The District 4 contest has turned into a real cringer. It was bad enough that the race turned negative so quickly, with incumbent Brad Winter and challenger Paulette de'Pascal trading nasty barbs in the press. Then an errant e-mail revealed that Albuquerque Transit Director and former city councilor Greg Payne was working on de'Pascal's campaign, a major ethics violation if he was doing so on the city's dime.
Amazingly, last week, the race became even more ridiculous.
de'Pascal's experience seemed on the thin side from the beginning. She says she lobbied in the Legislature to promote the film industry in New Mexico. Other than that she doesn't seem to have much of a history of political or community involvement.
Last week, however, the Albuquerque Journal revealed that de'Pascal isn't merely unqualified for the position of city councilor. She also deceived the Journal about her educational background. On a newspaper questionnaire, de'Pascal said she has a BS and an MBA, but she now admits she never took a single class for these degrees. They're mail-order credentials from Almeda University, an online “college” that offers credit for “life experience.”
Ugh. Are you kidding me?
What's worse is de'Pascal received funding for her campaign under the public financing system that's being road-tested by the City of Albuquerque for the first time this election cycle. de'Pascal, this idiot, has done more than any conservative loudmouth to encourage public distrust in what's otherwise a very worthwhile and helpful system for cutting big money out of politics.
The Alibi believes she should drop out of the race immediately. Whether it's fair or not, publicly financed candidates are going to be held to a higher standard than privately financed ones, at least for the foreseeable future. de'Pascal has utterly failed the test, placing a black mark on a system that might need some tweaking but is otherwise necessary to reform our troubled democracy.
So the only sensible choice for District 4 voters is Brad Winter. During his two terms in office, Winter has proven he's a smart, honest politician who always has the best interests of his constituents in mind. With the exception of Mayor Chavez—who still bears Winter a grudge after the councilor ran against him for mayor two years ago—Winter seems to get along with everyone. In the past, he's occasionally been criticized for being too diplomatic, more of a compromiser than a crusader. That said, he's been a passionate advocate for ethics reform and, as the senior member of the Council, he brings much-needed experience to our municipal legislature. Vote for him.