SFR Pick: Gary King, Democrat
Hello, sunshine: While the public is concerned about government corruption, the media is often concerned about access to public information. To that end, we spent a fair amount of our time with AG King criticizing him for his office’s lack of help in battling recalcitrant public agencies. In his defense, his office recently lent its support to the Foundation for Open Government in issuing a statement that clarifies how public agencies should treat electronic records requests. SFR had requested clarification from the AG and FOG after Santa Fe Public Schools refused to let us photograph electronic images of the district’s budget.
Anyway...while King could more aggressively champion the state’s public records and meetings laws, he has stepped in during several high-stakes battles, such as Gov. Richardson’s refusal to release the names of fired employees (by saying no such record exists), and into the White Peaks land swap case, as well.
Ahem, corruption? King’s opponent, 9th Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler, says King hasn’t accomplished enough on public corruption. King counters by citing his cases against former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, the Housing Authority, and the elections-fraud case against Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. (and his father). Chandler says these cases have been stuck in limbo for too long. King points out that he can’t control how long something sits in court. SFR provides a status/fact-check of these cases on our website.
Yeah, but what about the other corruption? The AG has a long history of neither confirming nor denying its investigations. It remains, in our view, a bad policy. It’s bad not just because it keeps the media from having information but, also, creates for the public the perception that an agency isn’t doing its job. If the AG has been working on any of the state-investment-related investigations, he should say so. If not, he should say why.
And yet: Our vote is still for King. Chandler’s criticisms may strike a note with the public, but we found him too light on specifics for how he might reconstitute the AG’s Office.