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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Pete And Pendejos: Did He Get Off Light? Plus: Sam And Gary: Too Awkward A Match? Also: APD Lightens Up On Lying Policy And Readers Unload  

Pete Dinelli
Mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli is getting off light for calling Dems who vote for Republicans "pendejos," Spanish slang for "dumbass" or "idiot."

So says Bob Cornelius, the former Bernalillo County GOP executive director who landed in hot water for recent off-color comments of his own.

"It's a sign of liberal media bias" that Dinelli's comment received muted coverage, says Cornelius who engaged in a Facebook conversation with BernCo GOP executive director Steve Kush that caused a media sensation. In it Kush called a woman a "radical bitch" and Cornelius implied that she was a streetwalker.

The woman was appearing before the Bernalillo County commission to support an increase in the county's minimum wage, a measure the pair of Republicans opposed. The Kush-Cornelius exchange was major news and received extensive broadcast attention. Both men apologized for their comments.

Cornelius said that he is not downplaying the error of his ways, only that the Dinelli coverage paled by comparison.

Conspiracy theorists argued Dinelli--who is half-Hispanic--intentionally dropped the "p word" to let the Hispanic community know one of their own is carrying their banner. He takes a short term hit but gains long term.

Former GOP Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White agreed with Cornelius, saying the media has been too soft on Dinelli--the only Dem in the mayoral contest:

If Mayor Berry called people "pendejos" for voting for Dems, I bet it would lead the news and (liberal group) ProgressNow NM would picket his office.

Dinelli made his comments at the weekend meeting of the Dem state central committee and immediately apologized, saying, "I made a poor choice in using a word at an attempt at humor..."

Dinelli's misstep received attention in social media and the newspaper did a brief mention, but the coverage was nothing like the "radical bitch" story. Broadcast reports were minimal. Conservative talk show host Scott Stiegler of KKOB-AM joined White in chastising local media for not playing the pendejos gaffe bigger.

State R's weighed in on Pete's pendejos refrain, saying:

It is disheartening and disappointing that Dinelli has insulted the intellect of a large number of his own party members and other New Mexicans...

Poking fun at the way someone votes--as Dinelli did--and personally attacking someone exercising their free speech rights as Kush and Cornelius did-- is the difference here. The media played both about right.

On the lighter side, one of the Alligators suggested that Dinelli form a PAC called "Pendejos for Pete."

DINELLI'S DANDER

Mayor Berry's political operatives were closely watching the Dinelli incident. They already think he is on  course to lose the election because of the "likability" issue. They portray him as a scowling, mean-spirited prosecutor who people can't and won't connect with. The pendejos incident reinforced their belief that they can lure Dinelli into losing his temper during the long mayoral campaign, making it that much easier to defeat him in October.

JANICE AND KUSH

The aforementioned Steve Kush was placed on "indefinite suspension" by GOP BernCo County Chairman Frank Ruvolo who is now taking hits for not firing Kush. And the decision to keep Kush in limbo could have political implications.

State Dems are attacking new ABQ GOP City Councilor Janice Arnold-Jones for her association with Kush. She brought him to NM in 2010 as her campaign manager when she sought the 2010 GOP Guv nomination. And when Kush was later a lobbyist for payday loan companies, Dems say he gave generously to Janice's political coffers. They hit this way:

As a city councilor, Arnold-Jones should know better than to associate herself so closely with a person with anti-woman views that are way outside the political mainstream of our City.

The Arnold-Jones city council race is key to control of the council. She was appointed to replace Republican Mike Cook who resigned after a DWI arrest and is running for election in October. She faces Sandia Labs retiree Diane Gibson,

If the seat goes Dem, there is a good chance the D's could retake control of the GOP controlled nine member council. Arnold-Jones did not respond to a request for comment about the Dem Party news release. Candidate Gibson has not made a statement, but she could have plenty to say in her campaign literature.

Another Dem--gym owner and Iraqi war veteran Matt Biggs--says he's getting in this council race. That could help Republican Janice--if he makes the ballot and splits the Dem vote with Gibson.

SAM AND GARY

Will it be awkward for new state Dem Party Chairman Sam Bregman if Attorney General Gary King is the '14 Dem Guv nominee? ABQ KKOB-AM radio host and GOP supporter Bob Clark reminded his listeners this week that Bregman, a trial lawyer, once called King "the worst attorney general" the state has ever had. Clark said politics makes for strange bedfellows but "this could be a hard sell." (Audio here).

King is far from getting the nomination, but R's certainly hope he is the nominee. They see him as easy pickings for Susana.

So far, it is King and ABQ State Sen. Linda Lopez officially in the Dem Guv race.

HE'S BACK

And welcome back, Tim:

Legislators on Tuesday named former Senate President Tim Jennings to a board that oversees more than $17 billion in state investments.The Roswell Democrat will serve a five-year term on the State Investment Council. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.Jennings fills a vacancy created by last year's resignation of Lordsburg banker Michael Martin.

The forces of Governor Martinez narrowly ousted Jennings from his GOP-leaning state Senate seat in 2012.

THE APD STREAM

There's just no end to the stream of controversial news from the embattled ABQ Police Department. First, the latest from there and then the reader reaction:

Police Chief Ray Schultz has signed off on a change to the department’s standard operating procedure...that says a first instance of untruthfulness related to their jobs or “operations of the department” can earn officers and civilian employees anywhere from a one-day suspension to termination. For many years, APD employees who lied faced sanctions on a first offense that typically ranged from suspension of a month or more to termination...

Now the cannon fire from our APD watchdogs starting with retired APD Captain D.M. Gilmore:

With all the problems currently facing APD--lawsuits, officer misconduct and a federal probe--I cannot believe they are now going to ease up on a decades old policy of demanding the truth from its officers and civilian personnel. The Standard Operating Procedure warns against lying and furthermore the officers are given a warning prior to giving statements to Internal Affairs that lying is a terminating offense. A lie is a lie. 

 Has the manning level at APD slipped to the point where they can no longer fire employees for untruthfulness? We all know how an officer will be perceived by a judge or jury once he has been found guilty of lying no matter the level of sanction now to be imposed. The Albuquerque Police Department nor the public should tolerate lying.

Retired APD Seargent Dan Klein adds this:

Have Mayor Berry and Chief Schultz not listened to any of the juries and judges who have lambasted APD for the lack of integrity some officers and command staff have shown?

 In a $4,000,000 judgment against the APD in 2011 Judge Theresa Baca described a chain of mistakes regarding the shooting of Andrew Lopez and she blasted the APD officer’s testimony as not believable.  

In 2013 a district court jury awarded the family of Kenneth Ellis, shot by an APD officer, over $10,000,000 in part because the police department failed in hiring and in retaining officers who had questionable truthfulness issues. 

Instead of lowering standards APD needs to look at itself in the mirror and demand accountability for their actions from the Chief to the lowest officer. Mayor Berry and Chief Schultz are making a huge mistake by lowering the standard for truthfulness. APD will never regain its status until it demands professionalism from within.

As always, opposing views are welcome.

The US Department of Justice is currently investigating the use of force policies at APD.

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