Republican Mayoral candidate Dan Lewis has released a 2 minute, 10 second commercial on FACEBOOK that is impressive, slick and politically hard-hitting on the issues facing Albuquerque.
The ad has been viewed by thousands and it is effective, but is it true?
Lewis gives the voice narrative and the ad starts by featuring his children who are attending college in Albuquerque.
Lewis laments and wonders if Albuquerque will be a place his children will want to stay and raise their own families.
Lewis goes on to say that the “brutal truth about our city” is that we are not defined by opportunity but by “crime, a stagnant economy, failing schools”.
Lewis boldly proclaims Albuquerque can change and its time our leaders “embrace the grit and determination that built this city!”
Lewis has not lived here long enough to know about the “grit and determination” nor the history of those people and families that built this city even before statehood.
As a native of Albuquerque, I believe we are defined by our people, our cultures and our diversity as a community.
Lewis promises “We’ll make Albuquerque the best place to live, raise a family, and to do business. … And the worst place for the thugs, thieves, and criminal gangs.”
Lewis advocates “Real reform and new leadership in the police department” without even mentioning the Department of Justice (DOJ) Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) that has cost us millions of taxpayer dollars to implement the agreed to DOJ reforms.
Since 2010, there have been 41 police officer involved shootings and the City has paid out over $60 million dollars in civil settlements for police misconduct and excessive use of force and deadly force cases.
In 2014, the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” within APD, and at that time Lewis said nothing to hold the Berry Administration accountable for the condition and mismanagement of APD.
Lewis proclaims he will have the “backs of the police” and give them the tools they need to put career criminals behind bars and lock up career criminals.
In 2010, when Lewis was on the City Council, APD had 1,100 sworn police officers and APD was the best funded, best equipped and best trained department in its history.
Over the last seven years while Lewis has served on the City Council, the number of APD sworn officers has dropped from 1,000 sworn police officers to 856, yet little was ever said or heard from Lewis to hold the Berry Administration accountable for a deteriorating APD and the mismanagement of APD.
During the last three (3) years, City Councilor Dan Lewis has voiced no substantive complaints about Chief Gordon Eden nor his command staff, Lewis has never called for their removal until now that he is running for Mayor, not even when Chief Gordon Eden proclaimed the killing of homeless camper James Boyd by APD as “justified”.
Each time Federal Monitor James Ginger has issued a scathing report of the lack of progress by APD, Dan Lewis has done nothing with regards to demanding the removal of the current APD command staff and demanding more be done with respect to implementing the DOJ agreed to reforms.
Three years ago, Lewis voted to reduce funding from 1,100 sworn police officers to 1,000 sworn police officers because of the administration’s failed recruitment efforts to deal with retirements.
Now Lewis promises to spend $15 million dollars in recurring revenue to ensure we will have 1,200 sworn APD officers without giving any real specifics nor plan.
APD has been unable for the last three (3) years to recruit enough sworn officers to reach the 1,000 sworn officer level the department is currently funded for by the City Council, yet Lewis feels that throwing money at the Department is the silver bullet for its problems in order to get to the 1,200 level.
Lewis promises when he is Mayor, there will be “no more big spending boondoggles like the ART” bus project and he will “protect taxpayers” and that there will be transparency at every level of city government.
All great words, aggressive rhetoric but shallow promises by Lewis given his record on the City Council and how he has voted.
In a previous on line video, Lewis vilified and attacked judges and blamed our judicial system for our rising crime rates, a popular tactic of Mayor Berry and Chief Gordon Eden , and Lewis even threatened to put judges pictures on bill boards to “hold them accountable”.
Lewis had my attention and I was impressed with the ad until Lewis says “It’s time to shake up the status quo … It’s time to reform and renew our city.” Really, Councilor Lewis? You say this now that your running for Mayor?
Lewis totally omits in the commercial the fact he has been an Albuquerque City Councilor for the past seven (7) years and has been a very big part of the city hall “status quo” and its leadership, including serving as President of the City Council.
Lewis is part of the problem at city hall.
For over seven (7) years, Lewis has failed to address or propose any solutions to many of the problems he has identified in the ad until now that he is running for Mayor.
As far as protecting taxpayer’s money from boondoggles like the ART bus project, Lewis voted for over $63 million dollars during the past two (2) years in revenue bonds, that must be re paid with taxpayer dollars, to build pickle ball courts, baseball fields, and $13 million in landscaping money diverted to the ART bus project, not seeking public input and bypassing the capital improvements process (CIP) that mandates public votes.
The use of revenue bonds is discretionary with the City Council requiring seven (7) votes and revenue bonds do not require significant review and public hearings as is required with capital improvement bonds, so much for transparency.
My point is, Lewis has not shaken up the city hall status quo for seven years, let alone try to reform and renew the Albuquerque Police Department, so why should we expect him to do so if elected Mayor?
At the end of the advertisement, the Stoneridge Group is identified as producing the commercial.
According to Wikipedia, and I quote, the Stoneridge Group is “a political campaign marketing firm based in Alpharetta, Georgia, with offices in Louisville Kentucky. The Stoneridge Group provides the following services to pro-life, Republican campaigns, associations, and non-profits: voter contact mail, website design and complete online campaigns, print and collateral items, and strategic consulting.”
It’s too bad Mr. Lewis could not find an Albuquerque advertising firm that had the “Albuquerque grit” that could produce his ad for him.
Now we will see if Councilor Lewis has the true grit and money to air his commercial on the TV stations and if he can get elected Mayor.