After all, if the public can't see it - it's not really there. And that's the operational model Marty subscribes to. If it's bad news hide it and act like it never happened. Governance through public perception - it's a great formula to get re-elected but it doesn't lead to good government.
In campaigns perception is reality and the mayor knows that if he can hide his scandals or shift the blame, he'll more than likely spend another 4 years on the Throne of the Alcalde. Unfortunately, the public seems to suffer from some sort of collective amnesia every time Marty's on the city ballot.
So... In an effort to remind you just who it is that occupies the 11th floor, we're taking you on a trip down memory lane called the Alcalde Files. This week features one of The Almighty Alcalde's early scandals - The Sunport Observation Deck debacle.
It was late in the Almighty Alcalde's first term as mayor. The re-renamed Albuquerque International Sunport was in the process of creating a food court for travelers spending their layover in the Duke City. Then and now Mayor Martin Chavez wanted an brand new observation deck for people to view the majestic planes taking off and landing against the beautiful New Mexico sky.
The only problem... the food court plans didn't include an observation deck. That little obstacle was easily overcome through the simple expedient of having the contractor who was already building the food court build the observation deck. It didn't seem to matter to Marty that doing so violated the law.
Among the policies that were broken, the city failed to put construction work for the project out for bid and neglected to get City Council approval. The case led to a grand jury investigation that nearly culminated in criminal indictments against city employees. The only thing that saved the city from criminal prosecution was a Stipulated Disposition Agreement that was signed by the city and the District Attorney's Office in 1999 that conceded the mistakes made by the city and amended the city's Purchasing Ordinance.You'll notice the settlement was in 1999, two years after Marty left his chair to Jimmy Baca - Albuquerque's Jimmy Carter. The agreement was crafted by a contract lawyer for the District Attorney's office, former City Councilor and current Chief Public Safety Officer, Pete Dinelli. Also involved - or rather not involved as usual - was then Attorney General Tom Udall who chose not to investigate.
Most of you have probably forgotten that in the late '90s Marty was an up and coming star in the Democratic party. His ability to pull Rs and his connections through wife Margaret Aragon de Chavez to the powerful (now convicted felon) Manny Aragon, made him a force to be reckoned with.
So it's no surprise (especially in New Mexico) that Democrats of all stripes either ignored or buried Marty's bad observation. He had the connections. He had the promising future. And he had more than likely broken the law. But we'll never know will we? Because in New Mexico that's just the way it's done.