How do you really get to know a candidate? One way is to go to a website (Rey Garduño, Paulette de'Pascall, Brad Winter, Debbie O'Malley). Now that you're back... how much do you really know about the candidates or the incumbents?
You could also go to candidate forums, read campaign literature, surf the net and read blogs like this one, follow them through the mainstream media, or perhaps you'll be lucky enough to meet one of the candidates on your very own doorstep. If you manage to check each of the above sources of information off your list... now how much do you really know?
Each of the above items is a piece of the puzzle. When combined, they can form a picture of a candidate or an elected official. However, there's still one important piece missing; one that cannot be spun, suited to individuals or situations, and although it's often tried, this piece can't be denied (even if you forget to hit the "finalize" button). The all important piece, the one that not only completes the puzzle but brings it into absolute focus is the one that shows who a candidate associates with.
In today's Tribune there's a story about a group called the Committee for Responsible Budgets who ran ads attacking Councilors Winter and Harris over the most recent council / mayoral spat that had to do with the budget and $9 MILLION for the Westside Metropolitan Detention Center. Turns out three of the group's backers can be tied directly to the Almighty Mayor himself.
That story and its implications can not be written about any of the 5 candidates taking taxpayer money to further their political ambitions; not because they're not backed by special interest, but because those interests can remain unknown. A giant piece of their ideological picture can remain missing. What do they really stand for? Are they really telling you the truth in their campaign literature or when they're standing on your doorstep?
Our Eyes tell us that Transit Director Greg Payne has been spending time with Paulette de'Pascal. Some say that the mayor himself recruited her to run against his council rival Brad Winter. If we had a contributor list to look at we could make comparisons. If her contributors are the same people that donated to the mayor, then we'd know a lot about how she'd vote if elected.
Rey Garduño, running for the District 6 seat vacated by Martin Heinrich... Besides using a taxpayer funded email and being an advocate for "clean" elections, what else does he stand for? And what special interest group (if any) has encouraged him to run?
The Albuquerque Open and UN-Ethical Elections ordinance has created a veil of secrecy that surrounds these candidates. Who do they associate with? What do they really believe? Frankly, a candidate that's freed from their associations can tell voters whatever the voters want to hear because there's no record of a contradiction based on association to compare their statements with.
Matt Brix from Common Cause is a frequent poster here on Eye On Albuquerque, particularly when we talk about taxpayer financing of elections. He's eloquent and makes good arguments for taxpayer financing. Further, we're going give him credit for genuinely wanting to make elections more accessible. However (you knew this was coming), his advocated system of "clean" elections doesn't take money out of politics, it takes money out of our pockets while allowing candidates to hide their true colors; both are fundamentally wrong.
Every piece of a candidate's picture is important. Who a candidate's supporters are is probably MORE important to judging a candidate and their character, than any other piece of the puzzle. We don't have a problem with contribution limits and we believe that contributions should be made public, but forcing a group of people to fund another's political ambition is wrong. Obfuscating their supporters and their true objectives is undeniably dangerous.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes