Editorial cartoon in ABQ Journal widely condemned as racist, bigoted

After state and U.S. lawmakers called an editorial cartoon in the state’s largest newspaper racist and offensive, the editor-in-chief of the Albuquerque Journal issued an apology. In a statement, Karen Moses apologized for upsetting readers. “In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions,” according to Moses’s statement posted on the paper’s website Thursday. “This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes.”

Moses also said the cartoon does not reflect the position of the Journal. The Journal’s reporters, who work separately from the editorial board, covered the controversy in the paper’s Thursday edition.

A thorn in the side of UNM Athletics reflects as he prepares to move on

Love him or hate him, Chicago-based journalist Daniel Libit is set to soften his laser focus on the University of New Mexico athletics program. Libit said he hopes journalists, and the taxpayers and students who keep the school’s athletic department afloat, build on his work to hold Lobo leadership accountable on spending and transparency. NM Political Report met with Libit at Manny’s, a Jewish deli near downtown Chicago where former Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod reportedly holds court. While eating a pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup, Libit had choice, and sometimes pointed, words for UNM, journalists covering the university’s athletics program, his critics and college sports in general. After running the website from his apartment overlooking Navy Pier for about a year, Libit is mothballing NM Fishbowl to expand his coverage beyond one relatively small fish in the pond of college athletics.

Poll: Keller leads as ABQ mayoral runoff nears

A poll just days ahead of Albuquerque’s mayoral runoff election shows Tim Keller has a sizeable lead—and is above the 50 percent mark. The poll, conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal, shows Keller, the current State Auditor, leads City Councilor Dan Lewis 53 percent to 34 percent among likely voters. The run-off election will take place Tuesday after no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the first round of voting in October. In that eight-way race, Keller received just under 40 percent of the vote, and Lewis, just under 23 percent. The poll shows that 13 percent of likely voters are still undecided.

Candidates question value of Mayor Berry’s ‘groundbreaking’ ABQ crime report

The “groundbreaking research” Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry commissioned on crime — the city’s No. 1 issue — may sit on a shelf unused when his successor takes office Dec. 1. Why? The two candidates headed for a mayoral runoff election next month, two-term Republican city councilor Dan Lewis and Democratic state Auditor Tim Keller, said the information about crime concentration likely won’t guide their crime-fighting plans if elected.

Poll: Keller still leads heading into election day for ABQ mayor; Lewis in 2nd

In the race for Albuquerque mayor, Tim Keller is in the lead, while Dan Lewis is now in second, according to a new poll for Albuquerque Journal by Research and Polling, Inc.

The poll shows 29 percent of likely voters support Keller, currently the State Auditor, while Lewis, an Albuquerque city councilor, is in second with 18 percent. Former Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman Brian Colón is in third place with 14 percent while Bernalillo County Commission Wayne Johnson has the support of ten percent of those polled. No other candidate has more than five percent support. If no candidate receives the support of 50 percent of voters after votes are tallied Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will head to a runoff election in November. Eighteen percent described themselves as undecided, a sizable number for days ahead of the election.

Email shows UNM AD asked Guv’s political adviser about coaching search

A recently released email showed that former University of New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs asked Gov. Susana Martinez’s top political adviser for advice about the search for the university’s new men’s basketball coach. An Albuquerque Journal reporter received the email through a public records request that also revealed information on other athletic department issues, including a controversial Scotland golf trip where the university paid for donors’ expenses. The revelation came after the Journal reported political influence in Santa Fe was part of the search for a new Lobos basketball coach. The coaching job is perhaps the most prominent state position, and is always among the most highly-paid. A Journal reporter asked Krebs via email, “Are you making this hire?

Another poll shows Keller lead, high number of undecideds in ABQ mayor’s race

The latest poll of the Albuquerque mayoral race shows State Auditor Tim Keller leading the field, but still well below the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Other recent polls have also reflected Keller’s popularity among voters. But all three polls, the Research and Polling, Inc. poll conducted for the Albuquerque Journal and two conducted earlier, show a high number of undecided voters. Election Day is Oct. 3 and early voting has already opened.

UNM announces new fiscal oversight on athletics

Amid scandals, University of New Mexico’s president announced a shakeup in fiscal oversight at the athletics department. Associate Vice President for Institutional Support Services Chris Vallejos will be tasked with evaluating and improving financial management of the department. He will work with Janice Ruggiero, the acting director of Intercollegiate Athletics, in the initiative.[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The state’s best environmental coverage. [/perfectpullquote]Interim UNM President Chaouki Abdallah made the announcements Monday. It appears there may be financial irregularities related to the purchase of suites at The Pit, the basketball arena now known as Dreamstyle Arena.

Legislative analysis shows ‘technical error’ in tax overhaul could have cost state big

If it had passed in its original form, the tax overhaul supported by the governor and legislative Republicans during the recent special session would have hurt the state. That’s the news from the finalized fiscal impact analysis done by staffers with the Legislative Finance Committee, first flagged by the Albuquerque Journal. According to the analysis, a technical error on the part of the bill’s drafters threw off revenue estimates by more than $100 million. The error had to do with the repeal of a nonprofit receipts exemption that applies to nonprofit organizations, including hospitals. The bill itself was finalized shortly before the special session began and was introduced hours after the special session came to order.

Skandera to leave PED

New Mexico’s Secretary of Education will step down from her position later this month. That’s the report from the Albuquerque Journal Thursday morning, which spoke to Skandera. Skandera told the newspaper that she will leave her post on June 20, after more than six years on the job. Skandera has been the only head of the Public Education Department under Susana Martinez. In that time, Skandera has been a controversial figure, with teachers unions and Democrats voicing sharp criticisms of her priorities.