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Byline: Ed Asher EASHER@ABQTRIB.COM / 823-3602
Mayor Martin Chavez has as many as three photo ops a day. One rival says that's shortchanging the job. But Chavez says they put city needs in focus.
Albuquerque once had a mayor who had four news conferences during four years in office.
It wasn't Martin Chavez.
In terms of sheer numbers, none of Albuquerque's past mayors has matched Chavez for news conferences and photo opportunities, City Hall observers say.
In the past 69 days, Chavez has had 57 news conferences or photo opportunities, sometimes as many as three a day. He presided over three on Tuesday, unveiling a dragon sculpture at a shopping center, dedicating a Pearl Harbor memorial monument and declaring Tuesday as former Mayor Harry Kinney Day.
The Tribune began tracking Chavez's news conferences on Sept. 30, almost one year before the Oct. 4, 2005, nonpartisan mayoral election.
Although Chavez has not said whether he will seek re-election, the mayoral campaign is beginning to warm up with City Council Vice President Eric Griego, a frequent critic of Chavez, announcing he has his eye on the city's top slot.
Many of Chavez's gatherings take place in the mayor's conference room on the 11th floor of City Hall. But Chavez doesn't miss a chance to take his news conferences into the field.
In April, he rowed a rubber dinghy in the Rio Grande and released a bag full of endangered silvery minnows.
He has been in the cockpit of a bulldozer to raze a problem bar on Central Avenue and in a hospital bed hooked up …