Jean Bernstein and her husband, Mark, created Flying Star Cafes, which originally were the Double Rainbow, exactly 36 years ago with the first to open on Central in what was then the run-down Nob Hill District which is in City Council District 6. They are viewed by many as ardent believers in Albuquerque’s potential and the power of small businesses to raise up their local economies. Over the years, they have continued to invest in Nob Hill and District 6.
On November 21, 2023, the on line news agency New Mexico Sun published the below opinions column written by Jean Bernstein:
“I have been asked by a number of people to share my observations about the 2023 Council race. I’ve always made a point of staying out of partisan politics but in recent years I have become very worried about the future of our Albuquerque.
It is clear our local leaders are no longer elected by the citizens of this city or state. For example, in the recent District 6 City Council race only 22% of eligible voters came out. Very few people attended the live forums. I doubt many people read the candidates’ position statements or investigated their past jobs and performances. Many people in the district did not know there was a Council race or a runoff.
Why are people in this city so apathetic? I believe a major reason is that most people, no matter their backgrounds, economic levels, or party affiliations are demoralized – they feel their votes do not matter, that nothing really changes. They are right because when leaders know that no one is paying attention, they are empowered to do whatever they want.
Recent examples are Democrat Tim Keller’s Gateway Center and Republican Richard Berry’s Albuquerque Rapid Transit. Gateway’s good intentions are far from realized; its actual expenditures will rise far above its original budget; and its servicing capacity will fall far short of the original promise.
ART cost $50 Million OVER its original budget, construction closed Central for 12 months, and destroyed at least 110 local businesses. Buses are mostly empty, annual operational costs are over $11 million dollars and only a few of the development projects that were to accompany ART materialized. Mayors’ pet projects have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, never delivered (or will deliver) their promises, and will never be reviewed or assessed as to their effectiveness.
Who really elects our future leaders? I think the big political machines that deliver the money and marketing hold the real power, no matter what party they represent.
This year’s District 6 race is between two Democrats, a David and Goliath story. “Goliath” is the Democratic money machine that has put tremendous muscle into the candidate, Nichole Rogers, who, by her own admission is proud of “failing forward”.
Mountains of verified evidence are accumulating about Rogers’ mishandling of regulatory filings, city grants, and private donations for her now-defunct Welstand Foundation. There is much more coming to light about Rogers’ personal financial history, but that’s for the news channels.
Yet, the National Democratic organizations, unions, and the Keller Administration machine continue to push their endorsement of this questionable individual. I ask – why wasn’t this candidate properly vetted by them BEFORE placing her in a race for an important position requiring 100% trustworthiness? Wouldn’t they have conducted a background check of an applicant for a government job before hiring? Does this machine even care if Rogers has a record of bad financial dealings?
“David” is Jeff Hoehn, who is a well-known nonprofit leader with a good track record. He has served on his neighborhood board and other community projects. He is well-versed in City policies and issues, especially homelessness.
He is wet behind the ears as a political contender yet still did a decent job of fundraising entirely on his own with a group of devoted neighborhood helpers.
He has gained an impressive amount of grassroots support which continues to grow. Oddly enough, this competent, homegrown local guy is the underdog, finding himself pitted against his own political party! He is struggling against the Democratic money marketing machine.
I can guess why these huge entities are intent on controlling the results of District 6’s little election in our small city. A bi-partisan City Council will not rubber stamp pet projects, it will demand accountability and evaluate projects’ performances. Both projects I mentioned above were enormously UNPOPULAR with constituents, yet our mayors pushed them through anyway. A politically balanced council will care what the citizens of their districts really want.
Our faith in our system is really what is at stake here. This national money is infecting our elections, weakening, and sickening our entire country. Local elections should stay local, and issues and candidate character should be driving votes, not slick Tic Toc ads.
Candidates and communities must be left to run their own campaigns, raise their own money, and to let their citizens decide which candidates best serve the interests of their entire communities. This is the story of District 6 and many more like it. We citizens deserve at least this much.”
THE VETTING OF NICHOLE L. ROGERS
In her November 21, 2023 guest column, Jean Bernstein, alluded that there was much more coming to light about Nichole Rogers’ personal financial history. That in fact happened on November 27 when the blog article titled in part “Vetting Of City Council District 6 Candidate Nichole Rogers Reveals Disturbing History Of Civil Litigation, Evictions, Property Liens, Misdemeanor Citations, Failure To File Non-Profit State And Federal Documentation; Rogers Residency In District Disputed …” was published on www.PeteDinelli.com
Among Rogers professional experience claims is she is involved with the nonprofit and charitable corporation known as Welstand Foundation founded by Rogers in 20219 and managed by Rogers. The corporation as a charitable organization over the years has received both city and private funding. The blog article documents mismanagement of Welstand Foundation by Nichole Rogers with the failure to file mandatory documents with the IRS, the New Mexico Attorney General and the New Mexico Secretary of State. The IRS tax-exempt nonprofit status for Welstand was revoked on May 15, 2022, but she continued to fund raise. It was also listed as “Not In Good Standing” by the NM Secretary of State website as of October 20, 2023, but that has now changed. When the news reports first broke on Roger’s problems relating to her nonprofit, Rogers admitted that she mishandled her charitable non-profit, which benefited from both private contributions and COVID relief money from the city. Rogers said this:
“I am a person who has had successes and has had failures. But I really believe in failing forward. When you know better, you do better and I’m someone who can teach folks to watch out for these pitfalls.”
HISTORY OF CIVIL LITIGATION AND MISDEAMEANOR CHARGES
An extensive review of public records and court dockets revealed a disturbing history of civil litigation over debts and money due, failure to pay rent, evictions and property liens. The total amount of judgments for debts and property liens filed were at least $25,726.47. It was also revealed misdemeanor traffic offense convictions by Nicole L. Rogers with times when bench warrants were issued for her arrest for failures to appear. She did not disclose to the Albuquerque Journal her misdemeanor convictions in its candidate questionnaire.
A review of court dockets was conducted to determine the extent of litigation Nichole Rogers has been involved with over the years. A listing of 7 specific civil court and 4 metro court misdemeanor cases was compiled which are believed to be cases Rogers has been named the defendant. When confronted with the cases, Rogers declined to admit or deny if the cases were in fact her as a named defendant. She said NO in her Albuquerque Journal candidate questionnaire if she had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor which is false.
The blog article explored the allegation that Nichole Rogers has not lived in District 6 for the 6 years she has claimed and as she told the Albuquerque Journal in its candidate questionnaire. She has said at forums she has lived in the district for 6 years which is false and has raised her two children at the address she claims to be her home. The home in District 6 is a rental she owns and has rented to others as she lived with her children. It has been determined she has lived on the Westside in an apartment with others and is now using a District 6 residence that she owns but has rented to others in order to run for city council.
ROGERS IS MAYOR TIM KELLER’S DESIGNATED CANDIDATE
The blog article explored how Mayor Tim Keller was involved with Nichole Rogers candidacy and how he discouraged Jeff Hoehn from running saying he could not win and that he wanted a “woman of color”. The article explored how members of his administration took and active roll in helping Nichole Rogers to secure nominating signatures to get her on the ballot and collecting $5.00 qualifying donations to secure $40,000 in public financing. It is clear that Rogers is Mayor Tim Keller’s candidate in District 6. Rogers herself has told progressive democrats that she is the Mayor’s candidate to replace City Councilor Pat Davis.
You can review the entire blog article in the link provided in the postscript below.
ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL GUEST COLUMN BY CITY COUNCIL DSITRICT 6 CANDIDATE JEFF HOEHN
On Sunday, November 26, the Albquerquerqu Journal published the below guest column submitted by City Council District 6 Candidate Jeff Hoehn:
“I am Jeff Hoehn. I am a progressive, pro-choice Democrat and I am running for City Council for District 6.
Voters have an important choice to make in the Dec. 12 runoff election. This race began with six, and is now down to two. I am proud to have been endorsed by every other candidate in this race with the exception of Abel Otero, who is supporting my opponent after ethics issues forced him out of the race. Most recently, Kristin Raven Greene wholeheartedly endorsed me following her taking nearly 20% of the general election vote. Raven and I are both strong supporters of economic development in District 6, particularly along historic Route 66 and east of San Mateo. I am happy to welcome all of Raven’s voters into the fold.
With the race down to two, voters have the choice of more of the same, or the change we need. Mayor Keller has made no secret of his strong support for my opponent. On the other hand, I am proud to have run an independent, grassroots campaign that has attracted a broad base of support among people of all political stripes.
I chose to run in order to make Albuquerque better, particularly on the issue of homelessness which is my area of expertise. I entered the race late, and missed out on public financing. This is why I am privately financed. I have raised money from neighbors, friends and family members. My campaign is clean and transparent. This brings up an important point of difference between me and my opponent. I will bring ethical leadership to City Council.
Coming from a working-class union family, I was privileged to obtain a good education while working to put myself through school. I have lived in Albuquerque for 21 years, all of it in District 6. I worked hard as a cook and a chef while in school at UNM full time. After receiving a master’s degree in Public Administration more than 10 years ago, I have dedicated my time and my professional efforts to our community.
I was executive director of the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, a nonprofit that is committed to helping people with disabilities and kids at Carrie Tingley Hospital. I am now executive director of Cuidando los Niños, a nonprofit that helps children and families who are experiencing homelessness. When I began five years ago, our budget was $800,000; it is now approaching $5 million. That is real community impact, and that is real leadership.
Compare my opponent’s nonprofit experience, which was covered by the Journal on Nov. 3. Welstand Foundation was never registered with the NM Attorney General’s office or the NM Secretary of State. The foundation lost its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status with the IRS. Yet it continued to accept funds, which have never been accounted for. Voters have serious, legitimate questions about where the money went. Asking such questions is not a negative political attack.
We need ethics and leadership in government now more than ever. Before you buy into my opponent’s negative characterizations of me and my campaign, check for yourself at jeff4d6.com. I am happy to speak to anyone about my background, experience and ideas. Your vote on — or before — Dec. 12 is critical. Thank you for your support.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, the city’s increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health care programs and little economic development.
It is District 6 that has suffered the brunt of what plagues the city the most with the highest crime rates in the city, including property crime, violent crime and drug trafficking, distressed minority communities, the proliferation of the homeless and service providers and little or no economic development.
District 6 can no longer afford a city councilor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times, better results and who is indebted to Mayor Tim Keller and who wants to make a living off of the taxpayer for herself and her nonprofit. Eight years of poor representation by the current city councilor has been more than enough.
What is needed is a City Councilor who is independent, actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on their next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them and who will not just do what Mayor Tim Keller wants them to do and who will just rubber stamp what Mayor Tim Keller wants. Hoehn represents now the type of leadership needed by District 6.
District 6 is entitled to a City Councilor who is ethical, who is above reproach, who knows how to manage finances both privately and in their private business dealings, who actually knows the problems of the District by actually living in the District for more than a few years, something that cannot be said of Nichole Rogers.
Given what has been reveal about Nichole Rogers and what is at stake, voters of District 6 should have no reservations voting for Jeff Hoehn for City Council.
Click on the below blog article to read it in full:
Vetting Of City Council District 6 Candidate Nichole Rogers Reveals Disturbing History Of Civil Litigation, Evictions, Property Liens, Misdemeanor Citations, Failure To File Non-Profit State And Federal Documentation; Rogers Residency In District Disputed; District 6 Voters Should Say No To Nichole Rogers “Failing Forward” Candidacy And Vote Jeff Hoehn City Council