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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico; Politicos Give Thanks, Too 

 The politicos give thanks:

--ABQ Mayor Tim Keller is thankful that despite a city crime wave, he has two years until the next mayoral election to straighten things out.

--Gov. MLG is thankful that she's not mayor of ABQ. She's also thankful that not a single rural county sheriff caught her speeding this year.

--State Senator John Arthur "Dr. No" Smith is so thankful that he wants to buy an airplane to chauffeur cabinet officials around the state. Now that's thankful.

--Rep. Ben Ray Lujan overflows with thanks, so much so that he's taken down the picture of President Kennedy from his living room wall and replaced it with one of Maggie Toulouse Oliver who dropped out of the senate race.

--Rep. Xochtil Torres Small is thankful that a full 23 percent of the residents of the southern congressional district can now correctly pronounce her first name.

--NM GOP Chairman Steve Pearce is giving thanks for the simple things, like being able to make payroll at party headquarters this month.

--State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg is thankful that State Auditor Brian Colón is already talking about running for attorney general in 2022 which would give Eichenberg a shot at the Auditor's slot when his Treasurer term expires.

--Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales is showing his thanks by donating $100,000 worth of video lapel cameras to APD.

--House speaker and enviro Brian Egolf is giving thanks in secret this year--he sent a thank you note to Exxon for the oil boom that is filling the state's coffers.

--Sen. Martin Heinrich is thankful for the Kevlar bulletproof vest that his staff gave him for his visits to ABQ.

AT THE MOVIES

Reader and film buff Eric Lucero is, as usual, at the movies this holiday:

Pain and Glory(R) Bio/Drama/English subtitles ***1/2 Stars out of 5.

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (Oscar for Original Screenplay-Talk To Her, 2003) presents a not for attribution autobiographical sketch of his life.

Almodóvar’s alter ego, Salvador Mallo, is shown transitioning from a Franco Era precocious child to a doubting, drug dependent, contemporary boomer who seeks a reawakened purpose for life, forgiveness, acceptance and a final release from the physical pain that has thwarted his creativity, hence the film’s title.

Antonio Banderas (Salvador Mallo) plays with Oscar worthy delivery the fictionalized filmmaker’s life. His co-star, no stranger in partnering with Banderas, is accomplished actress Penelope Cruz, who plays with poise and authority his resourceful and controlling Catholic mother.

BETTER THAN BURQUE? 

Finally this Thanksgiving week, a note from Lissa Knudsen on Facebook:

Today I learned that the place we think of as Albuquerque in Navajo is Bee'eldííl Dahsinil. 

The mystique of New Mexico is always something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico!

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Money Race in Bassan-Romero In City Council Run-Off, Plus: Veteran Councilor Ken Sanchez Has "Medical Emergency" And ABQ City Clerk Expected To Run For State Senate Seat 

Democrats say they are on the defensive in that December 10 run-off election for the District 4 ABQ city council seat in the NE Heights. D Ane Romero has accepted public financing for the run-off, getting $13,000 for her campaign but Republican Brook Bassan has rejected public financing and Romero says on Faecbook that Bassan has already raised $40,000. Romero says:

I'm capped at spending no more than $13K. Brook Bassan abandoned the program and is raising money —hand over fist—and from those with a stake in the decisions made at City Hall. So far, she's raised about. . . $40K total. Who are her max-out donors? They are the developers and their associated PACs. I won't be owned by the developers and will continue to advocate for our neighborhoods.

A check of city campaign records shows Bassan has indeed picked up considerable support from real estate and development interests, including $1,500 from the NM Association of Realtors. Former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates and his business interests--including real estate--have contributed $3,000. However, Romero, while firing at Bassan over outside money is getting some outside help of her own.

Bassan, a mother of four, a self-described "Household CEO," supported conservative Dem Jeff Apodaca in 2018 when he unsuccessfully sought the Dem Guv nomination and when Bassan was registered as a Democrat. He is returning that support in the run-off, taking to social media to urge voters to turn out for Bassan.

Apodaca says Romero is being disingenuous when it comes to saying she is running her campaign on public financing and says liberal PACS are spending for her as they did in the initial election:

Ole and their PAC money are already at it hitting homes in Dist 4 with anti-Brook mailers. So let’s call it as it is. Both candidates went public in the first election  and Dem PAC’s spent well over $120,000 against Brook Bassan. So who’s playing the system? This is why it’s an easy choice for us residents in Dist 4 as to who will represent us. 

Bassan finished first in the GOP leaning district in the Nov. 5 initial balloting, garnering 49 percent of the vote to Romero's 42 percent. The run-off will see a much lower turnout. About 11,500 voters cast ballots in the first election because of a wide variety of other ballot issues and the consolidation of other elections with the city election.

In the other run-off, in council District 2 in Downtown/Barelas and the North Valley, it's been a quiet campaign. Incumbent Dem Ike Benton beat fellow Dem Zack Quintero in the November 5  balloting. However, Quintero had momentum at the end of the November campaign but making up a 21 point loss--42-21--is asking a lot from the 29 year old challenger. Campaign observers say it doesn't help that Quintero is not holding Benton's feet to the fire on the hot button crime issue.

Early voting is underway for the Dec. 10 election.

KEN SANCHEZ HOSPITALIZED

Councilor Sanchez
Meanwhile, Dem ABQ City Councilor Ken Sanchez, on the nine member panel since 2005, has suffered a "medical emergency," the nature of which was not disclosed. His office says he is hospitalized this Thanksgiving week and not receiving visitors or taking calls. They have asked the community for prayers.

Sanchez told our KANW 89.1 FM Election Night audience November 5 that he would seek re-election to his Westside seat in 2021 as long as his health held which the 63 year old then characterized as excellent. We wish him well.

And more breaking news from City Hall. Our insiders report that City Clerk Katy Duhigg is leaving that post to seek the Dem nomination for the ABQ North Valley state senate seat held by Republican Sen. Candace Gould who is seeking a second term. Duhigg would be be joining attorney Alan Hall in the race for the Dem nod. Mayor Keller would name a new city clerk with approval of the city council.

Messages to Duhigg and a city spokesman were not immediately returned.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Here's an interesting headline from the state GOP's recent newsletter:

Mexico Ranked As the Worst Run State In America.

Well, that's one way of getting New Mexico out of the cellar.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here. 

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

Debating Data: It's The Buzzword For City Leaders Facing Crime Epidemic, But The Data Doubters Are Out In Force 

Data. That's the buzzword that gets a heavy workout from the powers-that-be when it comes to solving the crime epidemic. Just give us more data, they pine, and we will secure the city. But there's a problem. The city can't even agree on simple data that tracks how APD is spending its time:

In a KOAT report from August, a city councilor said there are 61 officers assigned to work in APD's compliance division as part of the deal with the Department of Justice, and many of those officers are assigned to investigate other officers, instead of working out on the streets. A department spokesman disputes that. He maintains there are actually 32 officers in that unit.

So what's the truth? Guess we need more data, except if you're former APD Chief Joe Polisar:

At some point, with all the discussions, someone has to raise their hand and call bullshit!

Then there's the data--or we should say contention--that the local judges are flooding the streets with repeat violent criminals because of that constitutional amendment guiding the conditions of their release. BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez and others have pointed their fingers long and hard at that one. But look at this:

The study. . . done by University of New Mexico’s Institute of Social Research. . . found that the overwhelming majority of people charged with felonies then released by a judge not only showed up for court, but they didn't commit any new crimes between the time they were released and their court date. . 

Of the close to 64,000 felony cases researchers looked at, more than 250 of the people were accused of new crimes after being released. The majority of those new charges were misdemeanors or lesser felonies. 

It would seem the DA and the politicos may have to find a better excuse for why the bad guys are marauding though the Duke City.

DATA DOUBTERS

One of our Senior Alligators echoes the thoughts of the data doubters:

Here's an innovative approach: aggressively hunt down people who shoot and kill other people and lock them up - instead of all this "root causes/we need more data" nonsense. Maybe arrest a Cartel member occasionally to send a real message to the gangs. Why is there this looney left aversion to simply being tough on crime and meaning it? And can we please stop this nonsense of whining about needing more money to hire more people who are going to sit safely behind some desk looking at "data" rather than more boots on the ground out fighting crime?

Former BernCo Deputy District Attorney and City Councilor Pete Dinelli is also from the "hunt down" school of law enforcement, a view not shared by Mayor Keller and APD Chief Geier:

What it takes to bring crime down  are very aggressive tactical plans targeting violent repeat offenders, gangs, drug dealers, and repeat property crime offenders. If the Keller APD command staff he handpicked is not getting the job done, personnel changes are in order. . .  and another reorganization of the department. What is becoming increasingly concerning for voters is that all the increases in APD budget, personnel and programs are not having any effect on bringing down the violent crime and murder rates. It is no longer an issue of not having the money, personnel nor resources but a failed management issue. 

Here is Mayor Keller's latest crime initiative as announced last Friday, the Violence Intervention Plan.

INK STAINED OPTIMISTS

The newspaper is decidedly not in the "aggressive plans" camp. In fact, it has thrown in the towel on any quick fixes for the soaring violent crime. Like Mayor Keller and BernCo DA Torrez, the ink stained wretches want more data to determine the best course of action:

Fortunately, local law enforcement and prosecutors are doubling down on 21st Century tools – data analysis, social media, etc. – to make quicker and smarter decisions. 

Well, that's more of an alibi than an editorial but it's understandable as the economic underpinnings of the metro become increasingly shaky, with businesses shying away from coming here and many of those here looking for an exit strategy.

Still, if those who believe ABQ is worth fighting for are going to come out on the winning side, reality-based accountability and honesty in what we face is essential.

WHILE WE WAIT

While we wait for the data to pour in, reader Arcy Baca says do this:

Joe, the state police should have 50 to 100 more officers in Albuquerque. The Legislature needs to approve this funding. Also place 25 or more detectives from state police to help fight drug, robbery, and other felony crimes. Until Albuquerque brings its crime rate down our economy will not move forward.

Sure, Arcy, but do you have the data to back that up?

Say anything you like about how to solve the city crime dilemma, just don't say you think we should copy Texas. We found that out when we ran a rant on crime from pro-Texas reader Dave. Here come the retorts, starting with a self-described "Westside Gator":

Sickening, partisan and unacceptable are certainly accurate terms to describe Attorney General Bill Barr and his history. (Barr recently visited ABQ and decried the high crime rate.) Crimes and hurtful behaviors committed by the right kind of people get a wide pass from these law and order types. By all means let's give more "resources" to the likes of  "we don't need no stinking cameras Sheriff Manny Gonzales." Living with crime is horrible and so is living with unrestrained law enforcement.

Reader Alan Porter chimes in:

I'm not trying to start a debate with the reader "Dave" that you included in your blog. However, I think Dave has conveniently forgotten about the mass shootings that have occurred in Texas over the past few years. Is that part of the success the red state of Texas has had in fighting violent crime?

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here. 

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2019
 
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