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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Economy And Crime Still The Sore Spots; Forbes Highlights The Link, Plus: More Crime Crisis Coverage As Readers Take On Media And The Democrats, And: Time For The Best Things About ABQ 

The economic spinners for the Republican administrations--Jon Barela in Santa Fe and Gary Oppedahl in ABQ--continue to claim that New Mexico's business climate is now highly attractive because of changes implemented by Governor Martinez and ABQ Mayor Berry. But their assertion is simply not true. Forbes Magazine is a pro-business publication if there ever was one. In its 2015 rankings of the "The Best and Worst States to Do Business" New Mexico ranks among the worst states in the nation for business, coming in a dismal 47th. Here's why, says Forbes:

Oil & gas production, tourism and the federal government drive New Mexico’s economy. Federal technology labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, are two of the largest employers in the state. New Mexico ranks in the bottom six overall for a third straight year largely due to a weak labor supply and lousy current economic climate. New Mexico has the worst employment growth in the U.S. over the past five years. The state also fares poorly on quality of life metrics, a product of comparatively low school test scores and high crime.

And Forbes repeated that stab to the New Mexico heart, noting that we had a net outmigration of 11,500 people in 2014.

Notice how Forbes lists "high crime" as a reason this has become a lousy place to do business. So, you see, Mayor and Governor, its not only yer little 'ol blog that is saying this truth, it's your business friends of the highest order. A massive investment is needed in crime fighting and education if the state is going to pull itself up the ladder. But you already knew that. . .

More on this now from an Alligator who on Monday attended the University of New Mexico's economic development summit:

How will Gov. Martinez and Mayor Berry deflect these numbers? UNM held it's second economic development conference about creating a "rainforest" for business growth. Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner spoke and blamed the same people the administration has been blaming for 5 years-Congress, the federal government, etc... There were lots of claims that Martinez and Berry were completely engaged in economic development but they didn't show up for this crucial meeting. They aren't engaged, they're negligent.

The Governor is in Hawaii this week raising money for the GOP.

BLOOD ON THE STREETS

When there's literally blood on the streets--and, boy, has that been the case in ABQ lately--the hits come for anyone directly or indirectly involved. That includes the media. From the email:

The most befuddling part of it is the media. They are all on the Mayor Berry bandwagon and as interested in protecting him and promoting his interests as he is. The ABQ Journal never seems to mention Berry’s name when reporting a negative story. Its editor enjoys the title “Deputy Mayor” from those in the know. The Journal has become a newspaper, dedicated to its propaganda. TV news is appalling and all about making money. It supports the “status quo” and can’t risk offending advertisers. However, the national media is reporting the truth. Look at the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and LA Times articles. Compare them to the crap we get here.

The intrepid Dan Klein, a retired APD seargent and a frequent blog contributor, says he has some very specific questions for the media to ask Mayor Berry:

1. Officers began leaving Albuquerque in great numbers starting in 2011. This was after Berry voided the contract raises, reduced officers salaries and ended the retention bonus program (city audit in 2012 showed 133 officers were in this program and left when it ended). All of this before the legislature even began debating changes to PERA. Albuquerque and the APD police union have been at odds for years over the contract and the lawsuit over that voided contract. On October 19 City Councilor Ken Sanchez was going to sponsor a bill to provide Berry the money he needs to settle the police contract and lawsuit. Instead of accepting it and settling, Berry tells Sanchez it’s none of his business and all the GOP councilors back Berry. The money disappears and we still have a huge labor dispute. Here is the question for Berry:

Before you point fingers at the Legislature and demand that the entire state be on the hook for APD manning issues (double dipping), shouldn’t you settle your contract dispute with the APOA? If settled before Thanksgiving the city can stop a number of retirements that are slated for the end of the year.

2. The District Attorney pointed out that the new Supreme Court rule, requiring indictments within 10 days (if the offender is in custody) is almost impossible for her office to comply. Why? Because APD doesn’t staff enough people in their crime lab and their court discovery unit to process the requests in a timely manner. 

Remember why the Supreme Court made this rule, APD left 3 innocent men to languish in jail (18 months for two and 30 months for the other). DNA evidence excluded all three from the crimes they were accused of, but APD didn’t report this because Discovery was not in effect. This is why we have a Constitution, don’t toss it out just because Berry refuses to staff court services and the crime lab with enough employees to do the job. So here is the next question:

Instead of pointing a finger at the Supreme Court rule which simply protects an innocent citizen from being incarcerated for long periods of time, why doesn’t Berry adequately staff and fund the APD Crime Lab and Court Discovery Unit so that these items are processed and handed to defense attorneys and the District Attorney within the 10 day time period? Instead of pointing fingers and demanding a change of Constitutional law  why not fix what you have the ability to fix? Fully staff and fund the APD Crime Lab and Court Discovery Unit!

OKAY, EQUAL TIME

 After a variety of critics hit Mayor Berry hard on the Monday blog we said we wouldn't worry about giving him equal time because the newspaper carries his banner so effectively, but in the end we're suckers for equal time, so here's reader Ron Nelson:

Joe, as usual you hit the nail on the head but you didn’t call out any of the Dems on exactly how they would fix the mess we are in.

All he does is criticize, which is why I didn’t vote for Pete Dinelli for mayor. Then there is former Mayor Jim Baca. During his administration (led by a Dem majority city council), he cut APD’s budget to the bone which resulted in the grounding of APD’s best crime fighter, the eye in the sky helicopter. They also had to reduce the number of training academys. No wonder he was a one term mayor.

Then there is our local Democratic State Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas who bragged how he was working with a Republican in a show of bipartisanship to revamp the current criminal code. That was over two years ago. He won his re-election bid, and has since been silent on that project but do note that he also got busted for improper spending of his campaign cash.

Former Mayor Chavez historically had many run ins over his efforts to give pay raises and increase APD’s numbers. He was met with fierce resistance from the Dems on the council. He finally succeeded after he was voted back in after Baca’s catastrophe.

It's nothing short of a series of comical, negligent strategic blunders in polices over many administrations. Any wonder why people don’t care to vote? Actions speak louder than words. It will be interesting to see who and what plays out in the next legislative session. Meanwhile the local blood bath on our streets continues all because of cheesy politics.

You mentioned people not voting in local elections, Ron. Here's reader Mark Saavedra with more on that thread:

 Investigate using a Smartphone/Tablet application to allow voters to cast votes. There are many types of security verification protocols in use including smart app finger print scanning, retinal scanning and voice recognition to name a few. Many people spend hours each day playing with their smart devices so the learning curve would not be steep. Yes, it may be expensive to implement but what is the cost to our country by having only a few voters dictate the direction our country, state and local governments take.

· Provide electronic voting kiosks in high shopper traffic areas during an election period using some of these available technologies.

· Use PSA’s to inform the public of the importance of voting. The information provided in these PSA’s should not be condescending but encouraging. Use examples of why it is important to vote. Do not limit PSA’s to election cycles, make them year round.

· In schools, bring back some form of citizenship class where young people can be taught the importance of participating in electing our government representatives.

Hey, Mark, maybe we ought to do this:

Philadelphia voters now have extra incentive to go to the polls: They could win $10,000. The editor of The Philadelphia Citizen on Thursday announced an election lottery. Larry Platt says one random voter will win the money Nov. 3, when residents vote for mayor. The prize aims to reverse abysmal turnout and spark a conversation about civic engagement. The online news site says turnout for mayoral elections in the heavily Democratic city has plummeted from 77 percent in 1971 to about 20 percent in 2011.

MY KIND OF TOWN

Reader Jeffrey Baker asked fellow readers to say something nice about ABQ in light of the ultra-negativity that has surrounded the city in recent days. He asked for lists of the top five good things about the city and it drew a number of responses. We thought reader Robert Behrendt had the strongest and most succinct entry:

The Albuquerque International Sunport is a pleasure to fly in and out of. We have many great New Mexican eateries and Southwestern arts and crafts stores. Traffic is not bad and gas is inexpensive. Tourists can come to ABQ/NM and get a taste of Mexico without leaving the country. The sky and landscape are expansive and captivating. Santa Fe and Albuquerque are rich in history. There are many fine resorts, golf courses and entertainment venues to choose from. There are many healing arts and spiritual events attracting people. Real estate is a bargain and the climate is the best.

I came to New Mexico in 1968 and quickly recognized that there is a unique energy and ambiance that resists overdevelopment and materialism. Economic development in New Mexico should be uniquely based on what is good about the state, not what other states are doing around us.

Well done, Robert. We could all use a dose of optimism. Your dose wins you a $25 gift card from NM Politics with Joe Monahan that is good at any Garcia's restaurant in ABQ. Enjoy. . .

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