What's wrong with this picture?
The bloggers have gone wild over the e-mail flap of the posting of Sandra P. Richardson’s “Paulette, THE PLAN and the structure.”
I was pondering joining in, but I wasn’t sure how I would. I want to make sure I stay relevant.
As I reviewed all the blog postings I could find and the trail of comments, a few things became clear.
Blogger Mario Bugos http://www.marioburgos.com/ posted a “leaked” e-mail, purportedly:
From: "Sandra P. Richardson"
Date: July 14, 2007 7:39:55 AM MDT
Cc: "Sandra P. Richardson",
Subject: Paulette, THE PLAN and the structure
Paulette de'Pascal, candidate for city council district 4, appears now to be distancing herself from both Payne and Richardson by dismissing it as just “…a silly email sent by someone who wanted to be a part of this campaign..."
So what's wrong with this picture?
Burgos did not include to whom the e-mail was addressed; the name was redacted.
However, the same e-mail was also posted on the EYE on Albuquerque. Yet, the EYE included the address: To: email@example.com. Payne is director of ABQ Ride, the City’s transportation department. Based on the headings posted online, de'Pascal was not even a listed recipient. Burgos called it a head-scratcher; now I have to scratch the other side of my head as well.
Apparently, 770 KOB AM's Jim Villanucci read the e-mail on his talk-radio show last week.
Duke City Fix wrote about how in 2000, Larry "Skip" Vernon, then Republican candidate for District Attorney, sent an e-mail to his Democratic rival, Kari Brandenberg. Vernon would claim it was sent as a mistake, delivered to the wrong person. DCF claims it killed Vernon’s chance to be elected. It may well have. However, in this case there is an important difference; the Richardson e-mail is not de'Pascal’s. The candidate is not responsible for it.
This “silly e-mail” has taken on a life of its own; rampant rumor-mongering has overtaken facts.
The blogging world, and more so the comment sections of the blogs, have taken issues that have a miniscule matter of truth and blown them to smithereens.
Several commentators attribute information as being leaked, instead of recognizing that all candidates must report their campaign activities that are instantly available on the city clerk’s web site http://www.cabq.gov/onlinesvcs/campaign/. The $2,990.26 expenditure at the ABQ Uptown Apple Store is her first entry.
I considered going journalistic; I have the numbers of the parties, Richardson, Payne and de'Pascal. Then I thought, “What’s the question?”
The bloggers are suggesting that if Payne is the campaign manager or just advising for de'Pascal, that there is something wrong. It is further suggested that de'Pascal is being put up by Mayor Martin Chávez to run against incumbent District 4 City Councilor Brad Winter.
Chávez has been very open in his criticisms of Winter, whom he defeated in the last mayoral election. Chávez will take a swipe at Winter at every opportunity, as he did here in a vituperation, during a “town hall” community gathering to hype his budget, held May 15, at the Bear Canyon Senior Center. Political observers would have to be asleep not to have noticed. Chávez denounced former Councillor Miguel Gómez and backed Ken Sanchez two years ago.
The mayor may back or encourage anyone he wants to run, Payne may manage or advise anyone he wants to run, and Richardson can write what she will and send it to whomever she wishes. They are all citizens and are free to enter the political fray. That’s not news.
A number of blog comments jump to conclusions that city employees are working on de'Pascal’s campaign on city time. It’s happened before; the city’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices heard testimony, during the ABQPAC hearings, from Chávez supporters that they had made telephone solicitations on city time. However, no one has elicited such an admission here. To the contrary, Payne and de'Pascal deny it. People associated with Chávez and his political camp, know how the wind blows and they will take their lead from their boss and join in to get friendly and politically like-minded candidates elected.
So what do I have to add? I believe you can’t know the players if you don’t have a program. So, here are the introductions…
This is Sandra P. Richardson when she spoke in favor of the red light cameras at the Town hall meeting of City Councillors to discuss the City’s Safe Traffic Operations Program referred to as the STOP ordinance.
A Google search revealed that Richardson is or has been active with: the Cherry Hills Civic Association, the League of Women Voters, the Walk Albuquerque Executive Committee, and Keep New Mexico Beautiful. She has held board positions on several of these organizations.
She sits on two committees; she has chaired the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in 2006 and now is the vice chair. She also sits on the Library Advisory Board, appointed by the county to the joint government board. The city’s boards and commissions ordinance prohibits an individual from sitting on two boards. Though she technically is not a city appointed member of the library board, it’s a distinction with little difference. It might raise the ethical eyebrow.
Speaking of ethics, this is Cliff Richardson, Sandra’s husband.
He sits on the city’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices. Cliff Richardson was originally a council appointee whose term expired July 31, 2004.
By my observation, he was one of the more outspoken members of the ethics board, along with fellow council appointee Isabel Cabrera, during the ABQPAC hearings in calling for harsh action against Mayor Martin Chávez.
A year later he was reappointed by Mayor Chávez to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Sarah Brennan, after her husband John Brennan, pleaded guilty to DWI and cocaine possession and she resigned from the board.
Clifford Richardson is listed as an energy engineer for Chugach Management Services and is the executive board secretary for the Albuquerque chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers.
This is Greg Payne seen here during the May 7 city council meeting. He was elected to city council in 1999, representing district 8 after defeating incumbent Tim Cummins, who is now a county commissioner. Contrary to his city web site biography, Four Hills was not in Payne’s district; the southern boundary is Central Ave. Payne was elected to the state legislature but resigned to take the transit job. His biography claims he has consulted or managed more than 50 state and local political campaigns.
I don’t have a picture of de'Pascal.
The Journal’s new City Hall Staff Writer Dan McKay, seen here, below right, during an interview with attorney Tony Jeffries, at the last ABQPAC hearing, defended himself in the DCF string as having checked out the story and he got little to nothing. McKay wrote a squib about Payne’s denial of being involved in de'Pascal’s campaign.
His fellow Journal Staff Writer John Fleck came to his assistance, at DCF, with a great quote about an old grizzled investigative reporter who once said, "Great story. Better if true." I think I knew that reporter, at least ten times over.
So when the facts and gossip are separated, you have a good water-cooler topic and that’s about it. It might provide some insight of how at least one campaign runs or how it might not; depends on what and whom you wish to believe.
Several blog commentators want specific questions asked. This is a political campaign. The phone numbers of all the players are readily available. Political candidates should be ready to stand for any and all questions. Give them a call; ask your questions. Report back what you found out. I am sure a little fact-finding could only add to your discussion. What’s the worse thing that can happen? They blow you off. Guess what, that’s worth knowing also.
Does this incident hurt de'Pascal? That’s up to the voters of District 4.