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Friday, May 13, 2005

Hey Ladies

Put The New Mexican's A & B sections together, side by side, and you'll see top of the fold stories about high-profile, high-paid female officials and their plans for the future.
First, we've got City Judge Fran Gallegos, disciplined for ethics violations, sentenced to ethics training and planning a run for mayor (reportedly). There are more than a few things worth pondering here. First off, given that Fran got handily re-elected despite a ton of public trouble, why would she give up her $65,000 a year post for a job that pays a lot less and where she is bound to fare less well in an election. Well, a few reasons. One, more prestigious to be mayor than city judge. Two, it's looking like a half-dozen if not-more mayoral candidates are in the offing, and that could make it easier to win (unless Santa Fe gets its head out of its ass and puts run-off elections in place, which it should do, immediately, or we'll end up with a mayor elected by 15 percent of the voters).
Personally, I think Fran's mayoral run would probably suffer from what I think of, privately, as The Jaramillo Effect. This phenom is a long-lasting Santa Fe syndrome whereby controversial Hispanic female politicans fare significantly less well than their male counterparts. I don't know if Santa Fe is ever going to be recover from Debbie enough to elect another controversial Hispanic woman as its mayor, but I kinda doubt it will be ready to do so in 2006.
B section: Schools Supt. Gloria Rendon wants to stick around for another year. Now, Rendon is not controversial along the same lines as Fran and Debbie (who also are not controversial in the same way, for that matter, just high profile and in the hot seat). But Rendon's tenure does seem to be ending up marked by a great deal of public school problems—from the flack at the high school over small learning communities to the board's still-unresolved awarding of contracts to spurious vendors (Transamericano stuff) to, in my opinion, an administration that is very hard to get a hold of and from whom getting information is often like pulling teeth (you don't even want to hear about the machinations it took to get accurate email addresses from Alta Vista headquarters for school board members to publish in The Annual Manual). Anyway, the rumor has been that Rendon was retiring, but now it looks like she's staying. And there wasn't anyone quoted in the story who sounded overjoyed about it.