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Monday, April 21, 2014

Release Of Latest Police Shooting Video Shows APD Culture Still Defensive, Plus: More Fallout From The Leaked Guv Tapes; Is There A Word We're Missing?  

There was another fatal police shooting in ABQ Monday morning on Zuni near Wyoming.

Justice Department or no Justice Department, APD continues to play the game the way it always has. That was clear late on Good Friday afternoon when APD decided to finally release the police lapel  video of the fatal March 25 police shooting of 38 year old Alfred Redwine.

Dumping news near 5 p.m. on a Friday (especially a holiday) is  an old (and tired) technique of trying to bury bad news. While everyone is waiting for a more open and transparent APD to help begin healing the terrible damage inflicted on the city's reputation, we get the same block and deflect tactics that have shattered APD's credibility.

As for the Redwine video, which took nearly a month to release, it is indeed bad news for APD. None of the video shows Redwine firing on officers. He may or may not have fired a gun into the ground prior to or after being shot. It remains ambiguous whether the shooting was justified. So here we go with more lawyers, more lawsuits and probably more tax dollars out the door. . .

The final cost of the years-long APD debacle will be tens of millions of dollars. Some of it will go out in small chunks--like this:

The city has settled the latest in a string of lawsuits filed after APD arrested or cited people who were giving food to the homeless downtown. All the charges were thrown out. Those suits have now cost the city nearly $100,000. . .In the summer of 2010, an APD sergeant emailed other officers, saying the city wants them to cite and arrest people frequenting the area and feeding the homeless. It said Mayor Berry’s public safety director at the time, Darren White, is “allowing us to take off the gloves.”

That reference to White in 2010 is important because many observers believe that it was his elevation over the ABQ police chief that reinforced an "us vs. them" culture that had taken hold and that contributed mightily to the APD crisis. Michael Corwin--a critic of the administration--is one of those: 

This email should leave no doubt that it was in fact Darren White's elevation by Mayor Berry to be the boss of APD by changing the responsibilities of the public safety director that led to the increase in constitutional violations by APD including shootings. Thanks to White people were criminally charged with feeding the homeless. Criminal cases that were later tossed by judges that led to civil rights lawsuits and the city paying out six figures.

RAISE TAXES?


A number of city councilors are saying we should consider raising the ABQ gross receipts tax by an eighth of a cent to raise $16 million a year for mental health programs. Many of those shot and killed by APD have been mentally disturbed. But if those councilors look closely they will find we don't need to raise taxes. For example:

University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) had an ending cash balance of $209.5 million for fiscal year 2011.

And then there are the hundreds of millions in state reserves and the billions in the state permanent funds. The state doesn't have a cash shortage when it comes to revamping the mental health system. It has a shortage of willpower.

ABOUT THAT TAPE

That secret tape recording of then-Guv candidate Martinez talking with top campaign aide Matt Kennicott could be even more incendiary. Kennicott relays to Martinez in the October 2010 tape that then-House Speaker Lujan "sounds like a retard" when he speaks in English. But is something missing? ABQ Journal reporter James Monteleone tweets that there indeed appears to be:

Re-listening to Kennicott tape about Lujan and it's worse. I think he actually calls him "f**king retard" 

We also took another listen and it seems clear that Kennicott says the now deceased Lujan sounds like "a fucking retard."

Kennicott--now a spokesman for the state Human Services Department--says he was simply relaying a story to Martinez from another source who made the derogatory comments about Lujan.

Saying someone sounds like "a fucking retard" demeans and degrades Lujan and all who suffer from mental illness. Is Kennicott saying that his story teller used the phrase "fucking retard" and that he was just relaying that to Martinez?

Martinez prides herself on being "tough" and refuses to apologize to the public or the Lujan family or in any way discipline Kennicott.

Will the forlorn Democrats decisively determine that Kennicott said "fucking retard" and make an issue of it? You know what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. . . .

GUV RADIO ADS

The audio tapes leaked to Mother Jones magazine have entered the Dem Governor primary, but not exactly with a bang. Alan Webber came with a radio ad that seized on comments Martinez made about school teachers getting several months off a year and suggesting they don't deserve raises. He made a small buy on four radio stations in ABQ, Santa Fe, Taos and Las Cruces.

Lawrence Rael went up with a small radio buy over the weekend. It's a spot on the state's lousy economy--not on the controversial tapes--and airs in both English and Spanish. Rael isn't saying what stations he bought.

At this stage in the proceedings--with the first absentee votes set to be cast May 6--you would expect TV ads--not radio ads. But everyone is holding back their firepower--mainly because their financial firepower is quite limited.

Some analysts think if one of the candidates started pounding away at Martinez they might actually raise money from a more energized Democratic base.

DEM CHANCES

As for unseating Martinez in November one of our Senior Alligators says:

If the Dems are going to get a shot at Martinez they are going to have nationalize this election--generate interest outside of the state to take her out and get the money in here to do it. They will need to do things like getting Obama and Biden in here to remind people that this is a Democratic state and despite the Governors posing as a "bipartisan" leader, she is a hard-core Republican. The Republican have the fear advantage--Democrats are afraid of them. Unless that changes, there will no change....

In an editorial on the audio tapes and Governor Martinez, the Santa Fe New Mexican comes with the kind of tough talk about the Guv that the famished Democratic base is waiting to hear form their Guv contenders:

It is troubling that Governor Martinez has allowed a culture in which these comments and other offensive remarks by her staff are deemed acceptable. It is deeply disappointing that instead of speaking out against this offensive language, Governor Martinez has tolerated it and even rewarded this type of behavior by making this individual a spokesman in her administration.

PETE AND SON


Here's a little exclusive for you. We believe it's the first public photo of former NM US Senator Pete Domenici with his son Adam Paul Laxalt.

Also pictured are Domenici's sister Thelma and son Pete Domenici Jr.

Adam Laxalt is a lawyer who is seeking to become attorney general of Nevada and the photo was snapped at a fund-raised the elder Domenic hosted for his son.

The state was stunned in February of last year  to learn that Domenici had engaged in an extramarital affair in the 1970's and that the mother of Adam is Michelle Laxalt, daughter of former Nevada GOP Senator Paul Laxalt. Michelle was a 24 year old lobbyist at the time of the affair.

Domenici, now approaching 82, says he has made amends with all concerned. The fund-raiser sold ticket for $1000 and $500 a piece and was held at ABQ's Scalo restaurant. Governor Martinez was listed on the invite as a "special guest."

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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