ABQ Reports: The Doer, the Whiner and the Failure

The Doer, the Whiner and the Failure
February 7, 2018

Dennis Domrzalski


You don’t have to look far to see that individuals – our attitudes and actions – can make all the difference in things.

Some people refuse to quit or whine, and wind up turning the most dire of circumstances into successes and triumphs; some whine incessantly no matter how good things are and will always be mired in mediocrity; and some just plain don’t do their jobs.

Those three different traits and types of people are on full display in Albuquerque right now, and I don’t think there’s any question as to who will have true success.

First we’ve got the Whiner, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez. The DA has been whining since he took office a year ago that he doesn’t have enough resources, meaning attorneys, to prosecute all the criminals who are roaming our streets and stealing our stuff and creating mayhem.

Torrez’s office has a budget of $18.2 million. The office has 300 positions. As I said, since he took office last year, Torrez has been whining that he doesn’t have enough money to do his job. And now he’s asking the state Legislature for an additional $5.4 million so he can hire 20 more attorneys to prosecute felony cases.

But, Torrez’s office has 45 vacant positions, 18 of which are attorneys. He has never really answered the question of why he hasn’t hired those 18 attorneys, and no one in the news media, except this publication, has bothered to look at the state’s Sunshine portal to see all those vacant positions. And no one but ABQReport has bothered to ask Torrez why he’s asking for a lot more money when he can’t even keep his office fully staffed.

The state House wants to give Torrez a quarter of of his requested $4.5 million, or about $1.1 million in additional funds. That’s a decent amount of money, but it won’t be enough for Torrez. And you can bet that even if Torrez were to get that additional $4.5 million, he’d be back in a couple of years complaining that he didn’t have enough money and attorneys to do his job. He’s a perpetual whiner.

Now we come to the Loser in this situation, KOAT-TV President and General Manager Mary Lynn Roper. She put out an editorial on Feb. 5 going to bat for Torrez and his request for an additional $4.5 million. I don’t recall KOAT ever doing its job in this particular case and reporting on the fact that Torrez currently has 18 VACANT attorney positions. I don’t recall Roper or any of her station’s reporters asking Torrez why he’s asking for more money when he can’t, or won’t, fill all the positions he’s currently budgeted for.

KOAT says it has a news department. Well, if it’s a real news department, it would be doing some very easy reporting and asking Torrez some moderately tough questions. But it hasn’t, and in that regard, it’s a failure. It’s disgusting and embarrassing that these so-called news people can’t, or won’t do their jobs of holding public officials accountable.

And now we come to the Doer, the guy who makes no excuses and who is trying to scratch out success in a very tough situation. And that Doer is Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier.

Geier walked into an incredibly tough situation when he took over as police chief in December. APD has been chronically understaffed for years because of the failures and incompetence of the previous city administration, crime has skyrocketed in recent years, and morale among rank-and-file officers has been low.

But Geier hasn’t been sitting in a dark closet wringing his hands, weeping and whining about his lack of resources and the failures of his predecessor. In January, despite being more than 150 cops short of APD’s budgeted manpower level, Geier and his command staff put together a four-day auto theft sting that netted 23 recovered stolen vehicles and 22 felony arrests.

That was a huge and great first step in the process of taking back our streets – and motor vehicles – from the thugs.

Instead of whining, complaining and doing nothing, Geier took action; he charged the enemy.

When Geier took over as chief he said he was tired of the “Heads-down” attitude at APD. He said he was tired of hearing what couldn’t be done, and that he wanted a new attitude of accomplishment and service on behalf of the citizens and the department.

Well, because of Geier, APD has that new attitude.

The motto of Geier’s home town, the city of Chicago is “I will.” It’s not, “I don’t have the resources,” or, “I could succeed if only I had an endless amount of money,” or “Maybe I can do it.”

It’s “I will.”

Torrez and Roper have a long, long way to go before they can even come close to living up to that wonderful and inspiring motto. Because right now, their motto seems to be, “I can’t and I won’t.”

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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.