Realtors and developers give big money to ABQ mayoral candidates

The amount of money being raised and spent so far in the Albuquerque mayor’s race is already an unprecedented $2,646,494. Of that, 68 percent comes from private contributors to candidates. An often heard saying about elections is that candidates spend their time asking anyone they can find for money to fund their campaigns. But a look at the campaigns of the three candidates raising the most in private dollars suggests one constituency is being asked a lot more than others. The real estate and land development sector has given roughly $1 of every $4 raised so far in the Albuquerque mayoral race once you subtract public financing dollars for one candidate and a half-a-million-dollar loan another candidate gave to himself, an NMID analysis shows.

ABQ mayor’s race tops $2 million

Albuquerque’s mayoral contest is officially a $2 million race, setting the stage for the most expensive mayor’s race ever in the city. Campaign finance reports filed today show mayoral candidates have raised or otherwise accumulated $2,103,107 since the beginning of the year. That figure includes $380,791 for Tim Keller’s publicly financed campaign. $500,000 in loans to himself by Ricardo Chaves, plus $8,648 he’s contributed to his own campaign. Dan Lewis has raised $355,254, which includes $90,477.56 he started the year with.

NMID welcomes Sylvia Ulloa and says goodbye to Sandra Fish

Changes are coming to New Mexico In Depth. First, we’re thrilled to announce Sylvia Ulloa is joining our team. Sylvia most recently was managing editor of the Las Cruces Sun-News in the agricultural Mesilla Valley in southern New Mexico. Sylvia brings extensive experience in multi-media reporting and building engagement opportunities. She’ll be instrumental in deepening New Mexico In Depth’s community engagement program going forward, and we are looking forward to on-the-ground reporting from southern New Mexico.

Gov. threatens government shutdown, Dems slam her over jobs

The 2017 legislative session wrapped up at noon Saturday, but the work appears far from over. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez on Saturday afternoon said she would call state lawmakers back in for a special session after the Democratically controlled Legislature had failed to give her a responsible budget. . Exactly when she wouldn’t say. Calling a $6.1 billion spending plan and $350 million tax package the Legislature had sent her “reckless” and “irresponsible,” the governor spoke of a looming government shutdown and of potentially furloughing state workers.

Early Ed proposal fails in Senate committee

With just three days left in the session, the Senate Rules committee effectively killed an effort to tap New Mexico’s permanent land grant fund to provide additional resources for early childhood education. A motion to table the measure was made by Democratic Senator Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces. She was joined by Republicans on the committee and one other Democrat, Sen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants. The resolution was first brought up for debate in the committee on Monday, when Papen and Sanchez weren’t present. As the discussion got underway that day, Republican committee members got up and left one by one, leaving the committee without the quorum necessary for a vote.

Follow 2017 legislative session via NMID’s Ethics Tracker

Entering the third week of New Mexico’s 2017 legislative session, several ethics and campaign finance reform bills have cleared their first committee hearings. In the interest of reporting on these subjects in a comprehensive way, we’ve decided to share our internal “ethics tracker” publicly. Ethics and campaign finance are issue areas New Mexico In Depth has reported on for years. This year, two bills that would bring significant change to New Mexico seem to have more traction than in years past:

     Creation of an independent ethics commission, or similar entity.      Passage of an omnibus campaign finance reform bill.

Legislature must do more for working families

Years ago, I had a conversation with a friend about tensions in his relationship. My friend eventually shrugged and said “I don’t know, that’s just the way it is,” resigning himself to accepting the tension rather than find a solution. For a very long time, New Mexicans have been expected to just shrug our shoulders and accept the problems in our state as “that’s just the way it is.”

New Mexico is at a crossroads: with a multi-year budget crisis and some of the low rankings in child well-being (coupled with high levels of unemployment and poverty), we can stay the course of giving tax breaks to big, out-of-state corporations and fix the budget crisis by cutting services for New Mexicans, or we can take bold steps toward creating a brighter future for New Mexico. Several bills are aiming to do just that.  Raising the minimum wage, introducing statewide paid sick leave and a constitutional amendment that will allow New Mexicans to decide whether or not to invest in our most precious resource, our children, are pushing our Legislature to take action.