Thursday, October 03, 2019

Will A "Party Patrol" Stop ABQ Teen Killings? Follow The Drugs Not The Booze, Plus: Mad Scramble Continues For Cisneros State Senate Seat 

Markey Memorial (Louis-Pierre; Journal)
Bring back the APD "party patrol" in the wake of the murder of a 17 year old Sandia High student in ABQ's "White Heights"? Sorry, Councilors Winter, Sanchez and APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos. "Alcohol and guns" is not the problem. The problem is drugs and organized drug dealing. What you need is an anti-drug patrol because this is not 1999. Today this is an entirely different city.

17 year old Sean Markey is only the latest teen murder victim. Earlier this year two teens were tortured and killed over a marijuana deal gone bad. Recently in the South Valley a family of four was slaughtered in a drive-by shooting, including 17 year old Daniel Alex Baca whose friends say he died because of "the life he chose." Again, drugs and drug dealing. And there are more examples.

Whether the Markey slaying near Eubank and Montgomery was drug-related is unknown. But if it turns out that it was a drive-by shooting at the Saturday night homecoming party where he lost his life, it points to more of the same.

The Mayor says the gun violence is only afflicting "parts of ABQ."  The latest shooting is a deadly wake-up call that all sections of the city are now facing or will be facing the face of drug caused death.

APD and the city council can leave the warnings on alcohol to the state and those DWI ads. People aren't partying like it's 1999. They are partying like it's 2019. What's needed here is vigorous, unrelenting law enforcement against the widespread drug dealing occurring among the youth of our community. It truly is a matter of life and death.


That struggle for power over the vacant northern NM state senate seat of the late Carlos Cisneros is shaping up just the way you like it--wild and crazy--like it always is in the politically charged north.
Kristina Ortez

The latest is a new hopeful angling for the gubernatorial appointment to fill the seat and she appears to be the favorite of the many Taos area progressives. Kristina Ortez (not Ortiz) wants the job, say friends, and enviros are pushing her hard. Ortez is executive director of the Taos Land Trust whose mission is to:

Create, Preserve, Protect and Pass on a legacy of open, productive, and natural lands for future generations.

Ortez is a Harvard grad who arrived in NM in 2008 which could be an issue in the native-centric north. Apparently that's no problem for Taos Town Councilor Darien Fernandez. He had already announced a primary run against Cisneros and insiders thought he had a good shot at the MLG senate appointment. Now Fernandez tells me he is out of the race and endorsing Ortez because he believes the Governor wants a female senator and that Ortez aligns with him philosophically. Wild. 

Progressives fret over Dem State Rep. Bobby Gonzales who didn't seem to want the senate gig but now is deep in the running, according to the Taos trackers. He's a Roundhouse powerhouse but at 68 some may want someone younger and maybe a bit more liberal--like Ortez.

Say Rep. Bobby gets the senate nod. Then his state House seat opens up and that would be another appointment but not from the Governor--but from the Taos county commission. That's because the Gonzales House district is exclusively in Taos County.

For the Senate appointment, the four county commissions in the Cisneros district will send recommendations to the Governor who gets to fill vacancies in multi-county legislative districts.

Okay, have a wild and crazy weekend--if you can beat all that.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Gay Congress Candidate Says Hate Messages Piling Up From "Bad Apples" Plus: More Wednesday La Politica 

John Blair 
Fair warning. The first blog item today is X-rated. It's a fund-raising pitch by northern Dem congressional candidate John Blair who says he would be the state's first LGBTQ representative in Congress:

I have received so much love and support in this race. But, there’s always a few bad apples to remind me that the fight for equality and acceptance isn’t over. Here's just a sample of a few real messages my campaign has received:

"F*** you f******"
"Take your gay dog and go away"
"I want your f***** a** to stop emailing me!"
"I don't vote for gay f*****"
"Not voting for a confused gay boy"

Blair did not say what form the homophobic messages took, whether by phone, email or in person. It's hard to believe many of them came from likely Dem voters in the liberal northern district. Whatever the case, Blair will get divided opinion on this one--sympathy from voters offended by the hateful comments and want to push back or criticism for going too far exploiting his sexuality to raise campaign money.

The northern Dem primary, the winner of which is almost certain to win the seat in the general election, is hotter than a Tucmucari parking lot in July. But only three of the candidates have broken into the top tier--ex-CIA spy Valerie Plame, Santa Fe County DA Marco Serna and attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez. That's why you're seeing eyebrow raising emails as others try to break through. The election is next June. The last we looked there were around ten candidates, but don't hold us to that number.

There's an election right here in ABQ that will be happening a lot sooner than next June. It's the Nov. 5 balloting in which voters will choose city councilors in four of the nine districts.The battle for the Downtown/North Valley seat held by incumbent Councilor Ike Benton has been one to watch. Well, you can't call it much of a battle. The five contenders haven't thrown as much as an eggshell at one another--at least not yet. They get another chance to mix it up Thursday:

District 2 City Council Candidate Forum: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at Washington Middle School from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. All District 2 candidates have agreed to attend. Steven Baca, Isaac Benton, Joseph R. Griego, Robert Raymond Blanquera Nelson, Zachary A. Quintero and Connie Vigil


Will there be another hat in the ring for that coveted gubernatorial appointment to the state senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen, Carlos Cisneros? Insiders are now talking up longtime Taos area State Rep. Bobby Gonzales for the slot. He's long on experience and knowledge of the north. The four county commissions in Senate District 6 will send names to MLG from which she will pick the appointee.

Okay, filling the senate seat is important but perhaps of more importance is who will take over the position of Vice-Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, a post long held by Cisneros. Will it be someone who shares the conservative fiscal views of Chairman John Arthur Smith? Of course not, it will go to a wild-eyed liberal who will shake Senator Smith to the core and completely change the committee's views. Now you know. . .

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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Reader Vox Populi: They Write of Drugs And Cartels, Manny Gonzales, Keller And ART And Torres Small And Trump  

Time for another edition of reader Vox Populi and we kick this one off with reaction to our blog about the presence of Mexican drug cartels in the state and city. An anonymous reader writes:

We were never a major cartel point of entry and distribution place to this extent, until the last decade. Before, it was on a much smaller scale. What caused the influx? Part if it is that New Mexicans are afraid to say anything because it reflects badly.

Pot is not the problem. Ir's not a gateway drug and never was. The issue today is that people who sell pot also sell heroin and potent meth. The user gets a taste of heroin and after a month, it’s too late. They also sell toot/cocaine that the yuppies snorted with abandon when it was the “fashionable” drug (and still is). It is all here because this is a distribution point. It is truly trickle-down economics. All one needs to do is talk to the kids at Rio Grande, Atrisco Heritage, Volcano Vista, Manzano, Sandia, Highland, Del Norte, La Cueva and El Dorado. They know! And talk to the teachers at any APS school, they know.


An anonymous reader writes of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales who has stepped up his crime-fighting efforts in the city limits and is not ruling out a 2021 run for ABQ Mayor:

Joe, I really enjoyed your story about Manny Gonzales and his potential run for mayor. It is the first time I have hope for this city in several years. I find it hard to comprehend that the state police and sheriff's office can go into an area and make arrests and fight crime while APD cannot. The Justice Department consent decree, or the way it is being followed, is hurting our city and protecting criminals. I know Keller bows at the feet of (Federal Monitor) James Ginger. It has cost our city millions and for what?Higher crime. I'm an independent, and would support Manny over Tim in a heartbeat. Maybe Tim's white/liberal privilege is about to run out? Let us hope the same for Councilors Pat Davis and Ike Benton, who do nothing for our city.


Mayor Keller
Reader Dave writes:

Joe, Keller has already produced several "ARTS." The first was his rush to make ABQ a sanctuary city. That keeps wages low, rewards criminals by protecting them from deportation, makes financial slaves of those who come here with no skills and punishes citizens who live in a crime-ridden, trashy town. 

Other peeves include going along with the city council to give those coming across the border to ABQ  $250,000 of our tax dollars; the Mayor pushing through the council a tax increase immediately upon taking office after saying he would not and the ban on plastic straws and bags which is doing nothing to save the planet but sounds good. 

For those that don't travel to other cities, they don't realize how poorly this city compares when you visit another. I did a little traveling this summer and upon return was appalled by the roads, weeds, trash, homeless, beggars etc. I guess I'm complaining too much. When Councilor Pat Davis and MLG team up to legalize weed, all of our problems will disappear. But wait. The cartels will move in a lot more product at a cost way below the taxed dope our kids and druggies will smoke.


Reader Mitchell Freedman in Rio Rancho writes of the political tightrope that southern Dem Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small has been walking on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump:

 I think in 2020 we get a big Democratic Party turnout, larger than any higher Republican turnout. Therefore, I think Torres Small's strategy should not be to triangulate (to use the old Clintonite term) but to excite the base and increase further the Democratic Party turnout. Whether that includes supporting the impeachment inquiry is a judgment call. What is not a judgment call are the substantive policy issues she has hedged on.

Torres Small may not have to "excite" the Dems as much if she has made inroads with conservative voters as she has appeared to have done in her first year. But she can't risk turning off the Democrats, either. And there you have the political tight rope.


BernCo is hiring poll officials for the election to be held on November 5:

We are also currently assigning Poll Official positions for 19 Early Voting Convenience Centers from October 19 through November 2. With two large elections scheduled for 2020, a greater number of Poll Official positions will be available. Online Application Required.

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Monday, September 30, 2019

High ABQ Murder Rate Sparks Talk Of Mexican Cartel Presence, Torres Small Squeezed Again And Names Circulating For Seat Of Late Senator Cisneros 

The new normal in ABQ is the high murder rate. After four years of it the narrative over the causes is focusing more on the presumed presence of the Mexican drug cartels. It's been a subject discussed in hushed tones but with the blood continuing to flow the talk is growing louder.

The newspaper came with important stories about the notorious Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico prison gang and it's drug-dealing ways (here and here). Retired APD Seargent and crime watchdog Dan Klein goes a step further:

Alex Marentes is a retired Albuquerque police officer and founder of the website Borderlandbeat.com that gathers information on the drug wars in Mexico. Marentes states that most of the drugs in Albuquerque are being distributed by the Sinaloa Cartel. Albuquerque has become a drug distribution center for the rest of the nation. He believes that there are safe houses full of illegal drugs, smuggled people and guns. He says the drug murders here are not like those happening in Mexico. Here you have low-level drug dealers killing each other. In Mexico you have murder on a large scale. In Albuquerque Sinaloa keeps a low profile. Very rarely do sicarios (cartel assassins) come to ABQ to knock off someone who has crossed the cartel. But it has happened.

With the murder rate continuing to soar--in large part due to the drug trade--the calls for more law enforcement will continue. That's why Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has taken the unprecedented step of conducting raids in crime-ridden city neighborhoods. Depending on how deep the cartel roots are, it may or may not have lasting effect.

The revelation that the Las Vegas, NM police department has been compromised by drug dealers raises the question whether other departments are suffering the same fate?


It's like being caught in a vise. On the right southern Dem Rep. Xochitl Torres Small gets squeezed by Trump Republicans while the district's Dems clamp down from the left. Now that she is one of only a dozen House Dems to not endorse the impeachment inquiry of Trump, it's the Dems turning the handle on the vise. Here's reader Kathryn Carroll:

It is time for Rep. Torres Small to stop skirting the issue. If her decision is to vote against impeachment, then she will have to explain to her constituents why she feels she deserves another term because a vote against impeachment is a signal that it is alright with her to keep a president in office who has violated his oath of office to "...preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." Now is not the time for fence-sitting and indecisiveness. Torres-Small was elected to make tough decisions, and voting not to impeach this president is ignoring the obligations of her oath of office as well. 

Trunp won the southern district by 10 points in 2016 so the reluctance of Torres Small to go all in on impeachment is predictable. That she faces no Dem primary opposition makes it easier. 

Impeachment could lighten the load for the GOP nominee (three R's are running). Turning the southern race into a referendum on impeachment is a uniting theme for the R's.


Will Darien Fernandez be the next state senator from the northern district left vacant by the death of Carlos Cisneros? It's a good bet. Fernandez is a Taos town councilor who was already running against Cisneros in next June's primary. His more liberal positions could be to the liking of Dem Governor MLG. She will make the decision on who gets the appointment to fill out the Cisneros term from a list of candidates named by the four county commissions in the district.

Over 60 percent of SD 6 is in Taos County. That points to Fernandez. Still, you never know. One of our Alligators has some others being mentioned.

--Caroline Buerkle, a Taos County resident and political consultant and top aide to MLG
--Elias Coriz ​(former Rio Arriba County Commissioner)
--Jim Fambro​ (Taos County Commissioner)
--Mark Gallegos​ (Taos County Commissioner, Mayor of Questa)
--Tammy Jaramillo​ (Legislative Aide to Sen. Carlos Cisneros)
--William “Billy” Knight​ (former Chairman of Taos Democratic Party)
--Jennifer Manzanares​ (Deputy Santa Fe County Assessor)
--Candyce O’Donnell​ (Taos County Commissioner)
--Eric Vasquez ​(Government Affairs Consultant; husband of Land Commissioner Garcia Richard)


If you're free at 5 p.m today join T.J.Trout and yours truly on KKOB radio as we look at the latest waves being made in La Politica.

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