Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Mayor for Albuquerque. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Beyond health care, what Else Is America Doing?114

The knuckle draggers of the national "Bite Game," now infamously famous for its grotesque, self-embarrassing performance at town hall meetings, its rude and tasteless grunts in Joint Sessions of Congress and its stale, perspiration soiled tea bagger buses, is trying to penetrate local Albuquerque politics.

In New Mexico, the home base of MeanMesa, our city of Albuquerque is entering a mayor's race within the next few weeks. Our current mayor seems to have done a fairly good job of watching over his responsibilities, but a new candidate has emerged. Now, this discussion could fairly easily slip into endless details of matters the current mayor has not handled in a way entirely to someone's liking, but we have to expect that.

We, as citizens of Albuquerque, owe the incumbent the advantage of a reasonable over-view. By and large, he has done an admirable job for several terms. The city is clean and fairly well managed. City water supplies, a big issue in New Mexico, have been seriously augmented by a major captial expenditure -- a project which was handled fairly well, taking several years and now, joyfully, complete and in operation. Compared to the rest of the country, Albuquerque has an impressive -- not perfect, mind you -- unemployment rate. The streets are clean -- not perfectly clean -- and fairly well maintained and modernized by both locally funded and stimulus projects.

It's a good place to live whether one is wealthy or otherwise.

So, what local issue is the new candidate basing his campaign on for the upcoming election? Well, MeanMesa has been getting a bit of the new candidate's campaign literature here in the aging apartment complex which is host to our galactic headquarters. One of the first questions which seems to launch itself, ready or not, into the mind of this dedicated voter has to do with party. What party loyalty does this new man claim?

Not a clue. Not a word spoken to the matter in any of the slick literature.

It is fairly clear that New Mexico political ettiquete considers a highly partisan mayoral candidate a bit passe. Most folks here apparently think a good mayor will probably be too busy taking care of our needs to do a lot of inflammatory campaigning. The incumbent has steered a sometimes frustrating course through the middle ground on such issues, but he seems to have pleased and displeased all the Albuquerque electorate in a coherent, even handed manner, that is, he seems to have consistently found some sort of "a little something" which has generally satisfied each part of our widely disparate citizenry.

But what about the new guy?

Is there anything in his campaign which reveals where his basic politics reside? Maybe. The new man's campaign has now cast out its own gauntlet, and that gauntlet is law and order. In fact, the new man has criticized the old mayor for being too keen on community improvement projects while neglecting law and order. Yes, the old mayor has championed a number of projects which, if completed, would serve to make Albuquerque into more and more of a modern city. Some of these, in fact, represent a pretty ambitious and brave embrace by the incumbent mayor of Albuquerque's future face.

However, that leaves the matter of the new man's law and order. Now, be assured, the residents of Albuquerque like the idea of law and order. Like any American city this size, we have a few problems with law and order. Over in the Southwest part of town there are a few gangs. Up in the prosperous Northern part of town, there are a few teenagers who like drugs and drinking, you know, raising hell, and sometimes, raising hell rather destructively. The State has some fairly egregious corruption problems, but, on a smaller scale, the city has a few, also.

However, the point is that Albuquerque doesn't have any law and order problems particularly more serious than most other cities this size. Yet, here is the new man promoting the idea that law and order problems are far more critically serious -- and requiring far larger resources -- than any of the old mayor's civic improvement projects. In no time, again without any new or particularly troubling law and order statistics, the new candidate intends to convince voters that law and order is the most serious problem we face, placing every honest, hard working citizen in mortal jeopardy! (Ohmigod! It's only a matter of time until you, too, are a victim of these lawless thugs roaming unchecked through our streets like packs of wild dogs...)

In fact, MeanMesa suspects that a suspiciously well funded campaign which is going to promote law and order as its central mast head will probably manage to inspire a good number of our local voters to start thinking endlessly about law and order. The new candidate intends to spend his campaign money creating enough frightened voters to carry him to an election victory.

Egads. Shades of Karl Rove himself. Right here in River City.

Gosh. What political party does stuff like that?

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