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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Clouds in The Summer Skies As Kirtland AFB Mentioned For Possible Downsizing; That Follows Funding Threat To Los Alamos, Plus: Politicos Deflect And Deny Over ABQ Crime Wave But Impact Grows 

Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico are trying to get in some hammock time but they keep getting jolted by the headlines as they seek some solace in this Summer of '17.

First, they are told that billions of federal dollars intended for Los Alamos Labs could be jeopardized because of the Labs' safety record. On the heels of that humdinger came a bolt out of the blue--that the Feds will take another stab at consolidating the nation's military bases and that ABQ's Kirtland AFB could find itself in the crosshairs as it was back in '95 when it dodged the downsizing bullet.

Not that any of this will ever happen or happen overnight (a Kirtland review would not be completed until 2021) but  it does cast a cloud over hopes that New Mexico, down so far and so long, might soon climb out of its going-nowhere-fast hole.

THE CRIME WAVE

And then there's the crime wave. ABQ residents might want to hire armed guards to protect their backyard barbecues this Fourth of July, or at least anything with an engine attached to it as the city clings to the #1 national ranking for auto theft.

Violent crime and other property crime is also soaring and the powers that be--the Mayor, his chief administrative officer, the district attorney, the police chief and the Chamber of Commerce have now decided the entire problem is caused by a Supreme Court rule that lets repeat offenders run the city like some kind of permanent goon squad.

Blaming "lily-livered liberal judges" for crime is a time-honored tradition that lets everyone off the hook (i.e. your elected officials) and makes the citizenry feel good for a while--at least until the next wave of crime rocks them awake in their hammocks.

The politicos can defer, deflect and deny all they want, but it won't stop the exodus from here caused by crime and the economic and social decline. Reality will not be denied in the real world.

Just ask high tech firm Lavu which has put Mayor Berry and Gov. Martinez on the spot by threatening to pull out of the state because of the crime epidemic in downtown ABQ. Ironically, Lavu is just a block away from Mayor Berry's Innovate ABQ project which is supposed to promote just the kind of high tech, millennial attracting jobs that Lavu has brought here. You're going to build a high-tech economy when you can't keep one of your most prized assets because you can't clean up downtown?

(Oops. We forgot. It's all those "repeat offenders" taking a crap and peeing in the downtown alleys, shooting dope in the open air and harassing passer bys and we're simply helpless to stop them. Thanks for straightening us out yet again, Mr. Mayor.)

Restoring law and order requires, well, law and order. How about for starters a fully staffed police department that includes vigorous freeway traffic enforcement (in 2010 the APD traffic unit had about three dozen officers. Now there are less than 12.)

investigation of all city property crimes and cleaning up the decrepit downtown?

It is the atmosphere of lawlessness that has engulfed our city--not just violent, repeat offenders--that has emboldened the entire criminal element. Never mind repeat offenders. How many arrests of any kind of offender are being made by APD? A heckuva lot fewer than when you had a full-fledged department and one unencumbered  by a high level command more concerned about covering its rear end over questionable behavior instead of dealing with the crime crisis now at hand.

In 2015 there were 9,049 felony arrests. In 2016 that number fell to 8,744 felony arrests,

NOW THE ABSURD

Look at this bizarre episode from downtown and that made the national wires as the city crime wave goes from tragic to absurd:

While a television news crew was gathering footage for a story about crime in the Albuquerque downtown area, a thief drove off in the station’s SUV. KOB News Director Michelle Donaldson says the vehicle was recovered within a half hour without police assistance by following the GPS tracking device that was on board. She says the thief had fled the scene and the SUV was locked with the keys missing.

Recovered without police assistance? Well, if things don't improve soon, we might see more old style vigilante justice. Charles Bronson would be proud.

THIRTY YEARS 

Congrats to NM Voices for Children on their 30th anniversary which they noted this week as they sponsored their Fifth Annual Kids Count conference. The executive director of Voices is James Jimenez, a state government veteran who has worn many hats including chief of staff to Gov. Bill Richardson. At the conference this week the group honored former NM first lady Alice King for her work in establishing the Children, Youth and Families Department and former Oklahoma US Senator Fred Harris for his efforts to alleviate childhood poverty.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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