Thursday, June 26, 2014

It Keeps Getting Worse: Crisis Of Confidence In APD Gets Legs As More Video Goes Missing, And: Think Tank Confirms What We Knew: ABQ Is In A Double-Dip Recession 

Mary Hawkes
Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does--at APD, with the foundering metro economy and with the drought and heat so devastating to such a large swath of the state. First APD. . .

The crisis plagued department strained credulity yet again. It reported that there was no video of the fatal police shooting of 19 year old Mary Hawkes and released video that does not show the critical seconds when Albert Redwine was shot to death by an APD officer.

It turns out that the officer who fatally shot Hawkes had his lapel video camera coming on and off multiple times during the hours long incident. But no one in a position of authority--not the company that makes the cameras or the leadership of APD were able to say exactly why. Ditto for the absence of video at the key moment Redwine was gunned down.

The search for certain truth--if there is to be one--will have to be found through the courts--either through criminal investigation or more ultra-expensive lawsuits against the city.

Still, ABQ Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry says the crisis of confidence with APD is not widespread. As for Mayor Berry, he's authorized increased security measures at his office. That tells you all you need to know about his frame of mind. . .


The disintegration of the local economy may get glossed over here, but those looking from the outside in see all too clearly the debacle occurring in the state's largest city. The Brookings Institution pronounced Wednesday that the metro area is now in a double dip recession and likens us to an "island" amid a sea of national recovery:

The Albuquerque area is in the midst of a double-dip recession, the Brookings Institution reported. The area is dead last among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas in. . . recovery from the recession, Brookings said. “Albuquerque is. . . maybe one of the only, big metros to be in the midst of a double-dip recession,” said Brookings Research. . . The recession kind of passed Albuquerque by, almost, but as the national recovery gained, Albuquerque seems to be a kind of an island unto itself. . . Job growth remained negative for the third straight quarter in Albuquerque as employment levels declined by 0.2 percent,” the report said. “The metro area continues to slide back towards its post-recession low-point. 

The political impact of this grim news could be potent indeed. The Martinez/Berry economy is in the tank, but Dem Guv nominee Gary King has no organization up and running to make the case.

King did come with his second TV ad since the June primary Wednesday night. He responds to some of the massive attacks against him by the GOP Guv association. But the campaign did not have info readily available on how much King is spending on the Martinez hit. And that is key.)

The next foot to drop could be at the ABQ General Mills plant. The company has taken an earnings hit and is reviewing all of its North American operations for possible cutbacks. That sure takes the cheer out of Cheerios in record time. . . .

As for the drought, KOB-TV weatherman Eddie Garcia likens the forecast for eastern New Mexico to the movie "Groundhog Day": "It's just the same thing over and over and over again."

That same thing being the relentless triple digit temperatures and no rain. The impact will continue to be profoundly felt by the state's important cattle and dairy industry. Experts pinpoint eastern NM as one of the planet's regions most impacted by climate change. . .


An interesting interview with Greg Hull, the new mayor of Rio Rancho--except he wasn't asked perhaps the most relevant question for the city: What has he heard about Intel possibly shutting down and the remaining 2,800 employees there losing their jobs and sending the city into an economic tailspin?  Hull may have a better idea than most about Intel's future. His wife works at the computer chip giant.


Martinez & McCleskey
There was yet another opportunity for King and the Dems to draw blood on Guv Martinez this week but like so many others it apparently will pass unnoticed. That is not the case on the national scene where an outburst by her political operative Jay McCleskey is drawing attention in conservative circles.

McCleskey reportedly called a group of pro-life demonstrators protesting near his home and who don't think Martinez is pro-life enough "pieces of shit." That kind of comment is not going to endear the nationally ambitious Martinez to the conservative nominating wing of her party or any of the presidential candidates. McCleskey tried to airbrush it, but it's a tough sell.

"As a father, I objected to this group terrifying young children innocently playing in their neighborhood on a Saturday morning, including my own 8-year-old son, with grotesque posters and billboards of dead fetuses, and I think most parents would share my disgust," McCleskey said.

The Dems are pro-choice but McCleskey's scatological comments gave them a chance to tie them in with other controversial comments made by McCleskey and other Martinez aides about women as well as former House Speaker Ben Lujan.

One of the best paths to success is to be blessed by a weak opposition. That--so far--is the bottom line of Campaign '14.


It's the battle of the Senior Alligators over whether there will be any indictments over the Martinez administration's awarding of controversial 25 year racino lease to the Downs at ABQ. A Republican Gator insisted here this week that it is not going to happen. He said that the decision of former NM assistant US Attorney Greg Fouratt to take a cabinet post with Martinez shows that he doesn't believe anything was awry with the lease and he was in a position to know. But here comes pushback from a Senior Alligator of the Dem variety:

While I agree that it is unlikely that we will see any Downs indictments prior to the election, I would whole-heartedly disagree with the position that they won't come at all. There are some who believe that thanks to Greg Fouratt, who served as an advisor to Susana Martinez while running the civil and criminal litigation section of the US Atty's office, that those taking part in the Downs were able to use their connections inside the local US Atty's office to avoid prosecution. However, such actions do not always fly below the radar, and there is reason to believe that the DC office of the DOJ has taken more of an interest in the assessment of the case.

The Martinez administration has a proven track record of providing jobs to those who protect the inner circle. Just look at the hiring of several members of Maynes family, the wife and two sisters, of the state cop that went with Chuck Franco on his great Louisiana excursion. With that track record and knowing that the DPS position was offered only to Fouratt, one could easily speculate that a similar circumstance happened with the Downs. . . .

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