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Thursday, February 01, 2018

A Fresh Edition Of Vox Populi Where Readers Write The Blog; Today's Topics: A Tragic Slaying, The Keller-Sanchez Rift; The ART Fiasco, Mental Health In NM; Federal Jobs And "Rules to Remember In Life" 

The mail is stacked up with insights and keen commentary so it's time for another edition of reader Vox Populi. Join us. . . .

Reader Melissa Ariel addresses what she sees as yet another systemic failure in the latest outrageous and tragic child death in the state, that of a 13 year old Nambe boy who was subjected to horrific abuse for years before allegedly being murdered by his mother and her boyfriend and the boyfriend’s son::

It is beyond belief. No one in the schools notices that a kid drops off the rolls for 2 years. No one at Corrections in Santa Fe asks any questions when the mom gets thrown into  the lock up, even though she'd lost custody before. No one at CYFD does a welfare check even though custody has been revoked before. No one in the family notices when the child is missing for 3 months. None of the neighbors call CYFD despite the child not being in school. 

There are so many failures here beyond the parents, it's just tragic. Meanwhile our Hispanic leaders are more concerned with undocumented immigrant children than our Native born Hispanic and Native American children. It's just astonishing.

THE RIFT

Reader Bruce Shah comments on the growing rift between ABQ Dem Mayor Tim Keller and Dem City Council President Ken Sanchez:

Sanchez reminds me of a cat running away from his litter box.  I read with nothing short of astonishment the op-ed comments of Sanchez, who 'stands by' the Council's decision to cut the salaries of the police, firefighters and other city employees during an 'extremely tight' budget year in 2011. A tight budget year? Then perhaps the Council should have been a lot more rigorous while performing its oversight duties. During those difficult years:

--$62 million has been paid out for APD-related settlements.

--ART won council approval without seeing a penny from the Feds. That despite a $120+ million price tag.

If my math is correct, just a small portion of that money would have been enough to pay all the salaries that were cut back due to budget constraints. And, that $8 million would still be in the city's bank account.

We would all be better served by the City Council if it stopped running away from its own actions. Acknowledging its oversight failures and offering an apology to the people of Albuquerque would be an appropriate first step.

Yep, the ABQ City Council is about as popular as the ART project.

TIM, KEN AND ART

An anonymous reader writes on the same subject:

Joe, I think the main reason these two are at odds is ART. Ken is a staunch supporter of this "bridge to nowhere" ART project and has yet to cast blame on this boondoggle on anyone from the city . He continues to play the " new things have problems" game. 

Ken the buses may be new to ABQ but concrete and steel are not. I ask again a simple question; Where was the guy with the tape measure? My opinions probably fall on deaf ears but a tape measure is now worth $100 million dollars. Knock it all down and move on Mr. Keller.

CRIME WAVE

Reader David Ley Ph.D writes of whether the Martinez administration's interference in the behavioral health system can be blamed in part for the crime wave:

Joe, I’m a longtime behavioral health provider and also sit on the APD's Mental Health Response Advisory Board, a body established by the Dept. of Justice consent decree. I cannot and do not speak for MHRAC. But, I can say that we have been reviewing data showing a substantial increase in police calls involving behavioral health issues, since 2013. In addition, we’ve recently begun discussing the degree to which our system of care is woefully inadequate to serve the growing number of repeat offenders who have both mental illness and a significant history of violence.

In short, system impact from 2013 might have a role, in that it reduced availability of services. Worse, it removed from our system a tremendous resource of institutional knowledge in those experienced providers, who might have been able to guide our system towards effective intervention and prevention strategies. Ultimately though, it is one factor among many.

RETIREE REACTS

Bill Knief, a self-described "just another retiree from Taos," writes:

Joe, at 71 I’ve finally managed to retire my tired rear end from higher education and I have a few things to say, especially after the grotesque distortion of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The shameless duplicity (mendacity) of the Republican Party thus far in 2018 apparently has no limit. While putting out the line that it is the Democrats that don’t really want a DACA deal, the Republican bargaining position is straight out of the boko haram playbook: “Give us $18 billion for the wall or you’ll never see those 800,000 children and young adults again.”

Too shrill? I don’t think so. 

DEATH PENALTY 

James W. Ross, Former Deputy Cabinet Secretary of Health and Federal Affairs Director for Governor Martinez, writes to part company with the Governor on her attempt to revive the death penalty:

While there might be some polls that show a majority of New Mexicans approve of a narrow reintroduction of the ‘ultimate’ punishment for certain crimes, any bill that seeks to reintroduce this cruel penalty is filled with fallacious elements that seek to not only disenfranchise members of society, but more importantly hold certain lives in higher esteem than others.

The death penalty across the United States has been widely seen as a scourge, something that even prosecutors have described as flawed and as a non-deterrent. Repealed statewide in 2009, New Mexico courts only carried out this punishment on one person to this ultimate penalty since 1976. One person. While I would never defend the barbaric acts that certain individuals have committed, a definitive sentence of death is misinformed and will do nothing to prevent violent crime, and merely an attempt to deflect from the ‘real’ problems New Mexicans face with criminal activity.

WE'RE NUMBER ONE

Kara Gibson of SmartAsset writes:

In a new study, SmartAsset analyzed data across four metrics to find the states that are most dependent on the federal government, and New Mexico ranks in the number one spot. Almost 6% of the New Mexico workforce is employed by the federal government, placing the state fifth-highest in that metric. Compared to the average job, working for the federal government is a good gig. The average federal worker in New Mexico earns over twice as much as the average private sector worker. New Mexico residents also get quite a bit of bang for their income tax buck. For every dollar the state sends in income tax, they get back $1.87. That's the second-highest ratio of federal funding to income taxes paid in our study.

Thanks, Kara, Could you send that to the Koch Brothers financed Rio Grande Foundation, The NM Biz Coalition, the Economic Forum, NAIOP and the ABQ Chamber of Commerce? We think they may have missed it.

RULES TO REMEMBER

Finally, reader John Cordova writes of  "Rules To Remember In Life:"

--Money cannot buy happiness - but it's far more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.

--Forgive your enemy - but remember the asshole's name.

--Alcohol does not solve any problems - but then, neither does milk.

--If you help someone when they're in trouble - they will remember you when they're in trouble again.

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