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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's A Hard To Get Ticket Out Of Here For Martinez, Plus: ABQ's Murder Meter Scales New Heights But That's Not The Half Of It, And: Ethics Commission Plan Is Back For Another Beating 

If she wants a ticket out of here Gov. Martinez is going to have to put to good use her time in DC now that she's announced she will attend the inauguration of President Trump. Insiders report there is absolutely no buzz about Martinez in the nation's capital when it comes to getting a plum job. That's not surprising as the president-elect prizes loyalty and Martinez and her political team have been anything but loyal. Her refusal to endorse or appear with Trump during the campaign leaves her stuck on the island, at least for now.

One school of thought has former Indiana Governor and VP Pence close to Martinez because she served as head of the Republican Governors Association and that Pence could pave a path for her. But then there's GOP Congressman Steve Pearce, who served with Pence in the House and is philosophically much closer to him than Martinez. And Pearce is no pal of Martinez's.

But the anti-Martinez wing of the GOP--that includes Pearce--faces a conundrum of sorts. They can't stand the possibility of Martinez advancing, but if she did there's a potential pay off for them that we've mentioned before--Lt. Gov. John Sanchez becomes Governor and much better positioned for the '18 race in which Dems are heavily favored to take back the Governor's office. But if Pearce gets serious about a Guv run, scotch the Sanchez as Governor talk. He could then be expected to to do all he could to stop that train from getting on the tracks.

MURDER METER 

While most major cities are experiencing a decline in their murder rates, with notable exceptions like Chicago, ABQ's murder rate continues to scale new heights. Former city Public Safety Director and possible '17 mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli breaks down the numbers:

A 20 year high in murders for one year is not the full story. Albuquerque has become one of the most violent cities in the country. Since 2010, Albuquerque’s violent and property crime rates dramatically increased by 14% to 20% percent. According to the FBI, in 2015 violent crimes increased by 9.2% and property crimes increased by 11.5%. APD officers have shot over 41 people with $50 million paid in police misconduct cases and excessive use of force cases. The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 in 2009 to 850 in 2016. Only 430 sworn officers are assigned to field services responding to 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year. Albuquerque needs 1,200 sworn police officers to effectively return to community based policing that will reduce crime. 

That pretty much sums up why crime in all its guises will be the dominant issue in the coming mayoral campaign.

And reader Bruce Thomson writes of ABQ's ranking as worst in the nation for car theft:

Police say folks warming up their cars in the morning may facilitate their theft but stealing older cars without an RFID chip in the key is really easy. Do an Internet search on "jiggle keys" and you'll find cheap blank key sets for sale and instructional videos on how to open & start locked cars "for locksmiths" (yeah, right!). My 20 year old Honda was stolen from my driveway in February by a fellow using jiggle keys and the tape from my video surveillance system showed it took him 30 seconds to get into the car and 3 minutes to start it. He was caught later the same day and we learned it was the third time he'd been caught in 60 days.

ETHICS FATIGUE

For the umpteenth year the Legislature will consider setting up a state ethics commission and as in previous years it appears dead on arrival. Even the press is becoming more skeptical. Political reporter Steve Terrell writes:

My biggest concern about an ethics commission — especially during this time of shrinking revenues and threadbare budgets — is that such a state agency would turn out to be window dressing, a half-baked agency suffering not only from a lack of financial resources but strangled by restrictions imposed by politicians. It could end up not having enough power or independence to truly ferret out corruption.

Meantime, ABQ Dem State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto is proposing a watered down version of an ethics commission (he says it's more comprehensive than a commission) called the Public Accountability Act which he says "will significantly strengthen ethics enforcement across state and local government. It creates a venue for the public to bring forward ethical concerns related to the conduct of public officials and the management of public dollars."

Have mercy on the advocates for a state ethics commission. They're like a preacher on Skid Row urging sobriety.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Garcia Holmes
Was independent mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes playing to a GOP crowd by holding her Sunday announcement into the race at the upscale ABQ Country Club? Not at all. She explains that her father, the late Joseph Garcia, worked as a caddy at ACC back in the 1930's and the historic club has special meaning to her. It doesn't get any more working class than being a caddy which was our first job at the tender age of 11.

Michelle might have had a hard time gaining entrance to ACC back in the 30's when discrimination against Hispanics was standard and the caddyshack was the closest many of them ever came to being members. That she had her mayoral announcement there was not only a gesture to her father but a reminder of how far we have come.

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