“Sorry For Your Loss. Here Is Your APD Bill For Services Rendered.”

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is leading the charge with the introduction of a city council resolution that will allow the private sector and the businesses community to partner with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) to create specific crime plans for business areas.

Davis wants to give businesses an opportunity to band together and collaborate on crime plans with APD and create “Security Assistance Funding Zones.”

The catch is the private sector will have to pay the city and share the costs when it comes to executing those crime plans.

http://www.koat.com/article/councilor-proposes-businesses-share-costs-work-with-apd-on-crime-plans/12800713

Those zones must include businesses (10 or more comprising of at least 51% of an area) or property owners (5 or more comprising of at least 51% of an area) that all collectively agree to work with the APD to address criminal activity in their areas.

The businesses or property owners would be required be in major parts of the city, areas with heavy tourism, or areas with other “significant importance” to the city.

If the resolution passes the City Council, property owners or business owners would collectively submit to APD tactical plans that would outline the law enforcement initiatives that would be instituted.

The is no mention of residential areas that may be suffering from high crime rates which apparently have no “significant importance” to Pat Davis.

According to Davis no plan would exceed $100,000, and the city could pay up to $50,000 for the plans.

Davis claims he has identified $300,000 to help three zones during a pilot program.

LAW ENFORCEMENT IS BASIC ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE

Law enforcement is a very basic essential service that is provided by city government and is paid for by virtually all taxpayers.

What Davis is saying with his plan is that if you can afford to pay more for your law enforcement protection services that you have already payed taxes for, the City will divert more law enforcement resources for protection to your area.

The Davis proposal creates and funds zones of businesses at the exclusion of residential areas.

The Davis proposal is nothing more than charging additional money taking the functions of law enforcement away from other parts of the city and giving it to those in the private sector who can afford to pay extra for it.

Attempting to reduce crime rates by giving preferential treatment to areas of the city that can pay more for law enforcement is ill advised and downright negligent on the part of Pat Davis.

Next thing you know, Pat Davis will want sworn police officers to issue invoices or bills to citizens after they take a call for service.

It is not hard at all to imagine a convenience store attendant being shot and killed during an armed robbery in a “Security Assistance Funding Zone” and APD handing the store owner an invoice the same month for services rendered in the investigation.

Even worse, the victim’s family or store owner just may decide to sue the city for APD’s negligence and breach of contract in carrying out the law enforcement initiatives that were paid for and agreed to by the business owner.

A BAD IDEA ON SO MANY LEVELS

The Davis proposal is a very bad idea on so many levels.

The City’s crime rate affects the entire city and no area should be given any preferential treatment because that area can afford to pay more for law enforcement services.

The creation of “Security Assistance Funding Zones” is a pathetic attempt to find an alternative solution to APD’s personnel crisis.

What Davis is trying to do is create “safe zones” from crime for those who can afford to pay for them.

The truth is Pat Davis is attempting to privatized APD and law enforcement functions.

The Davis plan will not address APD’s inability to perform its law enforcement function because of its personnel crisis and shortage of APD sworn personnel.

APD is funded for 1,000 sworn police officers.

Notwithstanding the funding for 1,000 positions, APD has 830 sworn police officers but only 430 sworn police are patrolling our streets.

APD response times are at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond, endangering public safety.

The 430 sworn police officers, spread out over three shifts and six area commands, are patrolling our streets and responding to over 640,000 priority one calls a year.

APD’s response times at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond, endangering public safety.

Albuquerque needs at least 1,200 full-time sworn police officers with 750 spread out over three shifts, patrolling our streets and neighborhoods to return to community based policing that will reduce violent and property crime rates.

A VERY BAD IDEA FOR HIS OWN CONSTITUENTS

City Councilor Pat Davis was elected to the Albuquerque City Council in October 6, 2015 to represent District 6, which encompasses the International District, Mesa Del Sol, Nob Hill, Southeast Heights, and the University of New Mexico.

The International District in the Southeast heights has some of the poorest people in the city, a large immigrant community and some of the highest crime rates in the City.

Pat Davis previously worked as a police officer for the U.S. Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police in Washington, D.C. and the University of New Mexico Police Department and at one time served as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office and he should know better being a former law enforcement officer himself.

It is extremely doubtful that any of the businesses and residents in the International District can afford to pay for additional law enforcement services.

Over two years ago I recall vividly having conversations with then city council candidate Pat Davis discussing what needed to be done with APD and to bring crime rates down.

After being elected to the City Council, Davis told me there was not much he could do about APD and we needed to wait until a new Mayor was elected in two years.

Now that Davis is running for Congress, he decides that something should be done to reduce crime in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE’S CRIME PROBLEM IS CITY WIDE

Albuquerque’s crime problem and crimes rates are city wide.

Violent and property crime rates in Albuquerque are now at historical highs.

Albuquerque Police Department (APD) statistics reveal the total number of violent crimes in Albuquerque increased steadily and went from 4,291 in 2010 to 5,409 in 2015.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that Albuquerque has become the is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rate dropped by 13.7%.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s latest Hot Spots report shows Albuquerque and of Bernalillo County as the worst place in the nation when it comes to auto theft per capita.

In 2016 more than 10,000 vehicles were stolen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County or more than 27 vehicles a day.

According APD statistics, the total number of property crimes in Albuquerque has steadily increased each year during the last six (6) years going from 26,493 crimes in 2010 to 34,082 in 2015.

In 2016 according to FBI statistics Albuquerque’s violent crime spiked 15.5% and murders spiked 41.8 percent.

(See September 26, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “”FBI: Crime up sharply in ABQ; Murders increased 41.8% violent offenses rose 15%.”).

According to FBI data, Albuquerque had 61 murders and 6,245 violent crimes in 2016.

Property crimes increased by 13.3 and 38,528 property crimes (6,860 per 100,000 population) and 6,236 total burglaries (1,110 per 100,000 population) in 2016.

In 2016, Albuquerque’s auto thefts jumped by the highest percentage with 7,710 motor vehicle thefts an almost a 50% increase over the year before.

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONSENT DECREE AND REFORMS

For the last three years, APD has been operating under a federal court order after a Department Of justice investigation found a culture of aggression within APD.

APD has been struggling to implement the mandated reforms of the federal court order.

APD has had enough problems with resisting civilian oversight.

A serious question is if the private sector starts paying for public safety zones, will they also be allowed to order how APD will respond to calls and report crimes in such a manner that would violate the consent decree mandates and constitutional policing practices mandated by the DOJ consent decree?

CONCLUSION

The Mayor and City Council need to make it a priority to increase APD’s personnel ranks with sworn police officers with an aggressive recruitment program, increased wages for rank and file and sign on bonuses rather than trying to privatize a basic municipal function.

We must demand what we pay for as taxpayers when it comes to law enforcement.

The Albuquerque City Council needs to say “thanks, but no thanks” to Councilor Pat Davis and his ill-advised and opportunistic idea to curry favor with the business community to fund “Security Assistance Zones” in “areas of special” significance.

The City Council needs to give Davis a bill for wasting their time and energy on this ill advised plan.

The Dead Zone

The “Dead Zone” is a 1983 classic movie based on a Stephen King novel starring Christopher Walken as the main character.

It is about a man who sustains a head injury and is in a coma for five years and when he awakes he discovers that he has the psychic ability to learn a person’s secrets through physical contact with them.

At one point, the main character realizes he has a “dead zone” in his visions, where he can change the future.

Walken’s character attends a rally for a third party candidate for the United States Senate, played by Martin Sheen, and shakes the candidate’s hand and has a vision of him becoming president and ordering a nuclear strike that brings on a nuclear holocaust.

The scene in the movie that brings chills is where the President is dressed in pajamas and a robe, at night apparently at Camp David, with two aides with a nuclear code machine, declaring he had a vision and that it was his destiny to start a nuclear war.

The nuclear code machine requires two palm prints to activate the nuclear codes and the President becomes unhinged when his cabinet secretary refuses at first to activate the nuclear codes and berates and calls the cabinet secretary a coward until he capitulates and he helps launch the nuclear attack.

After the nuclear attack is ordered, there is a knock at the door and the President opens the door to greet the Vice-President who tells the President that a diplomatic solution had been found to the crises.

The scene in the movie is what we may be dealing with when it comes to North Korea and current occupant of the White House, especially after the comments made by Senator Bob Corker that the White House has become an adult day care center and that Trump could start World War III.

On October 11, 2017, Vanity Fair published an article on the Trump White House entitled “I Hate Everyone In The White House; Trump Seethes As Advisors Fear the President Is Unraveling”.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/10/donald-trump-is-unraveling-white-house-advisers

The Vanity article reports that close advisors are shocked and stunned by Trumps behavior.

The Vanity Fair article reports how Republicans and Trump advisors describe the White House in continuous crisis as they struggle to contain a president that is increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods using words like “unstable”, “losing a step” and “unraveling”.

It was reported that Trump’s National Security team was shocked when Trumped ordered that nation’s nuclear arsenal be increased 10-fold, and it was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to the President as a “F…ing Moron.”

Vanity Fair reported Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump orders a nuclear first strike.

The article reports West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office as allowed by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

Trump’s former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has told sources he felt Trump has a 30% chance of making it a full term.

The only consolation is that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are highly respected and decorated military men who apparently can control the President, at least for now and until he fires them.

I doubt that either Kelly or Mattis can be bullied into starting a nuclear war.

New Mayor Needs A Community Inspired Economic Development Plan

On December 1, 2017 when a new Mayor is sworn in, Albuquerque’s crime rate is just one of the biggest challenges the Mayor will face.

Another major challenge will be trying to turn our economy around after eight (8) years of total stagnation and failed economic development policies.

Turning our economy around is not just the Mayor’s problem, nor government’s problem, but all of our problem.

As a community, we need to decide what kind of City we want to become and identify our needs; otherwise we are destined to continue our economic death spiral.

As a community, we can do things to turn our City economy around, diversify our economy and reduce our reliance on federal government funding.

A community effort to identify our needs has been done in the past and should be undertaken again.

It is a community effort that should be lead by the Mayor, the Albuquerque City Council, the Bernalillo County Commission, the Albuquerque business community, civic organizations and include charitable organizations, and the City’s and County’s Economic Development Departments.

SOBERING REALITY

During the last eight, Albuquerque has fallen to the bottom and in many cases dead last of every meaningful ranking in the country, including economy, jobs, crime, education, real estate, desirability, and traffic.

Even though Albuquerque is the largest city economy in the State, New Mexico is number one in unemployment and number one in children living in poverty.

For the past eight years, the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has not attracted nor convinced a single major corporation to come or relocate to Albuquerque.

It has been reported that Albuquerque lost 14,900 jobs during the last 10 years, which is roughly 4 jobs a day.

According to one Brookings Institution report, the Albuquerque metro area’s economy was so bad between 2009 and 2014 that it almost fell off the charts of three measures of economic health.

Of the largest 100 metro areas in the U.S., Albuquerque ranked 100th, 99th and 83rd in the three areas measured by the Brookings Institute: Growth, Prosperity and Inclusion.

According to the same Bookings Institute report, economically hobbled cities like Jackson, Miss., and Rochester, New York, fared better than Albuquerque. Albuquerque ranked 99th for economic growth, 83rd for prosperity and 100th for inclusion, which measures how an area’s poorest residents are doing in the economy.

According to US Census reports, more people are leaving the State than moving in, and our youth are leaving Albuquerque in droves to seek employment with a future elsewhere even after they get their college education at our universities.

On October 1, 2017 Wallet Hub, a personal fiancé website, published the story “Fastest Growing Cities In America”.

https://wallethub.com/edu/fastest-growing-cities/7010/#city

Albuquerque ranked 450th in economic growth among 515 cities in the United States according to the Wallet Hub report.

Wallet Hub ranked the cities using 15 metrics, including population growth, unemployment and poverty rate decrease, job growth and other measures.
Among large cities, Albuquerque ranked 60th out of 64.

Among all cities, Albuquerque fared especially poorly on unemployment rate decrease (481); job growth (446); growth in number of businesses (443); median house price growth (433), and regional gross domestic product growth (433).

According to US Census reports, more people are leaving the State than moving in, and our youth are leaving Albuquerque in droves to seek employment with a future elsewhere even after they get their college education at our universities.

ALBUQUERQUE’S ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) did a report on Albuquerque’s economy and outlook.

BBER used local statistics and national forecasts of our state and local economy to come up with a job history and job projections.

A portion of the University’s BBER 2016 report and forecasting model is contained in a section of the City of Albuquerque’s 2018 Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018.

(See City of Albuquerque “Proposed Budget Fiscal Year 2018, pages 46, 47, 48, 49 atwww.cabq.gov/dfa/budget/annual-budget)

Following is the section contained in the 2017-2018 City of Albuquerque proposed budget:

“The Albuquerque economy declined in sync with the national economy, but has lagged in its recovery.

Total employment in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased in the third quarter of 2012 but this gain was due to a change in processing by the department of Workforce Solutions and not in actual employment.

The 4th quarter of 2014 and all following quarters through the 1st quarter of 2016 show increases with growth.

The UNM BBER forecast of employment in October 2016, has positive non-agricultural (non-ag) employment growth beginning in FY/13, though as mentioned above, FY/13 is due only to a technical adjustment.

The growth in total employment in FY/14 was 0.4% and FY/15 growth in total employment was 1.4% and with one estimated quarter FY/16 is expected at 1.7%.

The Albuquerque economy lost over 27,000 jobs from FY/08 to FY/12 a loss of 7% of total employment.

About 13,000 jobs were added in FY/13 to FY/16.

In FY/17 employment is expected to increase 1.5% and remain near this level for the remainder of the forecast.

The economy does not approach FY/08 employment levels until FY/19.

This puts the Albuquerque recovery over four years behind the national economy in terms of reaching post-recession employment levels.

Government employment limits growth, with private sector employment growth exceeding total employment growth from FY/12 through FY/21.

Construction has improved and is now helping the economy.

The unemployment rate continues to decline, but some of this is due to discouraged workers leaving the labor force.

In calendar year 2015 there was somewhat a reversal of this with a slight increase in the unemployment rate caused in part by people re-entering the labor force.

The [unemployment] rate is expected to slowly decline to 5.3% in FY/20 and FY/21.

This is above the unemployment rate for the U.S. for the entire forecast period.”

ALBUQUERQUE’S ECONOMIC GROWTH INDUSTRIES

The BBER study also discussed the following nine (9) major Albuquerque industries or economy sectors:

1. Retail and Wholesale Trade
2. Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities
3. Manufacturing
4. Education and Health Services
5. Accommodation and Food Services
6. Real Estate & Financial Activities
7. Professional and Other Services
8. Information
9. Government

Following is information provided on each industry or sector:

1. RETAIL AND WHOLESALE TRADE

“These sectors [retail and wholesale trade] account for about 15% of employment in [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. It is a particularly important sector in terms of the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT); making up about 30% of GRT. As the recession hit, the closure of stores and reductions in purchases substantially hit employment and GRT in this sector. The sector is expected to have employment growth of just over 0.8% in FY/17 and FY/18 with a jump to over 1.5% in FY/19 and tailing off for the remainder of the forecast.”

2. TRANSPORTATION, WAREHOUSING AND UTILITIES

“This sector while important, only accounts for 2.5% of employment. Employment growth in this sector was weak before the recession hit and then declined substantially in FY/09 and FY/10. The expectations for the forecast are a robust recovery with growth over 2% in FY/17 following a decline of 0.6% in FY/16. With this growth, the sector does not reach the pre-recession high in the forecast period.”

3. MANUFACTURING

“This sector accounts for about 4.5% of employment in the [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. It is an important sector as it creates relatively high paying jobs that bring revenue from outside the area. (Emphasis added.) It also generates purchases of materials and services in the local economy making this sector’s impact greater than its employment share. After substantial job losses including closing of Eclipse Aviation and GE, the sector posted small gains in FY11 and FY/12. In FY/13, FY/14 and FY/15 the sector declined and is expected to post a small increase in FY/16 and FY/17 before suffering losses in the remainder of the forecast. FY/21 employment is only 72% of the employment of FY/08.”

4. EDUCATION AND HEALTH SERVICES

“This sector is predominantly health services and accounts for 15.7% of employment. Albuquerque is a major regional medical center that brings people into the area for services. Presbyterian Hospital and its HMO are one of the largest employers in the area. This was the only sector that increased through the recession and continues to be a primary driver for economic growth. Growth slowed in FY/14 but increased in FY/15 and is expected to reach 4% in FY/16. Growth stays above 3% in all years but FY/21 where it slows to 2.9%. This sector is the largest contributor to employment growth in the forecast period adding about 10,000 jobs (36.6% of total job growth) from FY/16 to FY/21.” (Emphasis added.)”

5. ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICES

“This category includes eating and drinking establishments as well as hotels and other travel related facilities. It accounts for 10% of employment in [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. The sector is a major contributor to both [Gross Receipts Tax] and Lodgers’ Tax. FY/14 and FY/15 had growth of over 3%. This slowed in FY/16 to near 2% and after increasing to over 2.5% in FY17 remains below 2% for the remainder of the forecast. The sector reached its previous peak of FY/08 in FY/14.”

6. REAL ESTATE & FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES

“This is two sectors and includes finance, insurance and real estate including credit inter mediation. It accounts for about 4.5% of employment in the [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. The financial crisis, the consolidation of banking, and the collapse of real estate impacted this sector. FY/13 shows an increase of 1% with FY/14 increasing 1.8%. Growth tapers off through the remainder of the forecast. In FY/21 the sector remains 367 jobs below the level of FY/08.

7. PROFESSIONAL AND OTHER SERVICES

“This category is a grouping of four service sectors (Professional and Technical, Management of Companies, Administrative and Waste Services, and Other Services). The category accounts for 18% of the employment in … [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. It includes temporary employment agencies, some of Albuquerque’s back-office operations, and architect and engineering firms that are closely tied to construction. It also includes Sandia National Labs (SNL). While the national labs gained some positions in FY/11 through FY/15, the sector as a whole was weak. This began to change in FY/15 as construction services (engineering and architecture) began adding jobs, though the sector as a whole declined. The sector shows expected growth in FY/16 of less than 1%. Growth then exceeds 1% every year in the remainder of the forecast with a peak growth of 2.6% in FY/18. In FY/21 it still remains 3,300 jobs below the peak of FY/08.”

8. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

“This sector includes businesses in telecommunications, broadcasting, publishing and internet service establishments. It also includes the film studios. It accounts for about 2% of employment in … [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. FY/13 posted solid growth, but FY/14 showed a substantial decline and FY/15 declined again. FY/16 is expected to show growth of over 3%, but slows to under 1% growth until FY/21.”

9. CONSTRUCTION

“Construction is typically cyclical, with significant swings in building and employment. Construction is an important sector and has an impact on the economy larger than its employment share of 5%. This sector lost 12 thousand jobs from FY/07 to FY/13. In FY/07 its employment share was 8%. After falling consistently from FY/07, employment in construction began increasing at the end of FY/13. FY/14 grew 2.8% and 2.4% in FY/15. Employment is expected to increase only 1.2% in FY/16, but then increases to near 3% in FY/17 and remains in the 2% to 3% range for the remainder of the forecast.It is one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy for the forecast period. Even with this growth construction employment in FY/21 is forecast to be 26% or 8,000 jobs below the FY/07 peak.”

10. GOVERNMENT

“The government sector makes up almost 21% of the Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area employment. The largest part of State and Local government is education. Local Government includes the public schools and State Government includes the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College. The local sector also includes Indian enterprises.The Federal Government makes up 4.4% of employment; nationally Federal government makes up 3.4% of total employment. This doesn’t include military employment which is counted separately. Active military is around 6,000 or about 1.7% of the total non-agricultural employment. Nationally military is 1% of total non-agricultural employment. Government employment slowed and decreased in FY/11 through FY/16. Local and State employment decreased due to declines in tax revenue and the inability to fund the same level of employees. State and Local are flat in FY/13. State government has been stronger with growth of 2.4% and 11.3% in FY/14 and FY/15. It is expected to grow 4.2% and then decline or remain at low levels of growth for the forecast. Local government has been flat and is expected to show little growth in the forecast. The major sources of state and local jobs are education, though the Labor department does not keep individual counts for these jobs at the local level. Federal Government after growing strongly in FY/10 showed little growth in FY/11 and declines in FY/12 through the remainder of the forecast. This occurs due to the federal government taking steps to reduce its expenditures. The forecast shows continued losses in federal jobs except in FY/19 to FY/21 largely due to hiring for the 2020 census.”

CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

The City has a total operating revenue and budget of approximately $955.3 million for fiscal year 2018.

Gross receipts tax makes up for 64% of the City’s general fund revenues.

29% of all city appropriations goes to public safety (police, fire, 911, emergency operations center, ect.) and 20% goes to infrastructure (street system, water and sewer system, ect.) for a combined total of 49% of all city expenditures.

The remaining 51% of city expenditures goes to providing all other essential and government services involving some 23 other city departments.

The various departments and expenditures include the Mayor’s office, city council services, the 311 call center, the city attorney’s office, the risk management department, finance and administration, cultural services and affairs, family and community services, social services to the poor and homeless, transportation or mass transit services (bus), the human resources department, the city clerk’s office and maintaining government facilities such as our parks, the Bio Park including the zoo and aquarium, libraries, senior citizen centers, just to mention a few, and salaries and benefits for city employees.

The City of Albuquerque does have an Economic Development Department and its mission is “develop a more diversified and vital economy through the expansion and retention of businesses; develop appropriate industry clusters and recruit target industries; and assist new business start-ups, and promote the film and music industries.”

“The Economic Development Department supports the tourism and hospitality industries through collaboration and oversight of the City’s contractors. The department also fosters international trade efforts and increased international business opportunities for Albuquerque companies.”

The question that needs to be asked is if city hall is serious or even committed to economic development and diversifying our economy?

The answer appears to be no based on the resources allocated.

The fiscal year 2018 proposed budget for the Economic Development Department was $3.6 million, a decrease of 24.1% from the fiscal year 2017 original budget and employs nine (9) full time employees which does not sound like much for an effective economic development plan for diversifying the Albuquerque economy.

During the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has not convinced nor attracted a single major corporation or business to relocate to Albuquerque.

During the last eight (8) years, the City has paid out $61 million dollars in taxpayer money to settled police misconduct cases, deadly force cases and excessive use of force cases.

Can you image if the $61 million in settlement money could have been available for economic development or even social services?

QUALITY OF LIFE LEGISLATION APPROACH

In 1987, the Albuquerque City Council engaged in a process of public hearings to determine and identify what type of facilities and projects were needed for a growing city that would enhance our quality of life and make Albuquerque an attractive City to raise a family.

In 1987, the City Council held extensive public hearings for months, throughout the City, to get public input on what should be built.

The business community, the private sector and many civic organizations got behind the effort and participated.

By a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the Albuquerque City Council enacted the “Quality of Life” legislation that resulted in the construction of the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Albuquerque Children’s Science Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Balloon Museum.

Originally, a performing arts center was identified as a needed facility with funding included, but the funding was later struck down by a voter initiative.

Years later, the private sector, without any government funding but with reliance on private fund raising and contributions, built the Hispano Cultural Center which has a performing arts venue that fills the void for a performing arts center.

The “Quality of Life” legislation funded the acquisition of critical open space with open land acquisitions completing the final phase of what forms the backbone of our “urban parks”.

The “Quality of Life” legislation included a ten year quarter cent sales tax with a sunset clause, and the tax has long since expired, but the facilities were designed and built.

The “Quality of Life” tax was not put on the ballot for a public vote thanks in large part to strong community support and the extensive public hearings held by the Albuquerque City Council and the forging of a public consensus of what needed to be built.

Money was also approved by the 1987 City Council to fund major improvements to our zoo, a major remodeling and expansion of our Convention Center, and the largest expansion and remodeling of the Albuquerque Sunport in Albuquerque’s history.

Looking back on it, what would Albuquerque be today without all of the “quality of life” facilities, our expanded open space and urban parks system, the expanded convention center, improvements to the zoo and the expanded airport?

Each “Quality of Life” facility contributes to our City character and helps make our City an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

Without the “Quality of Life” projects you cannot help but wonder if Albuquerque would be nothing more than just another dying, dusty little southwestern town.

TRY INVESTING IN OURSELVES

The same approach used in 1987 for the Quality of Life legislation can be done today to develop a successful economic development program, with or without an “economic development” tax voted upon by taxpayers.

There have been major cities where voters have agreed to tax and invest in themselves to repair or rebuild their communities and facilities.

Albuquerque and Bernalillo County voters did it to an extent in 2014 with the enactment of the Mental and Behavioral Health tax and again in 2015 with the BioPark gross receipts tax voter initiative.

In 2014, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County voters overwhelmingly voted to impose a one-eighth percent gross receipts tax to improve access to mental and behavioral health care services in the county.

The one-eighth percent gross receipts tax voted by taxpayers for mental health is to be used for the purpose of providing more mental and behavioral health services for adults and children in the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County area, and to provide a safety net system that develops mental health care not otherwise funded in New Mexico.

During the 2015 municipal election, Albuquerque voters wisely approved with an overwhelming majority the voter petition drive initiative to increase the gross receipts tax that will raise $255 million dollars over 15 years for the BioPark.

The BioPark, with its zoo, aquarium and botanical gardens, is the number one tourist attraction in the State of New Mexico.

With the enactment of both the mental and behavioral health tax and the BioPark tax, voters said they wanted to invest in their community, increase services and repair and preserve facilities that help make Albuquerque a great and unique City.

Albuquerque’s taxpayers must be convinced by its political and business leaders of the importance of investing in major public facilities, construction projects and infra structure and for economic development.

Albuquerque can turn our economy around with an aggressive and massive investment to reinvent itself like has been done by great American cities such as Denver, El Paso, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Columbus, and other cities that have invested billions in their communities.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LEADERSHIP REQUIRED

Albuquerque must redefine its identity, take bold and aggressive, calculated risks to attract and create high-paying jobs to keep our youth and talent from leaving.

Albuquerque is one of the few major metropolitan cities its size that does not have a City operated entertainment venue or facility, as was the Civic Auditorium, but relies extensively on higher education facilities such as the UNM’s “The Pit” and Popejoy Hall.

Improving our schools and vocational systems, reducing dropout rates, are critical to diversifying Albuquerque’s economy.

Albuquerque as a community needs to voice our demands loud and clear to our New Mexico House and Senate members that they need to be far more aggressive in improving and funding our education system and fund early childhood care and intervention programs and mental health care programs and stop wasting time on “all crime, all the time” agendas increasing criminal penalties, but rather getting to and solving the root cause of crime: poverty, poor education system, high unemployment, drug addiction, to mention just a few root causes of crime.

City economic development efforts need to be better coordinated with our vocational institutions to identify new industries that can be attracted to Albuquerque and insure Albuquerque has the trained work force to accommodate any new industry.

Albuquerque can and must expand and find better ways to use financial incentives for economic development such as tax increment districts (TIDS), industrial revenue bonds, and even fund economic development investment programs such as initial start up funding with claw back provisions.

Albuquerque needs to pursue with a vengeance real growth industries like heath care, transportation and manufacturing, and the film industry to diversify our economy.

Public-private partnerships in the growth industries where ever possible should be encouraged and developed.

Special emphasis and support should be given to Albuquerque’s film industry which is developing, expanding and proving to be very successful in providing well paying jobs.

Albuquerque’s taxpayers must be convinced by its leaders of the importance of investing in major projects and in our neighborhoods to make Albuquerque more of a “walk able” City, where people can raise their family, work and make a living and have recreational and entertainment opportunities all within a small radius thereby reducing our reliance on the automobile.

A well designed, efficient mass transportation system is a basic essential service that must provided by a City.

Any mass transportation system that is developed must truly serve the entire community and not just a small geographic area such as is the poorly designed ART bus project which is destroying historic Route 66.

More community centers with recreational facilities would be a good start achieving a walk able city.

The City of Albuquerque needs to partner more with the State of New Mexico wherever possible.

A good first start in partnering with the State is to find a new vision for the State Fair grounds and how that very valuable gem in the center of Albuquerque can be better utilized to serve the Albuquerque community.

A suggestion would be for the City and State to jointly fund a tear down the old Tingly Coliseum and construct a multipurpose, state of the art facility that could be used for entertainment and sports events and operated year round with a joint powers agreement.

Other joint powers agreements can be entered into between the City, State and County for the mutual use of facilities.

CONCLUSION

Our political, business and civic leaders need to show far more backbone and commitment to improving and diversifying Albuquerque’s economy.

Otherwise, we are destined to become a dying, dusty southwest city without any real potential for growth and better economic times.

A Little Mandatory Reading For Keller and Lewis

Below is a guest editorial column published on October 11, 2017 on page A-13 of the Albuquerque Journal, entitled “Next mayor, APD chief must embrace reforms; APD desperately needs leadership that will address long-standing problems in the department.”

The guest editorial was written by prominent attorney Stephen Torrez and his wife Renetta Torrez, the parents of 27-year-old Christopher Torrez who suffered from schizophrenia and who was shot and killed at his home by APD detectives who were found to have created an “unnecessary dangerous situation.”

This guest column should be mandatory reading for Mayoral candidates Tim Keller and Dan Lewis.

The runoff election for Mayor is scheduled for November 14, 2017.

What is not common knowledge is that on November 2, 2017, Federal Monitor James Ginger will be filing his sixth report regarding APD’s compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement.

The Federal Court has scheduled a public hearing on the sixth report for November 16, 2017.

I hope the Mayor elect reads the sixth report and attends the federal November 16, 2017 federal court hearing to get a real sense of what he is up against and realize the real heavy lifting that begins on December 1, 2017 when he is sworn in as Mayor.

FOLLOWING IS THE GUEST EDITORIAL COLUMN IN FULL:

“Next mayor, APD chief must embrace reforms; APD desperately needs leadership that will address long-standing problems in the department.”
By Stephen Torres And Renetta Torres / Parents ff Christopher Torres, Members of APD Forward
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 12:02am

“Despite our best efforts to protect him, our worst fears came true when two Albuquerque Police Department detectives killed our son in 2011. Christopher, who was 27 years old and diagnosed with schizophrenia, was at home alone when he was shot by the detectives. The court would later rule that the officers had acted aggressively toward Christopher and created an “unnecessarily dangerous situation.” The city ultimately paid our family millions of dollars as a result of lawsuits filed on his behalf, but that money means nothing to us because it cannot bring back our son. Christopher was a kind, caring young man, and we never want another family to go through the pain we did.

APD Forward is a nonpartisan, diverse coalition of organizations and family members who have lost loved ones to police violence. We are intimately involved in monitoring the reform process and working with community members to ensure all parties actively advance reforms in a collaborative and constructive manner. In advocating for changes at APD over the years, one thing we have learned is that the department desperately needs better leadership.

Our city’s next mayor and police chief will have the chance to exhibit that leadership by truly embracing the reforms necessary to fix what is broken in the Albuquerque Police Department. When Chief Gorden Eden took over in February of 2014, APD was in the midst of crisis. The Department of Justice was about to release the findings of its two-year investigation, and APD officers had shot and killed over 20 people since 2010. When the DOJ announced the results of its investigation in April 2014, they identified a “pattern and practice of excessive use of force” and a “culture of aggression” within APD.

Fast forward three-plus years, APD shootings are down but progress on reform has been slow. To make matters worse, the independent monitoring team appointed to oversee the reform process has found that in some instances APD engages in “deliberate resistance” to reform, not from the officers in the field, but from the executive and command staff level. This is particularly alarming because many of the most challenging reforms, such as establishing systems to ensure effective use-of-force investigations, still haven’t happened yet. At this rate, the reform process could stretch on for many years and cost our city millions more.

The good news is that a change in leadership is our best shot at speeding up the reform process. Instead of resisting change, a new mayor and police chief could and should embrace the opportunity to address long-standing problems with APD. By building trust with the communities, it serves, APD will be more effective at fighting crime.

One of the most important decisions the new mayor will make is choosing a new police chief. To date, each of the mayoral candidates have publicly vowed to replace Chief Eden. Because of a change to the city charter, this will also be the first opportunity for the City Council to weigh in on the appointment of a new police chief. Whoever this person is, he or she will need to navigate the DOJ settlement agreement while under pressure to bring down crime and recruit more officers.

To assist the new mayor in making this decision, APD Forward is developing hiring criteria for the next police chief in consultation with experts and organizations who specialize in police reform from across the country. We will publicly release these criteria prior to the run-off election Nov. 14, and we are calling on our next mayor and City Council to carefully consider these recommendations as they weigh this critical decision. APD desperately needs new, dynamic, creative leadership if we are ever going to get the professional, effective police department our city deserves.

First Mayoral Runoff Poll Released As Money Chase Begins

Two days after the municipal election, Channel 4 comes with the first poll for the November 14, 2017 runoff election.

You would think the press would at least give the candidates and voters a little time to catch their breath and let the dust settle from the October 3, 2017 election.

Following is the link to the Channel 4 report on the poll and the transcript:

http://www.kob.com/politics-news/albuquerque-mayoral-election-poll-runoff-tim-keller-dan-lewis/4626443/?cat=500

Chris Ramirez, Channel 4 Reporter
October 05, 2017 10:18 PM

“ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tim Keller and Dan Lewis will square off for mayor in the Albuquerque runoff election. With the candidates narrowed down from to two, the big question is now: who would win? Polling data from this week offers a snapshot of what Albuquerque voters are thinking right now.

One day after Tuesday’s municipal election, Carroll Strategies asked by phone “If the election were held today, for whom would you vote for Mayor of Albuquerque?”

The poll shows Lewis has his work cut out for him, sitting 13 points behind Keller. Here’s the breakdown:

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

“What’s kind of surprising is that he’s knocking on the door of 50 percent, which is what he needs to win — 50 percent plus one,” said Tom Carroll, president of Carroll Strategies. “That’s a little unusual to see one candidate so close to victory.”

Crime is the biggest issue facing Albuquerque. When asked who would be best to handle Albuquerque’s crime problem, 47 percent said Keller while 35.2 percent said Lewis and 17.9 percent were undecided.

When asked who would be best to handle Albuquerque economy, 48.8 percent said Keller, 35.4 percent said Lewis and 15.9 were undecided or didn’t know.

“Dan has to let people know that on the key issues, crime, taxes, jobs, the economy, that he is the better candidate,” Carroll said. “If he does that, he a chance to make up the ground. If he doesn’t, Keller will sail to victory.”

Carrol Strategies asked whether the new mayor should cancel the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project on Central. Nearly a third said yes, nearly half said it needs to be completed, and nearly 18 percent said they did not know.

“In the polls we have done in the past, we have seen opposition to ART again and again as it moved through the process,” Carroll said. “But now it flipped and by 49 to 32, people are saying let’s finish the project.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Although Democrat Tim Keller has a commanding lead with almost 50% in the first poll, there are six weeks before the runoff.

Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller is the only publicly finance candidate and received and spent $380,000 in public finance dollars and other “in-kind” cash donations to get into the runoff.

As the only publicly finance candidate, Keller will now be given $127,000 from the City to run his campaign.

Keller’s measured finance committee ABQ Forward Together raised $360,000 to support Tim Keller’s bid to get into the runoff and the committee had $37,000 remaining as reported in the last finance reports filed with the city clerk.

Keller’s measured finance committee will no doubt kick into full gear and try to raise another $360,000 if not more to get Keller elected Mayor.

Republican Dan Lewis is a privately financed candidate and raised and spent at least $523,000 to get in the runoff and had $32,000 still available to spend based on the last campaign finance reports filed with the city clerk.

You can expect Lewis will also kick into high gear and will need to raise at least $600,000 to be competitive and close the gap.

You can expect Dan Lewis to go extremely negative given that he already started to do so election night when he referred to Keller’s crime plan as “hug a thug”.

The runoff election is November 14, 2017 and six weeks of a rough and tumble campaign in politics is an eternity and anything can happen and usually does.

The municipal runoff election is scheduled for November 14, 2017.

The new Mayor will be sworn in on December 1, 2017 and what this means is that Mayor-elect Keller or Mayor-elect Lewis will have only two weeks for a transition team to get to work and come up with reports and make recommendations on what needs to be done.

I encourage Keller and Lewis to start trying to identify people who are professionals, not political operatives who worked on their campaigns, who can hit the ground running and become Department Directors.

The two biggest appointments will be who to appoint Chief Administrative Officer and Chief of Police who are acceptable to the City Council and who can get confirmed by the council.

My suggestion to both Keller and Lewis is to shed the political consultants because governing is a far cry and a lot harder than running for office and surround yourself with people you can actually trust.

Four (4) years is a long time, but four (4) years may be all you get.

Drinking Berry Juice Or Political Amnesia

http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/fraternal-order-of-police-apd-albuquerque-poor-leadership-resolution/4625295/?cat=500

Channel 4 reported that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the nation’s largest organization of police officers, passed resolution at its national conference in August slamming the Albuquerque Police Department over its “poor leadership” and in support of the officers working the streets under strained conditions.

At the FOP organization’s Albuquerque headquarters, FOP President Bob Martinez said the organization’s voting leadership approved the resolution in support of APD officers who put their lives on the line “despite a lack of support from a majority of the elected officials and appointed leadership” and he went on to say “You’ve got to believe in your leaders. You’ve got to respect your leaders.”

APOA Union President Shaun Willoughby was asked to comment on the FOP resolution and he said the APOA was thankful for the resolution but then went on to defend Chief Gordon Eden by actually saying Eden was a victim.

Union President Shaun Willoughby says in this Channel 4 interview “Gorden Eden is a very, very good man. Gorden Eden is honest and trustworthy and he cares. No one can take that away from him. … It’s also obvious to me that Gorden is not in control of this police department and is a “victim of micromanagement”.

Really Mr. Willoughby? Exactly who do you represent, management or the rank and file?

It sure does sound like Willoughby has been drinking the Berry Juice or at the very least is suffering from political amnesia.

DOES EDEN’S JOB PERFORMANCE SOUND LIKE AN HONEST MAN?

It was Chief Gordon Eden the very day after homeless camper John Boyd was killed in March, 2014, who declared the shooting was “justified”, two police officers were charged a year later with the murder and the city settled the wrongful death action by paying the Boyd family $5 million dollars.

It was Chief Gordon Eden that ordered the APD criminal investigation offense reports sent to the New Mexico Attorney General against the then Bernalillo County District Attorney that contained false accusations of interference by the District Attorney with a criminal investigation of a family member.

The APD investigation of the District Attorney was used by the defense attorneys to have the office removed from the criminal prosecution of the police officers involved in the James Boyd shooting and force an appointment of a special prosecutor.

After the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office was removed from the prosecuting the police officers for the James Boyd murder, the New Mexico Attorney General issued a report that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the District Attorney.

For three years, community groups like APD Forward, the Citizens Policing Councils (CPCs) and the city’s APD Police Oversight Board (APOC) have been dismayed, frustrated and have complained over Eden’s failure to attend meetings, ignore findings and disciplinary recommendations, and failure to attend DOJ settlement hearings.

On June 17, 2017, Ed Harness, the head of the City Police Oversight Agency (CPOA, gave a lengthy report to a Community Policing Council summit giving specific cases on how APD Chief Eden refused to respond to the agencies recommendations and ignored or refused to implement disciplinary recommendations made by the CPOA.

Chief Gordon Eden has an extensive two (2) year history of ignoring both the CPOA and the CPCs.

In fifty-four (54) cases in which Eden has disagreed with the CPOA, he has offered no explanation as to why he has had any disagreement with the city agency.

APD Forward, an APD oversight group, also said Eden had not been present for many settlement-agreement meetings to negotiate reform policies.

An APD statement issued to the press on November 16, 2016 describe Eden as having a “very good sense, very good understanding and a hand in” the reforms.

Chief Eden and his command staff have lied when they have said they are committed to the DOJ mandated reforms and all the proof of the lying is contained in the second, third, fourth and fifth progress reports submitted by Federal Monitor James Ginger to the Federal Court.

The July 1, 2016 federal monitor’s third report states “Across the board … the components in APD’s system for overseeing and holding officers accountable for the use of force, for the most part, has failed … the serious deficiencies revealed point to a deeply-rooted systemic problem. … The deficiencies, in part, indicate a culture [of] low accountability is at work within APD, particularly in chain-of-command reviews. …”

The November 1, 2016 fourth federal monitor’s report states that when “excessive use of force” incidents are investigated by the APD Critical Incident Team, it “[deploys] carefully worded excuses, apparently designed not to find fault with officer actions” and “[uses] language and terminology apparently designed to absolve officers and supervisors of their responsibility to follow certain CASA (Court Approved Settlement Agreement) related provisions.

The May 1, 2017 fifth report is the most damning and critical report to date when the monitor found that APD “subverted” the reform process by issuing “covert special orders,” denying the existence of the orders, and APD exhibiting a “near total failure” to accept civilian oversight.

Then there is the lying that occurred to the public and the press over the brutal murder of 9-year Victoria Martens with APD saying they investigated when they did not.

The City’s Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) did an investigation against Albuquerque Police Department’s two (APD) public information officers for providing false information to the news media and to the public about APD’s contact with nine (9) year old Victoria Martin and her family prior to the child’s brutal murder and it was clear that Eden met with the PIO officers, but not clear if he asked them to lie seeing he was never interviewed by investigators.

The CPOA found that APD intentionally lied to the press and public about the Victoria Marten’s case.

Even after the investigation found that the APD public information officers lied to the press and the public, Eden did nothing to hold them accountable.

CONCLUSION

Chief Gordon Eden represents the very type of law enforcement leadership you get when you appoint a Chief who has absolutely no prior experience managing a municpal police department and when you appoint a political operative over others that are far more qualified.

The people that have been the victims of Eden’s mismanagement have been the voters and the rank and file police officers.

December 1, 2017 when a new Mayor is sworn in cannot come too soon and I for one hope the new Mayor will set aside all political considerations and select a qualified chief of police and not a political operative such as Gordon Eden.