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Up Front

Sandoval County Election Guide 2010

With less than a month for the 2010 General Elections, Sandoval County faces important choices at the national, state and local levels. Democratic Congressman, Ben R. Lujan of District 3 and Martin Heinrich of District 1 are up for re-election with republican opponents Thomas Mullens of District 3 and Jonathan Barela of District 1 fighting for their spots.

At the state level, the race for governor marks a historic moment in New Mexico. Two women, Diane D. Denish, a democrat and our current Lt. Governor, and Susana Martinez, a republican and Dona Ana county’s district attorney, vie for the Governorship and the honor of becoming New Mexico’s first female governor.

At home, Sandoval County will be making decisions regarding the elections of public offices such as County Sheriff, State Representative and County Commissioner. In addition, there are a number of local Constitutional Amendments to consider and bond issues to approve or deny, such as securing funds for Library improvements. Furthermore, there are two important vacancies for the Eastern Sandoval County Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA) Board of Directors with three candidates competing for the seats. It is important to note that a Candidates Forum for the ESCAFCA board election will be held at the Placitas Community center on September 30, 2010, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to the forum there will be a table set up to register voters.

The General Elections will be held on November 2, 2010, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Absentee voting begins on October 5 and ends on October 30. Early in-person voting begins on October 16 and also ends on October 30. If you have not registered to vote, you can still do so but only until October 5, and if you are unaware of your voter registration status, polling location, or prefer to register online, contact your county clerks office or visit the on-line resource for this information and more.

General Election  — November 2, 2010

Absentee by Mail:

- October 5 – 29, 2010 (M-F, between 8am and 5pm), October 30, 2010 (between 10am and 6pm)
- Ballots can be sent to or dropped off (between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.) at the Sandoval County Courthouse. 1500 Idalia Building D, Bernalillo, NM 87004

Early In-Person:

Sandoval County Voting Machine Warehouse

- October 5 – 29, 2010 (M-F, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.) or October 30, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- Location: 800 South Hill Rd, Bernalillo, NM 87004

Alternative Sites:

Rio Rancho City Hall

- October 16, 23, 30, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- 3200 Civic Center Circle NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87144

Meadowlark Senior Center

- October 16, 19-23, 26-30, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- 4330 Meadowlark Lane, Rio Rancho, NM 87124

San Ysidro Village Public Safety Training Room

- October 16, 19-23, 26-30, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- 398 Highway 4, San Ysidro, NM 87053

Native American Alternative Sites:

Zia Pueblo Community Center

- October 16 & 19, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- 135 Capital Square Dr., Zia Pueblo, NM 87053

Jemez Pueblo Civic Center

- October 22 & 23, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- 5117 Highway 4, Jemez Pueblo, NM 87024

Santo Domingo Pueblo Community Center

- October 22 & 23, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- Tesuque St., Santo Domingo, NM 87052

Cochiti Pueblo Community Center

- October 26 & 27, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- 255 Cochiti St., Cochiti Pueblo, NM 87041

Santo Domingo Pueblo Community Center

- October 28 & 29, 2010 (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
- San Felipe Pueblo, NM 87001

State, County & Local Candidates for 2010 General Election

R – Republican, D - Democrat

Federal Elections:

United States Congress – District 1

D - Martin T. Heinrich (incumbent)
R - Jonathan L. Barela
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 28, 29, 38, 52, 55, 56, 57, 64, 74.

United States Congress – District 3

D - Ben R. Lujan (incumbent)
R - Thomas E. Mullins
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75.

State Elections:


D – Diane D. Denish
R - Susana Martinez

Lt. Governor

D - Brian Colon
R - John Sanchez

Secretary of State

D - Mary Herrera (incumbent)
R - Dianna J. Duran

State Auditor

D - Hector Balderas
R - Errol Chavez

State Treasurer

D - James B. Lewis
R - Jim D. Schoonover

Attorney General

D - Gary K. King
R - Matthew E. Chandler

Commissioner of Public Lands

D - Ray B. Powell
R - Matthew D. Rush

Judge of Court of Appeals – Position 1

D - Robert E. Robles
R - Ned S. Fuller

Judge of Court of Appeals – Position 2

D - Linda M. Vanzi
R – no candidate

Judge of Court of Appeals – Position 3

D - Tim L. Garcia
R – no candidates

County Elections:

Probate Judge:

D - Charles J. Aguilar
R - Mary O. Kwapich

County Commissioner – District 1

D – Orlando J. Lucero
R – Patricia A. Morlen
PRECINCTS:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 28, 29, 55, 56, 64, 74.

County Commissioner – District 3

D - Larry Edward Naranjo
R - Donald G. Chapman
PRECINCTS:  34, 37, 39, 48, 49, 50, 52, 58, 60, 61, 62, 65, 66, 75.

Magistrate Judge – Division 1

D – Richard L. Zanotti
R – no candidate

Magistrate Judge – Division 2

D – F. Kenneth Eichwald
R – no candidate

Magistrate Judge – Division 3

D - Delilah M. Montano-Baca
R – no candidate

County Commissioner – District 1

D - Orlando J. Lucero
R - Patricia A . Morlen
Sandoval PRECINCTS:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 28, 29, 55, 56, 64, 74.


D - Ronnie A. Sisneros
R - Tom Garcia

County Sheriff

D - Timothy T. Lucero
R - Douglas C. Wood

House of Representatives – District #22  (Placitas & East Mountains)

D -  no candidate
R - James E. Smith
(Currently held my Kathy McCoy (D) , who is not seeking re-election)
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS:  5, 28, 55, 56.

House of Representatives – District #23

D- Benjarmin H Rodefer
R- David L. Doyle
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS:  11,12,13,54,57.

House of Representatives – District #41

D- Debbie A. Rodella
R- no candidate

House of Representatives – District #43

D- Stephanie M. Richard
R- Jeannette O. Wallace
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS: 7,10,16,17,18,51.

House of Representatives – District #44

D - Joel A, Davis
R - Jane E. Powdrell-Culbert (incumbent)
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS: 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 50, 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 74, 75.

House of Representatives – District #60

D - Jack E. Thomas (incumbent)
R - Timothy D. Lewis
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS: 30, 31, 32, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73.

House of Representatives – District #65

D – James R. Madalena
R – no candidate
SANDOVAL PRECINCTS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29.

Eastern Sandoval County Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA) Board of Directors

- Debbie Kilfoy
- JoAnn English
- Doris Faust

Bond Issues

For a complete guide of bond issues and constitutional amendments please contact the Sandoval County Clerks office or the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office. It’s important to note that bonds and constitutional amendments may vary between precincts.

County General Obligation Bond:

For or against the county’s request to secure an aggregate principal amount of $3,250,000 for the purpose of purchasing library books and library resources for Sandoval County libraries. Bond is to be made payable from general (ad valorem) taxes.

Bond Question A:

Shall the state be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the amount not exceeding 7,790,320 to make capital expenditures for certain senior citizen facility improvements, construction and equipment acquisition projects and provide for a general property tax imposition and levy.

Bond Question B:

Shall the state be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the amount not exceeding 7,082,110 to make capital expenditures for academic, public school, tribal and public library acquisitions and provide for a general property tax imposition and levy.

Bond Question C:

Shall the state be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the amount not exceeding 5,100,000 to make capital expenditures for pre-kindergarten classrooms and facilities at public schools, for public school books and instructional materials and for school buses and provide for a general property tax imposition and levy.

Bond Question D:

Shall the state be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not exceeding $155,567,824 to make capital expenditures for certain higher educational and special schools capital expenditures and provide for a general property tax imposition and levy.


Proposing an amendment to Article 9, Section 14 of the Constitution of New Mexico to permit the establishment of a college scholarship program for New Mexico military war veterans.


Proposing to amend Article 10, Section 2 of the Constitution of New Mexico to allow county officials to serve three consecutive terms instead of two.


Proposing an amendment to Article 7, Section 1 of the Constitution of New Mexico to modernize language on qualified electors by removing language denigrating persons with developmental disabilities, adopting federal requirements to vote, defining mental incapacity for voting purposes and restricting felons from voting except as restored by statute.


Proposing an amendment to Article 8 of the Constitution of New Mexico to provide a property tax exemption for property of a Veterans' Organization chartered by the United States Congress.


Proposing an amendment to Article 4, Section 28 of the Constitution of New Mexico to allow the appointment of certain former members of the legislature to civil offices in the state in a limited situation.

ESCAFCA discusses projects/transparency

—Orin Safier and Ty Belknap

At the September 14 Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority meeting board members and the public continued discussions of funding issues, scope of responsibilities, and transparency regarding flood-control projects. ESCAFCA has been under public scrutiny since its controversial inception when the public was misled regarding  high property tax prior to the November 2008 election.

Concerned citizens have been critical of ESCAFCA, both in the way it was initially presented and narrowly passed by voters, as well as the way ESCAFCA has conducted its business.

At the meeting, Executive Engineer Blair reported that there had recently been six requests to ESCAFCA for public records. By comparison, he said, there had only been two requests for public records to Albuquerque’s AMAFCA flood control agency in the past 10 years. Chairman Reyes stated that these requests constituted harassment, and were meant to sabotage ESCAFCA.

In public comments, board candidate Doris Faust protested against Reyes’ characterization of these public-records requests. She said that ESCAFCA has very much lacked transparency in its contracting and other business, and that these requests serve the purpose of allowing the public to evaluate just how that business has been conducted. 

Placitas resident Steve Barro, who has produced detailed analyses of ESCAFCA funding issues, also took exception to Reyes’ resistance to the public-records requests.

Barro wishes to perform a complete study of ESCAFCA expenditures, especially the task orders to contracted engineering firms. Reyes instructed Blair to meet with Barro to produce this information.

One contentious use of ESCAFCA money has been to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to redraw its floodplain maps for the area, which have caused a number of property owners to pay significantly more insurance to cover possible flooding. Board member Bob Gorrell has questioned whether the use of ESCAFCA funds to help property owners lower their insurance premiums is a legal use of funds. The mandate of ESCAFCA is to control flooding, especially due to flow in arroyos. 

Much of the reason for the proposed remapping of the Town of Bernalillo is that FEMA considers the present levees along the Rio Grande incapable of preventing major flooding during a one-hundred-year storm event. This has been the case all up and down the Rio Grande, where a number of communities have rebuilt their levees in order to remove those areas from the FEMA floodplain maps. It is unclear how many affected homes in Bernalillo could be removed from the existing FEMA floodplain map without addressing the levee certification issue.

Money that would go toward the FEMA remapping efforts, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, would be unavailable to contribute toward rebuilding the levees. Yet this is probably the single most important flood control project in the ESCAFCA area.

Jerry Nieto of the Army Corps of Engineers explained to the board about the possible rebuilding of the present dirt levees, which were built in the 1930s for the portion of the Rio Grande running through Bernalillo. According to Nieto, there will first be a preliminary feasibility study costing $100,000 which the federal government will fully fund. This should be finished in April, 2011 (if the President’s budget is accepted). Following this, there will be a more complete feasibility study costing about $450,000, half of which funding must come from local sponsors. 

If that study shows that the benefits of rebuilding exceed its costs, and that it is environmentally acceptable, then the project will be approved. Nieto estimated that total cost of that project will be approximately $10 million, 35 percent of which would have to be funded by local sponsors, at least five percent of which must be in cash. Local sponsors would likely include Sandoval County, the Town of Bernalillo, ESCAFCA, and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD).

Reyes proposed that the board wait until the Army Corps reports back in April on the feasibility of levee rebuilding to decide whether or not to fund the FEMA remapping project in Bernalillo, and the board agreed to postpone that decision until then.

Gorrell presented the final version of a Project Status Report that would clearly and concisely show all the active ESCAFCA projects, their projected costs, the amounts spent to date, the present percentage of completion of those projects, and similar data that would allow the board and the public to evaluate whether ESCAFCA funds are being used most effectively.

At the previous meeting, Chairman Reyes had given provisional support to using a Project Status Report, but at the September meeting he stated that this would be “micromanaging” those projects. The purpose of the board, he stated, is to generally oversee the projects and to leave the detailed management to the executive engineer and the contracted engineers.

Gorrell and members of the public protested that this leaves ESCAFCA’s operations essentially unaccountable. There have been questions raised as to whether ESCAFCA’s payments to Wilson & Company and other engineering firms have been fully justified. It is typical for agencies dealing with major engineering projects to produce timely reports of project status. 

A related argument arose as to Gorrell’s proposal for a quantitative cost/benefit analysis for all proposed ESCAFCA projects, one that could be presented to the public so as to determine if its tax dollars are being spent wisely. This is typical for planning public projects—just as Nieto had reported to the board regarding the proposed action on the levees.

Reyes admitted that to date all estimates of benefits for ESCAFCA projects have been “intuitive”—that there had been no attempts to assign them definite monetary value.

The date and location for the next ESCAFCA meeting will be posted at

There will be a Candidate Forum for the three candidates for ESCAFCA directors on September 30, at 7:00 p.m. at the Placitas Community Center, 41 Camino de las Huertas. The three candidates are JoAnn English and Doris Faust of Placitas, and the incumbent Debbie Kilfoy of Bernalillo. In the November 2 election, each voter will vote for two of these candidates to fill the two open seats on the ESCAFCA board. Recently appointed board member Bob Gorrell has withdrawn his candidacy due to pressures of his state government work, but will serve out his term until the new directors are installed.

Maria Rinaldi and town officials

Maria Rinaldi and other Town officials talk with community members after the meeting.
NOTE: The next Town Hall meeting will be in January 2011 and will take place on Bernalillo’s Westside. The exact time and location is yet to be determined. It will be followed by a third Town Hall meeting in the Spring. Information on committees forming and volunteer opportunities will be in the next Town of Bernalillo newsletter or you may call Town Hall at 867-3311.

Replacement of 8,600 feet of distribution water lines in Bernalillo starts at Avenida Bernalillo on the north to Calle del Bosque on the south. Camino del Pueblo on the east to Calle San Lorenzo on the west.

Bernalillo Town Hall Meeting: a community success

This administration’s first Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, September 15 was incredibly successful and positive. More than 50 citizens came to listen and ask questions as the Mayor and Councilors presented updates on various topics affecting the Town of Bernalillo. At the conclusion, citizens signed up to participate in various committees which will help guide and provide community insight into issues affecting the Town of Bernalillo.

The evening’s topics included an update on the Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA), water quality, road construction, the town’s budget status, ordinance review, zoning violations and water department amnesty program.

The following information, presented by town staff, highlights main points on the issues affecting the Town of Bernalillo:

Sal Reyes, Chairman of ESCAFCA, kicked off the evening with an update on their dealings with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the existing levies and compliance with FEMA criteria which designate areas defined as “flood plain.” Since many of the existing levies in the area have few records relating to construction and maintenance, FEMA refuses to recognize them and has consequently declared many areas as lying in flood zones and therefore property owners in these areas are required to carry flood insurance.

“The history of the levies in the area is sketchy...many records did not exist,” said Reyes. Once stability studies are performed, ESCAFCA will wait to hear if, and how much, funding will come from Washington to rehabilitate the area. Reyes expects that they will hear about funding, “sometime in March.”

Mayor Jack Torres discussed the town’s past water problems and explained that the current system meets EPA standards.

The old arsenic removal system that introduced aluminum hydroxide into the drinking water and had numerous EPA violations was replaced by an entirely different treatment system utilizing ferric flocculation. The result is a finished water arsenic level of 2 parts per billion (ppb) whereas the current EPA standard is 10 ppb. Currently, approximately 50% of the water is being treated and blended with untreated water to give a 8 ppb result in distributed drinking water. The town will be requesting a formal modification of the treatment system from New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau in October 2010.

Due to recent water quality issues, a few residents voiced concern that the Town does not record the levels of aluminum found in the drinking water in their public reports. Although the EPA does not require aluminum levels in local water to be posted publically, Maria Rinaldi stated that the town, “will put up those (aluminum) numbers on the website

Councilor Ronnie Sisneros discussed the road construction projects on Camino del Pueblo and Don Tomas. As Phase 1 of 3 is concluded, Camino del Pueblo will showcase sidewalks that meet ADA standards, new turning lanes, crosswalks and lighting. “Folks are complimenting the better looking Bernalillo,” said Sisneros. Phase 2 of the project will likely be undertaken by a different contractor and is expected to last 120 days. The Don Tomas Phase 1 construction is complete with new turn lanes, curb and gutter, ADA sidewalks, landscaping, drainage improvements, fire hydrant installation, crosswalks and exercise stations. The Federally funded project cost $2 million with a $0 town match. Phase 2 will address the relocation of water lines, installation of irrigation, additional landscaping, repair and re-pave the fitness trail which will run $1 million in Federal funds with a $0 town match.

The Town of Bernalillo had an anticipated $1,885,241 General Fund budget shortfall when they entered the budget process earlier this year. The town was able to avoid furlough days and employee pay decreases by undertaking a number of actions. By not filling vacant personnel positions the town expects a savings of $759,000, along with cutbacks on fireworks, fiestas, phone, internet and reductions in private contractor work which is estimated at saving an additional $811,600. “I am convinced this is our worst year, and things will get better,” said Mayor Torres. It was noted that the town administration and staff must stay vigilant in monitoring expenses and utilizing resources to ensure additional cuts will not have to be made.

The Town of Bernalillo is requesting help from the community for volunteers willing to assist in reviewing ordinances and identifying those that are outdated and/or statutorily ineffective. There are multiple ordinances that are outdated and lack detail, and others that simply are contradictory in nature. Through revision and amendment, the town seeks to make the ordinances more concise and effective.

Construction will begin in December on the Las Cocinitas Phase 2 water system improvements, where 8,600 feet of distribution water lines will be replaced, installation of 14 gate valves and installation of 16 fire hydrants. The project area is 6 blocks from Avenida Bernalillo on the north to Calle del Bosque on the south, and Camino del Pueblo on the east to Calle San Lorenzo on the west. The federal government will fund $500,000 and the town will assume $267,370 in expenses for the project. “This is the area selected due to the major breaks,” said Councilor Prairie.

The Zoning Department has created a database of neglected and abandoned properties for intervention to prevent condemnation of private properties. “We don’t want to be in the business of tearing down buildings,” said Maria Rinaldi, Director of Planning and Capital Programs. In order to limit the possible condemnation of private property, owners will be given a warning notice of zoning violation issued prior to an official notice of violation. The Zoning Department has also created a comprehensive Application for Residential Building Permit with complete instructions and checklist to aid residents undertaking construction or projects where permit and inspection is required.

Councilor Prairie presented an update on the Water Department’s Amnesty Program which expires October 1, 2010. The Program was designed to allow for past due accounts to pay them in full, or enter into an agreement with the town to re-pay the past due amounts over an extended period without penalties. Of the $2 million in unpaid accounts the town entered into 47 arrangements totaling $8,173, 278 contracts totaling $740,708, 55 accounts paid in full for $420,000, 120 accounts shut off, and just 2 liens filed. The Program has also helped in updating and improving the system by locating broken meters.

Mayor Torres concluded that he’s “happy” with the turnout for the meeting, and added ”it is a great start.”






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