Before You Sign Nominating Petitions Or Donate, Ask About The Issues

There are fourteen (14) candidates for Mayor registered with the Albuquerque City Clerk’s Office for the October 3, 2017 municipal election.

From February 16, 2017 to April 28, 2017 all candidates for Mayor will be given ten (10) weeks to collect 3,000 nominating petition signatures from registered Albuquerque voters.

Candidates for Mayor seeking public financing have from February 16 to March 31, or six weeks, to collect 3,600 qualifying $5.00 donations from only Albuquerque registered voters to secure $370,000 in public financing.

Before signing petitions and donating to candidates, voters should know where candidates stand on the issues they care about and what they will do if elected.

A few questions and issues candidates for Mayor need to think about and disclose their positions on include the following:

City Personnel and Services:

1. Will you replace the current Chief Administrative Officer, City Attorney, Chief of Police, Fire Department Chief, Chief of Staff, Chief Operations Officer and all other current department directors and if so with whom?
2. Are you in favor of a state “right to work statute” that would impact or eliminate city employee unions?
3. Are you in favor of privatizing city services or work such as public safety, the 311 call center operations, the bus system or the maintenance and repair work done at city facilities such as the Bio Park?

APD and Crime:

1. What is your position on the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree and mandated reforms?
2. Should the APD Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chiefs and APD command staff be replaced?
3. Should a national search be conducted for a new law enforcement management team to assume control of APD and make changes and implement the DOJ consent decree mandated reforms?
4. Should the function of Internal Affairs be removed from APD and civilianized under the city Office of Inspector General, the Internal Audit Department and the City Human Resources Department?
5. What are your plans for increasing APD staffing levels and what should those staffing levels be?
6. What would you do as Mayor to enhance civilian oversight of APD and the implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms?
7. Since 2010, there have been 41 police officer involved shootings and the city has paid out $50 million to settle deadly force and excessive use of force cases. Should the City return to a “no settlement” policy involving alleged police misconduct cases and require a trial on the merits or a damages jury trial?
8. What are your plans or solutions to bringing down high property and violent crime rates in Albuquerque?
9. Should APD personnel or APD resources be used in any manner to enforce federal immigration laws and assist federal immigration authorities?

The Economy:

1. What strategy would you implement to bring new industries, corporations and jobs to Albuquerque?
2. Albuquerque’s major growth industries include health care, transportation, manufacturing, retail and tourism with an emerging film industry. What programs would you propose to help or enhance these industries?
3. Do you intend to keep the current Director of the City’s Economic Development Department and support staff?
4. To what extent should tax increment districts, industrial revenue bonds and income bonds be used to spur Albuquerque’s economy?
5. What financial incentives do you feel the city can or should offer and provide to the private sector to attract new industry and jobs to Albuquerque, and should that include start-up grants or loans with “claw back” provisions?
6. What sort of private/public partnership agreements or programs should be implemented to spur economic development?
7. What sort of programs or major projects or facilities, if any, should the city partner with the State or County to spur economic development?
8. What programs can the city implement to better coordinate its economic development with the University of New Mexico and the Community College of New Mexico (CNM) to insure an adequately trained workforce for new employers locating to Albuquerque?
9. Are you in favor of the enactment of a gross receipt tax or property tax dedicated strictly to economic development, programs or construction projects to revitalize Albuquerque that would be enacted by the City Council or be voter approved?
10. Do you support the continuation of the “Innovate Albuquerque” program or its expansion?
11. What programs can Albuquerque implement to insure better cooperation with Sandia Labs and the transfer of technology information for economic development.

Planning and Development:

1. What is your position on the two-year rewrite of the City’s comprehensive plan known as ABC-Z project which is an attempt to bring “clarity and predictability” to the development regulations and to attract more “private sector investment”? Critics say it is nothing more than the “gutting” of sector development plans by the development community and to repeal all sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character.
2. Should the City of Albuquerque seek the repeal by the New Mexico legislature of laws that prohibit city annexation of property without county approval?
3. What is your position on the Santolina development project on the West side and should it be annex by the City?


1. Should the City of Albuquerque have representation or be included on the Albuquerque School board, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents and the Community College of New Mexico Board?
2. What should the City do to help reduce high school dropout rates?
3. Should the City of Albuquerque advocate to the New Mexico legislature increasing funding for early child care development programs and intervention programs with increased funding from the permanent fund?
4. What education resources should or can the City make available to the Albuquerque school system?

Poverty and the Homeless

1. What should be done to reduce the homeless population in Albuquerque?
2. What services should the City provide to the homeless and poor if any?
3. Should the City continue to support the “coming home” program?
4. Should the city be more involved with the county in providing mental health care facilities and programs?

Taxation and Project Financing:

1. Are you in favor of increasing the city’s current gross receipts tax or property taxes to pay for essential services and make up for lost gross receipt tax revenues caused in part by the repeal of the “hold harmless” provision and that has mandated budget and personnel cuts during the last 7 years?
2. Do you feel that increases in gross receipts taxes should be voter approved?
3. Are you in favor of diverting any funding from the Bio Park tax enacted by city voters that will generate $250 million for other services or projects not associated with the Bio Park?
4. The City has borrowed over $63 million dollars over the past two years to build “pickle ball” courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down central by bypassing voters and using revenue bonds as the financing mechanism to pay for big capital projects. Do you feel revenue bonds is an appropriate funding mechanism for large capital projects?

Ballot Initiatives:

1. What is your position on the mandatory sick leave initiative known as the “Healthy Workforce” ordinance mandating private businesses to pay sick leave to employees and that will appear on the October 3, 2017 ballot?
2. Should the City and the City Attorney’s office enforce the increase in the minimum wage enacted by voters and the mandatory sick leave initiative if it is enacted?
3. What is your position on the proposed increase in public financing for Mayoral candidates from $360,000 to $640,000 that will appear on the October 3, 2017 ballot?
4. If you qualify to be a public finance candidate, will you truly be a public finance candidate or do you intend to rely upon measured finance committee’s set up to promote your candidacy for Mayor?
5. Should major capital improvement projects such as the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, be placed on the ballot for voter approval?
6. What is your position on the ART Bus project and should it be stopped or scaled back if Congress does not fund the federal grant?
7. Should Albuquerque become a “sanctuary city” by City Council resolution?
8. Should the issue of Albuquerque becoming a “sanctuary city” be placed on the ballot for voter approval?


Voters are entitled to and should expect more from candidates than fake smiles, slick commercials, and no solutions and no ideas. Our City needs more than promises of better economic times and lower crime rates for Albuquerque and voters need to demand answers and hold elected officials accountable.

Justice Has Been Served With Dismissal Of Charges Against Perez, Sandy

It has been reported that former APD Police Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez will not face another trial for the killing of homeless camper James Boyd with charges dismissed. (See February 25, 2017 Albuquerque Journal “DA: Perez ,Sandy will not face retrial; DA says second trial would likely not have a different result”, page A-1)

As a former Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney who has prosecuted violent crime cases, including murder and rape cases, I believe it was “the right thing to do” to dismiss the charges against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez after a deadlocked jury could not reach a verdict.

Justice was served with the preliminary hearing and original trial even if you disagree with the outcome and this is how our judicial system works with the presumption of innocence and the state having to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” to a jury.

A prosecutor is required to go through a very difficult and lengthy process of review and deliberation to decide to dismiss a case after a jury “dead locks” and cannot reach a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty”.

The prosecutor must determine what is right and if justice will be served with a new trial.

The process includes reviewing all the physical and forensic evidence and testimony presented at the trial, determining if anything was missed, and then deciding whether the outcome could be any different presenting the same evidence during a new trial before a different jury.

If “new evidence” somehow surfaces after the trial, a decision must be made whether that “new evidence” will make any difference to a different jury.

The prosecutor will confer with victims or members of a deceased victim’s family of a crime to get their input on a new trial.

The prosecutor will also confer with the witnesses to determine if their testimony will change.

A new trial is also a financial decision.

Simply put, will a new trial be too great of a burden on the resources of a prosecuting agency to the extent that it will affect other cases in the office?

Ultimately, the biggest determining factor is “will justice be served with a new trial”.

This was a case that needed to be charged and needed to be tried because police officers must be held to a higher standard and they cannot be above the law, any time.

Police Officers cannot be allowed to break the very laws they are sworn to enforce, and there are times that only a jury must make that decision.

During the last 7 years, Albuquerque has had 41 police officer involved shootings with close to $50 million dollars paid out in settlements for police misconduct cases and the use of deadly force cases.

Many of the deadly force cases settled involved the mentally ill.
The Albuquerque Police Department is under a federal consent decree after a finding of a “culture of aggression”.

New policies and training are being implemented by APD to deal with crisis intervention and the mentally ill.

If we have learned a single thing during the last 7 years as a community, it should be that deadly force cases and excessive use force cases by police officers must be, without any exception, justified.

I watched the trial by “live stream” provided by a TV station.

I believe justice has been served with the preliminary hearing and the criminal trial of Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy.

Both were afforded due process of law and given a fair trial.

Both the prosecution and the defense did an exceptional job in presenting their cases.

It is not likely that a new trial of Keith Sandy will be any different, it probably will result in another dead locked jury or for that matter a verdict of not guilty.

Justice has been served with the trial and the jury verdict as is.

APD is in the middle of a reform process relating to its use of force and use of deadly force policies, and hopefully lessons have been learned by APD from this very difficult case that was so divisive to our community.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Republican City Councilors Dan Lewis and Don Harris have learned their lesson well from Mayor Richard Berry and perhaps Republican Congressman Steve Pearce.

Both Lewis and Harris skipped the City Council meeting when the City Council voted to affirm Albuquerque’s “ Immigrant Friendly” status. (See February 23, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article “Council affirms ‘immigrant –friendly’ status”, Metro & NM Section, page C-1)

Berry has showed repeated failure of leadership for 7 years of never being around and at times not even being in town when the preverbal you know what hits the fan.

New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce is refusing to have town hall meetings preferring mass phone conferences to avoid facing angry constituents about issues.

A crowd of about 300 showed up to the City Council meeting and no doubt Lewis who is running for Mayor and Harris who is running for re-election did not want to take a stand on such a controversial issue as “sanctuary city”.

What is so laughable is that Lewis and Harris skipped a vote on a memorial, which has no legal or binding effect on the City and which does not require the Mayor to sign or veto.

All that the memorial does is reaffirm that Albuquerque will not use city resources to identify or apprehend illegal immigrants “unless otherwise required by law to do so”.

City Councilor Pat Davis, a co-sponsor, said that the memorial is largely symbolic and that it shows that the council has the political will to block cooperation and data sharing between the city and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, should they become more aggressive about enforcement, which is classic Pat Davis double speak.

If the council had the political will to stop use of city resources to help U.S. Customs it should have enacted a resolution or ordinance.

The problem is that the city is in fact using city resources to identify illegal immigrants and is sharing data with U.S. Customs.

In 2010 Mayor Berry declared that Albuquerque was no longer a “sanctuary city” and ordered the implementation of a policy that screened every person who is arrested, no matter the offense, such as misdemeanor DWI, shoplifting, drug possession, to see if the person is in the country legally.

By Berry’s orders, US Immigration and Customs agents (ICE) are allowed into city jail holding facilities to screen virtually all people arrested and brought in by APD and determine their immigration status.

The City Council needed to show more political backbone and should have enacted and resolution that would have forced all the City Councilors to vote on and force Berry to sign it or veto it.

Sooner rather than later, all candidates running for Mayor, including Dan Lewis, need to make their thoughts know on if Albuquerque should become a sanctuary city.

In the meantime, someone needs to tell Dan Lewis and Don Harris the coast is clear and they can come out and play now.

Remember Election Time Who Carried the Mayor’s Water on ART

It has been reported that the opponents of the ART Bus project have now decided to drop their Federal lawsuit to stop the project. (See Albuquerque Journal, Opponents drop lawsuit against ART; Lawyer: Clients will still raise concerns on project, page A-1)

The dismissal is disappointing but not at all surprising given the Federal District Court and Court of Appeals rulings denying the injunctions and the amount of construction that has gone on.

The Berry Administration supposedly paid $250,000 in taxpayer money to out of state attorneys to defend the lawsuit.

I would not be at all surprised if the Berry Administration now becomes vindictive and seeks the award of attorney’s fees and costs for defending the federal case against the Plaintiff’s federal lawsuit.


Yolanda Gallegos, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff’s is quoted as saying “a new mayor will inherit this unworkable and irresponsible juggernaut and the citizens of Albuquerque could be left holding the bag”.

It is indeed becoming more likely than not that the citizens of Albuquerque will be left holding the bag with millions diverted from other city projects and essential services to complete the ART Bus project and pay the contractor Bradbury & Stamm.

The appropriations conference committees in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have recommended cutting the Federal Transportation Grant grant by anywhere from $19 million to $23 million.

When it’s all said a done, and the City does not get any money from the federal government, it will be up to the new Mayor and City Council to find the money to complete the project.


Berry and the Albuquerque City Council thus far have used $13 million dollars in revenue bonds to pay for the ART Bus project that was not voted upon by the public.

It was reported that Mayor Berry and the Albuquerque City Council have borrowed over $63 million dollars over the past two years to build “pickle ball” courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down central by bypassing the voters. (For full story see January 2, 2017 Albuquerque Journal “BYPASSING the Voters” page A-1).

The $65 million dollars was borrowed with the Albuquerque City Councilors voting to use revenue bonds as the financing mechanism to pay for big capital projects.

Revenue bonds are repaid with gross receipts tax revenues.

The Mayor and City Council have become enamored with revenue bonds because they can literally pick and choose what projects they want to fund and build without any public input or vote whatsoever, so long as they have seven votes on the city council.

Normally, multi-million dollar capital projects are funded by using general obligation bonds which require voter approval.

What the Mayor and City Council do not like are the complicated requirements associated with general obligation bonds and the fact that they must be voted upon by the public.

General obligation bonds have major safeguards to protect the public with restrictions in place on how the bond funding must be dedicated and used.

General obligation bonds also include public budget hearings while revenue bonds do not.

Using revenue bonds for major capital projects that are repaid with gross receipts tax revenue cuts into revenues that should be used for essential services such as police protection, fire protection and government operations and personnel.


Diane Gibson is my city councilor and she said at a neighborhood association meeting she was tired of “carrying the Mayor’s” water on the ART Bus project but still refused to put it to a public vote and vote no on the appropriations for ART.

I for one am tired of Diane Gibson’s failure to represent her constituents and do anything worthwhile for her Council District other than holding monthly coffees and attend neighborhood association meetings to tell people there is nothing she can do.

All the candidates for Mayor need to be asked if they supported the ART Bus project as is and want to “carry Berry’s water” after he is gone, what they intend to do with the project, how can it be modified and reduced in scope, how will it be paid for and if they intend to dismantle the project as much as they can and restore Route 66 once elected.

City Council Candidates running for reelection like Diane Gibson, Ken Sanchez and Don Harris need to be reminded that they voted to spend money for the ART Bus project that has yet to be appropriated by congress and that they refused to put it on the ballot for voter approval.

City Councilor Pat Davis told his constituents at a forum he sponsored that there was nothing he could do about the ART bus project and he refused to put it on the ballot for a public vote.

Voters need to remember that City Councilor Pat Davis and Ken Sanchez voted to support ART, and who both now say they are considering running for Congress to replace Mitchell Lujan Grisham.

Frankly, Albuquerque does not need politicians willing to carry water for poorly designed and useless legacy construction projects and use sneaky funding sources to bypass voters.

Mayor Two Faced On Immigrants

Following is my 350 word Letter to the Editor published February 21, 2017 by the Albuquerque Journal on page A-7:

Mayor two-faced on immigrants

Albuquerque Mayor Berry revealed his hypocrisy at his press conference to announce the creation of the city department the “Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs”.

The office is intended to serve Albuquerque’s immigrant and refugees community by acting as a point of contact with other agencies that serve them.
Berry said the new city department will help immigrants and refugees without regard to their legal immigration status and that it will help allay the fears of people in Albuquerque’s immigrant and refugee community.

Berry said “There has always been rhetoric from the left and right regarding immigration … But I do not think it has ever been ramped up to the level we’ve seen most recently”. Sure it has and it was done by none other than candidate Richard Berry.

Berry used the issue of “sanctuary city” in 2009 to get elected the first time with his supporters driving a vehicle around the city with a billboard mounted on it condemning then Mayor Marty Chavez making Albuquerque a “sanctuary city” for immigrants.

After elected, Mayor Berry declared that Albuquerque was no longer a sanctuary city.

In 2010, Berry ordered the implementation of a policy that screened every person who is arrested, no matter the offense, such as misdemeanor DWI, shoplifting, drug possession, to see if the person is in the country legally.

By Berry’s orders, US Immigration and Customs agents (ICE) were allowed into city jail holding facilities to screen virtually all people arrested and brought in by APD and determine their immigration status.

In 2010, Berry said, “If convicted, they will serve their sentence and could be deported. I’m not looking at this as an immigration issue, but more as a public safety issue,” said Berry thereby endorsing deportation of people no matter the offense and no matter their guilt or innocence of people arrested and taken into custody by APD.

Albuquerque City Councilors introduced a measure to reaffirm a 16 year old resolution making Albuquerque an Immigrant friendly community.

I wonder if Berry will have a press conference to sign it if it passes or to veto it?


Candidates For Mayor Need to Say More Than Eden Is Gone

Thus far announced candidates for Mayor have said if elected that they intend to remove Chief Gordon Eden.

It is as if the Mayor candidates are saying removing Eden is all that is needed to solve the problems of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). It will not in that APD’s problems are severe and deeply rooted.

A few candidates running for Mayor appear to be seriously uninformed about APD and think they can gloss over APD’s problem by saying “trust me, I know what needs to be done”.

For the last three years, I cannot recall seeing anyone of the 14 candidates for Mayor attending any of the Federal Court hearings on the Department of Justice Consent decree and presentations of the Federal Monitor’s reports to the Court.


Terminating Chief Gordon Eden is a good start to reforming APD, but you also need to terminate the Chief Administrative Officer and the City Attorney who have been interfering with implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms.

Additionally, the entire APD command staff all the way down to commanders and lieutenants is what needs to be done so that APD can truly have a fresh start with a new generation of leadership who has a firm understanding of “Constitutional’ policing.

The April 10, 2014 Department of Justice Investigation report that found a “culture of aggression” within APD as well as the reports of the Independent Federal Monitor show that APD cannot police itself and for that reason the Internal Affairs function of APD should be taken out of APD and civilianized.


A little over a year ago, Federal Monitor James Ginger in his second report to the Federal Judge accused the City Attorney of what he called, “delay, do little and deflect” tactics saying his relationship with the City Attorney was “a little rougher than most” compared with top attorneys in other cities and states where he has overseen seen police reform.

The July 1, 2016 third APD progress report of Federal Monitor James Ginger was the most revealing when it comes to identifying APD’s management resistance to change and the DOJ mandated reforms.

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

The Federal Monitor’s third report reflects that you get failed law enforcement management when you appoint a Chief of Police who has absolutely no prior experience managing a municipal police department and who is considered a “political operative”.

The Federal Monitor’s third report reflects what happens when you keep or return management who created, participated or who did not stop the culture of aggression and the “deeply-rooted systemic problems” found by the Department of Justice.

During the January 5, 2017 status conference with US District Court Judge Robert Brack on the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA), bitter divides and disagreements over the role, authority and expectations of the Independent Federal Monitor James Ginger were revealed and lead to heated and emotional exchanges between the City’s attorneys and DOJ attorneys. (See January 11, 2017 Albuquerque Free Press article “APD-DOJ Deal Cratering”)

During the January 5, 2017 hearing before Judge Brack, DOJ Attorney Luis Saucedo accused the City of unfairly attacking the independent Federal Monitor and said “The parties [including the city] have a responsibility and a duty to the Court to assist and support the monitor in carrying out his duties under [the settlement agreement]. This … does not include attacking the monitor or blaming implementation problems at APD on the monitor.”


Even when the entire command staff is removed, it will not solve the “culture of aggression” that took at least 10 years to permeate APD.

The “culture of aggression” found by the DOJ will be reduced in part with the Department of Justice mandated reforms and training.

The “culture of aggression” will not be truly resolved until there is a 100% turnover of APD sworn police officer staffing and with a new generation of police officers trained in constitutional policing which will only be achieved overtime with retirements and replacements with newly trained, young police officers.

The solution to APD’s shortage of sworn officers is not to recruit “experienced” officers from other agencies which has been attempted in the past with the “lateral” hiring classes.

Such hiring of “laterals” is what contributed to APDs problems in the first place because lateral hiring increases the risk of hiring problem officers from other agencies.

Very few good and experienced police officers from other law enforcement departments even want or are they willing to come to a department with such a poor reputation.

Allowing the return to work of retired police officers and allowing them to “double dip” and collect their pensions and salary only encourages the return of an older generation of police officer not fully trained in constitutional policing of who may have contributed to the culture of aggression.

APD needs to “triple down” on recruitment and dramatically increase the size and number of police academy classes per year.


A Department of Public Safety needs to be created with the appointment of civilian Police Commissioner.

A national search for a Police Commissioner and Chief of Police needs to be conducted.

A Police Commissioner and Chief with extensive and proven leadership in managing a municipal police department must be hired, not political operatives.

What needs to be recruited with a national search is an entire “management team” to come in and assume control of APD.

The civilian Police Commissioner would assume primary responsibility for implementation of all the DOJ-mandated reforms and only be removed for cause by the Mayor and City Council approval.

The Police Commissioner would completely overhaul and restructure APD, appoint new chiefs, commanders, lieutenants, academy director and a 911 manager and each would report directly to the Chief of Police, with the Police Commissioner in the Chain of Command as the Commissioner determines to be necessary and appropriate to carry out his or her duties.

The civilian Police Commissioner would be responsible for preparing budgets, personnel management and enforcement of personnel policies and procedures and imposing personnel disciplinary action.

The Chief of Police would be responsible for day-to-day operations of APD, public safety initiatives and management of sworn staff and report directly to the civilian Police Commissioner.

The Public Safety Department would consist of four civilian staffed divisions and managed by the Police Commissioner:
1. Personnel and training, for recruiting, hiring, internal affairs investigations and police academy;
2. Budget and finance;
3. Information technology support and crime lab; and
4. 911 emergency operations center with a civilian manager.

“Deadly use of force” cases would continue to be investigated by the Critical Incident Review Team and the final reports with finding and recommendations submitted to the Police Commissioner.


The APD Internal Affairs Unit would be abolished.

The investigation of police misconduct cases including excessive use of force cases not resulting in death or nor serious bodily harm would be done by “civilian” personnel investigators.

The function and responsibility for investigating police misconduct cases and violations of personnel policy and procedures by police would be assumed by the Office of Independent Council in conjunction with the City Human Resources Department and the Office of Internal Audit where necessary.

The Office of Independent Council would make findings and recommendations to the Police Commissioner for implementation and imposition of disciplinary action.


Until aggressive action is taken with APD and the Department of Justice mandated and agreed to reforms, APD will continue to spin out of control, violent crime will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in crime.