Wednesday, March 04, 2009

City Elections and Elephant in the Room

I am predicting that many of the people who are announcing candidacies for Mayor in Albuquerque will not get on the ballot because of the onerous requirements for qualifying for public funding with over three thousand $5 contributions or by collecting over 6000 valid signatures of voters. This is a very difficult task with little time to do it in and some of the new politicos simply will not have time. I noticed that Rob Dickson is entering the race. He is the guy who brought his vision to the redevelopment of the old Albuquerque High School site. I am glad to see him in the race but worry he will have a tough time gathering those signatures.

The elephant in the room for the Mayor's race is the dismal city financial outlook. After Mayor Chavez and the City Council have had nothing but double digit budget increases over the last 7 years the pain will now be felt. Big Time! The general fund budget revenues could contract by 10% or even more. Pile on that the overly generous raises for police and fire and you have a real mess on your hands. Some one needs to talk about this in the race, but I think it may well be a submerged issue. Even so, it could be used effectively against the incumbent. Of course, with all the people in the race he may win. There would be poetic justice there in that he will need to deal with the budgetary disaster of his making.

Meanwhile the only issue I see being discussed is the fact that public financing might be used for buying beer for campaign volunteers. The loudest screamers are city councillors who helped get us into this budget mess.

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