Monday, January 04, 2016

Turning The Calendar On The Old Year But Not The Old Problems, Plus: Some Easy New Year's Predictions 

Welcome back and into 2016. . .

The final days of 2015 ended with with a bang--literally. A prominent ABQ businessman was stabbed to death in the driveway of his home in the upscale Four Hills neighborhood, trying to stop thieves from burglarizing his car. That's the very neighborhood in which ABQ Mayor Richard Berry lives and again shows how the criminal class is increasingly emboldened. And why not? APD is chronically and dangerously understaffed. Sorry to say, but expect the violent crime wave to grow not diminish in this new year. . .

And the Guv's holiday pizza party will continue to generate laughs and derision in this new year as it did in late '15. A columnist  for the Las Vegas Review Journal took on the holiday party gone bad:

She compounded her own troubles when she admitted that bottles were thrown from the hotel room's fourth-floor balcony after first contending the objects had been snowballs. Remind me never to get in a snowball fight with the governor of New Mexico. Now it seems her prospects for courtship on the national political stage lack a snowball's chance to survive in 2016.

Here's one prediction we will make for '16. If, as expected, Martinez escalates her out-of-state political travel this year, it will generate more criticism than it has in the past.

The state continues to wrestle with a stubborn unemployment problem, crashing oil prices and a depopulation trend now two years old. There was a flash of good news in the latest jobs stats for the ABQ metro, but it's too early to tell if that is an outlier or a trend. The flat housing market is probably the best indicator of the job market and that remains, well, flat.

But wealth will be served in this new year. Our pyramid-like economy--with the well-off perched high over an ever growing low-income crowd--will soon have the pricey Ruth's Chris steakhouse in ABQ where they can feast over their good fortune. (At least we think they will. The restaurant had set a late 2015 opening date). No one said there's no money in ABQ--there's just not enough of it spread around.

Back on crime and APD which sucks so much oxygen out of ABQ's air. Here's an informed reader with a critique of the recently announced APD reorganization:

First, it’s interesting that the reorganization was said to be developed by APD Chief Eden when in fact it is no more than the implementation of recommendations made by outside staffing consultants who were brought in as part of the federal APD reform effort.

Second, the moves being announced seem like no-brainers: increased community policing (we needed a consultant to tell us this?), changing area command leadership every 3 years instead of annually (how could such frequent command turnover have been thought sensible?), increasing the traffic unit from 9 to 40 officers (no wonder red light running is endemic), reducing the number of special units at headquarters to free up more officers for patrol duty and redeploying officers in special units that are now seldom utilized (pretty obvious), requiring investigators to be on duty when they are actually needed (gang unit officers now only work on weekdays), and not having officers investigate fender-bender accidents.


Here's reader and ABQ attorney Norm Gagne with some thoughts on what broke the back of the once robust ABQ economy:

My theory is that interstate banking changed the calculus. The family banks were sold to large out-of-state banks which in turn merged. Gone were the local bankers, perhaps the people with the greatest vested interest in making the community work and the people who could put local money and influence to work to that end. The bankers along with others of the old guard were, I think, the glue that kept the old city running.

I don't discount the dramatic downturn in Federal spending as a substantial cause of the city's woes nor do I think the old guard could have prevented all of the pain. My theory is that the city would not have drifted as it does now and a more robust, effective response to the Federal retraction would have been mounted.


Bianca Ortiz Wertheim was Dem US Senator Tom Udall's state director but was bumped up to DC to become his chief of staff so. . . .

Senator Udall announced that Greg Bloom has joined his staff as state director and will lead his New Mexico operations. Bloom worked from 2009-2012 as state director for former U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, where he focused on energy, public lands, health and education issues. Bloom will be based in Albuquerque and supervise staff in Udall's field offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Carlsbad and Portales.


Here's some political lay ups to kick off this new year which is also an election year. . .

None of the three incumbent US representatives for New Mexico will be defeated when they stand for re-election in November. . .The new Bernalillo County Clerk will be a Democrat. . .We will likely get the first candidate declaring their candidacy for mayor of ABQ for the October 2017 election before March.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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