Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tonight: ABQ Mayoral Debate Hosted by Alibi, KNME, NMI, KUNM (Plus After Party)
Now this one sounds like fun. The Alibi is joining forces with KNME-5, the New Mexico Independent and KUNM 89.9 FM to bring you what they're calling a "free—totally—free—mayoral debate" on Wednesday, September 16, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center located at 1710 Fourth Street NW in Albuquerque. R.J. Berry, Martin Chavez and Richard Romero have confirmed their attendance.
“The Line” host Gene Grant, KUNM’s News Director Jim Williams, New Mexico Independent Editor Gwyneth Doland and Marisa Demarco of the Alibi will moderate. They'll pose your burning questions about your city to the candidates.
Audience members will be given notecards and can submit their queries at the start of the throwdown. Or, film a question, upload it to YouTube and send the link to email@example.com. (Extra points if your backdrop relates to the subject of your question.) See what people are already asking at youtube.com/user/DebateHosts.
Doors open at 6 PM, debate at 7 PM
Seating is first-come, first-served. About 300 available.
Hear it live on KUNM 89.9 FM
Watch it and live-blog it at alibi.com and newmexicoindependent.com
See it Friday, Sept. 18, on KNME-5
After the mayoral debate, join Alibi and local politicos for discourse, libations and complimentary canapés. Municipal DJs play eclectic Americana and rare groove as citizens of Albuquerque snack and mingle. Downtown at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central), Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 8:30 PM, 21+.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Albuquerque Interfaith Election Assembly Set for 9/13
From Albuquerque Interfaith: City elections are upon us. Join AI in "Standing for Families."
Albuquerque Interfaith will hold its elections assembly, “Standing for Families” with Albuquerque City Council and mayoral candidates on Sunday, September 13th, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at Holy Rosary, 5415 Fortuna Rd. NW, which intersects S. Coors near West Mesa HS between Coors and Atrisco, south of I-40 (map). For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are three key issues that we will ask all candidates to address.
- Workforce Training Strategy – AI is working toward a strategy that connects real, good-paying jobs, to people with the training and support they need to succeed.
- The ¼ cent for Public Safety - AI worked successfully to pass the tax and broaden the definition of public safety, from just police and fire protection, to include before and after school programs, and addiction intervention and prevention programs. The monies have not been used as intended.
- City Transit Workers – Bus drivers are being treated unjustly, due to internal departmental politics, resulting in costly suspensions and a high turnover of drivers that undermine public safety.
Monday, August 31, 2009
West Side Coalition to Host ABQ Mayoral Candidate Forum on 9/9
The West Side Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (WSCONA) will host a City of Albuquerque Mayoral Candidate Forum on Wednesday, September 9, from 6:30 to 8:45 PM at the Don Newton Taylor Ranch Community Center. The Center is located at 4900 Kachina NW in Albuquerque (map).
Attendance has been confirmed by incumbent Mayor Martin Chavez and challengers Richard Romero and Richard Berry. The community will ask questions of the candidates. Questions will be accepted up to the time of the meeting. All questions will be asked by the Moderator. For more information contact West Side Coalition President, Brett Lopez, at 505-836-7831.
Greater ABQ Chamber of Commerce to Host Mayoral Candidate Debate 9/14
The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce’s Mayoral Candidate Debate, sponsored by Abba Technologies, Lovelace Health System and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute will take place on Monday, September 14, 2009 from 3:30 – 5:00 PM. The event will take place at the CNM Workforce Training Center, located at 5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE (map).
The event will allow you to hear from each of the candidates on issues that are important to the business community and all Albuquerque residents. The cost is free of charge as a benefit of membership in the GACOC, or $50 for non-members. To register, call (505) 764-3722 or click here.
Business and community leaders will hear directly from challenger Richard J. Berry, incumbent Mayor Martin Chavez, and challenger Richard Romero. The candidates will be asked questions on a variety of topics by a panel made up of three members of the press including Kent Walz, Editor of the Albuquerque Journal, Mary Lynn Roper, Station Manager with KOAT-TV 7, and Pat Allen, News Director with Citadel Broadcasting’s 770 KKOB News Radio.
Upon conclusion of the press panel questions, the candidates will then be asked one question each by three members who are representing the business community, including Andrew Baca, President and CEO of Abba Technologies, Ron Stern, President & CEO of Lovelace Health System, and Dr. Robert Rubin, President & CEO of Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. These three questions will focus on business-related topics, whereas the press panel will be asking questions on a variety of topic areas.
Monday, August 10, 2009
North Valley Coalition to Host ABQ Mayoral Candidate Forum on August 13
Please join the North Valley Coalition and Mayoral Candidates R.J. Berry, Martin Chavez, and Richard Romero to discuss the candidates’ visions for Albuquerque and issues facing the North Valley. The Forum is set for Thursday, August 13, 2009 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center at 2401 Twelfth Street NW in Albuquerque (map).
For additional information or questions, please contact Chris Catechis, NVC President (voice: 271-9876; email: email@example.com).
Chavez, Romero and Berry Confirmed for Arts Alliance Mayoral Forum August 25
The Arts Alliance announced today that all three candidates for Albuquerque's top political office have confirmed their attendance at a public Mayoral Candidate Forum on arts and culture on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 6:00 PM. The forum will take place at VSA North Fourth Arts Center, which is located at 4904 Fourth Street NW in Albuquerque (map). Albuquerque Journal Assistant Arts Editor Dan Mayfield will moderate the forum.
Questionnaires were distributed to candidates for mayor in July. Click to see the candidate responses (pdf), which are also posted on the Arts Alliance website. Responses have also been distributed to the Alliance’s mailing list of more than 4,000 constituents.
“This is an impartial opportunity for the community to learn where these candidates stand on issues that will shape our region for years to come,” said Kevin Hagen, president of the Arts Alliance Board of Directors, in a press release. “We invite the community to attend the forum to make their voice heard, and learn more about each candidate’s opinions on the arts and culture.”
Friday, August 07, 2009
NM Building & Construction Trades Council Endorses Chavez for ABQ Mayor
The New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council (NMBCTC), an organization representing 16 building and construction trades unions throughout the state, endorsed Mayor Martin J. Chavez for Mayor of Albuquerque in a recent meeting.
"The Mayor’s commitment to positively grow Albuquerque makes him the best candidate for Albuquerque’s future,” said Ray Baca, Executive Director of the NMBCTC, in a press release announcing the endorsement today. “We are pleased to support the Mayor and look forward to the next four years as our City becomes even more prosperous and successful.”
Mayor Martin J. Chavez added, “I am pleased to have the support of this organization representing 16 unions and thousands of hard-working men and women.”
Chavez has also been endorsed by the Central New Mexico Labor Council and AFSCME.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Join Us at DFA-DFNM Meetup Tonight with Mayor Martin Chavez
Our special guest this month is Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, who is running for his fourth mayoral term. Mayor Chavez will be talking about his vision for the City, his accomplishments and his positions on the issues, as well as taking questions from our members. Hope you'll join us in welcoming Mayor Chavez as he reaches out to the progressive grassroots to hear our thoughts and discuss his campaign.
If you plan to attend, please join the group and/or RSVP at http://dfa.meetup.com/160/.
Monday, July 13, 2009
ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez Tosses His Hat in the Ring for the Fourth Time (with Videos & Photos)
It's finally official. After toying with the media for many moons, current Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez formally announced his decision yesterday -- 87 days before the October 6 election -- to run for his third straight mayoral term and his fourth overall. Several hundred people attended the event held Sunday afternoon at the Don Newton Community Center in Taylor Ranch on Albuquerque's West Side.
Chavez was introduced by Clara Apodaca (left), and Cody Unser (right), backed by a banner proclaiming, "Today ... More Than Ever." The color purple was everywhere, from the banners to the bumperstickers to the balloons and the tablecloths.
Mayor Chavez touted his experience and willingness to make the tough decisions when necessary as two big points in his favor as a candidate. He admitted he has made mistakes in the past and will make more in the future, but pledged that they'd be "mistakes of the head, not mistakes of the heart" because he loves Albuquerque:
Chavez laid out his vision for the future in his acceptance speech and said he'd concentrate on public safety, attracting green and other high-paying jobs, improving education and making Albuquerque a world-class city with services and amenities suitable for the 21st century. He stressed that Albuquerque's diversity isn't just tolerated -- it's celebrated. He also made a special point of thanking AFSCME for its endorsement, noting that it's so much better to be on the same side for the first time:
In the clip below, Chavez talks about his intention to make Albuquerque one of the greenest cities in America and his dedication to attracting top-notch jobs so kids can stay here instead of being forced to move elsewhere for good-paying employment opportunities.
Answering a question from Mary Ellen after his speech, Mayor Chavez comments on his feelings about today's events in the video below:
You can visit Chavez's new campaign website at www.martychavez.com/. Marty Chavez first served as Mayor of Albuquerque from 1993-1997. He was reelected in 2001 and 2005. He also served in the State Senate from 1989 to 1993.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Romero for ABQ Mayor Campaign Announces New Management
Today Albuquerque mayoral candidate Richard Romero announced a change in campaign leadership. According to a press release, the Romero campaign will now begins in earnest with 90 days to go until Election Day.
“I’m pleased to announce that the Romero mayoral campaign has new campaign leadership,” said Richard Romero in the press release. “Murray Fishel is a nationally known campaign consultant and has been a long time trusted advisor who will be serving as the campaign’s lead strategist. He will help guide our march to victory over the next 3 months and help us chart a new way forward forAlbuquerque.”
“Neri Holguin is leaving our campaign and I’m sad to see her go. When she took this job last year, she told me that because of other commitments she could only serve until the end of April to help me launch my major petition efforts to qualify for public financing and to get on the ballot. We passed those tests with flying colors thanks to her leadership. I then convinced her to stay on a little longer, which she agreed to do. I want to thank her for all that she has done to get this campaign off to a great start.”
Monday, June 08, 2009
Teamsters Union Endorses Richard Romero for Mayor of Albuquerque
Richard Romero announced in a statement released late yesterday that he has received the endorsement of the New Mexico Teamsters Union in his run for the Mayor of Albuquerque.
“We stand with those who champion working families, and Richard Romero has a proven record as a fighter,” said Walter R. Maestas, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 492. “We are proud to be the first union to endorse him for mayor.”
“It’s an honor to receive this important endorsement,” said Romero. “As mayor, I will continue to stand up for our city’s workers and the unions that back them. My roots are with this union -- my father was a warehouse man at Sandia Labs and a proud member of the Teamsters.”
The union pointed to Romero’s strong track record of standing with working families, citing the important work he did as a State Senator and Senator Pro Tem where Romero:
- Fought for minimum wage increases;
- Opposed privatization of prisons and stood up to voice strong disapproval of the unethical action taken by Manny Aragon in becoming a lobbyist for private prison operator, Wackenhut, while simultaneously serving in the Senate;
- Carried the collective bargaining bill that allowed state workers to organize.
This is an important endorsement for Romero's campaign in keeping with his reputation as a fighter for worker's rights and policies that benefit New Mexico families.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Joanie Griffin and Mayor Marty: Cozy Contacts and Contracts
Sometimes a picture, like the one above, is worth a thousand words. The photo captures a cozy moment between Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez and Joanie Griffin, a local PR-marketing-advertising maven who served as Chavez's press secretary during his 2005 reelection campaign. Griffin also ran for City Council in District 6 in 2007 against Rey Garduno for the seat vacated by Martin Heinrich. She failed miserably, despite her campaign's illegal push-polling. She was also caught in the act falsely insinuating that she had the blessing of both Gov. Bill Richardson and Heinrich.
Griffin was widely viewed as one of Marty's slate of preferred candidates that year that also included Paulette de'Pascal and Katherine Martinez, when he was reportedly aiming to wipe out opposition to him on the Council. Griffin was a registered Republican until April of that year, and had been a generous contributor of campaign cash to the GOP. Republican Greg Payne, who heads the city's Transportation Department, was allegedly assigned to get the slate elected. He also failed miserably.
Why am I writing about this now? Because Griffin is back in the news in connection with no-bid PR contracts her firm, Griffin and Associates, received from Mayor Marty's administration. Turns out her old pal, Greg Payne, was behind one of them. Today, the Albuquerque Journal reported:
The city awarded about $49,000 in contracts last year to the mayor's former campaign spokeswoman without bidding or a request for proposals.
... City rules allow the awarding of small contracts without a competitive process, and two department heads under the mayor said Griffin's role in his campaign had no bearing on her hiring.
Well, they would say that, wouldn't they, if they wanted to say in the good graces of the Mayor? Griffin also poo-pooed the favoritism charge, suggesting that the almost $50,000 she got from the contracts was just chump change:
"If there was going to be some favoritism, it would be a heck of a lot more money than that," she said Thursday. "It's not like I'm getting rich off it. I don't think that's the case at all."
Councilor Michael Cadigan wasn't so sure:
"I just find it hard to believe that out of all the marketing companies in the city, it's a coincidence that the most qualified is the person who's the mayor's long-term supporter and spokesperson," he said in an interview.
Two no-bid contracts are at issue:
Records released to the Journal show Griffin had a $29,400 contract with the Department of Senior Affairs for marketing and public relations last year. She was initially hired for about $15,000, but the contract was expanded with permission from the city's top administrator, Ed Adams.
Griffin created posters, mailings and news releases as part of a campaign promoting the opening of Los Volcanes Senior Fitness Center last summer. Subsequent contract expansions paid her to develop brochures and other marketing materials later that year.
Transit Director Greg Payne said his department hired Griffin under a $20,000 contract last summer. The department had several vacancies in its marketing division, and Griffin's work cost less than the staff member salaries, he said. It was a one-time situation, and the contract wasn't renewed, he said.
Councilor Cadigan questioned the need for the outside contracts altogether:
Cadigan said the city can do its own marketing without outside hiring.
"At some point, you start wondering why everything has to be done by an independent contractor," he said.
So was the sans-RFP awarding of the contracts to Marty's confidant illegal? Not according to current city rules. But it sure looks bad, leading to a perception of cronyism and favoritism -- something you'd think Chavez would want to avoid given his never-ending campaign to stay in power as Albuquerque's Mayor.
Then again, I doubt if he's embarrassed at all about these revelations. After all, this is a guy who brazenly transferred money meant for capital improvement funding in the new City budget to cover raises, personnel costs and other general spending. In some quarters, the move has been construed as a pay-off of sorts to firemen, police and the city's employees who are members of AFSCME, a union that for the first time in its history -- including three previous mayoral campaigns by Chavez -- has endorsed Marty for mayor. Again, is that illegal? No. But all of this is certainly raising a lot of questions about why Chavez is doing what he's doing in this election year. Marty is known for walking that fine line, especially when the seat of his power is at stake. Keep an eye out for more as we get closer to election day.