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Friday, July 26, 2013

Abortion Debate In City, Dem AG Race Takes Shape, And Blog Readers Take On APD Sexcapades Controversy And More 

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The Republican controlled ABQ City Council could attempt to block a stiff anti-abortion measure from appearing on the Oct. 8 city election ballot.

Activists have collected some 27,000 signatures asking for an election on the proposal that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. It would take about 12,000 signatures of registered city voters validated by the city clerk to send the election issue to the council. The nine member council would have to approve an election day for the measure.

Republican Councilor Trudy Jones is asking the attorney general if such a measure would be legally enforceable in ABQ. If it isn't, she says there would be no point of putting it on the ballot. But if the signatures are validated, the voters may have to have a say.

Jones is one of six GOP councilors. If her reluctance is indicative of the other R's, the abortion election issue might not get scheduled Oct. 8, but at a special election at another time.

Our analysts say conservatives are already poised to come out for the October 8 election and vote to re-elect GOP Mayor RJ Berry. A severe anti-abortion measure would get Democrats out of their seats and into the voting booths. That could pump up Dem Pete Dinelli. If the Council R's can't stop the abortion measure, Dinelli will work to rouse the liberal base in the city which has been doing anything but paying attention to the mayoral election.

MARKS BOWS OUT

It's a clear field for State Auditor Hector Balderas as he pursues the Dem nomination for state attorney general. His only rival, ABQ attorney Jason Marks, announces in a letter to supporters that he's done:

It has become clear that the fundraising gap has put our campaign in a position where the prospects of winning are slim under most scenarios... 

Balderas doesn't need a troublesome primary battle. Republicans are expected to field Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler who ran for AG four years ago and showed himself to be a tough campaigner. Expect a Balderas-Chandler battle to get bloody indeed....

How much is this one going to cost ABQ taxpayers. A good guess would be "a lot.":

A 66-year-old man shot and killed by Albuquerque police earlier this month suffered nine gunshot wounds, with as many as six of the bullets going through the back of his body, according to the autopsy report provided by his family.

The number and location of gunshot wounds that medical investigators found in Vincent Wood’s body have prompted the Vietnam veteran’s family to accuse the police of “overkill,” and they wonder why officers didn’t wait just a little while longer for the arrival of an officer trained in de-escalation techniques.

HOW MANY COPS?

This comes from one of our Legal Beagles on the report carried here this week that the ABQ police department is short 150 officers of its targeted goal:

APD has certified and sworn cops. Certified are the those that carry badges, arrest people, carry guns, testify in court, etc. Sworn officers can be anybody including crossing guards (!). APD typically releases the number of officers but doesn't break down the certified officers from the sworn officers. If it did, you would see that APD is down a lot more than 150 officers in manpower.

APD AND YOU

APD sexcapades which Chief Schultz dismisses as "nature at play" and a statement on APD from ABQ Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry draw the ire of this reader:

A few stories recently aired in the media regarding APD are very concerning to me. I hope all city residents take issue with quotes given by high ranking Albuquerque officials.

"Nature at play" was the reason given by APD Chief Shultz on KOB-TV to explain the culture of infidelity taking place within the organization. What an absolutely ridiculous and offensive attempt to downplay a problem. Is this the best explanation Chief Schultz can provide? It is no wonder the department is in disarray and under federal investigation. 

I hold Mayor Berry accountable for his total failure in all aspects of public safety and the failed leadership of those he appointed. APD brass and city administration seem more concerned with social media policy than adultery while on the job. What are the priorities of APD and whose best interests are really at play here?

CAO Robert Perry also demonstrated just how out of touch city administration is when he gave the following quote to KOAT-TV on morale in APD:

"Oh, it's morale. Well, what do you mean by that? Can you give me specifics?" said Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry. "What would be in the contract that would change morale?"

Does he truly believe that morale is not related to contractual issues? What could be more specific than the number of officers leaving and the number of scandals within the department? I am certain that pension changes have had an effect but it is not the sole reason the department can't retain the target number of officers. Does he really believe that broken contracts, reduction in pay, changes in schedule and unrealized raises have no negative impact working conditions and attitudes? 

The arrogance displayed by the Mayor's office is outrageous and discouraging.

We are waiting to see if Chief Schultz's comments about sexual affairs at APD impact the ABQ mayoral race. The election is Oct. 8.

GET OUT, PETE!

The state GOP is calling on Dem Pete Dinelli to get out of the mayoral race because of what they term "lewd" emails he sent when he was working as public safety director for Mayor Marty Chavez.

It's not exactly an Anthony Weiner scandal, though. In one email Dinelli confirms to a correspondent who is not named that he looked at an email forwarded to him tilted "Fw.: NFL Cheerleaders."

Dinelli emailed back: "Mighty fine. I looked at them."

And in response to a thank you email sent to him by mayoral aide Scott Forrester, Dinelli writes: "No problem. I take very long lunches and dinners so you will need some very thick knee pads..."

The knee pad reference is an obscene joke from yesteryear that conveys that Forrester owes Dinelli a lot of gratitude.

The GOP says Dinelli should drop his mayoral bid in light of these emails which were released following Dinelli's criticism of APD Chief Ray Schultz who called sexual affairs at APD "nature at play." Dinelli said Mayor Berry "should sever all ties" with Schultz who is set to resign August 3, but has been given a $10,000 contract to work as an adviser in September.

The emails released by the GOP are here.

STATE FAIR TV

Reader Joe Barela's complaint about the state fair TV ads featuring what he said is an actress playing a "gangbanger" drew reaction. First, here's Michael Henningsen, spokesman for the state fair:

Not a dime of taxpayer money is spent on Fair commercials (as Barela said). The State Fair is an enterprise fund. 

Also, we produced three brand new ads featuring actress Lynette LaBurquena from our multiple-award winning campaign last year, so not sure why your viewer got the rehash, but stay tuned for the new spots airing now and blowing up fast all over Facebook! Thanks for the plug!

Reader Joan Fenicle writes:

I am a big fan of Lynette and thought the ads last year were pure genius. Her accent and fashion sense do not make her a gang banger… and does anyone know that this is actually a very talented young actress from Albuquerque that we should be proud of. They are trying to relate to a young local audience and I think it succeeds - and it certainly didn't offend this 72 year old gringa.

Reader and State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode writes:

I read the item complaining about the advertising for the state fair. You might want to remind your readers that the State Fair is being run by the Governor’s office, not the State Fair Commission.

Larry Kennedy, the Governor’s choice for State Fair Commission Chairman and unable to be confirmed by the Senate, has called two meetings in two years. The Commission has not met since January and that meeting was only to elect Kennedy for a second time. The Governor’s office has appointed all five members of the management at the state fair and there is no oversight being provided by the Commission whatsoever. 

THE BOTTOM LINES

New Mexico is the best place to survive the coming Zombie apocalypse, but you already knew that...The chile is hot and the tortilla chips warm at El Patron, the ABQ NE Heights dining spot run by veteran restaurateur Nick Kapnison. A nice big patio, too. One surprise: Service was not good--it was excellent....

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