City Boss Fight 2009
The Hail Mary Pass
Citizens without backing or big money run for political office
At the start of election season, it seemed like Mayor Martin Chavez had it on lockdown. Albuquerque lazily climbs into the sack with an incumbent, goes the thinking. Most people will check the box next to that old familiar name. But a 406-person poll released Sunday, Sept. 27, shows conservative Rep. R.J. Berry in the lead with 31 percent, followed by Chavez at 26 percent and Richard Romero at 24 percent. The survey was conducted by Brian Sanderoff’s Research & Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal. The next mayor has to snag 40 percent of the vote or we'll be facing a runoff. Which leaves us with the question: Could the Tuesday, Oct. 6 election really be anyone's race?
Grab the Power
Last-minute Election Day voting info
In political circles, people used to always talk about voting as a civic responsibility. That’s fine. Democracy will crumble (has crumbled?) without an engaged citizenry. But the conversation about voting has changed somewhat in the 21st century. People don’t talk about duty so much anymore. These days the message is usually about power. As in, use it or lose it, baby.
Alibi Election Guide
More Cash Means Fewer Clunkers—This year's election cycle offers a couple of exciting candidates, some so-so contenders and one or two duds. Over the past few weeks the Alibi sat down with those running for mayor and those vying for the odd-numbered City Council seats. The reaction from us was mostly: Meh.
Election Day is Tuesday, Oct. 6
You have to bring a photo ID to the polls now. That means your passport, government badge, driver’s license, student ID, union card or basically anything that has both your picture and name and is official in some capacity. For a complete list, go to Common Cause New Mexico’s election protection website, counteveryvotenm.org.
Print-n-Save Voters Guide
Print out this handy reminder and take it with you to the polls (click on the “print” button above for a printer-friendly version). Disagree with the endorsements? Cross out ours and write in yours.
In addition to sitting down with candidates to interview them face-to-face, the Alibi also sent all the contenders questionnaires. Click on the names below to read their responses. Check back for more that roll in.
The Alibi endorses: Richard Romero
Mayor Martin Chavez is really good at a few things. And he’ll never let you forget it.
Chavez has been mayor of Albuquerque for 12 years, from 1993 to 1997, and later for two consecutive terms beginning in 2001. In the past, Albuquerque mayors were only allowed to serve two terms back to back. But Chavez sued the city early last year to have the term limit for the office removed—after he withdrew from the race for U.S. Senate—and he was successful.
Occupation: Retired Educator
Over 35 years, I have built a career of public service—as an Air Force veteran, teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent of APS and as a leader of the state Senate.
District 1: Southern Portion of the Westside
Unopposed incumbent: Ken Sanchez
Ken Sanchez is running for re-election this year without a challenger. Sanchez knows the issues of his Southwest district well. Gangs flourish in the area, and property crime numbers are up. Houses were built, but retail wasn't. Extra fees and taxes have been paid into city coffers for years, but infrastructure is lacking. The roadways are bizarre in the area, and the passages across the Rio Grande are often clogged.
District 3: Downtown, Parts of the South Valley
The Alibi endorses: Isaac Benton
You can't ask for a better councilor than Isaac Benton. Early in his first term, he was faced with the immediate problem of flooding in Barelas and the Santa Barbara / Martineztown area. Benton says the flooding wasn't a top priority of Mayor Martin Chavez' administration at first. He passed a bill through the Council that forced it to the top of Chavez' to-do list. Benton's efforts resulted in new storm drainage retention ponds in those neighborhoods that reduce the chance of future floods.
District 5: Northern Portion of the Westside
The Alibi endorses: Michael Cadigan
Dan Lewis wants Michael Cadigan's job, and his campaigning fueled perhaps the ugliest Council race this season. Unfortunately, Cadigan was a topic Lewis couldn't let lie during his endorsement interview with the Alibi. The pastor and small-business owner called the councilor ineffective and demeaning, said he was too hostile to the city administration, and declared him “combative.” And that was just the first five minutes.
District 7: Uptown
The Alibi endorses: no one
What a horrible thing to not endorse any candidates, especially when we started out with three hopefuls. But here's how the District 7 race has gone down: Two months ago, incumbent Sally Mayer was running for re-election against challengers David Green and Mike Cook. David Green failed to turn in his Declaration of Candidacy to the City Clerk's Office in time. His name will be absent from the ballot, although he's still running as a write-in candidate. Green doesn't appear to have a campaign website, so all we can tell you about him is this: He's a baker and this is his first time running for public office.
District 9: Southeast Heights
The Alibi endorses: Don Harris
In his first term, Don Harris did a lot of good for people in his district who aren't the noisiest or most powerful. His predecessors "kissed the ring of Four Hills," as Harris puts it, and didn't do much else. Keeping Four Hills happy might be all it takes to secure a Council seat in District 9, but Harris tackled more.
The Alibi endorses all bonds proposed on the ballot. This year, all bonds are General Obligation (GO). Bonds are debt the city incurs for capital improvement projects. When a city takes out a bond, it promises to pay the balance back in full with interest. None of these bonds will increase property taxes. Here's what you're being asked to vote for.
In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance to review the city charter. From that review, the Council presented 10 recommendations to the mayor that would amend the charter. The mayor vetoed all the amendments, but the Council overrode his veto in August. The result is that the voting public now gets to decide on the amendments individually in this election. Here's what they are: