Appoint Special Master To Take Over APD To Implement Reforms

Many thanks to the Albuquerque Journal for publishing my guest editorial commentary.

(See May 25, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-7, “APD is going in the wrong direction on reform; Latest federal report shows an out-of-control department that desperately needs new leadership.)

The Department of Justice and the US Attorney should seek contempt of court and sanctions against the APD command staff for deliberate noncompliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement and seek appointment of a special master to take over APD.

The entire APD chain of command must be removed and replaced with a new generation of leadership and not from within the ranks of APD.

Following is the full text of the letter:

Federal Monitor James Ginger issued his fifth report on the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) progress on implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) reforms.

The report is very critical of APD’s high ranking supervisors and command-level officers, accusing them of “deliberate non-compliance”.

Ginger reports his team noticed a “palpable shift” in the police department’s approach to reform and found supervisors and command-level officers made “too many lapses when reviewing use-of-force cases”.

The Monitor complains the lack of scrutiny given by the department’s highest ranking officer’s in use of force cases is “mystifying” and “startling”.

How many times does the Federal Monitor have to tell the Federal Court that APD is not complying with the federal court settlement order, has mislead the Court, before a “Motion for Contempt of Court” is filed seeking contempt of court sanctions and requesting a Special Master be appointed?

In his second report, the Monitor accused the City Attorney of “delay, do little and deflect” tactics saying his relationship with her was “a little rougher than most” compared with attorneys in cities where he has overseen police reform.

In the July 1, 2016 third progress report, the monitor found “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.”

In the November 1, 2016 fourth progress report, the monitor found that when “excessive use of force” incidents are investigated by the APD Critical Incident Team, it “[deploys] carefully worded excuses, apparently designed not to find fault with officer actions” and “[uses] language and terminology apparently designed to absolve officers and supervisors of their responsibility to follow certain CASA related provisions”.

The May 1, 2017 fifth report is the most damning and critical report to date when the monitor found that APD “subverted” the reform process by issuing “covert special orders,” actually 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”.

The DOJ should seek “contempt of court” and sanctions against the APD command staff for “deliberate non-compliance” and seek appointment of a Special Master to take over APD.

The entire APD chain of command must be removed and replaced with a new generation of leadership and not from within the ranks of APD.

A national search must be conducted to identify and hire a new Chief of Police, hire new Deputy Chiefs and a new chain of command to assume control of APD.

The City Council can mandate civilian management over APD with a civilian Police Commissioner to assume responsibility for implementation of the DOJ reforms.

APD has repeatedly shown it cannot police itself and APD Internal Affairs should be abolished.

APD Internal Affairs functions to investigate police misconduct cases and use of force cases can be done without using sworn police.

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

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

Until there is a change in the entire APD command staff, we can expect to continue to be “mystified” and “startled” by the lack of progress and “deliberate non-compliance” of the DOJ consent decree mandated reforms and the disappearance of the DOJ reforms into the black hole known as APD.


I attended the 2017 Mayoral Forum sponsored by the NM Political Report and the Weekly Alibi.

Six of the nine candidates participated: Democrat Deanna Archuleta, Democrat Brian Colon, Democrat Timothy Keller, Republican Dan Lewis, Democrat Gus Pedrotty and Democrat Susan Wheeler-Deichel.

Absent from the forum were Independent Michelle Garcia Holmes, Republican Ricardo Chaves, and Republican Wayne Johnson.

All six candidates held their own with no major gaffs that would be a game changer.

The one major mistake of fact was made by State Auditor Tim Keller.

Keller said Albuquerque has a $900 million dollar “permanent fund” that could be better invested to produce more interest to be applied to city projects.

The City has no such “permanent fund” and Keller may be confused with the State of New Mexico’s permanent fund.

The city does have a “risk management” fund which can only be used for projected lawsuit liabilities an no other purpose and the fund must be maintained at a certain level or the city will lose its “self insured” status.

Keller’s mistake of fact reveals he needs to educate himself more on city finance and budget matters.

Frankly, I was surprised how much the candidates agreed on major issues but also delighted that issues are finally beginning to be talked about.

All six (6) candidates agreed that Chief Gordon Eden should be replaced and that the Albuquerque Police Department wasn’t doing enough to meet the Department of Justice consent decree reforms.

All six (6) candidates said they would support relocating Syrian refugees to Albuquerque.

Newcomer Gus Pedrotty, given his age, walked away the biggest winner of the evening showing great poise, passion for the city and downright knowledge of the issues with solutions.

Mr. Pedrotty made it clear he can go “toe to toe” with the more seasoned people who were on the stage.

Gus was a breath of fresh air.

I do want to make it very clear that I have not endorsed any one of the candidates and have not decided who to support for Mayor.

The forum was a good beginning of a healthy discussion of all the issues facing Albuquerque.

A “lightening round” was held where the candidates were asked eleven questions that required a YES, NO or a “IT’S COMPLICATED” answer.

Following are the candidates questions and answers to the lightening round questions that I took the liberty to condense so as not to make them complicated:

1. If elected Mayor, will you make yourself available to answer any and all questions, no matter how complicated, from any news media outlet?

Archuleta: YES
Colon: YES
Keller: YES
Lewis: YES
Pedrotty: YES
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

2. Do you favor City and County consolidation of law enforcement (APD and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office) under one governing authority?

Archuleta: YES
Keller: NO
Lewis: YES
Pedrotty: NO
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

3. Do you favor a “no settlement” policy in police misconduct civil cases seeking damages mandating trial on the merits and for a jury to decide damages?

Colon: NO
Lewis: NO
Pedrotty: NO
Wheeler-Deichel: NO

4. Do you feel the City of Albuquerque and APD should be involved with the enforcement of President Trump’s Executive Order on enforcing immigration laws?

Archuleta: NO
Keller: NO
Lewis: NO
Pedrotty: NO
Wheeler-Deichel: NO

5. Do you support a program relocating Syrian refugees to Albuquerque?

Archuleta: YES
Colon: YES
Keller: YES
Lewis: YES
Pedrotty: YES
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

6. Bi-linguel education programs have been eliminated by the Albuquerque school system. Do you support re-establishing such programs?

Archuleta: YES
Colon: YES
Keller: YES
Lewis: YES
Pedrotty: YES
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

7. Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults?

Archuleta: YES
Keller: YES
Lewis: NO
Pedrotty: YES
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

8. Is the Albuquerque Police Department responding adequately to the Department of Justice mandated reforms?

Archuleta: NO
Colon: NO
Keller: NO
Lewis: NO
Pedrotty: NO
Wheeler-Deichel: NO

9. Should the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be required to secure a federal warrant before being given access to prison transport facilities to screen and take into custody anyone who may be in the United States illegally and for deportation?

Archuleta: YES
Colon: YES
Keller: YES
Lewis: NO
Pedrotty: YES
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

10 Will you replace Chief Gordon Eden?

Archuleta: YES
Colon: YES
Keller: YES
Lewis: YES
Pedrotty: YES
Wheeler-Deichel: YES

11. Has the TV series “Breaking Bad” been good for Albuquerque or its image?

Wheeler-Deichel: IT’S COMPLICATED

The candidates in a separate question gave their positions on Albuquerque’s minimum wage increase and the mandatory sick leave, or Healthy Work Force, ordinance.

All six (6) candidates support Albuquerque’s minimum wage ordinance which was enacted a few years ago by voters and which increased the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.

All the candidates except Dan Lewis support the mandatory sick leave ordinance, with Lewis claiming it will be a “job killer” and will result in unnecessary government regulation.

Not Feeling Safe To Sleep In Your Own Home

Damn, it is a very sad commentary when people are afraid to sleep in their own homes for fear of getting murdered as reported in this Channel 7 report regarding the neighbors of the 87 year old woman found murdered in her home.

No suspects and no motive for the murder have been identified.

Yet we have a Chief of Police and a Mayor that does not even try to assure people in any manner that is just not the case.

But then again, why should they when they know it’s true.

The murdered victims neighbors were afraid to appear on camera out of fear that the murderer may target them and return.

The neighbors report that they are frustrated with APD not giving them any information on what happened or how their neighbor was killed.

You would think the Chief or at least his designate would try and meet with the neighbors to discuss the case and make some assurances on their safety.

Many of the neighbors said they no longer go out at night and have changed their habits and have taken extra precautions to protect themselves.

It is as though the people of Albuquerque have become so numb to our rising crime rates, accept this as the new norm, and do not have any outrage to hold Berry and Eden at all accountable for the rising crime rates and what they have done to what was at one time one of the best law enforcement agencies in the country.

Berry and Eden are on their way out in five (5) months and have done nothing in the last three years to address our violent crime and property crime problem except blame the Court’s and the legislature.

Albuquerque’s violent and property crime rates have hit a 10 year high.

According to the Bernalillo County District Attorneys Office, from 2009 to 2015, Albuquerque’s violent crime rate jumped 21.5% and the city is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rated dropped by 13.7%. (See June 23, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, Justice council challneges DA’s criticism of court rules.)

In 2015, there were 34,082 property crimes with a 15% increase.

Murders spiked from 30 in 2014 to 46 in 2015.

In 2015, Albuquerque’s violent crimes jumped by 9.6% and property crimes increased by 11.7%.

Seven years ago, APD had 1,100 sworn police officer and response times had been brought down below the national average and crime rates were hitting historical lows.

Today, APD has 826 sworn police officers with only 430 patrolling our streets with response times at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond.

December 1, 2017 when we will be swearing in a new Mayor and hopefully a new Chief cannot come soon enough so that just maybe things can start to change and people can start feeling safe in their homes again.

A Solution to “The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling” Problem

Chief Gordon Eden has issued a special order instructing APD police officers to issue misdemeanor citations for nonviolent misdemeanor crimes such as drinking in public, marijuana possession, prostitution, shoplifting, theft under $500 which is a misdemeanor, littering, panhandling, trespass and “when there are no circumstances necessitating an arrest”.

(See May 22, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article, page A-1 “APD chief: Citations are OK for some crimes; Misdemeanors affected include marijuana possession.)

Criminal misdemeanor charges can carry time in jail and/or fines.

The operating words in the directive are “nonviolent misdemeanor”.

Violent felony crime offenses still require and arrest by police.

The new special order does not make any changes to overall police policy.

In 2001, when I was the Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, I recall then APD Chief Jerry Galvin issuing an identical order advising APD officers to issue misdemeanor citations for misdemeanor crimes where appropriate and officers could still decide when to make an arrest of someone.

The special order makes sense seeing as that most misdemeanors are nonviolent, do not involve immediate physical harm and physical threat to the public, do not warrant a defendant to be taken into custody and held in jail until arraignment contributing to jail overcrowding.

A misdemeanor conviction still results in a criminal record as do citations.

The new directive does not interfere with a police officer’s ability to make an arrest for a misdemeanor crime where the circumstances warrant it, such as when a defendant exhibits a bad attitude and becomes belligerent with a police officer and tries to resist or attempts to flee or assaults the officer.

The special order is a result of a settlement of a twenty (20) year old federal lawsuit filed over jail overcrowding, jail conditions and the treatment of the mentally ill.

The federal lawsuit was filed twenty (20) years ago before the construction of the Metropolitan Detention Center on the west side and when the old detention center downtown was in use.

The downtown detention center could only house 850 and was always overcrowded 300 to 400 over maximum capacity which lead to the federal lawsuit and the eventual construction of the new jail.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is said to be in favor of the new APD order because it will allow the DA to concentrate on violent crimes and repeat offenders.

What is noteworthy is that the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office has a Metropolitan Court Division that employs upwards of 25 Assistant District Attorneys that prosecute DWI cases and other cases requiring a court record such as jury trials.

When a person is arrested, they are taken into custody and must be transported to the West Side jail and held until they are arraigned before a judge on the charges or until they are able to bail out of jail which may take a few days and which contributes to overcrowding of the jail and requires expenditure of resources for feeding and housing.

The overwhelming majority of misdemeanor cases are prosecuted by police officers and not the District Attorney’s Office and are referred to as “officer prosecutions” and police officers must appear at misdemeanor arraignments and trials.

The Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association (APOA) now cries like “chicken little” saying the sky is falling and says the order “is the last thing Albuquerque and the community needs right now” and predicts that more misdemeanor citations will strain and already over worked police department since officers should appear in court themselves to prosecute the cases.

More misdemeanor citations should not strain and already over worked police department and should reduce field officers field work load by not having to take people into custody.

The problem declared by the union can be solved by the City and the District Attorney’s office cooperating with each other with the expansion of the Metropolitan Traffic Arraignment Program to a Misdemeanor Arraignment Program.

What the new APD misdemeanor citation policy also means is that when an “undocumented” person or a person who is in this country illegally is stopped by police and given a misdemeanor citation, they will not be arrested and taken to the jail by APD and they will not be screened by Immigration and Naturalization (ICE) nor taken into custody by ICE and deported.


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.

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

In 2009, there were 86,175 traffic arraignment cases in Metro Court handled by the City’s traffic arraignment program.

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.

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 and prosecuting traffic cases.

The City’s Traffic Court Arraignment Program could be expanded to include virtually all misdemeanor citations but it will require the Bernalillo County District Attorney to assign his prosecutors to assist or take over the program to be effective in handling the volume of cases.

Under the new special order instructing APD police officers to issue misdemeanor citations for nonviolent misdemeanor crimes, the citing sworn officer could proceed to schedule the arraignment date and time at the expanded misdemeanor arraignment program where prosecutors could then handle the arraignments instead of police officers or negotiate a plea deal.

The expansion of the traffic arraignment program to include all misdemeanors would also reduce police overtime seeing as that APD officers under their contract are entitled to be paid two (2) hours minimum in overtime to attend court hearings that may last only fifteen minutes which is usually the case for criminal arraignments

If a Defendant fails to appear for the arraignment, a bench warrant for an arrest would be issued.

The last thing the City and the County need right now is an overcrowded jail with nonviolent criminals when the jail should be filed with violent repeat offenders.

The Party Will Soon Be Over (Maybe)

According to the City of Albuquerque web site, there are approximately 5,800 City of Albuquerque employees.

Roughly 5,200 are considered “classified employees” who are covered by the city’s personnel rules and regulations, who have vested rights including retirement benefits, sick leave and annual leave benefits and who can only be terminated for cause.

Disciplinary actions such as suspensions, demotions and termination can be appealed by classified employees to the City Personnel Board.

There are 223 full time “ungraded” positions at City Hall, who are in unclassified positions and “at-will” employees who can be terminated “without cause” and who work at the pleasure of the Mayor or the City Council. (See City of Albuquerque Pay Rate Report, Ungraded Employees on City web site.)

“Ungraded employees” or exempt employees do not have the same vested rights classified employees have and have no appeal rights to the City Personnel Board for disciplinary action so when they are fired, they are in fact gone with little or no recourse.

I was an ungraded or unclassified employee for both the State and City for over 28 years and retired in 2009 from government service.

When you become an “ungraded” employee or unclassified employee, the reward is a much higher salary and the risk is having no real job security, but there is great professional satisfaction in the work you can do and far more job opportunities in government.

Virtually all City Hall Department Directors are “ungraded employees” and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and can be terminated without cause.

I recall vividly eight years ago during the transition period from the day of the election to when Mayor Berry took office on December 1, 2009, his transition team sent a political operative to walk around the Mayor’s office to get the correct spelling off name plates for those who worked for Mayor Martin Chavez so the designated new Chief Administrative Officer could send out letters to those employees telling them their services to the City would no longer be needed after December 1, 2009.

I found out that I would no longer be employed when Berry held a press conference and announced Darren White as my replacement, but it did not matter because I was retiring.

Mayor Berry has a little over five (5) months left in office, and it’s a sure bet many of the “ungraded” or “unclassified” employees who are staunch Berry loyalists will now try to transfer to positions within city hall to classified positions, even if it means a demotion and a reduction in pay, to be kept employed by the City.

City hall salaries are paid on an hourly rate with 2080 working hours in a year.

Mayor Berry is paid $49.93 an hour or $102, 814 a year.

The next Mayor will be paid $125,000 with the increase approved by a city task force established by a voter approved charter amendment created to set elected officials salaries.

City Councilors are currently paid $8.41 an hour or $17, 492.80 a year.

Following are thirty one (31) “ungraded” or “unclassified” City Hall employees I suspect are either updating their resumes and looking for employment elsewhere outside City Hall or are trying to find classified positions at City Hall to be transferred into before Berry leaves office and the new Mayor is sworn in December 1, 2017:

Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, paid $92.29 an hour or $191,963.20 a year.
APD Chief Gordon Eden, paid $81.00 an hour or $168,480 a year.
BIOPARK Chief Executive Officer James Allen, paid $77.48 an hour or $161,158.40 a year.
Director of Behavioral Sciences Nils Rosenbaum, paid $76.50 an hour or $159,120 a year.
Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan, paid $73.53 an hour or $152,942.40 a year.
City Attorney Jessica M. Hernandez, paid $72.99 an hour or $151,819.20 a year.
Fire Chief David W. Downey, paid $64.09 an hour or $134,992 a year.
Mayor’s Chief of Staff Gilbert A. Montano, paid $61.27 an hour or $127,441 a year.
Director of Solid Waste Department John W. Soladay, $55.99 an hour or $116,459.20 a year.
Assistant APD Chief Robert Huntsman, paid $57.43 an hour or $119,454.40 a year.
APD Executive Director William R. Slausen, paid $53.82 an hour or $111,945.60 a year.
Environmental Health Director Mary L. Leonard, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196,80 a year.
Parks and Recreation Director Barbara Taylor, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196,80 a year.
Senior Affairs Director Jorja Armijo -Brasher, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 year.
Animal Welfare Director Paul R. Caster, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
Cultural Services Director Dana N. Feldman, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
Planning Department Director Suzanne G. Lubar, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
Human Resources Director Mary L. Scott, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
Mark T. Leach, Manager of Technology Services, paid $53.04 an hour or $110,323.20 a year.
Family Community Services Director Douglas Chaplin, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 a year.
Transit Director Bruce A. Rizzieri, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 a year.
Assistant Transit Director Dayna G. Crawford, paid $45.11 an hour or $93,828 a year.
Economic Department Director Gary L. Oppedahl, paid $51.27 an hour or $106,641.60 a year.
Police Emergency Communications Manager Erika L. Wilson, paid $50.38 and hour or $104,790.40 a year.
Aviation Director (Airport) James D. Hinde, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.
City Clerk Natalie Y. Howard, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.
Finance and Administrative Services Director Lou Hoffman, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.
311 Citizens Contact Center Division Manager Maria C. Prothero, paid $43.71 an hour or $90.916.80 a year.
Mayor’s Director of Constituent Services Alan E. Armijo, paid $39.71 an hour or $82,596 a year.
Director of Office of Emergency Management Roger L. Ebner, paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 a year.
Real Time Crime Center Manager TJ Wilham, paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 a year.
APD Major and Academy Director Jessica Tyler, paid $51.26 an hour or $106,620 a year.
(NOTE: Major APD Tyler is not listed as an ungraded employee but is “at will” as an APD Major.)

The average salaries paid Department Directors under the previous administration were around $91,000 a year, so Berry has paid 25% to 45% percent more to his unclassified Department Directors, at will employees, while rank and file classified employee’s were given 1% to 3% raises over the last eight (8) years.

When first elected, Berry unilaterally decided not to pay union negotiated pay raises such as police and fire raises declaring a budget shortfall and the Republican controlled city council refused to increases taxes while Berry cut essential services.

Three years into his first term, Berry ordered pay reductions, but did allow for a 1% pay raise to city workers making under $30,000, all the while his Department Directors were paid their hefty salaries.

The foregoing figures are base hourly pay only.

The final figures for wages paid would include wages, both regular and overtime, as well as longevity, shift differential, incentive pays, and other “special pays” for the employees.

My only hope is that when the new Mayor is elected, that person’s transition team shows a little more class than Berry did and some respect in terminating people.

My best wishes to any of those leaving the Berry Administration in five months and I wish them well on their future endeavors outside of City Hall.

The nine (9) candidates running for Mayor need to start thinking about exactly how and who they will want to replace and who they want to surround themselves with if they are elected Mayor.

It’s a lot easier to run for office and far more difficult to govern and find competent people who can do the job who are qualified and not just political operatives, supporters and campaign workers.

“Time To Make The Donuts”

I remember listening to Mayor Berry a few years ago speaking at an annual economic development conference sponsored by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Berry referred to New Mexico as the “donut” hole of economic development in the Southwest.

Berry’s message was that we could not do much to turn our economy around and we could not compete with surrounding states with no mention of really trying in any meaningful way and no suggestion of any kind of an economic development plan for Albuquerque.

Berry referred to his appointed Economic Development Director Gary Oppedahl as a “serial entrepreneur” when he appointed him and Berry was confident that his Economic Development Department would get the job done to help diversify our economy, get away from our reliance on the federal government spending and 20,000 jobs would be created by his efforts which never materialized.

During the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has been a failure and has not attracted a single new industry to Albuquerque.

The only bright spot for Albuquerque’s Economic Development Division has been the promotion of “the film industry”, which was started under the previous administration.

The New Mexico film industry is a major and emerging industry in Albuquerque and New Mexico that is a key to diversifying our economy, and one which the Mayor and the Governor have failed to recognize, especially our Governor when she called for a major reduction in film industry tax subsidies.

Mayor Berry, his supporters and in particular his political operatives at the Economic Forum, Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Business Coalition and all of his NAIOP construction buddies have done well for themselves during the last eight (8) years thanks to Berry and have done very little or next to nothing to help diversify our economy and attract new industry and jobs as they watch Albuquerque and New Mexico continue in an economic death spiral.

Organizations like NAIOP and its membership can always count on Berry to deliver government construction contract work to them like the ART Bus project and not try to even attract private investors and industries to diversify our economy.

Smiles and public statements of false hopes and inflated expectations of Berry’s government funding for entrepreneurial projects like “Innovate Albuquerque ” and “ABQid” have not and will not end our downward economic spiral.

Political insiders and pundits are saying Berry is running for Governor of New Mexico.

My hope is that Berry and Oppedhal get a Dunkin Donuts franchise so they can make all the worthless donut holes they want and get out of City and State Government once and for all.

Following is an article published on May 17, in the Albuquerque Free Press written by reporter Dennis Domrzalski that explains how New Mexico has become the “donut hole” for economic development in the Southwest.

NM Left In The Dust While Other States Boom

• May 17, 2017
• BY: Dennis Domrzalski, Albuquerque Free Press

State’s Economy Relies Less on Market Sector

So just how bad has New Mexico’s economic growth been over the years, especially when compared to surrounding states?

The simple answer: awful and dead last.

Population figures help tell the story because population growth is based on economic growth and opportunity.

In 1950, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona had roughly the same populations, and Nevada had almost no one.

But by 2016, those states had left New Mexico in the dust.

Arizona’s population had increased nine-fold, while Nevada’s population has increased by more than 18 times.

New Mexico saw a threefold population hike during that time.

So why have other those other states, especially Arizona, boomed while New Mexico has basically stood still?

According to Matt E. Ryan, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, it’s because New Mexico decided to focus on the public sector for its economic growth.

The other states relied on the private sector and market forces to drive their economies.

Ryan laid out the differences between New Mexico’s and Arizona’s divergent paths in a column last year for ABQ Free Press.

The piece was based on his 2010 study of the two states.

“Fifty years ago, Arizona’s economy was roughly 50 percent larger than New Mexico’s. Today, the size difference is over 230 percent,” Ryan wrote. “How could remarkably similar states within the same country experience such a disparity in economic fortunes?

“In short, one possible explanation for the difference in economic outcomes between the two areas is a difference in the degree to which each state’s economy relies on markets to coordinate economic activity.”

Here’s more of Ryan’s 2016 column:

“The original study showed a persistent and distinct gap in the percentage of each state’s economic activity derived from private sector, with Arizona relying on the private sector to generate growth to a larger degree than New Mexico.

“The most recent data shows that this gap has remained since the original study; in fact, with updated data on the years included in the original analysis, the reported discrepancy in private sector dependence was, if anything, understated.

In short: Arizona’s economy relies more heavily on the market sector than does New Mexico’s.

“Another means of assessing the degree to which economies embrace markets are economic freedom indices.

The Fraser Institute releases annually ‘The Economic Freedom of North America,’ a three-pronged analysis of every American state and Canadian province that, through assessing the size of government, state-specific taxation, and labor market freedom, yields a single number that captures the degree to which states and provinces embrace the market system relative to the rest.

“In 1981, the first year of their rankings, Arizona was rated as the eighth freest state and province of the 60 in the survey, while New Mexico was 36th. The bad for New Mexico only got worse.

New Mexico steadily regressed relative to the rest of America and Canada, and ranked 46th in North America in 2013, the most recent data available.

“By comparison, Arizona, which saw its ranking slide into the mid-20s by the early 1990s, has since regained its standing and sits at 9th.

While New Mexico’s rating specific to taxation only trails Arizona’s by a relatively slight margin, the size of government rating along with the labor market freedom rating contribute to New Mexico’s low result.

“Markets are how people become rich.

The economic story of Arizona and New Mexico, and their divergence over the last half-century, is yet another example of this persistent economic truth.”