Grading Mayor Tim Keller’s First Year In Office

December 1, 2018 marks one-year that Mayor Tim Keller has been in office after winning his runoff election with a 62.2% landslide.

On June 8, 2018, the Albuquerque Journal published my guest editorial commentary where I gave a “report card” regarding Mayor Tim Keller’s job performance for his first 6 months in office giving him a “C” average for all around job performance.

You can read the entire Journal editorial comment here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1183092/keller-earns-a-c-in-his-1st-semester.html

The grades given six months ago in June were “A” for Public Relations, “B” for Political Appointments, “C” for Public Safety, “D” for DOJ Reforms and “F” for Economic Development.

A detailed examination of what has happened during Mayor Tim Keller’s entire first year in office is in order.

What is also appropriate is grading his performance for the past six months and assessing grades for the entire year.

In short, Keller had brought up his grades in 3 areas and has gone down in 1 area.

Keller has gone from a “C” to a “B minus” for his first full year in office.

KELLER’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND PROBLEM AREAS

Mayor Keller’s accomplishments and problem areas in his first year in office are as follows:

1. PUBLIC RELATIONS

Mayor Tim Keller has taken photo ops to an all new level by attending protest rallies to speak at, attending marches, attending heavy metal concerts to introduce the band, running in track meets and participating in exhibition football games as the quarterback and enjoying reliving his high school glory days, and posting pictures and videos on his FACEBOOK page. People can take great pride with the young, positive image Mayor Keller and his wife and young family are portraying for Albuquerque and it is refreshing on many levels.

A. REBRANDING EFFORTS

Mayor Keller has implemented a public relations and marketing campaign to rebrand the city image with his “One ABQ” slogan. Keller has come up with a strained logo that rearranges the city’s name to reflect the slang name for the city as “BURQUE” in red letters with t-shirts and a web page which can be viewed here https://onealbuquerque.com/ Slick videos to present the city in a positive image have been produced and can be viewed on the web page. The Keller Administration has implemented a “volunteer” program to have people assist with city services along with “reach out” town halls.

The attempt to “rebrand” the “Duke City” as “BURQUE” is somewhat “hip” for Mayor Keller’s generation while at the same time very cringe worthy to many others. Further, Keller uses his campaign colors and backdrops in city literature and promotions. The attempts to rebrand the city image is nothing new and was done by one of his predecessors who came up with a new city logo that looked like a “swimmer in water” and the trite slogan “Good For You, Albuquerque!”

B. A NATIONAL CAUSE

No matter how noble the cause, many expressed serious reservations about the need for a trip Keller and his wife First Lady Kirstin Keller made to the Texas border in late June. The trip was made to protest the Trump Administration’s family separation policy and “no tolerance” policy of letting people in the United States contrary to immigration laws. The Texas border trip came a day after President Donald Trump reversed the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents who had entered the U.S. illegally.

More than a few political observers felt Mayor Keller’s remarks at the Texas border were “over the top”, and far more appropriate for a statewide or federal elected official, and not a city mayor.

Keller was quoted as saying:

“These are dark days in America, especially on the border, when we see our leaders echo language that sounds eerily similar to Jim Crow, to internment camps, to the Holocaust. When we see our country take actions that literally betray basic humanity, these are dark days. These are dark days when we have to be here with you today, when mayors from all around the country have to stand here and tell our federal government what they are doing is wrong.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1187504/abq-mayor-mentions-jim-crow-holocaust-during-border-visit.html

Critics said it was nothing more than a publicity stunt when he was photographed delivering one of his own children’s “teddy bears” to give the children at the border.

2. PERSONNEL HIRES, A FORCED RETIREMENT

A. PERSONNEL HIRES

Keller was initially given high marks for appointing experienced city hall people like James Lewis, Lawrence Rael and David Campbell to key positions. Keller also high marks for appointing woman to executive positions including Sarita Nair as Chief Administration Officer, Shelle Sanchez as Cultural Services Director, Mary Scott as Human Service Director, Ana Sanchez as Senior Affairs Director, Nyka Allen as Aviation Director and Katy Duhigg as City Clerk.

There were a few vetting and appointment missteps with a City Clerk nominee and the City Attorney. The first City Clerk nominee withdrew her acceptance of her appointment because her financial problems and tax lien problems. The City Attorney who was appointed had not applied and was appointed after the job posting closed and interviews were conducted.

Keller raised more than a few eyebrows and protests regarding the following appointments and salaries paid to them:

A. Keller created an Assistant Mayor position and hired Obama Administration Political Strategist Gary Lee at $75,000. Lee only reports to Keller.

B. Keller appointed his longtime political consultant and campaign manager Alan Packman at $75,000 to work at 311. Packman only reports to Keller.

C. Keller appointed former United States Attorney Damon Martinez as an APD Policy writer at $118,000 a year. The appointment was strongly objected to by progressive “police oversight” activists who demanded Keller fire Martinez.

D. Keller hired former New Jersey State Trooper Leonard Nerbetski as the “Real Time Crime Center Director”. Nerbetski was hired even though he has a history of excessive use of force that resulted in hundreds of thousands paid in settlements. Albuquerque is under a DOJ consent decree for APD’s excessive use of force and deadly force calling into question if the new hire could be committed to constitutional policing practices.

For more on all 4 hires and appointments see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/15/two-mayors-one-too-many/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/08/09/keller-and-packman-together-again/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/29/keller-angers-apd-oversight-progressives-with-two-hires/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/19/looking-the-other-way-is-no-stringent-vetting-process/

B A DEPUTY CHIEF IN CHARGE OF APD PUBLIC RELATIONS

Mayor Tim Keller created an APD Deputy Chief of Staff Position which is essentially a “public relation person” paying $140,000 a year to deal with “all APD all the time” news cycles and interactions with the media. It is difficult justifying making a public information officer an APD Deputy Chief, unless you want to insulate the Mayor, the Chief, the Deputy Chief’s from adverse publicity and dealing with high profile criminal cases such as the murder and dismemberment of 9-year-old Victoria Martens or the shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/30/apd-deputy-chief-of-staff-in-charge-of-media-relations-is-political-damage-control-position/

C. A FORCED POLICE ACADEMY RETIREMENT

The most disturbing departure during the first year of the Keller Administration was that of the Director of the APD Police Academy. John Sullivan who resigned on July 21, 2018 as the Academy Director and was replaced by Commander Angela R. Byrd. John Sullivan claimed he was forced to retire by Police Chief Michael Geier a month after Sullivan testified before the federal court judge overseeing the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating APD reforms.

Sullivan testified that he had ended what he called a “good-ol’-boy” testing practice at the APD Academy where cadets were told what questions would be on their tests, where cadets were allowed to take tests in a group and where passed with a 95 percent score. Sullivan testified that the independent monitor found an unusually high rate of passing grades for the academy’s cadets.

Sullivan submitted a two-sentence retirement letter to Geier that said, “Per your directive, I am involuntarily retiring from the City of Albuquerque without waiving rights to any legal action I may pursue in the future.” On September 6, 2018 it was reported that former commander John Sullivan filed a “whistleblower lawsuit” suing the city, claiming he was demoted and forced into retirement by Mayor Tim Keller’s administration after he reported to the Federal court on the police academy’s secrets and training practices.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/24/apd-academy-directo-meltdown-cnm-announces-law-enforcement-academy/

3. APD OVERTIME

APD has major problems with going over its overtime budget by millions at the expense of other departments. This year, APD has exceed it overtime budget by $5 million, at the expense of other city employees and services. It turns out that for three (3) years, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) used “overtime pay” as a recruiting incentive to attract applicants claiming that their pay could be increased by as much as 25% with overtime pay.

A review of the city’s 250 top earners in 2017 revealed that 66 patrol officers first class were among the highest paid city employees earning a total of around $7.1 million in salary and overtime. Five (5) APD Patrol Officers First Class are listed in the top 250 city wage workers as being paid $146,971, $145,180, $140,243, $137,817 and $125,061 respectfully making them the 6th, the 7th, the 10th, the 12th and the 20th highest paid employees at city hall as a result of overtime pay.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/30/apd-overtime-pay-abuse-and-recruitment-tool/

Media outlets reported that APD’s Public Information Officer and Patrolman First Class Simon Drobik has earned $146,000 so far this year and is on track to make $200,0000 by the end of 2018 as a result of overtime pay. APD claims Drobik works full-time as PIO during weekdays as his primary assignment, working 7 days a week, and he also works as a patrol officer entitling him to be paid for that position as well, in essence holding down and being paid for two positions.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/18/apds-200000-a-year-public-information-officer/

4. POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMAND STAFF

Keller Appointed his interim APD Chief Michael Geier the permanent APD Police Chief and appointed 3 Deputy Chiefs who are either retired or from within APD and shuffled and reorganized the APD command staff and personnel staff. The entire upper command staff of Chief and Deputy Chiefs came up through the ranks and were promoted by former APD Chief Ray Schultz which is very problematic among APD watchers as promoting little or no change in management styles and philosophies.

Keller promised to do a national search for a new Chief. However, Keller appointed a 5-member selection committee and process for a permanent APD Chief with no representatives on the chief’s selection committee from the general public, the city council, American Civil Liberties Union, APD Forward, the District Attorney’s Office nor Public Defenders Office, nor any Hispanic, Native American or other minority groups nor communities affected by police actions. There was no representation on the selection committee from any one of the stakeholders in the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The promise of a national search was considered by many as nothing but a sham.

Notwithstanding, APD Chief Geier has stabilized the department and has done a good job, appears to be fully committed to the DOJ reforms and deserves the credit and leadership for his work with the DOJ reforms.

For more on the APD Chief selection process see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/21/too-much-at-stake-to-rush-and-get-wrong/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/03/no-need-for-charade-if-fix-already-in/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/06/14/national-search-for-new-apd-chief-a-sham/

5. SYMBOLIC LEGISLATION

Keller signed what was considered by many a symbolic decriminalization of pot ordinance and a symbolic City Council resolution reaffirming Albuquerque as an “immigrant friendly” city as opposed to a “sanctuary city”, with both initiatives being city council initiatives and not at Mayor Keller’s request.

6. BACKTRACKING ON CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

Mayor Keller failed his first major test in dealing with APD in the evidence gathering of a child abuse case. The blood-stained underwear of a seven-year-old child was collected by the child’s teacher and the clothing was thrown out and not tagged by APD. Initially, both Mayor Keller and APD Chief Geier insisted that no one with APD violated any policies or procedures and said that officers and detectives did everything they could with the information they had at the time. After extensive media coverage, an Internal Affairs Investigation was announced. Keller announced policies changes after meeting with the Albuquerque Journal editorial board giving an apology for what happened.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/30/a-line-in-the-sand-a-stunning-admission-of-head-in-the-sand/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/30/a-7-year-old-childs-blood-stained-underwear-sure-the-hell-is-not-speculation/

7. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONSENT DECREE REFORMS

In December, 2017, soon after taking office, Mayor Keller committed to a federal judge in private and then publicly during a federal court hearing to implement the Department of Justice reforms which are required under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) acknowledging that he will be judged at re election time on how he handles the reform measure implementation.

On Friday, November 2, 2018 Federal Court Appointed Monitor Dr. James Ginger filed his 8th report on the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) compliance levels with mandatory requirements of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). Federal monitor James Ginger said that APD has made “exceptional progress”. Ginger gave the 11-month-old Keller administration and APD positive high marks in his report on the department’s compliance with U.S. Department of Justice mandated reforms.

The 8th report from the federal monitor is remarkable and dramatic turnaround for APD given that it is a departure from virtually every other previous 7 reports filed by Federal Monitor James Ginger. Ginger reported in no uncertain terms that the city is in a far better position in the reform efforts than it was a year ago under the previous Republican Mayor Berry Administration and former Republican operative APD Chief Gorden Eden.

Federal Monitor Ginger reported:

“The compliance efforts we have observed during this reporting period differ substantively from those we had observed earlier in the monitoring process. We have found the current APD executive staff to be fully committed to CASA compliance processes. Most of the new command and oversight cadres also appear to be fully committed to moving APD forward in its compliance efforts. … ”

In his eighth report Ginger reported that the statistics he uses to audit, monitor and track progress show that APD has achieved 99.6% compliance with “primary tasks”, 75.4% secondary compliance and 59.5% operational compliance. What the 59.9% operational compliance means is that sworn police officers have been trained on new policies approved by the monitor and police are being held accountable for violations of those policies. The 59.9% operational compliance reported in the settlement agreement is a 12% increase from last year. This is the first time in 3 years APD has achieved above 50% operational compliance.

For more on all 8 of the monitors reports see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/11/05/kudos-to-mayor-keller-and-apd-chief-geier-apd-goes-from-subverting-doj-reforms-to-exceptional-progress-police-union-impedes-reforms/

8. BETTER UNION RELATIONS

The Keller Administration negotiated a $8 million settlement with the Albuquerque firefighters union, ending a pay raise dispute that dated back to 2011 when the previous administration was at impasse with all the City Unions. Further, the Keller Administration was successful in negotiating a two-year contract with the police union providing for $12.2 million dollars in hourly wage increases and longevity pay increases to experienced police officers.

9. DWI VEHICLE FORFEITURE PROGRAM

The Keller Administration announced implementation of major changes to the city’s twenty five-year old DWI vehicle forfeiture program in response to a federal court ruling in a pending case. The policy change includes the city not seeking ownership of a vehicle and sell it at auction unless the suspect is convicted of DWI.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/04/12/citys-dwi-vehicle-forfeiture-program-disarms-drunks-of-weapons/

10. GROSS RECEIPTS TAX INCREASE

In 2017 while running for Mayor, candidate Tim Keller promised he would never raise taxes unless there was a public vote.

A promise not to raise taxes without a public vote by any candidate for mayor is meaningless when said from the get-go and nonsense that should not be taken too seriously. No candidate for mayor really knows what is going on with city finances until he/she actually look at the books.

Keller making the promise as a candidate was at best idealistic and at worse being foolish just to garner votes to get elected.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/08/one-final-comment-on-tax-enactment/

A few months after being elected, Mayor Keller agreed to and signed a city council-initiated $55 million dollar a year tax increase. Keller broke a campaign promise not to raise gross receipts taxes without a public vote. The increased tax revenues raised went towards a projected $40 million deficit. 80% of the new tax revenues are dedicated to public safety. However, the city’s gross receipts tax revenues from the state have increased tremendously, with critics asserting that there was no need for the tax increase in the first place.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/02/breaking-a-promise-on-public-vote-for-tax-increase/

11. BALANCE BUDGET ENACTED

Mayor Keller submitted and the city council enacted a $577 million balanced general fund budget. Highlights include increases in funding for more police, increased funding in social services, youth programs, and programs to help the homeless. $1.5 million has been allocated to address the backlog of more than 4,000 untested rape kits that Keller found as New Mexico State Auditor.

For more on the city budget see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/23/city-council-enacts-keller-577-million-operating-budget/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/04/02/billion-dollar-budget-reflects-dramatic-change-in-city-priorities/

12. APD EXPANSION PROGRAM

The Keller Administration is implementing an $88 million-dollar APD police expansion program increasing the number of sworn police officers from 898 positions filled to 1,200, or by 302 sworn police officers, over a four-year period. The 2018-2019 fiscal year budget provides for increasing funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040. The massive investment is being done in order to full fill Mayor Tim Keller’s 2017 campaign promise to increase the size of APD and return to community-based policing as a means to reduce the city’s high crime rates.

The Albuquerque Police Department’s very generous hourly pay increases and increased longevity pay incentive bonuses are allowing APD to recruit experienced police officers from other New Mexico law enforcement agencies. This year, APD has recruited 59 sworn police officers as “lateral hires” from other law enforcement agencies in the State of New Mexico. APD is projecting that it will have 980 officers by next summer by growing the ranks with both new cadets and lateral hires from other departments, including APD retirees. Police officers who are leaving other agencies to join APD are some of the more experienced and highly trained officers at the agencies they are leaving.

The problem with lateral hires is that it increases the risk of hiring problem officers from other agencies, which is what caused in part APDs problems in the first place with the Department of Justice. Keller and Geier need to realize that APD needs to recruit a new generation of young, committed police officers to start their careers who are fully trained in constitutional policing practices. Keller and APD Chief Geier are also hiring and returning to work APD retirees and the danger with that is APD may be hiring back cops that created, contributed or who did not stop the culture of aggression found by the DOJ.

For more on APD’s recruitment of police see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/11/26/apds-gone-poaching/

13. CREATION OF DOWNTOWN “PUBLIC SAFETY” DISTRICT

On September 13, 2018, making good on a campaign promise, Mayor Tim Keller and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) announced the creation of a “Downtown Public Safety District.” The goal is to have a permanent police presence in Downtown Albuquerque. The substation for the Downtown Public Safety District is located at the Alvarado Transportation Center at First and Central SW and is a conversion of a prisoner transport holding area that will require remodeling to remove jail cells. A Deputy Police Chief has been appointed to manage The Downtown Public Safety District while all six of APD area commands are headed up by an APD Commander. Creating a special “Public Safety Downtown District” headed up by a Deputy Chief is viewed by many as giving preferential law enforcement protection to one area of the city at the expense to the poorer neighborhoods such as Southeast Heights that have extremely high property and violent crime rates.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/09/13/downtown-public-safety-district-created/

14. DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION

On September 24, 2018, Mayor Keller declared himself the “promoter in chief” when it comes to promoting Albuquerque as a good place to live, work, play and invest, announced his plans for “Downtown Revitalization”.

Keller’s Downtown revitalization plan includes 3 major initiatives:

A. Opening a police substation at the Alvarado Transportation Center to address the serious crime and homeless problems in the Central Avenue downtown area that have reached a crisis point. The substation is staffed by an APD Deputy Chief, police officers and a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) who are trained in dealing with behavioral and mental health issues.

B. In order to create a tourist draw, the city will begin remediation efforts and activate a second building at the Albuquerque Rail Yards after the city severs the existing contract with California-based Samitaur Constructs, the master developer for the site. In 2007, the city bought the site for about $8.5 million. The historic and vacant Albuquerque Rail Yards are within one mile of the Downtown area located south of Downtown between the Barelas and South Broadway neighborhoods. Albuquerque Rail Yards has 18 buildings still standing erected between 1915 and 1925 and include four major maintenance facilities built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

C. Keller announced ramped up plans to reinvent the historic Albuquerque Rail Yards by finding a development partner to transform a city-owned parking lot into “an amenity where thousands can gather year-round.” The city has upgraded one building, the blacksmith shop, where the Rail Yards Market Place has taken place on weekends each summer since 2014. Activating a second building will accommodate additional vendors and potentially be a big tourist draw according to Mayor Keller.

Keller’s downtown revitalization plan is not dramatic nor visionary to revitalize Downtown Albuquerque which is very disappointing given the platform of change and economic development he ran on. Increasing law enforcement presence that is sorely needed and again trying to restore the historic Albuquerque Rail Yards is commendable, but is not a game changer.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/09/04/downtown-revitalization-deja-vu-all-over-again/

On November 30, 2018, Mayor Keller boldly proclaimed:

“It’s just reality that regions rise and fall with the success of the downtown of their largest city … That just happens to be right here – at Central Downtown in Albuquerque. What happens here does affect the rest of the state of New Mexico.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1252378/abq-rolls-out-new-downtown-improvements-free-holiday-parking-plan.html

The comments make great newspaper quotes but the problem is that it no way reflects what has been going on in the city for the last 60 years.

The Central Downtown Albuquerque in Albuquerque Keller was referring to has been transforming during Mayor Tim Keller’s entire life of 41 years plus another 20 years before he was born.

“Downtown Albuquerque” has become the government and financial district for the city with the location of city hall, the City/County Government Center, the Metro Court, State District Court, the Federal Courts, the Social Security Administration, the main bank branches of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of the West Compass Bank and other banks and government agencies. At night, Central Downtown becomes a “dead zone”.

The center of Albuquerque and the new “Downtown Albuquerque” is the Uptown area of the city consisting of Coronado Shopping Center, the many shops at the Commons at Uptown, the Winrock development that will include even more retail shops and even luxury housing when it’s done not to mention all the restaurants that have popped up in the area with even more planned not to mention the commercial office space and banking in the area.

15. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

On the economic development front, Candidate for Mayor Tim Keller proposed as a “big idea” creating personal or individual Tax Increment Districts (TIDS), more use of industrial revenue bonds and tax incentives to attract new industry to Albuquerque and to create jobs.

On July 20, 2018, after a near full 8 months in office, Mayor Tim Keller unveiled his administration’s long anticipated economic development strategy for the city.

The Keller Economic Development plan has six main areas:

A. INCREMENT OF ONE: supporting homegrown entrepreneurship and “game-changer” business already in the community.

B. SMART RECRUITMENT: recruiting business in a strategic way. Recruitment outside of the state will focus on businesses that align with the city’s priorities.

C. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: capitalizing on “unique placement” along two interstates with an international airport and foreign trade zone. Keller cited the Railyards as an example of the “Placemaking” initiative. In 2007, the city purchased the Railyards for $8.5 million and it is now being used for weekend markets and other events.

D. CREATIVE ECONOMY & FILM: emphasizing culture, cuisine, art music and film industries as key to economic development. The Keller Administration wants to establish a code of conduct for film productions here.

E. INTERNATIONAL MARKETING: The city will continue to market itself to businesses internationally, targeting Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany and Japan, and is exploring how to bring a direct flight to Guadalajara, Mexico, to the Albuquerque International Sunport.

F. CITY BUYING LOCAL: Directing more government purchases to local businesses. City departments will be required to seek out local vendors with vendor registrations made available to all who want to register to do business with the city.

Keller’s economic development plan is considered lackluster by many within the business community. The plan is viewed as nothing more than “the same old same old” from the previous administration and not much of an inspiration. Keller has admitted that there is no “silver bullet” plan to bring jobs to Albuquerque.

On August 6, 2018, the Albuquerque City Council voted 7-2 to override Mayor Tim Keller’s veto on a $2.6 million economic development package that would help Topgolf in constructing a $39 million restaurant/indoor golf entertainment complex at the site of the former Beach Waterpark at the southwest corner of Montaño NE and Interstate 25. Keller’s veto of the City Council’s subsidies for “The Topgolf” was considered by many as the right thing to do, but reflected Keller’s reluctance to try and salvage a major investment in Albuquerque for a very small amount of incentives by the city.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1205725/city-council-overrides-keller-veto-on-topgolf-project.html

In early October, 2018, Netflix announced it was buying Albuquerque Studios. The State is contributing $10 million of Local Economic Development Act funds. Albuquerque is contributing another $4.5 million of Local Economic Development Funds. The Netflix purchase of Albuquerque Studios is a very big deal and will have a ten-year, $1 billion investment here in film production.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/09/netflix-purchase-of-alb-studios-makes-city-contender/

Mayor Keller cannot claim all the credit for Netflix, but he does get enough credit to increase his grade from “F” to a “D minus” for economic development.

For more on Keller’s Economic Development Plan see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/07/26/keller-goes-from-f-to-d-for-economic-development-strategy/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/06/07/mayor-kellers-lackluster-economic-development-department/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2017/06/05/city-hall-needs-to-get-serious-about-economic-development/

16. HOMELESS INITIATIVES

On September 6, 2018, Mayor Keller announced his plan to assist the homeless.

The major highlights of the Keller 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.
Keller’s initiatives to deal with the homeless is a slight expansion over the previous Republican’s Administration.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/09/07/citys-plan-to-address-homeless-crisis-revealed/

Keller has taken no position on the Tiny Homes project, a “village” of 36 one room structures measuring 10 by 10 feet for the homeless.

Keller has said that he feels providers to the homeless should take advantage of the city’s west side shelter and provide their services there as opposed to their current locations.

17. ART BUS PROJECT

For the first full year he has been in office, Keller has attempted to salvage the $135 million ART bus project calling it “turning lemons into lemonade”. The City was finally able to secure the $69 million federal grant funding from congress.

The Keller Administration itself created a problem with the ART buses when it took delivery of at least 10 of the buses delivered from the California plant where the buses were assembled. Instead of being shipped by rail, the buses were driven across country and sustained damages which may not be covered by the warranty or have voided the warranty.

However, after a full year, claiming he has lost patience with the bus manufacturer Build Your Dreams, Keller is embroiled and is threating litigation over the $25 million contract with the bus manufacturer. Keller proclaim the buses delivered “are unsafe at any speed” and do not meet specifications. In response, BYD claims that Keller has libeled and slandered its good name and that there is nothing wrong with the buses. The city demanded that BYD pick the buses up by November 30, 2018.

On November 28, 2018 it was reported that the buses were being driven back to California. The ART bus stop platforms will go unused until new buses are ordered and delivered which will take upwards of 18 months. The Keller Administrations has ordered 10 diesel powered buses from another company. Whether Keller likes the ART Bus project or not, it is irrelevant, and Keller is now stuck with it as if it were his own.

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/bye-bye-buses-art-vehicles-leave-albuquerque/1624906172

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/06/12/dinelli-blog-articles-on-art-bus-project-listed/

18. CRIME RATES:

In 2016 and again in 2017, New Mexico had the country’s highest per capita rate of property crime and the second-highest per capita rate of violent crime. According to the annual FBI report released, the number of violent crimes in the specific categories of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, in Albuquerque increased by 23% in 2017 even though the City’s population remained essentially the same.

On September 24, 2018 the FBI released its “Crime in the United States” report and during Keller’s first year in office and for the first time in 9 years all crimes, except for murder, reportedly committed in Albuquerque have gone down as follows:

• Auto theft down 28 percent
• Auto burglary down 35 percent
• Commercial burglary down 18 percent
• Residential burglary down 14 percent
• Robbery down 39 percent

Notwithstanding, the city murder rate is exceptionally high. Nationally, the crime rate is 383 violent offenses per 100,000 residents and 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 residents. Albuquerque’s violent crime and property crime rates are more than triple the national crime rates. In Albuquerque, homicides were 18.2% this year. On December 28, 2017 Albuquerque reached a record high of 75 murders in one year. The city is on track to break the record.

For more on Albuquerque’s crime rates see:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/10/10/violent-state-violent-city/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/14/stolen-cars-only-tip-of-iceberg-for-a-violent-city/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

On November 28, 2018 political blogger Joe Monahan published his one-year job performance assessment of Mayor Tim Keller and assigned him an overall grade “in the B to B+ range” without identifying any specific grading categories.

You can read the entire assessment entitled “One Year Of Mayor Keller; How’s He Doing? Perspective Offered And Grades Assigned” at:

http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/

After a full year in office, Mayor Tim Keller appears to have settled into his job, is enjoying it and is now starting to make significant progress.

Based on the foregoing, Mayor Keller has indeed brought his grades up in the 3 areas of Public Safety, DOJ Reforms and Economic Development and one grade has gone down for his political appointments.

The grades for Mayor Keller’s second six months in office are as follows:

“A” for Public Relations in that Keller continues to portray a positive image for the city and has a 62% approval rating.

“C” for Political Appointments going from a “B” to a “C” for the second 6 months in office as a result of the recent questionable appointments.

“B” for Public Safety for the second six months increasing from a “C” to a “B” and given credit for reducing crime rates for the first time in 8 years offset by the city’s murder rates.

“B” for DOJ Reforms for the second six months going from a “C” to a “B” for the “extraordinary” progress reported by the federal monitor during the first 11 months of the Keller.

“D plus” for Economic Development for the second six months going from an “F” to a “D plus” for finally proposing and economic development program, lackluster as it is, and assisting with the providing city funding for the Nextflex purchase of Albuquerque Studios.

Overall, for his entire first full year in office, Mayor Keller has gone from a “C” average for his six months in office to a “B minus” average for his entire first year.

Keller was elected with a 62.2% vote and after one full year, Keller has a 62% approval rating according to a recent Albuquerque Journal poll.

Keller’s 62% approval rating should not be surprising at all given Mayor Keller’s penchant for public relations, media attention and press conferences.

Mayor Keller has 3 years left in office.

As is the case with any elected official, one month in office, let alone 3 more years is a lifetime in politics.

Over the next 3 years anything can happen and no doubt will happen, both positive and negative.

One disastrous mistake can tank a popular Mayor’s approval rating and send them into the mid 30’s ending a political career.

Many years ago, Mayor David Rusk lost his re election bid when he failed to have a “weed clean up effort” when weeds began to overcome the city after a lengthy rainy season.

The popularity of Mayor Martin Chavez reached a high if 72% after his first term when he decided to run for Governor and lost to Governor Gary Johnson.

Chavez became Mayor again and his popularity began to decline when he proposed a “light rail” system for Albuquerque and people labelled it a “trolly” not to mention he overstayed his welcome by running for a fourth term.

Five years ago, Berry was reelected by a landslide vote of 68% and he has aspirations of running for Governor or United States Senate.

Mayor Richard Berry’s popularity tanked over a few years because of his legacy ART Bus project, the killing of homeless camper James Boyd, rising crime rates and his failed leadership of APD and he left office with a 34% approval rating.

Rumor has it Berry was last seen leaving Albuquerque driving one of the ART buses manufactured by BYD back to California.

The bus Berry was driving stalled at 177 miles out of town when the batteries died and Berry was seen running around desperately looking for an electrical charging station and someone approached him and suggested where he should plug it in.

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About

Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.