What a horrible thing to not endorse any candidates, especially when we started out with three hopefuls. But here's how the District 7 race has gone down: Two months ago, incumbent Sally Mayer was running for re-election against challengers David Green and Mike Cook. David Green failed to turn in his Declaration of Candidacy to the City Clerk's Office in time. His name will be absent from the ballot, although he's still running as a write-in candidate. Green doesn't appear to have a campaign website, so all we can tell you about him is this: He's a baker and this is his first time running for public office.
Not long after Green missed his deadline, Sally Mayer dropped from the race, citing a move to Chicago to help look after her grandkids. The news is a shocker to local politicos. Mayer has been a councilor for eight years, and in our interview with her, it was obvious how much she loved the job.
If Mayer hadn't left the race, she would have received the Alibi's endorsement. We don't always agree with her ideologically (we didn't endorse her the last two times she ran), but Mayer has become a valuable asset to the Council. She usually lands on the conservative side of debates, but her opinion is nothing but her own. She's smart, she works well with the rest of the Council, and she's passionate about her district. She's a self-described ex-crony of Mayor Martin Chavez, but what's remarkable about Mayer is she not only escaped that role, she’s become wiser because of it. Mayer understands the inner workings of the city all the better for knowing what it is to be a councilor both under the mayor's wing and outside of it.
We were excited to give Mayer our endorsement, and her withdrawal leaves us at a somewhat of an impasse.
The remaining candidate on the ballot is Mike Cook, an investment adviser who's new to politics. (He just became the vice president of his neighborhood association, and he served on the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission. He left that post seven months early for personal reasons.) Cook seems like a perfectly nice man; we just don't think he's ready for the Council.
Cook's main issues are public safety, helping small businesses, cutting back on city spending and creating jobs. That all sounds great, but he's vague in his strategies for how he plans to accomplish those things. Like many other candidates, he says to make our streets safer, he'd meet regularly with the police chief and commanders; he'd focus on gang intervention; he'd try to restart after-school programs that were cut. To help small businesses during the recession, Cook would like to ease some of the costs of startup or expansion but was unspecific about which costs or how he would cut them. He claims that as a financial planner, he would be able to help with budget issues. Yet he’s also unable to cite any examples of issues with the budget he could help resolve. To encourage job development, he simply says that if there was wasteful spending, he would help trim that back.
Cook supports increased water conservation but doesn’t give specifics on how to accomplish it; he doesn't support the quarter-cent transportation tax; he likes the idea of energy conservation requirements in new buildings but again lacks details; he is against the modern rail / streetcar proposal; he supports Council pay raises as determined by an independent body.
We don't disagree with Cook on many of his positions, and it's granted that most city councilors start off new to politics. But Cook's argument for not providing any real plans for his ideas is that he's still just an outsider and will learn more when elected. It's just not a good enough excuse. We like Cook as a person—but not as a councilor.
So what options does that leave you with? Unfortunately, it means you get to decide between a man you know hardly anything about and a man who hardly knows anything about city politics. Where's Sally Mayer when you need her?