Not So Fast Gordo

Channel 7 reported that the number of officer-involved shootings within the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is the lowest it has been in years.

APD data shows there were only five incidents in 2016 where officers opened fire at suspects during incidents.

This is a sharp decline from previous years, where in 2010 the number was 13.

The high number in 2010 was the main reason the Department of Justice (DOJ) did its investigation and found a “culture of aggression” within APD.

In May, 2014, the City of Albuquerque entered into a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the DOJ which mandated the implantation of major reforms, including more training to deal with the mentally ill, and the appointment of a Federal Monitor.

Chief Gorden Eden says that nearly two years into the process, the new rules under the consent decree appear to be working because police shootings are down.

Not so fast Gordo.

Chief Eden is essentially arguing there is substantial compliance with the settlement agreement because shootings and excessive use of force cases are down.

Shootings may be down, but that does not mean compliance with the court order nor the mandated reforms.

The DOJ has not said the “culture of aggression” within APD has been eliminated.

What has been said by the Federal Monitor is that the APD command staff has engaged in deliberate “non-compliance” with the DOJ mandated reforms.

The May 5, 2017 Federal Monitors report says that APD is going in the wrong direction when it comes to the reforms and an out-of-control department that desperately needs new leadership.

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

During the May 10, 2017 report presentation by the monitor, many in the courtroom were shocked when the US Attorney went out of his way to complement APD for making “tremendous progress”.

On May 11, 2017, I attended a 3-hour private meeting in the United States Attorney office with approximately 15 other private citizens to meet with Assistant United State Attorney Luis Saucedo with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in Washington to discuss APDs progress on the settlement and the May 10 hearing.

No press was invited to May 10th meeting.

The overwhelming majority of those in attendance at the May 11 meeting objected to the US Attorney praising APD’s progress given the Monitor’s past and recent report that APD has deliberately undermined the reform process and engaged in questionable tactics, resistance to the reforms and noncompliance.

One attendee said their jaw dropped at Mr. Salcedo’s courtroom comments while another felt that his presentation was a setback and that the reform progress had been seriously undermined by Mr. Saucedo and that Saucedo did a disservice to many who have demanded action by the DOJ.

Another made the observation they felt Saucedo was making arguments for the City and APD and not the Department of Justice in what is supposed to be an adversarial proceeding.

Many felt the DOJ was no longer committed to the reform process and that it was time for the appointment of a Special Master to take over APD.

During the May 11 meeting, I went over past monitors reports and requested the US Attorney file a Motion for Contempt of Court and seek sanctions against the City and APD command staff for intentional violation of the settlement agreement.

I also suggested that given the recent monitors report of noncompliance by APD, the Department of Justice should seek the appointment of a Special Master to take over APD with both requests declined.

Mr. Saucedo asserted the DOJ was committed to the reform process and would work with any new APD Chief if one is appointed after the October 2 election of a new Mayor.

The number one worry that many people have is that the current command staff, including the current chief, will tell the monitor and the federal judge that so much progress has been made that it would be ill-advised to replace them and that they need to stay and complete the work that they started.

Another worry is that the City will seek dismissal of the CASA before the October 2, 2017 municipal election arguing that there has been substantial compliance with the settlement and that shootings and excessive use of force cases are way down.

This is unacceptable given APD’s history of noncompliance and resistance to the reforms.

No doubt Mayor Berry would love to say before he leaves office “Mission Accomplished” and when he runs for Governor and when it comes to reforming the very police department he and his appointed Chief’s have destroyed.

“Be My Friend, Godfather?”

There are eight (8) candidates running for Mayor of Albuquerque that have been qualified by the Albuquerque City Clerk and who will appear on the Tuesday, October 3, 2017 ballot:

1. Republican Ricardo Chaves, founder of Parking Company of America
2. Democrat Brian Colon, Former Democratic Party Chair and private attorney
3. Independent Michelle Garcia Holmes, retired APD Detective
4. Republican Wayne Johnson, Bernalillo County Commissioner
5. Democrat Timothy Keller, first term State Auditor
6. Republican Dan Lewis, Albuquerque City Councilor
7. Democrat Gus Pedrotty, UNM College Graduate and community activist
8. Democrat Susan Wheeler-Deichel, founder of civic group Urban ABQ

NOTE: Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta qualified to be on the ballot but on May 27, 2017 withdrew from the race and is no longer a candidate.

There are seventeen (17) candidates running for five (5) Albuquerque City Council seats who are still in the process of gathering signatures to qualify to get the ballot.

Following is a listing of the Albuquerque City Council candidates:

City Council District 1
1. Three term Incumbent Democratic City Councilor Ken Sanchez
2. Progressive Democrat Javier Benavidez, co-director of Southwest Organizing Project
3. Independent Sandra Mills, Albuquerque native and retired IBM employee
4. Independent Johnny F. Luevano, retired Marine Captain and Presbyterian Health plan employee

City Council District 3

1. First term Incumbent Democrat City Councilor Klarissa Pena
2. Christopher Sedillo, retired US Navy after 26 years

City Council District 5

1. Republican Robert Aragon, private attorney, NM Board of Finance member
2. Democrat Cynthia Borrego, retired City Planner
3. Republican Jose Orozco, owner of business management and consulting firm
4. Independent Catherine Trujillo, provider of workforce placement
5. Phillip Ramirez, party affiliation unknown, construction company project manager
6. Robert Watson (no information available)

City Council District 7

1. First term Democrat incumbent Diane Gibson, retired Sandia National Laboratories employee
2. Independent Timothy Carlton McQueen, December UNM graduate, legislative analyst
3. Republican Eric L. Lucero, retired New Mexico Army National Guard and Air Force

City Council District 9

1. Three term Republican Incumbent Don Harris, private attorney
2. Libertarian Paul Ryan McKenny, Air Force veteran, college student
3. Democrat Byron K. Powdrell, general manager of radio station and Albuquerque native

If no candidate gets 50% or more of the vote in the Mayor’s race or in any City Council race, a runoff will be held one month later between the two top vote getters.

Any successful candidate will need money to finance their campaigns both in the first election and then for the run-off if they make it to the run off.

No doubt those candidates in the runoff will seek and accept help from Measured Finance Committees.


It is anticipated that the Healthy Workforce initiative that requires the payment of sick leave by employers to their employees will be on the October 3, 2017 municipal ballot.

Increasing public financing for Mayor candidates from $380,000 to $640,000 will also be on the October 2, 2017 ballot for voter approval.


Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a Measure Finance Committee is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque.

All Measure Finance Committees must register with the Albuquerque City Clerk, regardless of the group’s registration as a political action committee (PAC) with another governmental entity, county, state or federal.

Measure finance committees must also file financial statements at the same time the candidates running for office report.

There has been only one (1) financial statement disclosure required thus far of the candidates with the next reports due in July.


Measure Finance Committees are required to register with the City Clerk within five (5) days once they have raised or spent more than $250 towards their purpose.

Registration includes receiving the mandatory training for the online campaign finance reporting database which is then made available to the public.

Measure Finance Committee representatives must also identify a chairperson and treasurer at the time of registration.

The Chairperson or Treasurer of the committee are the only individuals authorized to sign the registration forms required by the City Charter.


Measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates.

However, a Measure Finance Committee that receives aggregate contributions more than 30 percent of the Mayor’s salary from one individual or entity, must incorporate the donor’s name into the name of the committee.

For 2016 measure finance committees, that threshold number was $31,156.32 and will be likely be the same in 2017 because the Mayor’s salary has not changed.

No Measure Finance Committee is supposed to coordinate their activities with the individual candidates running for office, but this is a gray area as to what constitutes coordination of activities.


To date, there are three Measure Finance Committees that have registered for the 2017 municipal election:


Purpose listed for Measure Finance Committee: “2017 Municipal Candidates & Public Safety”

Chairperson: Diego Rincon (President of local Firefighter’s Union)
Treasurer: John Roump
Alternate Contact: Kelly Silvis

2. ABQ Forward Together

On May 10, 2017, a “Measure Finance Committee Contact Sheet” was filed with the Albuquerque City Clerk for “ABQ Forward Together” listing as the Committee Chairman a person by the name of Macon Mc Crossen.

The City Clerks web site says that ABQ Forward Together has not registered on the city’s campaign finance system and that information will be updated and the link updated when registration is completed.

The big question is which Mayor or City Council candidate or what ballot initiative is ABQ Forward Together being set up for?


The fact that Measure Finance Committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates is what makes them a major threat to warping and influencing our municipal elections and the outcome.

Any Measure Finance Committee can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and can produce negative ads to destroy any candidate’s reputation and candidacy.

Governor Susana Martinez’s PAC headed up by Jay Mc Clusky is the best example of a PAC or Measure Finance Committee influencing an election when it went after former Majority Leader Senator Michael Sanchez in the 2016 state election with a series of negative and sensational ads and spent upwards of $1 million dollars to defeat Senator Michael Sanchez.

Jay Mc Clusky was also the campaign manager and political consultant for Mayor Richard Berry in both of his runs for Mayor and handling his media.

When you review Berry’s final financial reports for his 2013 re-election taken from the City Clerks web site it’s an eye opener regarding the extent of influence Jay Mc Cluskey and the Republican Party had over Richard Berry.

According to the City Clerks records, Berry raised $904,623.00 in cash and in-kind contributions of $5,176 for a total of $909,799 and of that Berry paid Mc Cleskey Media Stategies $590,811 and Jay Mc Cleskeys’ wife Nicole’s company Public Opinion Strategies $40,255.

Privately financed candidates and campaigns can also solicit and collect unlimited amounts of campaign donations throughout the election cycle including any run-off and can spend as much as they want with no spending limits.

For a supposedly nonpartisan race, Mayor Berry’s 2013 contributors list is top heavy with prominent Republican donors and players including the Republican National Committee, Brewer Oil Company, Western Refining Company, Pete Domenici, Harvey Yates, Micky Barnett, Ed Lujan, Bill Sego, Don Chalmbers, Jon Barela, John Sanchez, Margaret and Turner Branch, Nadine Bicknel, Larry Laranaga , Nate Gentry, Herb Hughes, Sherman McCorkle, Trudy Jones, Michael Brasher, John Ackerman, Bob Stamm, Jack Stahl, Gerry Geist, Justin Fox Young, and Doug Turner just to mention a few.

After his elections, Berry hired Republican operatives Darren White as Chief Public Safety Officer, Rob Perry as City Attorney and then Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Gordon Eden, City Attorney Jessica Hernandez, just to mention three.

It is a possibility that the Governor’s PAC will get involved with this year’s Mayor’s race to assist any one of the three Republican candidates for Mayor who are Dan Lewis, Wayne Johnson or Ricardo Chavez because of the political appointments that are at stake.

It is a possibility that the Governor’s PAC will get involved with this year’s City Council races, especially in City Council District 5 where Republican Robert Aragon, a private attorney and Governor appointed New Mexico Board of Finance member is running.

It was wishful thinking that there would be no Measure Finance Committees in our 2017 municipal election when two (2) have already been set up.

A coalition of 27 businesses and business organizations has also been formed to oppose the Healthy Work Force ordinance in court and at the ballot.

It is more likely than not that the anti-Healthy Workforce coalition will create a Measure Finance Committee, if they have not already, to raise money to oppose the ordinance as well as to promote those candidates for Mayor who oppose the Healthy Workforce ordinance.

Both Republican Dan Lewis and Republican Wayne Johnson oppose the Healthy Workforce ordinance and stand to benefit by their opposition and seek campaign donations from the business coalition opposing the mandatory sick leave ordinance.


A public finance candidate seeking help from a Measured Finance Committees reminds me of the scene in the Godfather where a grieving father goes to the Godfather on the day of his daughter’s wedding and asks for vengeance, and says “Be my friend, Godfather?”

The Godfather agrees to the favor only after his ring is kissed, but makes sure the grieving father knows he is indebted to him and that he may be called upon one day, and that day may never come, to do a service for him.

The federal courts have struck down the matching funds provision for run offs in the city’s campaign finance ordinance.

Notwithstanding, qualifying public financed candidates for Mayor and City Council are given a single lump sum of money from the city they can use to run their initial campaign and if they make it into a run off election, they are given a significantly reduced lump sum amount in public financing for the runoff election.

According to the Albuquerque City Charter for the first election, qualifying public financed candidates for Mayor are given $1.00 per registered voter in the city or approximately $360,000 and if the Mayoral candidate makes it into the runoff, they are given and additional 33 cents per registered voter or approximately $118,000 for the run off.

The city charter provides that for the first election, qualifying public fiance candidates for City Council are given $1.00 per registered voter in their City Council Districts or approximately $35,000 to $40,000, and if the city council candidate makes it into the runoff, they are given and additional 33 cents per registered voter in their district or approximately $12,000 to $14,000 for the run off election.

All public finance campaigns and public finance candidates have to agree to the spending caps in writing and are prohibited from soliciting and asking for donations.

Public finance candidates are at a distinct disadvantage to privately financed candidates and could easily get desperate for money and seek help from a Measure Finance Committees.

It is naive to think that any candidate for Mayor or City Council will refuse or denounce any help from a Measure Finance Committee set up to campaign for them and to help get them elected or help them in a runoff election.

Measure Finance Committees can do all the dirty work for a candidate just like the Governor’s PAC and Jay Mc Clusky did to defeat Senator Sanchez especially in any runoff when the public finance candidate has spent all the campaign money they had to get into the runoff.

It is more likely than not that candidates who are publicly financed will seek from behind the scenes and want the help of a Measure Finance Committee because of the cap on what the public finance candidate agreed to and can spend for the entire election cycle including any runoff.

It is disingenuous and deliberate “political fraud” to voters for any public finance candidate to secure taxpayer money first to run their campaigns, agree in writing to a spending cap, and then have their political operatives solicit or create a Measure Finance Committee to help them get elected and spend massive amounts of money to give them an unfair advantage in the first election and then the runoff.

What service will a Measured Finance Committee demand or expect from the candidate in exchange for their support?

Voters need to follow the money and demand to know where the outside money known as “dark money” is coming from for any Measure Finance Committee and find out exactly who is trying to influence the election for the candidates and who will be pulling the strings of their political puppet, like the Godfather, once elected.

Voters need to beware of the candidates and especially their political consultants who say to Measured Finance Committees “be my friend?”


The influence of big money in elections allowed by the US Supreme Court Decision Citizens United is destroying our democracy.

Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process.

Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.

Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the outcome.

All too often, good, decent and qualified candidates do not run because they cannot raise the money.

Albuquerque municipal elections need campaign finance reform and enforcement, but I doubt we will ever get it in the age of Citizen’s United.

2017 Memorial Day Tribute

On this Memorial Day, I am compelled to pay tribute to members of my family who have given so much and sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and to protect this great country of ours.

My father Paul Dinelli and my Uncle Pete Dinelli, for whom I was named after, both served in the US Army during World War II when the United States went to war with Italy, Germany and Japan.

My father and uncle were first generation born Americans and the sons of Italian immigrants who settled in Albuquerque in the year 1900.

My Uncle Pete Dinelli was killed in action and my father Paul Dinelli was a disabled American Veteran.

My uncles Fred Fresques and Alex Fresques, my mother’s two brothers, also saw extensive combat in World War II and saw action they refused to talk about to anyone after the war.

My father in law, George W. Case, who passed away just two years ago at age 93, served in the US Navy during World War II, saw action, and was so proud of his service that he wore a WW II Veterans cap every day the last few years of his life.

My nephew Dante Dinelli served 20 + years in the US Navy and retired as a Chief Petty Officer.

My two nephews, Matthew Barnes and Brandon Barnes are both currently Captains in the United States Marine Corps.

My nephew Captain Brandon Barnes is a graduate of the US Naval Academy.

My nephew Captain Matthew Barnes graduated from UNM with honors and served a tour in Afghanistan.

To all the wonderful and courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve our country to protect and secure the promise of freedom and the ideals upon which the United States was founded upon, and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I thank you for your service to our Country.

Your service and sacrifices will never be forgotten.

God bless you all and God Bless this great country of ours!

Treason, High Crimes and Misdemeanors

I watched “Meet the Press” this morning, May 28, 2017, as I have done for decades.

The top story was President Trump’s son in law and White House Presidential adviser and employee Jared Kushner trying to set up “back channel” communications and use Russian classified government communications systems to avoid United States government detection and monitoring.

For the first time, I heard the word “treason” and “espionage” used more than once, not only on the attempted backdoor channel set up but as well as the leaking and release of classified information to the Russians and other enemies of our country.

The Russian intervention with our elections was also discussed.

The big question is did President Trump instruct his son-in-law, his presidential or campaign staff to commit treason against his own country to get elected and promote his own financial self interests?

As someone who has read and studied our US Constitution, I always thought it was peculiar that our Founding Fathers would put “treason” as grounds for impeachment of a President, thinking that no duly elected President of the United States would ever commit treason against his own country, now I understand and know why it was put there.

I cannot help but feel that what is beginning to unfold in this country is the impeachment of a sitting President of the United States for treason for the first time in its history.

What also hit home is the fact that tomorrow is Memorial Day when we remember so many who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and our freedoms we cherish.

These are very difficult times for our country.

City Councilor Diane Gibson Needs To Be Voted Out Of Office

When Diane Gibson ran four (4) years ago for City Council, I voted for her as did my extended family without any reservation.

Not this time and never again.

There are two (2) other candidates running against Diane Gibson who are gathering signatures to get on the ballot:

1. Independent Timothy Carlton McQueen, December UNM graduate, legislative analyst
2. Republican Eric L. Lucero, retired New Mexico Army National Guard and Air Force

I do hope others will run so we will have other choices.

Not surprising, Gibson is the only one seeking public financing in that she made sure the existing public finance laws favor incumbents when she sat on a charter review task force.

Candidate seeking public finance in city council races have until May 31 to secure the $5 donations.

All the three candidates have until June 28, 2017 to gather 500 qualifying signatures from voters in the District.


Police officers are being called out to a vacant bank foreclosed house in our neighborhood almost daily.

The house has now been vacant for five (5) years and continues to deteriorate with ceilings falling in and mold damage from roof leaks.

There is another vacant house a few blocks from us that is in far worse shape, it is boarded up, and is broken in to on a regular basis, and has been vacant for at least eight (8) years.

Just a little over six weeks ago in the morning, another neighbor had her front door kicked in and had all her jewelry stolen and it was lucky she was not home.

My City Councilor Diane Gibson refuses to address the problem, or any problem of crime in our area, by saying there is nothing she can do as a City Councilor.

Despite repeated requests by my neighbors and the neighborhood associations, Gibson refuses to request the City Attorney’s Office to initiate a nuisance abatement lawsuit or introduce condemnation resolutions against any vacant, substandard houses in her City Council District.

In the four (4) years she has been a city councilor, Gibson has not to my knowledge introduced a single condemnation action.

Something needs to be done before someone gets hurt or killed at these properties.

Gibson now wants to form a “citizen’s committee” to study and make recommendations for legal options.

The city attorneys either do not know what they are doing, do not know the law, or are afraid of a courtroom.

For eight (8) years, I was a Deputy City Attorney and Director of the Safe City Strike Force which at one time comprised of upwards of 30 to 40 participants.

The Strike Force would take actions against and file civil nuisance abatement lawsuits against substandard properties that had become magnets for crime.

I would file civil nuisance abatement and code enforcement actions in State District Court against properties while the Planning Department prepared condemnations.

The Strike Force never lost a nuisance abatement case filed in State District Court when I went to court.

Virtually all the condemnation actions filed by the Planning Department were successful.

The law has not changed since I left City Hall, but the City Council’s commitment and the Mayor’s Office commitment to addressing nuisance and substandard properties has with the Safe City Strike Force existing in name only with only a Director and perhaps a few inspectors.

Gibson needs to stop misleading her constituents and wasting our time with a “citizen’s committee” to study and make recommendations.

The City Attorney’s Office already know the legal options and what can be done, and need to file civil complaints in State District Court as well as condemnation actions.


FIRST: Gibson voted repeatedly for and supported Mayor Berry’s ART Bus project and funding. Gibson said to a neighborhood association meeting she “was tired of carrying the Mayor’s water” on the project. Gibson refused to advocate to put ART on the ballot for public approval, saying it was the Mayor’s project. Gibson voted to spend federal grant money that has yet, and may never be, appropriated by congress. The ART Bus project has been a total disaster resulting the destruction of the character of Route 66 and having a negative impact and resulting in a number of businesses going out of business. Gibson did not attend a single public meeting that was sponsored by the administration to listen to constituent’s complaints on the project.

SECOND: Gibson told her constituents at a neighborhood association meeting to their shock she cannot do anything about the numerous vacant and boarded up homes declared and posted substandard in her district. The properties have become magnets for crime with numerous calls for service to police and the boarded-up homes bring down property values. Each city councilor is given $1 million out of the general fund to designate for use on projects in their districts and the money could be used for tear-downs. The truth is that Gibson could introduce condemnation resolutions to force property owners to do something about their properties but she refuses to act. For 8 years, I was a Deputy City Attorney and Director of the Safe City Strike Force and we routinely initiated civil lawsuits or condemnation proceeding against substandard properties and we torn down condemned properties including residential buildings and motels along Central.

THIRD: Gibson declined to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance. Gibson served on a task force that was supposed to come up with major changes to our public finance ordinance. Gibson said “it’s supposed to be hard to qualify” and said it keeps out people “who are not serious candidates”, as if she should be the one deciding who are serious candidates. The only change proposed is increasing the amount of money candidates get and not the process and the lack of changes to the public finance laws favors incumbents such as Gibson.

FOURTH: The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)including controlling its budget. Gibson has done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Monitor has presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Gibson has declined to demand accountability from the Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms. Gibson failed to attend any number of the federal court hearings on the consent decree.

FIFTH: Gibson takes credit as the sponsor of the city ordinance amendments requiring equal pay for woman. The truth is that the equal pay ordinance only applies to city contracts and those who do business with the city. The ordinance is voluntary and gives preferential treatment on city contracts to those who voluntarily comply. The equal pay for woman ordinance should apply to all businesses licensed to do business in Albuquerque and it should be mandatory.

SIXTH: Gibson has never demanded the City Attorney’s office to enforce the existing Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance. Gibson claims to be in favor of increasing the minimum wage, but has never demanded that the Mayor direct the City Attorney to enforce the current city ordinance enacted by voters with a 2 to 1 margin. Currently there is a class action lawsuit where minimum wage workers are being force to defend the city minimum wage ordinance without city hall intervention or help.

SEVENTH: Gibson voted for the final adoption of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers. She declined to vote the deferral of enactment of the ordinance to allow more established neighborhoods to give input on the ordinance. The ABC-Z project rewrite is nothing more than making “gentrification” an official city policy and the “gutting” of long standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character for the sake of development.

EIGHTH: Gibson voted for $13 million dollars in revenue bonds to pay for the ART Bus project that was not voted upon by the public. The $13 million allocation should have been part of the capital improvements (CIP) program.

NINTH: Gibson voted for over $63 million dollars over the past two years in revenue bonds to build pickle ball courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down Central not seeking public input and bypassing the capital improvements process (CIP) that mandates public votes. The use of revenue bonds is discretionary with the City Council requiring seven (7) votes and revenue bonds do not require significant review and public hearings as is required with capital improvement bonds.

TENTH: Gibson voted to award Taser International, a five-year, $4.4 million contract for 2,000 on-body cameras for police officers, and cloud storage despite the fact the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is investigating the $2 million no-bid contract the city entered with Taser in 2013 because former Police Chief Ray Schultz began consulting work for Taser while he was still
on the city’s payroll. This is one contract that should not have been approved because there is an ongoing investigation.


Dianne Gibson is part of the problem with city hall for any number of reasons.

Gibson needs to go either voluntarily or voted out of office.

The qualifying period to collect signatures to get on the ballot will end June 30, 2017.

I hope both of Gibson’s opponents and others will get on the ballot so I can vote for someone other than City Councilor Diane Gibson.

It’s Dangerous To Drive Streets of Albuquerque

It is downright laughable when APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza says that DWI arrests are down because APD believes “people are just being responsible”.

“The crashes are down, the fatalities are down and actual DWI citations are down and the ride share is up. That’s what we think is good news,” says Celina Espinoza to Channel 13.

What city and what world is Espinoza living in?

The truth is it’s dangerous to drive the streets of Albuquerque.

DWI felony and misdemeanor arrests, arraignments and convictions are down to dangerous levels.

Careless and reckless drivers who do not obey simple traffic laws are commonplace, yet it is difficult to see any marked police units patrolling our streets and freeways.


The statistics from the Bernalillo County Metro Court are alarming and reveal just how bad things are with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) being unable to patrol our streets, get drunks off the road, make DWI arrests and issue traffic citations and prosecute cases.

In 2008, there were 633 felony DWI arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 104 in 2015.

In 2008, there were 6,538 DWI/DUI misdemeanor arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 2,942 in 2015.

In 2008, there were 84,527 traffic court arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 31,163 in 2015.


According to the Berry Administration 2017 budget, the Albuquerque Police Department made more than 2,200 DWI arrests a few years ago.

In contrast, APD made only made 775 DWI arrests in the first six months of the current budget year.

In otherwords, DWI arrests are down around 30 percent.

A decade ago, APD was making more than 5,000 DWI arrests a year.

The Bernalillo County Metropolitan court handles cases for virtually all law enforcement agencies that make arrests in Bernalillo County, including the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department (BCSO) and the New Mexico State Police.

The largest percentage of cases arraigned in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan court is for APD cases.

In 2009, there were 746 people arraigned for felony DWI and that number dropped to a mere 104 in 2015.

In 2008, there were 6,538 people arraigned for misdemeanor DWI and in 2015 that number dropped by close to 60% to 2,942.

First, second and third DWI offense convictions are misdemeanors, and depending on the number of the conviction, carry penalties of between 6 months to 3 years license revocation, 90 to 364 days in jail, $500 to $1,000 fine, up to 5 years probation, and may include other mandatory penalties such as alcohol evaluation, DWI school, community service, treatment, and ignition interlock for 2 years.

Fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or subsequent DWI convictions are felonies and depending on the conviction number, carry penalties of lifetime license revocation, 6 months mandatory prison time up to 3 years in prison, up to a $5,000 fine, mandatory alcohol evaluation, and lifetime interlock.

Aggravated DWI is where a person’s breath alcohol test is above a .16 BAC (breathalyzer), or there is a refusal to take the BAC test or if bodily injury while driving while intoxicated is caused, with mandatory jail time of 2 days for the first offense, 4 days in jail for second offense and 60 days in jail for the third offense.

The silence by the press and anti-DWI advocates is deafening given the serious drop in DWI arraignments and convictions.


In 2006, as a Deputy City Attorney, I was tasked with implementing the Traffic Court Arraignment Program where Assistant City Attorneys and paralegals were hired and assigned to the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court to negotiate plea agreements in traffic cases at the time of arraignments.

A Metropolitan Judge is assigned on a rotating basis to approve the plea agreements negotiated, and on any given day as many as 500 cases can be negotiated, resolved and approved by the Court.

When a person is stopped and issued traffic citations, the citing sworn officer determines if the driver will contest the citations and if the driver wants to contest the citations an arraignment date and time is immediately scheduled.

The Metropolitan Traffic arraignment program streamlined the process, saves time and money and negates the appearance of police officers at the arraignments.

There are upwards of 170 different traffic violation citations that can be issued by sworn law enforcement.

The most common traffic citations include speeding, reckless driving, careless driving, failing to stop, improper lane change, no registration, no insurance, suspended drivers license, failing to yield, and open container.

Fines for traffic citation carry civil penalties as low as $5.00 to as much as $1,000 in fines.

Failure to have insurance for example is a $1,000 fine.

The average Metropolitan Traffic Court arraignment case results in court fees and fines anywhere from $65 to upwards of $250.

In 2009, there were 86,175 traffic arraignment cases in Metro Court and in 2015 traffic cases dropped to 31,163, or over 55,000 fewer traffic citations.

Fewer cases results in fewer fines and it has a direct fiscal impact on court programs such as DWI education programs.


In November 2015, it was reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety found that New Mexico had the second-worst drivers in the country, according to a car-insurance comparison group.

(For full story see November 27, 2015 Albuquerque Journal article “New Mexico Drivers second worse in the country,

No doubt the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court statistics contributed significantly to the statistics because it is the largest and busiest court in the state and in the largest city in New Mexico.

The study ranked states based on fatalities per miles driven, speeding, drunken driving, careless driving, and other moving citations per capita, according to the Albuquerque Journal article.

According to the study, New Mexico ranked fifth for the most careless driving cases, 10th for the most drunken driving arrests, 17th in traffic fatalities, 12th for speeding and 16th for other types of citations.


In 2010, the APD traffic unit had more than 34 officers and today there are less than 12.

There is a direct correlation with the dramatic decline in the number of DWI arrests and arraignments and traffic arrangement cases and the severe decline in APD personnel.

The December 11, 2015 Albuquerque Police Department Comprehensive Staffing Assessment and Resource Study prepared by Alexander Weiss for the Department of Justice concluded that APD needs at least 1,000 sworn officers.

The Weiss report concluded that 1,000 sworn police officers were sufficient for Albuquerque provided that APD officers did not respond to certain low priority calls such as minor traffic accidents or false alarm calls.

In 2009, APD had 1,100 police officers with approximately 700 assigned to field services, patrolling our streets over three shifts.

Seven years ago, response times were at 8.5 minutes, below the national average.

In 2009, APD command staff recommended that Albuquerque needed at least 1,200 sworn officers for community based policing and felony prosecutions.

The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 officers to 850 over the past seven years.

In 2015, APD has 841 sworn police officers with only 440 assigned to the field services patrolling responding to 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year.

Today, in 2017, APD employs 836 sworn police officers with 430 assigned to the field services, divided into three shifts, to patrol the streets and take Priority 1 calls

It takes an average of 15 minutes to dispatch a police officer to 911 emergency calls, which endangers public safety.


Based on review of the Metropolitan Court statistics, DWI arrest and traffic code enforcement are a very low priority of APD, not out of desire, but out of necessity.

With APD field officers responding to over 69,000 priority one calls a year, not to mention thousands of lower priority calls, it is surprising the statistics are not worse at Metropolitan Court.

APD can no longer be proactive with DWI and traffic enforcement.

The net result is that Albuquerque streets are dangerous to drive.