ICYMI: Albuquerque City Councilors Benton and Peña Beholden to Special Interests

Posted On July 5, 2015

In Case You Missed It
Albuquerque City Councilors Benton and Peña Beholden to Special Interests

Albuquerque, NM- The New Mexico Political Journal uncovered leaked emails surrounding “Albuquerque’s Fair Work Week Ordinance.” It appears that this legislation was hand written by special interest groups affiliated with the controversial ACORN organization. It should make voters wonder if Albuquerque City Councilors Klarissa Peña and Isaac Benton are listening to the voters at all.


Emails Show Who Really Wrote Albuquerque’s Fair Work Week Ordinance. Special Interests Walk Councillors Benton and Peña through it—Step by Step.
New Mexico Political Journal
Monday, July 06, 2015




Have you ever wondered what it looks like behind the scenes when special interests have their hooks in your elected officials?  And are able to just sit down and dictate legislation?

Did you know that two extreme Left wing special interest organizations essentially dictate policy to at least two Albuquerque City Councillors?

And that the Executive Director of one of those organizations is the odds-on favorite to join them as a fellow councillor this fall?

Well take a look at these emails about the Fair Work Week (FWW) ordinance, which was supposedly written by Councillors Benton and Peña:

From: Matthew Henderson [mailto:mhenderson@olenm.org
Sent: Wednesday,  May 27, 2015  5:07  PM
To: Melendrez, Chris P.; Benton, Isaac; Pena, Klarissa J.
Cc: Tim Davis; Scott Forrester
Subject:  Fair Workweek Meeting


Councilors Peña and Benton have agreed to sponsor our Fair Workweek legislation and have a goal of introducing it at the June 15 council meeting. Councilor Benton suggested I reach out to you to schedule a meeting in which our attorneys, who have drafted ordinance language, could meet with you to walk through the various policies and offer you any assistance you may need in preparing the ordinance for introduction.

Please let me know if you have some time in the coming week to meet


Matthew Henderson

Executive Director


OLÉ supposedly stands for Organizers in the Land of Enchantment

But it’s more commonly seen as the successor organization to ACORN.

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) you will recall, is the organization that had to be disbanded after more than 70 of its members were convicted of voter fraud, including:

— Turning in “massive numbers of duplicate registration cards

— Turning in registration cards for fictional characters

— Turning in registration cards filled out by children

— Turning in forged signatures


Matthew Henderson, former ACORN honcho, and the author of the email shown above, took the Fifth in an Albuquerque case involving the New Mexico ACORN activities.

Those activities included submitting 30,000 fraudulent voter registrations. No problem.  Now he’s writing legislation for the Albuquerque City Council.

He says that “our attorneys have drafted the ordinance…”

But as we pointed out in our article two weeks ago today, the ordinance appears to have been copied verbatim from the work of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and California Assemblyman David Chiu.

We gave credit to the new Greek councillors “Bentonopoulous” and “Peñatiotis” preciesly because it is the kinds of work rules and laws they are proposing that got Greece into the financial disaster is now faces.

But we did not give credit where credit is due.  The people actually Xeroxing the bill and putting it before the council are:  Matthew Henderson of OLÉ, Scott Forrester, former Democratic Party Executive Director, Tim Davis of  NM Poverty Law, and Alex Curtas, the Managing Director of ProgressNow NM.


Are they Registered Lobbyists? 

Lobbyist Act http://www.cabq.gov/clerk/news/clerk/registered-lobbyists/registered-city-lobbyists

The City of Albuquerque’s Lobbyist Registration Act (2-3-1 et seq.) requires that:

“individuals or lobbyist organizations who attempt to influence City Officials register with the Office of the City Clerk”

The City of Albuquerque webpage shows some 60 lobbyists and organizations. But none of the names or organizations shown above appear to be registered.

Yet they have more inside influence than anyone.  Who needs to register as a mere lobbyist when you’re already an insider and the city councilors and their staffs are eating out of your hand?

One of the influence peddlers, Alex Curtas, says he can be found:

“cooking, golfing reading, or humming Cole Porter songs” when he’s “not obsessing about message frames and policy points.”  

Well, maybe so.  But he can’t be bothered to register as a lobbyist.  Maybe knock off the golf or cooking for a day or two?


Their Slogan is “Democracy belongs to those who exercise it.”  Exactly.

These organizations may well be the first to scream “Democracy” on behalf of the “poor and disenfranchised.”  But they seem pretty much enfranchised themselves.

Look at this email.  They’re going to spoon feed apparently clueless councillors whose only goal, apparently, is to curry favor with Left Wing organizations, and cozy up to the newly annointed city council colleague Pat Davis.

On Jun 16, 2015, at 9:59 AM, Matthew Henderson mhenderson@olenm.org<mailto:mhenderson@olenm.org  wrote:

Klarissa & Ike,

Please let us know if you’d like Scott, Alex, or I [sic] to meet with you Friday or Monday to go through the talking points, role play interviews, or anything else you’d think would be helpful to prepare for Monday’s introduction.



Alex Curtas I Managing Director

625 Silver Ave. SW I ABQ,  NM 87102 I  505.312.5402

“Democracy belongs to those who exercise it.” — Bill Moyers


And the reply

Councilor Benton is so happy about the intense tutoring that he’s willing to spring for the burritos. (Or are the taxpayers’ springing for them?)

—– Reply message —–

From: “Benton, Isaac” ibenton@cabq.gov

To: “Matthew Henderson” mhenderson@olenm.org

Cc: “Isaac Benton” ike@swcp.com, “Dolan, Diane R.” ddolan@cabg.gov, “Klarissa”  klarissapena@comcast.net,   “Scott Forrester” scforrester@gmail.com, “Alex Curtas” alex@progressnownm.org, “Montano, Nancy” nancymontano@cabg.gov

Subject: FWW Talking Points Date: Tue, Jun 16, 2015 11:44  AM

Sure, let’s do it. Anytime Monday am good for me. We could do early if better for Klarissa. At council office and I can get burritos?

Sent from my iPhone



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