Former Educator Elected Mayor in Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Louis Saavedra was elected mayor in a lopsided victory over fellow Democrat Pat Baca despite the revelation that he received a secret retirement perk from the technical school he had headed.
″I tried to focus on what I felt were the issues,″ Saavedra, 56, said after his victory Wednesday. ″People believed that part and totally rejected the negative campaign of my opponent.″
The retired former president of the Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute will take office Dec. 1, succeeding Mayor Ken Schultz, who failed to make Wednesday’s runoff.
Unofficial returns gave Saavedra 39,745 votes, or 60.8 percent, to 25,621 votes, or 39 percent, for Baca, a retired educator and city councilman for the past 15 years.
During the campaing, it was revealed that Saavedra secretly received a paid-up $250,000 life insurance policy from the technical school’s board of directors.
Attorney General Hal Stratton issued an opinion that the board violated the state open meetings act when it purchased the policy without a public vote. Saavedra resigned from the school last summer to run for mayor.
Baca conceded defeat with a parting shot at both Saavedra and the Schultz administration.
″For the last four years it has been the City Council that has had to assume the fight for openness and responsibility in government,″ he said. ″I exhort the council to redouble their efforts to monitor the administration.″