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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Who Will Bust The APD Bunker? Latest APD Implosion Gives Mayoral Candidates Wider Berth To Advocate Reforms; Chief Eden Blames Entirety Of Crime Wave On Judges: APD Uses Facebook To Attack Critics 

Berry and Eden
The latest implosion of ABQ Police Chief Gorden Eden and his troubled department should give the Democratic mayoral candidates a wider berth in calling for sweeping reform of the troubled agency including Eden's removal, and perhaps give pause to the GOP contenders who have been more cautious in advocating for an APD revamping.

Eden, in what appears to be a give-up in his final months in office, is now putting complete blame for the city's crime epidemic on area judges and absolving himself of any responsibility. Here's the astounding quote that for Eden could come to define his career:

I know it sounds like I’m blaming it all on the judges,” he said about crime in the city, because I am.”

You wonder how the judges who like to throw the book at the criminal set feel about that blanket statement? And talk about immaturity. We've seen two year olds take more responsibility for their actions than this in-over-his-head police chief.

This comes three years after Eden was named by Mayor Berry to heal the agency and reverse the stats that have propelled the city to its standing as one of the worst places for crime in the USA. But it hasn't happened. It's reported this week that from 2009 to 2015 ABQ's violent crime rate leapt 21.5 percent. That puts us at the fifth most violent in the nation on a per capita basis.

And don't forget the city's newfound stature as the auto theft capital of the country. Let's hear it for the Chief (and mayor) from NAIOP, the Economic Forum, the ABQ Chamber of Commerce and our nine forlorn and forgotten city councilors. He couldn't have done it without them.

Even as Eden swept away any blame for the crime wave from his own doorstep and while APD was using Facebook to attack the media for many of its woes, the cultural rot and corruption continued to play out in lurid headlines.

Most damning of them all continues to be the unshakable Reynaldo Chavez, the former APD records manager, whose allegations that APD altered or deleted police lapel camera video in criminal cases is the subject of a wrongful firing lawsuit he has filed in state court:

Chavez is suing the APD for wrongful termination. He said APD fired him for not going along with the alleged cover-ups. Chavez was in court Tuesday to prove to a judge APD wiped out his city-issued cell phone, computer and hard drive after firing him. He believes APD tried to destroy any evidence he has that may implicate his former employer and he believes the court should sanction APD.

The ongoing cultural rot at APD is another Eden legacy. The latest:

A 10-year veteran officer of the Albuquerque Police Department is under fire for what he did while working a chief’s overtime job at a Walmart, lying about it, and also having an affair with a supervisor at the city’s Real Time Crime Center. The case against Richard Whitten began last summer when Whitten’s then-wife sent an email directly to Police Chief Gorden Eden. The wife lamented about the department’s handling of rampant extra-marital affairs, and said her husband was cheating on her with a supervisor at the RTCC.

It was former APD Chief Schultz who brushed aside APD extramarital affairs as "nature at play." Eden has been unable or unwilling to reverse the anything goes culture that now has the department shunned by prospective recruits and that has kept it dramatically and dangerously understaffed.

One bright spot for the outgoing chief is the drop in the number of fatal police shootings. That's happened since the Justice Department came to town and ordered police reforms.

But the bunker mentality so revealingly displayed in the Facebook controversy and the continuing testimony of Reynaldo Chavez shows no sign of abating. True to form Mayor Berry deferred a media inquiry on the latest APD blow-up to an APD staffer.

It will be up to the new Mayor who will take office December 1 to regain control of the city's police department and curb the crime wave that has so marred the quality of life here and hampered economic development. According to local experts, that will mean a new chief, a new upper command structure and a new approach to recruitment as well as community policing.

Eden, who built a reputation in state and federal government as an able bureaucrat, was outmatched by this crisis. His eruptions of rage and finger-pointing can be attributed to the frustration he must feel over his failures. But that's Eden's personal hell, even if it will be softened by a nice retirement check.

Our city's future is at stake and the mayoral candidates must now present a platform of substantial change that will begin doing the job that Chief Eden and Mayor Berry could not do.

YET AGAIN

Not again! Yes, yet another development that you thought you would never see in once on-the-go New Mexico:

The employment rate for New Mexicans of prime working age has seen the biggest drop in the nation since 2007, according to a new study. The Pew Research Center study looks at the change in employment among 25- to 54-year-olds between 2007 and 2016. It shows the decline in New Mexico amounted to 7.2 percentage points: from 79.1 percent employed in that age group in 2007 to 72 percent in 2016. That means for every 100 New Mexicans in the age group, about seven fewer held jobs by the end of 2016.

The economic transformation of New Mexico is the biggest story of the century. It permeates all others, including crime, stagnant population, poverty and education. And it's going to get bigger before this incredible era finally comes to a close.

OLD DEMS

About the Bernalillo County Democratic Party, an Alligator of the Senior variety opines:

The Bernalillo County Democratic Party had a record turnout at it's meeting on April 8. At that time they elected a Chair and Vice-Chair -- the Chair is 68 and the VC is 72, both Anglos. The committee chairpersons that the chair has now appointed are all over 60 (and mostly 65) and all Anglos. How does this reflect the future of the Democratic Party or even the Present face of NM or the country? is this because no one stepped up from a younger generation, no one cared, no one was recruited to run? How does this cast characters, all well intentioned, passionate folks, attract a new, younger, diverse group of folks to the Democratic party?

Come on. Everyone knows 65 is the new 45.

NY AND NM

Reader Robert Palacioz sends this one:

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced 3-K for All, the most ambitious effort in U.S. history to provide universal, free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education for every three-year-old child regardless of family income. 

3-K for All will build on the success of Pre-K for All - through which New York City has more than tripled the number of four-year-olds enrolled in free, full-day, high-quality Pre-K - and is part of a broader effort to create a continuum of high-quality early care and education programs for New York City children from birth to five years old. Research has found every dollar invested in high-quality early education saves taxpayers as much as $13 long-term.

Well, there you go. Another dumb idea from New York City to pull New Mexico out of the cellar in the education and child well-being rankings. Everyone knows we have much better uses for that more than $15 billion stashed away in the state's Land Grant Permanent School Fund. Those New Yorkers are really something, aren't they?. . .

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