“The Paper” PPP Poll Finds Mayor Keller At 47% With 21% Undecided; Runoff Becoming Unlikely

The City of Albuquerque municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 2. On the ballot will be the office for Mayor, the 5 odd numbered City Council Districts 1,3,5,7, and 9 seats and a voter bond approval request for $50 million dollars to build a soccer stadium as well as the offices of school board members. The 3 candidates for Mayor are Progressive Democrat incumbent Mayor Tim Keller and Conservative Democrat Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales and Trump Republican Radio Talk Show Host Eddy Aragon. If no candidate secures 50% plus one of the vote, a run off will be held between the two top vote getters.

On October 5, the on-line news agency “The Paper” published a report on an opinion poll it commissioned with Public Policy Polling (PPP) . The poll was then reported upon by KOAT-TV.

The Paper has become the replacement for the “Weekly Alibi”, a decisively progressive leaning weekly publication which was sold a few years ago. One the principal owners and publishers of “The Paper” is self-proclaimed progressive Democrat Albquerquerqu City Councilor Pat Davis. Public Policy Polling (PPP) is a Democratic polling firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to its web site, it “provides a highly accurate alternative to expensive traditional telephone surveys at a low cost with reliable accuracy.”

https://www.publicpolicypolling.com/

The link to the news reports are here:

The Paper:

https://abq.news/2021/10/exclusive-poll-mayor-keller-hasnt-convinced-enough-voters-to-win-again-yet/

EDITOR’S NOTE: The link to The Paper, where you can subscribe and donate to it is here:

https://abq.news/

https://www.koat.com/article/new-albuquerque-mayoral-poll-released-shows-keller-as-front-runner/37875775

PPP POLL RESULTS

The public opinion poll was of 793 likely voters with a margin of error 3.5%, plus or minus. The results of the PPP poll as reported by the Paper and KOAT TV are as follows:

Tim Keller: 47%,
Manny Gonzales: 21%,
Eddy Aragon: 11%
NOT SURE: 21%,”

The 3 major take aways from the raw percentage numbers are:

1. Mayor Keller needs to convince 3%, plus one, of the 21% not sure voters to avoid a runoff with 50%.

2. 34% of likely Albuquerque voters will not be voting for Keller and voting for Gonzales and Aragon combined.

3. The 21% “not sure” is somewhat high given the fact that the election is less than a month away. In other words, those who want someone else still can not figure out who else they want.

OTHER REVEALING POLL NUMBERS

Editing out the political commentary and analysis from the Paper report, the following information is quoted as gleaned from the report about the PPP poll:

“After a turbulent year under a pandemic and with violent crime reaching all-time highs, almost 1/3 of Keller’s 2017 voters aren’t ready to vote for him again. Almost 20% of respondents who say they voted for the mayor four years ago now have an unfavorable opinion of him and another 12% say they still don’t know.” …

Across the board, poll respondents indicated they did not know who [radio talk show host Eddy Aragon] is, to the tune of 63%. … [Aragon] as the lone registered Republican in the race does, however, pull votes away from the race’s other conservative, Democrat Sheriff Manny Gonzales. Some 27% of voters say they would vote for Gonzales in a runoff election after voting for Aragon in the first election.

[According to the poll] just 24% of voters see the sheriff favorably. … [The poll found that Gonzales is] unpopular with Hispanic voters [with] almost half, 45%, having an unfavorable opinion of Gonzales.

[According to the poll], Trump voters aren’t excited about Manny [ with the poll finding] 1 in 5 voters who said they voted for Trump over Biden say they have an unfavorable opinion of the sheriff. …

Tim Keller has majority support among women, both younger voters and older voters, Hispanic voters, and among Democrats or those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020. Although his overall favorability is in the red, 21% of likely voters are still undecided. That includes those 12% of his previous supporters who are still persuadable.”

https://abq.news/2021/10/exclusive-poll-mayor-keller-hasnt-convinced-enough-voters-to-win-again-yet/

OTHER POLLING NUMBERS

Confidential sources are saying that a poll that has been taken and not been released to the public is circulating showing that Tim Keller has already broken the 50% barrier with Gonzales and Aragon trailing by significand numbers. There are no details as to how many were polled, when the poll was taken, how it was taken nor of the margin of error.

Notwithstanding, on September 12, 2020, the Albuquerque Journal published a poll it commissioned that showed nearly three years into his first term as Albuquerque’s mayor, Tim Keller had nearly the same high level of support that he had less than one year after he took office. Among likely city voters, 60% approve of Keller’s performance, 22% disapproved of his performance and 19% had mixed feeling or did not know. That is close to the results of a 2018 Journal Poll that found Keller had a 61% approval rating after his first nine months in office, when many officeholders still experience “honeymoon” ratings. A link to the Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1495901/mayor-keller-maintains-his-high-approval-rating.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Four weeks in a political campaign with a low voter turnout, which is expected, is an eternity in politics and anything can happen. Keller is sitting on $524,709 in funding and he has already begun unleashing a relentless media ad campaign spending the lion’s share of that on TV.

The fact that Sheriff Gonzales is unpopular with Hispanic voters with almost half, or 45%, having an unfavorable opinion of him is a major setback to his candidacy. His unpopularity with Hispanic voters can likely be attributed to a number of issues including being viewed as a Democrat in Name Only (DINO) after his support of former President Trump, his opposition to lapel cameras, his opposition to the Governor’s health care orders regarding COVID, his failure to work other elected officials including the County Commission and the the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.

Unless Gonzales and Aragon can raise upwards of $300,000 each for a reasonable TV buy, it’s likely the Tim Keller will be elected to a second 4-year term on November 2, unless there is an October surprise that changes the outcome of the election and forces a runoff.

POSTSCRIPT

LINKS TO JOURNAL PROFILES

The Albuquerque Journal has published front-page Mayor candidate profiles and candidate “Question and Answer” articles on THE 3 candidates. Below are the links s in the order which they were published:

EDDY ARAGON

Conservative radio show host takes on Dems

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433188/radio-show-host-wants-to-be-city-manager.html

“Q&A mayoral candidate Edward Joseph Aragon Jr.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433178/qa-mayoral-candidate-edward-joseph-aragon-jr.html

SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES

Gonzales vows to run Albuquerque in bipartisan fashion

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433475/gonzales-seeking-to-run-albuquerque-in-bipartisan-fashion.html

Q&A mayoral candidate Manuel Gonzales III

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433186/qa-mayoral-candidate-manuel-gonzales-iii.html

MAYOR TIM KELLER

‘I’ve learned’: Keller touts real-world experience

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433925/keller-highlighting-experience-as-he-seeks-second-term.html

Q&A mayoral candidate Tim Keller

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433190/qa-mayoral-candidate-tim-keller-2.html

Community Safety Department Launched; Teams Of Behavioral Health Responders Dispatched To Deal With Mental Or Behavioral Health Related Calls; How It Works

On September 7, the new Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACSD) dispatched 3 two person teams of civilians trained as behavioral health responders to commence handling certain 911 calls in order to reduce the number of calls for service handled by Albuquerque police.

The links to full reports are here:

https://www.koat.com/article/new-albuquerque-city-department-to-take-over-mental-or-behavioral-health-calls-from-police/37263760

https://www.abqjournal.com/2428380/abqs-community-safety-department-launches-patrols.html

The ACSD was proposed in 2020 by the Keller Administration as an option to replace APD sworn police with civilian social workers and trained mental health experts to respond to 911 calls involving the homeless, the mentally ill and drug addictions. The ultimate goal is to reduce the staggering number of 911 emergency calls to those who may be having psychotic episodes and to utilized de-escalation tactics and avoid use of force and deadly force.

On October 5, it was reported by city spokesman Joshua Reeves that the September 7 dispatch of 3 two person teams of civilians was considered a “soft launch’ to test the process that will ultimately be implemented. According to Reeves, as of October 5, there are 5 behavioral health responders that are responding to upwards of 8 calls a day and that 150 have been taken in the first month of operation. Another 22 responders, including supervisors and outreach team members, are in the hiring and training process. The final goal, he said, is to have 54 personnel responding to calls. Reeves also said the city hired 4 mobile crisis team clinicians and one supervisor as ACS employees and they have been assisting officers on calls since March.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2435272/keller-says-his-initiatives-fight-crime-in-a-real-way.html

HOW IT WILL WORK

When someone calls 911, dispatch operators will ask the caller a number of questions. If the incident involves homelessness, inebriation, addiction or mental health, then a two-person team from ACS will handle the call. The 911 emergency dispatch system will route calls to the 3 two person teams of civilians trained as behavioral health responders when there are disturbances, issues involving mental health or homelessness, suicides, welfare checks and other lower-level calls.

The ACS responders will have backgrounds as social workers, clinicians, counselors or similar fields. Training occurred in early August. The training for responders included anti-racism, implicit bias, strength based interventions and crisis interventions de-escalation techniques. ACS is looking to have 60 people on staff with applications are being sought for the positions. Salary ranges are from $50,000 t0 $75,000 a year.

Once the department is fully staffed and up and running, it is projected to respond to upwards of 3,000 emergency nonmedical, nonviolent calls a month. In fiscal year 2020, APD received 524,286 calls for service or upwards of 40,000 calls for service a month. The goal is to free up Albuquerque police officers to answer calls for more serious offenses quicker and permit cops to focus on core police work and community policing reform efforts. The program will operate 24/7 once fully staffed. The goal is to fully staff the department by the end of the year or earlier with upwards of 100 more trained behavioral health responders.

Mariela Ruiz-Angel, the new department director appointed in April, had this to say:

“[This is a] third branch to public safety. When a police or firefighter is not an appropriate response, we’ll be able to send someone from ACS who has a background behavioral health, social work and counseling. … 911 gets so many calls, and we just don’t have enough cops. … [The ACSD] can take the low priority calls that would take police three to four hours to get to. … … Our hope is that we can create the preventative pieces that we can hopefully divert people from going into jail, and instead going into the system that they probably need to which is mental health. … This is about relieving the public safety system so that officers can really concentrate on fighting crime”

MANAGEMENT TEAM ANNOUNCED

It was on April 27, Mayor Tim Keller announced the appointment 3 top managers for the newly created “Community Safety Department” (ACS). ACS will include trained social workers, housing and homelessness specialists, violence prevention and diversion program experts. The department once fully implemented will give 9-1-1 dispatch an option when a community safety response is more appropriate than a paramedic, firefighter or armed police officer. The goal of the ACS is to bolster and expand investments in violence intervention, diversion programs and treatment initiatives.

Following are the 3 appointments announced:

Mariela Ruiz-Angel, Director of Albuquerque Community Safety. Prior to her appointment as Director of ACS, Ruiz-Angel was the City Coordinator for the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA)

Jasmine Desiderio, Deputy Director of Policy and Administration. Mr. Desiderio previously served as the Project Director of a Native American Youth Suicide Prevention program, where her roles included strategic action planning, policymaking, program development and evaluation, community outreach and engagement, data surveillance, grant administration and training facilitation.

D’Albert Hall, Deputy Director of Field Response. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Hall was employed as a Family Service Specialist and Child Development Specialist for Clark County Department of Family Services.

https://www.cabq.gov/mayor/news/mayor-keller-announces-top-leadership-team-for-innovative-new-albuquerque-community-safety-department?fbclid=IwAR2r3goYDBk_nrDwkK6jkAKW9JQga6YqJ-_HSgIKCMpt0OWKSyyAjNzd33s

SEVERLY PAIRED DOWN NEW DEPARTMENT

It was on Monday, June 15, 2020 Mayor Tim Keller announced plans to create a new Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS). It was proposed in part as a response to police shootings happening throughout the country, especially after the killing of African American George Floyd. Keller proclaimed it was the “first of its kind” department in the country. Keller received national news coverage on the concept, including the in the Washington Post. It turns out the only “first of its kind” aspect was a department. Using social workers to take call for service instead of cops has been going on for years in other major cities.

The new department as originally announced was to have 192 positions with 32 people for each of the 6 area commands, staffed around the clock, to respond to tens of thousands of calls for service a year. The estimated annual cost of the new department was $10,201,170. The ACS as Keller originally presented to the public was to have social workers, housing and homelessness specialists and violence prevention and diversion program experts.

They were to be dispatched to homelessness and “down-and-out” calls as well as behavioral health crisis calls for service to APD. The new department was to connect people in need with services to help address any underlying issues. The intent is to free up the first responders, either police or firefighters, who typically have to deal with down-and-out and behavioral health calls.

On Thursday, September 3, Mayor Tim Keller released his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The new city department was pared down significantly to $7.5 million in personnel, equipment and contractual services. Not a single licensed mental health professional, social worker, councilor, housing and homelessness specialists and violence prevention and diversion program experts were included.

Keller cut the new ACS Department from the originally suggested 192 positions to 100 employees with 60 positions taken from other city departments. The 100 employees included 40 transit security officers, 13 security staffers from the Municipal Development Department, 9 parking enforcement workers, 6 crossing guard supervisors and one from the city’s syringe cleanup program.

On October 15, the proposed Keller budget for the new department was slashed to the bone from $7.5 million to $2.5 million for fiscal year 2021. The City Council removed virtually all of the positions originally proposed by Keller. Cut from Keller’s proposed budget for the new department were 83 employees and a $7.5 million cost. The staffing cut include 53 security personnel, 9 parking enforcement employees and 6 people from the city’s crossing guard program.

During last year’s budget process, the Albuquerque City Council severely parred down the proposed new department. The new department as originally proposed by Keller was to have 192 employees, Keller cut it to 100 positions and then the City Council gutted it to 13 positions. The projected budget went from $10.9 Million as originally proposed by Keller then it was reduced to $7.5 Million, the City Council then slashed the budget further to $2.5 Million.

The 2022 proposed city budget provides for a Community Safety budget of $7.7 million with 61 total employees across a range of specialties in social work and counseling to provide behavioral health services.

APD ADDS PRIORITY CALL CLASSIFICATIONS

For decades APD had a 3 priority 911 dispatch system. On March 7, 2019, APD announced a major change in the way it was dispatching police officers to 911 calls and expanded priority the list from 3 to 5 categories. Call priorities on the scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the highest or most important type of call. A major goal of the 5-priority call system is to determine what calls do and do not require a police officer. The goal was to reduce the number of 911emergency calls for service responded to by APD sworn police.

Following are the priority call definitions:

PRIORITY 1: Any immediate life-threatening situation with a great possibility of death or life-threatening injury or any confrontation between people which could threaten the life or safety of any person where weapons are involved. Priority 1 calls include: Shootings, stabbings, Sexual Assaults, Assaults with weapons (Aggravated Assaults), Burglary in Progress)

PRIORITY 2: Any crime in progress which may result in a threat of injury to a person, major loss of property or immediate apprehension of a subject. This also involves accidents with injuries. Priority 2 Calls include any armed robbery, vehicle accidents with injuries, none injury accidents, child left in vehicle.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Priority 1 and 2 calls are the most urgent calls where police units use lights and sirens and travel at high speed.

PRIORITY 3: Minor incidents in progress or just occurred with no threat of personal injury, major loss of life or property. Priority 3 calls are shop lifting, noise complaints, large loud party complaints, and animals left in cars.

PRIORITY 4: Minor incidents with no threat of personal injury, loss of life or property. Delayed reports when the caller is at a public location. Priority 4 calls are nuisance incidents and burglary alarms.

PRIORITY 5: A crime has already occurred, no suspect at or near the scene, and no threat of personal injury, loss of life or property. Delayed responses are where the caller is at home or at their work place for an extended period of time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With Priority 3, 4 and 5 calls, callers are encouraged to file on line reports with APD not always dispatched where it is determined none are needed.

https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/city-changes-the-way-apd-officers-are-dispatched-to-calls/

http://isr.unm.edu/reports/2009/analyzing-calls-for-service-to-the-albuquerque-police-department..pdf

From review of the 5 types of priority calls, it is more likely than not the types of calls the new civilian teams will likely fall into are the category of Priority 3, 4, 5.
Review of the number of calls for service over the last 7 years reveals that the new teams will likely have a very daunting task, even if they are dispatched to a small fraction or the calls.

For the Fiscal Years of F/Y 14 to F/Y 20 the total number of 911 calls for service were:

FY/14 # of Calls for service: 518,553
FY/15 # of Calls for service: 518,751
FY/16 # of Calls for service: 547,854
FY/17 # of Calls for service: 564,610
FY/18 # of Calls for service: 580,303
FY/19 # of Calls for service: 543,574
FY/20 # of Calls for service: 524,286

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The new Community Safety Department is the 5TH major initiatives Mayor Tim Keller has implemented in the last two years in an attempt to bring down the city’s high violent crime rates as he promised to do in 2017 when he ran for Mayor.

Without more licensed health care professionals, the new department runs the risk of being relegated to be a “pickup, delivery or referral” of people in crisis to take them either to jail or to a hospital. In order to be successful, the new department needs to deal with the city’s long-term behavioral health system needs and programs that are desperately needed now and in the future.

The Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS) is a department that is a proposed solution to reduce APD’s calls for service involving mental health calls and to transfer such calls to another civilian department with mental health experts to deal with those in crisis. It is a department that must be equipped to respond to 911 calls related to addiction problems and behavioral health issues or it will fail and fail miserably and may even result in a social worker getting killed.

Every effort needs to be made to ensure that the ACS teams are dispatch to only Priority 3, 4, 5 calls in order to reduce the likelihood of being exposed to dealing with armed and dangerous felons.

The link to a related blog article is here:

Severely Pared Down “Community Safety Department” Launched; “Ambassador Program” Launched; Hope Springs Eternal Both Will Succeed

Vote YES November 2 For Soccer Stadium Bond Issue; United New Mexico Has “Skin In The Game” Committing $10 Million To Build; Terms Of “Letter of Intent to Lease” Analyzed; Shortsighted Opposition Emerges

In business and financing, the term skin in the game is used to refer to owners or principals having a significant stake in an investment in a company or project, in which outside investors are solicited to invest. The word “skin” in the phrase is a figure of speech for the person or money as part of the deal, and “game” is the metaphor for actions and commitments made in a transaction. “Skin in the game” is important to investors because it shows those soliciting investments from outsiders share a stake in the success or failures of a project.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/skininthegame.asp

BOND FUNDING FOR A NEW STADIUM WITH $9.5 MILLION ALREADY EARMARKED

On the November 2 ballot will be a bond initiative for voter approval if the city should issue up to $50 million in bonds to build a multiuse soccer stadium estimated to cost $65 million-$70 million. The bond package will generate the necessary financing to build the project and the city will pay back the debt with gross receipts tax revenues. The city will owe an estimated $3 million annually for a term of 25 years. The city’s goal is to use funding freed up by paying off old debt so the stadium bond will not raise taxes.

During the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions, the New Mexico legislature earmarked $9 million for the project including $4 million from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham during the 2021 legislative session. The cost of the $400,000 analysis was paid for by state money allocated in the 2020 session. Technically, such bonds do not require voter approval but Mayor Tim Keller has said he would not pursue the stadium if the bond fails. Between the bond issue, if approved, the state funding already committed, there should be enough to construct the stadium.

PROMOTER IN CHIEF

Mayor Tim Keller has been a major promoter of the soccer stadium so much so that on Saturday evening, July 24, Keller took part in pregame tailgate parties for a New Mexico United Soccer Team game and then took to the field of Isotopes Park during halftime. In a campaign style speech before a crowd of tailgate party goers, Keller stood with New Mexico United owner Peter Trevisani to deliver the news of the results of a feasibility analysis for the stadium. To the crowd of 10,000 fans, Keller said he was sending a resolution to City Council to place the proposal on the November 2 ballot for a new, publicly funded soccer stadium with New Mexico United, a privately owned team, as the primary tenant.

Keller boldly proclaimed:

“Tonight is a historic night for our city . … You might have seen we’ve been doing some homework on that question you’ve been asking me for the last two years – when are we getting a stadium? We are sending a resolution to the council on Monday to put a bond for a new stadium on the ballot this November.

You all have earned a stadium. … So, New Mexicans and Burqueños, this can be our choice in November. And I know with the [team booster’s] Curse’s help, and with City Council’s help, we’re going to build a new home for the United right here in the Duke City. … So we’re going to win tonight. And then that initiative is going to win in November. And then we’re going to keep on winning for New Mexico!”

The City Council voted to place the bond issue on the November 2 ballot.

“LETTER OF INTENT” ANALYZED

On September 23, a press conference was held by United New Mexico owner Peter Trevisani and the city Chief Operations Officer (COO) Lawrence Rael. The press conference was held at Isotopes Park, a city owned facility, that United New Mexico currently shares with the baseball team that leases the ball park. Rael and Trevisani announced that the City and United New Mexico negotiated and signed a 3 page “Letter of Intent to Lease”.

The “Letter of Intent” is not a formal lease agreement but it does provide an understanding of key terms and conditions that will be negotiated. The Letter of Intent represents the binding intention of the City and United New Mexico to “participate in the development, construction and management of a multi-purpose facility … subject to the delivery of the Lease and Development Agreement evidencing these terms to be delivered to the City Council for its approval.”

According to the 3 page “Letter of Intent to Lease”, the City and United New Mexico have reached an understanding on the following major terms and conditions:

1. Subject to approval by voters of the bond issue, the City and United New Mexico Soccer Team agree to develop a new “first class, multi-purpose facility”, which shall be primarily configured as a soccer stadium.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS : The term “fist class” is reminiscent of former Mayor Richard Berry calling his ART Bus project a “world class project” when ART is a cheesy 9-mile bus route that has destroyed historic Route 66 central. The term “first class” should be deleted and replaced with the word “functional”. What one person considers first class is usually considered piece of junk as is the ART bus project.

2. The United New Mexico Soccer Team will make a $10,000,000 capital contribution to the construction of the new soccer stadium and the contribution will be made prior to awarding the construction contract by the City of Albuquerque.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: As currently proposed, the new stadium will have the largest public subsidy for a United Soccer League stadium in the country. The Keller Administration, city councilors supporting it and the team argue it will serve as a catalyst toward other events, projects and developments well beyond soccer. The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the bond measure for a new stadium. Both chambers have said their belief is that a new stadium in the Downtown area would serve as an economic booster shot. This term should be clarified that the $10 million capital contribution is a non-refundable for any reason, such as the case with “earnest money” down payments on real estate. Another option and as further evidence of their long-term commitment is for United New Mexico to increase the $10 Million construction contribution.

3. The City will own the soccer stadium and the United New Mexico Soccer Team will be the primary tenant and operator for the multipurpose facility.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: Absolutely under no circumstance should this term every be changed to allow that the stadium be owned by United New Mexico.

4. The term of the lease between the City and the United New Mexico Soccer team will be 25 years or the length of the bond, whichever is longer.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: An option to renew between the parties after the 25 years should be added.

5. A final lease agreement between the city and United New Mexico will be subject to approval of the Albuquerque City Council.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: This term is mandatory by city ordinance for any contracts over $50,000.

6. The soccer stadium will be the home venue for the United New Mexico Soccer Team.

7. A portion of the financing, expansion, or construction of the facility at a location to “be a mutually determined site” will be paid from various revenues of the lease “between the City and the tenant United New Mexico Soccer team structured such that lease payments produce “$800,000 per year as the base rent, including any applicable taxes.”

8. United New Mexico Soccer Team agrees to provide funds and services as required by a community benefits agreement between the City, the Team, and the locally impacted neighborhoods.

9. The United New Mexico Soccer team will subject to the terms and conditions of a negotiated “Development Agreement”, market, control, “and be entitled to receive and retain all revenues, net of taxes, relating to the operations of the United New Mexico Soccer Team, the Facility and the site. This will include, but not be limited to, revenues generated from naming rights, sponsorship, advertising, including both in-stadium and exterior signage, premium seating, merchandise, team events, other events, and ancillary revenues, including parking, except for certain City events.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: Giving the team naming rights to the facility is a major concession made by the city. Such naming rights could generate millions in revenue over the years. A good example that naming rights can generate significant income is when the UNM Pit was named “The Dream Style Arena” when a 10-year, $10 million naming rights agreement with Albuquerque’s Dreamstyle Remodeling was negotiated for both the University of New Mexico’s “The Pit” basketball arena and the football stadium across the street. After 3 years, the deal was terminated for none payment. At a minimum, the city should demand the right to final approval of the naming rights or a percentage share of the revenue.

10. The “Lease and Development Agreement” will guarantee a minimum annual payment of $100,000 to the city.

11. The United New Mexico Soccer Team agrees to provide funds and services through a community benefits agreement between the City, the United New Mexico Soccer Team, and the locally impacted neighborhood(s).

12. The United New Mexico Soccer Team shall endeavor to utilize local and /or New Mexico food and beverage vendors for stadium concessions.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: Utilization of local food and vendor for the stadium concessions should be mandatory and not an “endeavor”.

13. The United New Mexico Soccer Team shall provide all necessary liability insurance for the facility upon the United New Mexico Soccer Team occupancy.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: This term is highly critical to city taxpayers in that the city is a “self-insured” entity and any judgments against the city for damages would be paid out of the city general fund. This term essentially will provide the city with a degree of protection from negligence and injuries that may occur at the facility. The liability insurance needs to be high enough to deal with any major lawsuit amounts and mandate subrogation for any damages in the event that the city is a named party to a lawsuit.

14. The United New Mexico Soccer Team will obtain business interruption insurance to support the team’s annual obligation to make the Base Rent payments to the City.

EDITORS ANALYSIS: This term is likely related to what happened during the pandemic with the suspension and cancellation of events at publicly owned facilities.

15. The United New Mexico Soccer Team shall indemnify the City with regard to the day-to-day operations of the facility in the eventual Lease and Development Agreement.

16. The team’s first rent payment of Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars $800,000 shall become due upon occupying of the completed Facility. Every rent payment thereafter shall be due annually on January.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: Ultimately, the agreement is to pay $22.5 million in rent over 25 years after the stadium is built. Ostensibly this term will be clarified as to rent being paid up front for the following one-year use or after occupancy use. One option would be “quarterly” upfront payments as opposed to a “single lump sum payment of $800,000.

17. The City shall be allowed 15 days annually of exclusive use of the facility for appropriate City and/or Community events.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: At first blush, 15 days of exclusive use by the city is probably too little. The 15 days should be the minimum number of days and maximum available days be open ended with the parties required to work in good faith as to the days available to allow the city the maximum amount of time for the facilities use for public events.

18. The parties shall agree to a stand-alone non-relocation agreement that shall guarantee that the United New Mexico Soccer shall play its home games at the facility and prohibit the team from initiating a permanent relocation of the team during the term of the Lease and Development Agreement. The remedies to enforce this term will include “specific performance, injunctive relieve and liquidated damages.”

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: From a legal standpoint, this term is particularly important in that the lease will be for 25 year’s. If the team has “buyer’s remorse” within a few years, and wants to relocate to another community, the team should pay the city liquidated damages in the form of the remaining years of rent and include attorneys’ fees and costs.

19. The City and United New Mexico Soccer Team will endeavor to minimize the impact on neighboring communities during construction of the Project.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: This is clearly one of the most critical terms of any final agreement. Emphasis should include preserving the historical significance of the neighborhood area within the final design, especially if the soccer stadium is located in the Barela’s neighborhood area.

20. The soccer will use its best efforts to bring a women’s soccer team to Albuquerque within 3 years of completion of the Project to play in the Facility.

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: The best-efforts United New Mexico Soccer Team should be outlined as to what specific efforts will be made to attract a women’s soccer team and include the city assisting in the recruitment. The final selection of a woman’s soccer team should require the city’s approval and clarification of sublease agreement and payment of rent for the woman’s team use of the stadium.

21. Standards, requirements, and timing related to financing, design, development, and construction of the Facility will be established in the Lease and Development Agree.

22. Each party will be responsible for payment of the fees and expenses of their own counsel and other consultants.

23. All terms and conditions of the agreements, inclusive of guaranty and non-relocation terms, shall be binding on any successor to the Team.

24. The parties may terminate this “Letter of Intent To Lease” and Development Agreement, if applicable by notice to the other party after any of the following:

A. Failure of the voters to approve the City’s bond issue.
B. Failure to reach agreement on the design and funding of the costs of the Project.
C. Failure to reach agreement on the Lease and Development Agreement.

25. The United New Mexico Soccer Team shall be responsible for any and all costs incurred by the City for municipal services , including police, fire, etc. provided for all Facility events.

The city link to the Letter of Intent to Lease is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/mayor/documents/letter-of-intent.pdf

Links to other source materials quoted are here:

https://www.krqe.com/sports/local-sports/city-announces-lease-agreement-on-potential-stadium-with-new-mexico-united/

https://www.abqjournal.com/2434757/city-nm-united-chart-anomalous-partnership.html

https://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2021/09/23/city-enters-into-loi-with-nm-united-for-stadium.html

BREACH OF CONTRACT TERMS

During the press conference, Rael said the final negotiated 25-year lease agreement will have terms and conditions, which will likely include penalties, as to what happens if there is a breach of contract. Rael added that he is confident the city will be protected in part because the ownership is local and said:

“I know where these guys live. You all know. They are New Mexicans, and I think that’s really super important. … We have New Mexicans investing in New Mexico.”

The soccer stadium lease agreement will likely be very similar to the terms and conditions of the lease agreement the City has with Istopes Baseball Park which the city owns and which has been very successful for decades.

During the press conference, COO Lawrence Rael had this to say:

“Our goal here is to make this a good deal for the voters, a good deal for the city of Albuquerque. … This information [on terms and conditions] that we’re presenting today really … in my opinion begins to put some structure and some commitment into the project.”

United owner Peter Trevisani for his part had this to say:

“This is an aspirational project that really can change so many things. … We believe that our city is better when it’s united, and coming together in this facility is a major step in ensuring that New Mexico United and so many other things yet to come are going to be here in the future. … This is a commitment that we’re here for the long haul. And, and I think most importantly, it’s a commitment that we believe in New Mexico. We believe deeply in our state, we believe deeply in our city, we’re willing to put not just our capital, but all of our resources behind it.”

The link to quoted source material is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2432115/united-outlines-planned-stadium-investment.html

FOUR PROPOSED LOCATIONS IDENTIFIED

The biggest question surrounding the project is the location. City officials have already said that location will be decided if the bond passes.

On Friday, July 24, the long-awaited report from the consultant hired to evaluate the feasibility and economic impact of a multipurpose facility that can be used for sporting events, including the New Mexico United professional soccer team, was finally released by the City. The study was originally supposed to be released in June.

The link to the entire 356-page feasibility study is here:

https://documents.cabq.gov/municipal-development/Albuquerque%20Multi-Purpose%20Stadium%20Study%20Volume%20II%20of%20II%20(07-23-21).pdf

The New Mexico United soccer team currently shares the city-owned Isotopes Park with the stadium’s primary tenant, the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes baseball team. New Mexico United has become highly successful often attracting 10,000 to 15,000 fans to it games. One major caveat is that the team is in need of a permanent location to continue in the league and it cannot own the stadium.

Denver-based CAA ICON, the company that performed the study, recommended a 10,000 to 12,000 seat venue, estimating the project would cost about $65 million to $70 million based on the preferred sites. Two of the preferred sites currently incorporate some privately owned land, and the consultant’s estimates did not include property acquisition costs. The projected price tag also did not include parking beyond spaces needed for staff. The firm looked specifically at four sites that would accommodate a 10,000 to 12,000 seat multipurpose facility:

1. The area near 12th Street and Interstate 40
2. The Coal and Broadway Street area
3. The Second Street and Iron Street area
4. The Railyards

Editor’s Note: It is likely that the Railyards’ Master Development Plan prevents the Railyards from having a soccer stadium located on the site.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/23/building-a-soccer-stadium-at-abq-rail-yards-likely-violates-railyards-master-development-plan-and-site-development-guiding-principles/

TWO PREFERRED SITES

CAA ICON identified the Coal and Broadway Street area and the Second Street and Iron Street area as the two top “preferred sites”. The estimated cost would between $65 million and $70 million just for construction and not land acquisition.

The financial evaluation and feasibility study considered several factors including land size availability, zoning, ownership and parking. The city owns parts of each preferred site but the acreage needed at each location is mostly privately owned.

According to the report that includes a projected financial earning analysis, the stadium could generate new net direct spending of $10.3 million a year. The financial projection does not include indirect spending or economic activity related to construction.

CAA ICON reported that New Mexico United would be the venue’s primary tenant with a 24-event annual game calendar dominated by the soccer club, including 16 regular-season and two preseason games. CAA ICON interviewed potential stadium users, which included local event promoters, and reported that top acts usually bypass Albuquerque or have a better alternative.

Other likely events include high school sporting events and concerts with estimated attendance of 5,500. The study noted that the stadium would probably not be a popular destination for musical performers. The CAA ICON financial analysis makes no recommendation as to how the city can pay for the stadium. The city does have $7.5 million New Mexico legislative appropriations for the project.

In releasing the study, city officials cautioned that decision has been made as to final location and a larger public dialogue must now occur.
Albuquerque Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael had this to say:
“This study is a key part of our due diligence as we explore the possibility of a multi-use facility. … We’re glad to have the results of the study so we can discuss the findings with the community, make proper considerations, and initiate next steps.”

NO OWNERSHIP INTEREST ALLOWED

Peter Trevisani, New Mexico United’s president and owner, addressed the issue of who will own the stadium and the 4 proposed locations. He called the two preferred locations “phenomenal sites” as the club has always desired a Downtown home. Trevisani had this to say:

“The issue [with ownership] … is we’re not allowed to own any of the stadium – we’re just a tenant. The stadium would need to be owned by the city and since we can’t own the stadium, we’re not really in a position to buy a percentage of it like you might buy a percentage of a company. … The city is hurting, and this is the kind of project along with things like rail trail and ‘First Friday’ art walks … that add up to a major change.”

“I think it is phenomenal. … Having it be a pillar of the revitalization of downtown Albuquerque, showing the vitality of New Mexico is exactly what we should be doing, and [downtown] feels like a great spot to me . … This is a great step. It is an important step. There is a lot of work to do.”

“Right now [we are] just making sure we are in touch with those [four] communities [where the stadium is proposed to be built] because it will impact people’s lives. I think in a positive, but for some maybe not so much if you have a house right there. … So we have to talk to everybody and do the best we can to not do any harm.”

Links to quoted source material are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2412566/consultant-identifies-preferred-sites-for-abq-soccer-stadium.html

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/feasibility-study-released-on-potential-sites-for-new-mexico-united-stadium/

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/new-mexico-uniteds-proposed-stadium-raises-concerns-from-community-members/6183198/?cat=500

MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEE FORMED

On September 14, the measured finance committee (MFC) “New Mexico United For All” filed its MFC Registration with the Albuquerque City Clerk. The purpose of the MFC is to “support bond issue” to raise donations to promote the $50 Million bond issue for the multipurpose sports stadium with the New Mexico United Professional Soccer team to be the primary tenant of the city owned facility.

On September 30, New Mexico United contributed $10,000 and on August 31 contributed $25,000 to the “New Mexico United For All” measured finance committee. On September 6, United New Mexico also made a $6,000 “inkind” contribution for “communication, accounting, media and outreach services” to the “New Mexico United For All” measured finance committee.

The link to the 6th Financial Statement filed on September 13 is here:

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/Reports/FetchReportToPDF.aspx

AD BLITZ PROMOTING STADIUM

To date, no financial disclosure statements have been filed. However, the MFC has produced, paid for and is airing a TV commercial encouraging the public to vote for the bond issue. The link to the TV commercial is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPCzidKcKFc

The TV ads began on airing on September 29. In the ads, the new soccer stadium is being promoted as the “people’s stadium.” The ads promoting promise to create upwards of 700 construction jobs, while inviting other tenants in the city-owned stadium, subsidized with what would be a $30 million contribution from the soccer club for rent paid.
When asked where he thinks people stand on the vote, New Mexico United Owner Peter Trevisani he had this to say: .

“We’re the underdog. … We’re always going to be the underdog, but it’s the right thing to do and if enough people come out and say, ‘yes,’ it’s going to pass. … The stadium doesn’t raise taxes, it creates 780 jobs, and it’s owned 100% by the city. It’s not a stadium for the United, it’s a stadium for the people.”

The link to the quoted source material is here:

https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/ad-blitz-promotes-bond-for-new-mexico-united-stadium/

https://www.koat.com/article/new-commercial-out-urging-voters-to-say-yes-to-new-stadium/37795243

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

By all accounts, the New Mexico United has “skin in the game” when it comes to the City of Albuquerque investing $50 million in building an outdoor sports complex. The $10 million contribution by United New Mexico and the lease is enough for the public to seriously consider it. The public should support it and vote for the bonds.

Now the hard part begins which is getting public support for a worthwhile project that will be a major step in revitalizing downtown, if that is where it goes. For the last 50 years, City Hall and virtually all Albuquerque Mayors have been fascinated and enamored with trying to revitalize the Downtown Central area. All Mayors wanted to bring back Downtown Central of its heyday of the 1950’s and 1960’s where it was the center of commercial, business and retail and entertainment activity.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/09/04/downtown-revitalization-deja-vu-all-over-again/

SHORTSIGHTED OPPOSTION EMERGES

Opposition is emerging to the stadium with people arguing that the millions to pay off the bond could instead be used to combat homelessness or crime and that the city has so many other pressing issues that come before a stadium. For decades, such arguments have been made to stop major quality of life facilities and projects. The best example is when voters said no to a performing art center in the late 1980’s.

The city is already spending as much as $25 to $30 million a year to help the homeless with services, voucher programs, and grants to service providers to the homeless. The city has purchased the old Loveless Hospital on Gibson for $15 Million for the new Gateway homeless shelter. Then there is the $5 Million “Tiny Homes Project” that provides transitional living space for the homeless. Further, the county enacted the behavioral health tax that raises $20 Million a year for mental health care facilities and programs that also help the homeless.

As far as crime and police are concerned, the Albuquerque Police Department is the largest city budget having a $227 Million dollar a year budget. APD’s budget continues to increase year after year. Its not an issue of not having the resources to fight crime, but an issue of a poorly managed police department with at least 150 vacancies in sworn police.

“QUALITY OF LIFE” TAX FACILITIES RECALLED

In 1987 the Albuquerque City Council engaged in a process of public hearings to determine and identify what type of facilities and projects were needed for a thriving city that would enhance our quality of life and make Albuquerque an attractive City to raise a family. By a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the Albuquerque City Council enacted the “Quality of Life” 10 year tax legislation that resulted in the construction of the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Albuquerque Children’s Science Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Balloon Museum. The “Quality of Life” legislation also funded the acquisition of critical open space with open land acquisitions completing the final phase of what forms the backbone of our “urban parks”. City Councilor Pete Dinelli was the main sponsor of 2 of the 3 resolutions combined that became the “Quality Life Tax” that had a 10-year sunset clause and the facilities were built.

During the 2015 municipal election, Albuquerque voters wisely approved with an overwhelming majority the voter petition drive initiative to increase the gross receipts tax for the BioPark. The gross receipts tax initiative for the BioPark was needed because some $20 million dollars plus in repairs and maintenance to the facilities are needed and major repairs were ignored for eight years. There are $40 million dollars in upgrades and exhibits needed to the BioPark facilities and without making those repairs, the city risks losing many national certifications. The tax will raise $255 million dollars over 15 years for the BioPark.

BUILD MULTIPURPOSE ENCLOSED ARENA

Since the very beginning, New Mexico United has had plans for a new soccer stadium and have always looked at downtown. The team envisions a 10,000 to 15,000 seat stadium, costing between $50 million to $100 million. The fact that it is going to be a city owned facility Mayor Keller and the City Council need to concentrate on a development that will truly be in the best interest of not only United New Mexico fans but also the city as a whole.

When you examine the 4 facility renderings in all 4 locations, one major finding of the study is it will be an exclusive “outdoor soccer sports facility” . New Mexico United would be the venue’s primary tenant with a 24-event annual game calendar dominated by the soccer club, including 16 regular-season and two preseason games.

CAA ICON interviewed potential stadium users, which included local event promoters, and reported that top acts usually bypass Albuquerque or have a better alternative. The State owned Tingley Coliseum has long been viewed as a substandard aging facility suited for rodeos and “monster truck” events and no longer able to attract major entertainment events.

The fact Keller is seeking a second term and will be on the same ballot as the funding for the stadium cannot be overlooked. It’s very unfortunate that Mayor Tim Keller went out of his way to “grandstand” the way he did and tell the New Mexico United fans “You all have earned a stadium”.

The only ones that have “earned” anything and will wind up paying for a publicly financed stadium is the general voting public deserving of a “multipurpose venue” that many more can enjoy with far more events than just soccer games. Ever since the round domed Albuquerque Civic Auditorium was demolished in the 1970’s, Albuquerque has had to rely on UNM facilities, such as the PIT or even Popejoy Hall for live entertainment venues. Albuquerque is one of the very few citys its size, if not the only city, that does not have a municipal owned event center of 10,000 or more.

CONCLUSION

“Quality of Life” projects such as the Albuquerque Museum, the Balloon Museum, the Children’s Science Museum, The Botanic Gardens, The Aquarium and even Isotopes Park would never have been built if it was required they could not be built until after we solve our social issues. Tat will never happen.

Albuquerque cannot be just a cop on every corner, a fire truck on every street, a jail or homeless shelter in every city quadrant, a garbage dumpster at every turn, streets without potholes and buses like ART that no one uses. Any truly great city must include facilities that enhance the quality of life of its citizens, such as libraries, zoos, museums, aquariums, the ABQ Biopark and athletic facilities like Isotopes Park and yes a soccer stadium.

The new multipurpose stadium is one major project that has the most potential to finally change and encourage development of the downtown area. City and State elected officials have any number of ways to fund the project including capital improvement allocations, general obligation bonds, industrial revenue bonds. Mayor Keller, the City Council, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico legislators need to do whatever they can to promote the project. A big mistake would be to try to do the project on the cheap to benefit only a select sports fan base when so much more could be accomplished.

VOTE YES NOVEMBER 2 FOR SOCCER STADIUM BOND ISSUE

ABQ Journal Mayor Candidate Profiles On Aragon, Gonzales and Keller; Question and Answer Articles; Those Damn Polls!

The election for Albuquerque Mayor is on November 2. The Albuquerque Journal has now published its front-page customary Mayor candidate profiles and candidate “Question and Answer” articles on all 3 candidates. On Tuesday, September 28, it published the profile of Republican Eddy Aragon, on Wednesday, September 29, it published the profile of Democrat Sheriff Manny Gonzales and on Thursday, September 30 it published the profile of Democrat Incumbent Mayor Tim Keller.

Below are the links to the Albuquerque Journal’s profiles and “Question and Answer” articles in the order which they were published.

EDDY ARAGON

Conservative radio show host takes on Dems

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433188/radio-show-host-wants-to-be-city-manager.html

“Q&A mayoral candidate Edward Joseph Aragon Jr.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433178/qa-mayoral-candidate-edward-joseph-aragon-jr.html

SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES

Gonzales vows to run Albuquerque in bipartisan fashion

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433475/gonzales-seeking-to-run-albuquerque-in-bipartisan-fashion.html

Q&A mayoral candidate Manuel Gonzales III

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433186/qa-mayoral-candidate-manuel-gonzales-iii.html

MAYOR TIM KELLER

‘I’ve learned’: Keller touts real-world experience

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433925/keller-highlighting-experience-as-he-seeks-second-term.html

Q&A mayoral candidate Tim Keller

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433190/qa-mayoral-candidate-tim-keller-2.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

All 3 of the Journal profile articles were very positive as to each candidate without getting too aggressive. The articles avoided confrontation and declined to address too few controversial issues allowing the candidates to place their own positive spin on their backgrounds. The “Question and Answer” articles were far more informative and showed a clear difference in the approaches each candidate will take once elected.

You can be expected that on Sunday, October 3 or Sunday, October 10, the Albuquerque Journal will publish its endorsement of one of the 3. The Journal tends to endorse incumbents and city hall observers believe the Journal will endorse Mayor Tim Keller for a second term concluding that now is not the time to change leadership at city hall.

THOSE DAMN POLLS

Complicating things for Sheriff Manny Gonzales and Eddy Aragon is that confidential sources are saying that a poll is circulating showing Tim Keller with 57.3 % support, Manny Gonzales at 23.2% and Eddy Aragon at 16.1% and 3.4% undecided. There are no details provided as to how many were polled, when the poll was taken, how it was taken nor the margin of error.

Notwithstanding, on September 12, 2020, the Albuquerque Journal published a poll it commissioned that showed nearly three years into his first term as Albuquerque’s Mayor, Tim Keller had nearly the same high level of support that he had less than 1 year after he took office. Among likely city voters, 60% approve of Keller’s performance, 22% disapproved of his performance and 19% had mixed feeling or did not know. That is close to the results of a 2018 Journal Poll that found Keller had a 61% approval rating after his first nine months in office, when many officeholders still experience “honeymoon” ratings. A link to the Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1495901/mayor-keller-maintains-his-high-approval-rating.html

A word of caution is in order as to polling. Four weeks in a political campaign with a low voter turnout, which is expected, is an eternity in politics and anything can happen. Keller is sitting on $524,709 in funding and will be unleashing a relentless media ad campaign spending the lion’s share of that in 4 weeks. Unless Gonzales and Aragon can raise upwards of $300,000 each for a reasonable TV buy, it’s likely the Tim Keller will be elected to a second 4-year term on November 2, unless there is an October surprise that changes the outcome of the election and forces a runoff.

CONCLUSION

The election is Tuesday November 2. Please vote.

Links to published blog article profiles when the candidates announced are here:

Der Führer Trump Radio Shock Jock Eddy Aragon Formally Declares Running For Mayor; Let’s jail grandma to reduce the homeless! And Other Crazy; A Choice Between The Lesser Of 2 Evils And 1 Crazy Trumpster Is No Choice At All

Der Führer Trump’s Favorite Democrat Sherriff Manny Gonzales Runs For Mayor; A DINO And Law Enforcement Dinosaur

Mayor Tim Keller’s Promises Made, Promises Broken As He Seeks Second Term; Voters Will Decide If Keller “Has Done A Good Job”

Measured Finance Committees File 6th Campaign Finance Reports; Examining Each MFC For Purpose And Intent; Commercial TV Ads Produced And Running; In House Poll Showing Keller Wins With No Runoff; Will There Be October Surprise?

The City of Albuquerque municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 2. On the ballot will be the office for Mayor, the 5 odd numbered City Council Districts 1,3,5,7, and 9 seats and a voter bond approval request for $50 million dollars to build a soccer stadium.

Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a Measure Finance Committee (MFC) is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque. Measure Finance Committees are required to register with the City Clerk within five (5) days once they have raised or spent more than $250 towards their purpose.

Measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates. No MFC is supposed to coordinate their activities with the individual candidates they support running for office, but this is a very gray area as to what constitutes coordination of activities and it is difficult to enforce.

According to City Clerk records, 12 measured finance committees have been formed for the 2021 municipal election. Those MFCs are as follows:

“Save Our City” organized to raise money and to promote Sherriff Manny Gonzales
“Retired Law Enforcement for a Better Albuquerque”
“Build Back ‘Burque” is raising money to promote and spend money on behalf of Mayor Tim Keller.
“Abq Firepac” promoting the local fire fighter union interests.
“Albuquerque Ahead” to promote Republican party City Council Candidates
“No Corporate Council” to promote progressive Democrat party City Council Candidates.
“ABQ Workers First” to promote organized labor interests and candidates.
“New Mexico United For All” to promote the $50 million soccer stadium bond issue.
A MFC formed by the New Mexico American Civil Liberties Union.
A MFC formed by “Planned Parenthood” of New Mexico.
A MFC formed by a progressive neighborhood group called “Indivisible Nob Hill”.
A MFC called “Healthy Economies Lead to Progress” with the stated purpose as “Independent Expenditure”.

This blog article reports on the funds raised by the MFC’s, an analysis of their purpose and intent as well as the fundraising of the 3 candidates for Mayor.

SIXTH CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS FILED

On September 13, the MFCs filed their 6th Financial Fundraising reports covering the reporting period of August 3 to September 6 reporting what they have raised, listing donors and expenditures. Following is a breakdown and editor’s analysis of the reports filed.

1. ABQ FIREPAC

PURPOSE: Support candidates who support public safety & fire fighter issues.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $150.00
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $1,000
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD $350.00
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $800.00

MAJOR DONORS: ABQ Area PAC Local $1,000.00
MAJOR EXPENDITURE: $350 paid to “Just Yard Signs”

Editor’s Analysis: This is the local firefighters MFC. In the past, the firefighter’s union has expended significant amounts of money supporting Mayor and City Council candidates and have been very involved with the campaigns providing volunteers and spending thousands on TV commercials produced on their own. It appears the local firefighter’s union has significantly pared down their involvement in this year’s Mayor and City Council races.

2. ABQ WORKERS FIRST

PURPOSE: To advocate for or against candidates running for mayor and city council.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $30,000
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $30,000

MAJOR DONOR: New Mexico Federation of Labor ( Total Donation: $30,000 )

Editor’s Analysis: It is clear from the one donation of $30,000 from the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL CIO or organized labor in the city has decided to go it alone with raising and spending donations. The New Mexico Federation of Labor in the past has made donations to other measured finance committees or individual candidate campaigns. It is also clear that ABQ WORKERS FIRST fundraising is to defeat Gonzales and Albuquerque City Council candidates Dan Lewis, Renee Grout and Louie Sanchez.

3. ALBUQUERQUE AHEAD (City Council MFC)

PURPOSE: To support those candidates for city council who will move Albuquerque ahead and oppose those who will not.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $17,853.42
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $3,950.00
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $7,579.45
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $14,223.97

Editors Analysis: When you examine the campaign finance reports filed by Albuquerque Ahead, it is easy to figure out that it is a measured finance committee established by the Bernalillo County Republican Party to promote 2 Republican candidates for City Council. The 5th finance report filed by Albuquerque Ahead reflects that on July 7, 2021, the Bernalillo County Republican Party donated $9,000 to this MFC. The two Republican candidates being supported are former Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis who is running in District 5 against incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego. Republican Renee Grout is running for the City Council District 9 seat being vacated by long time serving, unknown, ineffective and unaccomplished Republican Don Harris. The one major expenditure of $5,184.00 is to Majority Strategies, a Republican leaning political consulting firm.

4. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, INC NEW MEXICO VOTES

The ACLU has filed no finance reports and ostensibly has had no contributions.

PURPOSE: To educate New Mexico voters about the upcoming Albuquerque mayoral race and the various civil liberties issues at stake.

Editors Analysis: This MFC is somewhat of a head scratcher, until you realize Sheriff Manny Gonzales is running for Mayor. Normally, you do not see the American Civil Liberties union get involved in local elections but it’s likely they have done so this election year because Sheriff Manny Gonzales is running. During the past few years, the ACLU has initiated at least 3 lawsuits against the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for excessive use of force and racial profiling regarding African Americans. The fact no finance reports have been filed as yet likely signals that they view Manny Gonzales no longer a threat to incumbent Democrat and Progressive Mayor Tim Keller.

5. BUILD BACK ‘BURQUE

PURPOSE: Support Mayor Tim Keller’s re-election to a second term for the City of Albuquerque

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $25,826.44
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $42,408.00
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $16, 464.00
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $51,770. 44

Editors Analysis: The Chairperson for “Build Back ‘Burque” is Michelle Mayorga. According to the American Association of Political Consultants “Michelle Mayorga has spent nearly 2 decades working on campaigns, progressive issues, and in local and national administrations. She previously served as Western Field Director at the AFL-CIO, Western Political Director at the DCCC, and Coordinated Director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico in 2012.” The Treasurer for “Build Back ‘Burque” is Robert Lara. Mr. Lara is a licensed New Mexico attorney and is the former State Treasurer of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

The largest donors to the Keller MFC “Build Back ‘Burque” include Ace Metals and Kimberly Rael, the wife of current City Chief Operating Officer (COO) Lawrence Rael, who each gave $5,000. The PAC spent the most money this period on campaign consulting from Maryland-based New Blue Interactive.

6. HEALTHY ECONOMIES LEAD TO PROGRESS

PURPOSE: Independent Expenditure

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-

Editor’s Analysis: This MFC is another head scratcher and there is insufficient information to indicate what its purpose is. The Chairperson is identified as SIMON (SCOOTER) T. HAYNES and the Treasurer is identified as JULIA L MACCINI. Both Simon T. “Scooter” Haynes and Julia Maccini are conservative Republicans who ran and lost in June, 2021 for the Board of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD). Haynes is a developer who owns a real estate and construction business based in Albuquerque. Julia L Maccini is believed to be an attorney and believed to be the Development Coordinator at SCM Partners, LLC a limited liability corporation. Simon T. “Scooter” Haynes lost to incumbent Joaquin Baca in the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) board race. Baca’s campaign manager was Neri Holguin, the campaign manager for Mayor Tim Keller.

Links to source material are here:

https://abq.news/2021/06/mrgcd-candidate-gets-only-26-of-vote-immediately-claims-fraud/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/maccinij

7. INDIVISIBLE NOB HILL

PURPOSE: Support and or oppose city council, school board and mayoral candidates

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: – $0-
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-

There have been no major donors nor expenditures.

Editor’s Analysis: The Indivisible Nob Hill is a very well organized and respected progressive organization that has emerged over the last few years as being very much involved with local community issues. It has a well-read FACEBOOK page “Indivisible Nob Hill – Rants and Discussion Forum” that recently has begun posting “Crooks for Manny” along with photographs of well know mobsters, such as Al Capone, John Gotti, mafia hitman Whitey Bulgar and Carlo Gambino to mention a few. The phrase “I’m a crook, and I’m for Manny!” is next to the gangster photos along with a photo of Sherriff Manny Gonzales. Nasty but effective.

8. NEW MEXICO UNITED FOR ALL

PURPOSE: Support bond issue

Designated Chairperson: David M Carl
Designated Treasurer: Desiree Kim

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $35,000
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD:
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $35,000

MAJOR DONOR: New Mexico United Total Donation $35,000

Editor’s Analysis: This measured finance committee has been formed to raise donations to promote the $50 Million bond issue for a multipurpose sports stadium with the New Mexico United Professional Soccer team to be the primary tenant of the city owned facility. To date, no financial disclosure statements have been filed.

New Mexico United Professional Soccer team is the sole donor to this measured finance committee. The committee has already begun an ad campaign to encourage voters to vote and approve the $50 million bond issue. Voters are being asked if the city should issue up to $50 million in bonds to help fund the soccer stadium which is estimated to cost $65 million to $70 million.

It has been reported that according to terms of a “letter of intent to lease”, New Mexico United would contribute $10 million to help construct the proposed multiuse soccer stadium and pay $800,000 annually in base rent to be the venue’s primary tenant. The team would also have to pay the city another $100,000 per year but otherwise get to keep all revenue generated by the stadium outside of specific city-organized events. Voter approval is not technically required for this type of bond and is backed by the city’s gross receipts tax revenue. However, Mayor Tim Keller, a big promoter of the stadium, has said he would not pursue the stadium if the bond fails.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2432115/united-outlines-planned-stadium-investment.html

9. NO CORPORATE COUNCIL MFC

PURPOSE: To support progressive candidates for mayor and city council.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: – $0-
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-

There have been no major donors nor expenditures reported.

Editor’s Analysis: The name of this MFC tips the public off to the intent and purpose of this MFC in that it is a takeoff of the popular slogan “No Corporate Democrats”, a slogan used by progressive democrats to defeat conservative Democrats in primaries. The chair person of No Corporate Council MFC is listed as Melanie Aranda and the Treasurer is listed as Michaela Gallegos who has a “Working Families Party” email address and is believed to work for New Mexico Political Reports. Melanie Aranda is the Chief Operating Officer and Founding Member of the Center for Civic Policy (CCP), a progressive political strategy group, and the Co-Director of the NM Civic Engagement Table.

https://civicpolicy.com/staff/

Michaela Gallegos is believed to work for New Mexico Politcal Reports

The “No Corporate Council” MFC was likely formed to offset the fund-raising activities and efforts of Albuquerque Ahead, the City Council MFC organized and raising donations for Republican City Council candidates Dan Lewis and Renee Grout.

10. PLANNED PARENTHOOD VOTES ALBUQUERQUE

Purpose: Support candidates that support women’s reproductive healthcare and oppose those that don’t.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: – $0-
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-

There have been no major donors nor expenditures.

Editors Analysis: In 2013, Planned Parenthood became actively involved in the municipal election to oppose the “late term abortion” initiative that was successfully place on the ballot by a voter petition initiative. Then Incumbent Mayor Richard Berry supported the initiative and the banning of all late term abortions in the city. Sensing that the issue could derail his re election efforts, the Republican controlled city council declined to place it on the municipal election ballot with the mayor’s race and instead funded a “special election” so as not to interfere with the 2013 mayor’s race. Planned Parenthood is a considered by many as a one issue organization dedicated to preserving a woman’s right to choose. It is more likely than not Planned Parenthood have registered a MFC for over concern that a new Mayor or the City Council will again attempt to ban late term abortions in the city.

11. RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR A BETTER ALBUQUERQUE

PURPOSE: Support Albuquerque mayoral candidate who will improve the quality of life for its citizens as well as oppose candidates that are detrimental to the future growth and safety of Albuquerque.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $11,120.00
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD -$0-
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-

One in kind contribution from Patrick J. Rogers in the amount of $2,678.00 for legal services rendered.

Editor’s Analysis: The chairperson of the “Retired Law Enforcement for a Better Albuquerque is Jason Katz and the Treasurer is listed as Sistine Jaramillo. Upon information and belief, Jason Katz is a former and retired Chief Deputy of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and is a longtime supporter and has worked for Gonzales. No background information could be located on Sistine Jaramillo. Pat Rogers is a private attorney and is considered by many as a conservative Republican Party-political operative who works on promoting and assisting conservative causes. Mr. Rodgers is a former National Committeeman of the Republican Party and 4 years ago filed ethics complaints against the candidate for Mayor Tim Keller.

12. SAVE OUR CITY

PURPOSE: To address the serious crime and leadership problem in Albuquerque

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $121,271.81
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $12,672.00
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $41,941.12
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $92,002.69
TOTAL IN KIND DONATIONS: $2,800.00

Editor’s Analysis: The Chairperson of this MFC is Sam Vigil, the widower of Jackie Vigil who was shot and killed in her driveway in the early morning hours as she was going to the gym. Sam Vigil has been highly critical of Mayor Keller and known to support Manny Gonzales for Mayor. Given the loss of public financing by Sheriff Manny Gonzales, Save Our City should change its name to “Save Our Manny” in that it appears it is the only lifeline left for the candidate to raise money and to go negative on Keller.

The MFC “Save Our City” received its largest contributions from Don Bassard, Robyn Hendrexson and Richard Luna, each donating $2,000. The “Save Our City” spent $17,850 on media production and ad buys through Three Point Media.

The City Clerk link to the listing of all 12 measured finance committees and the finance reports is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/vote/candidate-information/2021-candidates

MAYOR CANDIDATES’ FINANCIAL REPORTS FILED

Both Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales have filed their 6th Campaign finance reports.

TIM KELLER 6TH CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT

Incumbent Mayor Tim Keller is the only candidate for Mayor that qualified for Public Finance and given $634,179.05 by the city. On August 9, the Keller Campaign filed the 6th Campaign Finance report:

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $602,584.56
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: -$0-
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $77,874.94
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $524,709.

Upon qualifying for Public Finance, the City of Albuquerque advance a single lump sum of $634,179.05 for the campaign.

Editor’s Analysis: The Keller campaign’s largest expense reported in the 6th campaign finance report was $59,331 paid to the Keller campaign manager Neri Holguin’s consulting firm. The 5th campaign finance report revealed that Neri Holguin Campaign Consulting was paid $23,732.50.

The Keller campaign reported $35,470 worth of in-kind services, including $2,500 in private investigator services, $17,970 from lawyer Lauren Keefe and $15,000 worth of rent from Ed Garcia who is a principal in the Garcia Automotive Group and also a principal in the company that purchased the historical Rosenwald Building in downtown Albuquerque for $300,000 in the form a of “lease back” arrangement to the city for a police substation in the Rosenwald Building once it is remodeled into luxury condominiums.

The Mayor Tim Keller campaign has already produced television ads and is now running those ads. The link to review the first Keller ad is here:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=206512188095449

MANNY GONZALES 6th CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT

The City has qualified Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales to appear on the November municipal ballot finding he gathered the 3,000 qualifying signatures. However, the City Clerk denied Manny Gonzales the public financing finding impropriety in the collection of his qualifying $5 donations Gonzales is continuing as a privately finance candidate.

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: $26,667.66
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $14,385
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $20,223.03
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD $20,829.63

Editor’s Analysis: The Gonzales campaign’s largest expense was $12,277 paid to Republican political operative and political media strategist Jay McClesky. The Gonzales campaign spent $3,750 with a Missouri-based firm for a “research report on Mayor Timothy M. Keller.”

Despite 3 months of litigation over public campaign financing, Gonzales reported for the second straight month no spending on attorneys or receiving any in-kind legal services. It has been reported the Gonzales campaign has not yet received legal bills but will report the expenditures for legal services.

EDDY ARAGON’S 6th CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT

CASH BALANCE FROM LAST REPORT: -$0-
TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTION THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $31,935.50
TOTAL EXPENDITURES THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $18,575.34
CLOSING BALANCE THIS REPORTING PERIOD: $13,360.16

Editor’s Analysis: Eddy Aragon’s largest contributor was Matthew Monte, who gave $2,000. His largest expenditures were two T-shirt orders totaling $10,713.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Both Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales sought to run on public financing, but only Keller was given the public financing. City Clerk Ethan Watson twice denied to certify Gonzales for public financing after finding that the Gonzales campaign had submitted forged signatures in the $5.00 qualifying donation collection process. Gonzales appealed the city clerk’s denial of public finance twice, but his efforts failed in both the state District Court and Supreme court. Gonzales is now running as a privately finance candidate.

Third-party fundraising for Sheriff Manuel Gonzales’ Albuquerque mayoral candidacy has essentially come to a standstill in the last month as a result the negative publicity over his loss of public financing while political action committee contributions for incumbent Tim Keller’s reelection bid accelerated.

The measured finance committee (MFC) Save Our City backing Manny Gonzales still has more cash on hand, $92,003, than the MFC “Build Back ‘Burque” committee backing to keep Keller in office, $51,770. However, the 6th campaign finance report shows the Keller MFC raised more during the reporting period. The Keller MFC Build Back ‘Burque raised $42,408 compared to $12,672 raised by the MFC Save Our City that supports Gonzales.

According to the 6th campaign finance reports, Gonzales has $20,830 in his campaign account compared to Keller’s $524,710. Republican radio station owner and talk show host Eddy Aragonis running a privately funded campaign. Aragon reported that he raised $31,936 in the most recent reporting period and has $13,360 remaining after expenses, according to his report.

THOSE DAMN POLLS

Complicating things for Gonzales is that confidential sources are saying that a poll is circulating showing Tim Keller with 57.3 % support, Manny Gonzales at 23.2% and Eddy Aragon at 16.1% and 3.4% undecided. There are no details as to how many were polled, when the poll was taken, how it was taken nor of the margin of error.

Notwithstanding, on September 12, 2020, the Albuquerque Journal published a poll it commissioned that showed nearly three years into his first term as Albuquerque’s mayor, Tim Keller had nearly the same high level of support that he had less than one year after he took office. Among likely city voters, 60% approve of Keller’s performance, 22% disapproved of his performance and 19% had mixed feeling or did not know. That is close to the results of a 2018 Journal Poll that found Keller had a 61% approval rating after his first nine months in office, when many officeholders still experience “honeymoon” ratings. A link to the Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1495901/mayor-keller-maintains-his-high-approval-rating.html

A word of caution is in order as to polling. Four weeks in a political campaign with a low voter turnout, which is expected, is an eternity in politics and anything can happen. Keller is sitting on $524,709 in funding and will be unleashing a relentless media ad campaign spending the lion’s share of that in 4 weeks. Unless Gonzales and Aragon can raise upwards of $300,000 each for a reasonable TV buy, it’s likely the Tim Keller will be elected to a second 4-year term on November 2, unless there is an October surprise that changes the outcome of the election and forces a runoff.

CONCLUSION

The election is Tuesday November 2. Please vote.

Links to quoted source material are here:

https://www.cabq.gov/vote/candidate-information/2021-candidates

https://www.abqjournal.com/2428870/pac-backing-keller-out-raises-competition-in-august.html

Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer: Homelessness, the Candidates and Augie’s Ideas

Below is a column written by Rudolfo Carrillo submitted for publication on this blog.

Rudolfo Carrillo is a native New Mexican and was the news and music editor at Weekly Alibi from August 2015 until March 2020, where he used the pen name “August March” to write about Albuquerque culture, history and politics. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico’s fine arts program. His award-winning writing and analysis have been featured at international academic conferences, in notable literary journals as well as in local media outlets like the Albuquerque Journal. His latest work can be read at Infinity Report with the link here:

http://infinityreport.blogspot.com

EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this article are those of Rudolfo Carrillo and do not necessarily reflect those of the political blog www.petedinelli.com. Rudolfo Carrillo was not compensated for the guest column.

MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: HOMELESSNESS, THE CANDIDATES AND AUGIE’S IDEAS

—How’s the write-in campaign for mayor doing? I asked Augie March the other day, when he stopped by to noodle on the piano we keep in the living room. It’s a decent instrument and somehow ended up there in the corner after spending most of its professional life at a place called Interlochen. Serio. But that’s another story altogether.

In reply to my simple question, March embarked on one of his trademark discourses and began by tossing me a frajo, telling me to go ahead and light the damn thing up because I was old and it couldn’t do much harm at this point anyway.

—I think a good thing for all the current mayoral candidates to do would involve having all three men—and maybe me, too, if they can stand being in such close quarters with someone who still wears English Leather religiously—drive in a fancy motorcade through different parts of the city, winding their way from neighborhood to neighborhood as cameras recorded the whole shebang. Of course, there would be a cameraman in the main limousine, too.

—Well, what would be the point of that? I asked Augie. After all and so far, the candidates have indeed met in public and in virtual forums here in the city. Though there have in fact been a few such events, as I rightly pointed out to March, I had to add the following qualifier: There hadn’t been too much news about the actual issues in the race; in fact, most of the news being reported on this year’s contest focuses on accusations, ethics violations, and PR stunts designed to improve likability.

In fact, in a mayoral forum held Monday night and sponsored by the New Mexico Black Voters Collaborative, Keller used his closing statement, according to local political columnist Joe Monahan:

“to unload publicly on Gonzales for the first time, to tell the audience that, “The Sheriff has been over-policing people of color and doing photo ops.” That statement, of course, comes with its own heap of irony, as Monahan pointed out. But it is worth mentioning that, besides being the king of photo ops in this town, Keller’s administration has had to face its own accusations of discrimination, systemic racism and ageism.

“Keller Jousts With Mayoral Foes; Lands First Public Blows On Gonzales; Starts Making Case For Second Term”, by Joe Monahan, September 27, 2021, in Joe Monahan’s New Mexico.”

http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/

“Past city official files whistleblower suit”, by Jessica Dyer, Wednesday, January 27, 2021 in The Albuquerque Journal:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2353571/past-city-official-files-whistleblower-suit.html

A GRAND PARADE

March pointed his finger toward me accusingly, widened his normally sleepy eyes and with a grave intonation, continued.

—That’s precisely why they need to parade around town with a motorcycle unit, flags, heck, maybe even a high school band on some kinda float or something vaguely resembling our journey into the future. Besides being good for citizen and police morale, it would be a great way to familiarize those three with one of our city’s most dire problems, problems which Gonzales referred to as part of “a crossroads of total anarchy.”

“Mayoral hopefuls face off at forum”, by Jessica Dyer, Monday, September 27, 2021 in The Albuquerque Journal:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2433260/mayoral-hopefuls-face-off-at-forum.html]

—It’s true, Mr. March. I’ve been thinking so much about all those stories about fines in the thousands, pictures of the mayor cuddling shelter dogs and that other fellow bellowing like some sort of follower of the Glimmer Twins that I’ve almost forgotten about the sadness, violence, economic despair and homelessness that continue to haunt our fair burg. The thing is, it isn’t total anarchy: it’s just a whole lot of sad and displaced human beings doing what humans do best, which is being fragile and in need of help from others.

—See, if they started just north of Downtown, they could take a long look at the scores of homeless encampments that are just about everywhere, stretching from just about every freeway overpass to the sidewalks on main thoroughfares and on the edges of industrial parks, too. Maybe they could even talk with ’em. That ought to change some perceptions, by gum!

—Now wait a minute, Augie, the incumbent says he has a plan to get that fixed pronto!

—I wish that were the case, but look in the daily newspaper. It says there that the whole deal is being held up in the planning department by objections from neighbors of Keller’s proposed shelter at the former Lovelace Hospital on Gibson Boulevard. The place is in District 6—the Council district of the notorious Pat Davis—and the folks that live up there reckon they have already had to face an overwhelming homeless population and all the negative things they say go along with that.

“Neighbors object to ABQ shelter proposal” By Jessica Dyer in The Albuquerque Journal, Tuesday, September 21, 2021:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2431413/neighbors-object-to-citys-shelter-application.html

DAVIS, GRILLEY AND WHITE PRIVILEGE

—How does Davis figure into this; and why does his involvement rate the epithet “notorious”? That’s a pretty strong word, Mr. March!

—Well, back in May, Davis apparently caved to business and real estate interests in the area, proposing that the shelter limit itself to only 30 beds. Before that, he called for public input on the project to be extended again, keeping the whole project in limbo. The editorial board at the Journal called all of that “bait and switch at its worst,” and they’re right. Citizens voted on investing $14 million on the project in the hope of giving some hope to a good number of the city’s homeless. Davis’ move seems craven, period. The project just isn’t going to work in Davis’ scaled-down version. The homeless problem has grown way beyond 30 beds. Come to think of it, maybe Davis ought to ride in the motorcade with those three candidates!

“Editorial: Hey ABQ voters, did you OK $14M for just 30 shelter beds?” By the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board, in The Albuquerque Journal, Tuesday, May 25, 2021:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2393829/hey-abq-voters-did-you-ok-14m-for-just-30-shelter-beds.html

—And how is driving the candidates—and Councilor Davis, for that matter—around town, through its worst bits, going to help? How is it going to change things for the better?

—If they stick to the 30-bed scenario that Davis is working for, he should definitely tag along. He could be the one that hand-selects the 30 homeless citizens who get to experience life at the new shelter. But in general terms, his inclusion supports the idea that there is a stigma against the homeless among certain other groups of people.

They frighten many folks in the middle- and upper-classes. In fact, another fellow named Grilley that’s running for City Council in District 9 sorta sums up the weird and inappropriate cognitive dissonance and privilege a lot of these objectors to Keller’s plan are demonstrating. Right on his main page, it says this: “Homelessness in our district poses a threat to public health, compromises our security, and costs the city money.” His main focus here seems to be on saving money: the bottom line. Wealth management is big with these white privilege sorts. With outright capitalists, it’s always ‘mercy be damned.’

Rob Grilley for Albuquerque City Council, District 9:

https://www.rob4abq.com/

THE MIRACLE OF KELLER’S CORRECTNESS

—And …

—Well, maybe if they get it into their heads that these are real flesh and blood human beings with their own stories, their own dignity—and their own frailties—maybe they’d get off their behinds and start doing something proactive to solve this tragic problem; you know, help train them, provide and staff for comprehensive mental health services, get ’em ready to work or learn and contribute to the city. Don’t get me wrong, Keller’s got the right idea on this one; it’s a rarity, I know it.

But he needs to talk about this issue in public more, he needs to be a role model, for Crissakes! If we do the motorcade thing, I’d expect him to be the first one out of the car, shaking hands with and giving out hugs to all those homeless folks wandering through every part of our town. That PR strategy has worked for shelter pets, after all.

—Whoa. What about Manny … and the other guy?

—Of course, Gonzales shouldn’t wear his uniform during the procession. I reckon he’ll stay in the car, because he won’t want to get his hands dirty. Some of those folks coulda been the ones his handlers used to get fake signatures, you know?

And that third candidate, the Republican just plumb doesn’t matter. He’s a ghost of the airwaves and nothing more: I gotta base that opinion on what ol’ Aragon represents. He’s just a disenfranchised former Dem who probably didn’t feel too comfortable with the ascension of women and the consequent progress in the state party and so latched on to Satan himself—represented, in his case, I might add, by that awful criminal nihilist, number 45 who’s constantly mentioned in that man’s radio diatribes.

Anyway, Keller needs to show some real leadership in this matter. For one thing, it’s about time he reins in Davis; Pat is beginning to look like he’s gone rogue. It’s not good for the Democratic Party, even in a supposed non-partisan local governance deal. Then, Hizzonor needs to address the concerns of citizens near the Gibson site as soon and as thoroughly as possible—while he personally weighs in via one of his own famous photo ops—on why this city absolutely needs to take better care of its disadvantaged and marginalized citizens.

—That’s very interesting, August, but I doubt anyone could get all those guys in a limousine at the same time; there’s just not enough head room plus you never told me about your candidacy …

—Well, it goes something like this: I figure some of the politicians I just talked about will read this, consider my words, the proposals therein … And then wake the heck up to what this town really needs in its next mayor. They really ought to drive around town, though, even if it is solito in their personal gasoline-powered transportation device. I guarantee that will have an effect.

If none of that happens—and I ain’t saying it will or it won’t—come election time, folks really will have to start considering the value of voting for a fictive trans-dimensional Situationist instead of what is being officially offered. I’ve always wanted to apply my painting and pizza-making skills to local governance, you know, and this is a great fail-safe—hot, fresh outta the oven with brilliant colors, too.