Friday, August 19, 2011

Honoring "Lonesome Dave," Plus: Berry Bunkers In; Vetoes Fed Probe Of APD Shootings, And: Miss Rio Rancho 


A Republican Governor of a different stripe than the current Fourth Floor occupant--middle of the roader Dave Cargo ('66-'70)--was honored at the Capitol Rotunda where a bronze bust of "Lonesome Dave" was dedicated. He gave a speech, some of which might have made the current Governor a bit uncomfortable. A Senior Alligator at the scene came with this report:

Joe, I miss that man. He has persona, wisdom, humor, fire in the belly and a true love for the people of our state. Here are a few quotes:

"Politicians on both sides should stop polarizing the American public."

"People of all races--whether here legally or not--should be treated with dignity."

"Republicans stay bought, Democrats have to be bought every year."

And last, "The movie industry should get the same tax treatment as the oil and gas industry, if not more."

During his statements, Governor Martinez smiled and applauded.

Governor Cargo is now 82 and remains a respected voice on the scene. Back in the 60's, he enraged many of his fellow R's when he went his own way on many issues of the day. It earned him the moniker "Lonesome Dave." His brand of Republicanism may be diminished in these days of the tea party, but not the man.


ABQ Mayor Berry has lost control of events, never a good spot for a political leader to be in. His veto Thursday of a city council measure Thursday that calls on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate 19 police shooting here--13 of them fatal--seemed to isolate him further.

Last month he was cornered and forced to hand over to an outraged public the scalp of Darren White, his public safety director. Now he must stand by and watch as the DOJ most likely launches a formal probe into the shootings.

And there could be more. Berry appears to be ready to go down with ABQ Police Chief Ray Schultz if that's what it comes to. And with all sorts of bizarre revelations regularly coming from APD, that is not as far-fetched as it might sound. Why the Mayor is hitching his wagon to one of his employees is beyond analysis.

Justice Department representatives were in town on the same day Berry cast his veto. Earlier, Berry's administration said in a letter he would assist the DOJ in any probe. He didn't sound too welcoming Thursday when he said the things the DOJ would investigate are already being looked into by his administration. But local officials can't investigate alleged violations of federal civil rights and that would be a central purpose of the DOJ probe.

Did Berry veto the DOJ bill in an effort to appear relevant? The time to have done that was weeks ago--when he had the opportunity to launch a full-scale and truly independent investigation and shake up the hierarchy of the department. Now, the power is slowly shifting from the 11th Floor of City Hall to the Justice Department building in Washington, DC.

Berry seems unaware that public trust in the department has disintegrated which is why a wide swath of the citizenry and five city councilors--a majority that includes one Republican--has asked for the Feds to come in. But the Mayor had the same attitude when Darren White imploded. The investigation he ordered into that scandal was an inside job. We await a probe ordered by the city council that Berry fought but in the end was forced to accept.

So Berry who seemed to have a soft touch when elected is looking more hard-headed--more like that hard right wing of the Republican Party that has already burned him by elevating White to prominence. But the town is not a hard-right town. It is a place that hugs the center. Mayor Berry is finding that out--but now he's like the guy looking in the window and watching the party going on inside. He is no longer the center of the action.


Love is in the air for ABQ State Senator Eric Griego. And he better enjoy it while it lasts. The Dem candidate for the ABQ congressional seat will tie the knot Saturday with Kim Brown 43, a city school teacher. The couple have a young son.

Griego, 45, is in a three way battle for the nomination, competing with former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez and Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham. It is expected to be a campaign filled with anything but romance.

As for the Griegos' honeymoon, this couple will probably be attending a fund-raising seminar.


We said in our Thursday blog that Dennis Chavez was "elected" to the US Senate in 1935. Actually, he was appointed to the Senate by Governor Tingley following the death of Senator Bronson Cutting in a plane crash. Thanks to several readers for pointing that out. And here's the Washington Post obit of Chavez's daughter--Ymelda Chavez Dixon-- that prompted our report. She was misidentified in our first draft.


From Conan O'Brien:

Speaking of President Obama, in a speech today he said the housing market may not pick up again for another year or longer. Yeah. On the bright side, President Obama now has nine people interested in his house.


Okay, all you New Mexico soldiers checking in on the blog in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea and other points around the globe. Heads up. Take a good look at 22 year old Kathleen Danzer, Miss Rio Rancho 2011. Now, isn't that worth fighting for?

Thanks for your company this week and your continued support. We appreciate it.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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