Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Minimum Morality

The minimum wage has become a victim of the minimum morality of the Republican Party.  Every one of those GOP Congressmen deserves some special punishment before they die. I think working in a fast food joint for 20 years or until death would be just.  How long do they think they can keep screwing the workers before they are overthrown?  And I just hope it isn't only at the ballot box. And the American corporate elite, who fund them to do this, will need to pay too.  Comments are welcome on cruel and unusual punishment they deserve.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The Albuquerque Journal's Michael Coleman has done an outstanding job on the excesses of the nation's so called Homeland Security Agency.  The waste of money and organization of a near police state arising from the bush/cheney administration and abetted by the Obama White House  is frightening.  It is time to put an end to it.  While I am an Obama supporter, this failure to reign in this growing 'big brother' bureacracy is a loser for him.

After 9/11 when I was Mayor and the TSA started forming, the feds sent in a guy to Albuquerque to run the effort.  He was a young slick looking fed of some sort and he was an arrogant and scary guy.  He was an extension of cheney.  I could see where this would end up.  It is a sad era for America.

Former APD Police Chief Schultz might need one of those armored assault vehicles that the Homeland Security boys have been handing over to local cop shops.  His sweetheart deal with Tazer to supply Albuquerque with cameras etc., will now start getting some real scrutiny.  The no bid $2 million contract he signed might get him in real trouble.

Now, and I will not let this go, why have we not learned how the suspect who shot a police dog was killed?  If it wasn't, as stated by APD by a gunshot, then what happened?  Maybe it was explainable.  I am getting the feeling that the lack of information means they don't want to explain it.  Where is the media on this?

Monday, April 28, 2014

BLM Problems

The notorious rancher Clyde Bundy in Nevada hoisted himself after, for the umpteenth time, standing down the Bureau of Land Management.  This racist guy brought out the crazies armed with assault rifles to threaten federal officers who were trying to remove his cattle for twenty years nonpayment of grazing fees.  There are a lot more ranchers like him out there who use their congressional delegations to not raise grazing fees on a yearly basis and to stop BLM from doing their jobs of protecting land.  Those grazing fees have not changed in 20 years.

The real problem here is the way that the BLM is organized.  If you look at the other land management agencies like the Forest Service, Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, you will see that they are regionalized.  Their regions often cover more that one state.  But the BLM has a director in every state and their offices are really run by the congressional delegations.

When I was BLM director in the 90's for President Clinton I thought the system was bad.  A case in point was the intern programs run for the congressional offices.  Senator Pete Domenici would always have a BLM employee interning in his office.  When the one or two year term was up he would have them placed in New Mexico in high ranking positions.  He then got what ever he wanted from them.  I had attempted to stop this practice by making all interns ineligible to serve in the state of the congressional offices where they interned.  Of course that went nowhere with the Clinton White House and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, as he did to all his employees, never backed us up.

The BLM need to regionalize along some well thought out ecosystem parameters.  The Colorado Plateau could be one for example.  That would include portions of four conner states.   This might slightly depoliticize the agency and take away undue influence from single lawmakers.  And the BLM need to go after people like Bundy in the courts.  He is a thief and should be treated like one.


I need to apologize.  I should have taken action 15 years ago when Mayor to encourage competition in franchises for the cable companies in Albuquerque.  I guess I just didn't see where things would be in this now, vital industry.

The big corporate Internet boys just screwed us again.  Besides wanting to get bigger, as in the Comcast and Time Warner merger, they have now used their minions and money to do away with 'net neutrality' at the FCC, which is headed by their former lobbyist.  Essentially this means the people with the most money will get better Internet service.  President Obama has to stop this action if legally possible.

Now, if there were any real local leaders out there in New Mexico they would be thinking, "I can't let our poor state be screwed by these corporate assholes.  We need some competition."  But, with our current Governor Martinez and Mayor Berry you will not hear a peep because they are not big thinkers nor are they willing to upset their corporate masters.  And frankly, I am upset with the lack of action out of our congressional delegation.  

State and local governments should be investing in publicly owned Internet service.  Expensive?  Yes,  but in the long run it would be a great boon to our residents because a strangled Internet will drag down our economy even more.  And those folks who currently can't afford Comcast's and others outrageous and uncontrolled rates will even be further from getting online.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I keep seeing facebook and TV ads wanting me to donate money to Wounded Warriors or USO or other like organizations who say they will use the money to help returning veterans.  I don't send them any money although they have their hearts in the right place.  (The legitimate ones anyway.)  My reasoning is that the federal government and the profit from war corporations should be shouldering this burden.  Think about it.  The big defense contractors urge war, profit from it, and they don't pay taxes at anywhere near a fair rate.  So, what is a returning soldier with problems face?  Having to go to charity for help, instead of Corporate America and the rich paying a fair tax to help them through the veterans administration.  And the American public just soaks it up when these veterans help organizations ask for money.  It is another way of subsidizing the rich.

Here is a petition about APD that has been started at the White House "We the People" website.  I usually think these are pretty meaningless exercises, but maybe it will catch someones eye in the daily political briefing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Texas Payback

Is Governor Susana Martinez paying back Texas for her great fundraising there over the last five years?  One would think so if one listens to the rumor mill and follows the money.

I got a call yesterday from a friend who sat in on  some high level economic discussions about Texas and New Mexico economies.  This person is an employee in Texas.  It was stated that the Governor is sending tens of millions of dollars into the Santa Teresa area of Dona Ana County, as did Governor Richardson, to help develop business activities along the border of Mexico.  Think about that new giant rail switching facility by Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway.  As a result many new plants will be built, much like the Foxconn plant  in Santa Teresa.

The discussions were concentrating on the fact that for every ten jobs created in New Mexico around Santa Teresa, that six of them would be filled by Texas residents from the El Paso area.  It was stated that if one were to go into the parking lots of the new facilities that a simple count of license plates on employees cars would prove it.

This economic development isn't a negative thing.  But there are deep financial implications for this poor state.  Is Texas helping with infrastructure development or is all the burden on New Mexico?  When a Texas employee leaves work and pays property tax and sales tax back in Texas, how does that affect New Mexico?  Should there be some sort of agreement worked out for a sharing of benefits and tax breaks for the corporations that locate in Santa Teresa?  Should New Mexico shoulder all of the industrial revenue bonds or should Susana's home state help with that?  Of course, many of our state residents work in the El Paso region too, but most of that business infrastructure and development took place under the old rules where you didn't have to offer outlandish incentives to attract business.

These are questions that need some thought on the part of the Legislature.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Laughing Stock

I am actually starting to feel sorry for APD's newly minted police chief.  This guy took a job from a clueless Mayor Berry who thought the buddy system in the GOP would save the department.  Chief Eden was thrown into a wolf's pit that would require some intellectual prowess to survive.  But he was thrown in unarmed.

His lack of experience and inability to recognize a chaotic culture is borne out in his hapless news conference appearances.  Is it just me, or does he seem totally unprepared and lost when confronted with real questions from  the few good journalists we have left?

He probably isn't up to the job of fixing things at APD.  Given the latest shooting in which lapel cameras allegedly didn't work, why would he send the camera back to the Tazer people to have a look at?  These are the same people that former Chief Shultz went to work for after signing a $2 million dollar contract for them to supply such cameras to APD.  Is it in Shultz's interest to have damning video recovered from the camera that might further degrade his reputation as having led this troubled department?

This decision making process is so flawed one can only wonder if it can get any worse.  We will go down in history as the laughing stock of municipal governments.  And that isn't funny.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


One can only wonder if Susana Martinez or her minions have some one on obscure committee payrolls who also happen to work for the news media.  KRQE TV news, who have done a good job recently on the APD killings, also seems to be consistently doing a bad job on fair coverage of the Governor's race in New Mexico.

Decades ago during the chaos of the 60's and the Viet Nam war, many young people turned radical in protests and actions.  One of them lives in Albuquerque.  That would be Mark Rudd, a former radical leader in the 'Weather Underground' organization who set off bombs.  Not good stuff.  But 50 years later the news operation at Channel 13 is trying to paint the campaign of Alan Webber as evil because Rudd and his wife held a fundraiser for Webber.  Rudd has lived in Albuquerque for many years and retired as a teacher.  He had long ago disavowed violence and led a good life here.

But someone in the Martinez camp got someone at Channel 13 to muddy up Webber because of the fundraiser.  All it takes is connections to someone who decides what gets covered in that troubled newsroom.  And probably this is only the beginning.  The amount of money that the Martinez folks will get from right wing committees will keep this kind of thing happening over and over.  And truth will have little to do with what is spattered up against your TV screens.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens has written a book which calls for some constitutional amendments in this country.  The most important, in my opinion,  is the one that would essentially take corporate money out of politics and set limits on how much anyone could give to a candidate.  The middle class and the poor in the United States will continue to suffer until such an amendment is passed.  Or we will sooner or later an arrival at a tipping point in which people truly take to the streets and tear the country apart.    Like Mark Rudd and  his young friends tried to do in the 60's.  History repeats itself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Other Things

Golf, trips to the shooting range, and many errands this week.  Yes, I actually went to the shooting range today with my old friend Lee Otteni and had a good time.  No, we don't have assault rifles.  Just old fashioned bolt action hunting rifles with scopes.  I have had a .270 caliber scoped JC Higgins rifle with a Mauser action since I was in high school.  After some fiddling with a scope I was hitting 3 foot square sized targets at 300 yards.  I didn't think I could do that anymore.

I have no desire to hunt anymore, but the marksmanship is still fun.  Kind of like hitting the perfect golf shot.  Just something to keep one sharp.

On the way back to Albuquerque we were talking about APD's latest shooting.  Without judging the latest incident, death by bullets of a teenage girl by APD, we decided we just couldn't really understand the fact that someone who is 18 and a young woman could get herself into such a position.  She had minor run ins with the law and maybe she did steal a car.  But did she deserve to be chased down on city streets and killed up against a cinder block wall?

This continued hail of bullets is killing more than people.  It is killing our city.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bobbi's Tulip Patch on Easter Morning

We had a nice brunch over here for Easter Sunday.  The hardest part was smelling the Carne Adovada cooking in the crockpot all night.  It was good.

My niece Stephanie and her two daughters Maya and Emma were in town from L.A.  They are growing up fast.

And my brother's niece Anya was here.  A natural for the camera ever since she was a child.  I told her to become a model, but it was only important because she could make money.  All the rest  is of no consequence.

Her sister Amanda and boyfriend Mike will graduate high school in a few weeks from Bosque School.  She just turned 18 and her next stop is higher education.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Bad Idea

Now Albuquerque City Council members are considering a hike in the gross receipts tax of 1/8% to fund mental healthcare in Albuquerque.  This is bad on a lot of levels.  Mainly it taxes the poor to help the poor.  Also, this is really a state responsibility that Governor Martinez has ignored.  Finally, the gross receipts tax has risen to 7% already from the 5.7% rate 15 years ago.  That climb in a regressive tax must end or we will make the poor even poorer.  (At least Governor Richardson took this tax off food.) Couldn't these needs be taken care of by either raising the income tax, a non regressive tax, or tapping into the 17 billion dollars in state permanent funds?  Of course one of these would be a good solution.  So lets see if any courageous leader suggests it.  I know many will say raising the income tax is bad when efforts are underway to attract business.  It probably is.  So, maybe going to the deep well of the permanent funds will work until new leadership comes into the Mayor's and Governor's offices.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Plan of Action

One senses that the word 'urgency' can not be defined by the Governor's Office, Mayor's Office, or the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.  Do you sense any urgency out of these groups when it comes to the meltdown of the economy in the Land of Enchantment?  I sure don't.  I don't see it because all of the people who are supposed to be working on growing our economy are still in their jobs after four years of worse and worse news.  Of course the latest job loss figures are disastrous as our unemployment rates continue to climb while the states that surround us are all gaining jobs.

We urgently need a plan of action.  But who will come up with it in the leaderless and laid back administrations of Governor Martinez, Mayor Berry, and Chamber honcho Teri Cole.   Have they all even been in the same room together to discuss such a plan?  My bet is that they haven't actually done a planning session together.  And I am quite sure the state legislature and city council of Albuquerque just sit on the sidelines chuckling about the incompetence, not realizing they are also a major component of failure.

This economic situation truly is frightening to me as a life long resident of New Mexico.  I have been involved in Journalism and Politics for 35 years and have never seen things this bad.  I get the sense that no one is really in charge of fixing things.  The current political structure and business community seem stuck in some sort of mind fog where they don't know which direction they are to go.  And now all energies on the state level will go into the elections.  The city will be mired in APD lawsuits and repercussions.  

And we will just have to wait in disbelief as things fall apart around us!

Berry Proposed Tax Hike

Mayor Berry is now being stealthy on something other than APD.  He is proposing a tax hike by disguising it as a hike in the cost of collecting refuse in the city.  The city's excellent trash collection system has functioned well over the years because it has paid for itself by running as an enterprise fund.  A business if you will.  Fees for hauling away your refuse paid for the cost of doing so without any siphoning of that money to other non related projects.

Now the city is going to start charging more for collections in order to stay even with expenses and go to a system where the less trash  you have the less  you pay.  That is fine and should be done.  But tucked away in that proposal is siphoning away money to pay for street median maintenance. That is a show stopper because it is nothing more than hiding an expense that the general fund would normally take care of.  What is next?  Using Solid Waste Department revenues to pay off all of the APD lawsuits?

Actually, if one follows some logic that is what exactly is happening here as the lawsuits on APD for all the killings bit into the general funds of the city.  You can be assured that the city, which funds its own insurance pool and risk fund, is sucking more and more dollars away from other city departments.  And this hidden tax the Mayor wants to charge is the first indication that financial shell games are in play.  We have passed special taxes already to fund street maintenance in Albuquerque.  My administration first did that in 1999 by going to the voters for a quarter percent gross receipts tax increase.  The public approved.  If Berry needs more tax income he should be upfront about it.

And, is it true all median maintenance was outsourced to a private firm and what was their relationship to Berry?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Journal

The Albuquerque Journal was reluctant to do much about the Mother Jones expose on Governor Susan.  They put the story at the bottom of the front page despite its noteworthiness.  But at least they did the story grudgingly.  They seemed to have to identify Mother Jones magazine as a 'politically liberal' publication.  They have never seemed to use the words 'right leaning foundation' when they open their oped pages on a daily basis to the Rio Grande Foundation whose main job it is to promote climate denial and right wing agendas for the oil and gas boys.

But there is something the Journal should follow up on, and that is the fact that Martinez was using the DA's office in Las Cruces to run the license plates of people they suspected of attending campaign events with cameras and sound recorders to document foot in mouth moments from the candidate.  As Lawrence Rael's campaign has pointed out, this may be illegal.  Will the Journal ask the question?

Quick, Don't Fire Anyone

The latest Mother Jones article on Governor Susana (aka Susan) Martinez and the debacle at the Albuquerque Police Department  under Mayor Richard Berry points out one more thing about their tenure.  They are unable to fire incompetents from their staffs and cadre of department heads.  Probably, the reason for this is that those minions just know too much of the background of how they came to power and what  happened since then.

Of course, it is nearly impossible to fire other public employees even if they deserve it.  But now that seems to have drifted over into the exempt positions as well.  Many of those exempt job holders now also sue the government if they lose their jobs.  They will claim to be whistle blowers as an entrance to the courts and the taxpayer billfold.  Some times it is true.  Many times it is not.

But, if anyone ever needed to be fired it was the APD Police Chief under Berry and more than a few of the young, and now apparently racist, minions of the Governor.  The fact that one of her people thought it important to restate that former Speaker of the House Ben Lujan was a 'retard' for his spanish accent would have caused any competent leader to fire that person on the spot.

The Governor and Mayor of Albuquerque need to clean up their houses.  They appear at this point to be hoarders who just can't get rid of the rubbish.

And finally, a comment about the news coverage of the Mother Jones article.  Everyone did a great job of it, but not KRQE TV.  After the great work they have done on the APD story they completely ignored the Martinez expose.  I was flabbergasted when I turned on their 4:30PM news to see the lead story.  A dozen dead bees were found on a sidewalk in the northeast heights.  Film, interviews, real video not shot from an iPhone.  Some one at the station is protecting the Governor and it is time for them to fire a few producers who call the shots. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


That long awaited Mother Jones article hit the streets today.  It is a pretty revealing and accurate rap sheet on the real Governor Susana Martinez and her frat boys advisors.  Will it make any difference in the run up to the election?  Don't hold  your breath because all of the money she has will paint over it.

Early Golf

Off to play early golf today.  I will ponder the letters of resignation from the Police Oversight Committee who stated they have no power and are not independent.  This latest pummeling of Mayor Berry and his minions is astonishing since the last straw for the Commission occurred just last week when they were told they should butt out by the City Attorney's Office.

More later.  But in the meantime it would be interesting for you to read up on our private prisons in this country.  Something that has always bothered me greatly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The fundraising reports for statewide offices came in yesterday.  The democratic primary for Governor is showing that all the candidates together can't match Governor Susana Martinez's fossil fuel funded campaign.  My take on the Dems is that Gary King has no money left, (what has he spent it on?), Alan Webber of Santa Fe is using his wealth to get a leg up on the other candidates.  And that Lawrence Rael  had a respectable showing.  The guy who won the State Democratic Primary Nominating convention has raised peanuts.  Howie Morales proves that the Convention is no indicator of an ability to run a well funded campaign.  The Governor's $5 million fund will only grow out of sight as the Koch brothers and their ilk start funding independent advertising to make all the Dems look like left wing commies.

The right wing crazy rancher in Nevada, Clive Bundy,  and his terrorist and assault rifle armed militia friends have once agains said 'screw you' to the American middle class taxpayer.  He refuses to pay for grazing his desert killing cows on BLM lands.  This guy has been a dangerous presence in that state and seems to want his standoff to end up in violence.  The BLM backed down from collecting his million dollar debt to American citizens once again.  It was wise for the feds to back off a little, but that money needs to be collected and he needs to be thrown off the land, which isn't his.  It is public land.

Monday, April 14, 2014


We had a boisterous dinner at Ned's last night.  All of us old guys know how to solve all of the world's problems, naturally.

One idea that dribbled out was the fact that prisons for profit have to be retooled.  We have more prisoners than ever even as crime continues to fall, despite what the police blotter regurgitating local TV news stations think.

But, if the private prison corporations are good at handling inmates, why don't we enact some sensible legislation that would allow them to convert some facilities into centers for care of mentally incompetent homeless people like the ones APD has been gunning down.  I know there would be hurdles to jump legally, but this is something one of these corporations should think about.  Better caring for the sick rather than keeping non violent inmates in jail.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Road Ahead

While playing golf the other day a lot of the guys in our two foursomes were lamenting that Mayor Berry looks weak for not attending the APD gripe session at the City Council last week.  Most of these guys voted for him.  He does look like a man who wants to avoid stress for sure.  He can always fall back on the good ink he gets from the editorial board at the Albuquerque Journal.  He is after all, a republican.

One of my golf buddies asked what I think Mayor Berry should be doing at this point.  Now that the DOJ has stated what is obvious, Berry then immediately left the city council and public on the sidelines in hiring a couple of guys to help straighten things out.  They were contracted at an amount just under the requirement that would have triggered letting the City Council have a say in the selection.  And of course they said little because now they don't have to take the heat.

So, what Berry needs to do now is invest about a quarter of his time in actually involving himself in seeing that things get fixed.  He should demand a daily briefing about what tasks and mileposts have been achieved in fixing the police department.  Of course, that assumes someone will set out tasks and milestones and let the public be informed of them.  Will we see such a list?

Berry needs to reach out by having some town halls of his own where he can just listen to folks give suggestions.  Sometimes some great ideas can be had by doing that.  Also, it might be good for Berry to stop listening to the folks who got us into this predicament.  And his political advisers have to realize that he is no longer just the nice guy they like to portray him as.  He is now seen by many as not being up to the job.  His actions in the past couple of years of saying he was remaking APD seem like fluff.  Things got worse because he just didn't pay enough attention.  I can't imagine he ran his business like that.  Honestly, I want him to succeed in fixing this mess.  Our economy is in bad enough shape that the continued national press coverage of our problem police department is hurting us even more.

On another APD issue, how is it that former Chief Shultz  was able to sign a multi million dollar contract with the people who manufacture Tazers to supply APD, and then sign on to working for them a short time later?  I don't think this passes the smell test, and it might even be illegal.  I have heard media people say they are just to busy with other APD stuff to handle this one.

And, once again, where is the Office of Medical Investigator report on how the suspect who shot a police dog was killed?  This is definitely one I want to hear about. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014


One of the hired guns that Mayor Berry wants to fix APD said that problems in that troubled force are not generational.  I know a lot of folks that would disagree with him.  One of them is one of my favorite commenters and writers, Bubba Munster.  I wanted to put this comment of his on the main page because it is though provoking.

At the APD hiring web site, on the benefits and salary page:

it lists as a benefit "Tuition Assistance and Educational Leave". It also lays out how having a degree significantly increases your salary.

Such benefits are typical of government workers who collectively bargain, and for union police departments, as APD is.

An assistant chief at the Texarkana, TX, police department told me he had a degree. I asked what in. He said, "General Studies."

So he might have taken classes that interested him, or were easy, only to increase his salary. Who knows? Like at APD, his classes were paid for.

Any education is apt to favorably affect human development. Knowledge will likely lessen small minded thinking, prejudice, and increase self esteem.

But as far as cops not being thugs, things like education, who the leaders are, what the training is, who the mayor is, while they all may play a role in determining whether a cop is going to be a thug or not, the overriding factor is society.

When a cop walks down the street, what does he or she think his or her role is? What is expected of them?

Look at it this way. You may have an education, and not be a thug, but it's not the education that makes you use manners and be genteel so much as it is the kind of people you associate with - the norms of your society, its shared beliefs about what appropriate behavior is.

On the street, everyone's a punk and a thug. That's your peer group. That's who you play to. You can be educated and be a thug. You can be trained in something, come from a respectable family, and be a thug. George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London" is the classic demonstration of how a personal devolution takes place when someone finds themselves in a meaner and more desperate set of conditions.

Society is very fractionalized, in that when you walk down any street, or into any office building, you very rarely speak to strangers or engage them in any way. Most people don't even make eye contact in public. In that context, in that kind of overall society, police play a psychological role. Furthermore, society holds the cop up as some kind of heroic archetype. Every criticism of police comes with the qualifier that there are lots of "good cops" - despite the fact that these good cops are who make up the society of police.

When society decides it wants to be kinder and gentler, it will be. When society decides US wars of aggression must cease, they will. When society decides to live under a different system, where cooperation is better than competition, aggression and violence will diminish at all levels of society, and when society decides it doesn't want thugs for cops, it won't tolerate them, or reward thuggish behavior.

Friday, April 11, 2014

After Taste

The after taste of the 2014 meltdown of APD is strong and it isn't good.  The feast leading up to it lasted 12 years or so with the training and flawed recruitment of police officers into a Marine Corp type department rather than a community police department.

But, we know this can be fixed and the Department of Justice has laid out a road map to use as guidance.  It is to bad they don't want to stick around and direct traffic.  One just doesn't get the feeling that Mayor Berry and  his inept new Chief have the capacity to do it them selves, nor does the City Council.  The new deputy chief they hired earlier in the week might be able to help, but he is immediately hamstrung from the fact that he is seen as an insider who retired from APD.  It is a difficult position for him to be in.

Former Mayor Marty Chavez ran an op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal this morning basically saying everything was fine at the department when he was Mayor.  He wrote that because so many people think that is when the department started it's decline.  The Journal added as postscript that said the college requirement for cadets was dropped in 1999 when I served as Mayor.  As I recall we dropped the degree requirement but still insisted on at least two years of higher education.  We had trouble recruiting and Chavez used that to say we were soft on crime when he ran against me.  No, we just wouldn't hire bad candidates.

So, we are now at a point when the only direction we can take is to make things better.  I have a feeling that the media will need to be a watch dog since DOJ has ducked out and there is no strong political leadership.  The media has done a good job on this issue.  I watched KRQE last night and have to say their coverage of the report from many angles was excellent.  The Journal has also done a great job on the news side, but of course their editorials have been focused on defending Mayor Berry.

There are still a lot of good officers in APD.  We depend on them and support them. They haven't let us down, but their leaders have let them down.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Whining After all

Okay, just got back from a great session at Betty's Bath and Day Spa.  I read the DOJ report and will whine after all that it looks like it is back to square one with the Albuquerque Police Department.  They haven't been doing much of anything right.  Lack of leadership at all levels.  Violations of civil rights in killing suspects.  Overuse of force generally.

Complete rebuild is necessary.  Is the Mayor and City Council willing to stand up to the APD?

Now, it is front page news on the New York Times website.

No Whining

A day off from whining today.  I have an important appointment at Betty's Bath and Day Spa.  I will be on a massage table while the DOJ does their thing to ABQ APD.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Hope Springs Eternal

The republicans in the US Senate give us hope.  They blocked passage of equal pay for women legislation this morning via threatened filibuster.  They give me hope that all is not lost in keeping the Senate Democratic.

So, the question that occurs to me is one of Susana Martinez's support from the same powers in the GOP that see it important to keep women's earning power at a disadvantage with men.  Sure, she will say she thinks the playing field needs to be leveled, but she is taking money from these same GOP right wingers.  And now using it on TV ads that are nothing more than unbelievable masquerades on reality in New Mexico.

I take heat for saying that money always gives an advantage over grass roots efforts.  80% of the time it does.  Not good odds.  But with dunderhead votes to devalue half the population maybe the one in five odds now look good for us.  Let's hope so.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

In the Mayor's Head

It is not an easy job being a Mayor.  Mostly you are not given a lot of compliments because local government is so accessible to the citizens.  So they normally tell you what is wrong rather than what is right.  As a Mayor I rarely got a compliment like, "Hey, thanks for efficiently picking up the garbage every Thursday and thanks for delivering water that is clean!  Good Job!"

No, it was usually, "Why can't you fix the potholes in my alley you worthless SOB!"  But, that is just the way it is when you exist as a Mayor.  You have to be able to stand up to it no matter how unpleasant it is.

That is why I can't understand why some advisor would tell the Mayor to 'run away' from the APD venting session at the City Council meeting last night.  It looks like a cowardly thing to do to many people.  I think Mayor Berry could have shown up at the beginning of the meeting to say a few words and then quietly removed himself.  Yes, it would have been difficult to endure but that comes with the  difficult job of being Mayor.

It is not to late for Berry to get some decent advisors on board and staff up with some folks who are not politically driven on every single issue. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

A Tax Saving Idea

Since we can no longer abide the editorial performance of the Albuquerque Journal's neo con Editor and owners, the Lang family, we should at least extract some sort of pain from this publication.  In this day and age the state and local governments of New Mexico pay a fortune for legal advertising in the Journal.  Why should that be happening in the year 2014 when some enterprising person might just open a website that would do so just as efficiently and at about 10% of the cost?  Sure, there would  have to be some sort of legislation passed in the State Capitol and City Halls, but I can imagine that a law that gives an option for online legal ads would be good.  And while we are at it, lets start charging a gross receipts tax on the sale of newspapers.  Why should they be in the same category as food and medicine?  Well, I guess they would qualify as bad medicine.

Seriously, when one feels helpless in the face of barrels of ink, there are ways to get some satisfaction.  

Sunday, April 06, 2014


The Protection rackets are alive and flourishing at the Editor's Office of the Albuquerque Journal.  We still don't know where the Mayor was during the week of the Boyd killing.  This lack of transparency on both the Mayor's part and the Editor's part can only make one suspicious.  And today the editor did an opus editorial on the APD killings and the names Mayor Berry for the most part and Chief Schutlz were never used.  How can we trust our only daily newspaper?  Darth Editor has taken over.  The Berry and Martinez administration have their enforcer.

And why can't anyone tell us how the man who shot the police dog was killed?  Where is the media on this?  Why no explanations?  If the police killed him, does that fact he shot an animal make it okay to ignore how he died?  Once again, should we assume the media is protecting someone?  Just let us know what happened.  This whole thing has been buried deep.  And probably on purpose.  But, it is hard to tell since no one is telling.


NM Clouds

Homeward at Springer

Friday, April 04, 2014

Up North


Did you happen to notice how slow off the line some of our elected officials were in regards to APD's shooting sprees?  First Mayor Berry and the city council are silent.  Then, as even the Albuquerque Journal expresses frustration with good hard journalism, they all break into a frenzy of news releases.  The latest to join was Attorney General Gary King.  As the state's chief law enforcement officer he should have been the first person out of the blocks as the body count started ratcheting up in the Duke City.  But not until after the US Justice Department announces it is all in, does King decide after years of sitting on the sidelines to get involved.

It is frustrating to see an honest and well meaning guy like Gary King be such a laggard.  Of course his style is one of being laid back.   That doesn't work for a leader.  If you think it does then just look at the pickle that Mayor Berry finds himself in.

Speaking of difficult predicaments, how is it that no one has been demoted for letting this get out of hand?  Should  CAO Rob Perry's big pay raise be rescinded due to his not being in control of the cop shop?  Or is no one in a position of responsibility going to see any discipline?

Thursday, April 03, 2014


Democracy might be dead in this country following the Supreme Court's decision to let the rich run the country.  Of course, they pretty much have always done that but now the corporate boys have managed to jigger the system into their total control via unlimited campaign donations.   Certainly, most Americans are not paying attention or there would have been riots in the streets last night.

The only way out of this situation is through a successful constitutional amendment that limits campaign donations.  Or a revolution.  I opt for the amendment....but the revolution is a good fallback.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


When will the other shoe drop?  Who knows?  I am referring to the cause of death of the suspect who allegedly shot the K-9 police dog in a parking lot.  The suspect is dead.  The cause of death is still not made public by anyone.  How long will the media be obstructed in finding out what really happened in this case?  And, will anyone find out where the Mayor was for eight days during the great APD meltdown?  If it truly is a highly personal health related issue, or just a family vacation, shouldn't they just say so and provide a little explanation?

I have to say that the Albuquerque Journal reporters have done an excellent job of covering the APD story.  The work has been like that old time journalism that we used to enjoy out of that publication.  Even the editor has let them do their work.  As for the TV stations, they have risen to the occasion too.  There is nothing better that police in riot gear to get their blood up.  But, don't look for any heavy and meaningful followups from them.  Just lots of reruns of tear gas clouds.

Here are a couple of photos from my days as a riot chaser while at Channel 7 during the student unrest over the Viet Nam War in the early 70's.  I am the photographer behind the flower child.  I believe the photo was taken by onetime APD offer Mark Bralley.

Our cameras were larger in those days.  16mm sound on film cameras with heavy batteries.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Who Let the Macho Out?

Every Mayor has advisers.  They might be official ones, or friends, or family.  Some are experienced in government.  Others have no experience at all and they all render their opinions from what they think is best for the Mayor and City. (Well, and maybe themselves.)

Right now Mayor Berry is up to his neck in real world problems.  The region's economy, of which the city is the driver, is in the crapper.  And now he is getting national attention in the media for the problems in the Police Department.

In the last few days he has received advice that he acted on that was probably not the best thing in the interest of the city.  Why did he needlessly deploy the dressed up riot police?  Certainly he gave the crowd a reason to escalate.  Could not the police have been held out of sight until something really called for their presence.  In fairness, maybe something was occurring that we don't know about.  But probably what happened was he listened to bad advice from someone who wanted to let the 'macho' out.  Berry probably should have thought a little harder and sought out someone's advice other than the incompetent police chief he hired at the behest of the republican Governor and her neocon advisers.  That chief has never led a police force before and it is showing.

Berry is wanting to do the right thing at this juncture of events.  But he needs to call on some experienced folks from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, or some such organization, to come in and help sift through the advice he is being given.  It couldn't hurt.

And it couldn't hurt if the protestors were a little more organized too.  They were not in control of their own demonstration.  They could use a little advice too.

Double Standard

Okay, everyone made a big deal about the idiot who showed up at the APD protest carrying an assault  rifle.   Yes, he is an idiot.  I am betting the conservative wackos see this one guy as representing all of the protestors.  Certainly, it gave the over his head Police Chief some grist for the mill. But there are guns stores in this town that specialize in selling assault rifles and no one says a thing.  There are paranoids in the movie theater sitting next to  your kids packing a Glock.  No one says a thing.  I was eating at a golf course grill the other day and one of the diners had a pistol packed in his waistband.  I finished my huevos quickly and left before someone was offed for sandbagging.

Life is to short.