“Ignorant, Uneducated, Simple-minded” Racists Trump and News Paper Editor

On February 19, 2019, media news outlets reported that the editor and publisher of the weekly newspaper “Democrat-Reporter” in Linden, Alabama called for the Ku Klux Klan “to night ride again” against Democrats who “are plotting to raise taxes” in the state.

Below are the links to 4 separate national media reports:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/media/alabama-newspaper-klan-trnd/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/19/time-ku-klux-klan-night-ride-again-an-alabama-newspaper-editor-wants-bring-back-lynching/?utm_term=.d7144742d505

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/us/kkk-linden-democrat-reporter.html

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/19/goodloe-sutton-ala-newspaper-editor-calls-kkk-retu/

The short editorial also proclaims that Democrats are responsible for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and war in the Middle East.

Linden is a small town in the county seat of Marengo County, Alabama, with a population of 2,123 according to the 2010 census.

Goodloe Sutton is the editor and publisher of the newspaper and he confirmed to media outlets that he wrote the editorial.

THE EDITORIAL IN FULL

The editorial appeared in print on Valentine’s Day February 14, 2019 and was titled “Klan Needs To Ride Again”.

Following is the full editorial written by and published by Goodloe Sutton:

“ Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again.

Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.

They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas. This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people.

People who do not understand the constitution do not like to be responsible.

Slaves, just freed after the civil war, were not stupid. At times, they borrowed their former master’s robes and horses, and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer. Sometimes they had to kill one or two of them, but so what.

This is the same so what used when Democrats got us into World War I and World War II. Then they got us fighting in North Korea. Next when the industrial northeast wanted more money, they got us in the Vietnam War, and now into the Middle East war.

If you haven’t noticed, they did away with the draft so their sons would not have to go into battle.

Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there. They call them compounds now.

Truly they are the ruling class.”

“Democrat-Reporter”, Goodloe Sutton, February 14, 2019.

NO APOLOGIES, MORE HATE, AND CONDEMNATION

Sutton confirmed that he wrote the editorial and went on to make even more inflammatory comments advocating violence in an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser when he said:

“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off … We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

When asked if he felt it was appropriate for the publisher of a newspaper to call for the lynching of Americans, Sutton argued that “socialist-communists aren’t Americans.”

Not surprising, journalist and elected officials expressed outrage and condemned the editorial.

United States Senator Doug Jones, D-Ala., called on Sutton to resign when he tweeted:

“OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under? This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign -NOW … I have seen what happens when we stand by while people-especially those with influence – publish racist, hateful views. Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now!”

Chip Brownlee, a journalist for the Alabama Political Reporter told NBC News he is familiar with the Democrat-Reporter.

Brownlee decided to post a picture of the editorial because he “thought other people needed to see it, too” and went on to say:

“As an editor, seeing that type of dangerous language in a newspaper is disturbing. … I think sunlight is the best disinfectant.

LIKE EDITORIAL, TRUMP ENCOURAGES VIOLENCE

Goodloe Sutton proclaims “time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again. … We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them” when referring to people he does not agree with politically.

President Trump, like editor Goodloe Sutton, advocates violence against those he disagrees with and has when he ran and now that he is President.

On January 23, 2016, Donald Trump said at a rally in Sioux Center that his supporters are so loyal that he would not lose backers even if he were to shoot someone in the middle of downtown Manhattan.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-says-he-could-shoot-somebody-still-maintain-support-n502911

On February 21, 2016, Trump told a crowd of his supporters in Cedar Rapids that he would pay their legal fees if they engaged in violence against protesters and said:

“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell out of them … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”

http://time.com/4203094/donald-trump-hecklers/

At a Las Vegas campaign rally in March, 2016 Trump said security guards were too gentle with a protester and said “He’s walking out with big high-fives, smiling, laughing. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”

In yet another campaign rally in March, 2016 in Warren, Michigan, Trump said of a protester “Get him out. …Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.”

In July 2017 during a speech to police officials, Trump encourage law enforcement officials to be more violent in handling arrested offenders when he said:

“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice … When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head you know, the way you put their hand over [their head],” Trump continued, mimicking the motion. Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. … You can take the hand away, OK?’”

On Thursday, October 25, 2018, the very a day after CNN and a number prominent Democrats who have criticized him, including former President Obama, Vice Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and 10 others, were the targets of a serial pipe bomber, Trump in a TWEET blamed the media for much of the “anger” in society by saying:

“A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

LIKE NEWSPAPER EDITOR, TRUMP IS RACIST

Goodloe Sutton calling upon the Klu Klux Klan to act and proclaiming “Slaves … At times, they borrowed their former master’s robes and horses, and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer. Sometimes they had to kill one or two of them, but so what,” is as racist as it gets.

Trump has an extensive history of making racists remarks and taking racist actions that are even worse than the editorial.

President Trump’s racism dates back to 1973 when his housing management company was the target of a Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division civil lawsuit over allegations that he and father as real estate developers were keeping black and Puerto Rican people out of their apartments.

For at least eight (8) years, Donald Trump was front and center of the “birther movement” and questioned former President Barack Obama’s American citizenship thereby questioning Obama’s legitimacy as President of the United States.

In 2015 when Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency, he said “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”

On January 27, 2017, just seven days after being sworn in as President, Donald Trump signed an executive order halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries arguing it was needed to combat terrorism. The move sparked numerous protests and legal challenges.

President Trump during a ceremony in the White House to honor the World War II Navajo Code talkers, one from New Mexico, he took the opportunity to call Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”.

In August 2017, after a 20-year-old white man drove his car into a crowd at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one anti-racist protester and injuring 19 others, President Trump said that there was “blame on both sides” regarding the deadly violence that was instigated by white supremacists.

The New York Times reported in December, 2017 that President Trump said in a June meeting about immigration that Haitians “all have AIDS”, a statement denied by the White House.

On December 24, 2017, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump described Nigerians as people living in huts and that they would not want to return to them. He reportedly said 40,000 had come from Nigeria and would never “go back to their huts” once they had seen America.

In June, 2018, Trump announce his immigration “no tolerance policy” and his treatment of detaining people seeking asylum and separating children from their parents on the southern border with Mexico.

After the longest government shutdown, Trump declared a “national emergency” to divert millions of dollars to build his border wall after congress refused to fund it, despite declaring that “Mexico will pay for it”.

For more on Trump’s racism see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/06/22/our-racist-in-chief/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

If there is anyone who is “ignorant, uneducated, and simple-minded” to use the words of editor Goodloe Sutton it is President Donald Trump and Sutton himself.

You can throw in the word racist while your at it.

What is absolutely amazing is that so many national and respected news media outlets such as CNN, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, NBC news, all despised and condemned by Trump, would actually report on a very short, inflammatory and racist editorial in a totally unknown and insignificant weekly newspaper distributed to a community of a little more than 2,000 residents and probably read by even fewer.

The fact that a newspaper editor and publisher would write such an editorial and that media outlets would react to it the way they did reflects the nasty and heighten tensions and the toxic political environment created by President Donald Trump on a national level.

There is no doubt that President Trump promotes hostility, mistrust and violence towards the press as well as his critics with his own words and actions.

Trump has repeatedly labelled the media as “fake news,” even labeling reporters as “enemy of the people”.

A few months ago, Trump told his supporters at one of his many rallies:

“I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!”

The “Democrat-Reporter” editorial and the reaction are a sign of the toxic political times created by a President at war with the media who condemns the media as “enemy of the people” and a President who is a racist.

Freedom of the press and freedom speech does not mean a newspaper nor a President can advocate violence against anyone.

Hemp Has Potential Of Being New Mexico’s Next Biggest Cash Crop

Democratic Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, told reporters that Democratic Leaders in the state House want to enact laws to make the growing of hemp New Mexico’s next big agricultural cash crop that will boost the state’s economy.

Following are links to two separate stories:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1282262/democrats-promote-hemp-as-part-of-economic-plan.html

https://www.kob.com/politics-news/nm-democrats-propose-bills-to-diversify-states-economy/5250582/?cat=500

The growing of hemp is legal throughout the United States.

According to Speaker Egolf, New Mexico could easily position itself as a national leader in the hemp agricultural industry.

Egolf highlighted House Bill 581, which will establish regulations allowing the manufacture of hemp products in New Mexico.

New Mexico State Representative Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, a supporter of the legislation, said hemp as an agricultural cash crop has the potential to immediately rival alfalfa as a cash crop in New Mexico.

According to Lente, New Mexico has the right climate for hemp cultivation and noted “Agriculture is the lifeblood of New Mexico.”

Hemp is a relative of marijuana, but it has none of the chemicals in marijuana that causes people to become high like marijuana.

Hemp grown in New Mexico could easily be sent to in-state manufacturers, who could turn it products such as clothing and CBD oil products.

IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE TO NEW MEXICO

When New Mexico State Representative Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, said “Agriculture is the lifeblood of New Mexico” he was not at all kidding.

New Mexico is home to 23,800 farms and 43.9 million acres of farmland.

The states top commodities include beef cattle and calves, pecans, hay, sheep, onions, chiles, greenhouses and nursery products, cotton, and corn.

Agriculture is deeply rooted in New Mexico and in the top 10 of its industries.

Following is a listing of New Mexico’s top 10 agricultural products and what they generate in cash receipts for New Mexico:

1. “According to the New Mexico State University Dairy Extension, just over 77 percent of the milk in New Mexico is produced on the eastern side of the state in Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties. Milk and dairy products generated $1.3 billion in cash receipts.”

2. “About 10,000 families across the state raise beef cattle, and New Mexico lays claim to approximately 387,000 beef cows. Cattle and Calves generated $823.8 million in cash receipts.”

3. “New Mexico is second only to Georgia when it comes to pecan production in the U.S., and in 2017, the state’s farmers produced a record-breaking 92 million pounds of pecans. Pecans generated $220.8 million in cash receipts.”

4. “New Mexico is a major alfalfa hay producer, with 190,000 acres of the crop harvested in 2017. A legume hay, alfalfa is an excellent source of good-quality protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hay generated $109 million in cash receipts.”

5. “New Mexico farmers harvested an estimated 7,100 acres of onions in 2017, and the state is one of the largest summer-onion producers in the nation. Onions generated $106.6 million in cash receipts.”

6. “Considered New Mexico’s signature crop, chile peppers have been cultivated in the state’s Rio Grande Valley for four centuries. New Mexico’s warm, dry climate and 350 days of sunshine each year make it an ideal place to grow chile peppers. Chile peppers generated $44.6 million in cash recipes.”

7. “New Mexico is one of 17 states that produce cotton, and production (in bales) ranks the state 16th. The Land of Enchantment’s upland cotton production is largest in Lea, Doña Ana and Eddy counties. Upland cotton generated $31.9 million cash receipts.”

8. “New Mexico farmers planted about 125,000 acres of corn and harvested 43,000 acres of corn for grain in 2017, resulting in a production value of more than $22 million. Corn generated $22.4 million in cash receipts.”

9. “In 2017, farmers across New Mexico harvested 135,000 acres of wheat. Wheat generated $15.7 million in cash receipts.”

10. “Sorghum is an energy-efficient, drought-tolerant crop, perfect for New Mexico’s climate. New Mexico producers planted 85,000 acres in 2017, yielding 187,000 tons. Sorghum brought in $7.65 million in cash receipts.”

Following is the link to source quoted:

https://www.farmflavor.com/new-mexico/new-mexicos-top-agriculture-commodities/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

A common public misconception is that hemp is somehow a part of marijuana cultivation, which is totally and 100% false.

The fact that legalization of recreational use of marijuana for adults is also being considered by the New Mexico legislature may contribute to the false public perception about hemp.

During past legislative sessions, former State Senator Cisco McSorely was a major sponsor of legislation that would have allowed the growing of hemp in New Mexico.

Two years ago, the legislation past both the Senate and House, but not at all surprising it was vetoed by former Republican Governor “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.

This year should be the year that the hemp legislation becomes law creating a new cash crop for the New Mexico agricultural industry.

The legislation should pass both the House and Senate because Democrats have sizable majorities in both legislative chambers and it is more likely than not that Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will sign it.

New Mexico’s top agricultural crops include pecans, hay, sheep, onions, chiles, greenhouses and nursery products, cotton, and corn and there is no real justifiable reason why hemp should not be allowed and included given its potential in the long run.

STAY TUNED NEW MEXICO

TO Déjà Vu DA Raul Torrez: DV Cases Should Be “Violent Or Dangerous Enough” To Motivate You To Fill 44 Vacant Positions

According a Channel 13 news story, an anonymous tipster sent News 13 pictures of stacks of domestic violence cases piled up on a table in the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.

https://www.krqe.com/news/investigations/domestic-violence-victims-left-in-limbo-for-months-after-reporting-crimes/1776417417?fbclid=IwAR2h1vFytK-efAL-ldfY8TpC1iz-eVKDnDal0qB-Lv5jSM2pOrsUFjAltFY

The photos were of 3 stacks of roughly 500 domestic violence case reports.

Each one of the domestic violence reports were linked to a domestic violence victim left waiting from 2 to 5 months without hearing anything after calling police reporting misdemeanor domestic violence crimes including assault, theft and restraining order violations.

Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Resource Center Amy Whitfield had this to say regarding the unacceptable delay in handling of the domestic violence cases by the District Attorney’s office:

“The time delay makes people feel like people aren’t there for them. … For the victim, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony … they’re afraid. It’s they’re unsafe and that they don’t know what might happen to them. … A lot of times what victims feel is that nobody is on their side, no one is there for them. … They [are] isolated from their support system, their family, their friends … So, really being able to reach out means leaving behind the perpetrator, who is essentially their only support. … The amount of effort that it takes for a domestic violence victim to come forward, if they’re not contacted immediately, it means that they may end up staying within that [abusive] relationship or they may end up changing their mind about prosecution.”

According to Whitfield, the Domestic Violence Resource Center helps roughly 3,000 people a year with getting restraining orders and counseling for victims and their children.

Channel 13 went to Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez for an “on camera” reaction, explanation and response.

District Attorney Raul Torrez explained the stacks of reports were made up of “criminal summons” cases where police did not arrest anyone for various reasons such as suspects had already left the scene of the crime.

District Attorney Raul Torrez acknowledged that victim advocates before would call people who reported domestic violence cases within 2 weeks compared with an average of 2 months to 5 months because there use to be more investigators and victim advocates working the cases for his office.

District Attorney Raul Torrez reported that since News 13 called his office the week before about the backup of criminal summons domestic violence cases, his office caught up on calling the victims.

Torrez proclaimed on camera:

“Right now, there is no backlog … The question for us, though, is how do we sustain this over the long-run? We obviously have to move faster … It’s obviously disappointing to me to have that kind of delay … Every single case that comes into the office and every single victim of crime in the community deserves to get immediate attention.”

Easier said than done.

District Attorney Raul Torrez’s explanation for the domestic violence case backlog was revealing when he said:

“We moved some of those resources into the felony side of the office so that we could increase the case speed on those most violent and dangerous offenders”.

According to Torrez taking quick action on court cases is one of the best ways to deter someone from committing more crimes in the future.

Torrez said focusing resources to move fast on the few repeat offenders responsible for the majority of crime is working to drop the overall number of criminal cases in Bernalillo County.

Torrez expressed hope that eventually falling crime rates will mean more manageable caseloads for his staff so that all victims get the attention they deserve.

DA Raul Torrez went on to tell News 13 that he put in another budget request this year to the 2019 New Mexico Legislature for more investigators and victim advocates.

It is doubtful Torrez will get far with his request for more funding because of what he did last year during the legislative session and his failure to fill vacant postions.

DÉJÀ VU TORREZ

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is the largest law firm in New Mexico that employs attorneys, paralegals, investigators, victim advocates and legal support staff.

The office screens approximately 25,000 cases a year that are referred to the office by law enforcement department such as the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State Police and other police agencies and makes a decision on which cases will be prosecuted.

https://www.berncoda.com/

Ultimately, approximately 4,000 felony cases are indicted and presented each year in State District Court with approximately 35,000 misdemeanor charges prosecuted in Metropolitan Court each year by the Bernalillo County District Attorney.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office employs 319 full time personnel which includes at any given time approximately 118 full time prosecutors assigned to prosecute felonies and with attorneys also assigned to the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court that handles misdemeanor domestic violence cases and aggravated DWI cases.

Last year during the 2018 New Mexico Legislative session, DA Raul Torrez asked the New Mexico State Legislature for a 30% increase in the budget of $18.2 million, or a $5.4 million increase.

Torrez told legislators he wanted the increase in his budget in order to hire an additional 34 attorneys.

Torrez said last year that the lack of resources was the main reason his office could not come close to prosecuting all the pending cases in his office.

According to Torrez at the time, there were “simply too many criminals and not enough staff”.

Torrez said “If we don’t get sufficient resources in this legislative session, I would think several thousand felony cases simply will become too old, too stale for us to act on. It’s not justice”.

The problem apparently never pointed out by the Legislative Council Services last year to the Senate and House appropriations committees is that DA Torrez had 45 vacant positions which included 18 vacant attorney positions that he was not able to fill during his first year in office.

Notwithstanding the vacancies, the 2018 Legislative session approved budget for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office went from $18.2 million to $21.5 million-dollars thanks to the lobbying efforts of DA Raul Torrez and the support of the Bernalillo County delegation members.

Torrez was given a final total of $21.5 million-dollar budget to run his office while other DA offices in the state got a fraction of that funding level.

After District Attorney Raul Torrez secured the large increase in the DA budget, Senator John Arthur Smith, the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, sent Torrez a very strong message by actually saying on camera that Torrez was given “enough rope to hang himself” with the increase in budget.

http://www.koat.com/article/senate-finance-calls-for-2-million-more-for-bern-co-da/17009425

Fast forward to the 2019 New Mexico legislative session.

During the last year, things have not gotten better for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office from the standpoint of personnel and vacant positions.

During the legislative session last year, Torrez had 45 vacant positions.

The New Mexico Sunshine Portal has been updated to include 2019 data to date.

The sunshine portal reflects that one year later, District Attorney Raul Torrez still has 44 vacant positions.

Below is the sunshine portal link to funded Positions and you click on “Judicial” then click on the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s office for the listing names, salaries and vacancies:

https://ssp2.sunshineportalnm.com/#employees

According to the Sunshine Portal, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office is fully funded for 319 full time positions with a personnel budget of $14,529,202.

However, of the 319 fully funded positions, only 275 are filled with 44 vacant positions listed.

The 44 vacant positions include 11 vacant “at will” attorney positions, 15 classified legal secretary positions and 2 victim/witness positions (victim advocates).

NEW MEXICO RANKS 10TH HIGHEST IN COUNTRY FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

On September 16, 2017, according to an annual study published by the Violence Policy Center, it was reported women are more likely to be killed by men in New Mexico than nearly any other state

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/new-mexico-s-rate-of-women-killed-by-men-among/article_eb7e4a2c-273d-5eb6-8007-e5936639b64f.html

The study found the state has the 10th-highest rate of women killed by men, marking the third straight year New Mexico had appeared toward the top of the list, while New Mexico’s overall homicide rate ranked lower.

A New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee study described New Mexico’s response to domestic violence as fragmented and uncoordinated.

The Legislative Finance Committee report also highlighted the judiciary’s inability to provide effective oversight of domestic violence offenders.

Battery on a household member is a misdemeanor but the magistrate courts and the metro court which handle misdemeanor cases have limited ability to monitor offenders serving probation for domestic violence.

The report found that New Mexico spends little on treatment programs for domestic violence offenders and has little evidence of the effectiveness of those programs.

The study counted 16 women killed by men in New Mexico during 2015, the most recent year for which data was are available at the time.

The rate of 1.52 victims per 100,000 women is higher than the national rate of 1.12.

Nearly all the woman were killed by someone they knew.

Most of the killings were not connected to any other felony.

Half followed arguments between the victim and her killer.

New Mexico has ranked among the top 10 states with the highest rates of women killed by men during the last decade.

The Violence Policy Center promotes gun control and found that each state at the top of the list of women killed by men have a high rate of firearm ownership which no doubt includes New Mexico’s gun culture.

Children exposed to domestic violence often come from broken homes and live in poverty.

Study after study reveal that domestic violence involving children usually results in the child growing up with mental health problems and become an abuser of their own children and spouse.

For more see:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/domestic-violence/effects-domestic-violence-children

https://www.unicef.org/media/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

District Attorney Raul Torrez’s explanation for the domestic violence case backlog was revealing and a reflection of someone who does not understand the issue when he said:

“We moved some of those resources into the felony side of the office so that we could increase the case speed on those most violent and dangerous offenders”

According to Torrez taking quick action on court cases is one of the best ways to deter someone from committing more crimes in the future.

Domestic violence cases have far more than its share of “violent and dangerous offenders”.

Frankly, taking quick action and aggressively prosecuting domestic violence cases will likely save a woman’s life.

In law enforcement circles, when Director Amy Whitfield of the Domestic Violence Resource Center said “The amount of effort that it takes for a domestic violence victim to come forward, if they’re not contacted immediately, it means that they may end up staying within that relationship or they may end up changing their mind about prosecution” is what is referred to as the “cycle of violence”.

A full explanation of the “cycle of violence” is given in the below postscript to this article as well as information on the Domestic Violence Resource Center headed up by Amy Whitfield

When Whitfield says “it means that they may end up staying within that relationship” it means all too often a woman ends up in a body bag.

Years ago, I served as Chief Deputy District Attorney for Bernalillo County and had supervisory authority over all the felony divisions, including the Violent Crimes Division and the Domestic Violence Division.

My last felony trial at the District Attorney office was as co-counsel in a jury domestic violence case for attempted murder where a woman was cut up with a box cutter resulting close to 200 stitches.

One thing I learned as Chief Deputy District Attorney is that Albuquerque’s dirty little secret is that domestic violence is the number-one reason why a woman is admitted to the emergency room of the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Statics in Albuquerque show that after about the 10th or 11th time there is a call out of the Albuquerque Police Department to a home for domestic violence, it is usually to pick a woman up in a body bag.

When I was Chief Deputy District Attorney, then District Attorney Jeff Romero had a specialized Domestic Violence Unit that had the single largest caseload of all felony units and the office gave major priority to Domestic Violence felony and misdemeanor cases.

The Domestic Violence Felony Unit was fully staffed with attorneys and victim advocate assisting them.

The Domestic Violence Unit had some of the most seasoned and most skilled trial attorneys in the office at the time.

The Domestic Violence Felony Unit had the highest caseloads of between 150 and 200 active, pending cases and had one of the highest conviction rates in the office.

As Chief Deputy District Attorney, I was also charged with creating the Domestic Violence “Target Abuser Call” (TAC) Team in Metro Court.

The TAC unit was modeled after the Chicago DA’s office assigning attorneys, investigators and victim advocates who specialized in prosecuting domestic violence cases.

The TAC Team would review pending cases and target repeat offenders and prosecute.

When I left, the Metro Court TAC Team had a 96% conviction rate.

When Raul Torrez became District Attorney a mere two years ago he immediately abolished the specialized units and spread cases throughout the office of attorneys.

Apparently to District Attorney Raul Torrez, domestic violence cases are not considered some of the “most violent and dangerous offenders”, otherwise he would not have admitted he diverted resources elsewhere.

Torrez’s attitude that he is “disappointed” with the handling of the domestic violence cases is what is so damn laughable seeing as he admitted to diverting resources elsewhere and away from making contact with victims of domestic violence.

Since Torrez has been elected, all he has done is complain about lack of resources and blames judges for letting people out pending trials.

Not at all surprising, Torrez again now argues his office does not have enough victim advocates who use to contact domestic violence victims within 2 weeks.

This coming from the very DA who last year was given a huge increase in his budget which included funding for more staff such as victim advocates, yet after a full year he still has a major problem filling positions that are vacant.

Torrez is the very same DA who was taking credit for reduction in crime stats just a few weeks ago.

I suspect what was really disappointing to Torrez is that he now knows members of his own staff are on to him and he is probably trying to find out who on his staff leaked the information to Channel 13.

Torrez should try doing his job first before giving his media interviews telling everyone how disappointed he is in the people who work for him.

No other District Attorney in the State should be envious of Bernalillo County DA Raul Torrez when he goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee and has to explain to Senator John Arthur Smith and others exactly what he has been doing over the last year and why he has been unable to fill all of his 44 vacancies.

It will be interesting if District Attorney Raul Torrez blames the judicial system for not being able to fill the positions within his own office because caseloads are too high, pay is too low, and no one wants to work for the District Attorney’s Office because of the way he manages it.

**************************************************************************

POSTSCRIPT:

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

The term “cycle of violence” refers in domestic violence cases to repeated and dangerous acts of violence as a cyclical pattern.

The term is associated with high emotions and violent actions of retribution or revenge.

The pattern, or cycle, repeats over and over again in time, it can last years, happening many times during a relationship.

According to the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services of Stockton, California, the “cycle of violence” theory was developed by Dr. Lenore Walker.

The Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services explains the cycle of violence has three distinct phases which are generally present in violent relationships:

1. Tension Building Phase
2. Violent Episode Phase
3. Remorseful/Honeymoon Phase

Outlined below by the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services are typical feelings and behaviors exhibited by family members in the various phases of the cycle of violence.

PHASE ONE: TENSION BUILDING

WOMAN FEELS: Angry, unfairly treated, hopeless, tense, afraid, embarrassed, humiliated, disgusted, depressed.
BEHAVIOR: Nurturing, submissive, “walking on eggshells,” afraid to express feelings, may use alcohol and/or drugs to avoid situation.

PARTNER FEELS: Tense, frustrated, disgusted, self-righteous, or jealous.
BEHAVIOR: Verbally abusive, fits of anger, silent, controlling, arrogant, possessive, demanding, irritable, may use alcohol or drugs.

PHASE TWO: VIOLENT EPISODE

WOMAN FEELS: Frightened, trapped, helpless or numb.
BEHAVIOR: May try to protect self, hit back, submit helplessly, get away or seek help.

PARTNER FEELS: Angry, enraged, “right,” jealous and/or frustrated.
BEHAVIOR: Dangerously violent, has a deliberate desire to hurt or kill, out of control, irrational, “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde”.

PHASE THREE: REMORSEFUL OR HONEYMOON

WOMAN FEELS: Relieved, angry over the incident, resentful, guilty, hopeful, in denial over the seriousness of the incident.
BEHAVIOR: Offers excuses for the batterer, may be withdrawn, tries to solve or prevent future incidents, hopes/believes changes will last.

PARTNER FEELS: Apologetic, remorseful, forgetful about degree of violence, self-righteous, unable to understand why the woman is still angry.
BEHAVIOR: Makes promises to change, blames her or others for the problem, may use alcohol or drugs as an excuse.”

For more information on the Stockton, California Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services click on the below links:

https://www.womenscenteryfs.org/index.php/about-us

https://www.womenscenteryfs.org/index.php/get-info/prevention/education/14-cycle-of-violence

Study after study has revealed that domestic violence involving children usually results in the child growing up with psychological issues and becomes an abuser of their own children and spouse.

Children exposed to domestic violence often come from broken homes and poverty.

THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCE CENTER (DVRC, INC.)

According to their web site “The Albuquerque Domestic Violence Resource Center organization was formed in 1996 to provide an advocate alongside the Albuquerque Police at domestic violence scenes.

Over the years the program has grown to provide services to Central New Mexico residents.

In 2007, the Domestic Violence Resource Center joined the Albuquerque “Family Advocacy Center” as an on-site partner and provide advocacy and case management for domestic violence survivors leaving abusive relationships.

The Domestic Violence Resource Center grew to provide trauma informed counseling for survivors of domestic violence working towards recovery and specializing in counseling for child witnesses.

The Domestic Violence Resource Center programs continue to grow recently added Primary Prevention services working to change the social norms that contribute to the continuance of violence.

Services at DVRC, Inc. are free, confidential, and professional.”

The location and contact information for the Domestic Violence Resource Center are:

Domestic Violence Resource Center
625 Silver SW, Suite 185
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Main Office Line: (505) 843 – 9123
Services Helpline: (505) 248 – 3165
EMAIL: dvrc@dvrcnm.org

For more on the Albuquerque Domestic Violence Resource Center click on the below link:

https://www.dvrcnm.org/about/

Public Employee Pension Funds At Serious Risk Of Imploding

Over the last year, it has been reported that the state’s two major pension funds, the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) and the Educational Retirement Board (ERB), are in serious financial trouble because of long term liabilities of benefits to paid retirees in the future will exceed literally by the billions the funds that are available.

The Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) is the legislative created and state regulated retirement association for all government employees.

PERA pays pensions to more than 40,000 retirees and also has a public employee plan for about 49,000 active members.

PERA administers the pension funds for active, inactive, and retired public employees in New Mexico, and includes state, county and municipal plans, firefighters, police officers, blue collar workers and various municipal plans.

PERA has an Executive Board duly elected by the members of the Association.

The financial problems PERA is experiencing can be directly related to the type of pensions offered to government employees as well as what many PERA retirees feel has been mismanagement of the pension funds.

Public school teacher and employee retirement and pension funds are separate and not managed PERA but by Education Retirement Board (ERB).

ERB consists of a Board of Trustees who manage the pension funds and the investment portfolio.

DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS

A “defined contribution” plan is a type of retirement plan where employers, employees, or both regularly make contributions to the plan and future employee retirement benefits are based on the dollar amount of contributions made and the final value based on “investment growth”.

A defined contribution plan does not guarantee a specific benefit to be paid in the future.

With a defined contribution plan, individual employees assume all of the investment risk involved.

The most common type of defined contribution plan is the 401(k), where employees contribute a portion of their earnings and invest their money so it grows over time.

In the private sector, it is common with defined contribution plans for employers to offer to match a portion of employee contributions, but most of the burden of funding 401(k)s falls at the individual employee level.

With defined contribution plans, most associated administration fees are passed on to the employees who participate.

PERA PLANS ARE DEFINED BENEFIT PLANS

Most if not all of PERA’s pension plans it administers are “defined benefit” plans as opposed to “defined contribution” plans.

With a “defined benefit plan”, the state, county or municipality government entity promises the government employees a specific payout upon retirement and guaranteed for life.

Further, a person can designate a spouse as a beneficiary and the spouse can be paid the pension for the rest of their life.

The pension payout is based on a formula that accounts for factors such as length of service, age, and earnings history.

With a defined benefit plan, PERA is responsible for making sure there’s enough money to pay employee benefits as scheduled, and PERA assumes all of the investment risk involved in the plan.

Under the PERA system, the formula used for a very large portion of retirees is 25 years of total service multiplied by 3 for each year of service applied to the average high 3 years of pay.

A person’s age can also allow a person to retire before the age of 67, but it reduces the benefits where the total years of service is less than 25 years.

(EXAMPLE: Government employee works a full 25 years and is paid an average of $50,000 each year of last 3 years of service. A multiplier of 3% is given each year of service or 75% of high three average yearly pay of $50,000 = $37,500 pension)

Law enforcement officers do have a separate retirement formula and can retire with 25 years of service and can be paid 90% of their high 3 pay.

All of the PERA pensions are funded by government employer contributions usually matching the employee contributing a portion of their earnings.

Defined benefit plans are considered riskier for employers and they are more expensive to maintain.

For this reasons, defined benefit plans have become far less popular in the private sector.

In 1998, 60% of Fortune 500 companies offered defined benefit plans to new hires, but by the end of 2013, that number fell to just 24%.

This absence of defined benefit plans has left more and more employees in a less secure spot financially with regard to retirement.

Under the PERA Pension plans, retirees have been given cost of living raises (COLA) that have been anywhere from 2% to 3% over the years and were considered guaranteed and paid after a few years in retirement.

The 2019 New Mexico Legislature is considering legislation that would eliminate all cost of living adjustments or suspend the COLA for a period of years.

PERA MANAGEMENT UNDER SCRUTINY

Wayne Propst is the executive director of the state’s Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).

In 2018, Propst gave his staff more than $600,000 in salary increases without PERA board approval.

The raises were given at the same time that PERA management and the PERA Board were pushing to eliminate annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases to PERA retirees.

The money for the management raises come directly out of PERA’s investment funds, or funds that should have gone to retirees.

At a recent meeting of the PERA’s board of directors, the PERA board voted to ask New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to investigate huge raises that Propst gave himself and his subordinates at the agency over the past 5 years without PERA Board approval.

The board also voted to remove Propst of his authority to hand out promotions and raises to PERA employees while the AG’s investigation is conducted.

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/2019/02/15/Trouble-Worsens-for-PERAs-Wayne-Probst-AG-asked-to-investigate-the-raises-and-promotions-he-has-handed-out

New Mexico State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg, who is also a member of the PERA board, independently has asked the AG’s office to investigate “possible illegal actions” by Propst.

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/2019/02/15/NM-Treasurer-Potential-illegal-pay-adjustments-at-PERA

Harvey Leiderman, the PERA’s board’s fiduciary attorney told the board members that they basically don’t know what they are doing on several levels relating to internal governance.

Leiderman told the board that they have no idea of what authority they have or haven’t given to Propst, over the years when it comes to his authority to give out raises and promotions to PERA staff.

New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón has also launched an investigation into Propst and the pay raises and promotions he has handed out.

The issue is whether Propst has the authority under state law and PERA rules and policies to give those raises without PERA Board approval.

IMPLODING RETIREMENT FUNDS

At the last meeting of the PERA board, Chief Investment Officer, Dominic Garcia, reported that PERA’s investment funds suffered a 2.5 percent loss in 2018.

In comparison, the teacher ERB retirement fund earned 6 percent return during 2018.

The PERA fund fell to $14.6 billion from $15 billion.

Both retirement systems have asked for a one-time infusion of funds, but the New Mexico legislature has resisted it as not being a truly viable solution to the projected insolvency of the retirement plans.

In 2013, the New Mexico legislature tackled pension reform but the changes made have not been enough to make the pensions fully solvent.

A shrinking government workforce as a result of government cuts and a sluggish economy over the last 8 years has dragged down New Mexico’s largest pension program.

It is estimated that between 4,000 and 5,000 state government employee vacancies and eliminated positions have occured over the last 8 years resulting in fewer employee and employer contributions made to the funds and effective solvency.

Another factor contributing to insolvency is that people are living much longer and are collecting their pensions for longer periods of time.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lawmakers-tie-pension-shortfall-to-fewer-state-employees/article_d23fe441-eb6a-5aff-ad32-3c776b042553.html

Despite changes enacted in 2013, PERA’s estimated unfunded liability which is the gap between future retirement benefits owed and expected future assets on hand, has increased over the past four years to $4.8 billion from $4.6 billion.

Decreases in the ERB’s expected investment returns and inflation calculations have caused the system’s unfunded liability to rise to $7.4 billion, an increase of more than $1 billion since 2014 and its funded ratio to drop to 61.5 percent.

The ERB pension fund is not expected to reach 100 percent funded status for 84 years or until the year 2100.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1075327/viability-of-state-pension-funds-questioned-%C2%AD-again.html

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham proposed budget seeks to shore up New Mexico’s two major pension funds by increasing how much the state pays into workers’ retirement accounts with $13.7 million in funding.

The Governor’s nor the legislature’s budget plans thus far do not call for any additional lump sum payment into either the ERB or the PERA funds.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The elimination or suspension of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) by the New Mexico legislature is a very bad idea and nothing more than a band aid approach to a very serious problem.

Elimination or suspension of the COLA would be a betrayal of government employees who have worked over the years and in good faith made their contributions.

All too often private sector employees and candidates for office and the media vilify and express contempt for government employees because of the pensions they are paid, pensions they have earned.

Six years ago, New Mexico legislature tackled pension reform but the changes made have not been enough to make the pensions fully solvent.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico legislature have a looming financial crisis that needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.

While the State is experiencing a windfall in increased revenues, the New Mexico Legislature should use the opportunity to increase funding to the PERA funds significantly more than the $13 million being proposed, but such an expenditure is not going to be a long-term solution but the beginning of it.

The New Mexico Legislature needs to consider pension reform measures once again but during a special session where a solution can be hammered out without the distractions of a general session.

It is likely the New Mexico legislature will need to consider pension reform in the form of including “defined contribution plans” in one form or another for future government employees, increasing employer and employee contribution plans under the defined benefit plans or modifying the multipliers and increasing years of service or age before retirement.

The PERA Board itself needs to take far more aggressive action and get its own management under control and financial investments need to have much better returns on investments.

PERA management staff are paid lucrative salaries for their services and they need to show results in the investments with much higher returns or the PERA Board needs to find people who can do a better job.

It has been reported that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a “solvency task force” for PERA.

https://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/pera-director-under-fire-for-approving-raises-for-staff-himself/1792278437

The 19-member task force created by Lujan Grisham will include PERA officials, labor union leaders, retiree representatives and others.

It will be tasked with providing recommendations to the governor by August 30, 2019.

The task force will make recommendations on contributions and payouts and a plan will be pitched during the legislative session next year.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1282402/governor-creates-task-force-to-study-pension-issues.html

What is in fact needed is a special session the sooner the better to deal with pension reform measures that will work.

Ultimately, the lives of 90,000 New Mexicans and their families, currently employed or retired, will be affected by the decisions made with the PERA system.

City Needs To Fully Fund “CIT-ECHO”, “EPIC” and “LEAD” Programs

“CIT-ECHO”, “EPIC”, “LEAD”, “DOJ”, “CASA” and “APD” reflect a full alphabet of law enforcement priorities that Mayor Tim Keller and the Albuquerque City Council need to make sure are fully funded.

There are 3 major programs that have now been implemented to deal with the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) interactions with the mentally ill and substance abuse defendants.

All 3 programs involve the training of police officers.

All 3 programs have the potential to reduce or have reduced the use of excessive force and deadly force by APD.

Two of the programs have existed for the last 3 years, with one recently announced.

One of the programs is about to be discontinued because a federal grant program has now run its course.

The three APD programs are:

CIT-ECHO project
The EPIC program
The LEAD program

All three of the programs are either directly or indirectly the result of the Department of Justice Consent Decree known as the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

DOJ INVESTIGATION OF APD

It was 2012 when the Department of Justice (DOJ) came to Albuquerque to investigate the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) for excessive use of force and deadly force.

On April 10, 2014, after two years of a federal investigation, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a scathing 146-page investigation report.

The DOJ said APD’s policies, training and supervision of officer encounters with people with mental health issues were inadequate and all too often led to use of excessive force and deadly force.

You can read the entire DOJ report here:

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/04/10/apd_findings_4-10-14.pdf

APD is one of 18 law enforcement agencies in the United States operating under a consent decree brought on by a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation.

The DOJ investigation found systemic problems and a “culture of aggression” within APD.

The single biggest difference the DOJ’s investigation of APD from other federal investigations and consent decrees is the other consent decrees involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and use of unnecessary excessive force to make arrests and deadly force against minorities.

In APD’s case, the DOJ found a “culture of aggression” within APD after reviewing as many as 18 “deadly use of force cases” and cases of “excessive use of force” mostly with the mentally ill and not with racial profiling.

JAMES BOYD KILLING WAS GAME CHANGER

It was the killing of mentally ill homeless camper James Boyd by APD that laid to bear and exposed just how poorly trained APD was when it came to dealing with the mentally ill and how costly it can be for taxpayers.

On March 16, 2014, homeless camper James Boyd was shot and killed by APD SWAT during a standoff with police.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_James_Boyd

James Boyd had an extensive a history of mental illness.

APD police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez were charged with the murder of James Boyed, but the jury deadlocked with three jurors voting guilty and nine voting not guilty.

One of the defenses offered by Sandy and Perez was they were doing their job as they were trained to defend other officers and the public.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez eventually dismissed the case against both officers choosing not to proceed with a second trial.

The Boyd family filed a civil wrongful death action against the city and the city settled with the Boyd family for $5 million.

CASA CONSENT DECREE

On October 31, 2014, the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department entered into a 106-page Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the US Department of Justice after the DOJ investigation found a “pattern and practice of excessive force” and a “culture of aggression” within the APD.

Under the court approved settlement agreement (CASA), APD is mandated to implement numerous reforms including a significant increase in officer training in crisis intervention and training (CIT) on how to deal with the mentally ill.

Virtually ever sworn APD officer has now been given 40 hours of crisis intervention training mandated by the consent decree.

The CIT-ECHO project arguably is the continuation of that training.

THE CIT-ECHO PROJECT

CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Training and ECHO stands for Extension for Community Healthcare Options.

In 2014, the CIT-ECHO project was launched by the city with a grant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance to raise awareness of how law enforcement should deal effectively with those struggling with mental health issues.

The CIT-ECHO Program consists of weekly video conference workshops with APD and CIT officials.

Similar ECHO projects have existed for health care professionals to help providers in rural parts of the state treat various health conditions.

APD is the very first law enforcement agency in New Mexico, perhaps the country, to roll out such a program for law enforcement officers.

In March 2014, according to a report by CIT-ECHO program, an alarming 43% of the Albuquerque Police Department’s officer-involved shootings occurred with people living with mental illness.

The 3-year-old DOJ federal grant for CIT-ECHO Program is now out of money and has issued a final report.

The final report reflects unmistakable results that the program works.

According to the report, the perception of when participants thought use of force was required for officer safety dropped by an impressive 20% to 3%.

Law enforcement and crisis intervention participants who participated felt more confident in dealing with people with a mental illness and better informed of the resources available to them as a result of participating with the program.

The 3-year-old DOJ federal grant for CIT-ECHO Program is coming to an end and the program will be shut down if new funding is not found by the city.

There is a minimal cost to keep CIT-ECHO going in that it mainly would be covering the coordinator’s position and ancillary expenses.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1276467/police-learn-to-deal-with-mentally-ill-residents.html

THE EPIC PROGRAM

The acronym “EPIC” stands for Ethical Policing Is Courageous.

The EPIC program originated in the city of New Orleans’ Police Department, which like APD, is under a federal consent decree for civil rights violations.

EPIC aims to stem police officer misconduct and use of force and deadly force by police officers.

The program uses “hands-on scenarios” and role-playing enactments and demonstrations to teach police officers on how to defuse calls for service that start escalating and that could easily result in the use of excessive force or deadly force.

EPIC focuses on proactively preventing uses of force, rather than just punishing officers when damage is already done, including the killing of a suspect.

The primary purpose of the EPIC program is to provide police officers with effective and proper training to learn just how and when to intervene when they themselves see other police officer misconduct.

The EPIC program is designed to show police officers how to recognize problematic behavior in fellow officers that may trigger a fellow officer to engage in misconduct.

The peer intervention training includes 6 hours in a classroom and 2 hours that is scenario based.

THE LEAD PROGRAM

On February 11, 2019, the Albuquerque Police Department announced a diversion program where APD police officers will take low-level suspects to treatment instead of jail.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1279269/program-to-focus-on-treatment-rather-than-jail.html

The diversion program is named “LEAD” and stands for “law enforcement assisted diversion” program.

The diversion program will first be used in the APD Southeast Area Command which has the highest number of calls for service to APD in the city.

The LEAD Program will allow APD officers to determine whether the person they’ve arrested needs to go to jail or would better benefit from a trip to a detox facility or a meeting with a case manager who can help them plug into services such as Medicaid, housing vouchers and substance abuse treatment.

APD officers are given full discretion to decide to arrest people on low level charges or to rely on the LEAD diversion program.

The main goal of the LEAD program is to send people to services before charges are ever filed which is unlike other court diversion efforts such as Drug Court.

The LEAD program will allow people to avoid an arrest and a criminal record.

Most of the State District Court’s specialty courts such as “drug court” are used to negotiate and are part of plea agreements and the defendant will often get a criminal record as a result of criminal charges.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1279620/projects-offer-better-way-for-cops-to-deal-with-mentally-ill.html

CITY BUDGET AND TAX REVENUES

On May 21, 2018 the Albuquerque City Council unanimously approved the 2018- 2019 operating budget of $577 million in general fund appropriations.

The budget was enacted after the city council voted on March 5, 2018 to raise the city’s gross receipts tax rate by 3/8 ths to deal with a then projected $40 million-dollar deficit.

The gross receipts tax of 3/8 ths of a cent went year went into effect July 1, 2018 and is estimated to raise upwards of $55 million each year.

Mayor Tim Keller signed the tax increase breaking his campaign promise that he would not raise taxes without a public vote.

The city council tax rate increase stipulated at least 60% of the revenue go to “public safety budget goal priorities.”

It has been reported that the $40 million deficit did not materialize and that the projected deficit now is $20 million.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1271235/abqs-economic-forecast-projects-20-million-deficit-in-2020.html

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is in the process of spend $88 million dollars, over the next few years, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers.

The Albuquerque Police Department’s new pay structure and increased longevity pay incentive bonuses are allowing APD to recruit experienced police officers from other New Mexico law enforcement agencies.

APD is projecting that it will have 980 officers by this summer by growing the ranks with both new cadets and lateral hires from other departments, including APD retirees.

APD DEADLY FORCE CASES STILL CONTINUE

On February 10, 2019, the Albuquerque City Council Finance and Government Operations Committee received a report giving a breakdown of the latest city settlements agreed to in civil lawsuits filed against the city.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/city-of-albuquerque-pays-out-millions-to-settle-lawsuits/5242559/?cat=500

A total of 26 settlements were reported in the quarter where the city paid more than $2,000,000 in settlements.

Eleven of the settlements involved the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

Notable APD-related settlements include Danan Gabaldon who was arrested while fleeing from APD police in 2015.

In 2015, Gabaldon was run over by an APD officer in a vehicle and Gabaldon sued for use of excessive force.

Gabaldon was awarded $75,000 by the city.

In 2010, Mickey Owings was shot and killed by APD and his family sued the city.

The APD shooting of Owings was severely criticized by the United States Department of Justice.

The city settled with Mickey Ownings family paying them $375,000.

In 2014, Jeremy Robertson was fleeing APD police when he was shot and killed by APD and his family sued the city.

The city agreed to pay the Robertson family $225,000.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The City of Albuquerque has paid over $62 million in settlements over the last 9 years involving 43 police officer involved shootings.

A number of those shootings involved highly experienced officers, such as Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez who shot and killed James Boyd.

The Keller administration is on course of finally hiring enough police officers.

Hiring police is great, but the training of those officers in constitutional policing practices as mandated by the DOJ is even more critical, especially when it comes to lateral hires who may be bringing with them old habits and attitudes of what is acceptable policing practices.

On April 1, 2019, the Keller Administration will be submitting its proposed 2019-2020 fiscal budget to the Albuquerque City Council for review, public hearings and final approval by the City Council.

All three APD programs consisting of the CIT-ECHO project, the EPIC program and the LEAD program have the potential and can reduce the use of excessive force and deadly force by APD.

The 3-year-old CIT-ECHO Program has already proven to be highly successful.

More than enough money would have been available to probably fund all three programs with just one of the recent city settlements.

The Keller Administration and APD would be very foolish not to find the money to cover CIT-ECHO PROJECT and fund the coordinator’s position and all the ancillary expenses to allow the program to continue now that the federal grant is ending.

All three programs show tremendous promise and results to having an effect on reducing police officer involved shootings that have cost lives and huge judgments.

The CIT-ECHO project, the EPIC program and the LEAD program should be a no brainer when it comes to finding funding for the programs.

But then again, after the disastrous ART Bus project, and Mayor Keller’s desire to save it, no one is accusing any of them of having any brains when it comes to priorities of what is truly needed.

HB 456 Needed To Protect Consumers From Unlicensed Contractors

The 2019 New Mexico State Legislature in considering House Bill 456 proposing changes to the Construction Industries Licensing Act.

HB 456 is proposing to clarify statute of limitations and criminal penalties on violations and give limited law enforcement powers to Construction Industry Division inspectors.

NEW MEXICO CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES DIVISION

The New Mexico Construction Industries Division is one of the more important New Mexico agencies protecting consumers.

The Division oversee the entire construction industry in New Mexico and ensures that people are licensed contractors and that construction projects are done properly so as not to endanger the public health and safety.

The activities that are considered to be contracting in New Mexico are defined in the Construction Industries Licensing Act, NMSA 1978, Section 60-13-3, and includes general construction work, electrical, mechanical and plumbing and gas line work and remodeling and repair work to structures, including roofs.

http://www.rld.state.nm.us/construction/constructions-industries-overview.aspx

The General Building Bureau adopts and enforces building codes that provide structural strength, stability of structures, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation, affordability and safety of life and property from fire and other hazards including weather and the environment.

The General Building Bureau of the Construction Industries Division adopts and enforces building codes, does inspections and investigates violators that who are not licensed contractors and files the criminal charges.

If a contractor is working without a license, the New Mexico Construction Industries Division may stop the construction project and file a criminal charge of unlicensed contracting in Metropolitan or Magistrate Court.

EXISTING PENALTIES UNDER CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES LICENSING ACT

Any one engaged in construction-related contracting and activities in New Mexico must be licensed and contracting without a license in New Mexico is against the law.

If convicted of construction code violations or not securing mandatory building permits, violators can lose their licenses or not permitted a construction license for a full year from date of conviction and face jail time.

Any person who acts in the capacity as a contractor without a contractor’s license and any person who holds himself out as a sales representative of a contractor who does not have a contractor’s license can also be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Where the dollar value of the contracting work is $5,000 or LESS, upon conviction, the judge can sentence the violator to jail for 90 days or order the payment of a fine of not less than $300 nor more than five $500 or both jail time and a fine.

Where the dollar value of the contracting work EXCEEDS five $5,000 upon conviction the judge can sentence the violator to jail for a term of 6 months or order the payment of a fine of 10% of the dollar value of the contracting work, or to both jail time and a fine.

Any person who acts in the capacity as a journeyman within the meaning of the Construction Industries Licensing Act without holding a valid certificate of competence issued by the division is also guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction the judge can sentence the person to jail for 90 days or to payment of a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than three hundred dollars ($300), or to both.

(New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 60: Business Licenses Article 13: Construction Industries Licensing, 60-13-1 through 60-13-59, Section 60-13-52: Penalty; misdemeanor.)

COURT RULING AFFECTING ENFORCEMENT

A New Mexico Court of Appeal ruling created ambiguity as to the full misdemeanor status of the Construction Industries Licensing Act.

(State v Trevizo, 2011-NMCA-069, 150 N.M. 158, 257 P.3d 978.)

Under New Mexico Criminal Code, one, two, or three-year statute of limitations applies to petty misdemeanors and misdemeanors:

For a full misdemeanor, charges must be brought within two years from the time the crime was committed.

For a petty misdemeanor, within one year from the time the crime was committed

For any crime not contained in the Criminal Code or where a limitation is not otherwise provided for, within three years from the time the crime was committed, which applies to violations of the Construction Industry Licensing Act.

(NMSA 1978, Section 30-1-8 (2005) (amended 2009) of the Criminal Code.)

The Court of Appeals ruling affected the misdemeanor status of violating the Construction Industries Licensing Act when charges must be filed and the varying penalties under the act.

The Court of Appeals ruling resulted in reducing the amount of time to bring charges under the Construction Industries Act for violations from 3 years to 1 year, which severely hampers the divisions chances of helping home owners or other consumers injured by unlicensed contractors.

Major changes to the Construction Industries Act included in House Bill 456 are:

1. Providing and making it clear that doing construction work without a license as required by act is a misdemeanor and not a just petty misdemeanor.

2. Eliminates any ambiguity in the penalties by adjusting the imprisonment and fines to the appropriate amounts for a full misdemeanor and making the legislative intent clear to the courts.

3. Increases the dollar value of the contracting work to $10,000 or less or $10,000 or more and adjusts and increases the sentencing and fines.

4. Prohibit unlicensed contractors from filing mechanics liens against a property owner.

5. Prohibit and make it a misdemeanor for any contractor reporting an unlicensed contractor employee as an independent contractor.

6. Gives peace officer powers to construction industry investigators giving them the power to arrest and charge violators.

Current investigators whose principal duty is the investigation of criminal violations of the Construction Industries Licensing Act must be New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy certified.

You can read the full HB 456 bill here:

https://nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/bills/house/HB0456.pdf

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

People working on construction projects without a valid contractor’s license is a chronic problem that needs to be curtailed and stopped.

Senior citizens are all too often taken advantage of by the nefarious and illegal actions of unlicensed contractors.

Shoddy roof repairs are a common complaint where senior citizens are scammed out of thousands of dollars.

Most of the work done by contractors who are not licensed takes a while before the defective workmanship becomes noticed or discovered.

A shoddy roof repair or replacement for example usually takes severe rain or snowfall before defective workmanship and material used become noticeable or discovered.

Depending on when a roof is installed or repaired, it could be over a year before the defective workmanship is detected.

Another example would be plumbing.

A defective install or repair to plumbing could result in a slow leak which could go undetected anywhere from several months to a year since most plumbing is covered up.

Home owners and consumers usually do not know when a permit and inspection is required.

Unlicensed contractors do not pull permits nor could they if they tried resulting in Construction Industry Inspectors not being aware of when work is being performed.

HB 456 will allow more time for investigation and officer prosecutions of cases, especially in helping consumers who have not reported unlicensed contracting prior to the one-year statute of limitations on petty misdemeanors.

HB 456 is legislation that will make necessary changes to the Construction Industries Licensing Act to ensure the protection of consumers and prevent people from being preyed upon by unlicensed contractors.