“Forward Together Action” Calls For Pat Davis To Resign; Third Progressive Organization Demanding Davis Resignation; Link To Court Documents; Davis Act Of Brutality Against Bell After Shooting Him

Forward Together Action (FTA) is progressive organization, with offices in California, Oregon and New Mexico. It is a charitable corporation, exempt from income tax, and as such is required to file Form 990 annually with the federal government.

According to its web page, its mission is that it “organizes communities to build power so all families can thrive. FTA evaluates how existing power structures help or harm our families and pushes for the changes needed to create systems that serve all of us. FTA builds political power that uplifts the leadership of women of color, non-binary people and Indigenous communities. FTA holds elected officials accountable to ensure all our families get the support they need to thrive and support leaders and legislators who share our commitment to strong families.”

Forward Together Action in New Mexico leads year-round community-based civic engagement and advocacy with a base of over 10,000 people in four counties (including three rural counties) to change policies and shift culture in New Mexico. FTA New Mexico organizes opportunities in communities where decision makers, organizations and families can come together to share their stories, offer ideas for change, and create solutions in collaboration with one another. Strong Families New Mexico (SFNM) is a state-based advocacy and action program of Forward Together.

Major issues that FTA lists that it works to promote include:

Securing healthcare access, including abortion
Ensuring that our communities are safe from state-based and gender-based bias
Advocating for paid sick leave and paid family leave

The link to the FTA web page is here:

https://forwardtogether.org/programs/state-national-action/

DEMAND FOR PAT DAVIS TO RESIGN FROM CITY COUNCIL

On August 3, 2020, Forward Action Together released the following statement:

HEADLINE: Forward Together Action Statement on Pat Davis
August 3, 2020

It has become clear that Pat Davis, Albuquerque City Councilor, can no longer be a decision-maker in New Mexico. The recent reports about the shooting of a young Black man, Moses Bell, while Davis was a member of the DC Police Department, followed by multiple allegations of civil rights violations while a member of the UNM Police Department in Albuquerque have made it clear that Pat Davis has his own historic pattern of racism and violence against our communities, a past for which he has refused to apologize or even address.

Having learned of his past racist actions from our partners at ProgressNow New Mexico, Forward Together Action is in solidarity with our organizational allies, Albuquerque communities, and the broader communities fighting for Black lives across the country, in calling for the resignation of Pat Davis. Forward Together Action is founded on the values that will help our communities thrive: centering the voices of those most impacted when having policy conversations, providing resources for our communities to live lives with dignity, and deconstructing systems of oppression – which includes dismantling systems that over-criminalize our communities.

Beyond these initial reports, our affiliate partner organization Forward Together/Strong Families New Mexico has its own experiences with Pat Davis. Forward Together was a steering committee member of the 2013 campaign to defeat Albuquerque’s anti-abortion ballot measure: Respect ABQ Women. As a member of this steering committee, Forward Together centered the voices of women of color and other “unlikely voters” so that this battle to protect access to reproductive health care in Albuquerque wasn’t waged without those who would be most impacted by its outcome.

Respect ABQ Women defeated the ballot initiative, and was proud to do so working with great allied organizations. After the campaign was won, Pat Davis in his role at the time as Executive Director of ProgressNow NM, took credit for the work of multiple organizations including those led by and for women of color. This is one act in a pattern of behavior that disrespects and delegitimizes the lives and work of People of Color, especially black and indigenous women.

When Davis ran for US Congress in 2018, he sent campaign emails claiming credit again for the defeat of this ballot initiative. Members of the steering committee, including Forward Together, met with Davis to ask him to apologize publicly and admit that the majority of the work for this campaign was in fact led and done by women of color. He refused.

Forward Together has worked with Davis on multiple occasions, and each time we have seen first-hand the way he treats women of color and communities of color. We have worked with Davis to shape policy, and we will no longer be complicit. Whether it was his role leading the Governor’s task force on cannabis legalization – which allowed him to center the voices of law enforcement over communities of color, being appointed to the nominating commission for potential district and appellate court judges, or continuing to serve the role of President of the City Council – we believe the time has come for Pat Davis to resign.

We are calling on Davis to resign his position on the Albuquerque City Council and finally make room for the voices he has worked so long to silence – those of communities of color who have suffered the consequences of his policing and policy decisions. We also call on Governor Lujan Grisham and others to refuse to appoint Davis to any new commissions, boards, or committees. Instead those in power should make room for the voices who have been silenced and hurt by Davis and others, putting them at the center of policy change.

The link to the statement is here:

http://www.forwardtogetheraction.org/2020/08/03/forward-together-action-statement-on-pat-davis/

Forward Together Action is the third progressive organization to demand that Pat Davis resign from the Albuquerque City Council. The other two with links to their resignation demands are:
Progress Now New Mexico. The link to the ProgressNow statement is here:

https://progressnownm.org/?p=225026

Ole, New Mexico. The link to the OLÉ New Mexico statement is here:

https://medium.com/@olenewmexico/on-power-lessons-learned-speaking-up-db837e2cef9c

LINK TO PAT DAVIS STATEMENT

On June 25, Progress Now New Mexico issued a statement calling for the resignation of City Council President Pat Davis from the Albuquerque City Council. On June 26, Pat Davis went into overdrive and issued a Statement to the media in response to ProgressNow demanding that he resign from the 4 positions of trust and he stated in part:

“It is unfortunate that a blogger’s misrepresentation of the facts is gaining attention and being shared, when court records and subsequent legitimate news stories that can be easily factchecked outline a different pattern of facts and conclusion”.

The link to the full Davis statement is here:

https://www.kob.com/kobtvimages/repository/cs/files/DAVIS%20policing.pdf

LINK TO DOCUMENTS AND COURT FILINGS

The actual pleadings filed are the best evidence to “fact check” the pattern of facts and conclusions peddled by Pat Davis as true to the media which are either false or misleading. In order to “fact check” all of the misrepresentations made by Pat Davis, a link to all the documents and federal court pleadings filed is here:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZYWiEndlYG3ffELYQO2JMAfzeZzeikUR

DOCUMENT LISTING AND SUMMARIES

A listing of the documents and pleadings in order of importance with summations are as follows:

1. Court Docket page reflecting “Armed Kidnapping ” charge filed against Moses Bell for “kidnapping” of Pat Davis by Moses Bell. (1 page.)

Moses Bell is the African American who was shot twice by Pat Davis when he was a Washington, DC Cop. Moses Bell was originally charged with “kidnapping” of Pat Davis when Moses Bell “drove off” with Davis still hanging half way out of the car after he shot Bell twice and as he struggled with Bell after Davis reached into Bell’s vehicle and tried to seize a gun Bell was trying to hide. (Kidnapping? Kidnapping?? You can’t make this stuff up.)

2. Initial Criminal Complaint against Moses Bell with “Statement of Facts” prepared and signed by charging police officer. (3 pages)

This is a handwritten document written and signed by a police officer (name illegible) charging Moses Bell with “Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With A Police Officer with a Dangerous Weapon” with a typed “statement of facts” that was also sign by the charging officer and attached to the criminal complaint. A detention hearing was held with Moses Bell held in jail without bond.

3. “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law And Order Of Detention Pending Trial” of Moses Bell. (6 pages)

These are the “finding of fact” adopted and filed by the Federal Court Judge to jail Moses Bell without bond pending trial. The court’s findings of fact are verbatim from the DC Police charging document that states “two black males” and “a black male subject exit the passenger side of the vehicle.” The charging language makes two references to “black” and not to suspects. Ethnicity has nothing to do with the misdemeanor charges of failing to use a turn signal and a passenger not wearing a seat belt. This distinction was ostensibly important for Officer Davis and his partner to place in the charging document. Otherwise, they he would not have done it.

What is not alleged in the “finding of fact” and can be deduced is that Officer Pat Davis escalated a confrontation by reaching into the vehicle on the driver’s side where Moses Bell was sitting in an idling car. Davis apparently did not say anything as he tried to grab a gun from Moses Bell that Bell was trying to hide resulting in a struggle between Davis and Bell.

Absent are any allegations that Bell was threatening Davis. Davis did not know if Bell had a permit for the gun. Davis lunging into the vehicle was a likely violation of police standard operating procedure. By reaching into the car, Davis placed himself in a completely vulnerable position and endangered his own life and the life of his assisting officer. Davis reaching into the car as he did ostensibly result in Bell reacting. Bell decided to drive off while Davis was partially in the vehicle and Davis either shot him twice in the vehicle or as Bell drove off. Bell was later found with his car abandoned and a gun found on the ground. Bell was arrested and taken to a hospital where he was treated for his two gun shot wounds.

An original allegation Pat Davis has made is that Moses Bell drove off and as he did he drove over the leg of Pat Davis and crashed his vehicle. These allegations are simply false in that the vehicle was found within the hour after the shooting abandoned in a parking lot of an office complex. Bell was found hiding in a stairwell. Pat Davis soon showed up, uninjured, and positively identified Bell as the man he shot. Bell was taken to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries after which he was taken into custody and to jail by Pat Davis.

4. Moses Bell Defense Attorney Sentencing Memorandum (1 page)

All initial criminal charges against Moses Bell including “Assaulting a Police Officer with a Deadly Weapon”, “ Kidnapping” and “Resisting Arrest” were all dismissed or no charges were brought by a grand jury. Bell was ultimately charged by the United States Attorney with one felony of “possession of a firearm” for the reason that the evidence did not support “assault and battery” on a police officer. Bell plead guilty to the one charge and was sentence to the 18 months in jail he agreed to in his plea agreement.

On May 12, 2005, the defense attorney Edward C. Sussman for Moses M. Bell filed the “DEFENDANT’S MEMORANDUM IN AID OF SENTENCING”. The court document provides for the first time Moses M. Bell’s version of his shooting by Pat Davis. It also exposes major discrepancies in what Pat Davis alleged in the criminal complaint as to what happened.

The Defendant’s “Memorandum In Aid of Sentencing” reveals that an Internal Affairs Investigation of Officer Pat Davis and his shooting of Moses Bell was conducted. Pat Davis has never disclosed the results of his Internal Affairs Investigation. Further, Pat Davis has never disclosed if one of his problems was being a “target” of the grand jury and if criminal charges were considered to be brought against him by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for excessive use of force or deadly force or for civil rights violations.

5. Court Docket information page reflecting that charging codes had been changed and that Moses Bell was not charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” of Pat Davis. (1 page)

6. Plaintiff Bell’s Civil Lawsuit Against Davis (8 pages)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pat Davis never revealed the existence of this lawsuit when he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, City Council nor United States Congress. All Davis has ever acknowledged publicly is that he was involved with a Police Officer involved shooting. Pat Davis has said he has “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” and he has engaged in “brutalization … of those who [he was] supposed to protect and serve.”

This is the handwritten complaint, verified under oath as true, file by Moses Bell without the assistance of an attorney describing his shooting by Police Officer Pat Davis. On August 31, 2004, Moses M. Bell, age 37 at the time, was a Washington, DC resident. Moses M. Bell is African American and on August 31, 2004, was driving his car and giving his male African American friend a ride to his girlfriend’s house.

According to his complaint, while sitting in his idling parked vehicle to allow his passenger to exit his vehicle, Bell was shot twice in the left shoulder by Washington D.C. Police Officer Pat Davis when Davis approached the driver’s side of the car and opened fire without provocation. At the time of the shooting, D.C. Police Officer Patrick Davis was allegedly investigating Moses M. Bell, the driver of the vehicle, for failure to make a left turn signal and his passenger’s failure to wear a seat belt. Police officer David Tucker, Davis’ partner, remained in the vehicle when Davis got out of the patrol car to question the driver Moses M Bell. Moses M. Bell was first charged with “Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With A Police Officer With A Dangerous Weapon” when a gun was found in the car Bell was driving. Bell’s hand gun was found to have never been discharged and Bell did not threaten or point his gun at Pat Davis.

7. Plaintiff Bell Certification of “Non Service of Process” document (1 page)

This is a handwritten Certification by Moses Bell discloses to the Court that Pat Davis could not be found for “Service of Process” of his Civil Complaint. What Moses Bell ostensibly did not know was that Pat Davis had left the Washington, DC Police Department, moved to New Mexico and was employed by the University of New Mexico as a Lieutenant with the UNM Campus Police. The Bell lawsuit was dismissed against all co-defendants.

8. Bender-Hughes Civil “Complaint For False Arrest and Imprisonment, Negligence and Civil Rights Violations”. (8 pages.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pat Davis has never revealed the existence of this lawsuit when he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, City Council nor United States Congress. Pat Davis has said he has “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” and he has engaged in “brutalization … of those who [he was] supposed to protect and serve.”

The civil complaint alleges that on January 8, 2008, the Defendant Pat Davis, along with other UNM Police went to the home of Brook Bender looking for a person named Richard Hughes and telling Bender they needed to search her home. According to the complaint, the officers did not identify themselves until Bender noticed a UNM Police Badge. The complaint alleges that Davis and the defendants told Plaintiff Bender that they knew she worked for UNM because they had found her UNM employee identification in her car next to some contraband and told her she needed to “work with them” or they would inform UNM officials about the alleged contraband found. According to Bender’s allegations, she responded to the threats by allowing Davis and the other defendants into her home and asked to see a “search warrant”. They told Bender they did not have a search warrant, that they could easily obtain one and if she insisted on a search warrant, they would “rat her out” to her UNM employer.

The Bender-Hughes civil complaint alleges that on the morning of January 9, 2008, at approximately 10:30 am, Davis and the UNM police went to the home of Plaintiff Joan Hughes, made contact with her and announced that they were looking for her son Richard Hughes with Pat Davis providing Plaintiff Hughes with his business card. Hughes told the Defendants that her son was in jail in Grants, New Mexico, which the defendants later confirmed, and that her son had not lived with her for several years. Davis none the less told Hughes that they had to “search her house”. Davis and the other defendants had no search warrant for the home and did not ask Hughes for permission to search her home.

According to the complaint, Davis and the 3 other officers entered the home and ordered Hughes to sit on her couch while two of the defendants watched Hughes and while the others conducted and extensive searched of her home which lasted for about one hour. According to the complaint, one defendant UNM Police Officers found pistol cartridges in Hughes bedroom, asked Hughes where the gun was and she notified them it was in her kitchen. Davis or another defendant retrieved the gun and made a call to see if it was stolen, and it was not. The complaint also alleges that Defendants found marijuana belonging to Hughes’s boyfriend. The defendants confiscated the gun found in the home and the marijuana. On January 11, 2008, Hughes secured the return of the gun from the UNM Police.

9. Flores’ “Civil Complaint for Damages and Civil Rights Violations “ (16 pages)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pat Davis has never revealed the existence of this lawsuit when he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, City Council nor United States Congress. Pat Davis has said he has “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” and he has engaged in “brutalization … of those who [he was] supposed to protect and serve.”

On December 17, 2007, at approximately 9:10 pm in the evening when no one was at home at a mid-heights home residence, UNM Cop Pat Davis, along with 21 law enforcement officers stormed the residence to execute a “sealed search warrant”. Three “flash bang” grenades were hurled into the home causing damages to the walls and which started a fire that required the Albuquerque Fire Department to be dispatched. According to the complaint, the defendants, which included Davis, broke in two front doors, wrought iron works, broke windows and interior doors, broke a car window, broke a sliding gate to the home and “trashed” the interior of the home including breaking furniture in a search of marijuana or other evidence of a crime, but no evidence of any crime was found against the plaintiffs nor their renter. Upwards of $20,000 in property damage was caused and three Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit, Aaron Flores and his parents Arturo and Celia Flores against Pat Davis and 20 other law enforcement agents.

10. Plaintiffs Aaron Flores, Cecilia Flores and Arturo Flores “Full and Final Release of Claims and Indemnity Agreement” against Defendant Pat Davis. (5 pages)

This is a release of claims by the 3 plaintiffs against Defendant Pat Davis where $25,000 was paid by UNM relating to the search of private residence and damage done to property. No information is available as to what settlement was reached by the 3 plaintiffs against the other 20 law enforcement who assisted Davis with the raid to execute the sealed search warrant.

11. Pat Davis Booking Statement for Aggravated DWI. (2 pages)

This is the Pat Davis’s arrest sheet for aggravated DWI.

On July 28, 2013, Pat Davis, then age 35, was the chair of the Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers and the Executive Director of Progressive Now when he was arrested by BCSO Sheriff’s Deputies around 12:30 a.m. on the 1300 block of Broadway under suspicion of drunk driving. Deputies arrived at the minor accident where Davis had ran into another vehicle to find Davis who appeared drunk, had slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes and the smell of alcohol on his breath.

On the police audio tape, Davis was told by the BCSO Deputy he could smell alcohol on Davis and asked Davis if he had consumed any alcoholic beverages that evening. Davis is heard to say “no” on the tape, said he had not been drinking and what the officer was smelling was SCOPE mouthwash. Davis referred the officer to a mouthwash bottle in his car. When asked about his slurred speech, Davis can be heard on the audio tape telling the deputy “My speech is not usually slurred. I have a southern accent and been a cop for 10 years.” Davis was born in Georgia, and was claiming he still had an accent. The investigating deputy found a travel-sized bottle of SCOPE mouthwash in Davis’ vehicle but at the license revocation hearing the sheriff officers could not say if and when Davis may have used it the night of his arrest. Davis was administered a field sobriety tests which he failed. Davis submitted to 2 separate alcohol breath tests that showed his blood-alcohol concentration was .19 and .18 respectively.

https://www.abqjournal.com/226603/pat-davis-chair-of-abq-crime-stoppers-charged-with-dwi.html

Davis plead guilty in February 2014 to a first-offense driving under the influence of alcohol and fought the Aggravated DWI charges. Davis was given a deferred sentence with no jail time if he completed 6 months’ probation and 6 months of having an ignition interlock system in his car with random breath alcohol tests and random urinalysis and was given no jail time.

12. Pat Davis Driver’s License Revocation Decision And Order (6 pages)

On November 6, 2013 after an administrative law hearing before a hearing officer with the Department of Taxation and Revenue, which issues drivers’ licenses, the driving privileges of Pat Davis were suspended for 6 months and he was ordered to install an ignition interlock in any vehicle he drove.

OTHER RELEVANT PLEADINGS REVEALING ACT OF BRUTALITY AFTER SHOOTING

The following 2 pleadings are not included in the documents link provided as a result of technical difficulties with the down loading of the pleadings.

MOTION TO DISMISS CIVIL COMPLAINT

On December 7, 2005, Co Defendants the District of Columbia and David Tucker, filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Moses Bell’s Civil Complaint. The grounds for the Motion was “Failure State Claims of Relief”. The reasons given supporting the motion was that Moses Bell’s claims lacked merit, his injuries were not directly related to an established municipal policy nor custom as required by law and that Police Officer David Tucker did not shoot Moses Bell.

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENSE MOTION TO DISMISS

On July 10, 2006 United States District Judge James Robertson filed his Memorandum Opinion and an Order of Dismissal of Claims in Civil Action No. 05-13 72 (JR) captioned Moses Bell, Plaintiff v. City of Washington, D.C.., et al. The Court specifically dismissed Bell’s Civil Complaint against the city and police officer David Tucker.

Judge Robertson noted that “Defendant Davis has been dismissed without prejudice because Mr. Bell has failed to provide an address for purpose of service of process.”

The memorandum opinion reflects an astounding act of brutality by Pat Davis against Moses Bell after he was shot with the Federal Judge adopting the following findings of fact as Background:

“In the afternoon of August 31, 2004, Mr. Bell was at the Greenway Shopping Center, 301 37th Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. when he saw a friend. … He agreed to give his friend a ride to his girlfriend’s residence. … As he was dropping his friend off, Officer Davis approached Mr. Bell’s vehicle on the driver’s side and began shooting at Mr. Bell, striking him twice on the left shoulder. … Fearing for his life, Mr. Bell fled, eventually parking his car, and calling his cousin to pick him up. … Before his cousin could arrive, Mr. Bell was apprehended by the police and transported by ambulance to Howard University Hospital. …

After receiving medical treatment, Mr. Bell was transported by the police, including officer Davis, to the Sixth District station. … En route to the station, the driver, Officer Davis, caused the car to move erratically, which resulted in the reopening of Mr. Bell’s wound. … The police transported Mr. Bell to Greater Southeast Hospital for further treatment and medication. … He was eventually placed into custody at the District of Columbia Central Detention Facility. …”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Given what is known about City Councilor Pat Davis, his actions as a police officer, his litigation history, his credibility is in serious doubt as are his political motives. The real Pat Davis, and his lack of respect for constitutional rights are revealed by his pattern of conduct he engaged if for years and was sued for as a UNM Police Officer and for his conduct as a DC Police Officer.

What is very difficult to reconcile is the past conduct of Pat Davis as a UNM Campus Police Officer and his appointment to chair the Governor’s Task Force on the Legalization of Marijuana. The two civil lawsuits filed against Pat Davis while he was a UNM Campus Police Officer were for violations of people’s civil rights relating to the unlawful searches of private residences for marijuana relating to drug trafficking.

WHITE PRIVILEGE CITY COUNCIL COALITION

Pat Davis is now the leader of what is being referred to as the “White Privilege Coalition” on the City Council consisting of Democrats Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Diane Gibson and Republicans Don Harris and Trudy Jones. Pat Davis has bragged about in the past of being able to work with Republicans on the city council and has even co-sponsored many ordinances with Republican Don Harris. These are the very same city councilors who voted repeatedly for the ART Bus project and kept all their mouths shut and refused to hold APD accountable when the Federal Monitor issued scathing audit reports on the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

Prior to his death, long time City Councilor Ken Sanchez, as a native of Albuquerque, was a strong advocate for all parts of the city and would often work closely with City Councilors Klarisa Pena and Cynthia Borrego to get things done. It was common knowledge Sanchez was always thinking about running for Mayor. Democrat Ken Sanchez was considered a moderate Democrat and would often disagree with Mayor Tim Keller. Sanchez was often criticized by the progressive wing of the party as being a “corporate democrat”.

When long time City Councilor Sanchez passed away, Progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller took advantage of it and appointed a progressive activist to the City Council he could rely upon for any and all support, ignoring the two daughters of two former city councilors for the City Council District, Ken Sanchez and Pat Baca, who applied to fill out the term of Ken Sanchez. Now that Pat Davis is City Council President, confidential sources are saying that he repeatedly marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the city council and opposes any of their initiatives. When Pat Davis marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the City Council, he relies on his “White Privilege” coalition on the city council as does Progressive Mayor Tim Keller.

CONNECTING THE POLITICAL DOTS

Confidential sources have said the minority members of the City Council are fearful that City Councilor Pat Davis will retaliate against them should they ever demand his resignation. Mayor Tim Keller’s longtime paid political consultant Alan Packman is now working for the city’s 311 Citizens Contact Call Center and confidential sources have said he responds only to Mayor Tim Keller. Mr. Packman was also a paid political consultant to City Councilor Pat Davis when he ran for city council. Confidential City Hall sources say Packman maintains continuous contacts with Pat Davis assisting and advising him whenever he can along with Mayor Tim Keller’s efforts.

Pat Davis has said “In two elections, voters have sent me to City Hall because I talked authentically and honestly”. The message he is conveying is he has been vetted and forgiven for past mistakes by the voters because he successfully won. Davis is seriously mistaken and is a fool if he thinks that way. Many people of nefarious reputation have been elected to positions of authority, even a President of the United States. Election vetting and even a pardon does not absolve any one from serious misconduct.

CONCLUSION

It is an embarrassment that not a single member of the City Council nor Mayor Tim Keller has asked Pat Davis to step down as President of the City Council. The voting public at least now know why and that progressive organizations have wise upped to Pat Davis. Pat Davis has no business making decisions regarding police reforms, law enforcement policy let alone being City Council President representing the entire City Council and in turn the entire city and people of Albuquerque. Pat Davis needs to resign and seek employment other than elective office. If he left the state after he resigns, that would be a good second step in the left direction.

City Councilor Isaac Benton Finally Gives A Crap

It was over two years ago on March 28, 2018, that the Albuquerque Journal reported on its front page that City Councilor Issac Benton used $20,000 of his City Council $1 million in “set-aside” money to purchase at auction what he hopes could be a solution to a burgeoning public bathroom shortage in Albuquerque.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1151379/providing-a-new-place-to-do-business-downtown.html

Benton had the city purchase a slightly used “Portland Loo” which is a one-stall, stainless steel, stand-alone restroom that sells for around $100,000 new. At the time, Benton claimed the steel toilet is “almost indestructible.”

On February 5, 2016, it was reported that an identical “Portland Loo” was yanked out of the ground in San Diego because it was a magnet for crime and it was one of the more notorious financial boondoggles in San Diego history.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sdut-portland-loo-remove-crime-cost-restroom-2016feb05-story.html

In addition to a 130 percent increase in police calls to the area around the restroom, it was reported maintenance and repair costs were more than double initial estimates. The steel toilet stall, which operated for 13 months at 14th and L streets in San Diego, was moved to the San Diego storage yard and city officials said there were no plans to re-install it anywhere.

YOU CAN FINALLY GO IN THE PORTLAND LOO

On August 4, 2020, the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, Parks and Recreation Department, and District 2 City Councilor Isaac Benton announced the “Old Town Loo” has been installed. The placement of the loo allowed the DMD Parking Division to remove an old parking booth that was no longer being used and to widen the entrance into the parking lot. This has improved access for wider vehicles such as RVs and provides them with additional parking options while visiting Old Town.

The City of Albuquerque says the Parks and Recreation Department will maintain the unit which has been installed in the Old Town City parking lot at San Felipe Street and Central Avenue. The one-stall public restroom is made with heavy-gauge steel wall panels and has graffiti-proof coating.

Councilor Benton had this to say:

“I’m very pleased with the Portland Loo, which we were able to acquire for a very affordable cost using District 2 set-a-side funds, will now be in operation in Old Town. Thanks to DMD and to the Historic Old Town Property Owners Association for their advocacy”.

Dave Simon, director of Parks and Recreation, had this to say:

“Old Town is one of Albuquerque’s crown jewels, and we want visitors to have clean and accessible restrooms. … The Old Town Loo is a great addition to the existing facilities.”

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/city-of-albuquerque-announces-installation-of-old-town-loo/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

This is the very first time that I know of that City Councilor Isaac Benton has shown any real concern about anything in his city council district. It is likely what will happen is that the Portland Loo will be a venue for illicit drug use or for that matter prostitution, which is what has happened in Portland.

When you wait long enough on someone, they finally give a crap.

Judge Declines To Dismiss Landmark Education Case; Sweeping Changes To Improve New Mexico’s Public Education Will Take Years And Millions State May Not Have

On June 29, 2020 Santa Fe 1st Judicial District Judge Matthew Wilson denied the State of New Mexico’s “Motion to Dismiss” the public education case of Yazzie v. State of New Mexico. The case is the landmark public education case decided on July 20, 2018 by the late Santa Fe District Court Judge Sarah Singleton with Judge Wilson taking the case over.

Judge Singleton ruled that the state of New Mexico was violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education. Singleton found that New Mexico was failing to give at risk students, who make up about 80% of the state’s student population, a sufficient public education that prepared them for the workforce or for college.

The case was decided towards the end of the prior Republican Administration with Democrat Governor Lujan Grisham deciding not to appeal the case at the time. Lujan Grisham said that her administration would “litigate aggressively” in an attempt to avoid ongoing court oversight of New Mexico’s public schools. After almost two years, the Motion to Dismiss was filed.

The state’s attorney Taylor Rahn argued that the Public Education Department has met the court’s expectation to make substantial changes by an initial deadline. Rhan argued that the State increased public education funding to the extent that it makes up 46% of the state budget. State Attorney Rahn noted the legislature has increased at-risk funds substantially, teacher recruitment has been improved and major educational evaluation systems, such as teacher evaluations, have been improved. Rhan argued:

“The point of the injunction was to be a catalyst for change and that change has occurred. Continuing to exercise oversight for traditional executive and legislative functions is not required, because we got the message”.

Plaintiff’s Attorney Ernest Herrera, counsel for the Martinez plaintiffs, argued:

“Any of the state’s supposed fixes are really just promises to act. … Continuing jurisdiction of this court is necessary to ensure implementation. … This is about changing the system and not just about how much money is going into it.”

Judge Wilson agreed that the state’s Public Education Department has made significant progress since the 2018 ruling but said the court has yet to see long-term education reforms by the state. Judge Wilson ultimately agreed with the Plaintiffs contention that the state’s changes have not been enough. In deciding to deny the Motion to Dismiss, Judge Wilson ruled:

“The court agrees with the plaintiff’s counsel that to dismiss this action now while implementation and compliance are merely in their initial stages would undermine the years of work by this court and the parties and leave the children of New Mexico in an educational system that may be below constitutional standards”.

Judge Wilson also ruled that the plaintiffs’ counsel can investigate whether the state is complying with the judgment. Judge Wilson also denied a Plaintiff’s motion to require a detailed plan on implementation of changes to the state’s education system.

After the court’s denial to dismiss the case, Governor Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett said the governor would work to continue improving New Mexico schools and further said:

“Just as she was prior to today’s ruling, the governor remains committed to a comprehensive restructuring and reform of New Mexico’s public education system that continues to address the systemic shortfalls outlined by the original lawsuit,”

As a result of the court’s denial of the motion, the state’s Public Education Department will have to comply with an examination into what it is doing to ensure an adequate education for low-income families, students with disabilities, English-language learners and Native American students.

Plaintiff Wilhelmina Yazzie released a written statement that the state can’t be trusted to keep making changes without the court’s intervention and said:

“It’s time for our leaders to be courageous and make real changes for our kids. All across the country, people are standing up against the inequities caused by hundreds of years of systemic racism. It’s time for our state to stop fighting the lawsuit and instead address the inequities in our schools.”

New Mexico State Representative Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, said the result of Judge Wilson’s ruling is that New Mexico students, including Native Americans, were the real winners of the judge’s decision. Lente stated he has already been in contact with top-ranking lawmakers about considering possible changes to the state’s public education system during the 2021 legislative session and said:

“We recognize that we have a true opportunity now … to prove to our state and our children that we hold them in high regard and that their education isn’t just lip service”.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1471109/judge-denies-states-request-for-dismissal-in-education-lawsuit.html

YAZZIE V. STATE OF NEW MEXICO AND MARTINEZ REVISITED

On Friday, July 20, 2018, Santa Fe District Court Judge Sarah Singleton ruled in the case of Yazzie v. State of New Mexico and Governor Suzanna Martinez that the state of New Mexico was violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education. The District Court ruling came after a two-month trial that concluded in August, 2017. Nearly 80 witnesses testified during the bench trial.

The consolidated lawsuit was filed by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The Plaintiffs argued that the New Mexico public schools are inadequately funded.

In a 75-page decision, the court rejected arguments by Governor Susana Martinez’s administration that the education system is improving and for that reason it does not need more funding. The Court found that the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) did not do the best it could with the funding it has given by the legislature to the education system.

The Court ruling centered on the guaranteed right under the New Mexico Constitution to a sufficient education for all children. The lawsuit alleged a severe lack of state funding, resources and services to help students, particularly children from low-income families, students of color, including Native Americans, English-language learners and students with disabilities.

BLISTERING COURT RULING

State District Judge Sarah Singleton pulled no punches with her decision.

The Judge found that it was clear that many New Mexico students were not receiving the basic education in reading, writing and math they should be receiving in our public-school system. As a matter of law, Judge Singleton wrote the “lack of funds is not a defense to providing constitutional rights.”

In her blistering written opinion, Judge Singleton wrote:

“[The evidence presented at trial] proves that the vast majority of New Mexico’s at-risk children finish each school year without the basic literacy and math skills needed to pursue post-secondary education or a career. … Indeed, overall New Mexico children rank at the very bottom in the country for educational achievement. … The at-risk students are still not attaining proficiency at the rate of non-at-risk students … and the programs being lauded by [the Public Education Department] are not changing this picture.”

According to the judge’s ruling, in New Mexico, at the time, 71.6% of the state’s public school students come from low-income families, and 14.4% are English-language learners. Further, 14.8 percent of students have disabilities, and 10.6 percent are Native American. Judge Singleton addressing proficiency rates for Native American students said that in the previous 3 years, those students’ reading proficiency was at 17.6% and their math proficiency was at 10.4%.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1200069/questions-surround-ruling-on-nm-education-funding.html

Judge Singleton faulted the lack of access to technology in rural districts. The Court also found that New Mexico does not have enough teachers and that New Mexico teachers are among the lowest paid in the country and stated:

“The evidence shows that school districts do not have the funds to pay for all the teachers they need. … [An example is] Gadsden, one of the better performing school districts in the state, has had to eliminate over 53 classroom positions and 15 essential teachers since 2008.”

Judge Singleton ruling addressed the state teacher evaluation system implemented by the Martinez Administration by saying:

“[The teacher evaluation system] may be contributing to the lower quality of teachers in high-need schools. … In general, punitive teacher evaluation systems that penalize teachers for working in high-need schools contribute to problems in this category of schools.”

The Court wrote that she was not persuaded by the Martinez Administration’s arguments that no new funding is needed because at-risk student performances are improving.

A spokeswoman for the state Public Education Department at the time announced that the State decided to appeal the ruling. However, soon after assuming office on January 1, 2018, Governor Lujan Grisham decided the state would not appeal the case, work to increase funding for public education and changes to the system but committed to an aggressive defense of the case to achieve a dismissal.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, provided the following statement after the court ruling:

“For too long, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and her administration have abandoned their responsibility to kids and public schools. This ruling confirms what parents and educators know—that New Mexico children are deprived of the essential resources, including qualified teachers and support staff, they need. This deprivation is especially severe for those at risk and in need of additional supports—English language learners, Native American students and those in poverty. The ruling also calls out the governor’s obsession with testing over teaching.”

“In New Mexico, it would take $228 million to get public school funding to what it was before the Great Recession, and average teacher pay in the state is nearly 10 percent lower than what it was in 2009. We call on the state to use this ruling as a long-overdue opportunity to overhaul its broken school funding system to ensure all New Mexico children are afforded the public education they deserve and are entitled to. Voters will be going to the polls in November to elect leaders committed to investing in public education.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/judge-rules-lack-of-sufficient-education-for-all-nm-students-violates-constitutional-rights/4997869/?cat=500

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/07/23/governor-martinez-legacy-illiterate-children-and-a-pizza-party/

2019 ENACTED EDUCATION BUDGET

During the 2019 Legislative session, Governor Lujan Grisham made good on her commitment to improve New Mexico’s public education system. The 2019 legislature enacted dramatic increases in public education funding, creation of the Early Childhood Department (CYFD), mandates to Children, Youth and Families and Public Education departments, not to mention raises for educators and increasing CYFD social workers by 125 were clearly the biggest accomplishments of the 2019 Legislative session.

The total approved education budget was a whopping $3.2 Billion, 16% over the previous year’s budget, out of the total budget of $7 Billion. Included in the budget is a $500 million in additional funding for K-12 education and increases in teacher pay. Early childhood programs were given a major increase in funding. Under the enacted 2019-2020 budget, every public-school district was allocated significantly more funding. Teachers did not have any raises to speak of for 8 years. Teachers and school administrators were given 6% pay raises with more money to hire teachers.

The new “Early Childhood Department” was a major priority of the Governor Lujan Grisham it was funded and began full operation in June, 2020.The new department will focus state resources on children from birth to 5 years of age. A major goal of the new department, coupled with other investments, is more New Mexico children growing up to secure gainful employment as adults who don’t require government services.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/04/10/chapter-two-point-counter-point-with-the-albuquerque-journal-on-public-education-funding-and-the-public-school-grading-system/

THE 30 DAY 2020 SESSION BUDGET DETAILS

The New Mexico legislature adjourned their 30-day session after approval of a $7.6 billion spending plan. The enacted budget increased spending by 7.6% over current levels. The new budget included $17 million for the new college scholarship program sought by Lujan Grisham. The $17 million is much less than the Governor had initially requested. The goal was to provide need-based tuition aid for full-time students who already qualify for a separate assistance.

An Early Childhood Trust Fund of $320 million was approved that supporters hope will put $30 million annually toward the cause but there is no guarantee. The fund plan is flawed and modest and anything but “transformational” as supporters argued, but it was a welcome turn.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/02/21/monahans-take-on-2020-nm-legislature-short-session-and-more-a-so-so-30-day-session-comes-to-an-end/

JUNE FOUR DAY SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION

On June 22, the 4-day New Mexico special legislative session ended. The session was called to deal with the state’s deficit and to adjust the state budget amid historical deficits the result of the COVID-19 pandemic business closures and the collapse in oil revenues.

The New Mexico legislature enacted a budget solvency plan that would keep state spending roughly flat over the next year while drawing down reserves, tapping into federal funds and engaging in other financial maneuvers. The enacted budget was $7 billion for fiscal year 2020-2021 which begins on July 1. In February, lawmakers approved the largest budget in New Mexico’s history, at $7.6 billion, but only weeks later an oil price war and the COVID-19 pandemic put that plan in peril.

The revised fiscal year 2021 budget reduces spending by more than $600 million, bringing the budget to $7 billion. That’s a greater reduction than the around $450 million cut Lujan Grisham had advocated for. The revised budget reduces spending by 4 percent for most state agencies. It also includes $165 million in funding to help local governments that have their own coronavirus-related fiscal problems, with $15 million of that sum earmarked for McKinley, Cibola and San Juan counties.

The plan keeps intact most of the funding designated for the state’s new trust fund for early childhood education, reducing that amount from $320 million to $300 million. Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, warned the state’s finances are not likely to bounce back quickly from the double punch caused by the coronavirus pandemic and plummeting oil prices telling . Smith told his fellow legislators:

“It’s certainly not the perfect response, but it darn well may be the only response we can give right now. … New Mexico, we are not alright. … This looks like it’s going to be a prolonged downturn.”

www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/new-mexico-legislature-sends-7b-solvency-bill-to-governor/article_6d57350a-afe2-11ea-9a70-474b3af34deb.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The June 20 ruling denying the State’s “Motion to Dismiss” the landmark public education case of Yazzie v. State of New Mexico is a disappointment to the Lujan Grisham Administration, but the decision really came as no surprise. The original July 20, 2018 ruling was that the state of New Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education. The Judge found that it was clear that New Mexico students were not receiving the basic education in reading, writing and math they should had been receiving in our public-school system. It will take years for the state to get on track, perhaps a decade or more to make all the changes mandated. The original court opinion was a confirmation of what went on for the full 8 years of the prior Republican Administration. A year and half since the original ruling is simply not enough time to turn things around and pull the education car out of the ditch and make the necessary repairs.

The biggest accomplishments of the 2019 Legislative session were the dramatic increases in public education funding, creation of the Early Childhood Department (CYFD), the mandates to Children, Youth and Families and Public Education departments, not to mention raises for educators and increasing CYFD social workers by 125 were clearly the biggest accomplishments of the 2019 Legislative session.

Much of the millions in education funding remain in place, but the question is for how long. As Senator John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, warned the state’s finances are not likely to bounce back quickly from the double punch caused by the coronavirus pandemic and plummeting oil prices. It likely as each year passes, budget cuts will be made in the state education budget and the State will slide back to the same level of funding or even less than what was appropriated under the prior Republican Administration.

The link to a related blog article is here:

Chapter Two: Point-Counter- Point With The Albuquerque Journal On Public Education Funding And The Public School Grading System

Political Bickering Erupts Between ABQ Mayor And US Attorney For NM Over Feds Sent to City; Both Dealing With The Same Two Problems: A Very Violent City And Prospect Of Losing Their Jobs Come 2021

On December 18, at a news conference in Detroit, Michigan, US Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was initiating a major crackdown aimed at driving down violent crime in 7 of the nation’s most violent cities in the country. Not at all surprising, Albuquerque was one of those cities. The other 6 cities are Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Memphis and Milwaukee. All 7 cities have violent crime rates significantly higher and above the national average.

Last year AG Bar dubbed the initiative “Operation Relentless Pursuit”. The federal agencies that were identified to participate and be involved were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Marshals Service.

While US Attorney General William Barr was having his press conference in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson had his own in Albuquerque and explained what the money will mean for Albuquerque and said:

“We are committed to bringing the weight of federal charges against the most dangerous violent criminals plaguing our city. … We will deploy all the tools at our disposal to bring an end to the plight of gun violence in our city.”

The Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office both said they both welcomed the extra help from the federal government. BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales had this to say:

“… everybody in this community is concerned about the escalating violence, and bottom line is that the problem’s been identified. … We have a crime crisis.”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/12/19/doj-operation-relentless-pursuit-includes-albuquerque-city-needs-to-ask-ag-barr-and-doj-to-dismiss-casa/

A PANDEMIC AND ESCALATING RACIAL TENSIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

From December 18, 2019 when Attorney General Barr first announced “Operation Relentless Pursuit” to July 21, 2020 when President Trump announced “Operation Legend”, the political dynamics in the city and the country have changed dramatically for the worse because of two very different events: the corona virus pandemic killing hundreds of thousands and the killing of George Floyd, 46, on May 26 by a Minneapolis Police Officer. Under the failed leadership of President Trump, the virus has spread to every state in the country, is destroying the United State economy, unemployment is the highest since the Great Depression and at the same time, people have taken to the streets all over the country to protest systematic racism in the United States demanding equal justice under the law, especially for African Americans. A new civil rights movement has emerged in the middle of a pandemic and the 2020 Presidential election between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

In response to the protests in major United States cities where literally thousands have taken to the streets to protest, President Trump has dispatched federal law enforcement agents and troops to quell down protests, protect federal building and use military force to subdue the protests. In Washington, DC, hundreds of armed military troops were dispatched who used tear gas on peaceful protesters. Portland, Oregon became a major epicenter for major protests where an entire section of the city has been taken over by protesters and upwards of 50 nights of continuous protesting occurred. The Portland protests resulted in Trump dispatching hundreds of military style federal agents to quell the protests and resulting in violence in the streets.

On June 15, a man was shot in Old Town over the “La Jornada” (The Journey) sculpture in front of the Albuquerque Museum. The shooting occurred during a protest for the removal of the figures of Juan de Onate de Salazar in the sculpture. During the protest, there were 5 to 6 heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard members, some dressed in military camouflage, present trying to “protect” the sculpture. It was reported that the shooting occurred when at least 3 of the protesters attacked a man who was walking away from them and he pulled a gun and shot allegedly in self defense.

Since June 15 protest, protests in Albuquerque have subsided and are now peaceful when they do occur involving upwards of 200 people. The protests have not approached the magnitude nor the violence as in Portland, Oregon where federal law enforcement have clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.

ELECTED OFFICIALS OVER REACT

On July 20, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales announced he would be going to Washington DC, to meet with President Trump and Attorney General Barr regarding federal government law enforcement assistance. In advance of the Sheriff’s trip to Washington, DC, city and state leaders denounced the trip to meet with Trump. Democrat United States Senator Martin Heinrich demanded that Sheriff Gonzales resign arguing that the Sheriff was out of touch and was inviting the President’s “Storm Troopers” to the city. The meeting Sheriff Manny Gonzales attended turned out to be nothing more than a press conference he attended.

Mayor Tim Keller in a statement said President Trump was ready to incite violence in Democratic cities and was forming a reelection strategy “built on gas-lighting immigrants and people of color” cautioned that the Trump administration had said federal officers were going to Portland to guard the courthouse.” Keller said:

“We always welcome partnerships in constitutional crime fighting that are in step with our community, but we won’t sell out our city for a bait and switch excuse to send secret police to Albuquerque. Operation Legend is not real crime fighting; it’s politics standing in the way of police work and makes us less safe. … There’s no place for Trump’s secret police in our city. … If this was more than a stunt, these politicians would support constitutional crime-fighting efforts that work for our community, not turning Albuquerque into a federal police state.”

https://www.dailylobo.com/article/2020/07/update-trump-announces-operation-legend-is-being-expanded-to-albuquerque

APD Chief Michael Geier said:

“We coordinate with our federal law enforcement partners every day. … What is being described is not real crime-fighting; it’s politics standing in the way of police work.”

“OPERATION RELENTLESS PURSUIT” BECOMES “OPERATION LEGEND”

On Wednesday, July 21, President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr announced during a White House news conference that 35 federal agents are being sent to Albuquerque as part of the expansion of “Operation Legend” with other cities also being sent in a handful of cities across the United States. Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales U.S. Attorney John Anderson, for the State of New Mexico, were present for the announcement, but they did not speak.

“Operation Relentless Pursuit” was renamed “Operation Legend”. No matter what name is used, the Department of Justice will provide $61 million in grants to hire more police officers in cities that are part of Operation Legend. Albuquerque’s portion of the money will go toward hiring 40 more police officers and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office will be able to hire five more officers with the money.

Attorney General Barr said 35 federal agents will come from other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the United States Marshal’s Office and Homeland Security. Attorney General Barr emphasized that “Operation Legend” will not look like it does in Portland, where federal agents have faced off with protesters. He said this will be classic crime-fighting.

Immediately after President Trump’s press conference, U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson, who was present, said the goal of the operation is to reduce gun violence in Albuquerque and had this to say:

“Any effort to compare Operation Legend to what’s going on in Portland is baseless and misguided. … There is no connection between those two. The federal law enforcement resources that are being deployed are directed at reducing gun violence; they are not directed at arresting or controlling protesters; they are not being directed at restricting anyone’s right to protest. … They are not being directed at immigration enforcement, and they are not being directed at protecting statues. It’s limited to the exclusive goal of eliminating the scourge of gun violence.”

Jim Langenberg, the FBI special agent in charge of the Albuquerque Division, also had this to say:

“There’s a lot of confusion between what we’re doing here in Albuquerque and what’s going on in Portland. It’s apples and oranges. … Agents are not coming to Albuquerque to investigate local crimes such as speeding”.

FBI Special Agent Langenberg added that if there’s a crime, there has to be a federal link like firearms, carjacking, drugs or gang structure. In other words, there must be a federal crime. What was made clear is the law enforcement personnel will not be attending local protests dressed in military garb as is the case in Portland Oregon.

The FBI also said federal agents will be working in plainclothes alongside APD and BCSO for pre-existing task forces. Those task forces could be the joint task force “Operation Relentless Pursuit,” which aims to take high-profiled criminals off the streets. It’s an initiative U.S. Attorney General William Barr established in Albuquerque in 2019.

According to President Trump, the Department of Justice will provide $61 million in grants to hire more police officers in cities that are part of Operation Legend. Albuquerque’s portion of the money will go toward hiring 40 more police officers and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office will be able to hire five more officers with the money.

Attorney General Barr said 35 federal agents will come from other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the United States Marshal’s Office. and Homeland Security. AG Barr said the federal government will offer a reward to help find out who killed Jacqueline Vigil.

Attorney General Barr emphasized that “Operation Legend” will not look like it does in Portland, where federal agents have faced off with protesters. He said this will be classic crime-fighting.

UNITED STATE ATTORNEY FOR NEW MEXICO ESSENTIALLY ACCUSES MAYOR TIM KELLER OF LYING

On July 28, the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, John C. Anderson, sent Mayor Tim Keller a scathing letter in which he essentially accused Mayor Tim Keller and his administration of lying about the city not getting a U.S. Department of Justice crime-fighting grant. Anderson was blunt and told Keller that crime is out of control in Albuquerque and that Keller had been informed that the Department of Justice was choosing Albuquerque for “Operation Legend” before President Trump announced the effort and before Mayor Keller issued his statement condemning it a few days later.

The link to the Anderson letter is here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19f3EXj-LAjz-F28FfPK-xk9lFH6x6WJ0/view]

Anderson reminded Keller that the city entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2014 because the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) was found to have had “culture of aggression” and that APD had engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force violating people’s civil rights.

Anderson’s biggest bone of contention with Mayor Keller was over a $10 million federal crime-fighting grant that Keller and his police chief Mike Geier said has not materialized. According to Anderson, the $10 million grant package has been in the city’s hands for at least a month. All that is need for the city to be given the $10 million is for the city to accept the terms of the grant by signing the grant papers, something the Mayor has not done.

Following are excerpts from US Attorney Anderson’s letter to Mayor Keller about the grant:

“I would also like take this opportunity to address the additional issue of the Department of Justice’s approximately $10 million federal grant award package that is currently pending in your office. Specifically, I have read an Instagram post that Chief Geier recently posted, in which he states the following:

“While we welcome any additional resources to fight violent crime, the President promised help in the past and has not yet followed through. We are still waiting on the $10 million Operation Relentless Pursuit funding that was promised last year to help us with our goal to hire more officers and to bring in additional federal law enforcement agents to assist us in our crime fighting efforts. While I will try to remain optimistic, I won’t hold my breath until we see all this actually come to fruition.”

“I have also read a KRQE article posted on July 23, 2020, in which you are quoted as saying, “We’ve had a lot of challenges where the federal government will work with us, say. ‘Yes’ to a program and then either the check never comes in the mail, which is the case with we think roughly $l0 million with this past operation.”

“As you know, these funds are the same Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) funds that I have been imploring the City to accept for several months now. As further enticement for the City to accept these funds, the Department of Justice even waived the standard 25% local match that generally accompanies COPS Hiring Program (CHP) funds. So I am confused by statements, like those identified above, that clearly suggest to the public that the City has said “Yes” to these funds, but that the Department of Justice has failed to honor its promise to deliver them.”

“My office, of course, issued a press release on May 11. 2020, announcing that these very funds had been awarded to the City. COPS Office Director Phil Keith then sent the City the grants award package, dated June 25,2020, which he addressed to Chief Geier and the City of Albuquerque’s Chief Administrative Officer, Sarita Nair. In the package, Mr. Keith first congratulated the APD on being awarded the CHP funds. The award package further instructed, in bold lettering on the first page, that the City needed to officially accept the awarded funds within 45 days of receipt of the award package. To date, the COPS Office has received no communication from the City accepting the award.”

“Obviously, no federal funds can be sent to Albuquerque unless the City officially accepts the award. In other words, the ball has very much been in the City’s court for more than a month. So it is confusing to the public, and certainly unfair to the Department of Justice, for any City official to represent or suggest that the Department has somehow failed to follow through on its promise to get these funds to Albuquerque, or that anyone at the Department has failed to mail a check to the City for which it has been waiting.”

United State Attorney Anderson took the opportunity to also explain why more federal law enforcement agents are being sent to Albuquerque essentially telling Mayor Keller that APD is unable to control crime in the city. According to the Anderson letter:

“One reason that Albuquerque was selected for Operation Legend is because, according to statistics published by the FBI, Albuquerque’s violent crime rate is 3.7, or nearly four times the national violent crime rate. While we have been eagerly awaiting current, year-to-date statistics, I am sure you will agree that the pace of lethal shootings in Albuquerque from 2019 into 2020 is concerning. Of course, in 2019, the City experienced a record high number of homicides. Now in 2020, in one weekend this month alone, APD has opened four separate homicide investigations. And a survey of APD officers at the beginning of this year suggested that those surveyed believed Albuquerque’s crime problem was “getting worse.”

“My office’s commitment to this fight is not new. Throughout my tenure as U.S. Attorney, we have consistently been taking tangible actions to reduce the number of violent criminals roaming the streets of Albuquerque. Indeed, my office, in partnership with dedicated federal agents and state and local law enforcement. has a long history of leading the fight against alleged cartel activity, drug trafficking, violent repeat offenders, and those alleged to be involved in violent activities including gang violence, rape, sex trafficking, and kidnapping. Since mid-2017 alone, my office has also brought federal charges against more than 250 defendants that the DA’s office has asked us to review for federal adoption.”

Mayor Keller has yet to release any response to United State Attorney John Anderson.

TRUMP’S CALL TO ARMS

On Friday, May 29, President Donald Trump tweeted amid unrest in Minneapolis that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Trump’s tweet was flagged by Twitter as violating rules against glorifying violence. The tweet was the same language used by a Miami police chief in 1967 who believed that violent protests should be met with deadly force. About 13 hours after Trumps Tweet, he took to Twitter again and to claim that he wasn’t suggesting the shooting of rioters. Instead, he said he was referring to gun violence that has been spurred by the unrest.

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/05/29/trump-tweets-when-looting-starts-shooting-starts-extremists-will-respond

https://kstp.com/politics/trumps-tweet-about-rioters-echoes-1960s-miami-police-chief-may-29-2020/5745055/

Soon after his telephone conference call with the country’s governors, President Trump declared himself “your president of law and order.” He went on to say:

“… If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. … I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights … . “

Trump said he would call out and mobilize “thousands and thousands“ of soldiers to keep the peace.

When Trump says “I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights”, many of his supporters no doubt are taking it to mean as call for vigilantism.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

United States Attorney John Anderson no doubt took some comfort in dressing down Mayor Tim Keller, but he also apparently does not understand that the citizens of Albuquerque expect more of his office to deal with violent crime. Albuquerque has a violent crime rate that is 3.7 times the national average per capita, and the cities aggravated assaults are 4 times the national average per capita. Albuquerque’s FBI Uniform Crime statistics for the years 2008 to 2019 reveal just how bad violent crime has increased in Albuquerque over the last 11 years. The hard numbers for the last 10 years reflect that crime has not declined much and that like a waive on a beach, it has “ebbed and flowed” over the years but have risen none the less to all-time highs. You can review the hard numbers in the below postscript.

It is not likely that 35 sworn Federal law enforcement officers are going to make that much of a difference in the City’s high violent crime rates. After all, APD has 980 sworn police and the BCSO has 300 sworn police, for a total of 1,280 sworn police, with city’s crime rates being some of the highest in the country for the last 10 years, 8 years under Republican Mayor RJ Berry and for 2 years getting even worse under Democrat Mayor Keller. Keller himself is saying APD alone needs at least 200 more cops and 35 more federal agents will not fill that void. Further, the city is not under a protest siege as is Portland, Oregon, so its not likely that hundreds will be sent in by Trump to carry out his threat of deploying military troops.

In 2019 Mayor Keller and Chief Michael Geier announced 4 separate programs within nine months to combat our city’s violent crime and murder rates. Those programs are: the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP) and the Metro 15. It appears that all 4 programs Keller and Geier have come up with have had little or no affect on the city’s violent crime rates. In 2019, under Keller’s watch, there were 82 homicides, the all-time record of homicides in one year in the city’s history. The previous record was in 2017 with 72 murders. Before 2017, the last time the City had the highest number of homicides in one year was in 1996 with 70 murders that year.

United States Attorney John Anderson, by bringing up the DOJ Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) in his letter, knows full well that city for the last 6 years has been struggling with the implementation of the 270 mandatory reforms. The city has also been spending $88 million dollars to expand and grow the department. The city has also spent another $35 million in training and monitoring the implementation of the CASA reforms. However, for the past 6 years, the United States Department of Justice, including the United States Attorneys Office in New Mexico, has essentially sat by and watched while APD has done all the heavy lifting and work, flopping around like a fish out of water, desperately trying to implement the reforms and while violent crime continued to rise. At what point will citizens stop believing that APD is better off with the DOJ reforms after 6 years of work and millions spent with no end in sight?

The people of Albuquerque, no matter the party affiliation, are not likely to tolerate any repetition to what has happened in Portland, Oregon. No matter the bickering as reflected by the self righteous public comments of Mayor Tim Keller and in the very condescending letter sent by United States Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson to Keller, the city is still one of the most violent cities in the country. Both Keller and Anderson live here and must deal with it, and if they cannot, they both need to move on to other employment. Political posturing gets them both nowhere in the eyes of the general public and only gives themselves a sense if satisfaction.

The people of Albuquerque want results and not petty bickering and political posturing between a Democrat Mayor appealing to his progressive base and who has already made it known he is running for a second term and a Republican United States Attorney for New Mexico who may not have a job soon after the November general election.

If things continue as they are, and violent crime continues to soar in the city, both just may be out of a job in 2021, one sooner than the other, with voters sending Keller and Trump and in turn Anderson, packing.

________________

Below are the total homicides, aggravated assault and violent crimes reported for the last 12 full years:

The number of HOMICIDES reported each year from 2008 to 2019 are:

2008: 38
2009: 56
2010: 42
2011: 35
2012: 41
2013: 34
2014: 30
2015: 42
2016: 61
2017: 72
2018: 69
2019: 82
2020: 42 as of August 3.

The number of AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS (assaults with deadly weapon) reported each year from 2008 to 2018 are:

2008: 2,960
2009: 2,597
2010: 2,971
2011: 2,910
2012: 2,740
2013: 2,803
2014: 3,121
2015: 3,273
2016: 3,846
2017: 4,213
2018: 3,885

In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault. In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.
The total number of VIOLENT CRIMES (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault combined) reported each year from 2008 to 2018 are:

2008: 4,718
2009: 4,082
2010: 4,291
2011: 4,207
2012: 4,151
2013: 4,322
2014: 4,934
2015: 5,405
2016: 6,245
2017: 7,686 (Aggravated Assaults: 4,213, Non-Fatal Shootings: 470)
2018: 6,789 (Aggravated Assaults: 3,885, Non-Fatal Shootings: 491)
In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault. In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase.

https://www.cabq.gov/police/annual-reports/uniform-crime-reports

OLÉ, New Mexico Calls For Pat Davis To Resign City Council; Joins ProgressNow; Silence By NAACP And “Black Lives Matter” Tacit Approval Of Pat Davis Nefarious Conduct As Police Officer

On Thursday, July 30, the progressive activist organization OLÉ, New Mexico called for the resignation of Albuquerque City Councilor President Pat Davis. OLÉ New Mexico is the second progressive organization in a little over a month that has called for Pat Davis to resign. On June 25, ProgressNow issued a call for the resignation of City Council President Pat Davis to resign from the City Council and other positions of trust, including the New Mexico Courts of Appeals Judicial Selection commission. (Editor’s Note: You can read the Progressive Now resignation demand in the postscript below.)

Following is the full resignation demand issued by OLÉ New Mexico:

Headline: On Power, Lessons Learned, & Speaking Up
OLÉ, July 30, 2020

“POWER.

The word requires all of the mouth muscles and a force of breath when spoken aloud. Strong consonants and vowels to create this two-syllable sound. Power. There is so much meaning attached to power, so much time invested in attaining power, so much energy resisting power. There is also the long-term task of building power, and when we build power, we must reconcile what we give up along the way.

It is often clear who wants to keep Black and Brown people from building power. Policy makers who put corporations over people.

OLÉ is an organization committed to building power with Black and Brown communities. We organize with workers, early educators, new citizens, and those fighting for an inclusive democracy. Building power among Black and Brown communities is a slow process — one that is often impeded by larger forces who use their power to silence our communities. That silence happens through police violence and mass incarceration, stripping away voting rights, stripping away workers’ rights (and most often not even recognizing them) and keeping our communities poor, sick and hungry.

It is often clear who wants to keep Black and Brown people from building power. Policy makers who put corporations over people, those who vote in favor of their largest donors and those who use policy to enshrine white supremacy and patriarchy. Those who are blatantly against Black and Brown people are easy to spot, and we work to hold them accountable, take them out of their positions of power and make space for people from our communities. When there are people who are supposed to be “with us,” however, it is harder to recognize their resistance to Black and Brown communities building power, but the same sabotage exists.

We are in a moment in time that will be looked back upon as one of the most important moments in the 21st century. In the midst of a global pandemic, there is an uprising led by Black people who have endured state sponsored violence for centuries. While Black communities have resisted throughout history, this moment is the biggest in this nation’s history. What is unique about this moment is that while Black communities are leading, we see Indigenous and People of Color joining the uprising with the acute knowledge that our liberation is tied to each other and fueled by resistance to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous practices and policies. To be silent in this moment is to be complicit with white supremacy, and OLÉ will not be complicit.

When our colleagues at ProgressNow New Mexico released a statement calling for the resignation of city councilor Pat Davis, OLÉ arrived at a moment of reckoning. It is no secret that our organization endorsed Pat Davis -twice- in his bid for city council, despite our misgivings. In his first bid, we were uneasy that the only “progressive” in the race was a white, cis-gendered man running to represent the most diverse district in the city.

In his second bid for city council, we were less than impressed with his performance as a councilor. Between Councilor Davis not challenging the Republican effort to rig an unfair election on the sick days ballot initiative, supporting the Berry administration with other development projects such as the disastrous A.R.T. and feeling like we didn’t have a solid relationship with him, we were not sure how to proceed. Councilor Davis also did some good work on the council and we figured our shaky relationship was better than no relationship, so we made the decision to endorse both Davis and his opponent, Gina Dennis, a Black woman in her first bid for city office. We made a mistake in doing so.

We have learned the hard way that proximity to power is not the same thing as building power.

We have made the grave mistake of silence which translates to complicity. We, in good conscience, cannot stand with the Movement for Black Lives and be silent about Councilor Davis’s past as a police officer who shot a Black man, or the serious complaints against him when he was an officer with UNM police. We cannot sit idly by and watch Black and Brown workers be exposed to the risks of Covid-19 and receive nothing — no hazard pay, no paid sick leave.

Councilor Davis, along with Councilors Bassan, Borrego, Gibson, Harris, Jones, and Peña, voted against hazard pay after telling our members -essential workers — that he would be with them and support these measures.

The fact that Councilor Davis, as president of the council, has not made paid sick leave a priority during a global pandemic signals to our members that no, in fact, he is not with them. One cannot claim solidarity with Immigrant communities and utter the words “Black Lives Matter” and then do nothing to ensure that the very policies that would save Black and Brown lives pass the council.

We recognize that, as is the case when speaking out against powerful people, we risk losing any kind of policy gains that we have been working toward for five years, but a win cloaked in silence is not a trade-off we are willing to make. There is a deep rooted, systemic problem on city council, one where Black and Brown people in our city bear the brunt of the council’s unwillingness to serve them, and one where city councilors say one thing, and have quite obviously done the opposite.

While we join our colleagues’ call for Councilor Davis to resign his seat, he has already been clear that he is not going to do so, and there have been a few people who have publicly defended him and his politics. We are not interested in engaging in a litmus test to gauge one’s progressiveness, because Councilor Davis’s ideology is not the issue — it’s his actions, and in the case of sick leave and hazard pay, inaction that are the issues at hand.

As the debate over and defense of Councilor Davis continues, workers are still exposed to COVID-19 without paid sick leave and hazard pay, and now families face eviction and unemployment. Our energy will be used to organize and win on these issues, despite the council politics that have blocked passage over and over again.

As our communities build power, we learn that true change comes from our people, not the nine councilors on the dais, who are always up for re-election.”

The link to the OLÉ New Mexico statement is here:

https://medium.com/@olenewmexico/on-power-lessons-learned-speaking-up-db837e2cef9c

DEMANDS FOR RESIGNATION

It was on June 25, ProgressNow issued a call for City Council President Pat Davis to resign from the City Council and other positions of trust, including the New Mexico Courts of Appeals Judicial Selection commission. (See postscript to this article.)

ProgressNow demanded Pat Davis to resign over his shooting of a black man when Davis was a Washington, DC Police Officer and his pattern of upholding racist institutions and unconstitutional policing practices as a UNM Campus Police Officer. The significance of the demand for resignation is that City Councilor Par Davis is the former and founding Director of ProgressNow. Pat Davis holds himself out as a former cop who is the most progressive member of the city council advocating police reform.

On Thursday, June 25, New Mexico State Senator Jacob Candelaria, who is an attorney, tweeted at jacobcandelaria@SenCandelaria:

“Pat Davis is part of the problem. He does not share our values. He should not be trusted with leadership in our community.”

It is known that a number of prominent trial attorneys did contact the Governor’s Office to complain about the Pat Davis appointment to the Courts of Appeals Judicial Selection Commission. On Friday, June 26, an email was received by www.PeteDinelli.com that reported Pat Davis was no longer on any Judicial Selection Commission as a Governor’s appointee. As is the custom when any removal from the Judicial Selection Commission, no reasons were given for Davis to be removed. No reason for the removal of anyone is ever given ostensibly for plausible deniability for just cause to avoid embarrassment to anyone removed from such commissions. The email message did say it was a “one-time cyle” appointment. Appointments to the Judicial selection commission normally are held over as vacancies occur.

LEGISLATORS DEFEND PAT DAVIS

On July 17, the Albuquerque Journal published a guest column by State Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Debbie Sarinana essentially saying “forgive and forget” and “he is one of us now”. You can read the entire letter at this link:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/07/17/garbage-in-garbage-out-when-it-comes-to-senator-mimi-stewart-and-representative-debbie-sarinana-defense-of-city-councilor-pat-davis-this-is-no-carnival-game/

The letter to the Albuquerque Journal by State Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Debbie Sarinana states in part:

“It is disappointing the new leaders of groups like ProgressNow did not stop to study the source of attacks on an ally, which was discredited by the Albuquerque Journal and Associated Press, or to understand the story of reform from former Republicans like Davis who now proudly carry the progressive flag. Ironically, those groups know of Davis’ story because he has so courageously recounted in countless policy fights for criminal justice reform and social equity. On police reform in particular, shouldn’t we support the voices of those most impacted with that of former officers trained in those tactics, like Pat, who cross the thin blue line and organize with those fighting for change?”

What is truly disappointing is the the legislator’s false narrative that the new leaders of ProgressNow did not stop to study the source of attacks on an ally and say the source of attacks were discredited by the Albuquerque Journal and Associated Press. That is simply not true and both legislators know it. ProgressNow actually examined the facts and circumstances of Davis’s conduct as a Washington, D. C. cop and as a UNM Campus police cop. In their June 25 statement entitled “ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions” wrote in part:

“This week, new details have surfaced regarding former ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis’ shooting of a Black man while working as a cop in Washington D.C. … Unfortunately, Davis’ shooting of a Black man isn’t the only example of his troubling actions. A pattern has unearthed that continues into the present. After Davis moved to Albuquerque, he had multiple civil rights complaints lodged against him while serving as a cop at the University of New Mexico.”

It is truly embarrassing and laughable when Stewart and Sarinana ask “shouldn’t we support the voices of those most impacted with that of former officers trained in those tactics, like Pat, who cross the thin blue line and organize with those fighting for change?” One of those voices most impacted by Davis’s conduct is an African American who was shot twice by Davis without provocation when he was a D.C. cop. Davis victimized him again when he took him into custody and drove erratically resulting in the gunshot wounds to reopen. Then there are the 6 victims in New Mexico who were victims of his conduct as a UNM campus cop. Those voices impacted by Davis include 2 single woman who were the targets of unconstitutional searches of their homes in Corrales, NM, where Davis had no jurisdiction and who Davis coerced into allowing a search of their homes and causing tremendous damages. It is not at all likely that the 7 victims and voices impacted by Davis are as forgiving.

Stewart and Sarinana with their letter are clearly trying to make Pat Davis out as some sort of a hero to the Democratic Party when they say Davis is the “story of reform from former Republicans like Davis who now proudly carry the progressive flag.” With Pat Davis “proudly carrying the progressive flag” comes embarrassment to the Democratic party that the party has no one else better than a former Republican cop who brutalized citizens and now claims to be a “reformed former cop”.

DAVIS PLANNING ON GOING NO WHERE

Within days after the demand for resignation, City Council Pat Davis went into overdrive to defend his new found “progressive philosophy and record”. Davis tried to discredit court pleadings that documented his nefarious conduct of unconstitutional practices as a police officer and proclaiming he had changed and his constituents knew of his past. The truth is that Pat Davis never disclosed the fact that the person he shot twice was an African American nor did he ever disclose the New Mexico civil rights cases resulting in thousands paid to settle the cases.

Davis did interviews on local talk shows, such as KKOB with T.J. Trout and local new outlets to respond and solicit supporters to speak out and defend his record. Davis also attempted to discredit the African American Moses Bell’s version of the shooting arguing he was convicted of a crime. Davis did not disclose the African American plead guilty of “possession of a firearm” and that the evidence did not support “assault and battery” on a police officer as was alleged by Pat Davis.

Davis made it clear to one and all and to the news media he would not resign and issued a press release that said in part:

“In two elections, voters have sent me to City Hall because I talked authentically and honestly about the problematic training and culture of policing that I was introduced to. I left that job to fix it, and no one will disagree that I’ve been effective implementing changes to do that. My evolution, from an officer trained to fight the war on drugs and criminalize communities of poverty and color, into a policy leader who has decriminalized marijuana, passed sanctuary city legislation, and passed laws giving sweeping new civilian oversight powers over APD, is exactly the type of culture change we want to see in policing across the country, and especially here in Albuquerque. … “

WHY THE OLÉ, NEW MEXICO DEMAND FOR RESIGNATION MATTERS

The 4 most respected and most dominate progressive organizations in New Mexico politics are Progress Now New Mexico, OLE (New Mexico) the New Mexico Working Families Party and the Center for Civic Values. Although all 4 organizations are very active in local and state politics, they are not officially affiliated in any manner with the Democratic Party of New Mexico, but consistently support and advocate for the election progressive Democrats .

The organizations also oppose conservative Democrats. During this year’s 2020 primary election, OLÉ New Mexico, the New Mexico Working Families Party, the Center for Civic Action and Progress Now New Mexico formed the “No Corporate Democrats Community Organization” and targeted for removal the following powerful and conservative leaning Democrat New Mexico State Senators:

Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith of Deming
Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces
Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee Chairman Clemente Sanchez of Grants
Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman George Muñoz of Gallup
Senator Gabriel Ramos of Silver City, Chairman of Senate Indian and Cultural Affairs.

The opposition to all 5 Senate Democrats was brought on by all 5 Senators cooperation with the Republican Senate minority to defeat major progressive initiatives in the State Senate. One example was their opposition to allocate more money from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund and Severance Tax Permanent Fund to finance early childhood programs. Another example is that all 5 voted against the abortion rights measure in 2019 that would have repealed a 1969 anti-abortion law that no doubt will become law again if Roe v. Wade is reversed by the United States Supreme Court.

All 5 Democrats were accused by the coalition of not listening to the people who voted them in and listening instead to well-connected corporate interests. All 5 democrats strongly dispute the arguments saying they represented their districts well and understood what their constituent’s want and their demands.

Senators Smith, Papen, Sanchez and Ramos all lost their primary bids while Senator George Muñoz won his and the New Mexico State Senate is no longer controlled by a conservative coalition of all Republicans and a 5 conservative Democrats.

THE HEART AND SOUL OF NEW MEXICO PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT

Many believe that Progress Now New Mexico, OLÉ (New Mexico), the New Mexico Working Families Party and the Center for Civic Values are the “heart art and sole” of the progressive movement in New Mexico. Given the success of the 4 progressive organizations, an examination of each merits review:

PROGRESSNOW NEW NEXICO

According to its web page, “ProgressNow New Mexico is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots communications and advocacy organization working to unite, empower, and enhance the progressive voice in [New Mexico]. … [It] functions as a progressive communications hub and [its] mission centers on the promotion of progressive issues and policies, correcting conservative misinformation, and holding elected officials and corporations accountable. … ProgressNow New Mexico [proclaims] it provides a unified voice for progressive groups on the issues that matter most to New Mexicans … [and that is] accomplished … by providing issue and opinion research, message development, and one-on-one technical assistance to progressive groups [and candidates].

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis once served as the full time paid Executive Director of Progress Now New Mexico and stepped down to run for City Council and later run for congress.

https://progressnownm.org/?page_id=428

OLÉ (NEW MEXICO)

OLÉ is a non-profit that uses grassroots organizing within the local community of working families in New Mexico that is Albuquerque based. Its members and staff “work together to strengthen communities through social advocacy and economic reform, using issue-based campaigns and electoral engagement to ensure that working families are playing a critical role in shaping New Mexico’s future with a united voice.” Ole gathered signatures to put “Dollars for Democracy” on the ballot and contributed cash for passage of the initiative. “Democracy Dollars” would have implemented a $25 dollar city voucher program to all residents of the city to donate to municipal candidates of their choosing. Ole also endorsed and made cash donations to Tim Keller’s measured finance committee for Mayor.

http://olenm.org/

NEW MEXICO WORKING FAMILIES PARTY

The New Mexico Working Families Party is not an official political party in New Mexico, as it is in other states. Instead, the organization advocates for candidates and issues. In 2018, the Working Families endorsed and financially helped candidates running for federal, state and legislative races in New Mexico. All of those candidates were Democrats. According to the New Mexico Political Reports, the group is interested in defeating Democrats who are more concerned with their party as an institution and “not as a vehicle for change.”

https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2018/08/15/working-families-party-wants-to-shake-up-new-mexico/

Working Families endorsed candidates include Democrats 1st Congressional District candidate Deb Haaland, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico State Land Office commissioner candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard and Tim Keller for Mayor. The Working Families also advocated for passage of the failed ballot initiative known as “Democracy Dollars” that would have implemented a city voucher program to give all residents $25 dollar vouchers to donate to municipal candidates of their choosing. Former Albuquerque City Councilor and Former New Mexico State Senator Eric Griego is the Executive Director of New Mexico Working Families and is know to be a strong ally of Mayor Tim Keller and City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton.

https://workingfamilies.org/states/new-mexico/

According to finance reports filed with the Albuquerque City Clerk’s office in 2019, the Working Families Party donated $80,000 to the failed “Democracy Dollars” ballot initiative. In the 2017, the Working Families Party raised and spent thousands on Mayor Tim Keller’s behalf to get him elected Mayor. Before the runoff for Mayor between Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis, there were 8 candidates running for Mayor including progressive Democrats Brian Colon and Gus Pedrotty.

https://workingfamilies.org/2017/11/tim-keller-elected-mayor-albuquerque/

ProgressNow New Mexico, according to its web page is “a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots communications and advocacy organization working to unite, empower, and enhance the progressive voice in the Land of Enchantment. It functions as a progressive communications hub and its mission centers on the promotion of progressive issues and policies, correcting conservative misinformation, and holding elected officials and corporations accountable.”

CENTER FOR CIVIL VALUES

The Center for Civic Action (CCA) is based in Albuquerque and is a nonpartisan tax-exempt 501c 3 organization. Its mission is “to advocate for policies that impact the common good and welfare of New Mexicans, such as health care, energy, natural resources, the economy and jobs, and voting rights issues. .. [and] to educate the public about social welfare issues that impact the common good and welfare of New Mexico”.

The activities of CCA include lobbying, researching and advocating for policies related to health care, ethics and the state budget. The CCA educates the public about issues through the placement of opinion pieces and letters to New Mexico Newspapers, blogging, and phone calls to New Mexico residents. The CCA also provides training and leadership skills to New Mexico progressive leaders who may one day run for elected or appointed office.

https://greatnonprofits.org/org/center-for-civic-action

NAACP DEMANDS RESIGNATIONS OF CITY COUNCILLORS, BUT NOT PAT DAVIS RESIGNATION

On July 9, it was reported that Albuquerque NAACP President Harold Bailey issued a statement and said that councilors Cynthia Borrego and Trudy Jones used “offensive, inflammatory and insensitive” language during a debate over a $1 million appropriation for the Black community. He said they should apologize or resign and went on to recommend “sensitivity and positive human engagement training.” The link to the entire news article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1473925/naacp-criticizes-councilors-offensive-language.html

The $1 Million dollar appropriation was described as “an investment that creates positive impact for the African American community.” The legislation was sponsored by Councilor Klarissa Peña and the city council voted yes with an 8-1 vote. According to City Councilor Pena:

“I look at this as a way to focus on addressing what we started out addressing as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and that’s … systemic and institutional racism.”

The $1 million dollar appropriation was to Mayor Tim Keller’s “One Albuquerque Fund Foundation” created to raise money for city initiatives by collecting donations from the private sector and citizens who have wanted to donate to the city for city initiatives. The final vote was 8 to 1 for approval with Republican and Trump supporter Trudy Jones voting no.

The NAACP had no problem with taking two City Councilors to task and demanding resignations over questions they raised on a $1 Million dollar appropriations. However, it is conspicuous the NAACP has thus far failed to issue any sort of statement regarding City Council President Pat Davis shooting of an African American and violating people’s civil rights as a police officer leaving City Hall and the City Council to guess and speculate why absolutely nothing has been said. .

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Former conservative Republican Pat Davis is now the “self-proclaimed progressive democrat” who is now holding himself out as a “reformed former cop” who can change APD. The progressives wing of the Democratic party has always fawned over Pat Davis ever since he was the Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. Progressives Democrats continue to fawn over Davis and say “forgive and forget, he is one of use now” and they believe all of his garbage.

WHITE PRIVILEGE CITY COUNCIL COALITION

Pat Davis is now the leader of what is being referred to as the “White Privilege Coalition” on the City Council consisting of Democrats Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Diane Gibson and Republicans Don Harris and Trudy Jones. Pat Davis has bragged about in the past of being able to work with Republicans on the city council and has even co-sponsored many ordinances with Republican Don Harris. These are the very same city councilors who voted repeatedly for the ART Bus project and kept all their mouths shut and refused to hold APD accountable when the Federal Monitor issued scathing audit reports on the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

Prior to his death, long time City Councilor Ken Sanchez, as a native of Albuquerque, was a strong advocate for all parts of the city and would often work closely with City Councilors Klarisa Pena and Cynthia Borrego to get things done. It was common knowledge Sanchez was always thinking about running for Mayor. Democrat Ken Sanchez was considered a moderate Democrat and would often disagree with Mayor Tim Keller. Sanchez was often criticized by the progressive wing of the party as being a “corporate democrat”.

When long time City Councilor Sanchez passed away, Progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller took advantage of it and appointed a progressive activist to the City Council who he could rely upon for any and all support. Now that Pat Davis is City Council President, confidential sources are saying that he repeatedly marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the city council and opposes any of their initiatives. When Pat Davis marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the City Council, he relies on his “White Privilege” coalition on the city council as does Progressive Mayor Tim Keller.

DAVIS PAST CONDUCT DIFFICULT TO RECONCILE AS ELECTED OFFICIAL

Given what is known about City Councilor Pat Davis, his actions as a police officer, his litigation history, his credibility is in serious doubt as are his political motives. The real Pat Davis, and his lack of respect for constitutional rights are revealed by his pattern of conduct he engaged if for years and was sued for as a UNM Police Officer and his conduct as a DC Police Officer. Pat Davis has no business making decisions regarding police reforms, law enforcement policy let alone be involved in the process deciding who is fit to be a judge.

FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OPPORTUNIST REPUBLICAN DARREN WHITE

Davis is proclaiming that because of his experiences as a police officer, he is essentially a reformed cop and has changed and he has an understanding of institutional racism in police work. Pat Davis has actually said recently he “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” yet there is no apology for his actions to any he brutalized. Pat Davis now proclaims that because he was a former cop and did things in the past, he was not too proud of, he has changed and for that reason he is the guy to lead the charge in reforming APD. What is so damn pathetic is that Pat Davis probably believes people are buying into his garbage, but his actions say otherwise.

What is very difficult to reconcile is the past conduct of Pat Davis as a UNM Campus Police Officer and his appointment to chair the Governor’s Task Force on the Legalization of Marijuana. The two civil lawsuits filed against Pat Davis while he was a UNM Campus Police Officer were for violations of people’s civil rights relating to the unlawful searches of private residences for marijuana relating to drug trafficking. The actions of Davis resulted in thousands of dollars in property damages to private residences. Former Republican Pat Davis is following in the footsteps of hypocrite Republican and former Sheriff Darren White who resigned a cabinet post when Republican Gary Johnson began to advocate the legalization of marijuana. White now heads up a “medical cannabis” firm, claims he has used marijuana for years and now lobbies for legalization of marijuana. Confidential sources say that Pat Davis has a contract to do lobbying for the legalization of marijuana.

SOME CONDUCT SHOULD NEVER BE FORGOTTEN NOT FORGIVEN

There is conduct that must never be forgotten nor forgiven, such as the pedophilia of billionaire Jeffry Epstein and the sexual harassment and rape of woman by Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein. After all, the attitude of “forgive and forget” is contrary to the “Me Too Movement”. Forgetting the past conduct of Pat Davis shooting an African American twice without provocation and violating many others constitutional rights as a cop is contrary to any sort of police reform. It is also contrary to what the Black Lives Movement represents and the struggle for civil rights by the NAACP, yet neither say anything about Pat Davis.

CONCLUSION

It should not come as any surprise that the Working Families Party has not taken any position regarding the resignation of Pat Davis. Davis has a close personal friendship to the organization’s Executive Director Eric Griego who is known to have run interference for Pat Davis in the past.

What is downright amazing and extremely disappointing is that the Black Lives Matter movement and the NAACP remain absolutely silent on Pat Davis. Neither has said if Pat Davis should resign over his past conduct as a cop or if they “forgive and forget”. The NAACP, and for that matter, the Black Lives Matter movement, need take a position on Pat Davis and if he should resign. Otherwise their silence speaks volumes more and essentially says there is no need to take Davis to task nor hold him accountable for his past actions.
_______________

POSTSCRIPT

On June 25, ProgressNow issued the following statement for immediate release:

Title: ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions

By Marianna Anaya

“This week, new details have surfaced regarding former ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis’ shooting of a Black man while working as a cop in Washington D.C. [See link #1 below] Davis originally founded ProgressNow New Mexico but left the organization in 2017 and while his name is attached to the organization and its beginnings, we want to state clearly that his past and present actions are not reflective of ProgressNow New Mexico values.

ProgressNow New Mexico is dedicated to dismantling racism in all forms, to listening to Black and Indigenous voices calling for the dismantling of systems that hold up racism including defunding the police, and the prospect that centering Black lives should drive every aspect of progressive political policy.

“ProgressNow New Mexico finds it imperative to continue calling out racism when we see it and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions,” said Alissa Barnes, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “No matter who that person is.”

Part of our accountability work as an organization is to investigate bad behavior by bad actors. Unfortunately, Davis’ shooting of a Black man isn’t the only example of his troubling actions. A pattern has unearthed that continues into the present. After Davis moved to Albuquerque he had multiple civil rights complaints [See link #2 below] lodged against him while serving as a cop at the University of New Mexico.
Later, as he ran for elected office, Davis reflected on his experience as a cop, utilizing a “tough on crime” narrative, referencing his time as “zero-tolerance cop– the kind you wouldn’t want to pull you over”. [See link #3 below].

As he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, his website highlighted his targeting of community members for low-level offenses, like marijuana possession. [See link #4 below.]

Throughout the course of his campaign for Sheriff, Davis touted his leadership on the UNM police’s “eyes and ears” program in which he would train UNM staff, like custodians, to seek out people who look like they “don’t belong”- a thinly veiled version of racial profiling. In his run for City Council, his UNM off-campus raids [See link #5] led to settled federal lawsuits, calling Davis’ practices into question once again. [See link #5 below.]

This pattern of racist behavior targeting Black and Brown communities should be concerning to everyone.

We want to make it clear: Davis’ case is not an issue of a “reformed cop”. In fact, Davis has continued to uphold racist institutions- most recently contracting with Adrian Carver’s June 2020 campaign for Bernalillo County Commission in which Davis supported (and at worst crafted) a racist, sexist mailer targeting Carver’s opponent, County Commissioner-elect Adriann Barboa, for the possession of medical marijuana.[See link #6.] While the community and many elected officials denounced the mailer, Davis doubled down on his endorsement of Carver and once again upheld racist systems that hurt our families.

“You can’t lead a task force for the legalization of marijuana and simultaneously weaponize the substance to criminalize people who use it so that you can gain personal, political power,” said Barnes.

As a self-proclaimed “progressive” Davis is not exempt from accountability. Davis’ sustained pattern of racist actions over a long period of years has led us to call for Davis to step down from his positions of authority, including the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Judicial Selection Committee, Governor Lujan Grisham’s Marijuana Legalization Task Force, and his seat on City Council. Surely, our community does not need someone who routinely targets and criminalizes Black and Brown people to be serving on committees that select judges, decide the future of marijuana legalization in our state, or pass policies and make financial decisions for the City of Albuquerque.

There are calls for justice across the nation- some are met with hostility, and others with grace. We hope Davis chooses the later, steps down from his positions and reflects on how his actions are contributing to a larger system of institutional racism. ProgressNow New Mexico will continue our work, the work of dismantling racist systems, holding bad actors accountable, and being a leading voice in New Mexico for real and tangible change.”

The link to the ProgressNow statement is here:

https://progressnownm.org/?p=225026

CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS: “Answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe”; “Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble”

American Civil Rights Icon and longtime United State Congressman John B. Lewis died on July 17 and he was buried on July 30. Eulogizing the Congressman in person were former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton with a letter from Jimmy Carter read, along with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Congressman Lewis wrote the below essay shortly before his death to be published by the New York times upon the day of his funeral:

“While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

The link to the New York Times essay is here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/opinion/john-lewis-civil-rights-america.ht