Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Missing Word In ABQ's Crime Dilemma, Plus: Guv's Machine And City Hall, Also: The Econ Beat, Baca Blasts Back And Turnout Talk 

Whatever happened to rehabilitation? Has the word ever left the lips of Gov. Martinez Mayor Berry or APD Chief Eden? Amid the city's latest violent crime outbreak cries of "lock 'em up and throw away the key!" dominate the debate. But you can't keep them locked up forever. Santa Fe defense attorney John Day comes with this on perhaps the most neglected aspect of the New Mexico crime dilemma:

Day said it is impossible to lock everyone up forever, and believes prisons need to make sure they're doing everything they can to prepare inmates for their return to freedom. He questioned if prisons are doing enough to rehabilitate and address the underlying issues so that when convicts get out of prison, they do not return to criminal activity.

Fiscal conservatives recoil when they hear that New Mexico needs "massive" investment to resolve its crime and education crisis. But a 4 year old shot dead on the freeway and  police officers being gunned down like sitting ducks just might make some of them rethink their position.

Isn't rehabilitation--a word that in this environment seems downright foreign and a throwback to another era--worth a better try, along with proper punishment?


We took Mayor Berry's call for legislative action in light of the slaying of 4 year old Lilly Garcia and the shooting of APD Officer Webster as a thinly veiled launch of the GOP campaign to try to take over the Dem-controlled state Senate next year. Michael Corwin, a longtime observer (and critic) of the Guv's political machine, says that analysis was a no-brainer:

There is little doubt as to why Mayor Berry chose to launch a political attack on the Legislature rather than try to develop and implement a plan to turn Albuquerque around following the dual tragedies. Berry, like Gov. Martinez, is attached by the umbilical cord to political consultant (and Machine head) Jay McCleskey. McCleskey has cross-pollinated both administrations to the point where messaging and actions are one. Want proof? 

Jessica Hernandez, Martinez’s chief legal counsel and deputy chief of staff has become Berry’s legal adviser, although technically she is supposed to serve as the city’s attorney. APD Chief Gordon Eden was serving as Martinez’s director of public safety, until what in baseball terms is described as a double steal, where Eden despite having no police department experience, was tapped by Berry to head APD, making room for Greg Fouratt, a Martinez advisor on judicial selections and at the time the director of litigation at the US Attorney’s office, to become Martinez’s new director of public safety. No one else was considered for the position of public safety director. 

Without ample coordination such moves do not happen. McCleskey, for better or worse, yields significant sway over both the mayor’s office and the governor’s office, so much so, that both offices, have merged into a full time coordinated campaign operation, whose interests lie solely in making money for a selected few and advancing political careers and agendas. 

It may be working politically but in terms of improving the state and city? Not so much.


No wonder Las Cruces is mired in an endless recession:

New Mexico State University has cut 289 vacant staff and faculty positions since implementing a hiring freeze in March.

There's a mayoral election in Cruces Tuesday with incumbent Dem Ken Miyagishima favored to win another term. However, that won't be with the help of the Chamber of Commerce there. They're supporting one of his foes. Miyagishima has been in office since 2007. He's probably run out of hat tricks for the economy there but folks like him.

Meanwhile, in the post-recession era in Santa Fe. policy-makers and politicos seem befuddled about how to deal withh the new reality of a permanently, semi-stagnant economy. The city budget is a train wreck.

We hear that 1,300 UNM employees earn over $100,000 a year. You wonder when a drumbeat starts about that as the university has already announced it is trimming staff by 100.


Reader Joe Campos writes us from Belen:

(Valencia County GOP State Rep.) Kelly Farjado announced Tuesday at the Belen Senior Center Halloween Party that she definitely is not interested in the Secretary of State job. She told the senior citizens she will continue to be a state representative.

Gov. Martinez will soon name a replacement for ex-Secretary of State Duran who resigned after being criminally charged over her campaign finances.

And calling all Gators. Who is in line to be named by the Bernalillo County Commission to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of ABQ Dem State Rep. Stephanie Maez? Email your insider names, please.


Former ABQ Mayor Jim Baca responds to criticism leveled against him here Tuesday by reader Ron Nelson:

Someone should fact check Ron Nelson’s diatribe. He would find out that the City Council went out and unilaterally funded a specific police helicopter that was unsuited for our high altitude city. It could only really be effective in cool weather. We did not stop it from flying during my term in office, although it was pretty useless. Also, budgets for police were not cut during my term, but like everything else during that time they did grow slowly because of the lagging economy. My general fund budgets went up less that the rate of inflation all four years I was in office. Even the ABQ Journal did a story on that one. I am always amazed at how after six years, the Berry supporters reach back into history, in my case 18 years, to try and shift the blame for this disastrous situation with the police department and our economy. It is an old tactic, and it often works.


Reader Paul stokes writes of voter turnout:

Joe, Mark Saavedra makes important suggestions on your Tuesday blog for PSAs to inform the public about the importance of voting, and for teaching citizenship in schools, but his call for electronic voting is seriously misguided. Votes cast remotely on smartphones cannot be checked for accuracy because there is nothing to check. And the plentiful evidence of hacking on the Internet should make it evident that such hacking could manipulate the vote. We have learned much about the dangers of allowing computers to vote for us since electronic voting machines were adopted in the early 2000s. The trend now is to go back to good old paper ballots that can’t be hacked. The paper ballots provide an audit trail to check on the accuracy of the vote counts produced by the machines that count the votes. We don’t need hackable voting systems, so let’s not go there.

And don't forget mail-in elections, Paul. They've been shown to boost voter turnout.

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