At the Rio Grande Foundation we were VERY pleased with one major result from Election Day: the defeat of “Democracy Dollars.” If a group of out-of-state conservatives had brought more than $600,000 into a local campaign you’d never hear the end of it from the media and the left in general. But, with the shoe on the other foot and the big-spending left being sent home, it’s down the memory hole we go!
To be fair, the election was a mixed bag. Candidates largely “held serve” although Republicans are in for a dogfight over Brook Bassan in the old Brad Winter Council district. The left also got their way on numerous other issues on the ballot including all of the bonds, the expansion of campaign financing, and renewal of the transportation tax. But it is the bond issues that truly represent a failure of “democracy.” Let’s review the facts:
1) The summaries and information provided for voters on the ballot was minimal. The City also (strategically???) lumped good and useful projects in with probable boondoggles. And, the Mayor himself used YOUR tax dollars to campaign on behalf of the bonds and vast City resources were used to support them as well. This is hardly a fair fight;
2) Albuquerque/NM voters are a compliant lot. Despite repeated failure of government at ALL levels (ART, Rail Runner, Spaceport, education system, and film subsidies to name a few) they tend to vote the same people back in. Unfortunate, but you don’t get to 50th overnight;
3) If the left (or City) want to improve “democracy” they should put a provision in like the 1% for the arts (maybe call it “50% (or even 25%) for the opposition”) that for every speech by the Mayor or elected official or use of public dollars, the opposition needs to be given equal media time or money. That won’t solve the left’s overall financial advantage (see above), but at least it will prevent the City from using taxpayer dollars to roll the opposition in bond elections.