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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Our Continuing Crime Wave Coverage: Sheriff Asks "What's Going On In This Town?" We Answer, Plus: Many Mayoral Forums To Choose From 

And the beat goes on. . . as do the beatings, stabbings, killings, robberies and assorted other mayhem that has become commonplace in this mid-size city gripped by a crime crisis the likes it hasn't seen since they laid down the railroad tracks here in 1880.

We call those days of yore "The Wild West." What will they call this time a hundred years from now? Surely the historians of that far away time will wonder how ABQ slipped so far off the tracks and for so long, assuming the crime epidemic is solved by then. And an epidemic, dear reader, is what our beloved Albuquerque is dealing with.

In only the past few days a gun battle erupted in the middle of the city--in the used-to-be-safe NE Heights--at Carlisle and Montgomery. Across town in the SE Heights yet another slaying is added to the Metro Murder Meter made famous back in the day by legendary newsman Stuart Dyson. His voice would grow hoarse from overuse if he was in charge of the Meter today. As for the "other assorted mayhem," try this one on for size:

A drunk man went on a joyride to the tune of 142 mph down I-40. Police say Jeffrey Aguilar was in a black Mustang and fled officers twice before they eventually traced his plates to his address. When they arrived at his residence, police say they found him lying in bed drunk and arrested him.

Going 142 mph seems about the only way to attract law enforcement to the city's freeways these days. Driving them gives most citizens the feeling that they are about to step into a war zone.

And if you just happen to be driving through ABQ and stop at one of our friendly bistros for refreshment, there's a decent chance you'll get a personal taste of what this town has become:

While Staci Almager and her family (driving through ABQ) were eating at the Range Cafe last Friday, a man drove up right next to her SUV and starting looking into the vehicle. . . In an instant he started taking everything out of the family's SUV and loaded it into his car. Almager said he took everything: Their laptops, bank information, clothes.

Well, Stacy, it could be worse. You might have had to stay around here and listen to the excuses, finger-pointing and general whining by our leadership on why they can't do their jobs. Speaking of which . . .

There was another shooting involving a Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy--the fifth this year--which has BernCo Sheriff Manny Gonzales pounding the table for more deputies--but still resisting the use of lapel cameras for them. And like his colleagues in the city--APD Chief Eden, Mayor Berry, Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, District Attorney Torrez, the nine member city council and the ABQ Chamber of Commerce, Gonzales is now overwhelmed by the enormity of the crisis this metro area faces:

What's going on in this town? What's going on in this community?" Gonzales said. "What is prompting people to act out with these behaviors that we haven't seen, I'm going to say, for as long as I've been in law enforcement?

Come on, Manny. You know why. And even though you're an affable guy and law enforcement pro, you are partly to blame.

In addition to drugs, poverty, repeat offenders and the understaffed APD, there is the dreadful impotence being displayed about all of it by the Sheriff and the aforementioned city leadership. Their statements to the general public reek of desperation but to the criminal class are music to the ears.

The question isn't "what's going on in this community?" The real question is how did our political and law enforcement leadership become so weak and willing to admit that weakness as this crime wave continues to drown them? And the question for all of us is "Where's our outrage"?

MAYOR WHO?

Readers are beginning to ask where they can see the ABQ mayoral candidates who are competing in the October 3 election. We previously told you about the two TV debates we're aware of--on KNME-TV August 15th from 6 to 8 p.m. and on KOB-TV the evening of September 15. Now we're getting word from the campaigns that KASA Fox 2 will have a mayoral debate from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. September 11 sponsored by the Greater ABQ Association of Realtors (GAAR). Activist Sivlio Dell'Angela has been compiling a list and adds these events:

--National Association Women Business Owners Mayoral Candidate Forum, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Aug. 16, Tanoan Country Club.

--North Valley Coalition Mayoral Forum, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m., August 23, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

--District 4/District 8 Forum, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., August 29, El Dorado High School.

--MiABQ Mayoral Forum, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., August 30, The Cell/Fusion Theatre Company, 701 1st NW.

--Community Safety and Policing Forum, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Sept. 6, African American Performing Arts Center on the state fairgrounds.

--NAACP Civil Rights and Diversity Conference Mayoral Forum, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Sept. 8, Embassy Suites Hotel near Downtown.

--East Gateway Coalition Mayoral Candidate Debate, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Sept. 21, The Canyon Club at Four Hill.s

That's a pretty healthy TV and forum schedule and we expect more will be on tap. There has been very little attention paid to this campaign but that could soon change--hopefully.

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