Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Brack Bust: Will Federal Judge's Dressing Down Of City And APD Help Keller Make Changes? Plus: "Data Driven" Crime Fighting; No Fight At All? 

Judge Brack
The monumental task facing Mayor-elect Keller in getting APD on track and crime under control was crystallized last week when US District Court Judge Robert Brack gave City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and APD Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman a dressing down for their rogue behavior like few have rarely seen or heard.

The Brack berating jolted the city, and for the first time in a long time hopes soared that the seemingly endless APD nightmare is finally about to give way to reform and renewal.

The cause for the judge finally losing his patience with the city and APD was Huntsman using his lapel camera to secretly tape a conversation between James Ginger, the court's Federal Monitor for APD, City Attorney Hernandez and himself.

The will to obstruct is so strong at the city that Huntsman and Hernandez have been trying to thwart the federally mandated reforms by claiming Ginger--who has done this job for a number of cities--is somehow biased against them and APD. They say the over-the-top taping was to prove to the court that Ginger was indeed biased.

The outrageous has become routine when it comes to the city and APD. Brack's ruling, however, will give cover to Keller if he is going to let heads roll, an unpleasant prospect but one it appears he must do if he is to have any hope of being a successful mayor. Huntsman and Hernandez will be gone when he takes over December 1 but there are many more vipers in the nest waiting to strike.

In fact, it's so bad over there that Keller (and Judge Brack) might have to call in the gang intervention unit--not for the crooks on the streets--but for the gang that remains in charge of our police department. And Assistant Chief Huntsman, you can roll tape on that.


Then there's the influence of the Governor's now fading political machine at city hall. City Attorney Henrnadez is a former counsel to Susana and Scott Darnell is a former Deputy Chief of Staff to Martinez who has been pulling down $9,500 a month under a Bloomberg grant to study crime in ABQ. Jessica is certainly out but will Darnell make the Keller cut?

It's a good question because what we seem to be seeing these days instead of real crime fighting is the sexed up phrase "data driven" crime fighting. Darnell and company released a report showing us where the crime occurs in ABQ and District Attorney Torrez has also been nearly obsessed with "data." But he and Darnell have been at it for a year and where are the results? (And, yes, Keller has also bought into the phrase).

We know the problem. Where are the solutions? Where's the message to the criminal class that they have reason to fear? The reduction in the crime rate? The prosecutions putting high level criminals behind bars? The arrests of those fencing the immense amount of property and automobiles being stolen from under the data driven noses of Darnell and the DA?

"Data driven" is proving to be another phrase cooked up by the political consultants to give those in charge cover. We've got more data than Haagen Daaz has ice cream. What we seem to lack and what we need is some daring and doing if we're going to get results in arresting this crime epidemic.


Reader Jim McClure comes with this comment reacting to our blog wondering whether the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) will get tougher when it comes to another proposed rate increase (9 percent) from PNM:

In addition to the inherent disadvantage of operating in New Mexico’s stagnant economy, PNM is seeing lower consumption because people like me are buying solar panels. That’s a sweet deal for me: I’m still connected to the power grid but pay practically nothing because PNM charges only for energy consumption. Meanwhile, folks who can’t afford solar panels of their own must cover PNM’s rising costs while subsidizing me through their tax dollars and electric rates. If I were a liberal I would feel guilty about this unfairness.

One way to remedy this would be for PNM to unbundle its rates with a fixed monthly charge for connection to the power grid and a variable charge for power consumption. That would enable solar panel owners lke me to pay for connection to the power grid and ease the burden on the rest of their customers. But whenever this kind of pricing is proposed, widespread opposition makes it a non-starter.


In our first draft Monday we may have made it seem as though state Republicans had never nominated a woman for the position of lieutenant governor. They have never nominated a Native American woman but in 2006 State Senator Sue Wilson Beffort was the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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