On July 26, Eddy Aragon registered with the City Clerk to run as a privately finance candidate for Mayor. Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor were required to gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City. The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect 3,000 signatures was from June 8 to August 10, 2021.
On August 10, the Albuquerque City Clerk certified the signatures on Aragon’s nominating potions and posted the following petition verified signature counts:
Required Petition Signatures: 3,000
Verified Petition Signatures: 3,305
Rejected Petition Signatures: -0-
Remaining Petition Signatures Needed: – 0 –
Percentage of Verified Petition Signatures Met: 100%
The link to the city clerk’s petition signature tally is here:
EDDY ARAGON FORMALY ANNOUNCES FOR MAYOR
Aragon first toyed with running for in May. It was in April that Eddy Aragon submitted his candidate registration paperwork to run for Mayor the first time this year. On April 27, it was reported Aragon decided not to run for Mayor and said at the time:
“I don’t have the motivation to run. I have a business to attend to but I will continue to point out the wrong direction the [New Mexico] GOP is taking including the role of Steve Pearce and Jay McCleskey. Republicans are backing Democrat Gonzales and that is traitorous. Not to mention that the current crime wave has happened under Gonzales’ watch.”
On Tuesday, August 24, Eddy Aragon changed his mind and formally declared his candidacy in the 2021 Albuquerque mayor’s race after qualifying for the ballot by collecting the required number of nominating signatures in two weeks. He made his announcement by calling a press conference to answer questions.
ABOUT EDDY ARAGON
Eddy Aragon is the CEO of ‘The Rock of Talk’ at ABQ.FM/AM 1600 KIVA on the Fox News network. He has owned the radio station for upwards of 8 years and has spent that time building on talk radio programming and developing new ways of consuming audio entertainment including news and music. Mr. Aragon is an 11th Generation New Mexican, a graduate of St. Pius High Scholl and a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Mr. Aragon has been divorced for about the past 6 years and has twin sons, Sebastian and Samuel.
Aragon worked in Washington D.C. for Democrat progressive and former United State Senator Jeff Bingaman, and worked on several campaigns including progressive Democrats and then congressman Tom Udall and progressive former long serving Speaker of the New Mexico House Raymond Sanchez. He later organized Arizona for Presidential Candidate, General Wesley Clark who placed 2nd in that state in 2004. At some point Aragon went from a decisively registered progressive Democrat to a decisively right wing conservative Der Führer Republican party member.
In the private sector, Mr. Aragon worked for 13 years in the Commercial Real Estate industry in Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada for CBRE. From 2007-2009 he was the number one Commercial Real Estate Broker by number of transactions completed in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During this year, he ran against former Congressman and Republican State Chairman Steve Pierce and lost and then ran for the Republican Party’s nomination in a special election for the Albuquerque based Congressional District vacated by Deb Haaland when she was appointed cabinet Secretary of the Interior by President Biden. Aragon lost to Republican Mark Moores when the Republican Party’s State Central chose Moores to be the nominee and who then went on to lose to Democrat Melanie Stansbury in a landslide.
Aragon currently hosts the afternoon talk program called “The Rock of Talk”. He is a regular contributor on New Mexico In Focus, CNN, Fox News and the Sean Hannity Show as well as on over 40 radio interviews on radio stations throughout the country.
In making his formal announcement for Mayor, Aragon had this to say:
“I am absolutely ready for this endeavor. … [As a radio station owner and talk radio host] I prepared for this every day for the last six years without knowing. … I started out as a Democrat; I know the Democrat Party pretty well. I think I have crossover appeal. I’m Hispanic, and that actually matters, I think, a heck of a lot more sometimes than party does.”
In his announcement, Aragon boldly proclaimed he can appeal to the city’s significant independent voter base and maybe attract Democrats, even though he is a staunch supporter of Der Fuher Donald Trump who lost New Mexico in a landslide vote to Democrat Joe Biden. The fallacy of Argon’s optimism is that according to the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office, only 27% of Albuquerque voters are registered Republicans while 47.3% are registered Democrats. Over the last 15 years, the city has voted solid blue city by Democrats and Independents in state wide and local elections. The city council is currently made up of 7 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
Links to related or quoted news stories herein are here:
ARAGON’S “DR. NO PLATFORM”
During his news conference, Aragon offered his potions on a number of major issues facing the city. This blog article identifies those issues and provides commentary and analysis on each one.
The issues discussed by Eddy Aragon in his announcement include the following:
1. ARAGON IS AGAINST ALBUQUERQUE’S CITY COUNCIL-APPROVED SANCTUARY CITY POLICY AND SEVERAL OTHER POLICIES AND PROGRAMS IN PLACE CREATED BY MAYOR TIM KELLER
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Simply put, Aragon is ignorant on this issue. He does not know the difference between a “sanctuary city” versus an “immigrant friendly” city, and there is a huge difference. The use of the term “sanctuary city” is a tried-and-true ploy by Der Führer Republicans to gin up hostility towards minorities, especially the undocumented.
The City is not and has never been a “sanctuary city”. Since 2001, city councils have never enacted a sanctuary city ordinance.
A “sanctuary city” denies cooperation with federal immigration officials and does not use city law enforcement resources to identify or apprehend illegal immigrants and does not use city law enforcement resources to enforce immigration laws.
An “immigrant friendly” city is one that implements “welcoming city” policies and does not provide for city enforcement of federal immigration laws and addresses city services including licensing and housing and the focus is to create inclusive, immigrant friendly and welcoming policies.
In 2001 the Albuquerque City Council enacted a resolution that declared Albuquerque an “immigrant friendly” city. An interesting note is that the ordinance was sponsored by Republican and very conservative City Councilor Hess Yntema whose wife is a naturalized American citizen from South America. Yntema served 2 terms on the city council representing the South East heights area that has the largest population of immigrant’s in the city.
Albuquerque’s “immigrant friendly” designation welcomes immigrants to the city and is largely symbolic and that was no mistake. Yntema, as well as his son, are respected attorneys in Albuquerque. In February, 2017, the City Council enacted a symbolic memorial that reaffirmed that Albuquerque’s “immigrant friendly” status, but not as a “sanctuary city”.
Policies and programs that Aragon likely is referring to that he opposes is the “Office of Equity and Inclusion”, which is the former Human Rights Office and the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs. Both offices are critical to a city as diversified as Albuquerque, but Aragon no doubt feels the city is helping the undocumented who should be arrested and deported for seeking refuge in the United States.
2. ARAGON IS OPPOSED TO HIRING BONUSES THE CITY OFFERS NEW EMPLOYEES IN CERTAIN HARD-TO-FILL MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT JOBS
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
What Aragon did not make clear is that he is targeting the bonuses being paid to recruite Albuquerque police officers. He has also objected to the excessive overtime paid to police and did so at the last debate between the candidates. The hardest to fill municipal government jobs are sworn police. For the last 12 years APD has been unable to keep up with APD retirements, let alone grow to the 1,200 full time sworn police the city needs to deal with crime. Currently APD has 950 sworn police with APD having an annual budget of $220 million which includes funding for 1,100 sworn police. Aragon’s opposition no doubt includes the recent hiring bonuses being offered of $15,000 to lateral police hires, $5,000 to new cadets and $1,500 for new police service aides. Recruitment of new officers has been difficult to the point that APD is now offering the hiring bonuses.
3. ARAGON IS OPPOSED THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES PROVIDED TO COMPANIES LIKE NETFLIX
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Aragon’s opposition to economic development incentives such as NETFLEX is a reflection of just how little he knows about the issue of economic development. It is very critical for the city to diversify its economy and wean itself off of federal government funding. Such incentives have worked very well not only for the city but the state as well as represented by the Netflex deal and the NBC deal.
THE NETFELEX DEAL
On October 8, 2018, it was announced that Netflix was buying Albuquerque Studios. The State contributed $10 million of Local Economic Development Act funds. The City of Albuquerque contributed another $4.5 million of Local Economic Development Funds. Originally it was estimated that at least 1,000 well-paying jobs per year will be created. The jobs will run the gamut of film and TV production work, most of which is project-based contract labor. Many of the jobs are expected to pay $70,000 a year. The purchase deal also calls for $1 billion worth of production spent over 10 years which will have a dramatic effect on the City and State economies.
On November 23, 2020, it was reported that Netflix will be expanding its presence in New Mexico by more than 10 times as it already exists by adding 300 acres to its existing 30-acre property located at Mesa Del Sol at the South border of the City. Netflex said it intends to make Albuquerque its North American production headquarters. The expansion comes a mere 2 years after the media giant purchased the ABQ Studios.
THE NBC DEAL
On July 22, 2019, NBC Universal announced it would open a studio in Albuquerque as part of a 10-year venture. The media giant took over and renovated and created sound stages at a vacant industrial building south of I-40 on Commercial Street, north of downtown in the vicinity of historic Martinez town. The media giant is expected to provide more than 330 full-time jobs year-round at the film studio.
NBC Universal employees earn about $58,000 a year which is a far cry from the minimum wage jobs the city is use to announcing with the arrival of new businesses. The studio operation is projected to generate an economic impact of $1.1 billion over a 10-year period.
The state’s Economic Development Department is providing $7.7 million through the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) to the redevelopment and production commitment. The City of Albuquerque will provide another $3 million from its LEDA fund which was approved by the Albuquerque City Council on June 17, 2019 by a unanimous vote.
RETURN ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES
On Thursday June 24, 2021, the Lujan Grisham Administration announced that the New Mexico film industry has brought in $623 million in what is known as a “direct spend” with one week left to go in the fiscal year. The film industry broke the record of $525.5 million set in fiscal year 2019. In fiscal year 2020, the film industry had a direct spend of $386.8 million despite the closure of the state during the pandemic. NBCUniversal has been able to kept production going during the pandemic.
According to the New Mexico Film Office, there have been 28 productions announced by the film office during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The number of New Mexico crew hired for the 28 productions is 3,302 with 986 New Mexico actors within those productions. The biggest impact is with background actors, which is 7,963 New Mexicans hired.
Contributing to the record-breaking year, there are film production public-private partnerships with NBCUniversal and Netflix. Both have signed a 10-year commitment to bring film and TV projects to the state.
In addition to making the announcement on the $623 direct spend, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham participated in the official opening for NBCUniversal’s production facility in Martinez town.
4. ARAGON IS OPPOSED TO THE $133 MILLION ALBUQUERQUE RAPID TRANSIT PROJECT. ARAGON WENT SO FAR AS SAYING HE WOULD EVALUATE AND DISMANTLE THE BUS LINE IF IT IS COST COST-EFFECTIVE
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
This is Aragon trying to pick low hanging and now rotting on the vine fruit. Aragon sat behind a microphone beating his jaw and gums on the ART Bus project on his program with many, many others taking time to attend city council meetings, public hearings in city council districts, attended federal court hearings on an injunction to stop Berry’s legacy project and even donated money to help oppose the project. Despite all the efforts to stop the ART Bus project, it was futile and it was completed. ART has completely destroyed historical route 66 and put a lot of people out of business. Now Aragon says he would “evaluate” dismantling the bus line if it is cost cost-effective. Aragon apparently does not know that has already been rendered moot and Mayor Keller announced the cost would be at least the $133 million to return central to what it was before construction of ART and that is why Keller decided to finish the project which took 2 years of Keller’s 4 year term.
5. ARAGON QUESTIONS THE “WISDOM” OF OPENING THE GATEWAY CENTER HOMELESS SHELTER AT THE LOVELACE GIBSON HOSPITAL COMPLEX ON GIBSON AND PURCHASED BY THE CITY. HE ALSO QUESTIONED THE CITY’S INVESTMENT IN OTHER GOVERNMENT INVESTMENTS IN HOMELESS SERVICES. ARAGON WENT SO FAR AS SAYING HE WANTS TO “RECRIMINALIZE” HOMELESSNESS SO THAT THE CITY’S APPROACH INCLUDES “PENALTIES IN ADDITION TO HELPING” PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON THE STREETS
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Aragon went out of his way to note that his grandmother experienced homelessness ostensibly as a showing he understands the homeless crisis but nonetheless said:
“I think the solutions that we’ve proposed thus far have not reduced the level of homelessness.”
What kind of crazy talk is “recriminalize” homelessness? It’s never been illegal to be homeless in this country, but Aragon wants to change it. Now that’s the ticket for Eddy Aragon to win the Mayor’s race: do a homeless sweep and arrest, charge and convict the homeless in order to warehouse them behind bars. No doubt Aragon thinks that jail will give the homeless a safe place to live, sleep, and be provided 3 meals a day. As an added measure, we need to arrest, prosecute and jail grandma to bring down the city’s spiking homeless count. Argon appears to be ignorant to the fact that voter’s approved in $15 Million in bonds in 2020 for the specific purpose of building a 24-7 homeless shelter. He also failed to say what he would do to reduce homelessness, except of course to prosecute and jail and shoot his mouth off.
6. ARAGON SAID HE WILL DO WHATEVER HE CAN TO FIGHT POTENTIAL FUTURE PANDEMIC-RELATED BUSINESS LOCKDOWNS
It’s very embarrassing, if it were not so damn crazy, that Aragon would say he will do whatever he can to fight potential pandemic-related business lockdowns. The truth is that as Mayor there is absolutely nothing Aragon can do to stop such closures if they are in fact ordered again. If he tries, he will likely be slapped silly with a civil lawsuit and then be fined for violating public health care closure orders.
The New Mexico “Public Health Act” (NMPHA), and the “Public Health Emergency Response Act” (PHERA) give the Governor broad powers to mandate closures.
Links to review the entire Public Health Act can be found are here:
Link to the New Mexico Public Health Emergency Response Act are here:
It is recommended that Aragon pick up the phone and call Grants Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks who vowed to defy the governor’s lockdown orders that shuttered nonessential shops to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. On May 28, 2020, the New Mexico Supreme Court granted the writ against the unhinged Grants Mayor Hicks that was sought by Attorney General Hector Balderas, prohibiting him from operating city facilities in defiance of state public health orders and prohibiting him from issuing directives that contradicted the health care orders. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the New Mexico Department of Health has the authority to enforce emergency public health orders and may issue a civil penalty of $5,000 per day.
7. ARAGON SAID HE WOULD OPPOSE A VACCINE MANDATE FOR THE CITY’S WORKFORCE
EDITOR’S COMMENTATY AND ANALYSIS
This is not at all surprising given Aragon’s denial of science.
“Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine. An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.”
The link to the complete quoted article is here:
On Monday, August 23, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine making it the first in the United States to win the coveted designation and giving even more businesses, schools and universities greater confidence to adopt vaccine mandates.
On August 28, during a Near North Valley Coalition Mayoral forum held live in real time and posted on Youtube, Aragon boasted to the audience he has not been vaccinated as he pandered to Der Führer Republican voters. The single most obscene argument made by Aragon during the debate for not taking the vaccine was his sick or very warped use of the term “my body, my right to choose” a term used by people who support the “right to choose” when it comes to abortion. A person has every right to choose not to take any vaccine to protect themselves from a disease, but there is absolutely no constitutional right to catch a contagious disease and then spread it to others resulting in death. A woman’s right to choose should never be compared on the same level as receiving inoculation for a contagious disease.
The You Tube link to the debate is here:
MANDATORY VACINATIONS CAN BE ORDERED BY GOVERNMENT
It was in 1905 that the United States Supreme Court in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, (Citations: 197 U.S. 11 (more)25 S. Ct. 358, 49 L. Ed. 643, 1905 U.S. LEXIS 1232) where the justices held that a health regulation requiring smallpox vaccination was a reasonable exercise of the state’s police power that did not violate the liberty rights of individuals under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Theoretically, but not at all likely, is that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Department of Health could issue mandatory health care orders that all those who reside in New Mexico must get the vaccine, and it would be within the powers granted by the New Mexico legislature and the the New Mexico “Public Health Act” (NMPHA), and the “Public Health Emergency Response Act” (PHERA). Further, the Albuquerque City Council could enact a resolution that mandates all city employees must get the vaccine as a condition of employment.
The link to a related blog article entitled “Over 100 years Of Government Mandated Vaccines And Masking Mandates In The Context Of Employment, Religion, Disability And The Schools” is here:
8. ARAGON SAID HE WOULD NOT FIGHT THE FEDERAL COURT APPROVED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT THAT MANDATES REFORMS WITHIN THE ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT. HE DID SAY THE CITY NEEDS TO HASTEN COMPLIANCE IN ORDER TO GET PAST THE COURT OVERSIGHT
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Aragon said about the settlement: “it’s something that we have to do, and we should shut up about it.”
This is the only issue that Aragon seems to understand to a limited extent and what needs to be done. For the last 6 years, the city has been struggling to implement the 271 agreed to and court ordered reforms all the while APD command staff and the police union has resisted. At least Aragon understands that you have to do what a federal court has ordered.
FINAL COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The race for Mayor has change dramatically in just a few weeks on a number of levels. City races are officially nonpartisan, but that has not been the case for a number of decades. Aragon is the only Republican who qualified for the mayoral ballot and is now running against Progressive Democrat Incumbent Tim Keller and Conservative “Democrat in Name Only” Sheriff Manny Gonzales who is running on a “law and order” platform and consolidating APD and BCSO, something he has no power as Mayor to do.
Aragon is a staunch supporter of Der Führer Trump. Aragon is as qualified to be Mayor of Albuquerque as was Der Führer Trump was to be President, which is not qualified at all. Aragon would be just as big of a disaster as the Trump crazy. Aragon with his talk show is on the same level as FOX News and the likes of Sean Hannity. Aragon enjoys badgering and taking issue with anyone who is Democrat or he considers progressive. There is no doubt that the Der Führer Republican voters in the city will be far more likely to vote now in the Mayor’s race and vote for Aragon. Aragon ostensibly is not aware that the City Charter makes the Mayor a full time job and he can not be employed by his radio station and do his daily ramblings. The problem Aragon has is that despite what he may think, he is not as popular in the Republican Party as he thinks he is. Within the last year, Aragon ran and lost the race for State Party Chairman against Steve Pierce and ran and lost the Republican Party’s nomination to Mark Moores in a special election to determine the Albuquerque area’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES
Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms. When Gonzales says, “I answer to the people who voted me into office” he is saying he answers only to those who support him.
After Gonzales traveled to the White House last summer to appear with Der Führer and after working and appearing with former Republican Attorney General William Barr, Gonzales became “persona non gratis” within the Democratic Party to the point some within the party demanded he resign. He is now considered a Democrat In Name Only (DINO). Gonzales appearing on FOX News to oppose Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health orders also alienated many Democrats.
On December 19, a defiant Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales on a video proclaimed he would not enforce “unconstitutional laws” when it comes to the corona virus pandemic. Gonzles does not understand that a badge does not give him a license to practice law. In a video posted to YouTube, Gonzales said he sympathizes with business owners and houses of worship, and accused politicians of “turning everyday citizens into villains.” Gonzales got the publicity he covets when local news agencies covered the story. Gonzales had this to say:
“I choose to direct this agency’s time and resources to the laws deemed to keep people free of crime. … Overreaching restrictions will harm our community. For that reason, we will not follow along with any orders that subvert constitutional rights.”
A link to the YouTube Video is here:
It’s no secret that Manny Gonzales was attempting to build a coalition of conservative democrats, Independents and traditional Republicans and include Der Führer Trump Republicans. Eddy Aragon is adopting the same coalition strategy as Gonzales.
MAYOR TIM KELLER
Keller is the front runner because of incumbency, but that may not last long if the race continues to get as ugly as it already is with ethics complaints being exchanged between Keller and Gonzales who both have a history of being ethically challenged. Over the last 4 years, Mayor Keller’s accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. Violent crime has only gotten worse with the killing of 13-year-old by another 13-year-old boy in a school yard who took his dad’s gun to school and with APD officers now being shot 4 at a time as they try to make an arrest. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina – who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes – permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For 4 years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved. But what the hell, we got a Mayor who wants the public to pay for and build a $60 million dollar soccer stadium so he can run around reliving his high school glory days.
The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little to no economic development actually being done by the city.
With all 3 of the candidates for Mayor, what we will get is a continuation of mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. We will not be getting a mayor who actually knows what they are doing, who can make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election. With all 3, we will get a Mayor that will make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them.
There are way too many reasons that a Mayor Manny Gonzales or a Mayor Eddy Aragon would be an absolute disaster for the city as Mayor. You do not replace one disaster with an even bigger law enforcement disaster such as Gonzales or a Der Führer Trump Republican such as Eddy Aragon. Voters now have the choice of the lesser of 2 evils and 1 Der Führer Republican Party Trumpster. Voters will likely be more comfortable keeping the disaster and failure we already have as Mayor.
Links to related blog articles are here: