Sunday, September 25, 2011

State and County Redistricting

The legislators have left Santa Fe. After 20 days at $50,000 each (a cool $1,000,000), all they seem to have accomplished is passing partisan plans for redistricting that are sure to be vetoed. They could not even agree on a plan for the US House of Representatives. The Republicans called the Democratic plan partisan, the Democrats called the Republican plan partisan, and in this case I think they are both correct.

As the state plans head to the governor and then almost certainly into the courts, Santa Fe County is holding two public hearings on its plan for the Board of County Commissioners. Tuesday, September 27, the redistricting plans will be discussed at the regular board meeting. Another meeting is planned October 11.

More info and maps of the 5 plans are available for viewing at the county website, Hopefully, the commission can act in a more responsible manner than the state or city did.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Redistricting Nightmare

New Mexico's Congressional and Public Regulation Commission districts have been redrawn, and the plans have been approved by the legislature along party lines.

As predicted, there is the threat of a veto by the governor, which would mean the situation will end up in the courts, with NM judges making the final decision on district boundaries.

NM Democratic lawmakers are once again putting partisan politics ahead of fair play and real democracy. We have been advocating for a long time for the creation of a citizens' commission to redraw these lines based on objective standards. This year's $1,000,000 special session is nothing more than partisan posturing and power grabbing that has no place in our democracy.

We need to avoid this fiasco in 2020, and to that end we will be working to pass a law requiring independent commissions beginning then. It's a shame the legislature did not heed this advice in time to save the state millions of dollars this year.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Public Campaign Financing in Albuquerque

Albuquerque's municipal election is October 4, 2011. Voters will elect councilors in 4 of the 9 districts, and vote on a dozen bond issues and one proposition. Early voting starts today. see for details on voting sites and ballot questions.

Of note is the fact that 4 of the 6 candidates have chosen to participate in the city's public campaign financing system, in spite of the recent decision by the US Supreme Court that ruled the matching funds provision unconstitutional.

Only Greg Payne and Trudy Jones in Council District 8 have opted out of the system. Predictably, that race has also generated some seriously negative campaigning, as reported yesterday at New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan (

If you live in district 8, ask the candidates why they aren't running clean- and get out and vote, Albuquerque!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Special Legislative Session on Redistricting

Tuesday, September 6, legislators will be reconvening in Santa Fe to set district boundaries for the next ten years. Despite repeated attempts by citizen activists to create an independent commission to redraw district boundaries, once again legislators will be responsible for creating the new districts.

Will we see most districts gerrymandered as a form of incumbent protection plan? Or ornery representatives abusing their powers in attempts to punish independent minded legislators, as recently happened in Santa Fe's redistricting process? Probably both. Will we see a repeat of the last redistricting process that ended up in costly court cases. Probably so, seeing as we once again have a Democratic legislator and Republican governor.

Two Santa Fe area legislators at least took the time last week to hold public hearings for constituents, but don't expect much more transparency from our elected officials. There are currently 8 different plans for the house and senate, 7 for the Congress and 5 for the PRC. They are viewable at

We will blog about the plans as they become more finalized, and begin again in January to lobby for an independent commission to do this critical work after the 2020 census, and beyond.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ranked Choice Voting in Santa Fe

At the Santa Fe City Council meeting last Tuesday (August 30), four people testified in favor of implementation of Ranked Choice Voting. Nonetheless, it seems we are no closer to using it in 2012.

Unbelievably, the administration and even some councilors seem to think that it is too much work to follow the law. One councilor even wrote in an email that it doesn't matter whether we are capable of implementation, because "I could not support adding a 3rd new requirement for the next election."

Amazing, it is as if the city gets to pick and choose which of its laws to enforce, based on convenience and circumstance?

I hope you'll take a moment to contact the mayor and your councilors and tell them you want to see Ranked Choice Voting in March 2012.