Saturday, November 01, 2014

Prayer and Taxes

The Department of Justice and the ABQ Police Department via the Mayor have agreed on a way forward to change the police department.  The Mayor thanked people for their prayers and the City Council President said the poorest people would have to pay the costs of changing the Department's culture.

As you know my favorite definition of prayer is, 'how to say you are helping without really doing anything.'  That is pretty much what happened for years in the Berry Administration's handling of the shootings of homeless and mentally ill by APD.  It is going to take more than prayers to see this through.  It will take constant monitoring by city hall and I don't have a lot of good feelings about their ability to do so.

And then the City Council President Ken Sanchez says we should raise the gross receipts tax to pay for the changes needed at APD.  Once again the solution seems to run to the most regressive tax available for funds.  The City Council could do us all a great favor and shoot this idea down.  Find the money elsewhere, like maybe giving up each councillors million dollar slush fund for pet projects.  The Council is almost as guilty as the Mayor in getting us into this jam by ignoring the shootings. Be creative please and show some mercy on the poor in not putting the burden on them.

The agreement seems to be credible but will take much more than lip service to bring to fruition.


Bubba Muntzer said...

Thank you for keeping up the opposition to regressive taxes. The stock market hit another record high Friday. I'm glad for people who depend on stocks for their retirement but the vast majority of stocks are owned by the one percent, who have taken all the gains from the economic recovery while our incomes have stayed the same and in some cases gone down, and Albuquerque is no exception. The wealthy should start chipping in their fair share again, which they are not.

The media here and there has been reporting on the fact that Americans across all groups see the economy as the main issue and yet politicians up for election this Tuesday aren't mentioning it, Republican or Democrat, and New Mexico is no exception there either. We, the people are in for some even harder times unless we join Jim in pushing back.

The pictures the Journal has run with this story of Berry looking wan and childlike in his tailored suit, staring past the US attorney at the podium and wishing he was in a motel room in Santa Rosa eating tortilla chips and watching The Price Is Right in his carefully pressed boxer shorts, really surprised me.

You may have also noticed a short, youngish looking woman with dark hair and dark business suit in the pictures - newly appointed Assistant US Attorney General Vanita Gupta, fresh from the ACLU in October where she had become deputy legal director after years of working on some important civil rights cases. Seeing that she's involved gives me hope, too, that something good will come of this.

Gupta's parents immigrated here from India and the Hindu ran this on her appointment last month.

The reference to the Tulia, Texas case at the end is about a professional informant the police in Tulia and elsewhere had been using to round up a lot of Black people on trumped up drug charges. She (and other attorneys) not only got them off but got a settlement against the city, and I'd imagine experiences like that have made her somewhat immune to police bs-ing their way out of a situation. I hope.

Anonymous said...

Public piety and fleecing the poor? Sounds just like what that Jesus guy was upset about. And we know what happened to him.
Funny how people raised in privilege and power are the same all through history. We are not exceptional.
Mexican citizens are forming militia groups because both the drug gangs and the police gangs are killing and torturing them. Now that the institutions of justice and gov't are all corrupt, can we be far behind?

Anonymous said...

It is nuts for the DoJ to believe the same people who created (and ignored) the culture at APD (Huntsman, Eden, Gonterman and Berry ignored) will now be taxed with fixing the culture at APD.

The evidence is in the last 5 years. Berry obstructed the DoJ and then finally had to deal with them. He never got rid of Schultz or others who created this culture. Then you have Eden bringing back Huntsman, who created the current swat team, and promoted Gonterman who cost the city $300,000 and tortured a man burning hsi ear off. This is just to name of few of the current APD command staff.

Yet we are to believe that these same people, Eden (Justified), Huntsman, Gonterman and Berry will now turn 180 degrees and fix the culture at APD. Are we this dumb? Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Nothing changes at APD except the bill that taxpayers will fork up. The only way this could work is for the top command staff at APD to resign and totally new people step in. Berry has made sure that didn't happen when he promoted Eden, Gonterman and Huntsman.

Why didn't the DoJ point this out? Are they that dumb?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the people of Albuquerque will think twice the next time they want a government agency to come in and clean up. Any decision that is ever made for this city always gets dumped on the people to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

We predict that a lot of the money needed to fund the NEW APD will come from the DWI Seizure Unit it is the only unit that brings in millions of dollars each year. That unit and the hard working DWI Officers will have to do without equipment needed to perform their duties for a few years.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the public will think twice before re-electing a mayor who will never take accountability for the mess he has made out of APD. To believe Berry you must forget that he kept Ray Schultz, repeatedly obstructed all efforts at reform, vetoed the DoJ from investigating, quashed all APD pay raises, kept a command staff that has lowered morale and created a culture of violence and that he never once held any command level officer accountable for anything at APD. But in Berry's spin the political machine world it is all PERA's fault. And now he is going to ruin the pension system too.