New Mayor Needs A Community Inspired Economic Development Plan

On December 1, 2017 when a new Mayor is sworn in, Albuquerque’s crime rate is just one of the biggest challenges the Mayor will face.

Another major challenge will be trying to turn our economy around after eight (8) years of total stagnation and failed economic development policies.

Turning our economy around is not just the Mayor’s problem, nor government’s problem, but all of our problem.

As a community, we need to decide what kind of City we want to become and identify our needs; otherwise we are destined to continue our economic death spiral.

As a community, we can do things to turn our City economy around, diversify our economy and reduce our reliance on federal government funding.

A community effort to identify our needs has been done in the past and should be undertaken again.

It is a community effort that should be lead by the Mayor, the Albuquerque City Council, the Bernalillo County Commission, the Albuquerque business community, civic organizations and include charitable organizations, and the City’s and County’s Economic Development Departments.


During the last eight, Albuquerque has fallen to the bottom and in many cases dead last of every meaningful ranking in the country, including economy, jobs, crime, education, real estate, desirability, and traffic.

Even though Albuquerque is the largest city economy in the State, New Mexico is number one in unemployment and number one in children living in poverty.

For the past eight years, the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has not attracted nor convinced a single major corporation to come or relocate to Albuquerque.

It has been reported that Albuquerque lost 14,900 jobs during the last 10 years, which is roughly 4 jobs a day.

According to one Brookings Institution report, the Albuquerque metro area’s economy was so bad between 2009 and 2014 that it almost fell off the charts of three measures of economic health.

Of the largest 100 metro areas in the U.S., Albuquerque ranked 100th, 99th and 83rd in the three areas measured by the Brookings Institute: Growth, Prosperity and Inclusion.

According to the same Bookings Institute report, economically hobbled cities like Jackson, Miss., and Rochester, New York, fared better than Albuquerque. Albuquerque ranked 99th for economic growth, 83rd for prosperity and 100th for inclusion, which measures how an area’s poorest residents are doing in the economy.

According to US Census reports, more people are leaving the State than moving in, and our youth are leaving Albuquerque in droves to seek employment with a future elsewhere even after they get their college education at our universities.

On October 1, 2017 Wallet Hub, a personal fiancé website, published the story “Fastest Growing Cities In America”.

Albuquerque ranked 450th in economic growth among 515 cities in the United States according to the Wallet Hub report.

Wallet Hub ranked the cities using 15 metrics, including population growth, unemployment and poverty rate decrease, job growth and other measures.
Among large cities, Albuquerque ranked 60th out of 64.

Among all cities, Albuquerque fared especially poorly on unemployment rate decrease (481); job growth (446); growth in number of businesses (443); median house price growth (433), and regional gross domestic product growth (433).

According to US Census reports, more people are leaving the State than moving in, and our youth are leaving Albuquerque in droves to seek employment with a future elsewhere even after they get their college education at our universities.


The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) did a report on Albuquerque’s economy and outlook.

BBER used local statistics and national forecasts of our state and local economy to come up with a job history and job projections.

A portion of the University’s BBER 2016 report and forecasting model is contained in a section of the City of Albuquerque’s 2018 Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018.

(See City of Albuquerque “Proposed Budget Fiscal Year 2018, pages 46, 47, 48, 49

Following is the section contained in the 2017-2018 City of Albuquerque proposed budget:

“The Albuquerque economy declined in sync with the national economy, but has lagged in its recovery.

Total employment in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased in the third quarter of 2012 but this gain was due to a change in processing by the department of Workforce Solutions and not in actual employment.

The 4th quarter of 2014 and all following quarters through the 1st quarter of 2016 show increases with growth.

The UNM BBER forecast of employment in October 2016, has positive non-agricultural (non-ag) employment growth beginning in FY/13, though as mentioned above, FY/13 is due only to a technical adjustment.

The growth in total employment in FY/14 was 0.4% and FY/15 growth in total employment was 1.4% and with one estimated quarter FY/16 is expected at 1.7%.

The Albuquerque economy lost over 27,000 jobs from FY/08 to FY/12 a loss of 7% of total employment.

About 13,000 jobs were added in FY/13 to FY/16.

In FY/17 employment is expected to increase 1.5% and remain near this level for the remainder of the forecast.

The economy does not approach FY/08 employment levels until FY/19.

This puts the Albuquerque recovery over four years behind the national economy in terms of reaching post-recession employment levels.

Government employment limits growth, with private sector employment growth exceeding total employment growth from FY/12 through FY/21.

Construction has improved and is now helping the economy.

The unemployment rate continues to decline, but some of this is due to discouraged workers leaving the labor force.

In calendar year 2015 there was somewhat a reversal of this with a slight increase in the unemployment rate caused in part by people re-entering the labor force.

The [unemployment] rate is expected to slowly decline to 5.3% in FY/20 and FY/21.

This is above the unemployment rate for the U.S. for the entire forecast period.”


The BBER study also discussed the following nine (9) major Albuquerque industries or economy sectors:

1. Retail and Wholesale Trade
2. Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities
3. Manufacturing
4. Education and Health Services
5. Accommodation and Food Services
6. Real Estate & Financial Activities
7. Professional and Other Services
8. Information
9. Government

Following is information provided on each industry or sector:


“These sectors [retail and wholesale trade] account for about 15% of employment in [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. It is a particularly important sector in terms of the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT); making up about 30% of GRT. As the recession hit, the closure of stores and reductions in purchases substantially hit employment and GRT in this sector. The sector is expected to have employment growth of just over 0.8% in FY/17 and FY/18 with a jump to over 1.5% in FY/19 and tailing off for the remainder of the forecast.”


“This sector while important, only accounts for 2.5% of employment. Employment growth in this sector was weak before the recession hit and then declined substantially in FY/09 and FY/10. The expectations for the forecast are a robust recovery with growth over 2% in FY/17 following a decline of 0.6% in FY/16. With this growth, the sector does not reach the pre-recession high in the forecast period.”


“This sector accounts for about 4.5% of employment in the [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. It is an important sector as it creates relatively high paying jobs that bring revenue from outside the area. (Emphasis added.) It also generates purchases of materials and services in the local economy making this sector’s impact greater than its employment share. After substantial job losses including closing of Eclipse Aviation and GE, the sector posted small gains in FY11 and FY/12. In FY/13, FY/14 and FY/15 the sector declined and is expected to post a small increase in FY/16 and FY/17 before suffering losses in the remainder of the forecast. FY/21 employment is only 72% of the employment of FY/08.”


“This sector is predominantly health services and accounts for 15.7% of employment. Albuquerque is a major regional medical center that brings people into the area for services. Presbyterian Hospital and its HMO are one of the largest employers in the area. This was the only sector that increased through the recession and continues to be a primary driver for economic growth. Growth slowed in FY/14 but increased in FY/15 and is expected to reach 4% in FY/16. Growth stays above 3% in all years but FY/21 where it slows to 2.9%. This sector is the largest contributor to employment growth in the forecast period adding about 10,000 jobs (36.6% of total job growth) from FY/16 to FY/21.” (Emphasis added.)”


“This category includes eating and drinking establishments as well as hotels and other travel related facilities. It accounts for 10% of employment in [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. The sector is a major contributor to both [Gross Receipts Tax] and Lodgers’ Tax. FY/14 and FY/15 had growth of over 3%. This slowed in FY/16 to near 2% and after increasing to over 2.5% in FY17 remains below 2% for the remainder of the forecast. The sector reached its previous peak of FY/08 in FY/14.”


“This is two sectors and includes finance, insurance and real estate including credit inter mediation. It accounts for about 4.5% of employment in the [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. The financial crisis, the consolidation of banking, and the collapse of real estate impacted this sector. FY/13 shows an increase of 1% with FY/14 increasing 1.8%. Growth tapers off through the remainder of the forecast. In FY/21 the sector remains 367 jobs below the level of FY/08.


“This category is a grouping of four service sectors (Professional and Technical, Management of Companies, Administrative and Waste Services, and Other Services). The category accounts for 18% of the employment in … [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. It includes temporary employment agencies, some of Albuquerque’s back-office operations, and architect and engineering firms that are closely tied to construction. It also includes Sandia National Labs (SNL). While the national labs gained some positions in FY/11 through FY/15, the sector as a whole was weak. This began to change in FY/15 as construction services (engineering and architecture) began adding jobs, though the sector as a whole declined. The sector shows expected growth in FY/16 of less than 1%. Growth then exceeds 1% every year in the remainder of the forecast with a peak growth of 2.6% in FY/18. In FY/21 it still remains 3,300 jobs below the peak of FY/08.”


“This sector includes businesses in telecommunications, broadcasting, publishing and internet service establishments. It also includes the film studios. It accounts for about 2% of employment in … [Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area]. FY/13 posted solid growth, but FY/14 showed a substantial decline and FY/15 declined again. FY/16 is expected to show growth of over 3%, but slows to under 1% growth until FY/21.”


“Construction is typically cyclical, with significant swings in building and employment. Construction is an important sector and has an impact on the economy larger than its employment share of 5%. This sector lost 12 thousand jobs from FY/07 to FY/13. In FY/07 its employment share was 8%. After falling consistently from FY/07, employment in construction began increasing at the end of FY/13. FY/14 grew 2.8% and 2.4% in FY/15. Employment is expected to increase only 1.2% in FY/16, but then increases to near 3% in FY/17 and remains in the 2% to 3% range for the remainder of the forecast.It is one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy for the forecast period. Even with this growth construction employment in FY/21 is forecast to be 26% or 8,000 jobs below the FY/07 peak.”


“The government sector makes up almost 21% of the Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Statistical Area employment. The largest part of State and Local government is education. Local Government includes the public schools and State Government includes the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College. The local sector also includes Indian enterprises.The Federal Government makes up 4.4% of employment; nationally Federal government makes up 3.4% of total employment. This doesn’t include military employment which is counted separately. Active military is around 6,000 or about 1.7% of the total non-agricultural employment. Nationally military is 1% of total non-agricultural employment. Government employment slowed and decreased in FY/11 through FY/16. Local and State employment decreased due to declines in tax revenue and the inability to fund the same level of employees. State and Local are flat in FY/13. State government has been stronger with growth of 2.4% and 11.3% in FY/14 and FY/15. It is expected to grow 4.2% and then decline or remain at low levels of growth for the forecast. Local government has been flat and is expected to show little growth in the forecast. The major sources of state and local jobs are education, though the Labor department does not keep individual counts for these jobs at the local level. Federal Government after growing strongly in FY/10 showed little growth in FY/11 and declines in FY/12 through the remainder of the forecast. This occurs due to the federal government taking steps to reduce its expenditures. The forecast shows continued losses in federal jobs except in FY/19 to FY/21 largely due to hiring for the 2020 census.”


The City has a total operating revenue and budget of approximately $955.3 million for fiscal year 2018.

Gross receipts tax makes up for 64% of the City’s general fund revenues.

29% of all city appropriations goes to public safety (police, fire, 911, emergency operations center, ect.) and 20% goes to infrastructure (street system, water and sewer system, ect.) for a combined total of 49% of all city expenditures.

The remaining 51% of city expenditures goes to providing all other essential and government services involving some 23 other city departments.

The various departments and expenditures include the Mayor’s office, city council services, the 311 call center, the city attorney’s office, the risk management department, finance and administration, cultural services and affairs, family and community services, social services to the poor and homeless, transportation or mass transit services (bus), the human resources department, the city clerk’s office and maintaining government facilities such as our parks, the Bio Park including the zoo and aquarium, libraries, senior citizen centers, just to mention a few, and salaries and benefits for city employees.

The City of Albuquerque does have an Economic Development Department and its mission is “develop a more diversified and vital economy through the expansion and retention of businesses; develop appropriate industry clusters and recruit target industries; and assist new business start-ups, and promote the film and music industries.”

“The Economic Development Department supports the tourism and hospitality industries through collaboration and oversight of the City’s contractors. The department also fosters international trade efforts and increased international business opportunities for Albuquerque companies.”

The question that needs to be asked is if city hall is serious or even committed to economic development and diversifying our economy?

The answer appears to be no based on the resources allocated.

The fiscal year 2018 proposed budget for the Economic Development Department was $3.6 million, a decrease of 24.1% from the fiscal year 2017 original budget and employs nine (9) full time employees which does not sound like much for an effective economic development plan for diversifying the Albuquerque economy.

During the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has not convinced nor attracted a single major corporation or business to relocate to Albuquerque.

During the last eight (8) years, the City has paid out $61 million dollars in taxpayer money to settled police misconduct cases, deadly force cases and excessive use of force cases.

Can you image if the $61 million in settlement money could have been available for economic development or even social services?


In 1987, the Albuquerque City Council engaged in a process of public hearings to determine and identify what type of facilities and projects were needed for a growing city that would enhance our quality of life and make Albuquerque an attractive City to raise a family.

In 1987, the City Council held extensive public hearings for months, throughout the City, to get public input on what should be built.

The business community, the private sector and many civic organizations got behind the effort and participated.

By a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the Albuquerque City Council enacted the “Quality of Life” legislation that resulted in the construction of the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Albuquerque Children’s Science Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Balloon Museum.

Originally, a performing arts center was identified as a needed facility with funding included, but the funding was later struck down by a voter initiative.

Years later, the private sector, without any government funding but with reliance on private fund raising and contributions, built the Hispano Cultural Center which has a performing arts venue that fills the void for a performing arts center.

The “Quality of Life” legislation funded the acquisition of critical open space with open land acquisitions completing the final phase of what forms the backbone of our “urban parks”.

The “Quality of Life” legislation included a ten year quarter cent sales tax with a sunset clause, and the tax has long since expired, but the facilities were designed and built.

The “Quality of Life” tax was not put on the ballot for a public vote thanks in large part to strong community support and the extensive public hearings held by the Albuquerque City Council and the forging of a public consensus of what needed to be built.

Money was also approved by the 1987 City Council to fund major improvements to our zoo, a major remodeling and expansion of our Convention Center, and the largest expansion and remodeling of the Albuquerque Sunport in Albuquerque’s history.

Looking back on it, what would Albuquerque be today without all of the “quality of life” facilities, our expanded open space and urban parks system, the expanded convention center, improvements to the zoo and the expanded airport?

Each “Quality of Life” facility contributes to our City character and helps make our City an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

Without the “Quality of Life” projects you cannot help but wonder if Albuquerque would be nothing more than just another dying, dusty little southwestern town.


The same approach used in 1987 for the Quality of Life legislation can be done today to develop a successful economic development program, with or without an “economic development” tax voted upon by taxpayers.

There have been major cities where voters have agreed to tax and invest in themselves to repair or rebuild their communities and facilities.

Albuquerque and Bernalillo County voters did it to an extent in 2014 with the enactment of the Mental and Behavioral Health tax and again in 2015 with the BioPark gross receipts tax voter initiative.

In 2014, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County voters overwhelmingly voted to impose a one-eighth percent gross receipts tax to improve access to mental and behavioral health care services in the county.

The one-eighth percent gross receipts tax voted by taxpayers for mental health is to be used for the purpose of providing more mental and behavioral health services for adults and children in the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County area, and to provide a safety net system that develops mental health care not otherwise funded in New Mexico.

During the 2015 municipal election, Albuquerque voters wisely approved with an overwhelming majority the voter petition drive initiative to increase the gross receipts tax that will raise $255 million dollars over 15 years for the BioPark.

The BioPark, with its zoo, aquarium and botanical gardens, is the number one tourist attraction in the State of New Mexico.

With the enactment of both the mental and behavioral health tax and the BioPark tax, voters said they wanted to invest in their community, increase services and repair and preserve facilities that help make Albuquerque a great and unique City.

Albuquerque’s taxpayers must be convinced by its political and business leaders of the importance of investing in major public facilities, construction projects and infra structure and for economic development.

Albuquerque can turn our economy around with an aggressive and massive investment to reinvent itself like has been done by great American cities such as Denver, El Paso, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Columbus, and other cities that have invested billions in their communities.


Albuquerque must redefine its identity, take bold and aggressive, calculated risks to attract and create high-paying jobs to keep our youth and talent from leaving.

Albuquerque is one of the few major metropolitan cities its size that does not have a City operated entertainment venue or facility, as was the Civic Auditorium, but relies extensively on higher education facilities such as the UNM’s “The Pit” and Popejoy Hall.

Improving our schools and vocational systems, reducing dropout rates, are critical to diversifying Albuquerque’s economy.

Albuquerque as a community needs to voice our demands loud and clear to our New Mexico House and Senate members that they need to be far more aggressive in improving and funding our education system and fund early childhood care and intervention programs and mental health care programs and stop wasting time on “all crime, all the time” agendas increasing criminal penalties, but rather getting to and solving the root cause of crime: poverty, poor education system, high unemployment, drug addiction, to mention just a few root causes of crime.

City economic development efforts need to be better coordinated with our vocational institutions to identify new industries that can be attracted to Albuquerque and insure Albuquerque has the trained work force to accommodate any new industry.

Albuquerque can and must expand and find better ways to use financial incentives for economic development such as tax increment districts (TIDS), industrial revenue bonds, and even fund economic development investment programs such as initial start up funding with claw back provisions.

Albuquerque needs to pursue with a vengeance real growth industries like heath care, transportation and manufacturing, and the film industry to diversify our economy.

Public-private partnerships in the growth industries where ever possible should be encouraged and developed.

Special emphasis and support should be given to Albuquerque’s film industry which is developing, expanding and proving to be very successful in providing well paying jobs.

Albuquerque’s taxpayers must be convinced by its leaders of the importance of investing in major projects and in our neighborhoods to make Albuquerque more of a “walk able” City, where people can raise their family, work and make a living and have recreational and entertainment opportunities all within a small radius thereby reducing our reliance on the automobile.

A well designed, efficient mass transportation system is a basic essential service that must provided by a City.

Any mass transportation system that is developed must truly serve the entire community and not just a small geographic area such as is the poorly designed ART bus project which is destroying historic Route 66.

More community centers with recreational facilities would be a good start achieving a walk able city.

The City of Albuquerque needs to partner more with the State of New Mexico wherever possible.

A good first start in partnering with the State is to find a new vision for the State Fair grounds and how that very valuable gem in the center of Albuquerque can be better utilized to serve the Albuquerque community.

A suggestion would be for the City and State to jointly fund a tear down the old Tingly Coliseum and construct a multipurpose, state of the art facility that could be used for entertainment and sports events and operated year round with a joint powers agreement.

Other joint powers agreements can be entered into between the City, State and County for the mutual use of facilities.


Our political, business and civic leaders need to show far more backbone and commitment to improving and diversifying Albuquerque’s economy.

Otherwise, we are destined to become a dying, dusty southwest city without any real potential for growth and better economic times.

A Little Mandatory Reading For Keller and Lewis

Below is a guest editorial column published on October 11, 2017 on page A-13 of the Albuquerque Journal, entitled “Next mayor, APD chief must embrace reforms; APD desperately needs leadership that will address long-standing problems in the department.”

The guest editorial was written by prominent attorney Stephen Torrez and his wife Renetta Torrez, the parents of 27-year-old Christopher Torrez who suffered from schizophrenia and who was shot and killed at his home by APD detectives who were found to have created an “unnecessary dangerous situation.”

This guest column should be mandatory reading for Mayoral candidates Tim Keller and Dan Lewis.

The runoff election for Mayor is scheduled for November 14, 2017.

What is not common knowledge is that on November 2, 2017, Federal Monitor James Ginger will be filing his sixth report regarding APD’s compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement.

The Federal Court has scheduled a public hearing on the sixth report for November 16, 2017.

I hope the Mayor elect reads the sixth report and attends the federal November 16, 2017 federal court hearing to get a real sense of what he is up against and realize the real heavy lifting that begins on December 1, 2017 when he is sworn in as Mayor.


“Next mayor, APD chief must embrace reforms; APD desperately needs leadership that will address long-standing problems in the department.”
By Stephen Torres And Renetta Torres / Parents ff Christopher Torres, Members of APD Forward
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 12:02am

“Despite our best efforts to protect him, our worst fears came true when two Albuquerque Police Department detectives killed our son in 2011. Christopher, who was 27 years old and diagnosed with schizophrenia, was at home alone when he was shot by the detectives. The court would later rule that the officers had acted aggressively toward Christopher and created an “unnecessarily dangerous situation.” The city ultimately paid our family millions of dollars as a result of lawsuits filed on his behalf, but that money means nothing to us because it cannot bring back our son. Christopher was a kind, caring young man, and we never want another family to go through the pain we did.

APD Forward is a nonpartisan, diverse coalition of organizations and family members who have lost loved ones to police violence. We are intimately involved in monitoring the reform process and working with community members to ensure all parties actively advance reforms in a collaborative and constructive manner. In advocating for changes at APD over the years, one thing we have learned is that the department desperately needs better leadership.

Our city’s next mayor and police chief will have the chance to exhibit that leadership by truly embracing the reforms necessary to fix what is broken in the Albuquerque Police Department. When Chief Gorden Eden took over in February of 2014, APD was in the midst of crisis. The Department of Justice was about to release the findings of its two-year investigation, and APD officers had shot and killed over 20 people since 2010. When the DOJ announced the results of its investigation in April 2014, they identified a “pattern and practice of excessive use of force” and a “culture of aggression” within APD.

Fast forward three-plus years, APD shootings are down but progress on reform has been slow. To make matters worse, the independent monitoring team appointed to oversee the reform process has found that in some instances APD engages in “deliberate resistance” to reform, not from the officers in the field, but from the executive and command staff level. This is particularly alarming because many of the most challenging reforms, such as establishing systems to ensure effective use-of-force investigations, still haven’t happened yet. At this rate, the reform process could stretch on for many years and cost our city millions more.

The good news is that a change in leadership is our best shot at speeding up the reform process. Instead of resisting change, a new mayor and police chief could and should embrace the opportunity to address long-standing problems with APD. By building trust with the communities, it serves, APD will be more effective at fighting crime.

One of the most important decisions the new mayor will make is choosing a new police chief. To date, each of the mayoral candidates have publicly vowed to replace Chief Eden. Because of a change to the city charter, this will also be the first opportunity for the City Council to weigh in on the appointment of a new police chief. Whoever this person is, he or she will need to navigate the DOJ settlement agreement while under pressure to bring down crime and recruit more officers.

To assist the new mayor in making this decision, APD Forward is developing hiring criteria for the next police chief in consultation with experts and organizations who specialize in police reform from across the country. We will publicly release these criteria prior to the run-off election Nov. 14, and we are calling on our next mayor and City Council to carefully consider these recommendations as they weigh this critical decision. APD desperately needs new, dynamic, creative leadership if we are ever going to get the professional, effective police department our city deserves.

First Mayoral Runoff Poll Released As Money Chase Begins

Two days after the municipal election, Channel 4 comes with the first poll for the November 14, 2017 runoff election.

You would think the press would at least give the candidates and voters a little time to catch their breath and let the dust settle from the October 3, 2017 election.

Following is the link to the Channel 4 report on the poll and the transcript:

Chris Ramirez, Channel 4 Reporter
October 05, 2017 10:18 PM

“ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tim Keller and Dan Lewis will square off for mayor in the Albuquerque runoff election. With the candidates narrowed down from to two, the big question is now: who would win? Polling data from this week offers a snapshot of what Albuquerque voters are thinking right now.

One day after Tuesday’s municipal election, Carroll Strategies asked by phone “If the election were held today, for whom would you vote for Mayor of Albuquerque?”

The poll shows Lewis has his work cut out for him, sitting 13 points behind Keller. Here’s the breakdown:

• 49.2 percent said Keller.
• 36.4 percent said Lewis.
• 14.4 percent were undecided or didn’t know

“What’s kind of surprising is that he’s knocking on the door of 50 percent, which is what he needs to win — 50 percent plus one,” said Tom Carroll, president of Carroll Strategies. “That’s a little unusual to see one candidate so close to victory.”

Crime is the biggest issue facing Albuquerque. When asked who would be best to handle Albuquerque’s crime problem, 47 percent said Keller while 35.2 percent said Lewis and 17.9 percent were undecided.

When asked who would be best to handle Albuquerque economy, 48.8 percent said Keller, 35.4 percent said Lewis and 15.9 were undecided or didn’t know.

“Dan has to let people know that on the key issues, crime, taxes, jobs, the economy, that he is the better candidate,” Carroll said. “If he does that, he a chance to make up the ground. If he doesn’t, Keller will sail to victory.”

Carrol Strategies asked whether the new mayor should cancel the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project on Central. Nearly a third said yes, nearly half said it needs to be completed, and nearly 18 percent said they did not know.

“In the polls we have done in the past, we have seen opposition to ART again and again as it moved through the process,” Carroll said. “But now it flipped and by 49 to 32, people are saying let’s finish the project.”


Although Democrat Tim Keller has a commanding lead with almost 50% in the first poll, there are six weeks before the runoff.

Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller is the only publicly finance candidate and received and spent $380,000 in public finance dollars and other “in-kind” cash donations to get into the runoff.

As the only publicly finance candidate, Keller will now be given $127,000 from the City to run his campaign.

Keller’s measured finance committee ABQ Forward Together raised $360,000 to support Tim Keller’s bid to get into the runoff and the committee had $37,000 remaining as reported in the last finance reports filed with the city clerk.

Keller’s measured finance committee will no doubt kick into full gear and try to raise another $360,000 if not more to get Keller elected Mayor.

Republican Dan Lewis is a privately financed candidate and raised and spent at least $523,000 to get in the runoff and had $32,000 still available to spend based on the last campaign finance reports filed with the city clerk.

You can expect Lewis will also kick into high gear and will need to raise at least $600,000 to be competitive and close the gap.

You can expect Dan Lewis to go extremely negative given that he already started to do so election night when he referred to Keller’s crime plan as “hug a thug”.

The runoff election is November 14, 2017 and six weeks of a rough and tumble campaign in politics is an eternity and anything can happen and usually does.

The municipal runoff election is scheduled for November 14, 2017.

The new Mayor will be sworn in on December 1, 2017 and what this means is that Mayor-elect Keller or Mayor-elect Lewis will have only two weeks for a transition team to get to work and come up with reports and make recommendations on what needs to be done.

I encourage Keller and Lewis to start trying to identify people who are professionals, not political operatives who worked on their campaigns, who can hit the ground running and become Department Directors.

The two biggest appointments will be who to appoint Chief Administrative Officer and Chief of Police who are acceptable to the City Council and who can get confirmed by the council.

My suggestion to both Keller and Lewis is to shed the political consultants because governing is a far cry and a lot harder than running for office and surround yourself with people you can actually trust.

Four (4) years is a long time, but four (4) years may be all you get.

Drinking Berry Juice Or Political Amnesia

Channel 4 reported that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the nation’s largest organization of police officers, passed resolution at its national conference in August slamming the Albuquerque Police Department over its “poor leadership” and in support of the officers working the streets under strained conditions.

At the FOP organization’s Albuquerque headquarters, FOP President Bob Martinez said the organization’s voting leadership approved the resolution in support of APD officers who put their lives on the line “despite a lack of support from a majority of the elected officials and appointed leadership” and he went on to say “You’ve got to believe in your leaders. You’ve got to respect your leaders.”

APOA Union President Shaun Willoughby was asked to comment on the FOP resolution and he said the APOA was thankful for the resolution but then went on to defend Chief Gordon Eden by actually saying Eden was a victim.

Union President Shaun Willoughby says in this Channel 4 interview “Gorden Eden is a very, very good man. Gorden Eden is honest and trustworthy and he cares. No one can take that away from him. … It’s also obvious to me that Gorden is not in control of this police department and is a “victim of micromanagement”.

Really Mr. Willoughby? Exactly who do you represent, management or the rank and file?

It sure does sound like Willoughby has been drinking the Berry Juice or at the very least is suffering from political amnesia.


It was Chief Gordon Eden the very day after homeless camper John Boyd was killed in March, 2014, who declared the shooting was “justified”, two police officers were charged a year later with the murder and the city settled the wrongful death action by paying the Boyd family $5 million dollars.

It was Chief Gordon Eden that ordered the APD criminal investigation offense reports sent to the New Mexico Attorney General against the then Bernalillo County District Attorney that contained false accusations of interference by the District Attorney with a criminal investigation of a family member.

The APD investigation of the District Attorney was used by the defense attorneys to have the office removed from the criminal prosecution of the police officers involved in the James Boyd shooting and force an appointment of a special prosecutor.

After the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office was removed from the prosecuting the police officers for the James Boyd murder, the New Mexico Attorney General issued a report that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the District Attorney.

For three years, community groups like APD Forward, the Citizens Policing Councils (CPCs) and the city’s APD Police Oversight Board (APOC) have been dismayed, frustrated and have complained over Eden’s failure to attend meetings, ignore findings and disciplinary recommendations, and failure to attend DOJ settlement hearings.

On June 17, 2017, Ed Harness, the head of the City Police Oversight Agency (CPOA, gave a lengthy report to a Community Policing Council summit giving specific cases on how APD Chief Eden refused to respond to the agencies recommendations and ignored or refused to implement disciplinary recommendations made by the CPOA.

Chief Gordon Eden has an extensive two (2) year history of ignoring both the CPOA and the CPCs.

In fifty-four (54) cases in which Eden has disagreed with the CPOA, he has offered no explanation as to why he has had any disagreement with the city agency.

APD Forward, an APD oversight group, also said Eden had not been present for many settlement-agreement meetings to negotiate reform policies.

An APD statement issued to the press on November 16, 2016 describe Eden as having a “very good sense, very good understanding and a hand in” the reforms.

Chief Eden and his command staff have lied when they have said they are committed to the DOJ mandated reforms and all the proof of the lying is contained in the second, third, fourth and fifth progress reports submitted by Federal Monitor James Ginger to the Federal Court.

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

The November 1, 2016 fourth federal monitor’s report states 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 (Court Approved Settlement Agreement) 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,” denying the existence of the orders, and APD exhibiting a “near total failure” to accept civilian oversight.

Then there is the lying that occurred to the public and the press over the brutal murder of 9-year Victoria Martens with APD saying they investigated when they did not.

The City’s Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) did an investigation against Albuquerque Police Department’s two (APD) public information officers for providing false information to the news media and to the public about APD’s contact with nine (9) year old Victoria Martin and her family prior to the child’s brutal murder and it was clear that Eden met with the PIO officers, but not clear if he asked them to lie seeing he was never interviewed by investigators.

The CPOA found that APD intentionally lied to the press and public about the Victoria Marten’s case.

Even after the investigation found that the APD public information officers lied to the press and the public, Eden did nothing to hold them accountable.


Chief Gordon Eden represents the very type of law enforcement leadership you get when you appoint a Chief who has absolutely no prior experience managing a municpal police department and when you appoint a political operative over others that are far more qualified.

The people that have been the victims of Eden’s mismanagement have been the voters and the rank and file police officers.

December 1, 2017 when a new Mayor is sworn in cannot come too soon and I for one hope the new Mayor will set aside all political considerations and select a qualified chief of police and not a political operative such as Gordon Eden.

Keller-Lewis Runoff; Hold On To Your Seats For A Rough Ride

It was downright fun calling municipal election returns with Joe Monahan and the crew on KANW radio.

A 97,000 voter or a 29% turnout by far exceeded expectations!

I shocked the group when after seeing about a third of the results and I predicted Keller would get over 40% at the end while the panel all said his final vote would be 33%.

Within a few minutes, updated results had Keller with 41% and when he claimed victory on TV he had 40% with his final vote at 39%.

I am very pleased to see I still have the political instincts.

Now on to what I fear will be one of the nastiest and most negative runoffs seen in awhile.

Mr. Keller will be given $127,000 in public finance to run his campaign, while Mr. Lewis will be able to raise as much as he possibly can.

Mr. Keller’s measured finance committee will now go into overdrive to raise money

The race will be as much as chasing after money as is chasing after votes.

We can all expect negative ads and national money being poured into the race.

The municipal runoff election is scheduled for November 14, 2017.

What this means is that Mayor-elect Keller or Mayor-elect Lewis will have only two weeks for a transition team to get to work and come up with reports and make recommendations on what needs to be done.

I encourage Keller and Lewis to start trying to identify people who are professionals, not political operatives who worked on their campaigns, who can hit the ground running and become Department Directors.

The two biggest appointments will be who to appoint Chief Administrative Officer and Chief of Police who are acceptable to the City Council and who can get confirmed by the council.

We were in that station until midnight, but Joe worked to 2:00 am this morning to get his blog article out.

Hope everyone had a chance to listen to the program.

Joe did and exceptional job with his day after election commentary on his blog.

My blog is my hobby, while New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan is Joe’s living.

Joe did a much better job than I could have ever done on what happened, therefore I am posting it on my blog for all to see.

Following is Joe Monahan’s full blog post in full:

“Good For You, ABQ! Voter Turnout Soars; Nearly 100,000 Come Out As Apathy Takes A Bath; Keller Blows The Doors Off For 1st In Mayor Derby; Lewis Takes 2nd; Sick Leave Gets The Flu; Incumbent Councilors Safe

Wow! You don’t hear that often from jaded observers of La Politica but we heard it in spades Tuesday night as the vote rolled in. . . and kept rolling in until we neared the nearly awe inspiring total of 100,000 city voters.

Unofficial results showed just about 98,000 voted in the mayoral contest. That came very close to beating the record set in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks. And when we account for voters who went to the polls but did not vote in the mayoral race we may just beat the record.

That gladdened the hearts of those who have been fretting over a city that seemed to have accepted the historic crime wave, the ongoing economic stagnation and a political class that continually underestimated the city’s woes or simply denied them.

But voting, if anything, is an exercise is hope. And hope was the new Duke City fad Tuesday. You could only hope that unlike the miniskirt or Rubik’s cube, this fad was here to stay. It brought back fond memories of the city’s slogan during the go-go years of the 90’s–“Good for You, Albuquerque!”

But voting alone isn’t going to turn around a deeply troubled ABQ. It will take strong and determined mayoral leadership and Tuesday voters decided that it would be either Democrat Tim Keller or Republican Dan Lewis who is up to the task, but Keller more so and by a margin of landslide proportions.


Keller aced the pollsters and pundits and secured 38,156 votes or 39.35 percent, just a shade shy of the 40 percent mark that used to be good enough to avoid a run-off election. But the rules changed and now a candidate needs 50 percent so State Auditor Keller, 39, will now engage in what is expected to be a rough and tumble run-off election with City Councilor Lewis, 47, who placed second with 22,238.

That huge gap between the two was a point of focus for our team of experts on our KANW 89.1 FM broadcast as the returns arrived onto their computer screens. Said former city councilor, longtime political consultant and ABQ attorney Greg Payne:

“Dan had to be hoping for a single digit separation between himself and Tim. This gap of close to 16 points makes it much more difficult for him to prevail in the run-off on November 14th. He will need something special to happen, if Keller is to be denied.”

That “something special” will likely take the form of an all out attack against Keller by Lewis. He told our radio audience that Keller is soft on crime, accusing him of having a program that he derisively labeled “hug a thug.”

Keller, nursing a victory that everyone knew was coming but no one imagined would be as big as it turned out, was not taking the bait and chuckled at the blistering. But he did dig at Lewis by saying he wants the finger-pointing over the crime wave to stop and indirectly mocked Lewis for blaming the judges. He said politicians need “to own responsibility for our city.”

It will have to be Lewis who plays the most offense as he tries to jar the ball loose from Keller’s now firm grip. In a city where Dems heavily outnumber R’s Keller starts with a decided advantage. For his part Lewis worked those numbers, telling us he has never been “a partisan figure” as he began the job of convincing D’s to come to his aid.


Keller was now seen getting the public endorsement of former NM Dem Party Chairman Brian Colón who finished third with 15,844 or 16.38 percent of the vote. Colón spent over $800,000, by far the most of any of the eight mayoral candidates, only to see an engaged electorate seek the more forceful messages offered by Keller and Lewis.

While Colón can be expected to publicly raise his hand for Keller, it remained uncertain if the former chairman, a consummate deal maker, would play any footsie with Lewis who sorely needs Colón Democrats if he is to have a realistic shot.


The money race begins today along with the vote chase. Will the GOP and its associated groups shrug off the big margin between Keller and Lewis and still go all in with their contributions or will they hold back, fearing a Mayor Keller could call them to account?

And how will Keller’s effort be financed? He opted for public financing and only gets $125,000 for the run-off. Lewis can raise as much as he wants. What third party groups will come to Keller’s aid and will that create controversy? And will a third party financed campaign be as effective as Lewis’s who can run his own show?

Another question: We had nearly 100,000 cast ballots in the first round. But that is sure to drop in the second round. How will that play out?

While Lewis will hammer Keller on crime, lurking in the background is Lewis’s association with conservative church leader Reverend Smotherman as well as his endorsement from the National Rifle Association which suddenly looks much less valuable in the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern US history this week in Las Vegas.


Former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones let out a “Yipee” when former BernCo GOP Chairman Rick Abraham announced at KANW that the turnout had closed in on the 100,000 mark. It was that kind of night for Dems, Republicans, Independents and anyone else who cares deeply about the future of our city. They all agree that only a spirited and passionate debate about the city’s future can pull us out of what some have likened to a death spiral.

So what was behind the unpredicted turnout surge?

Payne and I discussed it in detail and came up with these theories:

–Keller’s campaign had put unprecedented energy into the “ground game” mobilizing some 400 volunteers to get out his vote–and they did.
–The controversial sick leave ordinance, which was narrowly defeated, energized both foes and supporters when the final polling showed the outcome too close to call.
–Then there was Las Vegas. Did that horrific crime hit home in ABQ where everyday folks are fed up with the constant barrage of thefts and violence? It very well may have, posited longtime Democratic activist and former NM Court of Appeals Judge Ira Robinson.

Whatever the reasons, it was a welcome reprieve from the long decline in voter participation in city elections. With about 316,000 registered voters the turnout amounted to nearly 31 percent, but it was the raw total of nearly six figures that really brought out the grins.


Incumbent Dem Councilor Ken Sanchez on the westside and Republican Don Harris on the east side coasted to easy re-election victories, crossing the 50 percent threshold to avoid a run-off. Ditto for NE Heights Dem incumbent Diane Gibson. Her race also ended in a rout, sending her back to the council for another four years.

In District 5, the westside council seat Dan Lewis is giving up to run for mayor, an exciting run-off will be held between Republican Robert Aragon and Dem Cynthia Borrego who finished just a few points behind him. If Borrgeo pulls off the upset the council would go from a 5 to 4 Dem majority to a 6 to 3 Dem majority. That would be a veto-proof council, if the next mayor were a Dem.


The vote on the proposed ordinance to mandate sick leave for all city employees–both full-time and part-time–was narrowly defeated late Tuesday–50.39 to 49.61 percent.

Gerges Scott, who helped run the campaign against the measure from his perch at DW Turner PR, credited Dems who crossed over to vote against the ordinance.

Supporters of the proposal–financed mainly by out-of-town interests–spent well over $500,000 on the effort to pass it while the opponents never came close to that total. But the ordinance was so badly worded that even leading Dem supporters said they would work to change it if it passed. That kind of messaging sure didn’t help.


A hearty thanks to my radio team, one of the best we’ve had in nearly 30 years of calling elections for public radio. We finished about midnight, late for a city election as we waited for the final sick leave count. I am writing to you at 2 a.m. and want to sign off by also thanking you for your continued interest and support. It makes it a whole lot of fun. Now let’s get ready for that run-off election.”

New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan

“Tame The Savageness Of Man And Make Gentle The Life Of This World” ― Aeschylus

I was glued to the TV news stations most of the day watching the national news reports of what happened in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The reports of the largest mass shooting in this county’s history with at least 59 dead and at least 515 injured were shocking and heartbreaking.

The cell phone camera videos recorded all the pure evil unfolding.

The “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop” of rapid gunfire was first thought to be firecrackers going off and joy turned to absolute terror as the shooting went on for fifteen minutes while people fled in terror and disbelief and people dropped like flies after being shot.

The local area hospitals were reported looking like “Mash Units”.

To be sure there were acts of heroism that are emerging reflecting how people went to the aide of strangers.

A 64-year-old American killing and shooting high capacity weapons from the 32th story of a building at a crowd of 22,000 attending a country and western concert on the Las Vegas strip and killing and injuring so many others without any apparent motive can only be described as just plain evil.

The Las Vegas massacre was not the result of “radical Islamic terrorist” nor of any terrorist organization.

According to news reports, and law enforcement are finding it extremely difficult to find any motive nor rational for the shooting.

The 64 year old gunman, was twice divorced, had a girlfriend, had no criminal history, no history of mental illness, he had substantial wealth, he lived in a “gated” retirement community living in a $360,000 two bedroom home, and according to his brother, “he was a big gambler who could afford to gamble”, won $40,000 recently at a slot machine, and he had “no affiliation, no religion, no politics … he never cared about any of that stuff” … and “He was a guy who had money, went on cruises and gambled” according to his brother and would take care of his 90 year old mother’s needs.

When is the absolute madness and gun violence going to stop in this country?

The Las Vegas mass shooting will now be added to our ever-growing list of mass murders and gun violence incidents described by the locations where they occurred: Dallas Police Shootings, Orlando Massacre, San Bernardino Massacre, South Carolina Church Massacre, Boston Massacre, Sandy Hook Massacre, Columbine Massacre, Columbus Massacre, VA Tech Massacre just to mention a few.

What is our country coming to, what are we becoming as a nation, what are we doing to ourselves?

We will now have another period of mourning, more funeral’s, more tears, more nightly vigils followed by arguments over gun control, followed by silence and inaction by our elected officials as we move on to yet another crisis and no doubt another mass shooting in a few more months.

Gun rights advocates and opponents, law enforcement and our elected officials need to find a solution to the gun violence in this country before this country can stop spiraling into total civil war.

Each time one of these massacres occur, we slowly lose our freedoms.

As Americans, we need to come together, be tolerant and respect each other, confront our demons and aside our differences and seek within ourselves to find solutions to our problems, our differences, before we destroy ourselves, and lose the freedoms we enjoy and lose our country to total violence and chaos.

May God bless the victims and the families of the Las Vegas massacre and please Lord bless this country in these turbulent times and please give us the guidance and wisdom to handle yet another tragedy.

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
― Aeschylus