City Needs To Educate Public On Content Of Healthy Workforce Ordinance

Almost two (2) months before the October 3, 2017 municipal election, advocates supporting the Healthy Workforce Ordinance are trying to block the City Clerk and the City from using what they are calling an illegal ballot for the municipal election.

(See July 20, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article, METRO & New Mexico Section, page C-1, “Motion filed to block city on sick leave ballot; Group says plan to use 7-type will make initiative illegible”.)

The Healthy Workforce Ordinance would require the payment of sick leave or “sick time off” for full-time, part time and temporary workers by any business within the Albuquerque city limits.

A State District Court Judge ordered the city to print the entire seven-page ordinance on the ballot.

To print the ordinance on the ballot, the City Clerk must print the initiative in 7 point font in order to make it fit with all the others items on the ballot, including the Mayor and City Council races.

The “emergency motion” filed by supporters say the ballot is made “illegible” and unreadable with the use of seven (7) point font thereby making it “illegal”.

Supporters of the ordinance want the City Clerk to place a “summary” of the ordinance on the ballot which is done when bonds are put on the ballot.

Supporters also want the city to provide a legible, large text copy of the entire ordinance in each of the voting booths so voters can read it if they want at the time they vote.

Mayor Richard Berry opposes the proposed measure as he did the increase in the minimum wage initiative enacted by voter a few years ago.

The organizing groups that were able to get it on the ballot claim that the Mayor, city councilors and city hall are excluding the more readable summary about the ordinance on the ballot as a way of defeating the law.


The ordinance will require business owners to pay one (1) hour of sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked.

Part time workers normally are not afforded paid sick leave and will likely be the biggest beneficiary from the ordinance.

Large employers would be required to offer seven sick days per year after working 40 hours a week for a full year.

Workers with smaller businesses would earn five sick days per year.

The “paid sick leave” initiative will help the working class who have no rights, who are mostly “minimum wage” or low hourly wage workers and who are overwhelmingly “at will” employees in the private sector.

“At will” employees can be terminated without any cause or notice by their employers.

“At will” employees have little or no employment rights and no real vested rights in their jobs except those already required by law such as being paid the minimum wage.

Federal and state laws governing working conditions also provide protections to workers and prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation.

The sick leave ordinance is in a real sense is an extension of increasing the minimum wage initiative passed by voters three years ago.

It is a first step toward a living wage.


It is a sad commentary that the city refuses to accommodate or agree with use of a summary or provide copies of the ordinance in the voting booth for an initiative that took so much work to get on the ballot.

In the summer 2016, supporters of “Healthy Workforce Act” gathered enough valid petition signatures from registered voters to get it on the ballot.

The campaign needed 14,218 signatures of registered voters but at least 24,000 valid signatures were gathered and submitted for verification.

Even though a court order mandates that the City place the entire seven-page ordinance on the ballot, it does not mean the Mayor or the City Council are prohibited from taking further action to educate the public on its content.

The Mayor by executive order could instruct the City Clerk to provide legible copies of the ordinance to voters to read before or at the time of voting, but there is no way he would do that seeing as that he opposes the ordinance as he did the increase in the minimum wage voter initiative.

The City Council still needs to approve and vote on the definitive version of the ballot and the council could vote to give the City Clerk further instructions that would not violate the court order.

It is the responsibility of the City Clerk to educate the public on the ballot.

The District Court will have one last opportunity to give further instructions to the City and the City Clerk and perhaps order the Mayor and the City Clerk to do their jobs on educating the public on the contents of the ordinance.


A coalition of 27 businesses and business organizations was formed last year to oppose the Healthy Workforce ordinance in court and includes:

• Apartment Association of New Mexico
• Associated Builders and Contractors
• Associated General Contractors New Mexico
• Albuquerque Economic Forum
• Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce
• American Subcontractors Association of New Mexico
• Commercial Association of Realtors New Mexico
• Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors
• Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce
• Home Builders of Central New Mexico
• National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP)
• New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry
• New Mexico Restaurant Association
• New Mexico Utility Contractors Association.

A “measured finance” committee called “ALBUQUERQUE COALITION FOR A HEALTHY ECONOMY” has also been formed to mount a campaign to fund and oppose the ordinance.

It is anticipated that both the business coalition and the measured finance committee will be expending considerable resources to defeat the measure.


It is important that the City do whatever it can to inform the public on the content of the ordinance.

Candidates for Mayor need to articulate where they stand on the ordinance and if elected say if they will enforce it.

A silver lining is that the ordinance may increase the 2017 Municipal election voter turnout.

However, the fact that it is on the ballot will cut both ways.

Progressives Democrats and conservative Republicans may turn out in force to vote.

The business coalition may be able to get more conservative business owner’s and Republicans to the polls which will ultimately skew in Republican candidates favor.

The recent defeat of the Santa Fe “soda tax” shows how effective a well funded opposition campaign can be in a municipal election.

Statistics show that more young people are leaving the city each passing year seeking employment and upward mobility elsewhere which means Albuquerque is getting older and more conservative.

“Eye Opening” Tour

Channel 13 is reporting that a group of people who are fed up with crime in their neighborhood are going straight to the eight candidates for Mayor.

The group invited the candidates running for mayor to go on a “walking tour” through some of Albuquerque’s downtown neighborhoods which are dealing with our rising crime rates.

The tour should be a real eye opener for the candidates for Mayor.

When they attend candidate’s forums, they tend to give their canned answers to questions sounding like they know what they are talking about but not really understanding what the problem is associated with the question.

When I was Director of the Safe City Strike force dealing with crack houses, meth labs, slumlords and properties that had become magnets for serious crimes, I had to go out and interact and meet with the neighborhoods and citizens affected by crime.

As an Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor, I interviewed and interacted with victims of violent crimes.

When you see fear, anger, desperation and hopelessness in people’s faces, eyes, and voices, and they are asking for help, you listen and learn.

You become determined to find solutions to the problems and forge a desire to help.

Any candidate for Mayor who does not participate in the tour has no business running for Mayor.

“Et Tu Brute”

This article by retired APD Sergeant Dan Klein appearing in the Albuquerque Free Press really gives major insight on just what the new Mayor as well as any new Chief of Police will be up against when it comes to changing the culture within the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

The article describes the difficulty newly appointed APD Chief Gerry Galvin had when he was appointed by Mayor Jim Baca.

Mayor Baca did a national search and bought Chief Galvin in without allowing him to bring in his own management team.

I worked with Chief Galvin in my capacity as Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, we had our disagreements, but by and large I got along with him.

Chief Galvin knew how to run a law enforcement department having come from the Cleveland Police Department.

The fact that Chief Galvin was recruited from out of state resulted in real resentment from the existing command staff.

Chief Galvin was basically left to fend for himself with many of his captains feeling they were the ones that should have been appointed Chief of Police and they had a sense of entitlement.

In a very real sense, Chief Galvin was set up failure by his own command staff.

The command staff who created, contributed or who did not stop the “culture of aggression” need to be replaced.

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 management team to take over APD, including a new Chief of Police, new Deputy Chiefs and a new chain of command to assume control of APD and who are truly committed to the Department of Justice consent decree reforms.

Finding and replacing the command staff is just the first step to address the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice.

APD has consistently shown over many years it cannot police itself which contributed to the “culture of aggression”.

The APD Internal Affairs Unit needs to be abolished and its functions absorbed by the Office Independent Council.

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 Chief for implementation and imposition of disciplinary action.

Every candidate for Mayor needs to articulate a clear platform on what they will do with APD.

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

Please see my July 14, 2017 blog article “A Plan To Reform And Restructure APD: Appoint Police Commissioner And Abolish APD Internal Affairs” at

The More Things Change, The More Things Stay The Same


There is an old saying. “The more things change, the more things stay the same.”

Above is the “link” to my “Public Safety” commercial that I ran four (4) years ago when I ran for Mayor entitled “Safe Again”.

I was deeply honored to have Bob Stover and his wife Linda Stover appear in the commercial with me.

Bob Stover was the best Chief of Police we have ever had in Albuquerque and he knew how to run a law enforcement agency and how to get things done.

Bob Stover was a “cop’s cop” and for many years worked the streets as a patrol officer on a motorcycle.

Chief Stover understood full well the importance of “to serve and protect”.

One thing Chief Stover was very proud of was that in his entire career, he never had to discharge his firearm, even during some very tense confrontations with criminals that he told me about.

Chief Stover initiated many innovative programs within the department that are still around today.

Bob Stover passed away a few years ago, he was my neighbor, and I miss our conversations and our friendship, especially the advice he gave me when I was Chief Public Safety Officer.

Chief Stover is the type of Police Chief and leadership within APD we need today.

What APD needs is a Chief of Police and command staff that know what they are doing and who are committed to the Department of Justice mandated reforms.

The commercial talks about crime, the police staffing levels and police response time endangering public safety.

After four (4) years, things in Albuquerque have changed yet essentially have remain the same when it comes to law enforcement and crime:

Our crime rates continue to soar. APD continues to be understaffed. Emergency call response times continue to increase.

According to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) statistics, the total number of violent crimes in Albuquerque increased and went from 4,291 crimes in 2010 to 5,409 in 2015.

The total number of property crimes in Albuquerque increased each year during the last six (6) years and went from 26,493 crimes in 2010 to 34,082 in 2015 according to APD.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics reveal that in the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque has become the is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rate dropped by 13.7%.

Albuquerque has become number one in the nation for auto thefts and in 2016, more than 10,000 vehicles were stolen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County or more than 27 vehicles a day.

APD continues to be seriously understaffed and the staffing levels are the worst they have been in eight(8) years.

In eight (8) years, APD went from 1,100 sworn police officers to 844 sworn police officers.

In 2017, APD employs 854 sworn officers with only 436 sworn police assigned to field services and is severely shorthanded in the felony divisions to complete investigations and turn the cases over to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Police 911 emergency response times have gone from 8 minutes, 58 seconds to as much as 15 minutes endangering public safety.

The biggest changed in four (4) years is that the Albuquerque Police Department is now working under a federal court order after the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” within APD and with two police officers having been charged and tried with murder.

APD still struggles to implement all the reforms mandated by the consent decree.

Four(4) years ago, Albuquerque had the lowest voter turnout since 1977 with only 19% of eligible voters actually getting out to vote.

Soon we will be seeing many television and radio commercials from candidates running for Mayor.

My hope is that the candidates will in fact start articulating real solutions to APD’s problems.

My biggest hope is that people will listen to the truth about what has been going on, listen to what the candidates are saying and actually vote.

Courts Knock District Attorney Off His White Horse

In his six (6) months in office, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez has managed to “sour” the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s working relationship with the State District Court Criminal Division.

Torrez has done this with his continuous campaign to blame and hold judges responsible for Albuquerque’s spike in crime and arguing that our judicial system is broken.

The District Court has effectively knocked District Attorney Raul Torrez off his white horse with its own actions and analysis of case dismissals revealing that it is the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office that bears a large responsibility with the dismissal of criminal cases.

(See July 21, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A1, “Study: Judges dropped fewer cases than DA; District Court’s analysis is in response to Torrez’s criticism of case management order)

Torrez had the Bernalillo County District Attorney Office issue a report that outlines problems he claimed have been caused by the Supreme Court Case Management Order (CMO).

In response to Torrez, the District Court did its own analysis of criminal cases filed this year in Bernalillo County and during Raul Torrez’s first six months in office as District Attorney.

The CMO was issued by the New Mexico Supreme Court in February 2015 to eliminate the unacceptable backlog of criminal trials and to set deadlines for criminal prosecutions to ensure speedier trials for defendants and to deal with an overcrowded jail system.

The biggest point of dispute in the DA’s report was that the CMO was “the most likely” reason Albuquerque has seen a severe spike in crime because too many violent offenders were being let go with the dismissal of cases by the District Court Judges.

The DA’s report said defense attorneys were using “gamesmanship” to get cases dismissed under the CMO by demanding evidence they are entitled to under the law and asking for trials instead of entering into plea agreements.

Torrez also claimed that some of the decisions by the judges to dismiss cases were “absurd” and that defense attorneys were getting their clients off on technicalities.

The District Court analysis found that it was the District Attorney’s office that voluntarily dismissed more than twice as many cases as the judges have dismissed in the last six months and since Torrez took office.

During the first six months of this year, there were about 2,350 new felony cases filed in State District Court with the District Attorney prosecutors dismissing 617 and the District Court Judges dismissing 304 cases.

The District Court’s review of cases filed found that most of the time the District Attorney’s office either did not provide a reason for the dismissal, cases were dropped because victims or witnesses refused to cooperate or the state did not have sufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution.

Torrez is now saying that the District Court’s analysis “doesn’t tell the whole story” when it was his own report that did not tell the “whole story” and was riddled with inflammatory accusations against the judges and defense attorneys.

Torrez is now back tracking saying: “It’s never been my contention that (the CMO) is the only reason for the increase in crime. There are a lot of different factors at play here. But the (CMO) has an impact, too. I can’t control (police) … .”


The Court’s memo accurately points out that the increase in crime rates have been in the making for the last seven (7) years and felony statistics establish this fact.

Crimes started to increase in Albuquerque in 2010 and 2011, at least six (6) years before the CMO was issued by the Supreme Court and went into effect.

According to the District Court analysis, the number of arrests that the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has made has dropped significantly over the last seven (7) years.

In 2010, APD made approximately 2,000 arrests a month while in 2016 APD made between 1,000 and 1,500 a month.

According to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) statistics, the total number of violent crimes in Albuquerque increased and went from 4,291 crimes in 2010 to 5,409 in 2015.

The total number of property crimes in Albuquerque increased each year during the last six (6) years and went from 26,493 crimes in 2010 to 34,082 in 2015 according to APD.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office reported that from 2009 to 2015, Albuquerque’s violent crime rate increased by 21.5%.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics reveal that in the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque has become the is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rate dropped by 13.7%.

Albuquerque has become number one in the nation for auto thefts and in 2016, more than 10,000 vehicles were stolen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County or more than 27 vehicles a day.

In eight (8) years, APD went from 1,100 sworn police officers to 844 sworn police officers.

In 2017, APD employs 854 sworn officers with only 436 sworn police assigned to field services and is severely shorthanded in the felony divisions to complete investigations and turn the cases over to the District Attorney for prosecution.


When Torrez ran for Bernalillo County District Attorney he said our criminal justice system was broken and in dire need of change and he was the guy to get it done.

The District Attorney’s report is not the first time Torrez has blamed the Courts for the rise in crime nor the first time he has made his displeasure known about court rulings.

A few months ago, District Attorney Raul Torrez went all the way to the New Mexico Supreme court asking it to clarify the recently enacted “no bond” rule enacted by voters. (See March 30, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1 “DA asks high court to clarify no-bond rules; Efforts to hold dangerous defendants often blocked”.)

Torrez claimed he was frustrated with elected District Court Judges blocking his efforts to keep dangerous criminals in jail without bond until their trials arguing the District Courts were demanding more evidence than what he felt was needed at bond hearings allowed by the “no bond” rule.

In his quest to get the NM Supreme Court to issue further guidelines for “no bond” hearings, District Attorney Raul Torrez asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to direct 2nd Judicial District Stan Whitaker, a former Assistant US Attorney and prosecutor, to reconsider his order that denied the DA’s office attempt to keep two suspects in jail without bond until trial, asserting that Judge Whitaker had abused his discretion as a judge by asking for more evidence.

The Supreme Court found the Judge Whitaker had done nothing improper but agreed to issue further guidelines to the Courts.

When the District Court disputed the District Attorney’s accusation that the Court and its Case Management Order (CMO) were to blame for Albuquerque’s rising crime rates and the backlog of thousands of cases, the District Court called Torrez’s bluff on the CMO.

(See June 30, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1 “Judges: Courts not to blame for rise in crime; District judges ‘strongly dispute’ DA’ criticism.)

The District Court told Torrez that additional preliminary hearing times would be scheduled to deal specifically with cases dismissed by the court “because of the District Attorney office’s failure to comply” with the case management order deadlines.

Presiding District Court Judge Nan Nash and District Judge Charles Brown said in a letter to Torrez “You have told us and the public that you are ready to get these cases refiled and moving … [so] Let’s get moving together to accomplish this goal.”

Torrez’s response was more preliminary hearing won’t solve the problem and the “[t]he solution is to dismiss fewer cases for reasons that would not be granted in other counties in the state”.

Torrez’s response was an admission that his office cannot be ready for court on cases his office has filed or has apparently dismissed with no good reason.

What Torrez wants is more time to prepare for court and wants to keep defendants in jail longer pending trial, which is what caused the necessity of the case management order in the first place.

What Torrez is saying with his actions is that he is frustrated and does not like that judges are enforcing our constitutional rights of “presumption of innocence” and “due process of law”.


Attacking our Judicial system and judge’s rulings in criminal cases is a familiar tactic of those who are running for office and who want to “gin up” public animosity towards judges, garner favor with the voting public and degrades our constitutional rights of presumption of innocence and due process of law.

All judge’s take an oath of office to preserve, defend and protect our constitution.

Judges are strictly prohibited by the Supreme Court Rules and the Code of Judicial Conduct from commenting on pending cases and voicing opinions that call into question their fairness and impartiality, especially in criminal cases.

Judges are prohibited by the Code of Judicial conduct from defending their decisions and sentencing in a public forum outside of their courtroom.

Criticizing judges has very little consequences when done by private citizens.

However, when an elected District Attorney engages in false or inflammatory accusations against elected Judges who have taken the same oath of office to defend our constitution, it undermines our criminal justice system in the eyes of the public.


Albuquerque’s increasing crime rates have very little to do with the Supermen Court’s Case Management Order implemented in 2015 and the statistics for the last eight (8) years bear this out.

Albuquerque’s increasing crimes rates have a lot to do with the fact that APD is so severely understaffed it cannot complete felony investigations and get the cases over to the District Attorney for successful prosecution.

Sooner or later, Torrez is going to learn that blaming the Courts with front page stories and television reports with false, misleading or inflammatory accusations against Judges are no substitute for making tough decisions to run an office and doing a good job.

District Attorney Raul Torrez needs to pick himself up, dust himself off and buckle down and do his job as best he can with the resources he has and cease blaming judges for Albuquerque’s high crime rates.

Chamber of Commerce “Marie Antoinettes”

This is a commentary written by retired APD Sergeant Dan Klein and published in the Albuquerque Free Press.

The commentary rightly slams the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

It was written is response in part to a “Letter to the Editor” by Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Board of Director member Paul Silverman entitled “Ease crime epidemic by allowing retired cops to return to work.” (July 20, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A7).

Silverman states in his Journal letter that Mayor Berry has “consistently pointed out the primary problem” to our rising crime rates as “building the police force without hurting other agencies or busting the city budget”.

Silverman agrees with Mayor Berry’s proposal to “reinstate a form of return to work after taking retirement” as a solution to increasing the number of sworn police officers.

Silverman says the union APOA President is the most vocal critic of the policy, which is just not true as Klein points out.

There were many who opposed the return to work legislation pushed by Mayor Berry in Santa Fe the last three years, including myself, and it was not just the police union.

The Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), many retirees and other government employees, testified in Santa Fe before the New Mexico Legislature all opposing the return to work legislation that Silverman and the Chamber of Commerce were promoting for Mayor Berry.

Analysis by PERA revealed clearly that the return to work legislation undermined the solvency of the PERA funds and had a direct impact on PERA reserves used to pay pensions.

Silverman discloses that he is a downtown property owner, but does not disclose he is the developer of the recently built grocery store and apartment complex on city property in downtown Albuquerque.

Silverman has benefited from Berry’s terms in office and it should not come as any surprise that he feels Berry has done an excellent job with public safety.

Silverman and the Chamber of Commerce refuse to hold Mayor Berry at all accountable for being responsible for destroying APD and the reduced number of sworn police officers.

On December 1, 2009 when Berry was sworn in, APD had 1,098 sworn police officers.

In eight (8) years, APD went from 1,100 sworn police to 844 all under the watchful eye of Mayor Berry pretending he supported public safety.

In 2010, Mayor Berry unilaterally decided not to pay a 5% negotiated in good faith pay raise and for 4 full years there were no meaningful pay raises.

In 2010, Mayor Berry also abolished the longevity pay program that kept experienced police officers from retiring and he also abolished the APD take home car policy for APD, eliminated sign on bonuses and mortgage down payments for new recruits.

Moral within APD plummeted and the mass exodus of experienced police officers began when the longevity pay program was abolished.

Reinstating the “return to work” policy would be a major mistake in that it would essentially allow the return to work of many of those who created, contributed or who did not stop the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice.

APD needs a new generation of police officer trained and educated in “constitutional policing” and “return to work” is not the answer.