Thursday, April 28, 2005

Behind the Jailhouse Rumblings, And: New APD Chief, New Look, Plus: A Young Reporter Leads The Way 

ABQ Mayor Marty was accused of election year grandstanding when he proposed that the city pull out of its joint operating agreement with Bernalillo County to pay for local jail costs. But there may be another motive. Santa Fe Alligators sent me this bill introduced in the last session of the Legislature and unsuccessfully pushed by Chavez rival and Bernalillo County Commissioner Alan Armijo. It would have forced the city to pay a whole lot more to the county to run the Metro Detention Center. Chavez's pullout threat may have been a response to the Armijo movida. Meanwhile, Armijo who drew just one per cent in the 01' mayoral race, has threatened to run again, but it's not seen as likely.

Staying in the Big Duke City, besides the mayor the spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department always ends up being a statewide figure. The TV news obsession with blood and guts catapults this public servant into the upper levels of notoriety in a matter of days. It just so happens the new guy knows that. Former public information officer (PIO) John Walsh was just named PIO by new APD Chief Schultz. Insiders say with Gil Gallegos out a new public image was needed and the first face to go had to be the TV talking head. Walsh also had the job under Jerry Galvin during Jim Baca's mayoral term.

Schultz may have a limited honeymoon. Because of the scandal over the APD evidence room, the new chief will need to demonstrate his independence and integrity quickly. PR alone won't do it. He will have to make the department come clean, and if he doesn't, the next mayor will live to regret it.

And what about that byline on all the ABQ Journal's investigative stories on the police dep't evidence room scandal? Police reporter T.J. Wilham is a newcomer to the scene. He came here just months ago from Indiana, says a Journal source. For Wilham the timing could not have been better.


The TV stations cover the cops and robbers beat to death, but on the KOB-TV web site you will find much more. The site is varied and updated regularly during the weekdays. It's edited by veteran NM broadcaster Reed Upton whose efforts and the stations were recognized when it won the NM Associated Press Broadcasters Award for 2005.

And while I'm on the media beat, how about student journalist Ryan Hickey of La Cueva High in ABQ? He found that tap water at the school has high levels of arsenic and lead, and now the school is figuring out what to do about it. Congrats Ryan. Please think about joining us on the La Politica beat. We need your enterprise.

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