Last month Jerome Block, Jr., won the Democratic primary election for a seat on the PRC (that’s Public Regulation Commission, not People’s Republic of China; I was a bit perplexed when I first moved to Santa Fe and started seeing PRC referred to without explanation in the newspaper). Since no Republicans even bothered to run, this meant that the position was pretty much his. Since then, a Green Party candidate has joined the race, but when was the last time a Green beat a Democrat for anything?
The reason some might regret Block’s victory is that since the election it has come out that he was cited by police twice in the space of just a few months, and lied about it during the campaign. He admitted to being charged with DWI ten years ago, when he was 21. Okay, fair enough. A DWI at 21 shouldn’t disqualify a 31-year-old for a career in politics. But a couple of months after the DWI, Block was cited nabbed by police again, this time for disorderly conduct (specifically, relieving himself in public). He was never convicted on either charge; both were dropped. Hmm, I wonder why? Could it be because Jerome Jr. was the son of Jerome Sr., once a PRC commisioner himself, and not without influence in New Mexico politics?
Block Sr. wrote sarcastically to New Mexico political blogger Mario Burgos to chide him for spending his time reporting “extensively about the grave crime of peeing in the bushes,” but the issue isn’t peeing in the bushes; it’s lying about having been charged with it. Block Jr. claims to have no recollection of being charged with disorderly conduct. I can easily believe that he was too drunk to remember urinating in public (who, after all, does that when they’re sober?) but I have a hard time believing he cannot remember having to deal with the legal aftermath, a point that Steve Terrell also makes. Surely he had to do something to make the citation go away, as it so conveniently did.
Young Mr. Block’s lies are too ham-handed even to earn the backhanded compliment of being called Clintonesque. More like Sandy Bergeresque.
Of course, the most ludicrous part of this whole story is how the Republicans so completely dropped the ball and didn’t even bother to run a candidate in the primary. On the other hand, what would have been the difference? Two years ago after Jeff Armijo, Democratic candidate for State Treasurer, became a political laughingstock for sexual harassment so buffoonish it made Bob Packwood look suave, the GOP candidate appeared a shoe-in. The very liberal Santa Fe New Mexican even endorsed him! But the Democrats got another candidate in to replace Armijo in time, and their guy won.
New Mexico politics — you gotta love it.