Albuquerque Journal Editors Proven Wrong By Federal Judge

Reporter Dennis Domrzalski published in his blog “ALB Reports” one of the hardest hitting editorial pieces I have seen regarding the Albuquerque Police command staff and their failure to implement the DOJ reforms under the settlement agreement.

On Novmber 6, 2017 the Albuquerque Journal did an editorial stating that a hearing was needed to determine if the Federal Monitor was biased so that the reform effort could move on.

At the heart of the editorial was the fact that Assistant Chief Huntsman recorded on his lapel camera a confidential discussion with the City Attorney and the Federal monitor that suggested that the monitor was biased.

The Albuquerque Journal in its editorial failed to disclose that only 9 minutes of the full 14-minute lapel camera video was provided to the Journal and the Court.

What was surprising is that the Albuquerque Journal apparently had no problem with Huntsman recording the conversation without the monitors knowledge or consent given the fact no objection to the unethical conduct was mention in the editorial and the Journal seemed to continue to give cover to the Berry Administration.

The ABQ Reports article on the November 16, 2017 Federal Court hearing is very compelling and is a true reflection of what happened in the Courtroom.

Following is the commentary in full as written by Dennis Domrzalski on his blog:
APD’s House Of Sleaze Implodes
November 17, 2017

Dennis Domrzalski

“It will be remembered forever by those who were there as the day a federal court judge told the sleaze what it really was, which is sleaze; the day Albuquerque regained control of is police department; and the day the sleazy edifice of lies built by the Albuquerque Police Department’s command staff came crashing down on its sleazy, lying and manipulating inhabitants.

It was the day that City Attorney Jessica Hernandez, APD Chief Gorden Eden, Assistant Chief Bob Huntsman and others were exposed in public for what they were: sleazy manipulators who tried to deceive a federal court judge with manipulated evidence, who tried to smear the independent monitor in APD’s reform case with that manipulated evidence, and liars who misstated their case to the judge – no who basically lied in court documents and to the judge’s face in court.

That day, November 16, 2017, and the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Brack, should be memorialized and celebrated forever in the city’s history. The day should be celebrated as one in which the city regained its freedom and sanity, and Brack as the humble, unassuming, mild-mannered judge who exposed and smote the sleaze with those mightiest of weapons: openness, words and the pen.

It didn’t seem like it would ever happen. After more than six hours of testimony in his courtroom Thursday, much of it slamming APD, Brack seemed to do what he has always done in these hearings about APD’s lack of progress in the reform process: express mild dissatisfaction with APD, suggest that everybody do better in the future, and thank everyone for their hard work.

After all, this was the judge who threw a barbecue in his courtroom not that long ago to celebrate the fact that APD actually did what it was supposed to do under its settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, never mind that it was about a year late in achieving its goal of actually writing acceptable policies.

And the day was different as well. The independent monitor, James Ginger, had apparently had enough of APD’s lies. In past hearings he had gone easy in court on the department even though his written reports savaged APD’s command staff.

Not this time, though.

Ginger came out swinging hard and told Brack in no uncertain terms that, three years into the reform process, APD continued to willfully obstruct the reform effort. And then, as always, there was attorney Peter Cubra, who told Brack that APD had violated his orders – court orders – and that he needed to hold the city and APD in contempt of court.

Then there was the coalition of community policing councils from the Northeast Heights who told Brack that APD was ignoring them, even though the CPCs are mandated by the settlement agreement, and how some officers at the department’s civilian police academy told them that the initials D-O-J were really a four-letter word.

The ACLU was there as well to tell Brack what appeared obvious to a lot of people: that in attacking Ginger’s credibility, APD was trying to smear him and derail the reform process.

And, as if they had emerged from a 1,000-year sleep, four city councilors – four do-nothing city councilors who had previously done nothing about APD’s obstructionist tactics – showed up for the hearing. No city councilor had been seen at previous hearings.

When the day’s testimony had ended, many in the packed courtroom figured the hearing would end like all the others had.

Ginger had the final word and said he wanted to “clear the air” about the city’s allegations that he was biased against APD and the fact that Huntsman had secretly recorded him 20 months ago and used that lapel camera video to try to destroy him.

Brack told Ginger that he should wait for another time. Ginger sat down, and then the mild-mannered judge began to speak. It was business as usual at first, and then he got into the city’s case against Ginger and said he was denying the city’s motion for an evidentiary hearing on the matter.

People in the courtroom benches sat up.

Then the words of destruction came, not in a torrent, not in a rush of anger, not in anything but a calm and deliberate voice that had simply had enough of APD’s and the city’s sleaziness. And those words went on and on and on for who knows, 10 minutes, 20 minutes? No one kept track, and the words were so incredible that no one wanted them to end, except, of course, the sleazeoids at the city’s table in Brack’s courtroom.

Brack stunned the courtroom when he said that Huntsman, APD’s master spy, was wrong to have turned on his lapel camera to secretly record Ginger on March 18, 2016 just before a city council meeting. That, Brack said, was almost certainly a violation of the settlement agreement, which says APD officers can use their lapel cameras only for legitimate police purposes.

Brack further amazed the spectators when he noted that APD’s motion to discredit Ginger was filed on the eve of when Ginger’s sixth report – a report that absolutely ripped the command staff – was to be filed with the court. He amazed the audience when he noted that three city councilors had asked for an audit of Ginger around the same time and noted that Ginger’s duties are explicitly detailed in the settlement agreement that APD and the city signed with the DOJ.

By the time Brack said that Huntsman and Hernandez set Ginger up in the video, courtroom spectators were giddy on their insides, but still sitting in stunned silence because they had never heard anything like what they were hearing: a federal court judge – true power and authority in our society – exposing and ripping APD from the bench and in public like it had never been done before by anyone in power.

And by the time Brack said that it was APD and the city that were playing games and trying to discredit the reform process, some in the courtroom were near tears, so happy were they to hear the truth coming from such authority.

When Brack got to the city’s triple hearsay affidavit in support of its motion, people were amazed. The judge detailed just how useless the affidavit, which was signed by Eden, was. An anonymous employee from Ginger’s office told an unnamed APD employee that Ginger had an ax to grind. The unnamed city employee then told Eden, who promptly put his name to a sworn affidavit.

Brack noted the triple hearsay, and then destroyed Hernandez and Eden by saying that that triple hearsay had “less than zero evidentiary value.”

And then Brack revealed the true sleaze of Hernandez, Huntsman, APD Chief Gorden Eden and company. He took apart their motion and revealed how they tried to deceive and trick a federal court judge.

“The Court finds that the manner in which the City framed the March 18, 2016 meeting comes dangerously close to obstruction of this reform process,” Brack’s order in denying APD’s request for a evidentiary hearing on Ginger said. “In his affidavit, Assistant Chief Huntsman swears that he turned on his on-body camera because of Dr. Ginger’s ‘escalating behavior.’ The DVD of the 2016 meeting that the City produced to the court of public opinion via YouTube and the Albuquerque Journal, which is just shy of nine minutes, could be spun in support of Assistant Chief Huntsman’s statement.

“The City produced a different video, however, to the Court. The official video exhibit is approximately 14 minutes long, with the five additional minutes on the front end. It is apparent why the City chose to cut these additional five minutes—they reflect an atmosphere of cordial conversation. There is certainly no evidence of irritation or ‘escalating behavior’ from Dr. Ginger that would have concerned Assistant Chief Huntsman.

“The discrepancy between these two versions of the secret recording is the most damning evidence that the City and APD leadership has manipulated the video to cast Dr. Ginger in a light that allegedly demonstrates bias or prejudice. Again, the Court finds the last nine minutes are insufficient to show bias or prejudice, much less the full 14 minutes.

“Moreover, if this video is not in direct contravention of paragraph 229 of the CASA, it is plainly not in keeping with the spirit of that paragraph, which restricts the use of lapel cams to official law enforcement duties. The City’s decision to secretly record the Monitor in order to blindside him later is unacceptable. This type of conduct chills the possibility of candid communication in the future and erodes trust. To ensure that the City has not surreptitiously recorded other meetings for future use, the Court orders the City to immediately produce, in camera [in Brack’s chambers], all video and/or audio recordings and/or transcripts it has secretly obtained of either the Monitor, the monitoring team, or of this Court.”

It was simple and direct: APD and the city, and that means Eden, Huntsman, Hernandez and company manipulated evidence.

Brack’s dismantling of APD’s case against Ginger was pure beauty. But when he suggested that he himself might have been recorded by Master Spy Huntsman, some in the courtroom started exclaiming things like, “Holy shit,” and “My god!”

It was unbelievable, and after Brack had finished, spectators filed out of the courtroom, mostly in silence because they were in shock. No one had expected it, and everyone was thrilled that it had happened.

The sleaze had finally been exposed and hammered in court by a federal judge. It was simply magnificent.

Outside the courtroom someone half shouted what was on many people’s minds:

“They’re not even smart criminals.”

They’re not, and God bless Judge Brack for bulldozing their house of sleaze.”

Embarrassing As Federal Judge Blasts City’s Efforts To Discredit Federal Monitor

On November 16, 2017, after sitting through a day long hearing before Federal Judge Robert Brack, I was witness to something that I do not recall ever seeing a Federal Judge ever do in my entire 40 year career as an attorney.

Federal Judge Robert Brack publicly admonished a party to a lawsuit and discredited them from the bench with an order making findings he had prepared for filing and filed simultaneously with his announcement of the ruling from the bench.

On November 16, 2017 the Court held a hearing on Federal Monitor James Ginger’s sixth progress report regarding the Albuquerque Police Department’s compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

The sixth monitor’s report was again highly critical of APD and finding a “culture of accountability” markedly absent from APD.

One day before the November 1, 2017 release of the Federal Monitor’s sixth report, the City Attorney’s Office filed a motion challenging the impartiality of the Federal Monitor and citing a lapel camera video recording made in March, 2016 by Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman.

During a March of 2016 confidential meeting, APD Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman secretly turned on his lapel camera to record Federal Court Monitor James Ginger when he was having a heated discussion with City Attorney Jessica Hernandez.

The City filed a motion with the federal court challenging the impartiality of the Federal Monitor and demanding an evidentiary hearing on the matter.

The Motion attached affidavits from Chief Eden and Assistant Chief Huntsman and claimed that the Federal Monitor was hostile and biased towards APD and that the Court should decide if the monitor should be removed.

The Federal court denied the city’s motion for an evidentiary hearing but not before severely criticizing the city’s conduct and tactics.

(See November 16, 2017, page A-1, Albuquerque Journal: Judge blasts city’s tactics against APD Monitor)


Following is the blog report posted by Dennis Domrzalski, ABQ Report, detailing the Court’s findings on the City’s Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing:
“Federal Judge Nukes City And APD
November 16, 2017

Dennis Domrzalski, ABQ Report

Judge Brack Says APD Tried To Smear The Independent Monitor In order To Get Rid Of Him

Says APD Manipulated Video Evidence

Asst. Chief Huntsman Was Wrong to Secretly Record The Independent Monitor

Says APD Set The Monitor Up And Blindsided Him

The city and APD tried to throw a hand grenade into the police reform process in the final days of Mayor Richard Berry’s administration by accusing the independent monitor in the reform effort of being biased against the department.

On late Thursday afternoon, the federal court judge in the case responded by dropping an atomic bomb on the city, APD and assistant police chief Robert Huntsman.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack accused Huntsman and the city of trying to smear and discredit the independent monitor, James Ginger, in an attempt to discredit the reform process itself.

In what amounted to an unprecedented and unrelenting public dress-down, Brack said in open court, and in front of Huntsman, APD Chief Gorden Eden and City Attorney Jessica Hernandez that the city, APD and Huntsman tried to deceive him, manipulated evidence and set up Ginger in an attempt to discredit him.

And, in making a secret lapel camera recording of Ginger on March 18, 2016, Huntsman apparently violated the reform settlement agreement the city signed with the U.S. Department of Justice, Brack said.

In ripping the city and APD, Brack denied the city’s request for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Ginger was biased against APD.

Brack said the city’s behavior amounted to an “attempt to undermine and intimidate the monitor,” and added that he thought the city was playing a political game in the situation. “This game,” Brack said, “is not acceptable.”

In saying that the city tried to deceive the court, Brack pointed to the Oct. 31 motion filed by the city in which it said the secret video of Ginger that Huntsman made with his lapel camera was nine minutes long. The transcript of the video the city filed with the court represented nine minutes of video, Brack said.

But the city included the entire video with the motion, and it was 14 minutes long. The first five minutes of the conversation between Ginger and City Attorney Jessica Hernandez were pleasant and presented no reason for Huntsman to turn on his lapel camera, Brack said.

Brack said that the city tried to manipulate the situation by deleting the first five minutes out of its transcript of Huntsman’s video

“The Court finds that the manner in which the City framed the March 18, 2016 meeting comes dangerously close to obstruction of this reform process,” Brack’s order said. “ In his affidavit, Assistant Chief Huntsman swears that he turned on his on-body camera because of Dr. Ginger’s ‘escalating behavior.’ The DVD of the 2016 meeting that the City produced to the court of public opinion via YouTube and the Albuquerque Journal, which is just shy of nine minutes, could be spun in support of Assistant Chief Huntsman’s statement.

“The City produced a different video, however, to the Court. The official video exhibit is approximately 14 minutes long, with the five additional minutes on the front end. It is apparent why the City chose to cut these additional five minutes—they reflect an atmosphere of cordial conversation. There is certainly no evidence of irritation or ‘escalating behavior’ from Dr. Ginger that would have concerned Assistant Chief Huntsman.

“The discrepancy between these two versions of the secret recording is the most damning evidence that the City and APD leadership has manipulated the video to cast Dr. Ginger in a light that allegedly demonstrates bias or prejudice. Again, the Court finds the last nine minutes are insufficient to show bias or prejudice, much less the full 14 minutes.

“Moreover, if this video is not in direct contravention of paragraph 229 of the CASA, it is plainly not in keeping with the spirit of that paragraph, which restricts the use of lapel cams to official law enforcement duties.

“The City’s decision to secretly record the Monitor in order to blindside him later is unacceptable. This type of conduct chills the possibility of candid communication in the future and erodes trust. To ensure that the City has not surreptitiously recorded other meetings for future use, the Court orders the City to immediately produce, in camera, all video and/or audio recordings and/or transcripts it has secretly obtained of either the Monitor, the monitoring team, or of this Court.”

Brack said he wasn’t prepared Thursday to rule on whether the city of APD should be held in contempt of court, but he ordered DOJ attorneys to prepare a list of what things, if any, he could find the city in contempt of.

In ripping the city and APD for more than 10 minutes in open court, Brack said that Ginger was frustrated with APD’s slow progress on the reform effort.

In its motion in which it alleged that Ginger was biased against APD, the city noted that Ginger said that the reform effort was a “game.”

But Brack said Ginger was using everyday language and that the real political game in the situation was being played by the city.

“The city is the one that is playing games,” Brack said, while noting that the city’s motion was filed on the eve of the filing of Ginger’s sixth report and of a mayoral election in the city. He also blasted the city for withholding the video for 20 months.”


It was embarrassing watching City Attorney Jessica Hernandez argue the motion for the City and make arguments that stretched all credibility trying to justify the actions of Assitant Chief Huntsman and his unethical conduct in recording the Federal Monitor without his consent.

It was even more embarrassing to think that the Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman would think he could get away with his conduct of recording a court official without his knowledge or consent and during a confidential meeting.

The Federal Monitor Ginger is an officer of the court that reports directly to the Judge and represents the Judge.

City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman should have been fined and sanctioned by the court for the underhanded recording of a federal court official during a confidential discussion and meeting.

However, what happened to them in a courtroom was enough to have an impact on their career reputations.

The city of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman showed their absolute contempt for the Federal Court and authority over the Albuquerque Police Department by recording Federal Monitor James Ginger without his consent or knowledge and without his permission.

The recording by Huntsman of the conversation was noted by the Judge as a clear violation of the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement decree that specifically provides that police body cameras can only be used by police officials during legitimate contacts and interaction with the public.

City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman should be thanked for their past service and notified that their services are no longer needed.

Both should be replaced by Mayor Tim Keller come December 1, 2017.

Congratulations to Mayor Elect Tim Keller!

Congratulations to mayor-elect Tim Keller!

Best wishes to him and his wife and kids as he begins to prepare to be sworn in as mayor of Albuquerque.

I had a blast election night reporting on election returns with Joe Monahan and his team of political analysts including Rick Abraham, Sisto Abeyta, Gene Grant, Greg Payne and Christina Trujillo.

On Friday, November 10th, 2017 in my blog article “Hell Freezes Over” regarding the Albuquerque Journal endorsement of Tim Keller and the paper’s Sunday poll I predicted that the poll would show that Tim Keller would have a substantial lead over Dan Lewis.

I predicted a Tim Keller win approaching 63% or more to Dan Lewis having 37% or less.

The final vote Tuesday night was 62% for Tim Keller and 38% for Dan Lewis.

Glad to see my political instincts have returned.

Once again, best wishes to Mayor elect Tim Keller.

Keller has a mandate now from the voters and he will need it to get things done.

During ancient Roman times, when a victorious general won a major war battle, he would ride into Rome on his chariot as the throngs of adoring citizens cheered him on.

Riding in the chariot with the conquering hero was one of his soldiers whispering in his ear “all victory is fleeting” to remind him that the war was continuing.

Mayor Keller’s real work will begin December 1, 2017 when he is sworn in and I am confident he is up to the task and the battles that lay ahead.

Joe Monahan did a great job on his blog reporting the results of the election.

Following is Joe Monahan’s blog article in full:


“Tim Keller scored a landslide victory in ABQ Tuesday night, giving Democrats control of City Hall after an 8 year Republican run and setting the stage for a major change in tone and policy in the state’s largest city. Keller, who will turn 40 this month, will take the oath of office for a four year term December 1.

The charismatic Keller swept through the city with opposition that was softer than the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Republican Dan Lewis could manage only 38 percent of the vote to Keller’s 62 percent. (Complete results here.)

“It was about a city wanting to hope again, to turn the corner on the drumbeat of negativity to getting on with solving our problems and making ABQ realize its potential,”opined Gene Grant of KNME-TV to our KANW-FM 89.1 Election Night audience.

Our other experts nodded in agreement. They said the landslide was due to that and these other reasons:

–The city had tired of 8 years of GOP rule under Mayor Berry and his lack of success in curbing the crime wave,
–The smooth campaign run by Keller with emphasis on the ground game and getting out the vote
–Keller is charismatic, intelligence and telegenic. He looks like change. It brought voters to his side and he will become the second youngest mayor in city history.
–The Keller message or as veteran Dem activist Sandy Buffett explained: “Tim had an aspirational message and his opponent was all negative.”

Keller’s assertion in his Election Night victory speech that he was given a “mandate” was backed up not only by the massive win, but by a healthy turnout of 96,908, only slightly lower than the 97,399 who showed up for the initial round of balloting October 3 and led to Tuesday’s run-off election. (Keller’s full speech is here.)

The race was immediately called by our KANW 89.1 FM election team when 60,451 votes cast early and absentee were posted thirty minutes after the polls closed. That represented 60 percent of all votes cast. Keller was ahead with 63 percent and only gave up a point when all the ballots, including the 38 percent of the vote cast on Election Day, were counted.

The small gathering for Dan Lewis cleared out fast and the night belonged to a jubilant Keller who gave media interviews and mingled with the throng gathered at the Hotel Andaluz. Only a couple of hundred yards away at the downtown Hyatt his rival admitted defeat early and called Keller to congratulate him. He then conducted this press gaggle.

The photo posted here and snapped by KRQE-TV’s Chris McKee at Lewis’ party sums up the moment. Lewis appears abandoned, a fitting analogy as his own Republican Party never fully warmed to his candidacy.


I asked Keller in our radio interview for details on his transition. He confirmed that former high ranking city officials James B. Lewis and Fred Mondragon are helping to head up his transition team. He will need their expertise as he pointed out his will be the shortest transition in city history with only days to go before he takes the oath. However, the transition will continue over the course of several months, he said, and he will select interim leaders for some city departments as he ponders who to name permanently.
As he said during the campaign, APD will get an interim chief as a national search is launched for a new APD leader for a city besieged by crime and which was the paramount issue of the campaign.

Keller’s pick for the powerful position of Chief Administrative Officer is widely anticipated and should come soon.

Former City Councilor Pete Dinelli said while there is hope for change in ABQ there is also impatience over the crime epidemic. Realistic or not, Dinelli said “people will expect some results in 6 to 12 months. Because of the state of the city and the high expectations for Keller, this could be a relatively short honeymoon.”


The Keller camp breathed easier when the results came in from the runoff in City Council District 5 on the west side and showed Dem Cynthia Borrego handily defeating R Robert Aragon, an ardent Keller foe.

The Borrego win–54-46%–gives Keller 6 Dems on the nine member council, a super majority if he can keep them together. Most important there will be no Robert Aragon, an effective opponent who has now been silenced.


Former City Councilor Greg Payne and consultant Steve Cabiedes said that the mayoral election also showed that a progressive Democrat can unite the party. “It doesn’t always have to be a progressive reaching out to the moderates. Keller showed how it can be the other way around, even though he also had appeal to independents who liked his watchdogging as State Auditor.” said Cabiedes.

Payne said Keller’s willingness to criticize Berry and Borrego’s willingness to take on both Berry and Gov. Martinez was a departure from previous “meek” Democratic behavior that cost them dearly. “He brought home the Democrats because he showed something that has not been seen from them–leadership,” analyzed the Democratic attorney.”

Tim Keller’s $1.3 Million Campaign For Mayor

In January of this year, I predicted that whoever was elected Mayor of Albuquerque would be spending between $1 million to $1.5 million to be elected.

It appears I was correct in the event Tim Keller is elected Mayor on Tuesday, November 16, 2017.

On Friday, November 10, 2017, campaign finance reports were filed in the Mayor’s race by Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis as well as the measured finance committees.

The finance reports reveal just how costly the Mayor’s race has become and that big money and influence has indeed been involved.



Dan Lewis is a “privately financed” candidate and Tim Keller is the only publicly financed candidate.

Review of all the campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk reveals that Republican Dan Lewis raised more than $847,000 in cash contributions for the October election and the November runoff election.

Dan Lewis also raised more than $22,000 in “in-kind” contributions for the elections for a total of $869,000, which is an impressive amount of money by any measure for a municipal election.

Dan Lewis still has over $30,000 in his campaign account as of Friday before the Tuesday election.

It is likely the remaining amount will be used by the Lewis campaign for “get out the vote” initiatives on election day and to pay what remaining debts there may be, including attorney’s fees for the various ethics complaints filed against Dan Lewis.


What is a real eye opener is the amount of money raised and spent on behalf of and for the benefit of Tim Keller, the publicly financed candidate.

According to campaign finance reports, Tim Keller was given a total of $506,254 in public finance combined for the first election and the runoff and he collected $37,870 in “in kind” donations.

Notwithstanding being a public finance candidate, Keller had three (3) measured finance committees that either raised money directly to spend on his behalf or that indirectly spent money and supported him financially.

ABQ Forward Together is the measured finance committee that was formed specifically to raise money to promote Tim Keller for Mayor and it is managed by one of Tim Keller’s former campaign managers for his State Senate runs.

ABQ Forward Together raised $663,000, with major contributions from organized labor including city unions such as AFSME.

The measured finance committee ABQFIREPAC, organized by the City’s local Fire Union raised $67,000 with that money spent to help not only Keller but also Democrat City Council candidates.

ABQFIREPAC spent at least $25,000 for a TV commercial benefiting Keller, yards signs and a freeway billboard.

ABQFIREPAC has an ending balance of $9,378.

The measured finance committee ABQ Working Families also supported Tim Keller and raised $122,000 and has $22,000 remaining.

Broken down, at least $1,169,254 minimum has been spent on Tim Keller’s campaign for Mayor ($506,254 public finance money + $663,000 ABQ Forward = $1,169,254 total).

Broken down further, a maximum of $1,358,254 was potentially spent on Tim Keller’s campaign for Mayor ($506,254 public finance money + $663,000 ABQ Forward + $67,000 ABQFIREPAC + $122,000 ABQ Working Families = $1,358,254.)

Tim Keller had a measured finance committee “Making Albuquerque Safe/Western Albuquerque Land Holdings” that was organized to oppose his candidacy.

“Making Albuquerque Safe/Western Albuquerque Land Holdings” raised $63,000, with most of the money spent during the first election on negative commercials against Keller which I suspect backfired.

The final tab for the Mayor’s race reflects Republican Dan Lewis raised and spent $847,000 to Democrat Tim Keller’s minimum of $1,169, 254 spent or up to $1,358,254 spent.

During the last three weeks, the Keller campaign and the measured finance committees supporting him significantly outspent the Dan Lewis campaign on TV and in all probability the TV ads had a major impact on the polls increasing Keller’s lead even more over Lewis.


Two days after the October 4 initial election, Channel 4 released a poll that showed Lewis was 13 points behind Keller as follows:

• 49.2 percent said Keller.
• 36.4 percent said Lewis.
• 14.4 percent were undecided or didn’t know

Lewis is now 19% points behind Keller according to the final Albuquerque Journal poll.

On Sunday, November 12, 2017, the Albuquerque Journal released it final opinion poll before Tuesday’s, November 14, 2017 Mayoral election.

(See November 12, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “Keller maintains healthy lead in mayoral race; Gap widens to 19 points as Tuesday’s election looms”.)

The Journal poll reflects as follows:

• 53% percent said Keller.
• 34 percent said Lewis.
• 13 percent were undecided or didn’t know

The 13% undecided in the Journal poll is basically the same as the 14.4% in the poll taken six weeks ago because of the margin of error of both polls.

According to the Journal poll, the 13% undecided vote breaks down and consists of 9% Democrat, 14% Republican and 24% Independent.

13% undecided a few days before an election is still a little high, but not enough to overcome the 19% lead by Tim Keller over Dan Lewis in the Journal poll.


When the Albuquerque Journal endorsed Tim Keller on a Friday, I predicted that the Sunday Journal poll would show that Mr. Keller has a substantial lead over Mr. Lewis.

I predicted Keller would have a lead approaching 63% or more to Dan Lewis having 37% or less.

What I did not consider nor predict was the “undecided”.

What I think will happen now is that the 13% undecided vote will break for Tim Keller because Independents will tend to want a Democrat after eight years of a Republican as mayor.

I predict that Mr. Keller will become our next Mayor with a final vote approaching 60% or more for Mr. Keller and Mr. Lewis will get 40% or less of the vote.

Polls tend to become self-fulling prophecies, they affect a candidate’s morale and when taken weeks before and election, dry up a candidate’s ability to raise money.

Polls also tend to affect and suppress election day turnout, unless you are Donald Trump.

Dan Lewis may act and talk like Donald Trump, but he is not Donald Trump.

If we have learned anything from the election of Donald Trump, polls can be very wrong and the candidate that has spent the most, like Hillary Clinton, does not necessarily win.


Political campaign fundraising and big money do influence and do effect on our election process.

Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.

Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the outcome of an election.

With polls taken and money spent, it is now time for the electorate to have the final say.

No one should take anything for granted.

If we have learned anything from the election of Donald Trump, polls can be very wrong and the candidate that has spent the most, like Hillary Clinton, do not necessarily win.

However, in Albuquerque, it appears that the money spent and the final poll in the Mayor’s race reflect that once again the election will be won by the candidate who spent the most money and had the most financial support to get his message out.

Huffington Post Article: “What Happens When A Troubled Police Department Refuses To Reform?; In Albuquerque, they’ve been getting away with it.”

On October 23, 2017, the online news agency Huffington Post published an article on the Albuquerque Police Department as part of its “Listen To America” Huffpost Road Trip.


The article was written by Hufington Post reporter Nick Wing in conjunction with local reporter Dennis Domrzalki with the Alb Free Press.

Huffington Post reporter Nick Wing came to Albuquerque for a few days in September to do research and interview people.

I spent two hours interviewing with the Huffington post reporter Nick Wing and gave him my observations and commentary on what has happened to the Albuquerque Police Department since 2005..

Not at all surprising is that Mayor Berry declined to comment or give his thoughts for the article.

I have no doubt we will not have true police reform until the entire command staff is replaced.

Following is the full Huffington Post article published on October 23, 2017:

What Happens When A Troubled Police Department Refuses To Reform?
In Albuquerque, they’ve been getting away with it.

By Nick Wing and Dennis Domrzalski
10/23/2017 05:00 am ET Updated Oct 23, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE ― Early on the morning of Aug. 24, 2016, two Albuquerque police officers responded to a 911 call at an apartment complex on the city’s west side. Inside, they found the remains of fourth-grader Victoria Martens wrapped in a smoldering blanket.

She had been given alcohol and methamphetamine before she was sexually assaulted, strangled, stabbed and then dismembered. It was her 10th birthday.

Victoria’s mother, Michelle, her mother’s boyfriend and the boyfriend’s cousin were arrested at the scene and charged in the girl’s murder. Only later did it come to light that New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department had forwarded a complaint related to Victoria Martens to the Albuquerque Police Department five months before her death.

Victoria had told a family friend that her mother’s boyfriend had tried to kiss her ― a different man than the one charged in the girl’s death ― and the friend called CYFD.

The police received the referral, but did not follow up. When a reporter from the Albuquerque Journal, the city’s morning newspaper, inquired about it, two APD spokespeople said officers had interviewed Victoria and her mother but found no cause for further investigation. In reality, they had ignored the referral entirely.

If they’d actually looked into it, they might have learned that Michelle Martens had previously trawled the internet looking for men to engage in sexual acts with her children.

A subsequent civilian oversight board investigation found that the APD officials had lied to the press and to the public about the case ― and once they were caught in their lie, Police Chief Gorden Eden rejected the board’s recommendation that one of his officers be suspended for 80 hours for violating the public’s trust.

The handling of the Martens case fit a broader pattern of troubling behavior among APDcommand staff.

The department has been under a reform agreement with the Department of Justice since 2014, after an investigation following a string of controversial police killings found the department had violated the U.S. Constitution and demonstrated “patterns of excessive force.”

The DOJ agreement called for changes to the department’s policies on use of force, training and transparency, as well ongoing review by civilian panels and an independent monitor.

But the APD has repeatedly failed to comply with reforms.

A court-appointed independent monitor, James Ginger, has filed five reports with the judge overseeing the case, each one ripping APD for its obstruction. The most recent report, filed in May, accused APD of being in “deliberate noncompliance.”

“There seems to be no one person, unit, or group with responsibility and command authority to ‘make change happen,’” wrote Ginger.

Federal consent decrees and civilian oversight are often held up as strong tools to get misbehaving police departments to right ship. But Albuquerque’s experience shows the agreements can be toothless and fragile ― they don’t work without the cooperation of the police and, perhaps more important, city government.

It’s been more than three years since the agreement was signed, and oversight officials and community activists say the department’s leaders remain accountable to no one.

Albuquerque police officers observe a protest in March 2014, just weeks before the U.S. Department of Justice released a scathing report about the department’s unconstitutional practices.

On a Tuesday morning in early September, members of Albuquerque’s Police Oversight Board gathered in the basement of a municipal building downtown to review a docket of APD cases.

When the session moved to cases from APD’s Critical Incident Review Team, an internal unit created under the settlement agreement to examine serious uses of force, the board identified a recurring problem: The video evidence CIRT had been sharing was often disorganized and inconsistently labeled, making it nearly impossible to navigate to relevant segments of footage.

Complications like this have become par for the course, said Joanne Fine, chair of the board. “Every obstacle they can put in our way, they did,” she said in an interview after the meeting.

Fine retired in 2013 from United Way, where she served as a chief communications officer, and has been volunteering with the oversight board since 2015. Her attitude toward the reform process has changed in the last two years.

“We were trying to figure out a way to collaborate with APD, to cooperate with them, before we realized the dysfunction,” she said.

Fine devotes about 20 hours a week to the work, she said. For other board members, which include a former pastor, retired scientist and a diverse cast of community activists, it has become a full-time job without pay.

APD may occasionally give lip service to the oversight board, but the department doesn’t genuinely acknowledge the mandate of civilian oversight, said Ed Harness, executive director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, the investigative arm of the POB that reviews officer-involved shootings and complaints against officers.

“We look at this consent decree and the department as if they’re going through the stages of grief,” Harness said. “The command staff is still in that phase of denial, and they haven’t moved on to acceptance. So that’s where the resistance is. They deny that there are any problems, they deny that there were ever problems, and they don’t feel that change is necessary.”

Asked for comment, APD emailed a statement from a city attorney, who maintained that Albuquerque and its police department remain committed to reform.

We look at this consent decree and the department as if they’re going through the stages of grief. The command staff is still in that phase of denial.Ed Harness, executive director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency.

Consent decrees can change the behavior of police departments, said Harness, a former Milwaukee police officer. But much of the necessary change is cultural, and it can be difficult to enforce a transformation when defiance has become so deeply entrenched.

Critics say APD’s culture of intransigence starts at the top. Chief Eden came to APD in February 2014, two months before the DOJ released the findings of its investigation into the department’s practices.

Eden replaced Ray Schultz, who had faced calls to resign amid the probe, with the intent that he would lead the department through the reform process.

The investigation specifically called out APD’s SWAT team and another, since-disbanded tactical unit, concluding that the officers assigned to the elite squads had been responsible for more than a third of the department’s shootings since 2010.

Weeks after that review, Eden promoted a former SWAT commander, Bob Huntsman, to be his second in command. Huntsman had left the APD in 2012, before some of the unit’s most controversial killings, but activists said his leadership had enabled SWAT’s rogue behavior.

They saw his selection as an immediate sign of hostility toward the reform effort.

Huntsman’s role at APD has only grown since his return, while Eden’s has withered. He “essentially runs” APD today, said Harness.

Under Eden and Huntsman’s watch, there appears to have been little effort to challenge the culture at APD.

Many say the current mindset dates back to August 2005, when a mentally ill man went on a shooting spree that left two of the department’s officers and three others dead. The department began to take on a more militarized ethos after the tragedy, laying the groundwork for an increase in officer-involved shootings, said Pete Dinelli, a former city councilor and prosecutor and frequent critic of the APD.

“We shifted from community-based policing, where we had a fully staffed department that did a lot of community outreach and emphasized a proactive approach to law enforcement,” said Dinelli. “We started recruiting a far more aggressive type of police officer. And with that, there was an emphasis placed on defensive tactics on behalf of the police officer.”

Under the department’s current leadership, Dinelli has little hope that reform will truly take root. And he says it’s not just Huntsman and Eden who have to go.

“It’s a paramilitary organization with a definite chain of command in place,” he said. “Most of the officers that are in command staff have been there for a number of years. They don’t want to respond to civilians. They don’t want to be told what to do.”

Meaningful reform would require APD to recruit and train a new generation of rank-and-file officers, Dinelli said.

In theory, the DOJ or the monitor, James Ginger, could call for sanctions on the department, including criminal contempt-of-court charges, fines, removal of leaders, or even a complete takeover, an unprecedented action for a federal judge.

Jonathan Smith, a former Justice Department official in the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Albuquerque agreement, said he understands the impatience but urged activists to stay actively involved in the process and to let it play out.

“These police departments get broken over a long period of time, cultures get developed over a long period of time, and changing police culture takes a long period of time,” Smith said. (The Department of Justice said it would not comment on pending litigation.)

Gutting the department would certainly be a drastic departure from the current approach.

“We only can make recommendations; we cannot impose anything,” Harness said. “We have to have the support of the public and of the citizens of Albuquerque to get things done. We have to have them engaged, and we have to have them be responsive and hold the department accountable.”

It’s not clear that the general public would support a broader overhaul. Crime rates have been on the rise in Albuquerque over the past few years, and some residents ― especially those in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods ― see reform as a secondary issue, one that only makes it harder for cops to protect them and their property.

“If you go to community meetings, for the most part you’ll find a much larger group that supports whatever the police do and a small minority that wants to see the police change,” said Bill Kass, a member of the POB. “They’re hardly a silent majority. They’re effectively a supportive majority, so that does give cops some cover.”

Law enforcement officials around the country have made similar arguments that addressing civil rights violations in a department would interfere with legitimate police functions. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expressed disdain for federal consent decrees and the idea of police reform more broadly, drawing pushback from activists who say that the efforts benefit civilians and cops alike.

Although Albuquerque’s consent decree is a court-ordered agreement, meaning Sessions can’t unilaterally roll it back, his tone doesn’t make the process any easier.

“I believe the Trump administration and Jeff Sessions are going to do whatever they can to gut any further civil rights investigations of police misconduct,” Dinelli said. “Over the next four years, as long as Trump and Sessions are in office, we won’t see another consent decree.”

That sort of antagonism has broader implications for police reform in Albuquerque and nationwide.

“You’re losing the hammer and you’re sending a message to jurisdictions that we’re not really serious about this,” said William Yeomans, a 24-year veteran of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and a former acting assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

“Decrees work best when folks at the top make it clear that they mean business, that the decree will be carried out,” added Yeomans. “If they don’t, and there’s any wiggle room, people are going to tend back on the way they have traditionally done things.”

You’re losing the hammer and you’re sending a message to jurisdictions that we’re not really serious about this.William Yeomans, former acting assistant attorney general under George W. Bush

Over the course of a consent decree, police will eventually get the message, Smith said.

“If you tell a cop, ‘Here’s a new policy,’ they’ll roll their eyes and go back to doing it the way they’ve done it, until they’ve been held accountable again and again and again,” he said.

Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, says that cops on the street want the reform effort to succeed, but they’re frustrated by the complexity and lack of consistency in implementing some policies.

Many beat cops ― some already skeptical of the push for more transparency and accountability ― see an inefficient system of red tape that keeps them off street while they fill out paperwork for the various oversight authorities.

Willoughby said his experience with the process has been chaotic and inconsistent. Every consent decree is different, and everyone involved in Albuquerque’s campaign has, in effect, been participating in a big experiment, Willoughby said. And unless everyone reaches agreement on how to move forward, the process will fail.

“When we started this there was not a book out there called ‘Reforming Your Police Department With The DOJ For Idiots,’” Willoughby said. “I don’t think there has been ill-intent, but it is evident to me that this is not going to work.”

Downtown Albuquerque at night. The most recent federal monitor’s report found APD to be 47 percent in operational compliance with the consent decree. For a judge to consider lifting the decree, it must be 95 percent for two years.

City leadership has done little to signal that reform is a priority. Mayor Richard Berry and the nine city councilors have remained mostly silent on the issue.

During a meeting with Ginger in early 2016, council members asked him who was ultimately responsible for the reform effort. His response: the City Council.

Even after Ginger’s five negative reports about APD’s stonewalling, there have been no calls from City Hall for Eden to be fired and no formal reprimands ― even when APD lied to the public about the Martens case.

Berry, the city’s first Republican mayor in over 30 years, has been similarly indifferent. But after two terms, he isn’t running for re-election, and a new mayor will be sworn in on Dec. 1. Both candidates in the runoff election slated for mid-November have said they’ll fire Eden and go full speed ahead on reform.

Berry did not respond to a HuffPost request to comment on reform of the police department.

Under the DOJ consent decree, the Albuquerque Police Department must be found to be in 95 percent operational compliance for two years before the judge can consider declaring the work complete. The monitor’s last report found just 47 percent operational compliance.

Meanwhile, Albuquerque taxpayers are on the hook not just for the cost of the protracted reform effort but also for the large settlements that continue to arise as a result of police misconduct.

The city has already shelled out nearly $3 million to pay for salaries and audits associated with the reform process, according to officials, and will likely be on the hook for millions more before all is said and done. In 2017 alone, Albuquerque added an additional $3 million to its budget to bolster the fund that covers out-of-court settlements, many of which are related to APD.

But city officials say everything is going according to schedule.

“When the City and Department of Justice began this process, they set an extremely ambitious timeline for themselves, one of the most ambitious in the nation,” Albuquerque City Attorney Jessica Hernandez, who represents the city and APD in court, said in an email. “The City has made tremendous progress over the last three years. As the City continues those efforts, both the Department and community must remember that we are focused on ensuring reform is implemented correctly as opposed to merely quickly. As the Independent Monitor has said, ‘This is a marathon, not a sprint.’”

Activists say if the city doesn’t force its police department to change, it’s not going to. For now, however, the will for swifter action may not be there.

“It seems like citizens are sort of resigned to the fact that there’s always going to be pay-to-play, that you’re always going to have a pretty fierce police force with no accountability,” said Silvio Dell’Angela, a retired Air Force officer and Vietnam veteran who’s been actively involved in the reform process. “People don’t dare to threaten the status quo, even when cops shoot people.”

Hell Freezing Over

As the old saying goes “when hell freezes over” and it sure does look like the devil is throwing snowballs in hell, at least in the race for Albuquerque Mayor.

On November 10, 2017 the Albuquerque Journal published its endorsement in the Albuquerque Mayor’s race.

(See November 10, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A8, “A new direction; Keller’s leadership, experience needed”)

Two months ago, the Albuquerque Journal did a double endorsement as to who should be in a runoff for Mayor of Albuquerque, endorsing one Republican and one Democrat and endorsing Republican Dan Lewis and Democrat Brian Colon out of a field of eight after 10 months of a campaign.

The day before their endorsement, the Albuquerque Journal did the traditional glowing profiles of both candidates.

Now, with the passage of almost six weeks and just three days before the November 14, 2017 runoff election, the Albuquerque Journal begrudgingly endorses Tim Keller with a few backhanded criticisms regarding public finance, in-kind donations and ethics complaints filed by Republican operatives.

The banner head line for the Albuquerque Journal endorsement “A new direction; Keller’s leadership, experience needed” was no doubt historical in its reversal of a previous endorsement of another candidate.

The Albuquerque Journal endorsement says in part:

“Confronted with high crime, stagnant population growth and a Legislature not inclined to support many Duke City issues, Albuquerque needs a mayor who has shown leadership and the ability to unite.

It needs a mayor who can forge partnerships — with its police department, the court system, the District Attorney’s Office, the business community, the U.S. Department of Justice and lawmakers — to attack and subdue the crime that has become an intolerable problem.

Tim Keller, a former state senator and now the state auditor, has earned a reputation for being able to pull divergent interests together for the common good.

He has shown he favors transparency in government, and his experience as auditor would prove valuable to keeping the city on positive financial footing.

For those reasons, the Journal recommends voters choose Keller as the city’s next mayor.”

Damn, I sure wish I could have seen the Journal Editors turn blue as they wrote their editorial choking on all the egg on their face.

The Journal usually publishes their endorsements on a Sunday which has the largest readership.

I suspect the difference is the Journal will also be publishing their poll in the Mayor’s race on Sunday.

The editors probably know the results of the poll they will be publishing this Sunday in the race for Mayor.

I predict the Journal poll will show that Mr. Keller has a substantial lead over Mr. Lewis and that Keller has a lead approaching 63% or more to Dan Lewis having 36% or less.

I cannot help but wonder if the Albuquerque Journal has changed its party affiliation to Republican.