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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Need A Job? APD Staffing Near Historic Lows, Colorado Pot Watch, Tension Time; What Will Guv Sign? And Another Edition Of Vox Populi 

Berry & Chief Eden
How about this? Amid one of the worst climates for finding a job in ABQ, the APD reports its staffing level is at or near its lowest in history. They can't give away a job at the troubled police force which is under investigation by the Dept. of Justice for possible civil rights violations stemming from dozens of police shootings, fatal and otherwise.

There are now only 884 cops on the force, a number one officer says is similar to what we had 26 years ago. And in the year ahead APD could see another 100 retirements of longtime officers.

It's worth repeating: APD is to Mayor Berry what Vietnam was to Lyndon Johnson. Like Johnson he is fighting the wrong war, avoiding the major shake-up and leadership changes that would restore confidence in APD and enable recruiting from other departments around the nation. Instead, Berry blames the crash in officer staffing on an officer's inability to retire and then rejoin the force and get two paychecks. Heck, we can't attract applicants to this troubled APD for one paycheck, never mind two.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart closes several city stores overnight because of criminal activity.

Of course, we can always rely on the city council to light a fire under Berry to make the painful personnel changes needed at APD. Not. . .

POT WATCH

Marijuana legalization advocates in NM might want to take a look at this in-depth series on Colorado's experiment with legalizing pot. It's from The Gazette in Colorado Springs and is a real eye-opener.

TENSION TIME

The tension of the legislative session lives on. Now it's gnashing of the teeth over what bills the Guv will sign or veto. NM's growing solar industry--which they put at 1,900 employees--is one of many groups awaiting word on favored legislation. The administration has close ties to the oil and gas industry which has frowned upon solar but advocates point out the bill extending the 10 percent NM solar tax credit was passed with the support of both Dems and R's, including GOP legislative leaders Nate Gentry and Stu Ingle. Says one:

The 10 percent NM tax credit for solar is successful in conjunction with the federal 30 percent federal tax credit and creates good-paying jobs. This bill will extend the solar tax credit, gradually reducing the percentage from 10 percent to 5 percent over 8 years. SolarCity recently announced their move to New Mexico. They've hired and trained 50 employees. That's results. . . .

While many in the GOP approved of SB 391 its prime sponsor is ABQ Dem State Senator Mimi Stewart who is a longtime opponent of the Guv.

The tension for everyone awaiting Martinez's decisions can last until April 10. Legislation passed in the last 3 days of the session must be acted upon by the Governor within 20 days of adjournment, or it is pocket vetoed.

VOX POPULI

Reader Steve Dick writes:

Why would the GOP even want to take over NM? What is there to take over? They are helping to break it and they don't look so good at running things either. And when are the Dems going to show some spine and throw it back at the Governor? I wouldn't put up with her dressing me down in her office after the legislative session. I would be glad to give her a ration face-to-face. She has no long term political future if she keeps acting the way she does. Not even a cabinet secretary position. Senators in hearings will have her lunch.

A reader writes:

Why doesn't the ABQ Chamber of Commerce and the R's twist the Gov's arm to at least dig into the list of unspent money from previously approved construction projects and identify where they are and get some of them going? I'm just asking.

Could it be because the Chamber is obedient to the Guv's political machine and too busy putting all blame on the Senate Democrats for the failure of the $264 million capital outlay bill? Just asking. Meanwhile. . .

The executive in charge of the Association and Commerce Industry--Beverlee McLure isn't going to meet anyone in St. Louis. As we recently blogged, she applied for the top post at St. Louis Community College, but was not the final pick. Hey, Bev, maybe Terri Cole has an opening. . . 

ABQ's Bob McNeill comes with thoughts on the city economy:

Joe, excellent, albeit depressing, reporting on our local economic stagnation. The Brookings report is stunning. There are lots of causes and reasons, including the awful national press we've deservedly received courtesy of APD, but the problems go far beyond this shameful mess. For far too long, we've been highly dependent on defense related (government) spending. 

 Taking in one another's laundry and service industry jobs don't compensate for a robust economy that can be brought about with talented, creative and vigorous (progressive) leadership at the state and local levels. Ignoring what we learned about economics 80 years ago isn't helpful. And a decent newspaper would help bring us into the current century by presumably improving the quality of public discourse. I'm depressed about the situation, but as always, onward and upward should be our stance.

The current situation, Bob is a downer. What we look forward to is the emergence of unexpected, dynamic, risk-taking leadership that will lead us in a fresh direction.

THE BOTTOM LINES

ABQ public radio station KUNM-FM comes with this:

Joe, I saw that you talked about a reader note saying that the public radio stations don't have anyone up in Santa Fe. Wanted to let you know that KUNM, NM PBS, and New Mexico In-Depth coordinated to have a reporter focusing on the session. A link to our legislative coverage is here.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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