Sunday, August 03, 2014

Picture This

Imagine Elon Musk, head of Tesla, sitting down at breakfast this morning and picking up the New York Times to see a prominently placed OP-ED entitled "Good Bye Albuquerque, Land of Violence."  It is a blistering account of the violent ends of homeless people at the hands of the Albuquerque Police Department and young thrill killers.  It is devastating for our city's image.

If Elon Musk reads this, would it be a positive bit of news for us, as he makes up his mind where to locate his new battery factory that will provide 6000 jobs?  Even if he didn't take great notice at the article itself, the headline was a killer for sure.

Now think of Mayor Richard Berry and the Albuquerque City Council hunkered down in their bunkers over the last couple of years thinking this would all blow over.  And sit and wonder why the Council has decided to build a wall between themselves and the public sitting area in the Chambers.  That may send one of the biggest messages about how all is not well in the Duke City.

And think of the costs of poor leadership in our city.   Leadership that has no energy and satisfies itself with 'being there.'  It has all come home to roost.


Anonymous said...

Journal's Leslie Lithicum's April 17 Article is worth remembering:

Watching the city’s news conference a week ago, which was held to respond to the Department of Justice report on the use of excessive force by the Albuquerque Police Department, I kept harking back to the 2013 mayoral debates and Mayor Richard Berry’s dogged re-election talking point – that all was well within APD and if there were any problems, he’d fixed them.

“APD is doing great work.”

“We have one of the finest departments in the country.”

“We’ll let my opponents tear down the Police Department, but I’ll build them up.”

“I will stand up today and say, ‘I am proud of my Police Department and the men and women who serve.’ ”

That last declaration triggered an angry response from challenger Paul Heh, the bombastic dark horse in the race. “Folks,” he said, “my head’s ready to about explode.”

I felt like my head was ready to about explode last week as Berry rolled out his new message on APD, after the DOJ report.

Berry went before the news media with three themes, and he held fast to them like a mouse in a sticky trap: He believes in APD officers, the chief and the department. He’s been working hard on the issue for years. And thanks to the DOJ letter, he now has a lot more information about what has been going on at the Police Department and there’s now a great opportunity for hard work and collaboration to make things better.

If APD were a Little League team that had just suffered its 10th straight shutout, that would have been an appropriately encouraging dugout speech. But according to the DOJ investigation (which I encourage you to read in its entirety on our website), the Police Department has been an agency with a culture of aggression, systemic problems in training and oversight and a record of hurting or killing citizens without sufficient provocation in the 11 months before Berry took office and the 4½ years Berry has been mayor.

When the contradiction was pointed out between his public posture over the years and the DOJ’s blistering conclusions, Berry pleaded ignorance. “We have a lot more information today that we did yesterday,” he said again and again. Pressed on the matter – “Why did it take the DOJ to get information that you as mayor claim you can’t get?” – he acknowledged that pretty much everything the DOJ presented was derived from public information.

Much of it was reported right here in the hometown newspaper year after year after year. The DOJ looked at those examples, added more and drew conclusions. For example:

• “The department’s lack of internal oversight has allowed a culture of aggression to develop. … A lack of accountability in the use of excessive force promotes an acceptance of disproportionate and aggressive behavior towards residents.”

• “The use of excessive force by APD officers is not isolated or sporadic. The pattern or practice of excessive force stems from systemic deficiencies in oversight, training, and policy.”

• “Albuquerque police officers shot and killed civilians who did not pose an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to the officers or others.”

• “Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force.”

• “We found instances in which the SWAT unit did not operate with the discipline and control that would be expected of them, and this lack of discipline contributed to unreasonable uses of deadly force.”

• “A number of areas in which training seemed to be entirely lacking or at least dangerously deficient.”

During his re-election campaign, Berry said in reference to his opponents, “I don’t think I want to live in these gentlemen’s world – where everything is broken, where everything’s on a downward spiral, a cloud for every silver lining.”

Sad to say, folks, but that’s where we’re living now.

Anonymous said...

Re: Lithicum Journal commentary

Berry does not want to live in the City he has destroyed with his failed leadership and total inability to fix the problems he helped create. Berry should do us all a favor and resign, leave Albuquerque and take Rob Perry and Gordon Eden with him.

Anonymous said...

What do you think Ronald Reagan would say about the barrier between the Albuquerque City Council and the Citizens?

Anonymous said...

-------------A NEW NATION IS BUILDING----------------

Mayor Berry and Albuquerque City Council,

We love Albuquerque and want to make it all that it has the potential to be. We want Albuquerque to be safe, have a vibrant economy and bring unity to the community. Please don't create barriers. We want bridges.

Mayor Berry and Albuquerque City Council,


Anonymous said...

I am spool validated after 5yrs of trying to get media and federal interest into the corruption of APD ! Because local media dragged their feet and neglected to expose proof of corruption in APD, the boil broke and be national ( and international) are honestly reporting. As Buddha said " Only three things can not be hidden long- the sun, the moon, and the truth."

Bubba Muntzer said...

Excellent piece. That connects all the dots.

You know, this is kind of cynical, but perhaps the personal skills that have allowed Marian Berry and Susana Martinez to get this far and still popular will work on Elon Musk.

Martinez is so adept at schmoozing big money donors that that's what she's most known for. Well, it's the only thing she's known for.

Berry with that droopy expression seems like a kid who's just been beat up. You just want to wipe his nose, pat him on the butt and send him home to his mother.

Put those two in a car, send them to a meeting with Musk and hope they can find their way there.

Latina en Nuevo Mexico said...

Bravo Mr Muntzer!