Mayor Martin Chavez is seeking his fourth (and third-consecutive) term, he announced Sunday, July 12.
So far, it looks like voters will get to choose between: incumbent Chavez, former state Sen. Richard Romero, state Rep. R.J. Berry, and community and youth activist Donna Rowe, a declared write-in candidate.
Serious questions will need to be asked of these candidates regarding the governing of Albuquerque. But before we dig in with the usual interrogation, we thought we'd start with a few less tired queries:
1) California lawmakers are discussing legalizing and taxing marijuana in an effort to generate billions in revenue. What do you think of this idea? Would you support an effort to bring a similar discussion to New Mexico through its largest city?
2) In light of recently exposed extramarital affairs among governors, senators and other public officials, do you think this is an important ethical issue worthy of voter attention? And should government officials caught in affairs resign?
3) Who's your favorite musician?
Berry, a Republican, said he is always willing to have an open dialogue on issues, but he is not in favor of legalizing marijuana for economic gains. As to the effects of fooling around, he said he is not one to judge others based on their personal lives. “This is an issue that needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis between the elected official and his or her constituents,” he said. As to what’s on his MP3 player, he said he is a guitarist and enjoys ax-heavy tunes from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy and AC/DC.
Chavez, a Democrat, gave a one-word response to the marijuana question: No. As to infidelity, Chavez said, "It depends on whether the conduct entails hypocrisy, illegality or impedes the ability of the elected official to do his or her job." And he likes to rock out to The Beatles, The Ramones and said he is “really liking The Shins."
Romero, a Democrat, said although he's been in favor of legislation allowing medical cannabis use, he would not support efforts to legalize marijuana to save a failing economy. Politicians should be honest with the public, he said, when it comes to affairs and their subsequent scandals. “Once elected, you realize your personal affairs are susceptible to media scrutiny, like it or not, right or wrong. The best way to stay out of the news for extramarital affairs is to not have extramarital affairs. There is already a public system in place to remove unwanted public officials—
Rowe, a member of the Green Party, said she supports the idea of taxing marijuana but does not want to see too high a tax. She said extramarital affairs invoke moral and ethical issues, but public officials should not be penalized for what they do in their private lives—as long as they are not using public bucks and the romps don’t interfere with their ability to serve. Rowe likes Pink, Tracy Chapman and Rascal Flatts.