We Need Booster Shots for Honesty, Grace and Dignity and Fast. Plus, Bolsonaro Concedes. Maybe!

Everywhere you look, there are signs of social disintegration, the last vestiges of grace, kindness and respect fray as we get closer to election day. An 80-year old man is beaten with a hammer and it becomes the butt of GOP jokes and baseless rumors. Will Trump supporters begin bringing hammers to rallies? Will this country ever prioritize compassion and empathy over victory at all cost? Today we also discuss the Brazilian election and an update on the BernCoCommission’s rush to select an increasingly odiferous Moe Maestas to replace Sen Jacob Candelaria.

The Amazon & the World Hold their Breath as.. Bolsonaro Refuses to Concede

While French media outlet France 24 claims that Bolsonaro has published a statement indicating he will comply with the Constitution and has begun transition discussions, most media outlets were still holding their breaths, as there had been no public acceptance of defeat or until today, even a call for truckers to cease their highway blockades. But Tuesday afternoon, The NY Times announced in its afternoon briefing:

Bolsonaro spoke publicly for the first time since losing the presidential election two days ago. In his brief address, he did not clearly acknowledge his loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a leftist former president who is returning to lead Brazil 12 years after his first administration. But after Bolsonaro spoke, his chief of staff said the far-right leader had authorized the transition of power to move forward.

Since Bolsonaro’s election loss, thousands of his supporters have blocked highways across Brazil in a bid to somehow overturn the election. Those protests, Bolsonaro said, “are the fruit of the indignation and feelings of injustice in the electoral process,” but he urged his supporters to halt disruptions.

NY Times Evening Briefing, November 1, 2022

Even this morning a google search for “Bolsonaro concedes” comes up with a string, of articles noting that after two days he has still failed to concede, but one piece from Euro News, “Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro reportedly concedes election defeat amid severe unrest” claims:

“After a private meeting with Bolsonaro, Supreme Court Justice Luiz Edson Fachin said the conservative leader had admitted “it is over. So, let’s look ahead”. The justice made the comment in a video broadcast on local media.” 

Euro News, “Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro reportedly concedes election defeat amid severe unrest”

Meanwhile, Trump minions, who know zero about the Brazil voting processes, are claiming the election was rigged and are calling upon Bolsonaro to refuse to concede. What a world we live in. No one wins, even while securing the most votes, science is denied, even as the earth warms, the seas rise, the fires rag and reports projecting far worse in the future if we fail to act, gather dust..

Even if Bolsonaro does concede and Lula begins restoring the Amazon, that will be nowhere nearly enough. If the species doesn’t develop some humility and grace, some level of trust in each other, and a willingness to see differences as differences, not evidence of satanism, we will cook in our own simmering bile.

David DePape confesses he wanted to break Speaker Pelosi’s kneecaps and with no evidence whatsoever, Trump Republicans raise crazy rumors of Paul Pelosi and a gay pickup gone wrong.

The world is in a horrible climate mess and solving it involves belief in science, but more involved is a commitment to the common good, truth, integrity and honesty. And sadly, no matter how Brazil or Nov.8 turns out here, we have precious little evidence of the resurrection of truth, integrity and honesty. MLK, Jr. told us he’d been to the mountaintop, I’m guessing our present is not what he saw. We could use him now. May he rest in peace

Vote Early, Vote Dem

As we head to the finish line, polls show Ronchetti narrowing the lead. Progressives: this is not the time to punish MLG for policy moves to which we have objected. Ronchetti would be far worse. The best we’d get in the 2023 legis. session is a bunch of vetoes of good bills MLG would have cheerfully signed.

You’d have to have not read many Retake posts if you think we are satisfied with what we get from the Democratic Party of NM… great platform, unconvincing rationalizations why we still don’t have most of the platform-endorsed policies signed into law. But voting is about choosing the political context in which you will operate for at least the next four years. And if Ronchetti wins, we might as well take a four-year break from the Roundhouse, as nothing good will be signed into law.

You’re going to leave it blank?????

I’ve heard from three very smart progressives: “I’m leaving it blank.” when referencing the governor’s race. Are you kidding? That is like saying you have no problem with Mark Ronchetti as Governor. if there are any of you out there considering such a non-vote, please explain how strategic your non-vote will be using the comment below. If, on the other hand, you’re going to vote for MLG, feel free to offer your reasons below. Here is a much truncated list of reasons we voted early for MLG:

  • A woman’s right to control her own reproductive life;
  • In the 2019 legislative session, enough Dems sided with Republicans to prevent a repeal of the old Abortion ban on the books. Thanks to some excellent organizing, enough Dems in Name Only were beaten in the primaries to allow us to pass the repeal in 2020 and with our governor’s signature that heinous law is gone. With Ronchetti, that bill would not have been signed. Indeed, if elected, he will be encouraging introduction of a constitutional amendment to ban abortions, and safely elected, forget about banning abortion only after 15 weeks.
  • The death penalty–They’ll want to bring it back and a Gov Ronchetti would gladly sign it;
  • The wall–they’ll want to build it higher and longer;
  • Immigrants–they’ll want to jail or deport any who get through;
  • Poor families, she has signed low-income family tax credits; Ronchetti won’t
  • A woman’s right to control her own reproductive life;
  • Mark Ronchetti

It is likely to be a very close race and a very long night, but if you make a point of reaching out to anyone you know who may be considering “leaving it blank” and share some of the arguments above, you may be helping the evening end earlier and with more comforting dreams.

BernCo Commission Update

We wrote about the BernCo Commission’s rush to vote in an emergency mtg. to have been held on Oct 31 and laid out all the reasons we oppose Rep. Moe Maestas being selected to replace Sen Jacob Candelaria. While there was plenty in that post, to convince any Dist. 26 constituent that Rep. Moe Maestas represents corporate interests far more than constituents, in Wednesday’s Santa Fe New Mexican, Milan Simonich, offered another reason. he doesn’t deserve Sen.Candelaria’s spot in the Senate. From Milan Simonich:

[After redistricting] Maestas, D-Albuquerque, found himself in Democratic Sen. Harold Pope’s district after the Legislature redrew political boundaries early this year. Even if Maestas wanted to challenge Pope in a primary, he would have had to wait until the 2024 election.

Maestas saw a quicker, easier route to the Senate. He knew then-Sen. Jacob Candelaria was going to resign from office in the middle of his term. Candelaria quit last month, opening the way for the Bernalillo County Commission to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.

That’s New Mexico politics, also known as bad government. Instead of running an open selection process, most commissioners settled on Maestas before anyone else could be considered.

Santa Fe New Mexican: “Bernalillo County’s shame: Maestas steamrolling to Senate” by Milan Simonich

Knowing that Candelaria was planning to resign, Maestas realized that post redistricting, Maestas didn’t live in Candelaria’s Senate district. Redistricting had caused his residence to be in Sen. Harold Pope’s district. While Simonich asserted Maestas could have challenged Pope in a primary in 2024, Pope is a very popular Senator and such a brazen power grab would not sit well with voters or the Dem. Senate caucus. So, he and his corporate lobbyist wife moved to Sen. District 26 just after redistricting and began seeking support from BernCo Commissioners, confident it would take little cajoling, as the Commission, as currently constituted is solidly aligned with the developer-corporate community, as is his lobbyist wife, Vanessa Alarid. It would appear Maestas’s plan was hatched, the minute the redistricting was complete. As Simonich, concluded: “That’s New Mexico politics, also known as bad government.”

Westside constituents are touchy about candidates moving to their district just to secure a seat in the legislature and I am guessing they certainly do not like having a known corporation-friendly legislator foisted on them as their Senator. I am guessing that if Maestas is selected, there is a primary in his future in 2024 and boatload of engaged, active Dist. 26 constituents ready to support the challenge.

In the meantime, I opined in Monday’s post that the deal is done, but the three Commissioners who seem poised to support Maestas’s selection now, may want to continue in politics. Offending a big part of their constituents would not pave a smooth path to a future elected office, but a principled vote on an issue as important as this vote will be remembered. Retake will devote an entire post on this selection process, once all the candidates are announced. Spoiler alert: we will not be endorsing Rep. Maestas to replace Sen. Candelaria.

Given how this post started with noting the continuing descent of public discourse, I thought it appropriate to share a comment from one of our readers.

Firstly, I agree over all with your analysis and assessment, Paul and Roxanne. Very thorough. You have clearly done your homework. I am firmly convinced, however, that waiting until a new commission convenes in January is too long to wait to fill this senate position. Delaying comes across as gamesmanship (wait until “our guys” get in so we can get the candidate we want). This is reminiscent of Mr. McConnell in the U.S. Senate denying Merrick Garland a hearing in Obama’s last year; then rushing through the Amy Comey Barret nomination in Trump’s last months. This type of approach undermines confidence both in our institutions and in those who occupy them. I would even go so far as to say it undermines confidence in democracy as a whole. And heaven only knows we have had too much of that from Mr Trump and his legions of election deniers. Besides, it’s a gamble — no guarantee E. Olivas will win.

Secondly, and most importantly, I firmly believe Commissioner’s O’Malley’s behavior at the last BernCo commissioner’s meeting was unacceptable — and we need to say so loud and clear, especially as progressives. It is hypocritical on my part to advocate for progressive positions and yet still tolerate poor behavior because the person in question (D. O’Malley) is on “my side”. I recall the old expression: “With friends like her, who needs enemies?” So I say: “With progressives like Commissioner O’Malley, who needs conservatives?” She hurts our cause. She needs to go. And whether she hurts our cause or not, her behavior has been intolerable. I insist she resign.

Yours respectfully,

– Spike Murphree
Vice-Chair-at-Large, DPNM Veterans and Military Families Caucus
Chair, BernCo Ward 22A

Not knowing anything about the history of the relationship between Commissioner O’Malley and Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty, I hesitate to weigh in on O’Malley’s reportedly calling Psykoty a bitch. If true, ‘d say O’Malley would be wise to apologize, but I feel Spike’s call for a resignation is a bridge way, way too far. You don’t abandon longtime allies for a passionate outburst under very trying circumstances. But I do think we need to curtail this: we disagree, so you must be evil approach to political discourse.

As to his other point, even before I read Spike’s comment I was feeling as if the currently seated Commission had the right and the responsibility to vote on Candelaria’s replacement, even though, very likely they will vote to appoint Maestas.

As to Spike’s reference to the McConnell-Garland vote. I think this underscores his and my point. For progressives, it would be far better if the new Commission (assuming wins by Barbara Baca and Eric Olivas) was the one to make this important selection, but those aren’t the rules and so we may lose this battle. We need to learn to lose with some grace. We vote, sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t. Lots is at stake, but that doesn’t change the importance of respecting the vote and the rules. The current BernCo Commission was elected to serve four-year terms not three year, eleven month terms. So unless constituents are able to convince one of the three Commissioners who appear to support Maestas, then we lose this battle. As noted above if the BernCo Commissioners receive enough thoughtful input encouraging selecting a different, less tainted, candidate, one vote could move. So after the deadline for candidates to file, Nov 10, we will have time to mount that campaign.

But, even if we lose this fight, there will be another battle over the vote to replace Maestas in the House with, hopefully, a very different BernCo Commission, making that call. So unless, you want to be stuck with a Commission who may do even worse next time, please don’t just vote at the ballot, vote with your checkbook, your canvassing and calling.

We will send out info on the final Senate candidates and Commission contact info and remind you to take action. And in the meantime, connect with Eric Olivas’s campaign and call, canvass and contribute to ensure he becomes commissioner for Dist. 5. And while I am told that Barbara Baca is safe in Dist.1 and will win that seat, if you have time, reach out to her campaign and give her some support, as well.

And together, lets all begin to insist on humility, dignity and grace from our elected officials and activists, alike–not something I am always good at. We so badly need to change the tone and tenor of political discourse.

In solidarity & hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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5 replies

  1. Re: Vote Early, Vote Dem: another good point was made by Diane Denish in today’s (11/3) Albuquerque Journal; that Ronchetti has “never participated in a community organization, no PTA, no neighborhood association, no organization that tries to improve the community in which he lives.” That speaks volumes…

  2. Some background on the Bernco Commissioners–Commissioner Pyskoty was elected with significant support from Democrats from all over the County, with the expectation that she would generally represent Democratic values. Almost immediately she began with voting with the Commission’s Republicans in what seems to be a need to be nice and accommodating. This has happened enough times that her original supporters began to feel betrayed and that she didn’t understand the consequences of some of her votes. It’s hard to be sure if she’s being contrary or just naive. She presented herself as a compassionate person, but was deaf to appeals by constituents’ wishes for representing their needs and opposing unwise development decisions. That’s why she lost her primary race to Eric Olivas. O’Malley’s outburst was regrettable, but was certainly a result of long frustration with Pyskoty.

  3. Agree with everything you’ve said, except “three very smart progressives”. Progressives, maybe, but smart? Not if they see no difference between Grisham and Ronchetti as governor.
    Remember “I can’t vote for either Clinton or Trump”?
    It’s the same blindness.

  4. Agree with every thing you’ve said, except “three very smart progressives”. Progressives, maybe, but certainly not smart at all if they see no difference between Grisham and Ronchetti as governor.

  5. I agree with Bill Mathews completely. Progressives need to grow up. This is a choice between republican pure evil and democrat not so evil. The world is not your oyster. Unite behind the dems!

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