More Cash Means Fewer Clunkers—This year's election cycle offers a couple of exciting candidates, some so-so contenders and one or two duds. Over the past few weeks the Alibi sat down with those running for mayor and those vying for the odd-numbered City Council seats. The reaction from us was mostly: Meh.
You have to bring a photo ID to the polls now. That means your passport, government badge, driver’s license, student ID, union card or basically anything that has both your picture and name and is official in some capacity. For a complete list, go to Common Cause New Mexico’s election protection website, counteveryvotenm.org.
Print out this handy reminder and take it with you to the polls (click on the “print” button above for a printer-friendly version). Disagree with the endorsements? Cross out ours and write in yours.
In addition to sitting down with candidates to interview them face-to-face, the Alibi also sent all the contenders questionnaires. Click on the names below to read their responses. Check back for more that roll in.
Mayor Martin Chavez is really good at a few things. And he’ll never let you forget it.
Chavez has been mayor of Albuquerque for 12 years, from 1993 to 1997, and later for two consecutive terms beginning in 2001. In the past, Albuquerque mayors were only allowed to serve two terms back to back. But Chavez sued the city early last year to have the term limit for the office removed—after he withdrew from the race for U.S. Senate—and he was successful.
Position sought: Mayor
Occupation: Disabled; PT Executive director and case-manager for homeless and at-risk youth and young adults
Occupation: Certified Financial Planner
Political Experience: Chairman of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Committee, Vice-President of Candlemen Neighborhood Association, Secretary of District 7’s Coalition of Neighborhood Associations.
1) What's your plan of action for three major issues in your district?
Occupation: Attorney Private Practice; Family Law and Bankruptcy
Political Experience: City Councilor, still in my first term. I was a Special Assistant Attorney General for several years, then an Assistant City Attorney for approximately two years with the City of Albuquerque.
Occupation: Baker, Baking Consultant, Writer
Political Experience: Election poll worker; president, election poll location; worker, absentee count, city special election; registration of voters; worker, on campaigns of political candidates; executive officer, student association; president, racing oriented bicycle club.
Occupation: Retired Educator
Over 35 years, I have built a career of public service—as an Air Force veteran, teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent of APS and as a leader of the state Senate.
1) What's your plan of action for three major citywide issues?
Public Safety: Increase the Albuquerque Police Department by 100 officers in 18 months, push our lawmakers for tougher penalties for repeat offenders and expand community policing and neighborhood watch programs. Forge new partnerships with our schools.
Ken Sanchez is running for re-election this year without a challenger. Sanchez knows the issues of his Southwest district well. Gangs flourish in the area, and property crime numbers are up. Houses were built, but retail wasn't. Extra fees and taxes have been paid into city coffers for years, but infrastructure is lacking. The roadways are bizarre in the area, and the passages across the Rio Grande are often clogged.
Occupation: Vice President Gilbert Sanchez Tax & Accounting Service and Enrolled Agent to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service. President of Ken Sanchez & Associates Realty. Affiliate with Prudential Financial.
You can't ask for a better councilor than Isaac Benton. Early in his first term, he was faced with the immediate problem of flooding in Barelas and the Santa Barbara / Martineztown area. Benton says the flooding wasn't a top priority of Mayor Martin Chavez' administration at first. He passed a bill through the Council that forced it to the top of Chavez' to-do list. Benton's efforts resulted in new storm drainage retention ponds in those neighborhoods that reduce the chance of future floods.
Political Experience: City councilor for District 3 2005-present (current president), Water Authority 2006-2008 (Vice-Chair 2006 and 2008), Regional Transit District 2006-present (Current chair)
Dan Lewis wants Michael Cadigan's job, and his campaigning fueled perhaps the ugliest Council race this season. Unfortunately, Cadigan was a topic Lewis couldn't let lie during his endorsement interview with the Alibi. The pastor and small-business owner called the councilor ineffective and demeaning, said he was too hostile to the city administration, and declared him “combative.” And that was just the first five minutes.
Occupation: Commercial Litigation Attorney
Political Experience: City Councilor, 2001- present
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.
In his first term, Don Harris did a lot of good for people in his district who aren't the noisiest or most powerful. His predecessors "kissed the ring of Four Hills," as Harris puts it, and didn't do much else. Keeping Four Hills happy might be all it takes to secure a Council seat in District 9, but Harris tackled more.
Occupation: Retired Software Engineer
Political Experience: Helped on many campaigns; ran for school board in 2004 in California; served on many nonprofit boards including my housing coop, an $800,000 per year corporation
The Alibi endorses all bonds proposed on the ballot. This year, all bonds are General Obligation (GO). Bonds are debt the city incurs for capital improvement projects. When a city takes out a bond, it promises to pay the balance back in full with interest. None of these bonds will increase property taxes. Here's what you're being asked to vote for.
In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance to review the city charter. From that review, the Council presented 10 recommendations to the mayor that would amend the charter. The mayor vetoed all the amendments, but the Council overrode his veto in August. The result is that the voting public now gets to decide on the amendments individually in this election. Here's what they are:
It would be crazy not to vote for this tax. The money from this tax goes directly to road maintenance, public transit, trails and bike paths. And we’re talking about 25 cents for every $100 spent. It’s been in place since 2000 and is set to expire at the end of this year. And just to set citizens’ minds further at ease, this gem of a sentence was added: “No portion of the revenue generated by the transportation infrastructure gross receipts tax shall be used to build or operate any rail transportation system until such a system is approved at a separate election by the voters.” Got it? No light-rail. No modern streetcar. No trolley. Well, they won’t be funded by this tax, anyway—not unless in some future election you call for them.