Chavez. Chavez has supported equal civil rights for LGBT folks for many years. Better yet, he's comfortable with LGBT people. It's not just a pose or an abstract position. I know Romero finally said the words, "I support gay marriage" at a recent debate, but it sounded pretty flat and unenthusiastic to me. I can't help it.

And, sadly, when Romero appeared at the DFA-DFNM Meetup a few months ago, he answered a question about marriage equality by saying he wasn't taking a position because a mayor has no power in that regard. Needless to say I was bummed about that, especially since Chavez had voted for a marriage equality resolution that was passed unanimously this year by the US Conference of Mayors. When Chavez came to our Meetup, he took on all questions -- even the tough ones -- and gave a strong answer on LGBT rights. 

The positives about Marty Chavez? He knows the ropes and he wants very badly to leave a positive legacy. He's pumped by green energy -- even if his accounts of his accomplishments are sometimes a bit exaggerated. He thinks big and he thinks progressively on many issues. I believe he's got a depth of experience that will serve him well in the challenging years to come. And I believe he could easily mend some of the rifts that have opened up during his mayoral career.

If he wanted to, I think the Mayor could help heal relationships between the city and the state and other entities -- and between himself and the Democratic Party -- by mellowing out some and ditching the tendency to hold grudges and seek revenge. If he's to have another four years to add to his 12 years as mayor, he doesn't need to sweat the small stuff. He needs to reach out and bring people together as we head into an era with profound and complicated challenges. Will he do it? We can only hope he does, for the sake of Albuquerque and all who live here.

Bottom line: I have some problems with both Democratic candidates, but I've made a decision to vote for the one I think can best take down Republican RJ Berry. That candidate is Mayor Marty Chavez. There is no real ideological purity in this race -- except for the right-wing ideologue Berry. We have to stop him now. I intend to do that by voting for Marty Chavez.

September 28, 2009 at 08:25 PM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, City of Albuquerque, Democratic Party, GLBT Rights, Government, Immigration, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (63)