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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Keller's Crime Count; He Says It's Down In Many Categories But Skepticism Lives And Patience Is Thin, Plus: Pearce's New Poll And More On McCamley's Money  

Keller & Geier (Brose; Journal)
Good news! Mayor Keller and APD Chief Geier report crime in many categories was down in the first quarter of this year compared to 2017. Guess that means we don't need Tim's tax increase to hire more cops after all. We can get crime down with what we have. . .

Well, before City Hall breaks out the organic Kool-Aid or whatever the Millennials up on the 11th floor celebrate with, be assured that the crime stats that the mayor now says will be released every three months will jump around more than a roadrunner on a hot Tucumcari highway.

Still there is cautious optimism that new APD leadership is inspiring some of the existing force to get after things more aggressively. And then there is the question of how many cars can continue to be stolen when you're already the stolen car capital of America. You have to peak sometime.

While auto burglary and auto theft--subjects of recent special attention by Chief Geier and his force-- showed a significant decline over last year's first quarter, the drop in commercial and residential burglary was not very significant. That signals that the shortage of officers and the continued drug epidemic are sticky problems that aren't going away anytime soon.

Most revealing is the increase in the murder rate from 12 homicides in the first three months of 2017 compared to 18 this year, a 50 percent rise.

Human life is getting cheap, too.  A 15 year old killed another 15 year old earlier this month over a $40 debt. And only a few days ago a 24 year old was gunned down in the North Valley in a dispute over the same amount. That's stark evidence that the drug trade is robust and still at the heart of the public safety crisis.

PATIENCE DEFICIT

Anyone who enjoys a breakfast burrito can tell you it will take years to reverse the slide into criminality that the city has endured but patience is not a surplus commodity for Mayor Keller. Take this from V.B. Price, the longtime liberal writer and ABQ observer who was an ardent back of the Keller mayoral candidacy:

Why is Tim Keller seeming more and more like the former mayor — invisible and uninspiring, despite his flurry of good moves following his election victory? Who’s leading the substance and image of....the town these days?

And readers continue to vent over the seemingly everyday violence that has redefined the quality of life in the Duke City. Here's an example:

ABQ “civilization” has become a Hobbesian nightmare where life is “poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” That hasn’t always been the case and, while it’s a relatively new dynamic, that’s where we are now. And there are no signs that it’s going to get better in the foreseeable future. This is primarily because no one in a position of leadership  (especially the ABQ City Council) wants to be honest about how far we’ve fallen and how far we’ve defined deviancy downward, especially while RJ Berry was mayor. 

While It’s true that he inherited one hell of a mess, Mayor Keller appears to be taking the same laid-back, easy-going approach to governing the city that Berry did. Which is incredibly disappointing to a number of his supporters who hoped Keller would be much different than his predecessor. Laid-back and easy-going is not going to turn Albuquerque around. All it will do is ensure that we continue to experience more of the same. A place where lives are cut short over $40 debts.

The crime wave and the many APD scandals has implanted a hard-core cynicism in the city. As an example this reader questioned the veracity of the numbers showing crime going down:

If crime went "down" it's because they monkeyed with the numbers. They won't be able to hide it forever. I don't believe crime is down for one second and neither does the public. 

It should be noted that the city report on crime for the first quarter says the stats are "subject to change" and the numbers do not represent official Uniform Crime Reporting numbers given to the FBI.

Three months of improved crime stats is good news for the city as well as Mayor Keller and Chief Geier but raising hopes after what this city has been through and is going through is like trying to raise the Titanic from the ocean floor.

PEARCE'S POLLING

GOP Guv hopeful Steve Pearce comes with a poll that he hopes convinces both the donor class and the public at large that he has a real shot at defeating Michelle Lujan Grisham, if she is the Dem nominee:

Pearce and Lujan Grisham are tied within the margin of error on the ballot test in this recent survey. This represents a tightening in the race from our poll in 2017. Currently, 45% of voters say they would prefer Pearce and 47% of voters Lujan Grisham, Undecided is 8 percent. Lujan Grisham starts this race with significant structural advantages, including national headwinds and a 14-point party registration differential, yet her inherent weakness with voters and Steve Pearce’s underlying strengths continue to show up in the numbers.

The Tarrance Group, a longtime national GOP polling firm, conducted the survey via telephone interviews with 608 registered “likely” voters throughout the state. Responses  were gathered April 9-12. Margin of error is + 4.1%.

Michelle won't be upset with Steve for showing a potential race between the two to be close. She'll use it to raise more cash.

More worrisome for her will be the attacks on her past record as as a state government official. And they have started to dribble in. This report from the  NMSU student newspaper runs down a variety of issues that have trailed the ABQ congresswoman and which no doubt you will be hearing more about in the days ahead. They include her time as head of the state aging department as well as Sec. of Health.

MORE McCAMLEY MONEY

State Auditor hopeful Bill McCamley came out swinging when the Guv's political machine questioned his campaign finance report, saying it didn't add up that McCamley, 40, reported no income of over $5,000 on his disclosure form yet gave himself a $45,000 campaign loan. He said the loan came from an inheritance and money he had saved when he had well-paying employment.

But McCamley didn't quite get it right. A new report reveals he did receive income of over $5,000 a year but failed to disclose it. The money came from a rental property. The news has McCamley playing defense:

. . . The Democrat wrote on Facebook that he lives in a studio apartment. But that only raised more questions because the address McCamley has listed on financial disclosures is a ranch-style house. McCamley (said) he lives in a studio apartment adjoining the house but rents out the three-bedroom residence. The price: $800 a month, or $9,600 a year. State law requires public officials such as legislators report any sources of income over $5,000. McCamley said he would file an updated disclosure form with the Secretary of State’s Office. “I was given some inaccurate information,” McCamley said, adding he believed it was not necessary to disclose the rental income because it was not a commercial property."

Brian Colón, McCamley's opponent for the Dem auditor nod, has so far remained quiet about his rival's woes. We did receive email from McCamley supporters vouching for his  frugal lifestyle and dedication to public service. Here's one from Marla Painter:

The man lives like a monk. He is an organizer more than a politician. In the past, we have put him up at our home when he was up north on legislative business. We have gotten to know him. A very good man. And my standards are very high. He depends on the kindness of his friends to keep his costs down to a minimum. He is his own campaign manager, scheduler, campaign communicator. He works continuously and tirelessly for his constituents and the common good of the entire state. His pleasures seem limited to one beer an evening if any at all (he rarely accepts an offer of a beer), a good meal, vigorous political or philosophical discussions, conversations with everyday folks and talking about his girlfriend in Las Cruces. The man seriously lives like a monk. He is a certified policy wonk, addicted to ideas and talking about them.

GOP State Auditor Wayne Johnson will run against the winner of the Dem primary.

JENNIFER RIORDAN

Mayor Keller issued this statement following the untimely death Tuesday of prominent ABQ businesswoman and longtime community volunteer Jennifer Riordan:

Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community. . . This is a tremendous and tragic loss for Jennifer’s family and many others throughout our city. Her leadership and philanthropic efforts made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed. We are holding Jennifer and her family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Jennifer Riordan was 43.

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