Ortiz y Pino
We Were Mugged!
Why Richard Berry won the mayor’s seat
The morning after the municipal elections, as I was removing droopy “Romero for Mayor” signs from my front lawn while a steady drizzle soaked my jacket into a leaden metaphor for my soggy spirit, I got a cell phone call from a friend (actually, now a former friend) who was calling just to berate me.
Romero: People Wanted a Change
"You know what? I really thought you were going to pull this off." That's a young woman at Richard Romero's house consoling him as the news station scrolls disappointing numbers across the screen. "It wasn't for lack of effort," says a young man in a suit. "That's what we didn't know, was how many would just vote for Berry."
"You ready to go outside?" asks KOB reporter Eric Kahnert. Romero exits his home first, followed by his core campaign staff. Under the blinding spotlight outside, he waits to acknowledge his loss live on television. The cameraman works on the shot. Supporters continue to trickle out of the house, and keys emerge from pockets. They're ready to head home. They shake hands with the man they thought would be the next mayor.
A monitor on the ground next to the news van is flickering. Romero leans down, and the reporter squats next to him. They watch Mayor Martin Chavez give a not-quite concession speech. Family and friends lean in for the view. Chavez says something about a "first-class transition."
Now to Romero. He says all the right things. Berry was a gentleman during the campaign. And Romero's own campaign was up against the machine at City Hall, he points out. People wanted a change, and they're going to get one.
But is it a good change? That's what I ask after the cameras are off and the friends disperse. "I think it will be," he says. "I was not happy with the way things were going."
And then there's the elephant in the room. In this nonpartisan race, it seems Republican Berry nailed down the conservative vote, while Romero and Chavez split the Dems down the middle. "Obviously the Republican Party coalesced around Berry," Romero says. "That's the way it works. Independents played a huge part in this, too."
But that's not the last you'll hear from Romero. He's been in politics a long time. He's won some. He's lost some. "I've been down this road before," he says.
Tonight! A Mayoral Debate!
The questions will be good. Yesterday, we gathered round a conference room table—we members of independent and public media—and put our collective brainpower into thinking about the city, its direction and its citizens. This won't be politics as usual.
You can show up to make sure that it isn't. I'll be collecting questions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Bank of America Theatre at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. I'll pick a couple of the best ones and pose them to the candidates during the broadcast.
If you can't make it down in person, listen tonight at 7 p.m. to KUNM 89.9. Or you can catch it Friday at 7 p.m. on KNME Channel 5.
Even better, see a live-stream of the event here at alibi.com and live-blog with us. (You should also be able to catch it and join the fray from any of the media partners' sites).
Don't forget about the debate afterparty at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central). Down a Civic Duty (seriously, that's our drink special), listen to some jams by Jessica Cassyle Carr and friends, and discuss the city.
ALL OF THIS IS FREE.