Thursday, November 29, 2012

Albuquerque Minimum Wage - Give Me A Break!

Tragedy Strikes in Albuquerque
 City Council
What's left when you have tea bags without billionaires?

See, the usual "operating scheme" for Republicans is to attempt to win power through elections without ever actually proposing any policy whatsoever which might be a clue as to their after election plans.  This was absolutely the case in the last national election.  The GOP completely abandoned all hope that any idea which was running loose in their swarm mind had any possible political traction.

Just as anticipated,  the over financed GOP governors and state houses conducted a violent anti-democracy effort, much of which was founded on a gaseous claim of non-existent voter fraud.  Registration lists were "purged" of likely Democratic voters; ballots were literally ripped from the hands of anyone without either a lawyer or a lobbyist to protect them; and every voter with a wrong sounding name, wrong colored skin, the wrong kind of lover or anything else "wrong enough" to catch the attention of the christian bigots in charge of the democracy was effectively vaporized by the "local patriots" as they "purged and purified" voter registration logs all across the country.

Happily, none of this worked for beans.

As a consequence, we are now seeing, among other things, the "great unravelling" of the Rovian "super genius" plan to cheat in places like Ohio.  That part is somewhat reassuring.   The "sword of justice" which sliced and diced the midnight "computer breakdown" in the Secretary of State's vote counting den was deliciously thwarted by the out of control citizens in the now famous Anonymous movement.

The House election was not nearly as satisfying for those who love democracy.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, a large majority of the votes cast for House seats were cast for Democrats, but the "clever" redistricting inflicted by the entirely Republican Pennsylvania State government ushered in an almost "perfectly purely" GOP crowd of snotty Pennsylvania tea bags.

All of this would amount to nothing more interesting than a typical MeanMesa ranting session if the toxic brew had not been insinuated into Albuquerque city politics, too.

The "first wave" was already history.  During the mayoral election last time, a highly suspicious "Democrat" lurched into the race as a parasitic competitor to split the vote with Albuquerque's old Democratic Mayor.  The result?  Even though well over 60% of the votes cast were for one Democratic Mayor or the other, we got a well lubricated Republican Mayor instead.

That would be, "well lubricated" with fairly rancid ALEC oil.  Remember, New Mexico is the fifth largest natural gas and oil producing state in the union.  Naturally, there are plenty of shady Texans skulking around our Round House making anti-democracy mischief pay dividends in "campaign contributions."

Speaking existentially, somewhere in this universe there is still an actual Republican platform with policies and promises about relevant issues.  This would be a platform that Republican candidates could, after adopting as the foundation of their campaign, go ahead and actually win an election.  It would be an election victory because they would have convinced voters that they had a winning idea.

We haven't seen this in a long time.

These days the Republican candidates call the President a Kenyan, fulfil psychotic misogynist dreams about women, their childhood and their mothers and give speeches like wet dreams of starting wars.  To win elections, they buy voting machines, dream up schemes, cheat, trick, lie and manipulate any voter uneducated enough to buy into their tricks one more time while they violently rip the ballot from the hands of other legal, registered voters.

Albuquerque Minimum Wage: Three Innocent Mysteries

1. The First "Innocent Mystery"

How did the City of Albuquerque even come close to ever having a Republican controlled City government when the voters of Albuquerque have consistently, repeatedly, continuously and dependably always voted a Democratic majority into the City Council?

At first, no one was too worried about these developments -- specifically, the "election" of a Republican Mayor when the vast majority of voters had voted for a Democratic Mayor -- because there was a collection of stalwart Albuquerque Democrats elected to a majority on the City Council.  By large majorities over the years, Albuquerque voters have selected Democrats to sit in the majority role on the City Council.

We did this because we wanted the "general flavor" of the City Council's decisions to exhibit Democratic Party ideas.  There have been plenty of peccadillo's when this didn't turn out to be the case, but those were usually temporary.  There is no evidence anywhere that Albuquerque voters ever wanted a Republican majority on the City Council.

However, in a more and more frequent "turn of events," Republicans who haven't so much as a ghost of a chance winning an election if their records are discussed, keep "winding up" with a controlling majority of all sorts of things.

Now, Republicans could say that they now enjoy this unanticipated good fortune because voters were attracted to their superior platform and policy, but there was never any platform or policy involved in this -- unless we wish to consider the platform and policies of New Mexico ALEC.  Those would not have anything to do with Albuquerque voters because those policies are authored by corporate and ideological looters from elsewhere, that is, from "elsewhere's" which are "somewhere else" besides New Mexico.

Of course, ALEC only controls a tiny bit less than half of the Round House, but after the last election, we will have to very confidently toss the Prosecutera Maxima, Governess Martinez, into the ALEC clutch of "owned assets." In this last election the Governess took off the gloves and directly channelled boat loads of out-of-state ALEC cash at a couple of her favorite Democratic irritants in the Round House.

2. The Second "Innocent Mystery"

What was the possible intention of the referendum on the ballot to test public political opinion about the minimum wage increase proposal?  Was the "typo" on the referendum petition forms an accident or a predictably stinky Republican trick?  Was the referendum actually a "agree with us" or get nothing pitch from the Republican Mayor and his ALEC backers out of sight behind the curtain?

Okay.  New Mexico is the state that wants to do things other states do, except with our illiteracy problem, we keep blowing it.  This is the place where the incarcerated, convicted murderer was accidentally released from the state prison -- twice.  This is the place where the team in charge of handling the multi-billion dollar state "rainy day" fund is led off in hand cuffs.  This is the state where 14,000 convicted drunk drivers have been re-issued their driver's licenses months or years before they got off probation.

So, are we making "too big a deal" out of this "typo" business?

If MeanMesa were going to consider this question in a make believe fairy land where Republicans weren't eagerly acting out the roles of some dark clone between Jim Crow and Al Capone,  we could swallow the possibly "too big of a deal" idea.  In the real world -- no such swallowing.  It looks from here like the entire GOP -- federal, state and city -- has had a psychotic break.

Albuquerque Minimum Wage 

Hike May Be Stopped By Typo

AP  |  Posted: Updated: 09/06/2012 4:39 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A referendum aimed at increasing the minimum wage in Albuquerque may not make in on the city's ballot because of an unexpected roadblock — a typo.

City officials say the proposal is misworded and written in a way that requires employers, like restaurant owners, to pay themselves more and not their employees more. And since more than 12,000 people signed the petition as written, restaurant owners promise a legal fight if the proposal is approved.

"The measure would also require that starting in 2013, employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers," the referendum reads.

Still, the Albuquerque Journal reports ( that city officials are in disagreement over what action is needed to place the item on the Nov. 6 ballot. The intended proposal would increase the minimum wage for most employees from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour. It also would change the law for employees who receive tips.

"If it goes on the ballot and passes, then the people, the restaurant owners, are probably going to file a lawsuit against the city, based on the language that was put on the ballot," said Councilor Ken Sanchez, a co-sponsor of the petition, told KOB-TV.

Rebecca Glenn, a spokeswoman for the group pushing the proposal, said state allows typos to be fixed on proposed ordinances.

However, Sanchez said it may be shelved because of too many legal barriers.
City councilors also are considering allowing the typo version of the proposal along with a corrected one to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

It appears action of some sort must be taken under state law, which says a governing body must first adopt an election resolution.

Huffington Post

MeanMesa TOTALLY wonders what was the name behind the hand which introduced this nearly disastrous and incredibly suspicious typo.  If the "players" in this near fiasco had enjoyed even a modicum of respectability, it might have been dismissed without the drama of the conspiracy theory.

One more side of this "second, innocent mystery" has to be mentioned here -- the WalMart side.  Just as the clear voice of Albuquerque voters was emerging from the election results, a separate kind of populist statement was wafting up from WalMart parking lots across the city.

More or less independently of the minimum wage issue, pathetically paid WalMart employees accompanied by plenty of local residents who could speak without fearing the consequences of the ruthless suppression confronting the employees, were saying:

a. that, exclusively for matters of social decency, WalMart employees needed to earn a living wage;

b.  that the rest of Albuquerque's tax paying society was tired of subsidizing the corporate profits by continuously picking up the tab for medical care, food stamps and the rest of the tax financed "safety nets" required to sustain the otherwise unsustainable WalMart labor force; and,

c. that -- although perhaps a bit more quietly -- Albuquerque voters were completely "over" the "direct channel" influence that the WalMart corporation seemed to enjoy with just about every department of the city government including the Mayor's office.

There really is something here which will not bear the light of day.  That something is WalMart's business model in general and specifically its labor model.  They both stink.

3. The Third "Innocent Mystery"

Part 3, here, is the bit which falls closest to the "Give Me A Break" criteria.

Could the Albuquerque City Council dump the minimum wage increase referendum?  Here are three short articles from the Albuquerque area which are "must read" items for those wishing to understand what's happening.

From A Female New Mexican's Political Point of View

Monday, September 10, 2012

Albuquerque a Republican Run and Owned City

First Mayor R.J. Berry is elected to run our city. His police force is more concerned with protecting sex offenders and preventing property crime to care about any other crimes. His administration is fighting tooth and nail to prevent low-income individuals from getting a pay increase. Our city has the most job losses of any city in the state and also cities in surrounding states. 

The city council is about to become a supermajority controlled by republicans. You can be sure that things will not go well for city employees who are union members. The council will back any plan for things like not putting large construction projects on the ballot for the voters to consider. We will see pet republican construction projects pass with no voter input in the future. 

The Bernalillo County Commission is also about to lean to the right as the governor will appoint either a republican or a fake democrat to the position being opened by Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham. Grisham is running for congress and gave up the position so that a democrat could be appointed to the ballot this November. 

The problem with all of these changes is that no one appears to care in the Democratic Party. Candidates are either charging large prices for pay-for-view events in the city or they are moving their events north and south of our fair city. The State Fair Parade, which has been a big deal in the past, is looking like just another no show this year by candidates and the party. Democratic voters have nothing to talk about or attend that would encourage their desire to vote in the November election. 
Why should anyone care if Bernalillo County becomes a republican haven in our state? Well let us just say that without our county someone being elected to a statewide race has very little hope of winning. Our city and county is the largest voting bloc in the state. 

Here is an email from local activist Michael Bernstein.  Want to know more?  Check out the links included (below).

Albuquerque city council might repeal minimum wage increase passed by 66% of voters

Did you vote for the minimum wage increase in Albuquerque? The Mayor and City Council might just decide to repeal it:

"Council President Trudy Jones, Councilor Dan Lewis and Mayor Richard J. Berry were all on the record before Tuesday's vote as being opposed to a minimum-wage hike. With five city councilors considered friendly to the mayor and a sixth likely to be appointed once current councilor Debbie O'Malley moves over to her newly elected post on the Bernalillo County Commission, the votes may be there for a repeal."

If, like me, you feel that the expressed will of the people means something, you might want to contact the City Council and Mayor and let them know:

Albuquerque City Council (image source: Michael Bernstein)

And here are excerpts from the ALIBI article.

Weekly ALIBI
Editor's Note
A Simple Majority
Councilors can override the will of the people

Marisa Demarco
November 22, 2012

The voters made it pretty clear.  They would like to see the Burque'a minimum wage go up by $1 per hour.  The measure wasn't even as controversial as it was made up to be in the run up to the election.  A decisive 66% of the elctorate gave the raise a thumbs up.

The minimum wage would hit $8.50 in the city and tipped employees would slowly see more money until they are paid about $5 per hour in 2014.  The minimum wage would also be tied to the cost of living, meaning automatic increases as things get more expensive.

Though Burquenos did their civic duty and weighed in on this topic, it's possible for city politicians to squash their votes.  Turns out, it's pretty easy.  A simple majority of the City Council -- that's five out of nine councilors -- and the mayor can undo the votes of 139,604 people. (The number of people in favor of the raise comes from unofficial results listed on the Bernalillo County Clerk's website.)

I called the city, and asked: Which issues that appear on a ballot can councilors override?  Any ordinance or legislation, said spokesperson Dayna Gardner.  The process is a familiar one.  A measure to undo the minimum wage hike would be introduced by a councilor or the administration (Mayor's office).  It would head into a committee and then back out with a recommendation.  The Council would vote it, and the mayor would sign it.

Six elected officials can use their position to undo the wishes of the very electorate that put them into power.  This blows my mind.  And it's not just because of the Alibi's endorsement team favored the minimum wage hike in our Election Guide.


Local politicians make the decisions that will immediately affect your life.  How are the side walks in your neighborhood?  Does your kid have up-to-date textbooks in her classroom?  If you call 911 in an emergency, are you confident help will come quickly?  That's the kind of stuff that hits their desks.  Even better, sometimes those issues are directly on the ballot, like the wage raise and the Passeo and I-25 overhaul.  Vote, I tell people, because your opinion matters.

Councilors Trudy Jones and Dan Lewis took a stand against the new wage before Election Day and told KRQE after it passed that they were looking into repealing it.  There are five conservatives on the Council who usually vote in a block.  The mayor is a noted righty, too, and he wasn't crazy about the pay raise, either.   On election night, though, he was talking sense: "Our bosses -- the voters -- have spoken, and I would be doing what I did if I didn't believe in the will of the people," he told ALIBI in a response to a question about the minimum wage.

It's unclear what the rest of the Council would do if the same question came to a vote.  Four lefties, Ken Sanchez, Ray Garduno, Isaac Benton and Debbie O'Malley -- are dead against a repeal.  Benton's spokesman said in an email to ALIBI that it's unlikely such a measure will actually come before the Council.

Still, it's repugnant that drowning out the clear voice of the voters is being considered.  Rules in Albuquerque should be strengthened so this  kind of thing can't happen and the rights of the voting public are protected.

And if they somehow manage to overturn a vote cast by thousands of citizens, use the only civic resource you have left: Vote them out of office next time around.

Call or email our conservative councilors and the mayor, and tell them what you think.

Brad Winter  --  768-3101

Dan Lewis -  768-3189

Michael Cook  --  768-3136

Trudy Jones  --  768-3106

Don Harris  --  768-3123

Mayor Richard Berry -- 768-3000

MeanMesa is carefully anticipating getting completely out of control if we see our ballots being shredded by the latest bunch of drooling neo-con amateurs.

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