This year’s mayoral election seems, in retrospect, to be a long, drawn out affair that tested citizens’ patience. While the candidates for Burque’s top office seemed inclined to offer their thoughts and their plans regarding the number one issue in the Duke City—a proliferation of crime—most seemed loathe to provide any other sort of long-term vision for making this a better city, resulting in campaign websites and formal statements that all sounded vaguely familiar.
Complicating the matter, a field of eight candidates—which this paper argued early on should have been culled by candidate discussion and subsequent conclusions about the picture such a large, undefined field paints to stakeholders—made us all feel spoiled for choice as those vying for the job circled each other and the city with demonstrably similar platforms.
The proliferation of poverty, of homeless and desperate humans in our town signals a stalled or failed municipal economic system. Big business, out-of-town industry and hence a growing economy all seem to be passing Albuquerque by while cities to our north and west seem to grow and prosper.
Consequently, Denver and Phoenix look like economic behemoths in comparison to our little desert outpost; local citizens, tired of waiting for prosperity to land on our banks of the Rio Grande, are beginning to leave, looking for better opportunities in other places.
These issues were handled generically, with all too much circumspection by the group of eight people whose leadership skills should have been defined by problem-solving platform details that propose—with strength, determination and most important, solid plans—solutions to the problems that are keeping Burque at the bottom of many lists.
As the summer passed, one thing became clear. In the big pool of mayoral hopefuls, definition would come through a series of forums where candidates were asked to account for themselves and their campaigns, places where extemporaneous discourse revealed what websites and written statements did not. In these public forums, it was finally possible to discern who might best fill the role of Albuquerque’s captain and champion.
In such circumstances, Timothy M. Keller, currently the state of New Mexico auditor, has distinguished himself. Formally he articulates a plan that provides the best chance our city has to improve itself, regain its economic mojo and move forward collectively and progressively as the third decade of the 21st century looms. Keller has offered citizens a wide-ranging and optimistic set of plans to get this town back on track. By doing so, he has set himself apart from the other contenders. He is the best choice for mayor.
Here at Alibi central we thought a lot about all the candidates. Given their intrinsic similarities, our endorsement of Keller comes with some reflection on some of the other candidates whom our editorial board also considered for endorsement.
Brian Colón represents a strain of traditional Democratic state politics that in the past has provided our state with outstanding leadership, and Colón represents the best of that class of politicians. Yet Colón’s attachment to party politics as usual has been distracting and disheartening. Colón’s association with a law firm that has consistently been awarded city contracts and as such represented former APD Chief Schultz in a controversial case involving Taser International—as well as the candidate’s inability to draw the line on continued city contracts for the Robles Law Firm, if elected—is a deal breaker.
Gus Pedrotty, while displaying wisdom beyond his years as well as being one of the few candidates with an articulate vision of where he wants this city to go, lacks the experience and connections with local and state political cultures to manifest his great plans. Gus has a bright future ahead of him and we urge the winner of this election to seriously consider hiring Mr. Pedrotty as a valuable member of the next mayoral administration.
Susan Wheeler-Deichsel has her heart in the right place and definitely has the skill necessary to navigate the mayor’s boat. But we feel she would be far more effective as a voice of the community that emanates from the community, not from government.
Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson are the types of candidate this paper cannot endorse. Lewis’ early association with and support of megalomanic President Donald Trump sank his ship long before it reached our harbor. Johnson’s support of a resolution submitting to US Attorney General Session’s insane demands about immigrant-friendly cities and local policing are obscenely out of place in this melting pot city.
Michelle Garcia Holmes is a one issue candidate; while we appreciate her support of APD, her positions on other important civic issues are mostly unformed and impractical.
Ricardo Chaves is not fit to be mayor. His mercurial style and ostentatious displays of wealthy ignorance do not bode well for application in city government. He may do a good job of running parking lots, but we imagine his administration would be a nightmare comparable to what is currently going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Meanwhile, Keller’s imperfect but still laudable embrace of public financing, his commitment to improving this city through a comprehensive, well-researched and detailed crime-fighting plan and most importantly, his optimism and tenacity in the face of dour detractors, earns him our vote and we hope yours as well.