Tuesday, October 06, 2009

All Politics is Local

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is the current City Council District Three Councillor Isaac Benton, right. He is running for reelection after one term.

Benton replaced current State Senator Eric Griego who served a single term on Council from 2001 to 2005 when he unsuccessfully ran for mayor, coming in second and losing to incumbent Mayor Martin Chávez.

Former District One Councillor Alan B. Armijo who was first elected 1989 and served until 2001 is challenging Benton’s seat. Armijo was elected as a County Commissioner in 2002. He is term-limited at the end of next year and chose to run again for Council.

When Armijo, right, was last on Council, the District Three seat was held by Adell Baca-Hundley who was appointed to fill the unexpired term when Steve D. Gallegos when he was elected to County Commission 1996. Baca-Hundley was reelected 1997 and served until 2001

Armijo now resides in City Council District Three. He is retired from Albuquerque Public Schools and works as a lobbyist for APS and the National Associations of Industry and Office Parks.

This picture was taken of him riding on the RailRunner from Santa Fe after a day at the Roundhouse.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

For as close as I try to keep up with the local politics, I know little about these men.

I read their documents hung on my door latch. I know what they say. Armijo stayed positive, Benton came with a hit piece. It didn’t work in diminishing Armijo, but it diminishes Benton in front of me.

So I take it another step, a different look, how do they act in public on the issue of civil rights?

During Armijo’s term on Council, he and I didn’t always agree, but he understood the right of the public to be heard and though he was known to challenge what was said he was respectful of the individual’s right to speak.

During my last visit to council, Benton, sitting as Council president, became irritated with a woman who wanted to present copies of a petition about closing the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

She exceeded her allotted two minutes near the close of her statement.

A speaker before her had engaged in a 20-minute conversation with Councillors. Her request for a moment more was met with Benton pressing the “Mark Bralley Memorial Mute Button” (installed ten years ago after I spoke before the Police Oversight Commission for more than two minute).

Benton dismissively ordered her removed.

The next speaker was Geraldine Amato who pointed out the Councils continued reluctance to listen to the people.

Even Chief Ray Schultz blatantly laughed at Amato.

Under the watchful eye of the Journal's Dan McKay, who did not report on the incident, Officer Paul Pacheco physically ejected the still protesting woman. Placing his hand on her constitutes an arrest, though no charges were filed.

The woman shouted she'd been also thrown out of the El Paso, Texas City Council.

She echoed one of my favorite lines, "I've been thrown out of better places than this."

My Take

I don’t endorse.

The mayoral choices are among: incumbent Mayor Martin Chávez, left, State Representative Richard Berry, center, and former State Senate Pro Tem Richard Romero, right.

It’s now your turn to figure it out. If you haven't, go vote!

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