No Press Honeymoon For Mayor Keller

Will wonders ever cease!

An Albuquerque Journal front page, above the fold, bold headline declaring “71 homicides this year are the most in recent history”.

The story included a graph reflecting the number of homicides a year since 1996.

The front page story greeted Mayor Keller the very day he is to be sworn in as the new Mayor, along with an editorial “welcoming” Mayor Keller to his new job.

Two days ago on my FACEBOOK page, I linked an Albuquerque Journal story that had the headline “City approaches homicide record with NW Albuquerque shooting, police say” reporting the 69th homicide this year and posted the following comment with the link:

“No one should be surprised that the Albuquerque Journal saw fit NOT to put this headline on their front page seeing as that their favorite Mayor of all time still has two full days of work left and it reflects his true legacy. Watch for the front page headline when one more murder occurs and the city breaks the homicide record of 70 murders in one year. The paper will then demand to know what Mayor Keller is doing to turn things around.”

I took some grief about my FACEBOOK post from a friend who I know and respect and who works for the Albuquerque Journal that said the Journal is not biased against Tim Keller and that they report the news based on facts and not who is in office.

My FACEBOOK friend suggested that I ask the Journal about a program on how a newspaper works.

My response was that the Journal editors needed to attend a program that will help them see how government and law enforcement actually works and what it is like to defend against someone who buys ink by the barrel.

Well the Journal Editors proved my point in their December 1, 2017 Editorial “Welcome, mayor Keller; Now the hard part begins”, page A-6, which welcomed the new mayor his first day on the job when it editorialized in part as follows:

“Keller’s appointment of Oriana Sandoval, chief executive officer at the Center for Civic Policy, to a newly created position of “deputy city attorney” to focus on immigrant rights protection, refugee affairs, environmental justice and civil rights, is baffling. In every recent poll, Albuquerqueans have overwhelmingly called crime the major concern facing the city – not refugees or environmental justice. It’s unfortunate that one of the new mayor’s very first hires bolsters concerns raised by his opponents – that he would focus on a national progressive agenda vs. addressing local concern.”

The truth is that the appointment of one deputy city attorney, an interim one at that, does not mean a national progressive agenda as the Journal implies.

Mayor Keller has also terminated City Attorney Jessica Hernandez by telling her that her services are no longer needed and that she did not have to report to work on December 1, 2017.

The appointment of a new city attorney is one of the most critical appointments that needs to be made given the Department of Justice Consent Decree, the litigation involving excessive use of force and deadly force cases, not to mention the complete reorganization of the Albuquerque Police Department.

It is not just the Albuquerque Journal but also the TV stations and one radio station in particular that have shown very favorable biases to the former Republican administration.

Two of the TV stations had reporters go to work for the Berry administration which resulted in unprecedented access to information at city hall.

The Berry Administration also had a very well-known Albuquerque Journal reporter go to work for it eight years ago.

The first six months of any administration sets the tone for the entire four year term.

The normal “honeymoon” period with the press is 4 to 6 months for any newly elected official, but I suspect that will not be the case for Mayor Keller.

Albuquerque voters tend to be very impatient and will want to see tangible results especially when it comes to our high crime rates and the Albuquerque Police Department.

The appointment of Interim Chief Michael Geier was a good first step to stabilize APD, but time is of the essence to do a national search and appoint a new APD Chief.

The next federal monitor’s report will be in six months.

If the Federal Monitor reports that nothing has changed and there is still resistance to the DOJ reforms even with the new interim chief and command staff, Mayor Keller will be held responsible.

With the press breathing down his back from day one, Mayor Keller has his work cut out for him.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.