Nothing New About APD Command Staff Nor Police Union’s Tactics

High crime rates, public safety, the Albuquerque Police Department, the Department of Justice reforms and civilian oversight were the biggest issues debated in the 2017 Mayor’s race.

Mayor Tim Keller has made personnel changes to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) in effort to turn the department around and reform it and implement the Department of Justice reforms.

If the Keller Administration continues on the same path with APD, what we are really dealing with are no major changes in management style.


Mayor Keller made a very public and strong commitment to implementing the Department of Justice reforms mandated by the consent decree.

The effort has been concentrating on trying to satisfy the federal court appointed monitor which is nothing more than trying to reverse the course set by the Berry Administration.

During the last three years, the Berry administration and APD command staff resisted the consent decree reforms, even though they were the ones that took a full year to negotiate the consent decree at a cost of at least $1 million.

Since taking office, Keller has met with the Federal Monitor and appeared before the Federal Court assuring them both that APD will implement the mandated reforms.

Truth is, the Keller Administration and APD have absolutely no choice but to implement the reforms and comply with the stipulated agreement in order to get out from under the consent decree.

Thus far, implementing the consent decree has cost taxpayers at least $4 million.

You can anticipate the reform process will take at least another three years to implement and probably another $4 million.

Under the Keller Administration, the Federal Monitor is now providing “technical assistance” to APD.

Under the Keller Administration, APD has also created a compliance bureau.

Both the monitors technical assistance and the compliance bureau should have been done three years ago from the get go when the Federal monitor first came to Albuquerque.


Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief really is not changing the traditional way of managing APD.

Chief Michael Geier’s appointment is a throwback to former APD Chief Ray Schulz and Gordon Eden management styles.

The obvious big difference is Chief Geier has stronger management skills that he performs with honesty and integrity free from personal vendetta or political agendas totally unlike his two predecessors.

Notwithstanding the work Chief Geier is performing, Candidate Keller said if elected, he would do a national search for a new APD Police Chief and make sweeping changes to the department.

However, after 5 months in office, there has been no announcement of a national search committee nor of the process that will be used to hire a permanent chief.

APD insiders and city hall observers are suggesting that Mayor Keller has already decided to keep Interim Chief Geier and make him permanent but Keller wants to hold off announcing that fact until both have been on the job a full year.

A few have said that it was during the election Keller made the commitment to Chief Geier to keep him a full year when he asked him to become interim Chief.

Replacing the APD command staff was a good start, but still there is nothing new about it.

Chief Geier and his Deputy Chiefs represent the “old guard” of APD style of management.

The “new” command staff is more of a reflection of APD’s past.

The “new” command staff, especially all the Deputy Chiefs, are not outsiders at all but have been with APD for some time.

The Deputy Chiefs of Police appointed by Mayor Keller include Harold Medina who retired from APD as commander after serving 20 years, Rogelio Banez who was the area commander in southwest Albuquerque, and Eric Garcia who was a Deputy Chief under APD Chief Gordon Eden.

Deputy Chief Eric Garcia has received high marks for his work on the DOJ reforms, but once again he was part of the previous administration’s management team and eligible to retire.

The new command staff do not reflect a new generation of police officer fully committed and trained in constitutional policing.

All the previous commanders under the Berry Administration have been shuffled around with a few retiring, with no firm commitment, at least not yet announced, that they will be kept as commanders.

There has been an elimination of the positions of Major which was created a mere 3 years ago by the previous administration.

The new reorganization of APD under Mayor Keller is a remarkable look alike consisting of even older faces replacing the old faces under former Chiefs Ray Schultz and Chief Gordon Eden and people brought up through the ranks of APD over the last 20 years.


On February 25, 2018, the one thing Mayor Keller did different or new with the Department of Justice reforms was the appointment of former New Mexico State Treasurer, former Governor Bruce King’s Chief of Staff and former Mayor Chavez CAO James Lewis as “Senior Advisor for Public Safety.”

The appointment of Lewis was well received by the general public because James Lewis has an earned and proven track record of honesty and integrity.

James Lewis brings to the table institutional knowledge on how to clean up a trouble department as he did with the New Mexico State Treasurer’s Office, skills that are definitely needed with APD.

James Lewis was appointed to oversee police reform and help implement community policing but has been given little civilian authority over APD.

According to Mayor Keller in a news release at the time the appointment was made, James Lewis was appointed to “bring civilian perspectives to the table as our police department works to implement the Department of Justice reforms” thus reflecting merely an advisory role.

A civilian perspective is not what is needed and what is needed is genuine civilian oversight of APD.

James Lewis must work with APD as it formulates a community policing plan by making sure that affected communities are involved, especially minority communities, and he is also tasked with working with the Community Policing Councils.

James Lewis has been compelled to learn about the consent decree, the DOJ reforms as well as the community Policing Counsels seeing as none existed 10 years ago when he left city hall to work for President Barack Obama in his Administration.

APD is a far different department than it was 10 years ago when James Lewis was Chief Administrative Officer under Mayor Martin Chaves with a significant turnover in personnel due to retirements.

As a Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) retiree, James Lewis was given a $75,000 contract that had to be approved by PERA.

Under PERA retirement laws and regulations in order to avoid having his retirement suspended, Mr. Lewis is prohibited from being a full-time city hall employee and prohibited from having any direct management duties and responsibilities over city personnel.

Mr. Lewis does not report directly to Mayor Tim Keller, but to the Chief Administrative Officer and he is assigned to the APD Compliance Bureau.

What is disappointing is that James Lewis has been given absolutely no authority nor control over APD policy and procedures.

James Lewis cannot make any meaningful policy decisions or give orders to the command staff relating to implementation of the DOJ reforms.

The limited or lack of authority given to James Lewis undercuts his ability and scope of what he can do to implement the DOJ reforms.

James Lewis has been relegated to a public relations position to represent the Administration at meetings and court proceedings.

Mayor Keller hopefully will recognize that there is a waste of management skills Mr. Lewis possesses that could be better used to rebuild APD.


On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, Mayor Tim Keller did a press conference along with his newly appointed Interim Police Chief and command staff.

Before the Mayor Keller discussed his plans for APD, the mayor announced he had a few apologies to make.

What Mayor Keller said in part was:

“I also want to tell the victims of families who have been hurt by unnecessary use of force that I am sorry, and that we are sorry as your city government. We will work every day to restore trust in our community.”

“Secondly, we also need to apologize for our skyrocketing crime rates. I have heard from hundreds of folks who don’t feel safe and who worry about their families every day. And I want to acknowledge to all the victims of crime in this city and to all the families who have fallen victim to crime that we have let you down in many ways. Public safety is a critical function of government, and we must do better and it starts with owning up to that today.”

A few days after the Mayor’s press conference, Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) President and APD Police Officer Shaun Willoughby claimed his membership were upset that Mayor Keller apologized to the citizens of Albuquerque for APD’s “culture of excessive use of force” over the years.

What was particularly egregious and offensive was when Willouby declared Mayor Keller “dishonorable” and said on camera:

“It’s important to understand that the APOA is not a political organization. I’m actually employed by the cops that we serve. … I don’t think that the APOA having discontent is wrong or reminding anybody that we felt that, that was dishonorable to apologize for a group of police officers.”

What truly is dishonorable is the unions political motivations, especially when it comes to the DOJ reforms.

If APOA is not a political organization as Officer Willoughby claims, it had absolutely no business endorsing anyone for Mayor.

The police union endorsement in many respects politicized APD even further.

The police union is not a named party to the original civil lawsuit filed against the city and APD by the Department of Justice (DOJ) but the union is an intervenor in the lawsuit.

In general, intervention in a court procedure allows a nonparty, called intervenor to join ongoing litigation, either as a matter of right or at the discretion of the court, without the permission of the original litigants.

The police union was given a place at the negotiating table for the consent decree implementation and the drafting of new policies.

It took almost a full year to negotiate “use of force” and “use of deadly” force policies.

The police union demanded to be at the negotiating table for “use of force” and “use of deadly” force policies as an intervenor to give input and the union contributed to the delay.

The police union along with their attorney have appeared at virtually all the Federal Court monitor status conference hearings.

The police union president has never missed an opportunity to complain to the federal court during the Federal Monitor James Ginger status reports about how the DOJ consent decree and the use of force policies impedes and interferes with police officer’s ability to do their jobs.

When the previous Berry Administration attempted to have the Federal Monitor removed making false allegations he was biased, the police union remained silent and took no position on his removal.

When the federal judge publicly admonished the former city attorney and the former command staff for the secret recording of the federal monitor’s confidential conversations in order to allege he was biased, the union once again stood silent.

Recently, the police union released a poll of its membership and asked virtually no questions about the DOJ consent decree and the implementation of the reforms.

No questions were asked in the union poll if the use of force policies were working or interfering with job duties.

The result is that the union resistance to the change under the DOJ consent decree and in use of force policies undermines the implementation process of effective constitutional policing practices.


Mayor Tim Keller was swept into office with a 62% vote landslide giving him a mandate for change.

Keller promised to make sweeping, visionary change to APD and its management.

Mayor Keller needs to keep his promise made during the election and commence a Chief selection process and conduct a national search for a new Chief of Police and Deputy Chiefs to take over within in 8 months, or sooner.

Senior Advisor for Public Safety James Lewis is more than capable of leading the Chief selection process, deal with recruitment issues and expand and improve civilian oversight of APD.

The Keller Administration needs to consider and revisit what role the police union should actually play and be involved with in negotiating with the Department of Justice and implementation of the DOJ reforms.

Until a far more aggressive approach is taken, APD will be no better off a year from now than it is now, which will be a damn shame given that voters are expecting so much more.

Sending In The Clowns Back To City Hall

“Isn’t it rich?
Are [Montano and Campbell] a pair?
[Campbell returning] here at last on the ground,
[Montano] in mid-air,
Where are the clowns?

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who [must] move,
Where are the clowns?

Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines
No one is there
There ought to be clowns?

Well maybe … there here.”

Hit song Lyrics by Judy Collins, 1975

I took a little liberty with the Judy Collins 1975 hit song “Send In The Clowns” after reading that newly appointed Albuquerque Planning Director David Campbell, and former and former Berry Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano as well former Mayor Richard Berry are back in the news with their usual flair and lines as the song says.


David Campbell made his entrance again into the news with his “usual flair” by speaking to the Albuquerque Economic Forum and delivered his speech using a scene setter dubbing the city “Embassy Albuquerque”.

The Albuquerque Economic Forum has been around for at least 40 some years and has many members who consider themselves the “great movers and shakers” in the Albuquerque business community and its members are big promoters of all things Republican and the Republican Agenda and Republican candidates for office.

Least anyone forgets, attorney David Campbell was a land use attorney dealing with city zone changes and developments before he became City Attorney under Mayor Louis Saavedra.

Campbell worked and was schooled in how city government works by Saavedra’s Chief Administrative Officer Art Blummenthal, a long time City Hall insider.

In 2009, Campbell was appointed as the first Chief Administrative Officer under Mayor Richard Berry who was in office for the past 8 years.

After leaving the Berry Administration and Albuquerque to work for the foreign services as a diplomate to Mauritius and Ecuador, David Cambell has now again returned and is “so sure of his lines”.

What is so rich about David Campbell is the way he talked and channeled former Mayor Berry in his presentation and virtually all of the projects that Berry supported and promoted since 2011.

Campbell talked about all the new community assets built or established since 2011 such as the Lobo Rainforest Innovation Center, new Uptown retail, indoor entertainment venues, Hotel Chaco, Downtown Anasazi, One Central Downtown, Imperial Building and grocery Downtown and the Railyards Market, all projects I am sure the Economic Forum wanted to hear about.

The only thing Campbell did not talk about was the Berry legacy ART Bus project, and I am sure it is because it’s such a disaster.

Campbell cited crime as the single worst problem in the city affecting safety and economic development and said it is part of the civic narrative and the community’s self-image.

David Campbell made no mention of our high poverty rates, no mention of our troubled education system, no mention of our high jobless rates, and no mention of any viable economic development practices.

Campbell did go on to say the coverage of crime by local media contributes to the city’s negative self-talk and image when he said:

“This negatively impacts everyone’s feeling of individual safety and the city’s ability to attract employers. … Our self-talk about security is very devastating … Not that it doesn’t exist. Not that you don’t report on it, but it sure seems to me that we emphasize it in great measure perhaps more than what is good for us.”

What Campbell wants to ignore is that he and his former boss Mayor Richard Berry were clearly part of the problem of where we are today but prefers to blame the media instead of addressing the problems and how to solve the problems.

The City’s severe crime spike and wave began during the time David Campbell was Chief Administrative Officer under Berry when in 2010 there were 42 homicides and virtually all property crime statistics started to climb and climb fast.

It was Mr. Campbell who decided to leave Albuquerque to become a diplomate leaving APD in the hands of the likes of Darren White as Chief Public Safety Officer.

Since 2012, when Campbell was off being a diplomat, violent crime has dramatically increased in Albuquerque by 77%.

The increase in violent crime in 2017 was still significantly less than “nonfatal shootings” which increased by a whopping 148%.

According to APD statistics released for 2017, homicides increased by 23%, robberies increase by 43%, rapes increased by 21% and aggravated assaults increased 4.2%.

On December 28, 2017 Albuquerque reached a record high of 75 murders in one year.

When Campbell started to talk about crime, he once again channeled Mayor Richard Berry without mentioning whatsoever what has happened to the Albuquerque Police Department while he was away being a diplomate and the destruction of one of the finest police departments in the country.

In 2014, APD was found to have a “culture of aggression” by the Department of Justice resulting in consent decree mandated reforms.

Since the year Campbell left in City Hall in 2011 and returned in 2018 APD has gone from 1,100 sworn police to 878.

What is glaring and which is very suspect is that new Planning Director David Campbell failed to talk to the Economic Forum about the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers.

The enactment of the comprehensive plan was a major priority of Republican Mayor Berry and the development community pushed hard for its enactment before Berry left office and no doubt the Economic Forum rejoiced in the enactment the ABC-Z comprehensive plan.

The ABC-Z project rewrite was nothing more than making “gentrification” an official city policy and the “gutting” of long standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character.

Campbell clearly failed to talk about any of the goals, priorities or proposed policy changes of the new Keller Administration.

One must wonder why David Campbell even bothered to talked to the Economic Forum, other than make sure he curried their favor and to reconnect with old buddies who no doubt want to talk to him about Albuquerque’s new ABC-Z comprehensive plan in private and answer their questions.


It has been reported that former Mayor Richard Berry’s chief of staff Gilbert Montaño has been hired as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the city of New Orleans.

Montano was appointed CAO by the city’s first female mayor, LaToya Cantrell, a Democrat.

Montano said of his appointment:

“I felt that the opportunity was so great. … I’m humbled by the challenge.”

New Orleans is smaller than Albuquerque, with about 400,000 people, but along with its surrounding metropolitan area is about 1.3 million people.

Former Mayor Richard Berry commented about Montano’s new job appointment by saying in his usual positive flair:

“I’m excited for Gilbert and Mayor-elect Cantrell. … He proved himself here. … Albuquerque was one of the best-run cities in America for several years in a row, and he was really integral to our administration. Now New Orleans is going to have the benefit of his experience.”

Let us hope that New Orleans does NOT have the benefit of Gilbert Montano’s experience and being an intricate part of the Berry Administration and causing Albuquerque to be one of the worst run cities in the country.

City Hall’s finances went to hell in a handbasket under the leadership of Mayor Richard Berry and his Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano.

A December 2017 financial forecast for the City was released within days after Berry left office and reported that the City was facing a budget shortfall of nearly $40,000,000 next fiscal year.

(See December 17, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, $40M budget deficit possible for ABQ; City Council to hear next fiscal year financial forecast Monday.)

The deficit was attributed to reduced gross receipts tax revenues going to the city, state cuts in appropriations to the city, additional operating costs for new capital projects built by the Berry administration, including the Berry’s disastrous legacy ART Bus project, and the need for increase funding for public safety and police just to mention a few.

On September 25, 2017, in his final Mayor State of the City speech, Mayor RJ Berry proclaimed “the state of our city is strong,” and said Albuquerque’s next mayor will “inherit an efficient city government that is living within its means, a growing economy and close to $1.2 billion in infrastructure projects that have been built or are in the pipeline”.

The September 25, 2017 headline proclaimed “A hallmark of physical responsibility”.

(See September 26, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “A hallmark of fiscal responsibility.”)

Berry left the City’s finances and condition so bad and with the $40 million-dollar deficit to the point that the City Council was forced to increase gross receipts tax to generate $55 million a year to deal with the deficits and expansion of public safety.

Contributing factors to the $40 million projected deficit include the following Berry piles to clean up by Keller:

$2.3 million in lost funding due to the phaseout of “hold harmless” payments from the State. “Hold harmless” payments were being made to cities and counties to compensate them for revenue funding they lost when the state eliminated the gross receipts tax on food and medicine. Mayor Richard Berry supported the elimination of the “hold harmless” payments made to the city to the detriment of his own city.

$7.2 million in operating costs for new capital projects that will be coming online, including the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. This does not take into account the $75 million in federal funding that has yet to materialize for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project now costing $134 million instead of $129 million. Keller went to Washington in January and see if he could get the money promised and there is still no guarantee of getting anything from Congress.

So much for Berry’s “a hallmark of fiscal responsibility” and Albuquerque being one of the best run cities in the country during his time in office.


Congratulations are in order for David Campbell for returning to city hall, but I suggest he find out what Mayor Keller’s priorities are all about and especially verse himself in the content of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan seeing as he will be the one most responsible for enforcing it.

Congratulations are also in order to Gilbert Montano for being able to come down from “mid air” and land on his feet after five months of looking for a job.

Congratulations to former Mayor Richard Berry for keeping his rose-colored glasses clean and opening doors for his former employees who continue to have his back.

My apologies also go to Judy Collins.

Who knows, if things do not work out for David Campbell or Richard Berry in Albuquerque, they can go work for Gilbert Montano in New Orleans.

You can send in the clowns now, but maybe there still here.


Last year, a federal lawsuit was brought by a woman whose car was seized by the city after her son was arrested for driving it while intoxicated.

On March 31, 2018, the federal judge in the case found that the city’s 25-year-old civil vehicle forfeiture ordinance violated the woman’s right to due process of law and the state’s property forfeiture law requiring a criminal conviction before government seizure.

The federal court found the state’s 2015 forfeiture law “was strong evidence of the New Mexico Legislature’s intent to preclude municipalities from creating a civil forfeiture scheme.”

The City Attorney’s Office needs to ask the court to reconsider the ruling or appeal it.

Forfeiture of a vehicle is a legitimate and effective penalty for DWI that the New Mexico legislature has not precluded but actaully allows cities to impose penalties.

The New Mexico Legislature has empowered municipalities to enact ordinances to “define a nuisance, abate a nuisance and impose penalties upon a person who creates or allows a nuisance to exist”. (3-18-17 NMSA 1978)

The city vehicle forfeiture ordinance relies upon the city’s authority under state law to declare as a nuisance vehicles used by individuals arrested for a second DWI.

The city initiates civil administrative and civil court actions to secure legal title to the vehicles and then sells the vehicles at auction.

The civil vehicle forfeiture ordinance does have an “innocent owners” defense provision which allows the owner to show they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the DWI arrest in order have the vehicle released back to them.

A car owner can request a hearing before an administrative law judge for return of their vehicle and enter into civil settlement agreements for “booting” the vehicle for a period of time and pay costs of seizure and impoundment.

The Keller Administration had a knee jerk reaction to the court ruling in the pending federal case and announced within a week after the order was filed it will no longer seize cars from suspected drunk drivers who have not been convicted of a pending DWI charge.

The Keller Administration initial reaction to the forfeiture program was ill advised given the city’s high DWI rates and the failure of our criminal justice system to deal with the city’s out of control DWI rates.

The statistics from the Bernalillo County Metro Court on DWI arrests and convictions are alarming and reveal just how bad things are with APD being unable to patrol our streets, get drunks off the road, make DWI arrests, prosecute DWI cases and impound and seize vehicles.

Albuquerque and New Mexico have some of the highest DWI rates in the country.

According to a January 29, 2018 report published by the Albuquerque Journal, the odds of beating criminal DWI charges in Bernalillo County are about 50-50.

According to the report, 42 percent of all DWI cases resolved in Metropolitan Court last year were dismissed either by judges or prosecutors while 58 percent ended with a guilty verdict or plea.

In 2016, the percentages favored defendants with 55 percent of drunken driving cases being dismissed compared to 45 percent ending in pleas or convictions.

At one time the DWI conviction rate were in the 85% to 90% range by the Bernalillo County District Attorney Office.

The Keller Administration claims it will submit to the city council proposed changes to the vehicle forfeiture ordinance.

APD will continue seize and impound vehicles at the time of arrest as they do now with repeat drunk drivers arrested in their own cars.

Proposed changes to the policy were announced that will provide more protections to those who were not driving when their vehicle was seized.

A major change in policy is that the city will not seek to take ownership of the vehicle and sell it at auction unless the suspect is convicted.

What the changes in the new policy means is that unless the actual owner is sitting in the front seat of their car drunk, the city will probably not be initiating vehicle forfeiture proceeding nor seeking boot agreements from the car owner.

The current nuisance abatement ordinance allows civil actions to be filed against real property to secure injunctive relief.

A viable option would be to amend the city’s existing nuisance abatement ordinance to allow civil nuisance abatement actions against vehicles whose owners have a history of prior DWI convictions without relying on the conviction of pending DWI charges.

Another option is to seek a change in State DWI penalty laws and allow judges to order a convicted DWI offenders car be forfeited.

Too many drunk drivers are not being held criminally accountable for their actions.

The city needs to be allowed to take civil actions to take away the very object they have used to violate the law and perhaps injure or kill someone.

Pat Davis: Talks Like A Democrat, Acts Like A Republican

There are 6 Democrats running for the First Congressional District being vacated by Mitchelle Lujan Grisham and they are:

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis
Former Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland
Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez
Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara
Former United State Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez
Albuquerque businessman Paul Moya

New Mexico’s largest LGBT advocacy group Equality New Mexico has endorsed Debra Haaland for the Democratic nomination in the First Congressional District over openly gay Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.

A few within the Albuquerque’s Gay Community are downright angry that Equality New Mexico did not endorse Pat Davis in the congressional race.

Davis supporters within the gay community have expressed the opinion that his long record of advocating for LGBT rights makes him more deserving of the endorsement.

One Davis supporter even went as far as to say “If our state’s largest LGBT organization can’t even stand with prominent and highly qualified gay elected officials, they shouldn’t expect other elected officials or LGBT citizens in the community to trust or support them.”

Adrian N. Carver, the executive director of Equality New Mexico, in defending the Haaland endorsement, said:

“[It was] a hard call [for Equality New Mexico’s Board] … We endorsed Deb because she has been a long and passionate advocate not only for Equality New Mexico for years, but she has demonstrated she can win the campaign and that her campaign is viable. … The importance of the First Congressional District is huge and we’re not in the business of electing somebody just because they are gay … We’re in the business of getting the best person who is best situated for our… issues.”


It is typical for “non-incumbent” congressional candidates, like all those running to replace Michelle Lujan Grisham, to allocate 4 to 6 hours a day making phone calls to raise as much money as they can.

They call donors off of lists curried from other successful campaigns, lists of reliable contributors, lists of party activists, lists of national associations and corporations that may have the same philosophy, and lists of friends and associates, and any lists they can get their hands on.

It’s called “dialing for dollars”.

Frankly, raising money to have enough money to run an effective campaign sucks, especially when you have to turn the donations over to professional campaign consultants who then bleed you dry.

Candidate’s remaining time after “dialing for dollars” is allocated to attend public and social functions, fundraisers, house parties and work with political campaign advisors.

What a candidate for congress can raise is a true indicator if they are viable candidates, especially when it comes to federal races like US Senate and US House of Representatives.

From review of Federal Election campaign finance forms, Pat Davis ranks #5 out of six candidates running for congress.

Federal Election Commission reporting forms reflect that at the end of March, each candidate has raised and has on hand the following:

1. Former State Democratic Candidate Debra Haaland’s reported raising over $684,030 and has $347,394 on hand.

2. Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez reported raising $706,954 and has $456,799 on hand.

3. Former United State Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez raised $541,503 and has $276,532 on hand.

4. Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara reported raising $324,068 and has $139,285 on hand.

5. Pat Davis reported raising $293,970 and has $61,113 on hand.

6. Albuquerque Businessman Paul Moya reported raising $191,539 and has $161,721 on hand.


According to campaign polling, Pat Davis has the highest name identification (ID) than all the other candidates.

His high name ID is likely attributable to the media coverage he gets as an Albuquerque City Councilor and for that reason he should be doing better, but he is not.

The problem is that Pat Davis has high negatives according to a few polls.

Pat Davis commissioned an “auto-phone” opinion poll with Public Policy Poll (PPP) with the link to the full poll here:

The poll was conducted the weekend of Friday, April 13, 2018 to Sunday, April 15, 2018 and consisted of contacting 508 registered democrats with the poll having a margin of error of 4.4%.

According to the poll, Debra Haaland and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez are tied with 15%.

Pat Davis polled at 11% and Damon Martinez polled at 7%.

Paul Moya and Damian Lara polled in single digits at 4% each.

A whopping 43% of those polled were undecided.

With a field of 6 candidates, 43% of undecided taken approximately six weeks before the primary is very high.

With so many undecided, campaign funding for a media over the next few weeks before the June 5 primary will be critical and likely be the determining factor in winning the primary.

Pat Davis has not been able to raise the kind of money needed to run for congress because he is not as well liked within the gay community nor among progressive Democrats as he and his supporters think he is, something he has now found out from his fund raising, his poll numbers and now his failure to get the Equality New Mexico endorsement.

Davis is viewed by many as more of an opportunist that has used the organization he helped create, Progress Now, to curry favor and further his own personal ambitions from the start, first by running for Bernalillo County Sherriff, then to get elected to City Council just 2 years ago and now to run for US Congress.


One of the biggest reasons why Pat Davis is not being supported by many progressives is his actions and voting record on the Albuquerque City Council.

Pat Davis agreed with the former Republican Berry Administration and voted with the Republican City Councilors on so many resolutions and ordinances you would think Pat Davis was in fact a Republican.

Just 7 of the many egregious specifics regarding Pat Davis’s action and voting record on the Albuquerque City Council that go against the core of Democratic principles include:

1. Davis has voted repeatedly for and supported Republican Mayor Berry’s ART Bus project and funding. Davis refused to advocate to put ART on the ballot for public approval, telling his constituents at a forum that there was nothing he could do and it was the Mayor’s project. Davis voted to spend federal grant money that had yet to be appropriated by congress. The ART Bus project has been a total disaster resulting the destruction of the character of Route 66 and having a negative impact and resulting in several businesses going out of business. A few Nob Hill businesses, including many progressives, at one time advocated a recall of his election because of his support for ART.

2. The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including controlling its budget. Davis has done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Monitor has presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Davis has been silent and has declined to demand accountability from the Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms. Davis has failed to attend any of the federal court hearings on the consent decree.

3. Davis voted for the city ordinance amendments requiring equal pay for woman but failed to demand more. The amendments to the equal pay for woman ordinance sounded good and look good on paper but accomplished very little. The truth is that the equal pay for woman ordinance only applies to city contracts and those who do business with the city. The ordinance is voluntary and gives preferential treatment on city contracts to those who voluntarily comply. The equal pay for woman ordinance should apply to all businesses licensed to do business in Albuquerque, it should be mandatory for all businesses and enforced by city planning that issues business licenses and could be made so by the city council.

4. Davis voted for the final adoption of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers. The enactment of the comprehensive plan was a major priority of Republican Mayor Berry and the development community pushed hard for its enactment before Berry left office. The ABC-Z project rewrite was nothing more than making “gentrification” an official city policy and the “gutting” of long standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character.

5. When he served on a task force to overhaul Albuquerque’s public fiancé law, Pat Davis declined to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance. The only change he agreed to was increasing the amount of money candidates get and not the process of collecting the donations to qualify and not expanding the time to collect qualifying donations. The lack of changes to the public finance laws favors incumbents like Pat Davis.

6. Davis advocated for enactment of the Healthy Workforce ordinance by voters which would have mandate the pay of sick leave by employers and was always there for a photo op with those organizations who pushed to get it on the ballot. However, Davis has never demanded the City Attorney’s office enforce the existing Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance, even when workers were forced to sue their employers. Davis claims to be in favor of increasing the minimum wage, but he has never demanded the Mayor nor the City Attorney to enforce the current city ordinance enacted by voters with a 2 to 1 margin.

7. Davis attempted to privatize certain APD law enforcement functions with the hiring of a private security company that would employ 25 retired law enforcement personnel who would do field service work and reports for APD. Davis withdrew the bill after it was reported that the no bid contract for $1 million dollars would go to co-sponsor Republican City Councilor Brad Winter’s former campaign manager.


What I am sick of are Democrats acting and talking like Republicans especially after they get elected to positions like Mayor and City Council and arguing that they are being “nonpartisan”.

No doubt City Councilor Pat Davis will say that the City Council is “non-partisan” and he needed to cooperate with the Republican Mayor and Republican City Councilors.

However, there is a significant difference between cooperating and working with other elected officials from the opposite party and then being hypocritical and going against your own basic political philosophy of what you believe to be true and then turning around and acting and voting against that what you claim to believe in.

During his tenure on the City Council, Pat Davis has talked like a Democrat but voted like a Republican.


As it stood at the end of March, Pat Davis has a little over $61, 000 for the last few weeks of the primary campaign compared to Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez, $456,799, Debra Haaland, $347,394, Damon Martinez, $276,532, Paul Moya, $161,721 and Damian Lara, $139,285.

Whatever city wide “door to door” campaign Davis can salvage from his Progress Now contacts, it is not likely to be successful enough to overcome his negatives and pull off an upset against all the other better financed candidates.

As City Councilor Pat Davis campaigns for the US Congress as a progressive Democrat and talks like a progressive Democrat, he needs to be asked by Democratic Party voters if once elected to the US Congress will he vote and act like a Republican as he has done so many times during his very short tenure on the Albuquerque City Council.

Until the June 5 primary, all Democrats may want to avoid answering their phones until the primary is over unless you want to be solicited for campaign donations from Pat Davis or for that matter from any one of the other 5 candidates running for congress.



On April 8, 2018, VB Price wrote a column entitled “Albuquerque and UNM: Losing Their Sense and Purpose and Identity”.

Below is the link to the entire V.B. Price article:

The article is a sweeping and critical look at what is happening to both the University of New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque when it comes to leadership and what is happening to both UNM and the City.

The article is an insightful read, especially given the fact V.B. Price advocated for Tim Keller’s election.

Two of the many paragraphs stick out to City Hall observers when V.B. Price penned:

“… What’s happened to Albuquerque’s mayor? … Why is Tim Keller seeming more and more like the former mayor — invisible and uninspiring, despite his flurry of good moves following his election victory? Who’s leading the substance and image of [the city] … these days?

“Right now it feels as if both the city and the university are little better than flotsam and jetsam, rudderless and without the sense of purpose that individuals and groups need to thrive. This sorry state must not be allowed go on much longer, or both institutions will lose their spirit and allow temporary mediocrity to become a permanent given never again, perhaps, to be transcended.”


The first 5 months for any new Mayor is a transition period and is referred to as the “Honeymoon Period.”

The transition time is used to hire staff and make appointments and prepare a budget that is required to be submitted every April 1 to the city council for the upcoming fiscal year.

The first 5 months of any elected officials term usually sets the tone and the direction for the entire remainder of the term.

The people appointed to key executive positions help the Mayor set the trajectory for the entire term assuming they are around for the full four-year term.

Mayor Tim Keller’s Honeymoon Period is over, he has been on the job now for 5 months and he has appointed most if not all of his Directors and has submitted his first budget to the City Council for budget hearings and final approval.

The tone and picture of the Keller Administration is coming into clear focus and the time has come to take notice what has been accomplished.


Mayor Keller has received kudos for the appointments of experienced city hall people like former New Mexico Treasurer James Lewis as Senior Public Safety Advisor, Lawrence Rael as Chief Operations Officer, Attorney David Campbell and former CAO for Mayor RJ Berry as Planning Director and APD Chief Michael Geier as Interim Chief, who retired from both APD and the Rio Rancho Police Department, with all 4 appointments considered safe and not generating controversy.

Keller has also received kudos for the appointment of numerous woman to key executive positions such as Sarita Nair as Chief Administration Officer, Alicia Manzano as Communications Director, Nyka Allen as Aviation Director, Shelle Sanchez as Cultural Services Director, Justine Freeman as Deputy Chief of Staff, Mary Scott as Human Service Director and Ana Sanchez as Senior Affairs Director.

There have been two stumbles with the appointments.

The first stumble was the appointment of 41 year old Estaban Aguilar, Jr. as City Attorney who to be clear is qualified but who was solicited by the Keller Administration to apply after the application process closed.

The second stumble was with the appointment of City Clerk, with the first nominated candidate withdrawing her application after media scrutiny of her finances and tax problems.

The most common criticism from City Hall insiders is that Mayor Keller has surrounded himself mostly with people with little or absolutely no city hall experience, which is a common complaint with any new Mayor.

Another complaint from city hall insiders is that the Keller appointees do not really know nor understand what they are doing with the biggest common denominator seeming to be that that they are in the same age group as Mayor Keller, who is 40.


In his first five months in office, Mayor Keller’s biggest accomplishments can be listed as follows:

1. Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief and who by all accounts is doing a good job thus far. However, there has been no announcement of a national search for a new chief as promised by Keller during the campaign. APD insiders are suggesting that the Mayor has already decided to keep Interim Chief Geier and make him permanent and that there will be no national search for a new chief.

2. Replacing the APD command staff. The “new” command staff is more of a reflection of APD’s past. The “new” command staff, especially the Deputy Chiefs, are not outsiders at all but have been with APD for some time. The new command staff do not reflect a new generation of police officer fully committed and trained in constitutional policing. All the previous commanders have been shuffled around with a few retiring. There has been an elimination of the positions of Major which was created a mere 3 years ago by the previous administration. The new reorganization of APD under Keller is a remarkable look alike to what existed under Chief Schultz.

3. Attempting to salvage the $129 million ART bus project, the failed legacy project of his predecessor. Mayor Keller is calling it “turning lemons into lemonade” and trying to secure the $69 million federal grant funding from congress that probably will never be appropriated by congress. Major problems have been identified with most if not all of the buses, but the Keller Administration to date has declined to cancel the $25 million-dollar contract with the bus manufacturer.

4. Negotiating and approving an $8 million settlement with the Albuquerque firefighter’s union, ending a pay raise dispute that dates backs to 2011 when the Berry Administration was at impasse with virtually all the City Unions. The settlement was made so quickly after Keller assumed office that the Albuquerque Journal made the charge that the case was settled as Keller’s way of paying back the union for its endorsement and financial support during the Mayor’s race.

5. Proposing an $88 million-dollar police expansion program over 4 years. The Keller Administration is proposing to increase the number of sworn police officers from the current 878 positions filled to 1,200, or by 322 sworn police officers, over a four-year period and return to community-based policing. The Keller Administration proposed 2018-2019 provides for increasing funding of 1,000 sworn police to 1,040. In order to get to the 1,040 figures by this time next year, APD and the Police Academy will need keep up with expected retirements and will have to hire at least 162 new officers either as new recruits or as lateral hires which is a taunting and not a likely task. No specifics have been announced regarding new recruitment incentives.

6. Commitment to implementing the Department of Justice reforms. Keller has met with the Federal Monitor and appeared before the Federal Court assuring them both that APD will implement the mandated reforms, something the City really has no choice but to comply with in order to get out from under the consent decree. During the last three years, the Berry administration and APD command staff resisted the reforms. You can anticipate the reform process will take at least another three years to implement. Thus far, significant progress has been made by the Keller Administration with a stronger commitment to implement the agreed to reforms. The Federal Monitor is now providing “technical assistance” to APD and APD now has a compliance bureau.

7. Signing a city council-initiated $55 million dollar a year tax increase contrary to Mayor Keller’s promise not to raise taxes without a public vote. The revenues raise will go towards the projected $40 million deficit and 80% of the revenues from the tax will go towards public safety. On the campaign trail, candidate Keller said he would raise taxes only as a last resort for public safety but only with voter approval. Keller making the promise as a candidate was at best idealistic and at worse being foolish just to garner votes to get elected.

8. Announcing implementation of major changes to the city’s DWI vehicle forfeiture program. The changes were quickly announced within a week after a federal court ruling in a pending case. APD will continue seize and impound vehicles at the time of arrest as they do now with repeat drunken drivers arrested in their own cars. Changes to the policy will provide more protections to those who were not driving when their vehicle was seized. A major change in policy is that the city will not seek to take ownership of the vehicle and sell it at auction unless the suspect is convicted. What the changes in the new policy means is that unless the actual owner is sitting in the front seat of their car drunk, the city will probably not be initiating vehicle forfeiture proceeding nor seeking boot agreements from the car owner.

9. The Keller Administration is committing $1.9 million to address a backlog of more than 4,000 untested rape kits and implementing a testing program. The rape kit backlog was identified by Keller when he was the State Auditor. It is critical that the backlog of rape kits be processed for felony prosecutions. All too often, DNA evidence and a victim’s testimony are the only evidence available to obtain a conviction for rape and child sexual abuse. DNA evidence found in rape kits is the type of evidence used to identify and convict rapists, especially serial rapists. All too often, DNA evidence results in a conviction of an innocent defendant being thrown out and another criminal identified.

10. Signing what is widely considered a symbolic decriminalization of pot ordinance. The City Council enacted an ordinance requiring APD to issue citations and $25 fines for small amounts of marijuana, but pot possession is still a federal felony. APD officers already have a wide discretion in making arrests and arresting someone for pot possession has always been a low priority.

11. Signing a City Council resolution reaffirming Albuquerque as an immigrant friendly city. The resolution passed the City Council along party lines by a 6-3 vote. The resolution reiterates the city’s policies that prevent federal immigration officials from entering city-operated areas, restrict city employees from collecting immigration status information, and prohibit local tax dollars from being spent on federal immigration law enforcement.

Some progress has been made with reducing property crime rates for the first quarter of this year as compared to first quarter of last year, but it is premature to list this as a major accomplishment because it is for a 3-month period.

Offsetting the reduction in property crime rates is the homicide rate.

Not a week goes by that another murder is being reported.

As of April 24, 2018, Albuquerque has had 24 homicides since January 1, 2018.

The Keller Administration has yet to announce any economic plan nor what its approach will be taking towards economic development.

No plans nor goals to turn our economy around that are any different from the previous administration have been announced.


V.B. Price asked the question “Why is Tim Keller seeming more and more like the former mayor — invisible and uninspiring, despite his flurry of good moves following his election victory?”

The answer to the question is that many believe Mayor Tim Keller is slowly morphing into a photogenic version of his Republican predecessor.

Keller seems to be more concerned about public perception, appearing before friendly audiences and crowds, and offering no real change and no substantive leadership direction.

Indications that the Keller Administration is seeking to avoid controversy include the use of press releases to announce major policy changes or decisions, using the Mayor’s FACEBOOK page to make policy announcements and do controlled videos of the Mayor with an emphasis on photo ops and social media communications.

News releases and social media communications also give the advantage of not having to explain the rational nor reason for a decision with no questions asked by the media nor public with any negative comments or posts on FACEBOOK that can be quickly deleted and critics “blocked”.

From a public relations standpoint, it appears Mayor Keller attends all the obligatory ribbon cuttings, dedications and social events and appears to enjoy them all and making a good impression with his comments.

Mayor Keller has taken photo ops to a new level by attending protest rallies to speak at, attending marches, attending heavy metal concerts to introduce the band, running in track meets and participating in exhibition football games as the quarterback and enjoying re-living his high school glory days, and posting smiling pictures on FACEBOOK.


Mayor Tim Keller was swept into office with a 62% vote landslide giving him a mandate for change.

High crime rates, public safety, the Albuquerque Police Department, the Department of Justice reforms, the economy and increasing taxes were the biggest issues debated in the 2017 Mayor’s race.

During the last eight years, 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.

Under the command leadership of Suzanna Martinez and former Mayor Richard Berry, New Mexico and Albuquerque no doubt have become shipwrecks.

At the very least, the State and City are in distress, rudderless and without the sense of purpose and little better than “flotsam and jetsam” as was described by V.B. Price in his commentary.

In 8 months we will be rid of Governor Susana Martinez and she will quickly join Mayor Richard Berry into political oblivion.

The Keller administration still has time on its side to make changes and make a difference, but 4 years does indeed go by fast, something many would dispute in the age of Donald Trump.

Mayor Keller has yet to take any substantive advantage of his mandate and voters are not seeing the sweeping, visionary change he promised.

Notwithstanding, voters are expecting results and they are impatient after 8 years of failed leadership, high crime rates and a poor economy.


The Keller Administration is still in its infancy, and many voters are loyal with high hopes.

However, the tone and direction the Keller Administration is taking does not represent visionary change and frankly not much of change at all, especially with APD management and economic development.

The trajectory indications from the transition period, the media relations, the executive appointments made and the accomplishment are that Albuquerque is set to have another uninspiring, low key approach to government filled with extensive photo ops, ribbon cuttings and social media communications.

Mayor Keller needs to be more aggressive on the difficult issues the city is facing, especially when dealing with APD, our high crime rates and our economy.

Otherwise, Mayor Keller’s first term will be his last, and it will be viewed as Mayor Berry’s third term in office with not much to point to as far as real accomplishments in the areas of reducing crime and improving the economy.


After nearly a full ten years, New Mexico’s unemployment rate is beginning to drop.

In 2009, New Mexico’s unemployment rate was above 7% and then went to 8% and beyond at the start of 2010.

In February, 2018 New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.

A year ago, according to the state Department of Workforce Solutions, the state’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent a year ago.

Between March 2017 and March 2018, total nonagricultural payroll employment in New Mexico grew by 8,900 jobs, or 1.1 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate for March, 2018 dipped to 5.6 percent which is the lowest unemployment level since December, 2008.

Construction continued its upward climb, with an employment increase of 6.8 percent.

For March of this year, New Mexico was one of only 4 states to see an unemployment decrease.

Notwithstanding the decline in unemployment, according to federal statistics, New Mexico is still ranked as the second-worst in the nation in unemployment.


During the last eight years, 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 two in unemployment and number one in children living in poverty.

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

Mid 2016, 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 was contained in a section of the City of Albuquerque’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018.

Most of the data has remained constant with no dramatic changes over the last year, with the exception perhaps being and uptick in construction and the service industries.

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

According to the BBER report, the Albuquerque economy declined in sync with the national economy but 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 growth in total employment in FY/2014 was 0.4% and FY/2015 growth in total employment was 1.4% and with one estimated quarter FY/2016 was expected at 1.7%.

The Albuquerque economy lost over 27,000 jobs from FY/2008 to FY/2012 a loss of 7% of total employment.

About 13,000 jobs were added in FY/2013 to FY/2016.

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

According to the BBER report, Albuquerque’s economy does not approach FY/2008 employment levels until FY/2019.

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


City hall’s Economic Development Department need pay far more attention to Albuquerque’s growth industries if the city is going to have any chance of turning our economy around.

Our next Governor, who will be elected in November, with a little luck will be dealing with an improving economy and a surplus in tax revenues thanks to oil and gas production.

Notwithstanding, come January 1, 2019 with the swearing in of a new Governor, the Governor and our new Albuquerque Mayor need to work together as much as possible and come up with a viable solution to diversifying our economy with less reliance on federal government spending.