Thursday, April 10, 2014

Justice Hammers APD But Does Not Lower The Legal Hammer, Plus: Reader Email And Some Bottom Lines For A New Mexico Thursday 

"A hammer without nails" is how one Tweet described today's Justice Department announcement that the ABQ police department has indeed violated the Constitution by using unreasonable and excessive force. But Justice held off on openly saying they are going for a court-enforced agreement and the appointment of a Federal Monitor who would be installed to oversee the many changes Justice is recommending.

Peter Simonson of the NM ACLU said:

"We heard much of what we wanted to but we hoped we would hear of a court enforced agreement. That was not part of the dialogue. I don't think a genetleman's agreement with APD will succeed. Still we are looking forward and not looking back and our focus is on taking positive community steps."

As the day wore on, it became clear that Justice and the city will enter negotiations for a court enforced reform agreement that includes a Federal monitor to oversee it.

 More to come. . . .

From earlier today.....

Can the US Justice Department calm the storm? That's the question the city and state await answering today as Justice unveils its reforms for the troubled ABQ police department. The report--nearly a year and a half in the making--comes only days ofter street protests erupted in the state's largest city over the fatal police shooting of homeless camper James Boyd--one of 23 men shot to death by officer since Mayor Berry took office in December 2009.

Today's 10 a.m. news conference will be broadcast live on KRQE-TV and also streamed from the station website. You can also follow developments as they unfold on Twitter and Facebook. We'll post an update on the blog at the end of the news conference.

All parties will be waiting to see how strong a hand Justice plays and how it perceives the future federal role here. Chief among the questions: What role will the Federal courts play in ensuring that Justice's reforms are not stonewalled? And will the Feds reforms go far enough in reversing the APD culture that is widely cited as being at the root of the problem?


A reader writes of the hiring of a deputy chief at APD to oversee the Justice reforms:

I have to disagree with your opening line in Wednesday's post in which you said Mayor Berry would be criticized even if he hired the Pope. If APD hired the Pope, no one would complain, for they would have hired someone from outside the department, with moral authority and with the power to enact change. Instead, we get another insider.

A Senior Alligator writes:

Joe, you are a blessing to this community. Your Wednesday blog pointing out what Mayor Berry doesn't see is so important. Berry and his guys are unaware of how separated from the mainstream of our community they are. The ethnicity issue is the third rail of NM politics and all the Hispanic Democrats I know are aware of it. Long time Anglo politicians in the community are aware of it. This new breed of Republicans doesn't get it about New Mexico. New Mexico has been a good place to raise a family because our politicians have tried to strike a balance with their hiring and policies as far as race and ethnicity is concerned.

By the way, the Senior Alligator who said here Wednesday that the city council had "recently" approved an ordinance outlawing people from sleeping in their cars in city neighborhoods was mistaken. That law has been on the books for a while.


UNM School of Law student John Mitchell writes:

I agree that there should be concern about the "hue" of our leaders. It seems that everybody wants to ignore the issue of class warfare. I urge everybody to review the pictures of the Support the APD rally. A vast majority seem to be the same hue as the leadership. Why are they supporting the APD? Because they are not targeted due to there skin color and socioeconomic status. It is time to recognize that this APD issue is another act of class warfare and an attempt to maintain a permanent underclass in Albuquerque.

Reader Joe Barela of Rio Rancho writes of Gov. Martinez's first campaign TV ad:

I was struck by how brazen she was to tout that under her watch that New Mexicans had it so much better. The ad came on right after very depressing news about APD, shootings, education, the economy, etc. It was quite a contrast. It reminded me of the movie called the “Hunger Games.” It really does make me wonder if the New Mexico voter is going to believe.


Maybe we're all getting frantic for something to happen. Reader Steve Crespin comes with this:

As we all know the state has no incentive money to bring industry to New Mexico,however we do have one thing we could offer Tesla; the Spaceport. They need a lot of land and there is a lot of land, it's between Albuquerque and Las Cruces for employees and there is a huge runway they could use to fly in and out. Lease it to them for $1.00 per year with the understanding they have to stay no less then 20 years, have to maintain all of the facilities and roads to the Space Port at their own expense. It would get New Mexico out of that huge expensive mistake and create jobs. If we don't do something with the Space Port it will turn into abandoned mess like the old out let mart between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.


The camp of Rep. Steve Pearce reacts to the news that Rocky Lara, his Dem challenger, has raised $300,000 in the year's first quarter. They say Republican Pearce raised $360,000 in the 1st quarter and has $1.4 million in cash-on-hand. They also say they are looking at how much of the money Rocky raised comes from New Mexico and specifically the southern congressional district. . .


And now ladies and gentleman yet another episode in the continuing series from the "Most Transparent Administration In State History:"

The Martinez administration contends court enforcement of the state Inspection of Public Records Act to make the governor and state agencies turn over travel records would violate the U.S. Constitution. Legal documents filed in state District Court by lawyers representing Gov. Martinez and some state agencies say the public records law is “pre-empted” by the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution--and that the records being sought by The Associated Press would require a warrant under federal law.

Can't you just picture a reporter banging on the Guvs door and yelling:  "Let us in. We have a warrant!"


Joe Monahan
Senator Udall is inviting college students interested in gaining legislative or press relations experience to apply for internships in his Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Las Cruces, Portales and Santa Fe offices. More info here. . . .

There will be two not three Dem candidates on the June 3 primary ballot for state treasurer. Patrick Padilla was knocked off the ballot after losing a challenge to his petitions filed by rival John Wertheim. ABQ's Tim Eichenberg is the other candidate seeking the Dem nod. . . . 

ABQ Dem state Sen. Jacob Candelaria reacts to the news that NM ranks among the top 10 states in low obesity:

We should be leading the nation in promoting healthy lifestyles to combat the long term effects of obesity. I plan to ask several interim committees to address the issue this year. I do this because greatly reducing obesity rates is critical to the health of New Mexicans, and because I too have had to battle this disease (having lost 150+ pounds through diet and exercise.

Rather that having a legislative hearing, Senator, you might want to write a book and tell us how you lost 150 pounds. . . .

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