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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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


Dr. Dean, I respect and admire you. You inspired me to get active in politics. However, your old friend Marty Chavez is nowhere near as progressive that you are. In fact, with regards to virtually every issue that the mayor has power over, Marty acts as a business-oriented Republican, not a Democrat at all.

Local progressives know that Marty has always been in the developers' pockets, and unrestrained, government-promoted sprawl is the most dire long-term problem facing the city. Marty wants Albuquerque to to expand as far west as the Rio Puerco, even though there are no unassigned water rights available in the state. That's hardly environmentally friendly!

Respectfully, Dr. Dean, you have no clue what the local issues are in Albuquerque, and you seem to have bought Marty's appropriation of credit for others' ideas and actions hook, line, and sinker.

I was appalled to have received a robocall from you asking me to support Marty Chavez on the day that the Senate Finance Committee voted against a public option for health care. Please stick to what you know and do well.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | Sep 30, 2009 11:11:42 AM

Wow, either Howard Dean and Marty Chavez are telepathically connected to the issues, or Marty's campaign simply handed Dean the talking points he's been mouthing this whole time and a Dean assistant made a two sentence revision and stamped Dean's name on it.

A starkly plastic endorsement. My respect for Dean has gone down quite a few notches. Marty is looking as worried as ever.

As someone who cares about sustainable and responsible growth, water sustainability, ethics in government, the revamping of a corrupt police force, etc. For Howard Dean to support a candidate who's campaign is being run by SunCal shows that he hasn't the foggiest idea as to what's going on in our city.

I feel like I've been patted on the head by Democratic Party who doesn't have a clue... a familiar feeling actually.

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 11:15:18 AM

Thanks you Dr. Dean for taking a stand in this race. Marty was a strong supporter of you and what you stand for in the presidential race. He has my vote.

Posted by: The Doctor is In | Sep 30, 2009 11:16:33 AM

I see that those heavily involved in the Romero campaign are out again making negative comments. That's all the Romero campaign does. Maybe people should think about how Romero gave about $800 to Republican legislators including RJ Berry from the money he had left over in his congressional campaign fund when he ran for the House seat here.

It's one thing to give Republicans donations personally when you are a lobbyist like Romero has been but this was money Democrats gave him to run for Congress. Look a little harder at Romero.


Posted by: Thanks Howard Dean | Sep 30, 2009 11:23:56 AM

Ha, $800 eh? You do realize that Marty padded his buddy Marc Schiff's(currently in federal prison) pockets with MILLIONS of tax-payer dollars... and he stole $54,000 from the public for his personal bills. Get back to me with some real numbers.

Facts are neither negative or positive, they're simply a truthful account of what actually happened.

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 11:40:25 AM

With all due respect for Howard Dean, i think he's been severely misinformed. John Fleck, one of nm's best environmental reporters, had an insightful post about marty's credentials. He may like to tout himself as the "green" candidate but data shows that since he made that pledge to reduce GHG's, city emissions have actually gone up.
https://www.inkstain.net/fleck/?p=3998 All talk.

Posted by: Amanda | Sep 30, 2009 11:57:10 AM

Thanks for selling us all out Barb!!! You got the exclusive... Congrats.

Posted by: Jay Forsythe | Sep 30, 2009 12:18:04 PM

What a great endorsement, I think he nailed OUR Mayor to a tee! You have my vote Marty!


Posted by: Joe | Sep 30, 2009 12:51:15 PM

This Marc Shiff thing is ridiculous. There has been no legal challenges at all to his contract for the balloon museum. You can see how the Romero campaign operates. They make wild statements and have nothing positive to offer about their candidate. Let's face it, Romero is boring and lacks vision. Maybe why he lost 2 races for congress.

Posted by: Ron | Sep 30, 2009 1:00:25 PM

Jay Forsythe - I don't know who you are, but I post many guest blogs written by others and have always encouraged people to submit them. I've put up almost all of those I've received. I resent your implication. Blogs, if they're good, are always about debate and discussion. That's what I try to provide.

Posted by: barb | Sep 30, 2009 1:04:03 PM

I worked on Howard Dean's presidential campaign in Iowa and have lived here in ABQ ever since. One of the things that drew me to Mayor Chavez as a candidate 4 years ago was that he reminded me so much of Gov. Dean, not only in his style and approach but his politics and policies as well.

The fact that Marty's personality ,and certain people's dislike for it, even comes into question in this campaign...really makes me question the intelligence or more importantly the motivation of some voters. But, these are the voters that "know it all", and have their beliefs on the left or the right, and everyone else is wrong.

I have also worked for Richard Romero, and I know him to be a good man. Although, when I asked him why he wanted to run for Mayor over a year ago he replied, "Because Marty's an #$%hole." Not exactly what I'm looking for in a candidate as "the reason" he/she decides to run for office.

Richard Romero is a good man, but that is not the same as a great Mayor. We need someone with gravitas,vision and the ability to get things done...big things. With Marty, there are too many accomplishments to list here;love him or hate him, we all know this.

A lot of people say Marty likes to take credit for things. I certainly know when I accomplish something great, let alone something simple...credit feels pretty good and well deserved. It keeps us motivated to be the good we see in the world. My guess is that Marty's detractors feel the same themselves, but for some reason not for Marty. That is simply irrational and I cannot have a reasonable discussion with those people.

The person and Mayor that not only has big ideas, but has delivered them before and will continue to deliver them, like Howard Dean, is Marty Chavez. I know I'll be voting for him. Maybe...just maybe if you're a Romero supporter, you'll realize that you should too.

You've got a few days left to look inside your soul and ask yourself: "Am I just angry? Do I have an unjustified hatred for a man that has done so much for the city I love? Or should I rethink this? My hero Howard Dean supports him...how can that be? Maybe Marty actually is a great Mayor that we need to keep Albuquerque moving forward?"

6 days left...I hope you make the right decision.

Posted by: Brian | Sep 30, 2009 1:13:26 PM


Posted by: karlos | Sep 30, 2009 1:16:43 PM

"This Marc Shiff thing is ridiculous."

Apparently you've never read the Pulitzer Prize winning Eileen Welsome's article on the matter... just google, "eileen welsome" and "martin chavez" together, its the first on the list.

As for boring, maybe you need to refine your requirements for a mayor. You can't move forward without addressing the corruption of the past. Something we're painfully watching at a national level.

I'll take ethical over "visionary" and corrupt anyday.

BTW, since Marty has taken credit for everything positive in ABQ - why can't he man up and offer a public showing of grief and condolences to the West Mesa victim's families? I have personal knowledge that they've not received so much as a phone call from the city.

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 1:33:31 PM

So Benito what do you say about Romero giving money that Democrats gave him to run for Congress to GOP legislators like RJ Berry? Is that honest and ethical? Still not reading anything positive about Romero just more negative campaign talking points. I once thought about voting for Romero but his campaign and his supporters are so awful I can't do it.

Posted by: Ron | Sep 30, 2009 1:59:12 PM

What do I think about $800? I think its a ridiculous reach for a man who personally stole $54,000 from the Albuquerque tax-payers to be bringing up ethics.

Is pointing that out to an undecided voter "awful" or "negative"... or due diligence?

A company that intends to build one of the biggest developments in the country here, with no mention of water, is running Marty's campaign. I think Albuquerque voters deserve that information.

Marty's camp is trying to make the "lobbyist" label stick. They don't tell you that Richard lobbied for such nefarious organizations as:

The University of New Mexico, Southwest Learning Centers, the New Mexico Speech and Hearing Association, the New Mexico Community Foundation, the New Mexico Association of Educational Retirees, South Valley Academy, Isleta Pueblo, North Albuquerque Cooperative Charter School, Academy for Technology and the Arts, the New Mexico Association of Charter Schools, La Familia, Inc., the National Association of Social Workers, and the New Mexico Occupational Therapists Association.

So we have a guy with a history of lobbying for community oriented organizations, and a guy who's campaign is run by one of the biggest developers in the country.

I don't think Abq is as dumb as Marty's banking on.

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 2:28:41 PM

Keep trying Benito. You give no excuse for what Romero did. Your other "facts" are wrong too. SunCal isn't managing the Chavez campaign, unless you want to say that Isleta Pueblo and its gambling casino are managing Romero's campaign. Lobbyists work for many cos. The problem isn't that Romero lobbied but that he gave thousands of dollars to Republicans when he did-supporting the enemy in the legislature.

You keep proving what's wrong with Romero's campaign. It's all about hate and smears.

Posted by: Ron | Sep 30, 2009 2:52:52 PM

There has to be more to being Mayor than keeping the streets clean and the busses on schedule. Hitler and Mussolini were both great at making the trains run on time. Both great leaders in some eyes.

Sadly, Marty's currency is fear and retaliation. He threatens contractors, employees and anyone else who disagrees with his divine vision. He governs by edict and resents having to work with the legislative branch at the local, state or federal level.

Martin Chavez has been at war with Democrats - especially progressives - on the City Council since he was first elected. Ask any progressive City Councilor past or current if he helped promote a progressive agenda for the city. He called Martin Heinrich "anti-family" Debbie O'Malley, Rey Garduno, Eric Griego, Miguel Gomez and Michael Cadigan "left wingers."

If you are a pragmatist vote for Marty. He is probably most capable of keeping the city clean and buses on schedule. If you believe a Mayor should fight for a progressive, sustainable, inclusive future for it's citizens, you should look elsewhere.

Posted by: RealDem | Sep 30, 2009 2:54:26 PM

I guess RealDem is another shill from the Romero campaign spewing things without any proof. That's all they do. I'd like to hear one big idea that Romero has talked about that can move us forward. What is most important is who can win against the caveman Berry. Romero has almost no chance of doing that. Want to throw your vote away? Vote for Romero.

Posted by: Vote to Win | Sep 30, 2009 3:07:15 PM

I voted early for Richard Romero.

Posted by: David O'Malley | Sep 30, 2009 3:07:21 PM

I think it's funny that people don't seem to care whether the dismal Romero campaign can win or not. I have long been a supporter of Howard Dean and I trust his judgment on this. I trust him on most things and he's usually right. I voted today for Chavez and hope you do too.

Posted by: Dean Supporter | Sep 30, 2009 3:19:47 PM

Hey Ron,

Funny how you didn't question my "facts" on Marty stealing $54,000 dollars from the public.

Your logic is laughable. Romero is not employing any lobbyists with public money, Chavez is.

Marty's staff are also on tape stating to a city contractor that he needs to see the mayor "eyeball to eyeball" in order to get his contract renewed... which is basically give him and his entourage free flights to Guadalajara. With you guys, its corruption as usual.

You're the embodiment of what's wrong with the Chavez campaign, just because you're a registered Demicrat, doesn't make you progressive.

Hope you're not writing on the city clock Ron.

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 3:22:22 PM

According to legal advice ABQPAC was considered a legal way for a mayor to save the taxpayers money and cover the kinds of expenses mayors have for travel etc. However, another city legal opinion said it had problems. Chavez returned all the money. No stealing went on. Another case of the wild accusations and exaggerations of Marty haters.

Campaign managers are often consultants and lobbyists as well. Big whoop. Romero has a campaign manger or adviser or whatever who isn't even from here.

You stuff about the accusations of a contractor who's pissed because he didn't get a long term contract is more of the same.

Progressive is the most vague and overused word. A guy who gives money to Republicans usually isn't considered one though.

Posted by: Ron | Sep 30, 2009 3:29:57 PM


That's why the Board of Ethics had this to say about the matter:

"Chávez accepted gifts from people with an interest in city affairs, failed to report certain campaign contributions and failed to abide by a legal limit on the size of those contributions.

Chávez received nearly $60,000 in assistance from ABQPAC, a political action committee that raised money from city contractors, city employees and others. The money helped pay for Chávez family travel and other expenses." -ABQ Journal

Some of the checks in ABQ PAC files were directly written to Chavez... that's called a shake-down... as well as illegal. There's plenty of the city workers chiming in on comment boards that the same thing is happening... they're forced to "volunteer" to help with his campaign. Some even say he has them listen to radio shows in order to call in and watch the blogs so that they can comment... strikingly similar to what you're doing.

So the answer from you about a registered lobbyist for SunCal running Marty's campaign is "big woop"? Wow. It doesn't surprise me that "Progressive" is some vague word to you.

Keep em coming... please!

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 3:54:47 PM

I am disappointed by the personal attacks that are going on here. While we may not agree, I believe we should be civil to each other. We should have a great debate about our city and its future. As democrats,we are better than petty attacks.

Posted by: Mark | Sep 30, 2009 3:55:07 PM

Ron -

Are you on Marty's payroll? For the record I don't work for any of the candidates.

Marty has kicked the crap out of progressives for the past eight years and now he wants us to take him back. Sounds like a familiar abusive relationship we've heard about.

Don't be scared into voting for Marty. Stay home if you have to. Berry might be worse on the issues, but he's not corrupt.

Saying a two-point lead over Romero in the most recent poll means Romero can't win is absurd. He will win if we take a stand against opportunistic, corrupt, dictators like Marty.

Stop giving DINOs (Democrat in Name Only) like Marty a pass because they are "better than the alternative".

Posted by: RealDem | Sep 30, 2009 3:58:45 PM

I agree with Mark above that the comments on here are horrible and personal. Many of them are coming from "Benito" who I believe has worked for the Romero campaign in some capacity. He is also on other threads and so are others that present Mayor Chavez as an evil demon. He's a Democrat for god's sake. You may not support him but you are talking about him like the teabaggers talk about Obama. Is that the "progressive" way?

We need civilized debate about the issues, not rehashes from years ago and hearsay about what somebody is supposedly saying about the Mayor. Anybody can write that somebody told them the Mayor is forcing them to volunteer. Unless you have proof stick to the issues please.

Barbara posted a thoughtful piece that considered this race from many angles. I wish commenters would match her tone and stop the crazy talk. It's childish and unfair.

Posted by: Stop! | Sep 30, 2009 4:22:03 PM

Ha, I was confused that my responses were being interpreted as personal on Ron or others, which was not my intent. But your claiming I'm being too personal for Marty... cry me a river.

When the facts of corruption come out they're labeled "horrible and personal". Your, "he's a democrat for God's sake" means little to me, so are Baucus and so was Lieberman.

The "progressive way" is to demand accountability and ethics... my family deserves it.

Posted by: Benito | Sep 30, 2009 4:29:37 PM

Benito is right on. And I don't even know who he is.

Posted by: I'mWithBenito | Sep 30, 2009 4:32:54 PM

You all are so crazy!!!! Hey, when the world is on your shoulders gotta straighten up your act and boogie down!!! Go Marty!!!!

Posted by: Silly Stephen | Sep 30, 2009 5:49:38 PM

So, we're to vote for someone we don't respect because he's "not a bad mayor?" I'm being positive and voting for RICHARD ROMERO.

Posted by: Peter | Sep 30, 2009 9:11:08 PM

Gimme a break! The same Marty Chavez who called now-Senator Tom Udall a crazy leftist is not a democrat. Maybe someone forgot to explain the runoff system to poor Mr. Dean.

Posted by: Six | Oct 1, 2009 12:36:57 AM

Chavez needs a Democrat to support him, so he has to go all the way to Washington DC to find one? Romero has a long list of Democratic politicos behind him--from Albuquerque! Dean wouldn't know the difference between a chile ristra and a chile relleno, let alone know what issues really matter to Albuquerque voters. Chavez really is desperate.

Posted by: Reggie Tenenbaum | Oct 1, 2009 11:33:25 AM

I read this whole thread and it gets worse as it goes along. Most comments are from people connected to the campaigns and are predictable. I wonder what ordinary voters are thinking.

Howard Dean is well respected in the progressive community and his endorsement means something. The progressive officials who are endorsing Romero would endorse a fence post if it was running against Marty.

Posted by: My Two Cents | Oct 1, 2009 12:27:02 PM

I could never vote for Marty Chavez. I have seen Richard Romero in action many more times in the Legislature, and although I don't live in Albuquerque, I would encourage everyone to vote for Romero. It is time for a change, ALL FOR THE BETTER, truly!

Posted by: Stephen Fox | Oct 1, 2009 7:36:27 PM

Then you must want a Republican mayor for Albuquerque because Romero does not have the votes to win

Posted by: Bob | Oct 1, 2009 9:32:05 PM

Mayor Marty is NOT going to get my vote, I couldn't care less what his minions and shills post here, including the misinformed Dr Dean. Albuquerque has endured 12 years of this Mayors CORRUPTION, enough is enough. Mr Romero will make a fine Mayor, he gets my vote, PERIOD.

Posted by: VP | Oct 2, 2009 7:26:20 AM