As the saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows.
However, the makeup of the new City Council leadership is not as strange as it appears.
Mayor Tim Keller appears to have been sent a clear message by the Albuquerque City Council that any attempt on his part to pursue a “progressive agenda” for the city will be met by a conservative coalition of three (3) Democrats and three (3) Republicans with a supermajority of six (6) votes.
(See December 5, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, Metro & NM section, page A-5, Council elects Sanchez president. Harris VP.)
The Albuquerque City Council has elected Democrat City Councilor Ken Sanchez as council president and ultra-right wing Republican Don Harris as Vice President of the City Council even when the City Council has a 6-3 makeup favoring Democrats.
Sanchez was able to become City Council president by getting the votes of Republicans Don Harris, Trudy Jones and Brad Winter and failed to get the votes of Democrats Isaac Benton, Diane Gibson and Pat Davis.
Councilor Sanchez was just elected to his fourth term and has served as Council President twice before as President.
Harris, Jones and Winter are as partisan Republicans as you can get and have towed the Republican agenda for the last eight (8) years and were reliable votes for the Republican Administration.
At no time did Harris, Winter and Jones ever criticize or take issue with the previous administration, even when it came to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and you can expect that to change with Mayor Keller.
Sanchez was able to secure the votes of fellow west side Democrat Councilors Klaressa Pena and newly elected City Councilor Cynthia Borrego.
Councilor Borrego during her campaign actually campaigned and held herself out as a “conservative” Democrat.
To complicate matters for Mayor Keller is that Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones was also chosen Chairwoman of the Council’s Budget Committee.
The Budget Committee by far is the most influential of all the City Council committees and the Chairperson sets the agenda and tone.
Councilor Jones is the one who has declared war on “panhandlers” and who has opposed “sanctuary city” policies.
What was a real slap in the face is the fact that so called progressive City Councilor Pat Davis sought to be Council President and when he lost he sought to be Vice President.
Democrat City Councilors Diane Gibson and Isaac Benton both voted for Pat Davis, with Davis voting for himself and securing only 3 votes.
Davis is now running for Congress and no doubt felt that being President of the Council would help him win the nomination.
Ken Sanchez and Pat Davis I consider Democrats in name only (DINO’s) because for the past two years, they both have agreed with the Republican Administration and agreed with the Republican City Councilors on so many strategies and issues you would think they were in fact Republicans.
Both Sanchez and Davis were strong supporters of the ART bus project, refused to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance, voted for the final adoption of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers, and have done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and never made comment on the sixth scathing reports of the Federal Monitor.
(See also my blog article “Pat Davis Can Run For Congress But He Cannot run From His Record at https://www.petedinelli.com/2017/06/07/pat-davis-can-run-for-congress-but-cant-hide-from-his-record/)
During the past two years, Pat Davis has gone out of his way and has taken great pride in working on legislation to cosponsor with Republican Don Harris.
Pat Davis now knows how far his work and cooperation with Don Harris has gotten him.