Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Saturday: Common Cause Luncheon to Feature Ethics Reform Panel Discussion
From Common Cause New Mexico:
Join us on Saturday, October 10 for Common Cause New Mexico's annual luncheon in Albuquerque!
Our theme this year is "The Future of Ethics Reform in New Mexico" and we're trying something different. Nicole Brady from KOB-TV Channel 4 will moderate an ethics reorm panel made up of state legislators from both major parties: Senators Sander Rue and Peter Wirth, and Representatives Kathy McCoy and Eleanor Chavez.
Two former state treasurers and a former state president are in jail for corruption, and numerous investigations into other alleged corruption cases in our state are ongoing. These disturbing facts have focused national attention on New Mexico's weak ethics laws. How to reform these laws is a bipartisan concern, and this panel will help deepen the public discussion regarding these crucial issues.
Here are all the details:
- What: Common Cause New Mexico's annual luncheon; $20 includes a catered lunch, and all proceeds support our work in New Mexico
- When: Saturday, October 10 from 12 to 2 PM
- Where: UNM Continuing Education Building, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM
- Who: Nicole Brady, state legislators, and you!
Space is limited so please RSVP today by calling Common Cause New Mexico at (505) 323-6399, and leaving your name and the number of people in your party.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Petition Signatures Being Gathered for Recall of Sally Mayer
Four faces of Sally. All photos courtesy M. G. Bralley
There's an effort underway to gather signatures for a petition to require a referendum on recalling Sally Mayer. Mayer is the Republican City Councilor from Albuquerque's who's been such a pal to faux-Democratic Mayor Marty Chavez. You may remember that Chavez supported Mayer in her Fall reelection bid against Democrat Marianne Dickinson and two others.
Sally has also been joined at the hip to Chavez in his neverending struggle to grant corporate developers unfettered freedom, and award contracts to any and all comers who "contribute" large dollar amounts to his campaign fund. She worked with Chavez's cronies in helping to kill the referendum to raise Albuquerque's minimum wage last Fall as well. She also voted against the Council's more recent and successful measure to raise the minimum wage.
Recall that both Marty Chavez and Sally Mayer are charter members of our Ethics Hall of Shame, along with City Councilors Ken Sanchez and Craig Loy, for successfully killing Councilor Brad Winter's ethics and campaign finance reform package.
The recall petition effort is being led by attorney Penni Adrian and has until July 14 to gather the required 3,055 signatures from registered voters in District 7. If the effort is successful, the city must hold an election within 90 days. A website will be up soon at www.recallsallymayer.org and other measures are being taken to support the effort.
Volunteers will be walking the District 7 precincts during the next three weekends to gather signatures. If you're interested in helping, email penni@adrian-law.
As to the long, strange saga of Mayer's misbehavior, rudeness, ignorance of the law and shenanigans while serving on Albuquerque's City Council, there's a detailed story accompanied by illuminating photographs by local blogger M.G. Bralley on What's Wrong With This Picture. Bralley thinks Sally is Albuquerque's second worst City Councilor in history, outdone only by Tina Cummins, who's a fellow realtor. Coming in third is Cummins' brother, Tim. Quite a trio.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Ethics Hall of Shame Charter Members: Chavez, Sanchez, Mayer, Loy
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.
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."
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.
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.