Block, Lass share a forum

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By Roger Snodgrass

SANTA FE – The two candidates for Public Regulation Commission’s District 5 appeared on the same dais at the Hotel Santa Fe Tuesday morning for their only joint appearance of the campaign.

But at the meeting, which was held under tightly-negotiated conditions, they had to hold their fire.

The forum was sponsored by the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry and the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce.

Democratic candidate Jerome Block Jr. awoke to headlines in the local press announcing that New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera had imposed penalties of $21,700 in fines and compensation for his violations of campaign laws and illegal expenditures.

Allegations of misrepresentation and improperly spending $10,700 of approximately $101,000 in public funding, which have been simmering for over a month finally came to a head Monday. A scolding letter from Herrera gave Block a 10-day deadline to respond.

While the newspaper stories provided campaign literature for Block’s sole opponent, Independent candidate Rick Lass, the two were constrained by the rules of the event from making any reference to their opponent, who would be granted an extra minute for any infraction.

Except for a few indirect references, Block chose to ignore the controversy.

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