Rudolfo Carrillo Guest Column: “The Sporting Life: Bread, Circuses And Plenty of Pork”; Tim Keller’s Soccer Stadium Object That May Hastened Our Failure; City Answers Frequently Asked Questions

This is a guest opinion column written by Rudolfo Carrillo submitted for publication on this blog.

Rudolfo Carrillo is a native New Mexican and was the news and music editor at Weekly Alibi from August 2015 until March 2020, where he used the pen name “August March” to write about Albuquerque culture, history and politics. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico’s fine arts program. His award-winning writing and analysis have been featured at international academic conferences, in notable literary journals as well as in local media outlets like the Albuquerque Journal. His latest work can be read at Infinity Report with the link here:

http://infinityreport.blogspot.com/

EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this article are those of Rudolfo Carrillo and do not necessarily reflect those of the political blog www.petedinelli.com. Rudolfo Carrillo was not compensated for the guest column. The guest column is a necessary discussion of the merits of the proposed soccer stadium. The postscript contains answers prepared by the Keller Administration to the most frequently asked questions followed by a link to a related blog article on the 4 sites under consideration.

“THE SPORTING LIFE: BREAD, CIRCUSES AND PLENTY OF PORK:

According to political theorist Guy Debord, the spectacle governs the lives of most humans participating in late-stage capitalism. From workers and technocrats to party officials, the spectacle represents and presents not only idealized actions and ideas but also idealized physical properties. All these components can be used to manifest and advance official ideas while absorbing, commodifying and recuperating opposing ideas to reflect the hegemony of those in power.

Whoa. That’s pretty complicated stuff. But you don’t need to spend hours reading complex paragraphs that aim to explain—or at least deconstruct—esoteric Marxist theories that are designed to illustrate the ways we have failed as a civilization.

To get that news, all you really have to do is read the Albuquerque Journal’s latest coverage of the events driving the Keller administration’s hopeful march toward re-election.

In fact, the whole ball of wax can be aptly summarized by the following term: Sports ball.

If you believe what the paper prints—and who doesn’t, after all, it is Burque’s newspaper of record—a big and most likely Brutalist stadium is on its way to becoming a reality for our town’s latest upstart soccer team.

BREAD AND CIRCUSES AND PORK

A longtime pet project of Keller—a former sports ball star himself, albeit of the American high school football quarterback variety—the idea for a new and sparkly iteration of the spectacle may soon be on its way to manifesting in an otherwise impoverished, pandemic-damaged burg.

Ironically the only other commercial venture that seems to be going great guns in our town is the movie biz, a whole dang culture and industry devoted to making the spectacle seem lovable, believable and desirable.

Before we talk about how the spectacle has infiltrated our lives, let’s talk about sports ball. Long before Debord and his fellow Situationists defined the progress—or lack thereof—of humanity, based on their various associations with capitalism, the Imperial Romans invented another term for this phenomenon; they called it “Bread and Circuses.”

Here’s the idea: Juvenal, a Roman writer known mostly for his arch satires, came up with the term “panem et circenses” to describe political efforts to generate public approval through the most superficial means, such as abundant food and entertainment.

Who the heck has time to rebel against—much less question—the actions and policies of the leadership class when they are so dang good at providing fun, publicly funded diversions for a city literally starving for a return to the normative?

By the way, Modern editorial commentators have also come up with a similar term. Though it slightly differs in use and application, the spirit of the term fits. Here it is, courtesy of the ghost of Albuquerque Tribune Editor Ralph Looney: “pork barrel politics.”

“America Needs A ‘Slick Politician Like Clinton In The Whitehouse””, November 24, 1992, Deseret News/Scripps Howard News Service:

https://www.deseret.com/1992/11/24/19017876/america-needs-a-slick-politician-like-clinton-in-the-white-house]

According to the account by the aforementioned local paper of record, Keller and local sports ball team owner Peter Trevisani announced the grand plan for more and better entertainment for Duke City denizens at a recent game being played by very popular sports ball team [New Mexico] United.

Here’s what reporter Geoff Grammer wrote: “Upon receipt this past week of a 400-plus page feasibility analysis, the Mayor will send a resolution on Monday to City Council to get a bond proposal placed on the November ballot—on which he will also be on seeking re-election—for a new, publicly funded downtown soccer stadium with New Mexico United, a privately owned team, as the primary tenant.”

“Mayor makes his case for a new stadium”, Saturday, July 24, Albuquerque Journal:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2412949/mayor-makes-his-case-for-a-new-soccer-stadium.html]

What follows is an analysis of that announcement filtered through the Situationist lens of Debord and the practical lens of what life is really like here in Albuquerque post-pandemic.

THE GLORY THAT IS SPORTSBALL

Ball games that employ highly paid, physically ideal athletes are very popular diversions in America. Of course they’re big business, too. Professional sports generated 75 billion dollars in revenue in 2019. Collegiate and professional sports ball programs ranging from football to basketball and baseball—and now soccer, too—are not only popular and profitable; they also provide definition to much of American culture.

“Sports Industry Insights”, October 17, ,2019, Medium:

https://medium.com/qara/sports-industry-report-3244bd253b8

Sports ball’s weighty influence on American culture begins in high school. Athletically talented, conventionally attractive and, most importantly, compliant adolescents gravitate toward a culture that rewards the above-referenced attributes and values. Their ranks fill high school sportsball teams, cheer squads—and oftentimes student government and publications, as well—while outsiders must form subcultures of their own.

Drama kids, band geeks, hippies, cholos, and the like don’t have access to the same resources as the so-called “jocks.” High school athletic programs, as a rule, are much better funded than any educational programs that involve the arts, vocational education or alternative education methodologies. It’s no wonder that this sporty cadre of students often goes on to success in American political culture.

“The Case Against High School Sports, October, 2013, The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/the-case-against-high-school-sports/309447/

The thing is that these sorts of athletic activities, at any level, are not particularly culturally substantive activities, nor are they truly restorative. They are designed to glorify and promote the hegemony of the status quo. As a consequence, they often ensnare regular citizens with their performative nonsense.

And, beyond a few players and owners at the top of these organizations’ self-defined pyramid, these athletic activities really don’t contribute to this city’s economic well-being (unless you still believe in trickle-down economics).

As for this proposed development’s direct economic impact, I predict that a publicly financed stadium—whose primary tenant would be a privately owned team—will bring more service industry jobs to town, and then local business leaders will argue whether such forms of employment deserve a living wage that allows them to pay their rent on time while owner Trevisani (once closely associated with Thornburg Mortgage and a former college sportsball player) continues his own career as a millionaire investor.

USL Championship players, like those on [New Mexico] United roster, make upward of $75,000 per year. According to an Albuquerque Journal article published as the league began its expansion into New Mexico, “USL Championship players are paid and there is no league salary cap. Most player contracts are for one year with a club option beyond. Some NMU players receive housing stipends along with a monthly paycheck. Most contacts include a universal incentive based on team (not individual) production.” Notably, at the time of publication, Trevisani has not disclosed exact salary figures.

“New Mexico United Soccer: A Primer, Part I”, March 5, 2019, Albuquerque Journal:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1288568/debut-nears-for-expansion-new-mexico-united.html]

Meanwhile, the median annual income for a concession worker at a stadium, where such spectacles are brought to life, is around $26,000. Unlike the folks on the field, these workers often lack health care and housing options.

“Concessions Stand Worker Salaries” Glass Door:

https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/concessions-stand-worker-salary-SRCH_KO0,24.htm]

QUESTIONING THE STATUS QUO

Besides all that, sports ball is fun to watch. It’s a satisfying distraction from what lurks beneath the uniform-clad, crowd-cheering surface.

It seems counterintuitive to question something that seems like such a positive development. That’s how the spectacle works, though. Consumers are provided with something that is ostensibly glorious and close to their hearts so they don’t have to notice or consider—even if only for the span of a soccer game—their own economic and physical fragility.

When that phenomenon is repeated, there is the potential for many to become enthralled by the performative experiences and identities of athletes and celebrities. These conditions create a population whose own suffering is belied by the widely held notion that their leaders are working for the greater good.

That’s because these citizens have entered a phase of life where they identify and connect more with the spectacle and its agents than they do with their own economic and physical well-being.

In a city plagued by a nascent affordable housing crisis, homelessness, violent crime, questionable policing, economic dissolution, and a post-pandemic malaise that can be observed simply by driving up or down a stretch of east Central Avenue, I must question whether proceeding with a publicly funded soccer stadium during an election year is wise.

Don’t get me wrong—I totally dig el beisbol. Under the proper circumstances, a Downtown stadium could be a nice addition to our civic infrastructure. As it stands, such plans are merely a dangerous distraction from understanding and doing something about the actual state of this city. Even if one discounts the essentially leftist basis for this argument, the move is questionable except as a political ploy.

THE REVITALIZATION OF DOWNTOWN

While some may argue that such plans play into a grander scheme to revitalize downtown Albuquerque, that is not necessarily an outcome. Throw in the fact that the whole deal smells like a pork-flavored legacy project that voters will have to pay for as a general obligation bond sale—those bonds would have to be guaranteed by future sales tax and property tax revenues—and the stadium plan seems a lot like a calculated PR move intended to improve Keller’s election outcome.

The idea for a sports stadium has long been tied to the notion of a refreshed and revitalized downtown Albuquerque. In 2015, former Mayor Richard Berry proposed development of a Downtown stadium, hoping to complete the project as his term neared its end in 2017. Of course, much of what Berry anticipated as a fine reminder of his time in office never materialized—but at least he waited until nearer the end of his term to make such a pricey nonessential proposal.

In any case, the overarching theme of making Downtown safe, attractive, economically successful and livable has become a spectacle in and of itself. Keller is looking for a sure ticket to re-election and the stadium proposal coincides with a lot of what he hopes will make him re-electable.

Former St. Pius X quarterback Tim Keller understands the hold that sportsball has on some Burqueños and he is prepared to use that as political device to benefit his campaign.

But this proposal ignores the ugliness, disrepair and wide wealth disparities that have come to reside comfortably in our Downtown. The way out is not by building a pretty and formidable stadium, but to use public funding to fight crime and blight by working on issues like addiction, homelessness, joblessness and a lack of affordable housing and medical care. Doing the latter would guarantee a kind legacy for Keller; a new stadium will simply inform future citizens of the objects that hastened our failure.”

Respectfully submitted

Rudolfo Carrillo

__________________________________

POSTSCRIPT

CITY GIVES UPDATE ON STADIUM AND ANSWERS A FEW QUESTIONS

On July 27, 2021, the City of Albuquerque published a news release entitled “City Gives Update on Multi-Use Stadium Facility Bond Resolution”. The news release included the following section:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will taxes increase to pay for the project?

No. The project can be paid for through a combination of issuing GRT Bonds based on the city’s current available bonding capacity, and through refinancing previous bonds.
The cost estimates in the study range from $65-75 million but the bond proposal is only for $50 million, where will the rest of the money come from?

The City is proposing $50 million, the consultant’s estimated minimum barebones cost for a professional sports stadium, through the bond process and will seek additional funding from the State, other local governments, and future tenants including the United. This will likely be a strong public-private partnership, similar to the financial arrangement made for Isotopes Stadium, to invest locally and create a transformative facility for the entire state.

Why doesn’t the team pay for it?

The New Mexico United is expected be the primary tenant in the facility responsible for making lease payments. This is the same structure used at Isotopes Park.
Why can’t they just keep playing in Isotopes Park?

While the USL allows teams to play in minor league baseball parks, this is not recommended as a permanent solution. Both the Isotopes and United have expressed concerns about scheduling conflicts (their seasons take place the same time of year) and field turnover (mound removal, infield sodding, etc.) costs as major issues under the current arrangement. As the team with the highest attendance in the league in 2019, the New Mexico United is a valuable asset to our city and state, and a new stadium is an opportunity for large-scale revitalization at any site.

Does the City already have a site picked out?

No. The City received a study from independent consultants offering their analysis and recommendations of four best potential sites based on land availability, traffic and parking considerations, and likelihood of related positive economic impact to the city as a whole. The City has not made any determinations, and will not do so until proper Council and community input procedures are completed.

If the stadium gets built in or near the Railyards, will the existing structures there be demolished, will it affect the Railyards Market?

No, relevant Railyard buildings are historically protected and also not required to accommodate a stadium at the Railyards. The consultant proposed sites relevant to the broader Railyards project, including one site on the south side of the property that consists of a concrete structure and engine turn table. The other sites are to the north of the railyards and west of the railyards on the other side of the main rail line.

What’s next in the process, how can people engage, what is the timeline?

The City Council will take up proceedings to decide if the stadium should be placed on the November ballot. The process will include public hearings and debate over the next few weeks. Should Council vote to send the project to voters, it will go to the voters in the November election. Historically, similar large investments including the Gateway Center and Isotopes stadium, were placed on ballots through the same process. Should voters pass the measure, the City would then begin pursuing additional financing in preparation to purchase land. At that time, depending on land prices and availability, a location will be selected.

What if voters turn the project down? What if the potential locations identified in the study do not work?

If the bond is voted down, the Mayor has stated that his administration will not pursue the project, honoring the will of the voters. If the voters pass the bond, the administration will pursue the project and evaluate a range of sites with Council and community input. What if a proper location cannot be found?

There are many locations throughout the city that could be utilized for such a project, and we look forward to exploring public-private partnerships as well as other options to accommodate the will of the voters.

The link to the city press release is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/mayor/news/city-gives-update-on-multi-use-stadium-facility-bond-resolution

A link to a related blog article is here:

“Phenomenal Sites” Identified For New Soccer Stadium; Keller Takes To Field To Promote Stadium Funding; Combine Two Sites and Build Indoor Multipurpose Arena And Soccer Field

BCSO Violent and Property Crime Statistics Just As Alarmingly High As APD; Gonzales And Keller Miserable Failures In Bringing Down Crime

Sheriff Manny Gonzales is running for Mayor on a “law and order” campaign against incumbent Mayor Tim Keller bolding proclaiming he can do a better job than Keller when it comes to crime. Every time a homicide occurs in Albuquerque; Gonzales issues a press release or takes to social media proclaiming that voters need to “take back” the city from the criminals.

It turns out that Sheriff Manny Gonzales has been just as ineffective in bringing down crime in the county as Mayor Keller has been in bringing down crime in the city.

This blog article discusses crime rates separately for Bernalillo County and Albuquerque.

APD VERSUS BCSO, NIBRS VERSUS SRS

Comparing the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) crime statistics with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) crime statistics is somewhat muddled because the agencies do not use the same data reporting system. None the less, it can be done with sufficient clarity to know that both Sheriff Gonzales and Mayor Tim Keller have been failures to bring down crime.

In 2018, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) began reporting the city’s annual crime statistics using the Federal Bureau Of Investigation’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) which breaks down crimes into 52 separate categories into 3 major categories. The 3 major NIBRS categories are Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Property, and Crimes Against Society.

BCSO continues to use the eight-category format called the Summary Reporting System (SRS). The 8 major classification of crimes under SRS are: Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter, Forcible Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, . Larceny-theft, Motor Vehicle Theft and Arson. The postscript to this blog article contains a more detailed explanation of both NIBRS and SRS.

Bernalillo County’s population is about 678,000 when you include the population of Albuquerque. APD’s primary law enforcement jurisdiction is within the city limits. The Sheriff’s Office has primary law enforcement over the 973 square miles outside the city limits where upwards of 118,000 reside.

CRIME RATES FOR COUNTY UNDER BCSO SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES

On Sunday July 17, the Albuquerque Journal published a below the fold front page article entitled “Statistics show increase in Bernalillo County Crime in 2020” with the article written by Journal staff reporter Elise Kaplan. The link to the entire news article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2410705/statistics-show-increase-in-bernalillo-county-crime-in-2020.html

According to unofficial data released to the Journal in response to an Inspection of Public Records Act, both violent and property crimes have increased in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County in 2020. The statistics sent by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to the FBI for its annual Crime in the United States report revealed that the violent crimes of homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assault combined increased by 26.6%, from 792 incidents in 2019 to 1,003 in 2020. Property crimes consisting of burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson combined increased 16.5%, from 2,647 to 3,084 crimes.

A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman stressed that the statistics are “considered raw data and unofficial” and that the Sheriff’s Department was in a transition period and becoming compliant with a new way of reporting data to the FBI.

In comparison, crime within city limits followed different trend lines during the same period of time. Property crimes within the city decreased and violent crime increased only slightly. For 2020, the Albuquerque Police Department reported a 10% decrease in “crimes against property” and a 2% increase in “crimes against persons” and a 4% increase in “crimes against society” which includes animal cruelty, drug offenses, prostitution, weapon law violations and more.

Homicides in the city have increased dramatically since the start of 2021. According to one report, as of July 25, the number of homicides in Albuquerque now stands at 81. These numbers include all homicides as reported by the Albuquerque Journal Homicide map, two homicides that the NMSP are investigating but that occurred in the city limits, all justified homicides, and the two children killed by their mothers in a drunk driving accident.

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/homicide-update-spin-and-lame-local-media

VIOLENT AND PROPERTY CRIMES INCREASE IN COUNTY

A breakdown of BCSO reported crime under Gonzales for the last 2 years is as follows:

BCSO VIOLENT CRIME STATISTICS

Homicides: 2019: 9, 2020: 8 (-11.0% decrease)
Rapes: 2019: 54, 2020: 91 (+68.5% increase)
Robbery: 2019: 86, 2020: 127 (+47.7% increase)
Aggravated Assault: 2019: 643, 2020: 777 (+20% increase)

Total: 2019: 792, 2020: 1,003 (+26.6% Increase)

BCSO PROPERTY CRIME STATISTICS

Arson: 2019: 4, 2020: 11 (175% increase)
Burglary: 2019: 569, 2020: 615 (9% increase)
Larceny Theft: 2019: 1,175, 2020: 1,507 (28.3% increase)
Motor Vehicle: 2019: 899, 2020: 951 (5.8% increase)

Totals: 2019: 2,647, 2020: 3,084 (16.5% increase)

The 9 homicides that occurred in Bernalillo County in 2019 and the 8 homicides that occurred in 2020 do not include BCSO officer involved deadly use of force cases. There were at least 3 BCSO cases where settlements were reached in the last few years where deadly use of force was used. A fourth case involved a stolen vehicle chase by BCSO. The homicides include the following:

1. The killing of Elisha Lucero, who suffered psychosis and schizophrenia, was shot by BCSO Deputies 27 times and died at the scene with the case settled for $4.5 million. The BCSO Deputies pulled their revolvers and shot her claiming they feared for their lives after the 4-foot-11 Lucero, naked from the waist up, ran out of her home screaming and armed with a kitchen knife.

2. The killing of Fidencio Duran, 88, suffering from dementia, who died after he was shot over 50 times with a “pepper ball” gun by BCSO Deputy Sheriffs and with K9 police dog was released on him breaking his pelvis. The case settled for $1,495,000.

3. The $700,000 August 17, 2018 announced settlement for the wrongful death of Robert Chavez, age 66, who was killed when a BCSO stolen vehicle chase resulted in a crash into Chavez’s vehicle. Chavez broke his back, shoulder, forearm, wrist, ribs and pelvis in the crash and also had other internal injuries. Chavez went into a coma and died 11 days after the crash. The BCSO Sheriff Department’s old policy would not have allowed officers to pursue for a stolen vehicle, but Sheriff Manny Gonzales changed the hot pursuit policy allowing such chases a year before the fatal crash.

4. On May 21, 2020, it was reported that the family of Martin Jim, 25, a man killed in a 2017 incident settled the federal excessive force lawsuit against the county for $1.5 million. An earlier $400,000 state court settlement arising from the same deadly shooting paid to Jim’s partner, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son, amounted to $1.9 million. That is an addition to the $1.36 million settlement paid to the estate of the driver of the pickup truck, Isaac Padilla, 23, who was also killed. Another $40,000 was paid to two other passengers in the truck. The total payout to resolve legal claims related to Deputy Joshua Mora’s actions was $3.3 million.

The incident involved a high-speed chase of a stolen truck. A BCSO Deputy rammed the truck obliterating the front driver’s-side wheel. With the truck at a standstill, two BCSO deputies parked their vehicles to block the truck from moving forward.

BCSO Deputy Joshua Mora soon arrived on the scene. Mora is the son of then-undersheriff Rudy Mora and had worked for BCSO about 18 months as a sheriff’s deputy. In the span of 18 seconds, Mora jumped from his car, ran to the truck, yelled commands at the driver, and fired 7 shots into the vehicle occupied by 3 passengers, including a 4-year-old child. Mora did not know Martin Jim was sitting in the back seat. A settlement in the case was reached after Senior U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera of Albuquerque ruled that a “reasonable jury could conclude that Deputy Mora acted unreasonably.”

BCSO FAILS TO REPORT STATISTICS TO FBI

BCSO’s crime stats have not been included in the FBI’s annual report since the 2018 publication on the 2017 data. An agency’s participation in the annual report is voluntary. For the 2018 reporting year, BCSO only submitted five months of data and for 2019 the FBI had not received any data by the deadline. According to a BCSO spokesperson, prior to June 2018 APD handled BCSO’s data submissions. The deadline to submit 2019 stats was March 2020 but BCSO wasn’t certified as being compliant until May, 2020.

On December 21, 2020 Sheriff Manny Gonzales provided “unofficial and preliminary” crime stats for the year. Gonzales credited Federal Task Forces BCSO participated in for a decrease in both violent crime and property crime in Bernalillo County. It turned out that the statistics were wrong because the data was raw data and it had not been brought into compliance for NIBRS submission.

The data provided by Sheriff Manny Gonzales Office at the December 21, 2020 news conference with former US Attorney John Anderson differ significantly from what his office provided to the FBI. At the news conference, BCSO reported that there had been 81 reported robberies in 2020, a double digit decrease from the year before. However, the department reported 127 robberies to the FBI, a 47% increase from the year before.

Similarly, BCSO said there had been 377 burglary cases through 2020, which is a 29% decrease from the previous year, but reported 615 burglaries to the FBI or a 9% increase over the previous year. At the news conference BCSO said there were 945 larceny (theft) cases or a 19% decrease from the previous year but BCSO reported 1,507 cases of larceny to the FBI, a 28% increase.

The link to the full Journal report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2410705/statistics-show-increase-in-bernalillo-county-crime-in-2020.html

In all the 6 years Manny Gonzales has been Bernalillo County Sheriff, he has been conspicuously silent on just how bad the crime rates are in Bernalillo County. There is a very good reason for that silence. On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline “BCSO has been silent about this year’s homicides.”

It was reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.

The link to the full report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2377985/sheriffs-office-was-mum-on-2021-homicides.html

The most troubling fact in the Journal report was glossed over. Buried in the article is the statement:

“Last year, BCSO’s crime statistics were not included in the annual FBI report because the agency didn’t meet the March deadline to report them, and they couldn’t be certified in time.”

In previous years, including 2020, BCSO regularly sent out email and Twitter alerts when BCSO detectives opened a homicide investigation. BCSO usually gave details on the incident and solicited tips from the public. Until April 7, BCSO had been silent on the 2021 cases, yet increased email and Twitter notifications for warrant roundup operations and “repeat offender” arrests often criticizing the actions of courts for previously releasing the suspects.

BCSO Transparency and Public Information Coordinator Jayme Fuller explained the delay in reporting on the 2 homicides as not always talking about homicides, or other incidents, until reporters ask about them and they confirm them with BCSO supervisors.

BERNALILLO COUNTY CRIME RANKINGS

The “Best Places to Live” web site compiles data on cities and counties throughout the United States ranking them in such categories such as cost of living, job market, economy, real estate, education and health and weather. Crime is one of the most important categories. Best Places to Live ranks crime on a scale of 1, low crime, to 100, high crime.

According to the data published Bernalillo County, New Mexico, violent crime is 42.3 with the US average being 22.7.

Bernalillo County property crime is 66.5 with the US average being 35.4.

https://www.bestplaces.net/crime/county/new_mexico/bernalillo

CITY CRIME RATES UNDER MAYOR TIM KELLER

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021 then Interim Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Median released the city’s 2020 crime statistics as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It was the third year in a row that the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has compiled crime statistics using the National Incident-Based Reporting System, (NIBRS) as opposed to the Summary Reporting System (SRS) used for decades.

Starting in 2018, APD began to report crime using NIBRS, which has 3 major reporting broad categories:

Crimes against persons
Crimes against property
Crimes against society

The 3 major categories are then broken down into 52 sub-categories. NIBRS counts virtually all crimes committed during an incident and for that reason alone NIMRS is far more sophisticated than the “most serious incident-based” reporting SRS reporting system.

Each offense collected in NIBRS belongs to 1 of 3 categories:

CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals.

CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit.

CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes.

https://ucr.fbi.gov/nibrs/2018/resource-pages/crimes_against_persons_property_and_society-2018.pdf

STATISTICS RELEASED

The statistics released on February 24 by APD reveal that during the last 3 years, Crimes Against Property have decreased by a mere 7%, but violent Crimes Against a Person and Crimes Against Society have continued to rise. Following are the raw numbers in each of the 3 categories of Albuquerque’s crime statistics:

CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY (Includes robbery, bribery, and burglary)

2018: 57,328
2019: 51,541
2020: 46,371

CRIMES AGAINST A PERSON (Include murder, rape, and assault)

2018: 14,845
2019: 14,971
2020: 15,262

CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY (Include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations)

2018: 3,365
2019: 3,711
2020: 3,868

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/apd-homicide-list-for-web-site-as-of-15feb2021.pdf

RAW NUMBERS ANALYZED

CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY (Includes robbery, bribery, and burglary) declined by a mere 7% from 2018 to 2020.

CRIMES AGAINST A PERSON (Includes murder, rape, and assault) showed that violent crime including aggravated assaults, shootings and stabbings, increased by 4%. The 4% increase was the same as in 2019 with assaults having a 4% rise. In 2019, violent crime increased 1%. This coincides with the city having reach 80 homicides breaking another record. Bernalillo County recorded 241 shootings. With a 2% increase in violent crime, 2020 fell short of the homicide count but had the second-highest number of homicides with 76 and with Bernalillo County reporting 292 shootings. According to the statistics released, the use of firearms as the percentage of homicides committed with a gun jumped from 69% in 2019 to 78% in 2020.

CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY (gambling, prostitution, drug violations) had 61% increase weapons law violations last year. In 2019, weapons law violations, which include the illegal use, possession and sale of firearms, recorded a 19% increase and an 11% rise in drug offenses.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2363157/2020-saw-a-rise-in-violent-crime-drop-in-property-crime.html

ABQ’S CRIME STATISTICS IN A NUTSHELL UNDER MAYOR KELLER

In 2020, FBI statistics reveal that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate about 194% higher than the national average.

A synopsis of the statics during Mayor Tim Keller’s 3 years in office is in order.

HOMICIDES

In 2018, during Mayor Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides.
In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides.
In 2020, there were 76 homicides in Albuquerque.

As of July 27, 2021, APD lists 72 homicides in the city, 65 incidents and 10 in July, another record broken. The link to the listing of murders is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/apd-homicide-list-for-web-site-as-of-19jul2021.pdf

EDITOR’S NOTE: Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 with 82 homicides than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was 72, in 2017 under Mayor RJ Berry. Another high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. As of July 27, APD reports 71 homicides.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1405615/apd-reports-record-82-homicides-for-2019.html#:~:text=Gilbert%20Gallegos%2C%20a%20police%20spokesman,high%20was%2072%2C%20in%202017

NON FATAL SHOOTINGS

According to ABQReports, APD Chief Harold Medina started tracking gunfire incidents. A response to an Inspection of Public Records made to ABQReports was made on March 5, 2021 and on July 27, 2021, APD provided the statistics with no explanation of the delay. ABQ Reports Reported that Non-Fatal shootings in the City of Albuquerque from January 1, 2021 to February 28, 2021 were 335. From May 31 to June 20, in just 20 days, Albuquerque recorded another 123 non-fatal shootings. The link to the full report entitled “Gun Violence Stalks Albuquerque” is here:

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/gun-violence-stalks-abq

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

There is little doubt that crime is the biggest issue in the 2021 election for Mayor. Mayor Tim Keller, who has been in office for close to 4 years, and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who has been in office over 6 years, have both been ineffective in bringing down the city and the county crime rates. Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his BCSO are just as hapless in dealing with spiking crime rates as has been Mayor Tim Keller and APD.

When Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales says he can do better than Keller when it comes to crime, he acts like no one knows he has been Bernalillo County Sheriff for 6 years and in law enforcement for over 25 years. Manny Gonzales wants voters to think his jurisdiction and law enforcement activities are confined to the county and do not include the city of Albuquerque which is APD’s territory.

Truth is, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department have concurrent jurisdiction. Any attempt by Gonzales to distance himself from the city’s high crime rates needs to be called out for what it is and that is a political ploy to avoid transparency and accountability of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department during his tenure.

The yearly FBI statistics are the best measure as to performance measures of BCSO. Further, Bernalillo County and BCSO rely upon those statistics to secure federal grant funding. BCSO’s crime statistics not being included in the annual FBI report was likely no mistake. No doubt Gonzales wanted to hide the statistics that show the out-of-control high crime rates are just as bad in the county as in the city as he runs for Mayor.

During the last 3 years under Mayor Tim Keller’s leadership as well as the leadership of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, things have only gotten worse in the city as well as the county when it comes to murders and violent crime rates. When you listen to both, you hear them say things will get better. Gonzales especially says he can do better than Keller as mayor.

Gonzales doing better than Keller as Mayor is not at all likely given he has failed at the county level during his entire tenure as Sheriff and he has failed to keep up with changes in law enforcement and constitutional policing practices.

At this point in time, voters have to decide between the lesser of two evils.

________________________________________

POSTSCRIPT

EXPLAINING SUMMARY REPORTING SYSTEM (SRS) VS. NATIONAL INCIDENT-BASED REPORTING SYSTEM (NIBRS)

“In 2018, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) began reporting its annual crime statistics using the Federal Bureau Of Investigation’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). NIBRS is the most current national framework for reporting crime and replaces the FBI’s Uniform Crimes Reports known as SRS. This change is important because, compared to UCR, NIBRS provides more comprehensive and detailed information about crimes against person, crimes against property and crimes against society occurring in law enforcement jurisdictions across the county.”

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/crimestats2018_19_apd.pdf

The raw data provided by both APD and BCSO is essentially in the same format, but the difference is how NIBRS uses those codes and deciphers it into their published data submitted to the FBI. According to a BCSO spokesperson, NIBRS is an optional program and all law enforcement agencies may collect raw data in the way they wish and still be NIBRS compliant as long as the final NIBRS submissions meet the FBI’s technical specifications.”

According to a national study from the U.S. Department of Justice, there is only a small increase of between less than 1% to 4.5% depending on the category of crime when agencies switch from reporting their data in the traditional summary format. SRS only counts the highest-level crime committed during an incident while NIBRS counts each crime committed during an incident.

SRS SYSTEM

Prior to 2018, APD reported data using the Summary Reporting System (SRS), which included 8 crime categories and counted only the most serious offense during an incident. The SRS system is still used by BCSO. The 8 offenses were chosen because they are serious crimes, they occur with regularity in all areas of the country, and they are likely to be reported to police. In the traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS), the eight crimes, or Part I offenses are:

1. Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter
2. Forcible Rape
3. Robbery
4. Aggravated Assault
5. Burglary
6. Larceny-theft
7. Motor Vehicle Theft
8. Arson

A link providing a complete definition of each category under the SRS system is here:

https://www.bjs.gov/ucrdata/offenses.cfm

NIBRS SYSTEM

Starting in January 2021, the FBI will no longer accept data in the SRS format. The FBI is requiring crimes to be counted through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). In NIBRS, there are 3 major reporting broad categories:

Crimes against persons
Crimes against property
Crimes against society

The 3 major categories are then broken down into 52 sub-categories. NIBRS counts virtually all crimes committed during an incident and for that reason alone NIMRS is far more sophisticated than the “most serious incident-based” reporting SRS reporting system.

“In the National Incident-Based Reporting System” (NIBRS), each offense reported is either a Group A or Group B offense type. There are 23 Group A offense categories, comprised of 52 Group A offenses and 10 Group B offense categories. Law enforcement agencies report Group A offenses as part of a NIBRS incident report, but they report only arrest data for Group B offenses.

Each offense collected in NIBRS belongs to one of three categories: Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Property, or Crimes Against Society.

Crimes Against Persons include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals.
Crimes Against Property include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit.
Crimes Against Society include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes

https://ucr.fbi.gov/nibrs/2018/resource-pages/crimes_against_persons_property_and_society-2018.pdf

“In NIBRS, law enforcement agencies collect detailed data regarding individual crime incidents and arrests and submit them in separate reports using prescribed data elements and data values to describe each incident and arrest. Therefore, NIBRS involves incident-based reporting. … There are 52 data elements used in NIBRS to describe the victims, offenders, arrestees, and circumstances of crimes.”

A link to a complete guide to the NIBRS crime reporting system is here:

https://ucr.fbi.gov/nibrs/nibrs_dcguide.pdf

Mayor Keller Calls Public Safety And Education “Little Things We Need to Work On” Before NAIOP Group

The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) is considered one of the most influential and largest business organizations in the city. The membership consists of the “who’s who” of the city’s commercial real estate developers, construction contractors, realtors and architects. The organization is large enough to employ a full-time executive director and holds luncheon meeting and events where upwards of 300, if not more, are always in attendance. The organization also has a political action committee that lobbies for its interests.

During his entire term as Mayor, Tim Keller has regularly spoken to NAIOP to report on city affairs. Mayor Tim Keller gave his very first State of the City address as Mayor before a NAIOP luncheon which raised more than a few eyebrows to the point Keller denied it was his State of the City Address despite the fact NAIOP advertised it as such. During all of his presentations before NAIOP, Mayor Keller has discussed ongoing city priorities, projects, development projects and economic development. Keller speaking before the group is understandable and he cannot be begrudged given the group’s membership who bid on city construction contracts with many of its membership considered the “movers and shakers” in the city.

On Tuesday, July 27, Mayor Tim Keller spoke before NAIOP with a smile on his face and a grin in his voice and gave his usual polished report on the happenings and what is going on at city hall. As is the case with all presentations made by Keller to the NAIOP group, it was a “closed door” affair and no one was supposed to record Mayor Keller’s comments. It turns out his comments were recorded. As is Keller’s style, he gave an optimistic narrative about the city and the overall economic outlook of the city and downplayed the negative. Keller essentially ignored the city’s crime wave as well as APD’s inability to come into compliance with the US Department of Justice Consent decree.

To quote the audio released, Keller told the NAIOP crowd:

“And so for us I think we are poised for tremendous growth in the future. And all we’ve got to do is work on those little things like public safety and education. Uh, but I think economic development-wise we are in good shape.”

GONZALES MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEE REACTS TO COMMENTS

What Keller ostensibly ignored, or did not realize, was that Sam Vigil, one of the co-chairs of the “Save Our City” measured finance committee supporting Manny Gonzalez for Mayor was present and heard the Mayor’s comments. Sam Vigil is the widower of Jackie Vigil, the woman who was shot and killed in her driveway in the early morning hours as she was leaving for the gym. She is the mother of two New Mexico State Police Officers.

The Save Our City Measured Finance Committee was quick to issue a press release condemning Mayor Keller’s quoted remarks.

Sam Vigil had this to say in the press release:

“I was heartbroken and angered to hear straight from Tim Keller’s mouth his true feelings about how little public safety matters to him, especially since my wife could still be alive today if we had a Mayor who didn’t devalue public safety. How many more violent, preventable murders do we have to have for Tim Keller to finally take public safety seriously and not just pander to wealthy donors and hold smoke and mirror press conferences?”

Former New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Karen Montoya, who is also a co-chair of “Save Our City”, had this to say in the statement:

“With the exploding social crises and crimewave during Mayor Keller’s administration, it now makes sense that public safety is not Mayor Keller’s priority as he admitted to the business community in a closed-door session that education and public safety are just ‘those little things we need to work on. … Now Albuquerque knows the truth, Tim Keller says one thing on TV but shares his real feelings belittling public safety and education in Albuquerque behind closed doors.”

CRIME WAVE VERY REAL

During the last 3 years under Mayor Tim Keller’s leadership, things have only gotten worse in the city when it comes to murders and violent crime rates. In 2020, FBI statistics reveal that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate about 194% higher than the national average.

Homicides in particular have skyrocketed during Mayor Tim Keller’s 3 years in office hitting historical highs. In 2018, during Mayor Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides. In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. In 2020, there were 76 homicides in Albuquerque. As of July 27, 2021, APD lists 72 homicides in the city, 65 violent crime incidents and 10 shootings in July, another record broken. The link listing of murders is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/apd-homicide-list-for-web-site-as-of-19jul2021.pdf

EDITOR’S NOTE: Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 with 82 homicides than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was 72, in 2017 under Mayor RJ Berry. Another high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. As of July 27, APD reports 71 homicides.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1405615/apd-reports-record-82-homicides-for-2019.html#:~:text=Gilbert%20Gallegos%2C%20a%20police%20spokesman,high%20was%2072%2C%20in%202017

EDUCATION CRISIS

On June 21, the annual “Kids Count” Data Book prepared by the Annie E. Casey Foundation was released containing the data from 2019 the most recent statistics available. The Casey foundation is a nonprofit based in Maryland focusing on improving the well-being and future of American children and their families. State rankings by the nonprofit are based on 16 indicators that measure and track the well-being of children and their families in the domains of economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

The links to the Kids Count Data Book is here:

https://datacenter.kidscount.org/

New Mexico’s national child well-being ranking went from 50th to 49th displacing Mississippi, and following Louisiana. New Mexico overall was worse than the U.S. average in most of the categories measured .

When it comes to education, New Mexico ranked 50th. 76% of New Mexico’s fourth graders are not proficient in reading. 79% of New Mexico’s eighth graders are not proficient in reading. 25% of New Mexico’s high school students do not graduate on time.

The Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) system is New Mexico’s largest school district, serving more than a fourth of the state’s students and nearly 84,000 students. Of the 84,000 APS students 16.6% are classified as “English Learners”, 17.2% are classified as “Students with Disabilities”, and 5.9% are in “gifted programs”. APS serves many students in need with nearly two-thirds qualifying for the federal school meals program.

https://www.aps.edu/finance/budget-strategic-planning/2019-2020-budget-2/albuquerque-public-schools-annual-budget-2020-web

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The comments and criticism of Sam Vigil and former Public Regulation Commissioner Karen Montoya no doubt will be written off by the Keller campaign as what you can expect coming from a group hostile to Keller and who are supporting Manny Gonzales for Mayor. Further, the Keller campaign will say that Vigil and Montoya should not be taken seriously. It does not mean what Vigil and Montoya said is wrong nor false.

After 10 years as an elected “progressive” Democrat, Mayor Tim Keller should have known better than to make such remarks, especially as a Mayor dealing with the highest crime rates in the city’s history under his watch. At best, Keller was trying to make light of the two most serious problems the city is facing. At worst, Keller was pandering to one of the most conservative business organizations in the city that opposes city government regulation when it comes to zoning, taxation and supports Republican candidates and issues such as right to work.

NAIOP is known to openly oppose city regulations, zoning restrictions, increases in taxes no matter how justified, oppose hourly wage increases, promote “right to work laws”, oppose mandatory sick leave policies for businesses, oppose unions, and oppose the city demanding union wages on city construction projects. NAIOP and its membership get very much involved in the city elections by sponsoring debates between candidates for Mayor and City Council and make large donations to candidate, usually Republican candidates.

Notwithstanding NAIOP disdain for the City’s code enforcement, regulations, and zoning restrictions, the NAIOP membership are always the first in line with their hands out wanting city hall construction contracts such as the $130 million ART Bus project. Watch how NAIOP endorses construction of Keller’s proposed soccer stadium and as many members of NAIOP make bids to design and construct the soccer stadium if the public approves the bonds NAIOP has always been more concerned about the overall financial success of their membership and keeping control or influence of city development as opposed what is good for the city believing “what is good for NAIOP is good for the city.”

Mayor Tim Keller did himself absolutely no favors with his progressive Democratic base when he appears before decisively Republican leaning organizations such as NAIOP especially as he seeks a second term. He opens himself up to being labeled a “Corporate Democrat” which is increasingly becoming apparent to many within the Democratic party. Keller forgets many of NAIOPS membership supported and contributed to his Republican opponents in the 2017 Mayors race. NAIOP in fact endorsed Keller’s Republican opponent Dan Lewis in the run off and made major contributions. Manny Gonzales, although a registered Democrat, is considered a “Democrat In Name Only” (DINO) and the “de facto” Republican candidate for Mayor given his support of Der Führer Donald Trump.

NAIOP has never been very suttle with openly supporting and donating to Republican candidates for Mayor and City Council and being downright hostile to Democrats. In fact, 8 years ago, NAIOP sponsored a debate between Republican Incumbent Mayor Richard Berry, Republican and retired APD Sgt. Paul Heh and Democratic Candidate for Mayor Pete Dinelli. The debate moderator was Senior Albuquerque Journal Editor Ken Waltz and the debate was reported on by local news outlets.

Pete Dinelli was booed loudly by half of the attendees at the luncheon debate when he said he supported unions and said all Mayors must work with the 9 City Unions or a Mayor has little chance of getting things done. Dinelli pointed out that Mayor Berry was at an impasse with all the city union contracts over wages. Another NAIOP member acting like a real horse’s ass stood up and pretended he wanted to ask a question but instead ridiculed Dinelli and Heh calling them embarrassing, not offering much, and saying he would be voting and donating to Berry. But that’s politics as is this blog setting the record straight.

Mayor Tim Keller would be wise as he seeks his second term to avoid downplaying serious issues such as public safety and education in the hopes of securing support from Republicans when those votes and donations will likely go to Der Führer Donald Trump’s favorite Democratic Sheriff Manny Gonzales.

Not A “Broken Criminal Justice System”; It’s Participants Who Fail Or Who Are Negligent Doing Their Jobs; Keller Gets His Photo Op To Ask For More State Funding

On Saturday, July 9, the Albuquerque Journal published a front page, below the fold story entitled “City launching initiative to address broken criminal justice system”. The link to the full article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2410308/city-launching-initiative-to-address-broken-criminal-justice-system.html

According to the report, the city is convening a series of 5 meetings scheduled through to September with law enforcement and community partners to address what authorities are calling a “broken criminal justice” system. Participants and co-sponsors include Mayor Tim Keller, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Attorney General Hector Balderas, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez, Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur, members of the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives, Albuquerque City Council members, the Albuquerque Police Department, the New Mexico State Police, the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparations Commission, the Albuquerque Community Safety Department, representatives from the Metro and District Courts, representatives from Central New Mexico Community College and New Mexico Highlands University, the Serenity Mesa and Endorphin Power substance abuse centers.

According to the report, a hypothetical case study will be used during the meetings with law enforcement and community partners to address the “broken criminal justice system”. The sessions will address opportunities for early intervention, detention, diversion and hearings, resources for victim advocates and offender re-entry, and career pipelines. Each session will have panelists and experts, guided by a facilitator who will prompt the experts to provide commentary on the case study. After the panel discussion, a question-and-answer period will occur.

The ultimate goal of the program is to develop a list of things that need to be done, who will work on those recommendations and when the recommendations will be completed.

PARTICIPANT’S COMMENTS ON SESSIONS

Not at all surprising, Mayor Tim Keller did a photo op standing in front of group participants proclaiming:

“Our goal is not a lengthy report. … Our goal is not a study. Our goal is to say ‘OK, here’s a couple of things in each department that we’re going to do that is going to move the needle on fighting crime in our criminal justice system.”

Keller added that the plan is to take the list compiled by the initiative to lawmakers so they can all support each other in asking for additional funding.

Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair had this to say about the city initiative:

“I think all of us partners in the criminal justice system are tired and frustrated. … At the same time, we’ve all been tired and frustrated long enough that we’re ready to do things a little differently. The thing specifically that I think we’re ready to do differently is that them versus us piece of it. By that what I mean is when something goes wrong, all of us … are very likely to point to some other part of the criminal justice system.”

APD Chief Harold Medina acknowledged that the Albuquerque Police Department has a history of botched criminal investigations and said:

“I’m saying I want to know how we can be better. … I want people to point out and say ‘these are the processes you need to fix for us to have a successful criminal justice program.’ And I want to be able to come back and say ‘this is what we will be working on fixing’… that’s one of the key aspects – everybody being honest and listening to the feedback they get and making the changes they need to make.”

Bennet Baur with the Office of the Public Defender expressed the opinion that the program “will help address the deep-seated social issues that surface in the criminal justice system” and that he believes the Law Offices of the Public Defender “can bring a unique and important perspective to this conversation.”

Camille Baca, the Metropolitan Court spokeswoman, said the court welcomed the opportunity “to work alongside longstanding justice partners to evaluate and improve systems in place and actively engage with the community.”

Attorney General Hector Balderas said that several years ago, following the murder of Rio Rancho Police Department officer Gregg “Nigel” Benner, his office compiled a report that laid out a “holistic” approach to address how systemic gaps in intervention and prevention led Benner’s killer to be out of jail. Balderas had this to say:

“The recommendations went nowhere … But I think what I’m going to convey – and I appreciate the mayor’s leadership on this – is that in addition to that transformational conversation, there should be specific recommendations. Where we have failed in the past, is not independent recommendations, we do not have an interdependent strategy for accountability as it relates to prevention, and harm reduction.”

KELLER’S VIOLENT CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMS

In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates . Those APD programs are: the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue, the Metro 15 Operation, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program). Those initiatives involve early intervention and partnership with other agencies. The 4 initiative are:

1. The Shield Unit

In February 2018 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) created the “Shield Unit”. The Shield Unit assists APD Police Officers to prepare cases for trial and prosecution by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. The unit originally consisted of 3 para legals. It was announced that it is was expanded to 12 under the 2019-2020 city budget that took effect July 1, 2019.
https://www.abqjournal.com/1325167/apd-expands-unit-that-preps-cases-for-prosecution.html

2. Declaring Violent Crime “Public Health” issue

On April 8, 2019, Mayor Keller and APD announced efforts that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “public health issue” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque. Mayor Keller and APD argue that gun violence is a “public health issue” because gun violence incidents have lasting adverse effects on children and others in the community that leads to further problems.

3. The “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP program)

On November 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced what he called a “new initiative” to target violent offenders called “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP). The VIP initiative was in response to the city’s recent murders resulting in the city tying the all-time record of homicides at 72 in one year. Mayor Keller proclaimed the VIP is a “partnership system” that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community provides to reduce violent crime. According to Keller vulnerable communities and law enforcement will be working together and building trust has proven results for public safety. Mayor Keller stated:

“… This is about trying to get these people not to shoot each other. …This is about understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime. … And so, this actually in some ways, in that respect, this is the opposite of data. This is action. This is actually doing something with people. …”

4. The Metro 15 Operation program.

On Tuesday, November 26, 2020 Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference to announce a 4th program within 9 months to deal with the city’s violent crime and murder rates. At the time of the press conference, the city’s homicide count was at 72, matching the city’s record in 2017.
Before 2017, the last time the City had the highest number of homicides in one year was in 1996 with 70 murders that year. Keller dubbed the new program “Metro 15 Operation” and is part of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) program. According to Keller and then APD Chief Michael Geier the new program would target the top 15 most violent offenders in Albuquerque. It’s the city’s version of the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

Links to news coverage are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1394576/city-launches-violence-intervention-program.html

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/mayor-keller-touts-new-plan-to-tackle-violent-crime/5561150/?cat=500

According to Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, the 4 city initiatives to bring down violent crime are working and she said:

“The city is taking those strategies to the larger system … to be productive. … Those were all sort of baby steps towards what we’re hoping is taking that inter-agency approach into the larger systemic problems.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

All of the participants in the city initiative should already know what the hell is wrong with the state’s criminal justice system. Simply put, they just do not want to admit they are the problem and are failing. Too many of them find it all too easy to declare the system is “broken” when much of the problems they will be talking about would simply go away if they would just concentrate on doing their jobs in a competent and effective manner. This is especially true for prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and elected officials alike who are reluctant to make the difficult decisions, enforce the law, increase penalties and have a fear being held accountable or exposed for incompetency always with their eyes on the next election.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

When a person who becomes a victim of crime, especially children who are abused and even murdered, it is because of the failure of the support system, such as social workers and case workers with the Children Youth and Families Department, who are negligent or who simply did not do their jobs or simply do not care. The state has seen way too many cases of child abuse cases and murdered children who were in the system as victims of neglect and abuse and reluctant social workers and even law enforcement ignoring reports and who decline to gather evidence. It is hard to forget the case where an APD detective declined to tag into evidence a 10-year-old child’s bloody underwear after her teacher reported child abuse. Her father went on to be prosecuted. The city saw Mayor Tim Keller and his former Chief of Police Geier argue that the officer did nothing wrong and defended the officers actions only later to reverse themselves and order an internal affairs investigation after a public outcry. Keller’s use of the law enforcement jargon “bag and tag” made him look foolish.

Criminal prosecutions are only as good as the cases put together and evidence gathered by law enforcement. In a criminal trial setting, garbage in and the lack of evidence becomes garbage out with not guilty verdicts and dismissals. APD Chief Harold Medina acknowledged this when he said that the Albuquerque Police Department has a history of botched criminal investigations.

For the past three years, the city’s homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. In 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, it was 70%. In 2018, Keller’s first full year in office, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 the clearance rate has dropped to 50% and to approximately 30% thus far this year.

APD HOMICIDE UNIT HAS SHAMEFUL HISTORY OF BOTCHED INVESTIGATIONS

The APD Homicide Unit has a dubious history of botching any number of high-profile murder investigations. The APD Homicide Unit has compiled a history of not doing complete investigations, misleading the public, feeding confessions to people with low IQs, getting investigations completely wrong and even arresting innocent people.
A listing of APD’s homicide investigations reflecting negligence include:

2005 to 2008: Robert Gonzales: A a mentally retarded young man was arrested by APD and charged with the rape and murder of an 11-year-old neighbor. Weeks after the arrest DNA evidence confirmed Gonzales was not the offender. The Homicide and the Bernalillo County DA never turned this evidence over to the court and defense attorneys. Only after Gonzales spent 965 days in jail for a crime he didn’t commit and and only after he was released by the judge was the DNA evidence exposed.

2007 to 2011: Michael Lee and Travis Rowley, working as a group of salesmen, were arrested and charged with the murders and rape of an elderly Korean couple. Both Lee and Rowley had below normal IQs. Lee confessed to the murders, Rowley did not. Shortly after the arrests, DNA evidence excluded both men and confirmed that Albuquerque serial killer, Clifton Bloomfield was the offender. APD and the DA kept both men locked up for over a year before they were released.

2015 to 2016: Christopher Cruz and Donovan Maez are wrongly arrested for the murder of Jaydon Chavez Silver. They spent10 months in jail before the Bernalillo County DA reviewed the entire case sent to them by APD Homicide, finding that there was no evidence that Cruz and Maez were involved. APD Homicide is alleged to have fed witnesses information for them to repeat in interviews and threaten witnesses to provide false information.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/07/02/abq-report-apd-homicide-units-legacy-of-shame/

10-YEAR-OLD VICTORIA MARTENS MURDER

The most egregious negligent murder investigation was the murder investigation of 10-year-old Victoria Martens. On August 24, 2016, she was murdered, dismembered and her body was burned in a bathtub. The initial APD Homicide investigation alleged that it was Jessica Kelley that stabbed 9-year-old Victoria Martens and that Fabian Gonzales strangled her while Michelle Martens, the child’s mother, watched the murder.

Gonzales was accused of drugging, raping and killing 10-year-old Victoria. After further investigation, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez was forced to abandon the prosecution’s theory of the case and forced to drop the rape and murder charges against Gonzales. DA Torrez then accused Gonzalez of helping his cousin dismember the body of 10-year-old Victoria Martens after the child was reportedly killed by an unidentified man who was looking for Gonzales for revenge.

It was revealed that Jessica Kelley did not murder the child. Michelle Martens falsely admitted to committing the crimes. Forensic evidence revealed she and her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales were not even in the apartment at the time of the murder, they did not participate in the murder and that there was an unidentified 4th suspect in the case who committed the murder with supposedly DNA evidence found on the child’s dead body. The unidentified 4th suspect in the case is still at large.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1393384/fabian-gonzales-released-from-mdc.html

THE PROSECUTION

A criminal prosecution cannot occur unless the prosecuting agency, usually the District Attorney, actually charges an offender and brings them to justice. When DA Torrez ran for Bernalillo County District Attorney the first time, he said our criminal justice system was broken, it was in dire need of change and he was the guy to fix it. He is now running for Attorney General.

Within six months after being elected the first time, Torrez had his office prepare a report on the statistics regarding the number of felony cases that were being dismissed by the District Court. Torrez accused the District Court for being responsible for the rise in Albuquerque crime rates and releasing violent offenders pending trial. District Attorney Raul Torrez also accused defense attorneys of “gaming the system” in order to get cases dismissed against their clients.

A subsequent report prepared by the District Court revealed that it was the District Attorney’s office that was in fact voluntarily dismissing far more felony cases for various reasons, including his office not being prepared for trial, the office’s failure to meet discovery deadlines, and prosecutor’s failure to turn evidence over to defense counsel as mandated by law and discovery court orders. The Bernalillo County District Attorney office currently has the highest voluntary dismissal rate in its history and indicts less than half what it would indict 10 years ago.

THE COURTS

Deserving or not, the courts are viewed as part of a broken criminal justice system. That negative perception is aggravated when individual judges appear to be way too lenient in releasing people pending trial, suppress evidence, dismiss cases and impose light sentences for heinous crimes.

The competency of elected judges always comes into play when they are evaluated by the New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) for voter retention. In 1997, the JPEC was established after the New Mexico Judiciary went from a system of strict partisan elections to a “hybrid” system of one partisan election followed by retention elections.

Once a judge is appointed or are elected first in a partisan race by 50% plus one of the vote, that judge faces a retention vote for subsequent terms and must garner 57% of the vote to be retained. Any Judge who does not secure a “YES” vote from 57% of those voting on their retention are removed from office and the Governor then appoints a judge to fill the vacancy. A do not retain recommendation by the JPEC usually results in a judge being removed by voters. The problem is that the JPEC has become somewhat of a farce and considered by many within the bar as a “political hit job committee” when they issue their recommendations relying on poll numbers of those who appear before the judges or for that matter those who work in the court system itself. A judge’s decision and rulings are never universally liked by parties to the lawsuit, let alone the general public, and judicial decorum is always the responsibility of the judge to maintain.

It’s common knowledge amongst trial attorneys that Judges always have their eyes on how they are being perceived by the attorneys who appear before them, the public and the JPEC. Judges are always concerned about their disqualification rates on cases as well as decisions they make that are appealed. One result is that Judges are reluctant to make decisions or hold off on making decisions as long as possible to avoid controversy and to protect their jobs. One of the best examples of this is when virtually all the Second Judicial District Court Judge have recused themselves from hearing Manny Gonzales’ appeal of the City Clerk’s denial of the $661,000 in public finance. These judges are judges assigned to civil dockets, they are not required to list their reasons for disqualifying themselves and therefore no one knows the reason why other than the case is politically charged.

The New Mexico Supreme Court will now appoint a “pro temp” judge to hear the case, likely a retired judge who will not have to worry about public perception or stand for retention.

BAIL BOND REFORM

On November 8, 2016, the “New Mexico Denial of Bail Measure” was approved by New Mexico voters by a landslide vote.

The Constitutional Amendment amended the New Mexico Constitution to change the conditions under which a defendant can be denied bail and not released from custody pending trial. The Constitutional Amendment was designed to retain the right to pretrial release for “non-dangerous” defendants.

Before passage of the amendment, a defendant’s bail and release from jail pending trial on charges could be denied:

1. Only for a defendant charged with a capital felony, or
2. A defendant has two or more felony convictions or
3. A defendant is accused of a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon if the defendant has a felony conviction in New Mexico.

The adopted amendment changed these requirements, allowing bail to be denied to a defendant who has been charged with a felony only if the prosecutor can prove to a judge that the defendant poses “a threat to the public.”

The adopted amendment also provides that a defendant who is not a danger to the community or a flight risk cannot be denied bail solely because of the defendant’s financial inability to post a money or property bond.

https://votesmart.org/elections/ballot-measure/2076/a-joint-resolution-proposing-an-amendment-to-article-2-section#.XNyEJo5KiUk

A “YES” vote supported allowing courts to deny bail to a defendant charged with a felony if a prosecutor shows evidence that the defendant poses a threat to the public, while also providing that a defendant cannot be denied bail because of a financial inability to post a bond.

A “NO” vote opposed the changes in bail thereby keeping the state’s specific requirements that bail could be denied to a defendant charged with a felony if the defendant also had prior felony convictions in the state.

https://ballotpedia.org/New_Mexico_Changes_in_Regulations_Governing_Bail,_Constitutional_Amendment_1_(2016)

The final vote was 87.23%, with 616,887 voting YES and 12.77%, with 90,293 voting NO.

District Attorneys throughout the state argued the changes to the bail bond laws, as well as rules imposed by the New Mexico Supreme Court, made it way too difficult for them to do their jobs and prove to a judge that a defendant poses a threat to the public justifying that a violent felon be denied bail and be held in custody pending trial.As crime rates increased judges were accused of allowing “catch and release of violent felons”.

Things got so bad that some District Attorneys backed a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a “presumption” that a defendant is a threat to the public when charged with a violent crime and that they should be jailed until pending trial without bond or conditions of release. The presumption would shift the burden of proving dangerousness from the prosecution and require defendants accused of certain crimes to show and convince a judge that they should be released on bond or conditions of release pending their trial on the charges.

The proposed constitutional amendment never gained traction likely because it is well settled constitutional law the prosecution has the burden of proof in our criminal justice system. Our criminal justice system is not based on a “presumption of guilt” but the “presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

COURT’S RELUCTANCE TO ACT

In September, 2018 the 2nd Judicial District Court notified District Attorney Raul Torrez that it would be drastically reducing the amount of time for grand jury and shifting to preliminary hearings. District Attorney Raul Torres and Mayor Tim Keller wrote the New Mexico Supreme Court demanding that they intervene and order the District Court to schedule grand jury time.

The District Court responded that preliminary hearings were necessary and would require better screening of cases by the District Attorney. The District Court presented data to the Supreme Court that showed how overcharging and a failure to screen cases by the District Attorney’s Office was contributing to a combined 65% mistrial, acquittal and dismissal rate at trial. The Supreme Court declined to intervene.

RISING CRIME REVEALS CITY’S 4 INITIATIVES HAVE FAILED REDUCING CRIME

Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, as is Mayor Keller, is delusional when she says the 4 previous city initiatives to bring down violent crime are working and says:

“The city is taking those strategies to the larger system … to be productive. … Those were all sort of baby steps towards what we’re hoping is taking that inter-agency approach into the larger systemic problems.”

It is a false narrative that the 4 initiatives to bring down violent crime have worked. To be blunt, Nair has absolutely no experience in law enforcement in any capacity, yet she has been very much involved with creating and implementing the 4 initiatives. Prior to being appointed CAO, Nair was the State Auditor Tim Keller’s General Counsel. Prior to that, Ms. Nair was a shareholder at the law firm of Sutin, Thayer & Browne, representing private companies and public entities in business and governance matters since 2004. As a business lawyer, she worked for a wide range of small and family businesses across New Mexico, to represent both companies and governments in industrial revenue bond and Local Economic Development Act transactions.

Based on the city’s high violent crime and murder rates, it appears the Keller Administration’s programs consisting of the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue, the Metro 15 Operation, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program) cannot even be described as baby steps. Simply put, all 4 programs can be described as failures as not having any real statistical impact on reducing crime.

FINAL COMMENTARY

As impressive as the list of participants is in Mayor Keller’s initiative to address what is being referred to as “a broken criminal justice system” no one, especially the participants, should expect much seeing as they start with the false premise that the criminal justice system is broken. They are the problem and they should do their jobs.

“Phenomenal Sites” Identified For New Soccer Stadium; Keller Takes To Field To Promote Stadium Funding; Combine Two Sites and Build Indoor Multipurpose Arena And Soccer Field

On Friday, July 24, the long-awaited report from the consultant hired to evaluate the feasibility and economic impact of a multipurpose facility that can be used for sporting events, including the New Mexico United professional soccer team, was finally released by the City. The study was originally supposed to be released in June.

The link to the entire 356 page feasibility study is here:

https://documents.cabq.gov/municipal-development/Albuquerque%20Multi-Purpose%20Stadium%20Study%20Volume%20II%20of%20II%20(07-23-21).pdf

The New Mexico United soccer team currently shares the city-owned Isotopes Park with the stadium’s primary tenant, the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes baseball team. New Mexico United has become highly successful often attracting 10,000 to 15,000 fans to it games. One major caveat is that the team is in need of a permanent location to continue in the league and it cannot own the stadium.

FOUR LOCATIONS IDENTIFIED

Denver-based CAA ICON, the Denver based company that performed the study, looked specifically at four sites that would accommodate a 10,000 to 12,000 seat multipurpose facility:

1. The area near 12th Street and Interstate 40
2. The Coal and Broadway Street area
3. The Second Street and Iron Street area
4. The Railyards

Editor’s Note: It is likely that the Railyards’ Master Development Plan prevents the Railyards from having a soccer stadium located on the site.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/23/building-a-soccer-stadium-at-abq-rail-yards-likely-violates-railyards-master-development-plan-and-site-development-guiding-principles/

CAA ICON identified the Coal and Broadway Street area and the Second Street and Iron Street area as the two top “preferred sites”. The estimated cost would between $65 million and $70 million just for construction and not land acquisition.

The financial evaluation and feasibility study considered several factors including land size availability, zoning, ownership and parking. The city owns parts of each preferred site but the acreage needed at each location is mostly privately owned.

According to the report that includes a projected financial earning analysis, the stadium could generate new net direct spending of $10.3 million a year. The financial projection does not include indirect spending or economic activity related to construction.

CAA ICON reported that New Mexico United would be the venue’s primary tenant with a 24-event annual game calendar dominated by the soccer club, including 16 regular-season and two preseason games. CAA ICON interviewed potential stadium users, which included local event promoters, and reported that top acts usually bypass Albuquerque or have a better alternative.

Other likely events include high school sporting events and concerts with estimated attendance of 5,500. The study noted that the stadium would probably not be a popular destination for musical performers.

The CAA ICON financial analysis makes no recommendation as to how the city can pay for the stadium. The city does have $7.5 million New Mexico legislative appropriations for the project.

In releasing the study, city officials cautioned that decision has been made as to final location and a larger public dialogue must now occur.

Albuquerque Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael had this to say:

“This study is a key part of our due diligence as we explore the possibility of a multi-use facility. … We’re glad to have the results of the study so we can discuss the findings with the community, make proper considerations, and initiate next steps.”

NEW MEXICO UNITED REACTION

Peter Trevisani, New Mexico United’s president and owner, called the two preferred locations “phenomenal sites” as the club has always desired a Downtown home. Trevisani had this to say:

“I think it is phenomenal. … Having it be a pillar of the revitalization of downtown Albuquerque, showing the vitality of New Mexico is exactly what we should be doing, and [downtown] feels like a great spot to me. I am pumped up. … The team is pumped up. The coaches are pumped up. It matters a lot. … This is a great step. It is an important step. There is a lot of work to do.”

“The issue [with ownership] … is we’re not allowed to own any of the stadium – we’re just a tenant. The stadium would need to be owned by the city and since we can’t own the stadium, we’re not really in a position to buy a percentage of it like you might buy a percentage of a company. … The city is hurting, and this is the kind of project along with things like rail trail and ‘First Friday’ art walks … that add up to a major change.”

Trevisani had this to say regarding all 4 locations:

“Right now just making sure we are in touch with those communities because it will impact people’s lives. I think in a positive, but for some maybe not so much if you have a house right there. … So we have to talk to everybody and do the best we can to not do any harm.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/new-mexico-uniteds-proposed-stadium-raises-concerns-from-community-members/6183198/?cat=500

Trevisani said New Mexico United will explore ways to support the project to make it financially feasible for the city but want to see the city’s plans first.

During the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions, the New Mexico legislature earmarked $9 million for the project including $4 million from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham this past session. The cost of the $400,000 analysis was paid for by state money secured in 2020.

Links to quoted source material are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2412566/consultant-identifies-preferred-sites-for-abq-soccer-stadium.html

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/feasibility-study-released-on-potential-sites-for-new-mexico-united-stadium/

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/bond-for-new-mexico-united-stadium-could-be-on-the-ballot-this-november/6182322/?cat=500

KELLER TAKES TO THE FIELD TO PROMOTE PUBLIC VOTE

Ever since Mayor Tim Keller assumed office on December 1, 2017, he has taken photo ops and press conferences to all new levels. Keller has attended protest rallies to speak at, attended marches and political protests, attended heavy metal concerts to introduce the band, traveled to the southern border with his wife to leave a teddy bear where migrant children were being held, run in track meets, suiting up to participate in exhibition football games as the quarterback, participating in soccer games and enjoying and reliving his high school glory days as the St. Pius High School quarterback and posting pictures and videos on his FACEBOOK page. Keller has always been a big promoter of the New Mexico United team, but when the financial feasibility study was release on Friday, on July 23, it was done so by Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael with nothing said by Keller. That was no accident in an election year and Keller was looking for a much bigger crowd and he got it the next day.

On Saturday evening, July 24, Mayor Tim Keller took part in pregame tailgate parties and then took to the field of Isotopes Park during halftime where the New Mexico United Soccer Team was playing the El Paso Locomotive team. In a campaign style speech for his re election before a crowd of tailgate party goers, Mayor Tim Keller stood with New Mexico United owner Peter Trevisani to deliver the news of the results of the feasibility analysis for the stadium. To the crowd of 10,000 fans, Keller announced he will send a resolution on Monday, July 26 to City Council to get a bond proposal placed on the November 2 ballot for a new, publicly funded downtown soccer stadium with New Mexico United, a privately owned team, as the primary tenant.

Keller boldly announced:

“Tonight is a historic night for our city and for the United and I think you know why. You might have seen we’ve been doing some homework on that question you’ve been asking me for the last two years – when are we getting a stadium? We are sending a resolution to the council on Monday to put a bond for a new stadium on the ballot this November.”

“You all have earned a stadium. … So, New Mexicans and Burqueños, this can be our choice in November. And I know with the [team booster’s] Curse’s help, and with City Council’s help, we’re going to build a new home for the United right here in the Duke City. … So we’re going to win tonight. And then that initiative is going to win in November. And then we’re going to keep on winning for New Mexico!”

No doubt Keller wants the New Mexico United fan base to not only vote for the stadium funding bonds but as well as himself for another 4 year term as Mayor.

Four City Councilors stood next to Keller where he made the same announcement at a pregame free fan giveaway.

PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR SOCCER STADIUM

Brian Sanderoff of Research and Polling recently did a survey for the city that found 67% of voters approve of building a stadium. Sanderoff had this to say:

“Our mayors pushed hard proposals to build downtown arenas. And, in both cases, ultimately, our leaders backed down from those proposals. … One thing that makes this different is the soccer portion of it is an anchor.”

City Councillor Pat Davis said the city is going to use the success of Isotopes Park as a model for the soccer stadium and said:

“I think the difference between some of those far-flung ideas from politicians of the past, whether they wanted to do it, build it and they will come. … What we’ve done is the United is here. We’re filling the Isotope stadium. We will use some creative financing to lower the cost to taxpayers and put the burden on the teams to share revenue. ”

City Councillor Pat Davis talk like he has lived here all of his life but only moved here 15 years ago from Washington, DC, and it’s doubtful Davis has had an original idea in his years as an elected official.

https://www.koat.com/article/taxpayers-new-mexico-united-abq-soccer-stadium/37136545

MULTIPURPOSE FACILITY

The city issued a press release that made it clear that the downtown stadium will be a “multi-use” facility. The city news release also stated voters will be asked to approve a $50 million bond proposal for the stadium. According to Keller, taxes will not be increased to build the stadium but expiring bond debt will be renewed.

Keller acknowledged that most of the funding will be government funding and had this to say:

“… we’re open to a private – public partnership. We’re … gonna make sure the [city funds] … the minimum amount required for a stadium. But if there’s additional extras — how big it is and how nice it is, that’ll depend on other funds or matching funds from other governments and possibly other folks involved in the stadium who may or may not be with the team.”

As far as which of the 4 proposed locations, Keller said the chosen location will not be identified and said:

“Because of the length of real estate transactions and so forth, we know it’ll hopefully be one of those four (locations), but we do know some of those lands have owners that may or may not want to sell. So we can’t be 100% sure about any location. That’s just the recommendations from the consultant.”

Chief Operation’s Officer Lawrence Rael had this to say about location:

“It would be premature to buy any property or make a final decision until the voters say yes because you need the revenues to build the stadium. And so until they say, yes, we’re right now just looking at all the sites making sure they work, and then waiting for the voters to make a decision.”

Link to quoted source materials are here:

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/bond-for-new-mexico-united-stadium-could-be-on-the-ballot-this-november/6182322/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/2412949/mayor-makes-his-case-for-a-new-soccer-stadium.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Now the hard part begins which is getting public support for a worthwhile project that will be a major step in revitalizing downtown. For the last 50 years, City Hall and virtually all Albuquerque Mayors have been fascinated and enamored with trying to revitalize the Downtown Central area. All Mayors wanted to bring back Downtown Central of its heyday of the 1950’s and 1960’s where it was the center of commercial, business and retail and entertainment activity.

First there was “urban renewal” of the 1970’s with the new convention center built, followed by the Festival Market Place, followed by the Convention Center expansion with building the Hyatt Regency and the adjoining office building, then the rejected “Performing Arts Center”, then the 4th Street Mall concept, then the attempt to build the new Isotopes’ Baseball stadium downtown, then the convention center and civic plaza remodeling, then the ART Bus project. Each time it was a Mayor involved trying to leave his lasting mark on the city with his own legacy project. You can review Central Downtown revitalization over the years at this link”

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

COMBINE TWO SITES AND BUILD MULTIPURPOSE ENCLOSED ARENA

Since the very beginning, New Mexico United has had plans for a new soccer stadium and have always looked at downtown. The team envisions a 10,000 to 15,000 seat stadium, costing between $50 million to $100 million. The fact that it is going to be a city owned facility, Mayor Keller and the City Council need to concentrate on a development that will truly be in the best interest of not only United New Mexico fans but also the city as a whole.

When you examine the 4 facility renderings in all 4 locations, one major finding of the study is it will be an exclusive “outdoor soccer sports facility” . New Mexico United would be the venue’s primary tenant with a 24-event annual game calendar dominated by the soccer club, including 16 regular-season and two preseason games. CAA ICON interviewed potential stadium users, which included local event promoters, and reported that top acts usually bypass Albuquerque or have a better alternative. The State owned Tingley Coliseum has long been viewed as a substandard aging facility suited for rodeos and “monster truck events and no longer able to attract major entertainment events.

It is pure political rhetoric in an election year for Keller to tell New Mexico United fans “You all have earned a stadium”. The only ones that have “earned” anything and will wind up paying for a publicly financed stadium is the general voting public deserving of a multipurpose venue that more can enjoy. Ever since the round domed Albuquerque Civic Auditorium was demolished in the 1970’s, Albuquerque has had to rely on UNM facilities, such as the PIT or even Popejoy Hall for live entertainment venues.

Two of the 4 identified locations are in fact adjacent to each other: the Coal and Broadway location and the Second and Iron location with the city owning a large portion of both locations. An option the city should seriously consider is to combine both adjacent sites and build the soccer field and an indoor facility or even combine both as one 15,000 roofed multipurpose facility with United New Mexico being the main anchor tenant.

MAYOR KELLER AND FUNDING ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

The fact Mayor Tim Keller is seeking a second term and will be on the same ballot as the funding for the stadium cannot be overlooked. No doubt Keller will be using the new soccer stadium as a project only he can get built. Mayor Tim Keller and the City Council ostensibly agreeing to a public vote for financing reflects that with any luck they have finally learned something from the disastrous ART Bus project that cost $130 million down central and so many other downtown revitalization projects that were forced down the general public’s throats and failed over the years without a public vote. When that happens, elected officials lose credibility, create resentment and perhaps even lose elections.

Another major point that cannot be overlooked is the Garcia family, owners of the Garcia Automotive Group, have a stake in the New Mexico United professional soccer team and also own significant parcels of commercial real estate in the downtown and old town area, including in the vicinity of the 12th and I-40 cite location. A breakdown of the larger donations to Keller’s “Albuquerque One Foundation” revealed that the Garcia Automotive Group was the single largest donor and donating $50,000. Further a measured finance committee has been formed to support Mayor Tim Keller’s bid for a second 4-year term. Campaign finance report filed with the city clerk’s office reflect that Ed Garcia and Toby Garcia, who are listed as with Garcia Automotive Group, both donated $7,500 each for a total of $15,000 to Keller’s measured finance committee.

On June 7 it was reported the City Council voted to approve Mayor Keller’s request for the “sale and lease” of the historic Rosenwald Building for $360,000 in a “private bid” to build condos. In 2009, the city had purchased the historic 42,000-square-foot building for $1.7 million. It is Garcia family members who are the principal’s of the limited liability corporation that purchased the Rosenwald Building. What needs to be disclosed is how much of the land or adjacent land where the 4 proposed stadium locations is owned by the Garcia family members or any one of their corporations. What should be considered is the city asking for land donations from the private sector, including the Garcia family.

Building the soccer field at 12th and I-40 will no doubt increase real property values in the area as well as the Indian Cultural Center owned by the 19 Indian Pueblos and at least 3 major, well known private landowners including the Saw Mill area developer, making the location highly competitive to the point it will make it the top contender as the landowners in the area make a strong pitch for the location, especially to Keller in an election year.

NEW MEXICO UNITED’S BEST LAID PLANS

United CEO Peter Trevisani has said in the past he is looking at what worked in other cities with new fields like Colorado Springs. He says it’s a good example of how a stadium can revitalize a neighborhood. He is right and people should listen.

https://www.krqe.com/sports/local-sports/rail-yards-remain-a-strong-contender-for-new-mexico-united-stadium/

From review of the CAA ICON, it is more likely than not the stadium will end up in the heart of downtown Albuquerque. The difference between the proposed new soccer stadium and all other failed proposed projects is the New Mexico United has a tremendous and dedicated fan based and public support with unmistakable momentum to get the project done. What the City Council should decide on is one specific site in order gain further support from the general public from the get go.

The new stadium is one major project that has the most potential to finally change and encourage development of the downtown area. City and State elected officials have any number of ways to fund the project including capital improvement allocations, general obligation bonds, industrial revenue bonds. Mayor Keller, the City Council, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico legislators need to do whatever they can to promote the project.

A big mistake would be to try to do the project on the cheap to benefit only a select sports fan base when so much more could be accomplished.

Manny Gonzales Needs To Account For Killing Of Elisha Lucero And Other “Use Of Deadly Force” Killings By BCSO During His Tenure As Sheriff

On July 22, 2021, KOB Channel 4 did a two-year anniversary story on the death of Elisha Lucero at the hands of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. The problem is, Channel 4 ostensibly did not even bother to ask Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who is now running for Mayor, for comment or if he had any regrets on what happened. No questions were asked of Gonzales of his refusal at the time to mandate the use of lapel cameras by his deputies. Further, Channel 4 failed to mention the other use of deadly force cases that have happened under Sheriff Gonzales and where he chose to defend the action of his deputies.

THE KILLING OF ELISHA LUCERO BY BCSO DEPUTIES

On July 21, 2019, Elisha Lucero, 28, who suffered psychosis and schizophrenia, was shot to death in front of her RV, which was parked in front of her family’s South Valley home. BCSO Deputies had responded to the home after a relative called 911 saying Lucero had hit her uncle in the face. According to the 911 call, a relative said Lucero was mentally ill, needed help, and was a threat to herself and to everybody else. Just one month prior, Lucero had called BCSO and asked to be taken to the hospital for mental health issues.

According to the lawsuit filed by here family, when BCSO deputies arrived, they said Lucero initially refused to come out of the home. Eventually, the 4-foot-11 Lucero, naked from the waist up, ran out screaming and armed with a kitchen knife. The BCSO Deputies pulled their revolvers and shot her claiming they feared for their lives. According to an autopsy report, Lucero was shot at least 21 times by the deputies. The two BCSO Deputies who shot and killed Elisha Lucero were not wearing lapel cameras. Sheriff Gonzales refused to have lapel cameras purchased and mandated for the BCSO.

CHANNEL 4 TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY REPORT

Following is the the transcript of the July 22, 2021 Channel 4 news story with the link to the story:

HEADLINE: 2 YEARS LATER, THE INVESTIGATION INTO ELISHA LUCERO’S DEATH CONTINUES

“Elisha Lucero’s death was exactly two years ago.
“I don’t know why, but it seems like, you know, when you come across anniversaries, you start having feelings you haven’t felt in a while,” said Elaine Maestas, Lucero’s sister.

Lucero was shot and killed by Bernalillo County deputies in 2019. Maestas protested and fought for police accountability measures because when her sister was killed – deputies were not required to wear cameras.

Deputies said they tried to tase Lucero when she rushed them with a knife. Two years later, Maestas still questions that version of events.

Maestas has reviewed a 252-page multi-agency task force report and points to discrepancies. For example, an eyewitness account about the knife.

“So, I’m looking and trying to find her hands and I couldn’t find her hands, I couldn’t see the knife, and that bothered me the most. ‘Cause I was like, where did that knife go?” Maestas said.

There is also a log that shows a shots fired call went out at 12:54 a.m. – and the Taser was not activated until nearly nine minutes later, at 1:30 a.m.

“So we have alarming evidence that proves that this crime scene was tampered with,” Maestas said.

But a statement from a BCSO spokesperson offered an explanation: “Tasers do not calibrate time via cell tower or internet and do not reflect 100% accurate time stamps 100% of the time.”

BCSO also noted that the notion that something in the investigation was covered up is a “falsehood.”

The report also shows that Lucero had marijuana, meth and oxycodone in her system. Maestas said Lucero was self-medicating after her doctors said they couldn’t help her with a brain tumor.

Attorney General Hector Balderas is still investigating her death. He said he is working with experts and Lucero’s family, and they anticipate the investigation will conclude soon.

Last year, Lucero’s family reached a $4 million settlement after suing BCSO for the deadly shooting.

Here is the full statement BCSO provided to KOB 4:

We have conducted a fresh review of the case file data in response to your question.

The Taser logs for this incident reflect a single Taser activation took place. That’s one Taser activation for the entire duration of the call. Additionally, the audio recording of the incident, in its entirety, confirms that a single Taser activation took place for the entire duration of the call. At 31:48 min into the audio recording, the attempted Taser activation can be heard. Seconds later, the same recording captures the audio of the gunshots on scene. There are no Taser activations afterward. This is evidenced by both the Taser activation log and audio recordings.

As far as the time stamp on the Taser log: The internal clock of a Taser is just that, internal- similar to that of a wristwatch, an analog clock on the wall. Tasers do not calibrate time via cell tower or internet and do not reflect 100% accurate timestamps 100% of the time.

This incident, like all Deputy involved shootings, was investigated by a multijurisdictional shooting investigations team and we stand by their work. The notion that something in the investigation of this incident was “covered up” is a falsehood.”

The link to the Channel 4 story is here:

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/2-years-later-the-investigation-into-elisha-luceros-death-continues/6180529/?cat=500

GONZALES AND BCSO DENY FAULT AFTER $4 MILLION SETTLEMENT; SICKENED BY AMOUNT OF SETTLEMENT

On January 13, 2020, the Lucero family filed a lawsuit alleging Sheriff Manny Gonzales had fostered a “culture of aggression” in the department and too few deputies were trained to handle people with mental health issues. The allegation of a “culture of aggression” and the use of deadly force when dealing with the mentally ill is identical to what the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation found within the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) 6 years ago resulting in the DOJ federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement.

The Lucero family civil suit alleges:

“the deputies created a situation where they were forced to use deadly force against Ms. Lucero or have justified their unlawful use of deadly force with the falsehood that Ms. Lucero presented a deadly threat to one or all of them.”

On March 6, 2020 it was reported that Bernalillo County settled the Lucero family lawsuit for $4 Million dollars. After the $4 Million settlement was announced, Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his department issued the following statement about the settlement:

“BCSO’s commitment is to protecting children and families, and as such, we responded legally and appropriately while in communication with the family to protect the welfare of all involved. Our condolences are with the family for their loss.”

A BCSO spokesperson said they do not admit any fault:

“While the Sheriff’s Department is aware of the settlement and had involvement in the settlement process we are sickened with the amount of the settlement agreement. The Sheriff’s Department does not admit any fault on behalf of the employees involved and holds firm in its belief that our deputies have a right and a duty to protect themselves and others from harm and/or death. Furthermore, the Sheriff and any/all deputies named in the lawsuit were removed prior to the settlement agreement.

We understand that, although a typical personal injury trial will not last more than a few days, the process can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. The process itself can take years and in some cases decades prior to the actual trial. We also understand that many cases are settled out of court as this case was.

We are represented by New Mexico Association of Counties and we acknowledge that the decision to settle a case like this is something that they do based upon an extreme number of variables.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/family-of-elisha-lucero-settles-case-with-bcso-for-4m-/5667056/

https://www.abqjournal.com/1428402/family-of-mentally-ill-woman-shot-by-bcso-gets-4m-settlement.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/1428402/family-of-mentally-ill-woman-shot-by-bcso-gets-4m-settlement.html

“USE OF DEADLY FORCE” CASES DURING SHERIFF GONZALES TENURE

There is no doubt as Sheriff Gonzales runs for Mayor, his total mismanagement of BCSO will be examined as will any and all lawsuits filed against the department under his watch for systemic racial profiling, excessive use of force and deadly force. Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out upwards of $10 million in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) over a 2 year period of Sheriff Gonzales tenure as Sheriff.

When settlements he did not like were announced, Gonzalez said the amounts were excessive and he defended the actions of his sheriff’s deputies. As an act of defiance, Gonzales even issued commendations to the deputies involved with the killing of an 88-year-old suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, claiming they acted properly.

Following is a listing of the cases in addition to the Elisha Lucero case:

2015 WRONGFUL DEATH OF FIDENCIO DURAN: $1,495,000 SETTLEMENT

Bernalillo County settled the wrongful death case of Fidencio Duran for the sum of $1,495,000.

It was on September 14, 2015, Fidencio Duran, 88, died after he was shot numerous times with a “pepper ball” gun after he encountered BCSO Deputy Sheriffs in the South Valley. Mr. Duran was partially blind and deaf and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His wife of 67 years had died the day before after a three-year bout with illness. Duran wandered around the neighborhood shirtless. He banged on the door of a neighbor, who called the BCSO.

When BCSO Deputies arrived, a 90-minute standoff ensued, in which Mr. Duran, shirtless and wearing one shoe and reportedly holding a four-inch knife, spoke, sometimes incoherently, in Spanish. Eventually, the BCSO officers fired over 50 rounds of pepper balls at him from two directions. Some of the pepper balls penetrated his skin, causing contusions and embedding fragments of plastic.

BCSO officers unleashed a muzzled K9 police dog after shooting with pepper balls. The dog knocked the 115-pound man over, breaking his femur and hip. He was taken to the hospital, where it took doctors days to remove all of the pepper ball fragments. He never left the hospital, succumbing to pneumonia as a result of his injuries a month later. A doctor from the Office of the Medical Investigator “determined that the manner of death was Homicide” according to a civil lawsuit filed.

In an ostensible act of defiance, Sheriff Manny Gonzales issued commendations to the deputies involved.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/09/albu-f09.html

2017 WRONGFUL DEATH OF ROBERT CHAVEZ: $700,000 SETTLEMENT

On August 16, 2017, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies spotted a stolen car near Coors and ILiff. When they tried to pull over the vehicle a chase ensued. The stolen vehicle crashed into Robert Chavez’, 66, car near Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez in the Southwest part of the city. When Robert Chavez was hit, Chavez broke his back, shoulder, forearm, wrist, ribs and pelvis in the crash and also had other internal injuries. Chavez went into a coma and died 11 days after the crash. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the county and BCSO.

The BCSO Sheriff Department’s old policy would not have allowed officers to pursue for a stolen vehicle, but Sheriff Manny Gonzales changed the hot pursuit policy allowing such chases a year before the fatal crash. The Bernalillo County settled with Mr. Chavez’ family for $700,000 but not before the county backout of a $1 Million settlement.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1210343/man-injured-in-bcso-chase-dies.html

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/family-attorney-county-

2017 KILLING OF MARTIN JIM AND SHOOTING OF ISAAC PADILLA: $3.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT

On November 17, 2017, BCSO Deputies, at around 4 am in the morning, initiated a high-speed chase of a stolen truck across the South Valley on November 17, 2017. A BCSO Deputy rammed the truck at Coors and Glenrio NW on Albuquerque’s West Side obliterating the front driver’s-side wheel. With the truck at a standstill, two BCSO deputies parked their vehicles to block the truck from moving forward.

BCSO Deputy Joshua Mora soon arrived on the scene. Mora is the son of then-undersheriff Rudy Mora and had worked for BCSO about 18 months as a sheriff’s deputy. In the span of 18 seconds, Mora jumped from his car, ran to the truck, yelled commands at the driver, and fired 7 shots into the vehicle occupied by 3 passengers, including a 4-year-old child. Mora did no know Martin Jim was sitting in the back seat. A settlement in the case was reached after Senior U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera of Albuquerque ruled that a “reasonable jury could conclude that Deputy Mora acted unreasonably.”

On May 21, 2020, it was reported that the family of Martin Jim, 25, the man killed in 2017 incident settled the federal excessive force lawsuit against the county for $1.5 million. An earlier $400,000 state court settlement arising from the same deadly shooting paid to Jim’s partner, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son, amounted to $1.9 million. That is an addition to the $1.36 million settlement paid to the estate of the driver of the pickup truck, Isaac Padilla, 23, who was also killed. Another $40,000 was paid to two other passengers in the truck. The total payout to resolve legal claims related to Deputy Joshua Mora’s actions was $3.3 million.

The defendants, Mora, the county and Sheriff Manny Gonzales maintained Martin Jim’s death was unintentional and that the killing of Isaac Padilla, the driver of the truck, was justified. No weapons were found in the truck negating Mora’s defense that his actions were justified and in self-defense.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1458471/settlements-in-bcso-shooting-total-33-million-deputy-opened-fire-killing-driver-passenger-in-stolen-truck.html

BCSO RACIAL PROFILING CASES SETTLED: $100,000 SETTLEMENT AND COUNTING

It was on December 6, 2017 that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American woman on temporary assignment in New Mexico as an Immigration and Customs Agent (ICE) deportation officer. The lawsuit alleged that Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies racially profiled her by pulling her over three times, twice by the same deputy, within a month with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that she was breaking the law. None of the three times she was pulled over was she given a warning or a citation.

ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Kristin Greer Love had this to say at the time:

“Our client is an accomplished federal agent who was targeted for driving while black … BCSO unlawfully and repeatedly stopped her because she fit a racial profile. Targeting people because of the color of their skin is unconstitutional and bad policing. Racial discrimination has no place in New Mexico, and BCSO must take immediate action to ensure that this behavior does not continue.”

https://www.aclu-nm.org/en/press-releases/aclu-files-racial-profiling-lawsuit-against-bcso

On July 8, 2020, it was reported that two black women from Wisconsin are suing Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and two deputies alleging racial and religious profiling stemming from a traffic stop in July 2017. The lawsuit was filed about five months after Bernalillo County reached a $100,000 settlement with Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American who filed a lawsuit against BCSO after she was pulled over three times in 28 days by BCSO deputies Patrick Rael and Leonard Armijo, the same deputies named in the new lawsuit, in spring 2017.

The civil case was filed by Sisters Consweyla and Cynthia Minafee, and a 5-year-old child, Yahaven Pylant, were traveling from Phoenix back to Wisconsin when they were pulled over by Rael on Interstate 40 the morning of July 7, 2017. Cynthia Minafee was Yahaven’s legal guardian at the time. According to the lawsuit, the traffic stop lasted almost an hour and included an extensive search of the vehicle with a drug dog.

According to the lawsuit, Rael told the women to get out of the car and said he could smell marijuana on Cynthia. Cynthia said that she had not smoked in the car and that there was no marijuana in the vehicle. Consweyla Minafee, the driver, was not issued a traffic citation, but Cynthia Minafee was issued a citation for not having Yahaven properly restrained. The citation was dismissed in May, online court records show.

A link to a news source is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1473973/two-bcso-deputies-face-second-racial-profiling-lawsuit.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The term “DINO” means “Democrat In Name Only” but it can also be shorthand for “dinosaur”. When it comes to Manny Gonzales, the term has both meanings. Gonzales is a “Democrat In Name Only” and a Sheriff who is a dinosaur when it comes to unconstitutional policing practices that existed before the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sheriff Gonzales is now running for Mayor on a “law and order” platform. His mismanagement of BCSO will be a major issue as well as his well-known opposition to many of the reforms of APD mandated by the consent decree.

“I don’t work for the governor. I don’t work for the mayor. I don’t work for the president of the United States. I answer to the people who voted me into office.”

With these words, Sherriff Manny Gonzales shows himself to be a person who listens and answers to no one, other than those who voted him into office. During his 7 years as Sheriff, Gonzales has refused to cooperate and do anything the County Commission or County Manager asked of him.

It is not even certain he will listen to the courts and do what they tell him whenever the time comes to it. His resistance to cooperate with the District Attorney’s Office and disclose what is required to be disclosed by the US Supreme Court indicates he feels law enforcement is above the law.

As Mayor, he will likely ignore the City Council, ignore the Police Oversight Board and Civilian Policing Councils saying they did not elect him. He will also likely do what he can to ignore the Court Approved Settlement Agreement and the reforms, saying he did not agree to them and as a former law enforcement official he feels the CASA has been a disaster.

When it comes to the Sheriff’s Department under Manny Gonzales, it is clear that the department is way behind the times when it comes to constitutional policing practices. Sheriff Gonzales for years has resisted civilian oversight of BCSO often ignoring the citizen advisory board recommendations. Most recently, Sheriff Gonzales resisted the U.S. Supreme Court mandated disclosures of police misconduct of officers who testify in court.

PREVENTABLE KILLINGS

The deaths of Fidencio Duran, Robert Chavez, Martin Jim, and Elisha Lucero as well as the shooting injuries to Isaac Padilla, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son were all preventable had BCSO Sheriff’s Deputies been properly trained in constitutional policing practices. In this day and age of George Floyd and the Black Lives Movement, there is absolutely no excuse for BCSO involved with racial profiling cases involving any minority, but that’s what we got with Gonzales as Sheriff.

One of the biggest problems is that Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has shown himself to be a law enforcement “throw back” to by gone days, especially with his refusal to order the use of lapel cameras before the State legislature mandated it and his resistance to make mandatory disclosures of officer misconduct to the District Attorney’s office as mandated by the United States Supreme Court.

In a 2-year period Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out $8,595,000 in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for deadly force and civil rights violations. It appears to be a question of not if but when the BCSO will get hit with another use of deadly force case unless the department does a major review of its practices and training and as Sheriff Gonzales moves on and his term expires in 2022.

The very last thing the city needs as Mayor of Albuquerque is one who only “answers to the people who voted” him into office. Gonzales does not realize a Mayor must represent virtually everyone who lives in the city, the good, the bad, Democrats, Republicans and Independents and even those who do not vote for him or dislike him.

Frankly, there are just way too many reasons a Mayor Manny Gonzales would be a disaster . You do not replace one disaster with another disaster when it comes to law enforcement, APD and BCSO.

The link to a related bog article is here:

Führer Trump’s Favorite Democrat Sherriff Manny Gonzales Runs For Mayor; A DINO And Law Enforcement Dinosaur