Campus Model Suggested As Solution to Homeless

Below is a guest commentary written by Judy Young proposing an alternative to the Tiny Home Project.

Judy Young is a native of New Mexico and a resident of Albuquerque.

The Tiny Homes project is a joint effort by the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to develop and construct a “village” or campus of 35 “tiny homes”.

The Tiny Homes will be one room structures measuring 116 square feet, with electricity only, and the village will have 25 to 35 homes in a gated community design.

JUDY YOUNG

Judy Young is a longtime resident of Albuquerque and was born in Gallup, New Mexico.

She is a retired educator from Texas, and returned to New Mexico to assist her parents in their last years.

When living in Texas, she helped developed the first prison rehabilitation program in Texas which was The South Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility in Houston.

Judy Young has a master’s degree in Community Program Development from Columbia University in New York City.

While at Columbia, she worked on 3 very successful strategic projects that were a part of cleaning up NYC.

After securing her master’s degree from Columbia, she moved to Albuquerque.

Soon after arriving in Albuquerque, she wrote the $92 million grant that started the Cancer Research and Treatment Center.

She has been involved with community affairs for some time and she worked with Phil Chacon and Judy Anderson to fiercely lobby for the first publicly funded domestic violence program in the country.

This domestic violence program was considered the flagship for the rest of the country to follow suit of revamping laws and provide protection for victims of domestic violence.
Judy Young worked with New Mexico’s first promoter, Frank Crosby, who was widely known for promoting the Unser’s of New Mexico racing fame and representing businesses in the first Home and Sports Shows in New Mexico.

JUDY YOUNG GUEST EDITORIAL COMMENTARY:

“THE PROBLEM

The majority of homeless and mentally ill individuals are being left on our streets to fend for themselves or in clusters, for food, money, hygiene necessities, and their personal safety.

While the well-intentioned Mayor and City Councilors are trying to act on the problem by buying a lot here and there and providing funds to select nonprofits, the problem only gets worse because the services that are offered become magnets for more homeless and mentally ill.

THE SOLUTION: THE CAMPUS MODEL

A CAMPUS MODEL, outside the city where larger tracts of land at cheaper prices can be purchased. To include:

• temporary housing, (durable tents at first, with room for dormitories or small apartments later with accommodations for families and service animals)
• cafeteria,
• 24-hour clinic for physical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and police drop-off,
• education and job training, and
• community center.

Non-profit, educational and other providers would be able to work together to deliver comprehensive care services at the new facility.

If Albuquerque can build a model Science & Technology Park that contributes to the local economy, then surely the same government leaders can build a model Human Services Park that will contribute to the economy over time and NOT drain our economy with misspent tax dollars.

Why is the CAMPUS MODEL so critical to implement?

The Campus Model effectively separates the truly local homeless population from the non-local transients.

Definition of truly homeless: local population that experiences a sudden crisis that results in such severe financial hardship that they require assistance. This population desires to better themselves and welcomes a hand up.

Definition of transients: a population that travels from city to city taking advantage of the local population by panhandling and committing crimes to feed their drug and/or alcohol addiction. This population welcomes a hand out, but has no desire to better themselves. This population can destroy a local community, like locusts devouring the crops, if they are not addressed and dealt with effectively.

Transients know which localities have a plan in place, and which localities do not. Transients from around the United States now know that Albuquerque does NOT have a plan in place, and therefore Albuquerque has become the ideal attraction for transients from around the country. Currently, they can successfully blend in with the local homeless and not be bothered by law enforcement.

Other groups of the unlawful need to be effectively dealt with by law enforcement. These groups include gangs that traffic in drugs, theft, and prostitution. If one group is given a pass by law enforcement, it sends a message to all the other subcategories to inhabit the land of enchantment where unlawful behavior is allowed to flourish in a permissive status quo.

The “broken window effect” research clearly establishes that when the visual of a broken window exists, criminals read that signal as, “This neighborhood is not paying attention so this neighborhood is an easy target to victimize.”

A Tiny Home Village will have a “broken window effect” because it will advertise, “A shannie town of substandard buildings of tuff sheds.” No one in Albuquerque could boast of this advertisement that flashes in neon lights of shame rather than pride for the Historic Route 66.

Any market analysis must first address the target population. The target population for all of the current piece meal projects is local homeless. To miss the target population is to miss the mark with devastating results.

The Campus Model Benefits:

• individuals who choose to work, pay taxes, and participate in a stable civic life,
• cleans up our parks and recreational sites built for family recreational purposes
• businesses that support the local economy (where now they are being forced to close or move away due the adverse economic impact from the homeless and transients,
• public safety where laws against public intoxication, drug or alcohol, and crime can be enforced.

The “Campus Model” seeks to rehabilitate local homeless and prepare them to reintegrate into society with the dignity of being able to support themselves through employment. It would help enable our police and other agencies to get the homeless the care they need and the real criminals off the streets.

If a Tiny Home Village is placed in any location of Albuquerque proper, it will visually represent a white flag of surrender to transients around the country that Albuquerque has conceded to their desires.

In 2006, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, declared that Portland would become known as the city of refuge for all addicts because the city was committed to treat any addict from around the country who wanted treatment. After two years, Portland quickly learned the error of such an invitation. Portland was on the verge of total social and financial collapse when this dictate from the major was reversed.

Houston has developed the most effective follow-up integrative program.

San Antonio CAMPUS MODEL + Houston INTEGRATIVE

MODEL = SUCCESSFUL ALBUQUERQUE SOLUTION

Albuquerque is at critical crossroads. Research reports grade Albuquerque as a “D” while its surrounding states are “A’s and B’s”. Compton was a beautiful bedroom community of Los Angeles until the powers that be failed to keep crime and gangs out. It is now currently known as the gang capital of California. Currently Albuquerque is on the path headed directly to mimic Compton, California.

Albuquerque can either choose short term pain for long term gain by carefully building a comprehensive CAMPUS + INTEGRATIVE program for the real homeless.

Or Albuquerque can choose short gain for long term pain by continuing to plug the holes of the cracked dam with piece meal programs that offer no real long-term solution.

CONCLUSION COMMENT FROM ONE ALBUQUERQUE RESIDENT

“We cannot keep throwing bundles of dollars and adding piece-meal facilities downtown or in our residential neighborhoods and hope to make a dent in the homeless problem downtown and in south Albuquerque. We have one of the largest collections of non-profit organizations dedicated to the homeless in the nation, yet they are not working together. The city, county, and state can buy more land and provide more services to the homeless in outlying areas for less than the cost of vacant lots downtown. I encourage this. PLEASE don’t ruin downtown or Rt. 66 and the potential it has to attract tourists. No one wants to visit any of these areas when all they face are homeless populations and crime.”

Journal Goes “Face To Face” With Praises of DA Torrez

On Sunday, September 9, 2018, the Albuquerque Journal did a front-page article accompanied by a two-page spread story on pages A-6 and A-7 on Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez complete with flattering color photos and even one with him petting an “assistance” dog.

The 3 Albuquerque Journal headlines read “FACE TO FACE WITH RAUL TORREZ”, ‘Remember who you’re fighting for’, “DA Raul Torrez says it’s all about justice for victims”.

Torrez himself could have not written any better headlines.

Congratulations are in order to Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez for the newspaper coverage and in effect his endorsement for re-election.

You can read the entire article at the below link.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1218650/remember-who-youre-fighting-for.html

A Democrat getting such glowing coverage from the Republican leaning Albuquerque Journal is a standalone accomplishment worth noting.

The headlines and the article raised a few eyebrows and numerous questions amongst the political parties and political commentators of why now and what was the papers true motivations behind it.

To a number of political commentators, the fact that the entire article was written by Senior Editor Kent Walz makes it clear that the Albuquerque Journal has now taken an active interest in promoting the career of Raul Torrez, much like it did with former Mayor Richard Berry, with Torrez now being a regular on the front page of the Journal.

JOURNAL ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

The article spends a considerable amount of “ink” on Mr. Torrez’s personal background with such titles as “HOOPS AND PANCAKES”, “ACADEMICS”, “FAMILY LEGACY” and “ITS PERSONAL”.

The article reports on Mr. Torrez early years as a prosecutor, a case he tried that affected him involving a child, and the challenges the office faced when he assumed office.

The problems Torrez was reported to have found were a huge backlog of felony cases, staff vacancies, inadequate information technology capabilities, and a sour relationship between the DA’s office and the Albuquerque Police Department.

According to the report, Torrez knew the DA’s Office had been overwhelmed with an explosion in uncharged felony cases that followed a state Supreme Court order imposing tough new time restrictions on cases.

The New Mexico Supreme Court order was issued in part for the reason that defendants were sitting in jail for years, awaiting trial because they could not afford bail and the jail was severely overcrowded.

The article reports that Torrez’s relationship with the District Court Judges in the 2nd Judicial District can be described “as rocky at best.”

Torrez has battled with the District Court over the issue of pretrial detentions, arguing that too many dangerous defendants have been released under various restrictions when they should be held in jail pending trial.

Torrez accused the District Court and the Supreme Court’s case management order (CMO) for being the root cause for the dramatic increase in crime and the dismissal of cases.

Missing from the Journal article is the fact Torrez had his office prepare a damaging statistical report showing it was the District Court dismissing cases and contributing to high crime rates.

The claim made by Torrez was later totally discredited by a District Court report reviewing all dismissals and it showed it was the DA’s office that was dismissing the majority of cases on its own and not the Court.

Torrez also accused defense attorneys of “gaming the system” to get defendants off on “technicalities”.

District Attorney Torrez has become embroiled in a battle with the District Court over grand jury time.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office relies heavily on grand juries to charge people with felonies as opposed to preliminary hearings where a District Judge decides if probable cause exists to charge a defendant.

The 2nd District Court is the only judicial district in New Mexico that relies extensively on grand juries as opposed to preliminary hearings to charge defendants with felony crimes.

Preliminary hearings have been recommended as a “best practices” approach by national experts and Court Administrative organizations.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/07/24/bernalillo-county-criminal-justice-system-evaluation/

The District Court had announced it was going to cut back dramatically the use of grand juries and switch to a preliminary hearing process.

District Attorney Raul Torrez strongly opposed reducing the grand jury time available arguing it would make launching new criminal cases far more challenging and far more resource intensive.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1202062/court-plans-major-cuts-to-grand-jury-system.html

As a result of the strong objections from Torrez as well as an aggressive editorial from the Journal opposing the plan, the District Court cut back and delayed its plans to switch to preliminary hearing until 2019.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

As an introduction to the article, the following Editor’s note appeared:

“Editor’s note: Raúl Torrez has made waves since taking over as district attorney in Bernalillo County last year, clashing with judges, administrators and sometimes lawmakers, as he pushes to remake the DA’s Office and ramp up the fight against crime.”

The Editor’s Note bordered on an apology for what you were about to read with the Journal editor’s noting the clashes with others, yet not reporting in any great detail the extent of those clashes, except the clashes with the courts.

The article can only be considered as a “candidate soft profile” intentionally void of any critical analysis of District Attorney Raul Torrez first two years in office, the kind of job he is doing managing the office nor leadership he is providing to the office.

Although the Editor’s Note says he is pushing “to remake the DA’s Office and ramp up the fight against crime” the article contains nothing substantive and no critical analysis of what Mr. Torrez has accomplished during his almost two years in office.

The article contains no information on the reduction of the backlog of cases Mr. Torrez found, staff vacancies filled, progress made in improving the inadequate information technology capabilities and if relationships have improved with all law enforcement.

There is not a single comment in the article from the APD Chief, the Bernalillo County Sheriff nor from the New Mexico State Police Chief regarding their satisfaction with the job Torrez is doing with their department cases.

There is not a single quote commenting on Mr. Torrez’s job performance since taking office from any District Court Judge, the Court of Appeals that handles all criminal appeals from his office, nor the New Mexico Supreme Court, nor comments from his predecessor nor any comments from other District Attorneys in the state as to how he is doing.

The article contains no comments from any of the Deputy District Attorneys or Senior Trial Attorneys who have been with the office before he arrived and who now work for him to compare the before and after.

The article contains no critical analysis or commentary from the Public Defender’s Office nor from any prominent criminal defense attorney in the State that deals with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office.

When the Journal “Editorial Note” said that Torrez has clashed “sometimes with legislators”, it was a very weak understatement of what happened in the 2018 legislative session.

Since assuming office, Torrez has constantly complained that his office does not have sufficient resources to do the job.

To Torrez’s credit, he was able to secure a $3.5 million dollar increase in his office budget during the 2018 legislature session and it went from $18 million to $21.5 million a year over the objections of Senator John Arthur Smith, the Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

The increase in budget was the largest increase of any District Attorney Office in the state prompting resentment from other District Attorneys.

Senator John Arthur Smith sent Torrez a very strong message by actually saying on camera in an interview that many feel Torrez was given “enough rope to hang himself” with the increase in his office budget.

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

Senator Smith also noted Torrez was still very new to the job and the verdict was still out if he is capable of managing the office and producing results.

What was not reported by the Journal is the fact Mr. Torrez still has a serious personnel problem within the office that he has failed to solve.

During the legislative session, Torres had 45 vacancies.

Torrez now has 55 vacant positions that are fully funded.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney Office is the largest law firm in the State of New Mexico employing 315 full time employees including attorneys, paralegals, administrative assistants, victim advocates, investigators, IT managers and personnel and finance divisions.

Effective July 1,2018, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez has a $21.5 million-dollar budget to run the office.

More than half of the District Attorney’s $21. 5 million budgets is dedicated to salaries with the budget for salaries now at $13,523,842.35.

According to the State of New Mexico Government Sunshine Portal the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office since mid-August has 315 fully funded full-time personnel position.

Of the 315 full positions funded, only 260 positions are filled.

There are 21 vacant attorney positions.

According to the New Mexico State Government Sunshine Portal, among the vacant positions with salaries listed include:

1 Chief Deputy District Attorney, $97,281.60 yearly salary.
1 Deputy District Attorney: $88,046.39 yearly salary.
10 Senior Trial Attorney positions: $79,684 yearly salary.
2 Assistant Trial Attorney positions: $65,270.39 yearly salary.
12 Legal Secretary positions: $33,238.39 yearly salary.
7 Trial Attorney positions: $72,113.60 yearly salary.
5 Prosecution Specialists: $49,545.60
1 Chief Financial Officer/Manager: $79,684.79 yearly salary.
1 Financial Specialist: $36,712.00 yearly salary
3 Program Administrator: $65,270.39 yearly salary.
5 Program Assistants: $33,238.39 yearly salary.
3 Secretary positions: $30,076.80 yearly salary.
1 Victim Witness Assistant: $44,824 yearly salary.
1 IT Administrator: $49,545.60 yearly salary.
1 Clerk position: $27,227.19 yearly salary.
1 Clerk Apprentice: $24,627.19 yearly salary.

In the event that Torrez does not fill any one of the vacant positions, the money will revert back to the State General Fund and will likely be cut by the New Mexico legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez employs at least 2 special prosecutors on $75,000 contracts each who are retired prosecutors and are tasked with reviewing the backlog of police officer involved shooting cases

The Journal article failed to report any information on the review and clearing out of some 32 police officer involved shooting cases and if the shootings were justified and if the police officers will not be charged.

Sources are saying there is a huge turn over in the office to the point Torrez is now trying to fill positions by recruiting from other DA offices in the state.

Confidential sources within the office are saying that the office is top heavy with management that do not carry any caseloads, morale is low, and the office has become very “cliquish” with Torrez awarding his favorites with the highest salaries and that most attorney offices in the DA’s office after 3:00 pm in the afternoon are vacant with no one to be found.

The New Mexico State Government Sunshine Portal confirms that the Torrez DA office is “top heavy” with management positions.

District Attorney Raul Torrez employs Deputy District Attorneys, Senior Trial Attorneys, Trial Attorneys and Assistant Trial Attorneys earning as low as $53,287.32 and as high as $115,791.01 in base salaries depending on the positions held.

Fifty-two attorneys are paid more than $60,000 a year, thirty-eight are paid more than $70,000 a year, thirty-one are paid more than $83,000 a year, and 16 are paid more than $90,000 a year.

Forty-two attorneys are paid less than $60,000 a year.

There are 40 trial attorneys and are entry level positions with their average pay at $53,287.32.

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt the Albuquerque Journal front page Sunday article can be taken as complete affirmation by the Albuquerque Journal of all things being good with District Attorney Raul Torrez.

The problem is that the article cannot be taken at all as serious by citizens or voters as a reflection or an analysis of the kind of job Mr. Torrez is actually doing as District Attorney and if things have gotten any better under his watch.

Torrez downplayed in the article any suggestion that he has ambitions for higher office.

The one thing that would have conclusively dispelled all rumors of ambition for higher office is if Raul Torrez had announced he intends to run for reelection as District Attorney in 2020.

For other news articles and blog articles on District Attorney Raul Torrez see:

DA Torrez Fails To Tackle Resource Problem For Preliminary Hearings

DA Raul Torrez Picks Another Fight With Courts

Easy For District Attorney To Indict A Ham Sandwich For Murder

DA Torrez Political Damage Control: Mission Accomplished!

DA Torrez Own Pre Trial Publicity Jeopardizes Martens Prosecution

A Political Cartoon Is Worth A Thousand Words

There are many times politicians say and do things that they just have no idea what visions are evoked in the general public’s mind.

At times, the actions and comments by politicians are treated with such irreverence by political cartoonist even with such serious subjects as the homeless.

On July 21, 2018, Mayor Tim Keller announced a program created by the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to rid local parks of used needles and syringes.

The program is called S.H.A.R.P.

People who spot needles or syringes in a park are asked to call 311, 505-768-2000, or report it on the city’s app.

You can view the full story here:

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/city-starts-program-to-rid-parks-of-used-syringes-needles/5011127/

On August 26, 27 and 28 the Albuquerque Journal published three front page and very lengthy news stories on the homeless that no doubt took hours to research and write.

You can read all three Albuquerque Journal articles here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1214019/support-grows-for-more-housing-sheltering-for-homeless-ex-advocates-say-services-intervention-needed-to-address-crisis.html?fb_action_ids=1891754890958853&fb_action_types=og.likes

https://www.abqjournal.com/1213648/longtime-street-minister-knows-challenges-dangers-of-working-with-the-homeless.html?fb_action_ids=1891754514292224&fb_action_types=og.likes

https://www.abqjournal.com/1213425/ground-zero-for-the-homeless-issue-a-constant-struggle-for-residents-businesses.html

Within a week of the 3 front-page Journal stories, Mayor Keller announced the city’ plans to address the homeless.

You can read the Journal story at the below link:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1217400/city-unveils-plan-to-tackle-homeless-crisis.html?fb_action_ids=1898348100299532&fb_action_types=og.likes

On September 9, 2018, the Albuquerque Journal published on page A-12 of its editorial page a John Trevor cartoon.

The left panel shows a serious Mayor using familiar “buzz words” often used by politicians and the right panel makes political commentary and observations by two children looking down on used syringes at the feet of homeless.

The left panel of the cartoon has Mayor Keller standing behind a podium with his finger in the air as if pontificating and holding a paper saying “Homeless Plan” with Keller accurately quoted and proclaiming “We intend to move the needle on this Issue”.

The adjacent panel had two young boys walking down the street with one having a back pack as if going home from school with the boys looking down an ally way strewn with used syringe needles and the feet of two ostensibly homeless people stretched out and a grocery store cart full personal belonging including a bedroll.

The cartoon is very poignant and yet funny at the same time.

With just two separate panels, John Trevor was able to make a point without being mean spirited and hateful and was very poignant and yet funny at the same time.

With just two cartoon panels, John Trevor was able to convey the very same message as four very lengthy published stories that took hours to write and one TV news story.

I think it is likely that Mayor Keller will never use the term “We intend to move the needle on this issue” ever again especially when talking about the homeless.

Most elected officials would say they considered it an honor to be the subject of a John Trever political cartoon.

Often, the cartoons are framed so do not be surprised if the cartoon winds up on Keller’s office wall.

For more on John Trevor’s cartoons see:

Political Cartoons Done The Right Way

City’s Plan to Address Homeless Crisis Revealed

Within one week after 3 major front page stories published in the Albuquerque Journal on the homeless crisis in Albuquerque, Mayor Tim Keller announced city initiatives to address the homeless crisis.

You can read all three Albuquerque Journal articles here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1214019/support-grows-for-more-housing-sheltering-for-homeless-ex-advocates-say-services-intervention-needed-to-address-crisis.html?fb_action_ids=1891754890958853&fb_action_types=og.likes

https://www.abqjournal.com/1213648/longtime-street-minister-knows-challenges-dangers-of-working-with-the-homeless.html?fb_action_ids=1891754514292224&fb_action_types=og.likes

https://www.abqjournal.com/1213425/ground-zero-for-the-homeless-issue-a-constant-struggle-for-residents-businesses.html

Albuquerque’s estimated homeless is as low at 1,500 and as high as 5,000.

HIGHLIGHTS OF PLAN ANNOUNCED

The major highlights of the plan include:

1. Opening a 24-hour shelter for the homeless
2. Providing more housing vouchers
3. Creating a new Downtown Public Safety District
4. Providing more addiction and other support services
5. Transforming the nighttime winter shelter on the West Side into a year-round, 24-hour shelter for men, women and children.

Other initiatives in the plan include:

In June the Albuquerque Housing Authority announced a new partnership with the city and awarded the city more than $1 million through the HOME Program to increase tenant-based rental assistance vouchers to serve clients of the Albuquerque Heading Home program.

The City Council is also expanding affordable housing projects such as the newly opened Sterling Downtown Apartments.

The Family and Community Service Department had included in its budget $15 million for affordable housing contracts.

One major city initiative would be transforming the nighttime winter shelter on the West Side into a year-round, 24-hour shelter for men, women and children.

The winter shelter is the old West Side Jail where cubicles have been erected in common areas of the jail.

Another initiative being proposed is a triage center for health and addiction services.

Currently, the University of New Mexico Hospital emergency room is the only place where people can voluntarily go, or where police or paramedics can take them for treatment of addictions or alcoholism or an immediate mental health crisis.

Emergency medical treatment is extremely costly to provide.

There are smaller emergency treatment facilities available but there are prohibitions for admittance preventing treatment if a person is drunk or on drugs.

Mayor Keller is suggesting that the city could fund some of the capital costs through bond issues approved by voters.

The Downtown Public Safety District will have a substation and will be fully staffed with police officers and with Crisis Outreach and Support Teams (COAST) to address assist the homeless in the Downtown and Wells Park areas and who are in need of behavioral health and substance abuse services.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1217400/city-unveils-plan-to-tackle-homeless-crisis.html?fb_action_ids=1898348100299532&fb_action_types=og.likes

CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE SERVICES TO THE HOMELESS

The Family and Community Services Department is a key player in the City’s effort to end homelessness.

The Departments services include prevention, outreach, shelter and housing programs and supportive services.

The City of Albuquerque has at least 10 separate homeless service provider locations throughout the city.

The entire general fund budget for the Department of Family and Community Services is $39.9 million.

The $39.9 million is not just exclusive funding for services to the homeless.

The service offered by the Family and Community Services Department are directly provided by the city or by contract with nonprofit providers.

The services include social services, mental/behavioral health, homeless services, health care for the homeless, substance abuse treatment and prevention, multi-service centers, public housing, rent assistance, affordable housing development, and fair housing, just to mention a few.

The following homeless services are funded by the City of Albuquerque, HUD’s Continuum of Care grants, Emergency Shelter Grants, and other grants administered by the City of Albuquerque:

1. Emergency Shelters for short-term, immediate assistance for the homeless for men, women, families, emergency winter shelter and after-hours shelter.
2. Transitional Housing assistance designed to transition from homelessness to permanent housing.
3. Permanent Supportive Housing for homeless individuals dealing with chronic mental illness or substance abuse issues
4. Childcare services for homeless families
5. Employment Services and job placement for homeless persons
6. Eviction Prevention or rental assistance and case management to prevent eviction and homelessness
7. Health Care services for homeless individuals and families
8. Meal program providing for homeless individuals and families in need
9. Motel Vouchers or temporary vouchers for homeless individuals with immediate medical issues and families with children, where emergency shelters cannot accommodate them.
10. The Albuquerque Heading Home program initiative which moves the most medically fragile and chronically homeless people off the streets and into permanent housing. Since its inception in 2011 to January, 2017, it has placed 650 people into housing that assists with housing and providing jobs.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The initiatives being proposed are a major enhancement to the services already being provided by the city and will be in cooperation with Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico.

The approach is a realistic one to address the needs of the homeless.

The greatness of a city is reflected by the commitment it makes to help its homeless who suffer from mental illness.

We as a city have a moral obligation to make every effort and make available to the homeless services they desperately need.

Following are links to other articles on homeless initiatives:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1214429/we-must-help-our-homeless.html

“Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” Solution To Homelessness Proposed

St. Martin’s HopeWorks Reflects How City Treats Its Homeless

It Takes A Village to Help the Homeless

Tiny Home Village Creates Giant NIMBY Problem

“The Root Of The Problem Is The President’s Amorality.”

The New York Times’s Opinion desk took the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay from a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration whose identity is known only to the New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

FOLLOWING IS THE LETTER PUBLISHED IN FULL

“President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making. To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.
But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.
That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The rationale for the New York Times keeping the author of the letter anonymous was that the person’s job would be jeopardized by disclosing who wrote it.

The New York Times would be the very first to cry foul if any other media entity or person had published the letter and refused to disclose the identity arguing it is the people’s right to know who the writer is seeing as they are being paid with taxpayer money.

The use of the term “Senior Official” no doubt was carefully chosen by the New York Times.

Note the paper did not use the term “Senior White House Official.”

The term Senior Official could mean a Cabinet Secretary, a Deputy Secretary, a member of the National Security Council or for that matter a high ranking speech writer or press relations person.

Some news media outlets have gone so far as to suggest that Vice President Michael Pence, Pence’s Chief of Staff Nicke Ayers, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote the letter, and all have denied it.

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/6/17826830/new-york-times-trump-official-anonymous-oped

It is obvious who ever in fact wrote the piece is articulate, knows how to write an op ed piece, has dealt with the New York Times in the past and had the ability to get it to the paper on their own without having to use an assistant or secretary and was able to secure a commitment from the paper not to release the name.

Vice President Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayer’s has been suggested a the biggest suspect.

It is stunning that a senior official for the President of the United States would say:

“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making. … Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. … the president’s leadership style … is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective. … Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back. There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next.”

Washington Post’s sources called Trump’s reaction to the letter as “volcanic,” and a Politico source said the White House was in “total meltdown.”

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/6/17826830/new-york-times-trump-official-anonymous-oped

Trump is already going on the rampage to find out who the writer is and using the word “treason”.

Treason is not an act against a President, but against the Country.

Trump’s use of the word “treason” shows just how ignorant he is of our United States Constitution which defines “treason” as acts of a citizen leveling war against the United States or adhering to enemies of the United States and giving aid or comfort the enemies of the United States. (See Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 3).

You can only help but hope and perhaps wonder how more senior White House Officials will come forward and make the same disclosures.

An even bigger issue is if Special Counsel Robert Mueller will issue a subpoena to the New York Times and force them to produce the name to the grand jury given the accusation made regarding Russia.

It is clear that the American public elected someone who is emotionally unstable and not mentally fit to be President of the United States.

The letter talks about the bright spots and accomplishments of Trump as “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more” not recognizing all that would go away within seconds with the press of a nuclear button by an unstable President.

It is at the point that Trump has now done more damage to this country as well as his own party than anyone could have ever dreamed or imagined.

It may take years as was the case with “Deep Throat” who brought Richard Nixon down, but I have no doubt the American Public will learn one day who the anonymous writer is.

In the meantime, it is my hope that the Secret Service has a few straight jackets, a few face masks and dollys strategically place in the White House they can use like in the movie “Silence of the Lambs” because I fear they are going to need them very soon.

“America In Wonderland” With Mad Hatter Trump

Lower Age Limit To Become APD Police Officer To 18

The Albuquerque Police Department is “aggressively recruiting” for new officers.

APD officials are also saying they hope to recruit a diverse group of young officers.

According to news reports, APD is looking at high school seniors, transfers and women.

The full news story can be viewed here:

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-looking-to-a-specific-recruiting-groups-as-it-works-to-shore-up-officer-shortage/5057841/?cat=500

The 2018-2019 fiscal budget effective July 1, 2018, APD reflects that 878 sworn police officers are currently employed and APD fully budgeted for 1,040.

APD officials say the department is currently on track to meet its goal of adding 100 officers each year.

The APD Academy so far has 35 cadets set to graduate in December, 2018.

Another cadet class of 40 is scheduled to start in January, 2019.

APD officials also report they have 29 “laterals” coming from other departments and “rehires” returning to Albuquerque who will be graduating in October.

Another class of 20 laterals hires will start in November.

APD’s goal is to increase the force by 124 officers this fiscal year that ends June 30, 2019 or in 9 months.

Police do say it’s an urgent need, and they seek problem-solvers who are looking to not only become an officer but stay an officer and make it a long term career.

The Keller Administration is proposing to spend $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, 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 City is implementing a hiring and recruitment program to offer incentives, pay raises and bonuses to join or return to APD in order to return to community-based policing.

For the first fiscal year of the four-year plan, the 2018-2019 budget provides for increasing funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040, not much of an increase the first year.

Notwithstanding the existing funding for 1,000 sworn police, APD at the beginning of 2018 had 878 sworn police.

A new APS officer would make $29 an hour out of the academy.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS TO BE AN ALBUQUERQUE POLICE OFFICER

All prospective Albuquerque Police Department officers must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. Be a US citizen and at least 21 years old at the time of police academy graduation.
2. Have a high school diploma or GED, and possess a valid driver’s license.
3. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 32 college credits unless the applicant has at least of two years of experience with and received an honorable discharge from the United States military.
4. Two years of continuous service as an Albuquerque police service aid or prisoner transport officer or five years of continuous service in a government or private sector position may also qualify for a waiver of the college credit requirement.
5. Immediate disqualification occurs if an applicant has a felony conviction, has been convicted of domestic violence, or has been convicted of a misdemeanor within three years of the application date.

STEPS TO BECOME AND ALBUQUERQUE POLICE OFFICER

Having the “minimum” qualifications to be an Albuquerque Police Officer only gives you an opportunity to test for the job.

The actual steps that must be taken to become an Albuquerque Police Officer are complicated and are as follows:

1. Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers and verify your eligibility by submitting an interest card to the Albuquerque Police Department.
2. Take the City Entrance Exam, which is similar to a civil service exam.
3. Submit a personal history statement.
4. Pass a physical abilities test.
5. Take the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (Note: this is a multiple-choice test measuring skill in vocabulary and reading.)
6. Submit the required personal documents, such as a credit report and photograph.
7. Complete a written psychological evaluation and background investigation.
8. Take a polygraph exam.
9. Complete a psychological interview.
10. Attend a panel interview with the Chief’s Selection Committee.
11. Complete a medical exam and drug screen.
12. Accept a conditional hire offer and attend the police academy.
13. Begin working as an Albuquerque patrol officer and [completing six months of patrol work with another sworn officer].
https://www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com/criminal-justice-resources/police-departments-by-metro-area/albuquerque-officer-requirements/#requirements.

TWO REQUIREMENTS THAT SHOULD BE REVISITED

Approximately fifteen years ago, the minimum of 32 college credit requirement was added as a minimum entry requirement thereby excluding many individuals from being able to apply.

The rationale for the college credit requirement was that it would mean recruiting a higher quality of applicant and make better police officers.

A person’s education level does not always reflect intelligence nor how a person will react under pressure, especially when a life is in danger and you have to make life and death decisions.

The Albuquerque Police Academy is a six-month academy that requires the successful completion of physical and mental training and screening.

The academy has mandatory attendance of academic classes, in standard operating procedures, criminal procedure and the law with “constitutional policing” emphasized.

The college credit requirement needs to be revisited and determined if it is really necessary given the amount of training and education mandated by the academy.
Another requirement is passing a “polygraph” examine.

It is well settled law that the results “polygraph” examines are not admissible in court unless agreed to by the parties primarily because such examines are considered unreliable.

The rationale for the polygraph exam being evidence of a person’s propensity to lie is highly questionable and it is one requirement that should be revisited.

Eliminating the “college credit” requirement as well as the “polygraph test” would increase the final pool of applicants and not be a lowering of standards.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

December 1, 2018 Mayor Keller and Chief Michael Geier will have been at the helm of APD for a full year.

It is about time that they are now seeking a new younger, diverse generation of police officer.

Recruiting high school seniors will require the department to revisit the college credit requirement to become a police officer as well as the 21 year old age limit.

The age limit to become a police officer should be lowered to 18.

Some will question that 18 to 21 years old do not possess the life skills to be police officers which is short cited and really all depends on the individual.

The 18 year old age limit is somewhat arbitrary.

There are 19 year olds and 20 year olds that can probably do the job once trained.

Lowering the age to 18 will increase the pool of recruits needed to expand APD.

1,000 to 1,200 applicants are needed to get a class of 40 cadets.

There is an extensive screening process and Chief’s selection process.

At 18, you must register for the draft in this country.

I have seen many 18 to 21 year olds that have more maturity than many older adults in their 30s.

Men and women are admitted to our military academies once they graduate from high school.

What should be considered is the 18-21 year olds can join the military, be armed, fight and die for our country after extensive training in “boot camp” which is what the APD Academy really is on so many levels.

If the past 8-year history with the APD Academy is any reflection of what will happen, the APD Academy will be lucky to hire and train enough cadets just to keep up with retirements.

The number of sworn police officers has dropped dramatically from 1,100 full time sworn police in 2009 to 878 on July 1, 2018 fiscal year.

In order to increase APD from the current 878 sworn police to 1,040 sworn by this time next year, the APD Police Academy will need to keep up with expected retirements and will have to hire at least 162 new officers either as new recruits or as lateral hires.

Based on APD Academy past performance over the last few years, the Police Academy will not be able to meet the goal.

With 75 cadets in the works 35 cadets set to graduate in December, 2018 and a next class of 40 is scheduled to starts in January, 2019, it is likely 50 will make it through to graduation.

In 2016, the APD Academy graduated more than 90 cadets but because of retirements and other departures, the department had a net gain of six (6) officers.

The main challenge is to expand the pool of recruits without compromising or reducing minimum qualifications and standards.

It will take years to grow the department to the 1,200-level desired to return to community-based policing.

Growing the department will take time, perhaps as much as 10 years which will require Keller to be elected two more times as Mayor.