City Boss Fight 2009
Union Love for the Big Guy
The race to be the city’s top dog saw some salvos fired to salute Mayor “still not an official candidate” Martin Chavez. AFSCME, the city’s largest union, endorsed the sitting mayor—though perhaps through gritted teeth.
"Mayor Chavez is in a very strong position to be re-elected, and we look forward to a good working relationship over the next four years with the mayor and his administration,” AFSCME Union President Andrew Padilla said in a written statement.
This is the first time the union has endorsed Chavez in an election. The mayor says he thinks the endorsement came about because his administration is handling next year’s shaky budget while avoiding layoffs and keeping city services intact.
Candidate and former state Sen. Richard Romero responded to the reluctant city employee’s union endorsement of Chavez by saying there are plenty of disgruntled union votes to garner.
“Mayor Chavez opposed the minimum wage increase, supported privatizing the Convention Center and has played favorites with unions. I have a proud record of supporting working families, and I know rank-and-file union members are with me, supporting my campaign,” Romero said in an interview with the Alibi.
Candidate Richard “R.J.” Berry said the endorsement was not a shock.
"This is no surprise in light of the mayor's ability to spend millions in taxpayer dollars to garner a union endorsement. If elected, I look forward to an honest and open dialogue with all city employees—not relationships built on fear of reprisal. We need to change the climate of retaliation at City Hall,” Berry said.
Write-in candidate Donna Rowe is still charging down the campaign trail. She said that while her name is not on the ballot, she is in the running, and it is important to finish what she started. Rowe said she became ill during the signature-collection time period and was not able to gather the required number to get listed on the ballot. She intends to continue her fight to remind the city of its poor services for homeless young people seeking help.
Five City Council candidates will receive public financing for their campaigns. City Clerk Randy Autio said they each turned in several thousand $5 contributions from voters in their districts. Candidates get $1 per registered voter (about $36,000) to spend.