Editorial: Where To Now?

Mayoral Campaign Reveals Similarities

August March
3 min read
Where to Now?
Candidates Archuleta, Colón and Keller (Diana Cervantes via The Daily Lobo)
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Following a successful appearance at an encounter with other candidates and an interested public, Albuquerque mayoral candidate Deanna Archuleta suddenly dropped out of the race last Friday afternoon, citing family concerns. Archuleta told supporters and the press that personal issues would prevent her from continuing what many saw as a vibrant, engaged and potentially victorious campaign for the city’s top job.

While such developments are not unexpected in the world of politics or human life—Archuleta’s choice to spend time with her aging father instead of continuing to engage
la politica is admirable and further points to her credibility and concern for others—her decision brings to the fore a question that has been looming as the race takes shape.

And so we wonder: In such a crowded field of candidates—participating in what has been advertised as a nonpartisan election—who have generally positioned themselves as centrist or left-leaning, how are this city’s citizens able to make a relevant choice?

On topics such as immigration and APD participation with immigration enforcement, the candidates who appeared at last week’s forum
seemed to be on the same page. While outlier candidates like Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson have gone on record as saying they want our local police force to cooperate with federal efforts designed to stem the flow of immigrants coming to live in the Duke City—Ricardo Chaves, a local businessman who is also seeking the post, was vague and contradictory in his response to such issues when Weekly Alibi met with him prior to the forum—the other candidates seem unified in their position.

While some have made more concrete efforts than others to attest to the importance of immigrants to our city’s progress, the forum participants all seem to think that local involvement with federal immigration policing is a bad idea.

The same sort of unity of purpose has been noted in the candidates’ feelings about re-visioning and restructuring the local police force. Everyone at the forum seemed to agree that APD needs deep changes in order to become an effective and community-conscious crime-fighting force.

Crime and job development seem to be the flagship issues for all the candidates in the mix right now. A brief scan of each candidate website generally finds the phrases “safe city” and “more jobs” to be prominent, making it difficult for citizens to differentiate between candidates whose positions on these issues are strikingly similar.

On the surface such similarities might sound good, but they bode ill for the progressive movement in Albuquerque governance. Amidst so many similar planks in platforms that appear, on the surface, to mirror each other, it’s reasonable to fear that progressive and centrist voters will split the vote unnecessarily, giving right-leaning candidates the advantage they need to win the race and ultimately continue the failed policies of the Berry administration.

It’s time for the remaining Democratic and independent candidates for Albuquerque’s mayor to meet and decide how they can best serve Burque’s interest through consolidation and compromise. The current ensemble of progressives and independents (Brian Colón, Tim Keller, Gus Pedrotty, Susan Wheeler-Deichsel and Michelle Garcia Holmes) practically guarantee that the progressive vote will splinter come election day, fracturing any chance for real change that Albuquerque needs if it is to move forward.
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