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Friday, November 01, 2013

A Year Out From '14 Election And Politicos Start To Stir The Pot, Plus: Shootings Of Local Law Officers Raise Questions About APD Handling Of Media And Background Of Shooter 

It's a year away from the '14 election but for the politicos that's time to start stirring the pot--and here they are doing just that.

That's Democratic state treasurer candidate John Wertheim manning the chicharrone paddle as he gives the pot of steaming pork pieces a hearty stir.

Attorney General and Dem Guv hopeful Gary King looks on intently, probably wondering how he is going to stick to his new campaign diet.

It's reassuring to see Wertheim and King getting proper supervision for their chicarrone duty from a trio of our ABQ Valley Alligators

We're especially pleased to see that Wertheim is using a wooden paddle--not a metal one--for those chicharrones. Use of a metal paddle is a serious political infraction. The penalty is a loss in the primary election (just ask Brian Colon).

The only possible infraction of chicharrone stirring rules we see here is Wertheim's wardrobe. The leather jacket just doesn't seem to cut it for a Matanza.

Well, we can only urge Wertheim primary opponents Tim Eichenberg and Patrick Padilla to go easy on him and not use this photo in one of those negative mailers.

As for proper chicarrone stirring attire, just look at the Gator standing next to Wertheim. Everyone knows a Lobo jersey with chile stains is the way to go.

APD AWOL

An ABQ news producer writes of the lack of communication from the ABQ police department during last Saturday's shootings which resulted in the wounding of four local law enforcement officers and the death of the shooter. The incident involved a high speed chase through city streets:

We were basically pleading with the APD public information officer for something, anything, so we could say whether or not there was a continuing threat to public safety. All we got back was "we'll say something when we say something" and go wait in the media staging area. So we kept reporting the continuing threat as an unknown even though the chase was over and the bad guy was dead at a North Valley gas station about 30 minutes after the first shot.

It was five (!) hours after this began when we got a joint statement from APD interim Chief Allen Banks and BernCo Sheriff Dan Houston confirming the guy was dead. By then we'd finally gone with "sources say" but repeated the lack of confirmation. Any review of this incident needs to include what has to be considered a major breakdown in public outreach during a time of crisis.

Where was Banks? Could they not track him down? Is he not ready for prime time? Does he have no appreciation or understanding of media relations?. Why did APD take so long to say something official and reassure the public all was under control?

Fair questions and ones we assume Chief Banks will take to heart.

SHE ENDORSED DINELLI

Reader Brandon Trujillo has an amendment to the blog in which we pointed out that Senators Udall and Heinrich did not endorse fellow Dem Pete Dinelli when he ran for Mayor and we also said the same about US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham:

I just wanted to point out that Michelle Lujan Grisham did endorse Pete Dinelli and put out a robo call a week before the election.

We missed that, Brandon. Thanks.

THE MIND OF CHASE

And many in the ABQ community have been asking about the mental condition of the shooter--35 year old Christopher Chase. Was he mentally ill? Was he on medication? What was his mental health treatment background, if any? KOB-TV's Tom Joles put the matter to Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston who said:

...We understand there was nothing in his criminal record that would have indicated or given us any inference that there were any kind of mental issue or mental problems with this individual.

Well, that's his criminal record, but what about his medical record and history? What can law enforcement tell us about that?

The questions bring to mind the heated political debate over the suspension of Medicaid payments by the Martinez administration to a dozen behavioral health providers because of fraud allegations. They have been replaced by Arizona firms, but the transition has been rocky, with media reports saying service to some New Mexicans has been interrupted.

Not to say that this was the case with Chase, but the mental health angle is urgent. Look at this news:

A new federal report ranks New Mexico as the state with the highest percentage of citizens with mental illness. But the 416-page survey also reveals states in the Southwest are above average in many areas like access to mental health services. . . .Nationally, the report estimates that 17.8 percent of individuals suffer from mental illness. Compared to other states, New Mexico showed the highest rate of mental illness: 23.6 percent.

That's yet another social condition challenge facing our state.

But to end the week on a less serious note....

The report showed New Mexico had the highest rate of mental illness in the USA at 23.6% but the rate among New Mexico legislators was 46.8%. That's a lot lower than anyone expected....:)

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