Republicans Have Heard It All Before, But Do Not Give A Damn

The February 27, 2019 congressional testimony of former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen for Trump was a sweeping and dramatic condemnation of the President.

After hours of questioning and testimony, the words in his opening statement were the most quoted and will be most remembered and include:

“I got to know [Trump] very well, working very closely with him for more than 10 years, as his Executive Vice President and Special Counsel and then personal attorney when he became President.”

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience.
I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.
He is a racist.
He is a conman.
He is a cheat.”

Below is the link to the full transcript of the opening statement.

After the opening statement, all hell broke loose with the committee’s Republicans repeatedly attacking Michael Cohen’s credibility accusing him of being a liar, a convicted felon and a disbarred attorney.

More than two-thirds of Republican questioning at the Cohen hearing was attacking Cohen.

Congressman Jim Jordan (Ohio), the Ranking Republican Member of the House Oversight Committee, took the lead in attacking Cohen.

Jordan has been serving in the House since 2007 and he is a founding member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus that is a staunch defender of all things Trump, including believing and then promoting all of Trump’s lies to the public, especially the declaration of a national emergency to build the wall on the boarder with Mexico.

Repeatedly the Republicans on the committee asked why they should believe what he was testifying to under oath seeing as he was convicted of lying to congress before.

The Republicans on the committee acted shocked and outrage as if they had never heard such accusation before, even though Cohen presented documented proof of what he said.

Absolutely no one should be surprised that no Republican on the committee wanted to believe what Cohen testified to under oath when the Republican Party did not believe what the 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney had to say just 3 years ago about Trump.

On March 3, 2016, Mitt Romney in a televised speech denouncing Trump had this to say:

“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. … His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat. … dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark … [his] bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.”

For more see the below link:

United Senator Mitt Romney needs to be reminded what he said about Trump and we all need to hope he will not hesitate to vote to convict Donald Trump of Obstruction of Justice charged in articles of impeachment to remove Trump from office.

KOAT Ch 7 City Hall “Hit Job” Was False and Misleading On Many Levels

KOAT Channel 7 did one of its so called “Investigative Reports” regarding the 15 year old 2003 gross receipts tax called the “public safety tax” and placed on the ballot and approved by voters.

The Channel 7 “Investigative Report” was more of a “City Hall” hit job that was false and misleading.

You can view the entire Channel 7 report here:

Under state law, the Albuquerque City Council can enact increases in gross receipts tax on its own without any public vote.

In 2003, the tax was placed on the ballot because then Mayor Martin Chavez and others at the time had made the commitment not to raise taxes without a public vote to secure public opinion and backing, even though they had the authority to do it without a public vote.

According to the Channel 7 report, during the last 15 years, the tax raised $500 million and has cost the average Albuquerque household approximately $4,000.

The problem with the $4,000 figure is you must assume only households paid the tax, no one has moved, no one has left the city and the population remained the same during the last 15 years.

The truth is that the gross receipts tax generated 25 cents for every $100 purchased by virtually all consumers over the years.

Back in 2003, city leaders, including then Mayor Chavez, the City Council and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) told the voting public all the money generated from the “public safety tax” would go to hire more police and make the streets safer.

A specific promise made was that APD sworn personnel would be increased to 1,100 officers.

Channel 7 went out of its way to find a small Albuquerque business owner for 30 years, who claimed they voted for the “Public Safety Tax” 15 years ago and the business owner had this to say in the report:

“Crime is ramped in this community and I have lived here my whole life and don’t see it getting any better right now. … I have iron bars on all of the windows and doors. I have video surveillance and I have security throughout the entire building.”

The four-month Target 7 investigation supposedly revealed that voters never got what was promised, but that part of the report is clearly false.


One accurate fact reported by the Channel 7 Investigative report related to the “Public Safety Tax Advisory Board”.

According to the Channel 7 report, four years after the 2003 vote, “a group of concerned citizens became suspicious” about how the tax money was spent and they approached then newly elected City Councilor Isaac Benton.

According to Benton:

“I was approached by people who had concerns about it. … Concerns about whether it was doing what it was intended. … We didn’t get a lot of applicants to create the board. It didn’t gather a lot of steam. … It kind of foundered and was forgotten honestly”

Instead of demanding an accounting from the Chavez Administration or requesting an audit by the City’s Independent Internal Audit Department, Benton sponsored an ordinance creating a “public safety tax advisory board” to watch over the spending of the tax.

In the 2009 annual city budget, the City Council reported that it actually established the board, even though it was never formed.

In 2010 the City’s Independent Internal Auditor’s office discovered the board had not been formed when it audited the revenue being generated by the 2003 tax.

In 2010, the Independent Internal Audit Department recommended that the council make more efforts to recruit members, but nothing happened.

Channel 7 reported that when it looked on the city’s website during its investigation, it listed all of the boards and commission but under the Public Safety Tax Advisory Board it said “more information coming.”


The Channel 7 Investigative report was false or misleading on many levels.

The report was a damaging and inflammatory “spin” on where the unspent 2003 public safety tax revenues went.

Following is an extended quotation and narrative made by Doug Fernandez in his report:

“According to the FBI uniformed crime report, the police department never hit 1,100 officers, which was promised by city leaders in 2003 when they were pushing for the tax.”

“Instead billions of pennies from your purchases were put into the city’s general fund. That fund is the city’s main checkbook.”

“For years the city budgeted for that many cops even though it never came close. The police department would revert money it hadn’t spent back into the general fund. In 2017, the city reported to the FBI it had 833 officers and its crime rate was the highest in 16 years.”

“The city would then use the general fund to pay for visitor centers, baseball fields, swimming pool renovations and the future home of Top Golf.”

“The general fund also paid millions in raises for city employees. Not just for cops and firefighters.”

“Garbage truck drivers, street workers, health inspectors and politically appointed executives all got double-digit raises.”

“The average city employee has received a 27-percent raise since the tax was passed.”

“Just last March, the city council passed another public safety tax even larger than before. This time it never went to voters nor was there any legislation requiring oversight such as board to make sure it was being spent correctly.

“The new tax hits you with another 38 cents per $100.”

“However, in December the council passed legislation requiring that the mayor report how the new tax is being spent.”

True to form, Channel 7 made sure they had someone vouch for their “reporting” by getting Paul Gessing, executive director of the ultra-conservative Rio Grande Foundation that condemns all taxation.

Paul Gessing took the Channel 7 bait to “pile on” to condemn the city taxation and make a statement that was misleading at best when he said:

“When the city of Albuquerque voters decided to raise taxes on themselves to pay for public safety, they didn’t get what they voted for … They got the opposite.”

The truth is the taxpayer did indeed get what they voted for as pointed out below.

When it comes to the tax being used for city hall employee salaries, the same small Albuquerque business owner Channel 7 interviewed expressed the following opinion:

“How nice for them. My salary hasn’t increased that much. … We weren’t told that. We weren’t told it would go to salaries. We were told it would go toward public safety, which means they lied to us and that’s not OK.”

The average city employee is paid $36,000 a year.

Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter, who is the only city councilor who was on the council when voters passed the tax, had this to say:

“I don’t know if you will ever be able to prove that it was spent for what it was supposed to be spent for … We got to be accountable for where that money is going, and the red flags show we are not as accountable as we should be.”


An outside observer no doubt would say the report reveals just how sinister and dishonest city hall is with taxpayer money, which was the obvious result Channel 7 wanted to get from its viewers.

In political circles, the Channel 7 News Report is defined as a “political hit” piece to inflame public opinion, this time against city hall and taxation.

It was Channel 7 News Anchor Doug Fernandez who appeared on air and reported the Channel 7 “Investigative Report”.

The station no doubt thought that Fernandez as the news anchor would give the report far more credibility, but it did not and he should have known the truth.

Doug Fernandez joined the Action 7 News team in August 2002, and as such should be familiar with the truth on how the 2003 Public Safety Tax was spent from 2003 to 2009 during the Mayor Chavez years.


The news report was represented as a “four-month Target 7 investigation” which is very embarrassing considering the serious false and misleading statements in the report.

The Channel 7 report was false when it reported:

“According to the FBI uniformed crime report, the police department never hit 1,100 officers, which was promised by city leaders in 2003 when they were pushing for the tax”.

The truth is that after the 2003 enactment of the tax, the Chavez Administration undertook an aggressive police recruitment program to grow the department that included billboards and other types of advertising and recruitment efforts and extensive hiring incentives such as sign on bonuses, college debt reduction payments and mortgage down payments.

The truth not reported by Channel 7 is that APD reached the 1,100 sworn police officer level in 2009 after struggling to grow the department and to keep up with retirements, adding new equipment, fleets of cars and training.

In 2009, all because of the 2003 tax, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) was the best paid, best trained, best equipped, best funded department in its history.

In 2009, APD was fully staffed with 1,100 sworn police officers.

In 2009, APD response times had been brought down below the national average and violent and property crime rates in Albuquerque were hitting historical lows.

In other words, taxpayers were not lied to and got exactly what they paid for with the 2003 tax contrary to the opinions of Paul Gessing and contrary to the Channel 7 Investigative news report.


On December 1, 2009 Mayor Richard Berry became Mayor of Albuquerque and was elected again in 2013 serving two full terms and leaving office December 1, 2017.

It was in January, 2010 that number of police officers employed began to decrease for 8 consecutive years from 1,100 to 850 under the Mayor Richard Berry Administration.

In eight (8) years, under the public safety leadership of Mayor Berry and the likes of Darren White as Chief Public Safety Officer and Chiefs Ray Schultz and Gordon Eden and Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman and their appointed Deputy Police Chiefs, APD went from 1,100 sworn police all the way down to 853 sworn police.

In 2017 when Berry left office, APD response times and the city’s crime rates were at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond to even violent crime calls for service.

The numbers of police dropped because of the Berry Administration failure to recruit new officers and failure to keep up with excessive retirements.

Contributing to APDs problems was that in 2013, a Department of Justice investigation resulted in a finding of excessive use of force and deadly force by APD which resulted in a federal consent decree against the city mandating numerous reforms.

Excessive use of force and deadly force cases by APD cost taxpayers $60 million in settlements all mostly paid during the Berry years.

It was in 2017 that the City Council reduced funding to APD from 1,100 sworn police to 1,000 because of the Berry Administration’s failure to keep up with retirements and grow the department.

The Channel 7 Investigative Report is at worse false or at best misleading when Doug Fernandez said:

“The police department would revert money it hadn’t spent back into the general fund. … The city would then use the general fund to pay for visitor centers, baseball fields, swimming pool renovations and the future home of Top Golf.”


The Channel 7 Investigative Report showed an obvious ignorance of city taxation and city finances and how they work.

Under the law, virtually every city department is required to revert back to the city general fund with no exceptions moneys that have been appropriated but not used by the department.

Under city financing policies, no department, including APD, is allowed to keep “unspent money” in any given year and it is mandated by law that it revert back to the general fund for the upcoming fiscal year budget.

No separate accounts akin to “savings accounts” can be set up for the city departments that allow them to spend remaining funds as they see fit at a later date.

All budgets and all appropriations must be approved by the elected City council.

The Channel 7 report is false when it reported that the public safety tax money was reverted by APD to the general fund to pay for “visitor centers, baseball fields, swimming pool renovations”.

The truth is that projects like “visitor centers, baseball fields, swimming pool renovations” are funded by “general obligation bonds” or “revenue bonds” passed by the voters or city council and not the general fund revenues from gross receipts tax.

With respect to the funding for “the future home of Top Golf”, that city financing came from an economic development incentive fund set up years ago within the City Economic Development Department.

It is likely that all of the 2003 tax revenues did go to public safety, police and fire, and that the money generated substituted or supplemented existing budget expenditures over the years, ebbing and flowing with the needs of the departments of police and fire.

The Channel 7 Report negatively embellished the facts when it reported:

“The average city employee has received a 27-percent raise since the tax was passed. … Garbage truck drivers, street workers, health inspectors and politically appointed executives all got double-digit raises.”

Saying that the average city employee “has received a 27% raise since the tax was imposed” during the last 15 years is false or misleading in that you must presume someone has stayed employed for the full 15 years.

People come and go with the city, positions are added or eliminated, and wages must be negotiated with the unions.

The truth is that garbage truck drivers, street workers, health inspectors received small 1% or 2% pay increases at the most over the years with no pay increases at all for a number of years, especially during the 8-year Berry Administration when it unilaterally suspended negotiated contracts.

However, during the 8 years of the Berry Administration, politically appointed executives did get double-digit raises with the most egregious raise being the salary of Berry’s Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry who went from being paid $150,000 a year to almost $200,000 a year.


The Channel 7 report contains the following statement:

“Just last March, the city council passed another public safety tax even larger than before. This time it never went to voters nor was there any legislation requiring oversight such as board to make sure it was being spent correctly.”

The truth is that the City Council has the exclusive authority to raise taxes without a vote as well as dedicate revenues as it sees fit, without any oversight board required.

The city council also has the authority, by virtue of its authority over the city budget, to re dedicate funding when not spent as the need presents itself.

Elected City Councilors have the duty and responsibility to exercise oversight authority over all city funding and that is what they are elected and paid to do.

There is absolutely no need for an “oversight” board like a “public safety tax advisory board” if the City Council does its job. .

The City also has an Independent Audit Department that can be called upon to review and trace expenditures.

In the Channel 7 report, City Councilors Brad Winter and Issac Benton essentially admitted that the City Council failed in its oversight of the 2003 tax revenues, which is what the yearly budget process is all about.

City Councilors Brad Winter and Issac Benton revealed their incompetence as elected officials with their comments to Channel 7 when they said there is a need for a “Public Safety Tax Advisory Board” and saying they do not know where money they have voted to appropriate has been going.

In March, 2018 the City Council approved raising the gross receipts tax by three-eighths of a percentage point in order to deal with a $40 million shortfall as a result of 8 years of spending cuts and downsizing city government in order to avoid any and all tax increases.

The gross receipts tax increase bolstered the city’s income by an estimated $50.3 million in 2019 and $57.3 million in 2020.

Mayor Tim Keller signed the tax increase going against a campaign promise he made to get elected of putting any tax increase on the ballot for voter approval.

When the City Council enacted of the gross receipts tax in March of 2018, it dedicated 70% of the revenues for public safety needs.

What Channel 7 did not report is the Keller administration is spending $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures to hire 350 officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers in order to return to community-based policing.

With the 2018 tax increase, the Keller Admiration has negotiated with the police union significant APD pay raises and bonuses and an aggressive hiring and recruitment program offering incentives to join or return to APD.

APD is projected to have 980 sworn police by July of this year having added approximately 100 sworn to the force.

Repealing either the 2003 or the 2018 tax increases as some suggest would have a disastrous effect on public safety, APD and Fire especially, the $88 million APD expansion program, the $35 million in nonrecurring expenses, not to mention equipment needs for both departments and the longevity pay bonuses for APD and the very generous pay increases.


When you review the online version of the Chanel 7 report on the TV web site, it reveals T.J. Wilham was the “Investigative Producer” for the report, meaning he is the person that did the research for the report and perhaps even wrote it to be parroted by Doug Fernandez.

Nine years ago, T.J. Wilham was a reporter for the Albuquerque Journal.

Channel 7 frequently refers to “our partners at the Albuquerque Journal” in reporting the news.

It is more likely than not that Fernandez and Wilham have known each other for some time.

Nine years ago, T.J. Wilham, after being the Albuquerque Journal city hall reporter for a number of years, was hired by Mayor Richard Berry as his “Public Information Officer” and his pay in all likelihood more than doubled.

Wilham was employed by Berry Administration for a full 8 years, being paid at least $75,000 a year or more from 2009 to 2017.

When Doug Fernandez reported that “ … politically appointed executives all got double-digit raises” he failed to report that his coworker T.J. Wilham was one of those politically appointed executives who was not only given a significant raise but a nice promotion.

Early in 2017, Wilham was appointed by Mayor Richard Berry as the APD Real Time Crime Center Director despite having no law enforcement background and was given an increase in salary.

Soon after the election of Mayor Tim Keller in 2017, T.J. Wilham left city hall and went to work for Channel 7 in mid-2018, but the reason for his departure from City Hall was never reported upon by any news agency resulting in speculation that he did not leave voluntarily.


For many years, the “Investigative Report” has been very popular method with Channel 7 to try find and report on government corruption.

It is all too common for “Investigative reports” such as this one to take things out of context, mislead the public, and not disclose relevant facts nor report accurately all the facts, and overtime the TV news agency loses credibility with its viewers and their ratings drop.

None of the Albuquerque News stations is immune from using the same tactics of investigative reporting with the other stations essentially adopting the tactics of Channel 7.

No person and no government has the authority to tell any news agency who to report on, what to report on, when to report, how to report, what methods to use to get a story or to disclose news sources, unless they break the law, which is what the first amendment to the constitution guaranteeing freedom of the press and speech is all about.

The Channel 7 Investigative Report without any doubt is protected free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The first amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press and of free speech are the most critical freedoms needed to keep this great country great.

This country has always been great because our freedoms and those freedoms have always protected us from tyranny.

However, the general public and viewers have the right to demand accuracy and full disclosure.

The Channel 7 Investigative Report on the tax increases was not “fake news” at all but it was negligent and misleading news reporting.

First Steps In New Mexico Tax Reform; Legislature Should Use $1.1 Billion Surplus On Major Construction Projects Such Replacing Tingly Coliseum

A comprehensive tax bill to make major changes to New Mexico’s tax code is moving forward in New Mexico House of Representatives with hearings being held in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.

House Bill 6 (HB6), if approved by both the House and Senate, will overhaul New Mexico’s tax system.

Hearings on the bill are currently be conducted by the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, the likely last stop before moving to the House floor for a full vote of the House Chamber and then sent to the Senate.

The Bill as is will raise about $323 million a year for government operations and road projects.

According to a legislative analysis of HB 6, it will have the net effect of generating $286 million in new revenue for the state’s general fund with $37 million generated for state and local roads.

Albuquerque Democrat House Representative Javier Martínez, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the goal is to modernize New Mexico’s tax system and create a sustainable source of new funding for all public schools.

In defending HB 6, Representative Martinez had this to say:

“This is the first step of a process that’s going to take several years, I believe, to get there, but this is a very important first step. … For far too long, New Mexico has been way too dependent on the volatility of oil and gas. HB 6 broadens our tax base. It creates a sustainable revenue source for the state for years to come. We are looking at the wealthiest paying their fair share, we’re looking at income tax rates for the highest earners and bring them up to par . … Right now, the secretary and the doctor pay the same tax rate. That’s just inherently unfair.”

In a nutshell, HB 6 would:

1 Raise taxes on cigarettes sales.
2. Raise taxes on motor vehicle sales.
3. Reshape the personal income tax system so higher earners would pay more.
4. Impose taxes on all online retailers that sell to New Mexico residents.


The major highlights of the tax reform quoting an Albuquerque Journal report (link below) include:

“• Revise the tax systems for hospitals, with the goal of creating a level playing field for not-for-profit, government and for-profit hospitals. Not-for-profit hospitals currently are exempt from paying state taxes. It’s expected to raise $92 million in general fund revenue in the next fiscal year.”

“• Impose gross receipts taxes on sales made by online retailers to New Mexicans, including the imposition of the city and local parts of the tax. It’s expected to raise $42 million in general-fund revenue next fiscal year.”

“• Overhaul the state’s income tax brackets to make the system more “progressive” rather than flat. People would face a higher tax rate … as their income climbs [as follows]:

The top tax bracket for the highest earners … would climb from 4.9 percent now to 6.5 percent under the proposal. For a married couple filing jointly, the top tax bracket would kick in for families with income of $300,000 or more. It’s expected to raise about $132 million.”

“[This] proposal would partly undo a 2003 personal income tax cut that was pushed by then-Gov. Bill Richardson and delivered the largest reductions to high-income state residents.”

“• Double the “working families” tax credit allowed for low- and moderate-income workers. The credit is for people who are eligible for the federal earned income tax credit. Instead of being able to claim 10 percent of their federal credit, they could claim 20 percent. It’s expected to cost about $53 million in revenue.”

“• Establish an income tax deduction for taxpayers who have more than one dependent as part of an effort to offset an unintended state tax increase caused by the 2017 federal tax overhaul. It’s expected to cost about $48 million in revenue.”

“• Repeal parts of the capital gains deduction allowed for personal income taxes, which would raise about $62 million.”

“• Increase the excise tax on motor vehicle purchases from 3 percent to 4.2 percent, which would raise about $65 million. The money would largely go to the general fund, though some lawmakers broached the idea of changing the bill to send the revenue to the road fund instead.”

“• Raise taxes on tobacco and impose taxes on vaping products, which would generate $20 million for the state general fund.”

“• Change how corporate income taxes are calculated as a way to keep multistate corporations from “shifting” their income to another state to avoid New Mexico taxes. It would help some companies and hurt others, legislative analysts said, so the overall impact on state revenue is unclear, but likely positive.

Supporters said the proposal would help ensure the state could cover increased education spending in coming years, even if the oil boom doesn’t last.”


Three major reform areas not reported upon and ostensibly absent from House Bill 6 are:

1. Imposing the state’s gross receipts tax a food and medicine.

Gross receipts on food and medication was eliminated a number a years ago as way too regressive on low income and the poor.

However, the state lost millions in revenue as a result and the legislature failed to come up with as satisfactory revenue source to replace the lost revenues.

The elimination did impact the amount of gross receipts revenue to the cities and counties.

2. Hold harmless Provision:

In 2004, the Legislature decided to remove gross receipts taxes from food and medicine resulting in a reduction in the amount of tax revenue raised.

Cities and counties are given a share of state gross receipts tax revenues so, to “hold harmless” local governments, the Legislature approved payments or subsidies to the counties to make up for the lost revenue to them.

In 2013, a last-minute tax deal between the Democratic Legislature and former Republican Governor ““She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” resulted in a plan to eliminate the hold-harmless payments in a phase-out with 6% or 7% cuts annually over 15 years.

To make up for the phase-out, cities and counties were granted authority, on their own and without approval by voters, to increase the gross receipts tax in their jurisdictions by up to three-eighths of 1% which translates to about 38 additional cents on a $100 purchase.

3. Gross receipts taxing authority given to cities and counties.

The state’s base gross receipts tax rate is 5.125%.

Cities and counties are granted taxing authority by the legislature.

Despite the states base rate being 5.125%, there are numerous varying tax rates in cities and counties throughout New Mexico because of gross receipts tax “local add on” such as the “hold harmless” taxation.

Some gross receipts tax rates surpass 8% in some cities, such as Las Cruces (8.3125%), Santa Fe (8.4375%), Clovis (8.1875%), Gallup (8.3125%), Portales (8.1875%).

There have been not reports of the legislature attempting to take away the taxing authority from the cities and counties.


HB 6 has drawn support from Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration.

Lujan Grisham’s own budget plan submitted to the legislature last month called for several tax-related changes including tax collection on internet sales, imposing the state gross receipts tax on not-for-profit hospital services and imposing a state tax on electronic cigarettes, all of which appear to be in HB 6 in one form or another.

Lujan-Grisham also proposed reinstating an expired solar tax credit and expanding an existing tax break for working families.

Stephanie Schardin Clarke, the Secretary of the State Taxation and Revenue Department had this to say about HB 6:

“The bill goes a long way to diversify our revenue sources in a way that will provide stability to the general fund” said the Administration described it as a sensible way to stabilize government revenue and reduce New Mexico’s dependence on the oil and gas industry.”


Not at all surprising, many in the private sector and within the Republican Party are voicing severe reservations saying HB 6 goes too far and does not make sense.

Business groups and energy companies make the usual arguments against HB 6:

1. It will damage the state economy

2. It will discourage investment in New Mexico and exacerbate the challenge of recruiting high wage earners to the state

3. The timing doesn’t make sense because of historical revenues being produced as a result of the oil and gas boom in the southeastern part of the state. State economists warn that oil and gas revenue are likely to fluctuate substantially in future years

Jack Bent of the very conservative and very Republican New Mexico Business Coalition told lawmakers: “It’s very concerning. … In talking with our neighbors and fellow taxpayers, how do we explain when we have a tax surplus that we’re going to actually raise taxes?”

Rio Rancho Republican Rep. Jason Harper, who wants tax reform without raising any taxes, said the bill’s provisions appear to raise income taxes on families, while other parts would give them a break, making it difficult to project what the net change would be.

Harper proclaimed that House Bill 6 is a tax increase bill, not a tax reform bill, when he said.

“In addition to the $323 million at the state level, there’s another $170 million that are going to cities and counties as part of this tax increase. You add that together, that’s half a billion dollar tax increase on New Mexico families, the biggest tax increase in the state’s history. … We have a billion dollar surplus now and a billion dollar surplus for next year, so two billion extra dollars and we’re talking about a half billion dollar tax increase. … That just blows my mind.”

Critics also argue that HB 6 fails to call for a reduction of New Mexico’s gross receipts tax rate which has always been a longtime goal of efforts to overhaul the state tax code.


Education is the number one priority for Democratic Governor Lujan Grisham and the legislature because of a District Court ruling that New Mexico was failing to meet its constitutional requirement to provide sufficient schooling to all students.

On July 20, 2018, Santa Fe District Court Judge Sarah Singleton, in a landmark case, ruled that the state of New Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education mandating massive increases for public education.

The Governor’s proposed total budget for New Mexico is $7.1 billion.

The $7.1 billion budget increases state spending by $806 million.

More than 50% of the Governor’s proposed $806 million budget increase will go to the public education system.

Lujan Grisham’s budget plan calls for a more than a $500 million increase in public school spending.

The Lujan-Grisham 2019-2020 proposed budget includes increasing spending levels in the following areas:

Public schools: $3.2 billion, a 18% increase.
Higher education: $830.2 million, a 3.3% increase.
Medicaid: $1.01 billion a 6.7% increase.
Courts, district attorneys and public defenders: $306.3 million, a 3.5% increase.
Prisons: $321.4 million a 5.2 percent increase.

A detailed analysis of the Governor’s proposed budget can be viewed here:

If all the tax code changes suggested by the Governor were enacted, they would represent a net tax increase of $35 million in the coming year.

On January 14, 2019, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) released its budget plan.

The LFC budget plan increases year-over-year state spending by $670.8 million, or by 10.6%, as opposed to the Governor’s $806 million, or 12.7% increase or a 2.1% difference between the plans.

The LFC’s budget earmarks more than three-fifths of the additional spending toward public schools statewide.

State prekindergarten programs would get about $25 million more under Lujan Grisham’s plan than under the LFC proposal.


It is not at all surprising that the New Mexico Legislature is considering tax reform legislation and increasing taxes to some extent.

Much of the increase in spending under consideration by the New Mexico Legislature will require recurring revenue sources, especially for public education and teacher salaries.

Both New Mexico Senate and House legislative leadership have said for some time there is a need to overhauling New Mexico’s tax code.

During the last 8 years, former Republican Governor “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” resisted and opposed any and all tax increases, no matter the need or justification, to avoid any and all tax increases at all costs, the result which is a major decline in the delivery of essential government services.

Instead of supporting tax increases former Republican Governor “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” was more concerned about following Republican dogma of “no tax increases” and “reducing the size of government” by ordering spending cuts, reduced take-home pay for state employees, budget-balancing maneuvers and a downsizing of state government.

There are some 3,000 positions that are vacant or that have been lost in state government with government employees required to do more work for the same pay to fill the void of lost personnel.

The proposed changes to the tax code without a doubt will be strongly opposed by numerous business organizations, chambers of commerce throughout the state, especially the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, airline companies, health insurance providers, car dealers and gas production companies.

House Republicans are already severely criticizing the Democrat proposed tax code changes in essence saying “I told you so” and that this would happen with the election of Democrats controlling both the House and Senate.

With the election of Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, it makes it more likely than not that tax code changes under HB 6 will be enacted with a few changes in the Senate and the Governor will sign it.

The biggest problem confronting Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Democratic Controlled legislature is knocking down the argument that they are “overreaching”.

Calling for increasing taxes when the state is experiencing at least a $1.1 billion in additional revenues from the oil and gas production is a very difficult sell but may be necessary.

The $1.1 billion-dollar surplus at this point is a one-shot infusion, that once spent, it’s gone.

The $1.1 surplus probably would better used for major projects such as road and bridge repairs.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in her inaugural address is that she wants the state to think big.

A major construction project that immediately comes to mind as “thinking big” is to use a good percentage of the onetime $1.1 Billion surplus to raze the aging and deteriorating 62-year-old Tingly Coliseum and build a state of the art 25,000 seat capacity arena on the fairgrounds.

For over a year and a half, the New Mexico State Fair commission has been working on a study to bring a 15,000- seat, state-of-the-art arena to the fairgrounds and the study will soon be released.

According to the State Fair Commission, Tingly Coliseum is not big enough and not modern enough to attract major concerts or events and to accommodate major national conventions.

Tingly Coliseum holds 11,000 people, it opened in 1957, and the facility is seriously inadequate to accommodate major venue events and concerts such as Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga who by pass Albuquerque and go to Denver of Phoenix instead.

Albuquerque is one of the very few if not the only major city of its size that does not have such a venue.

Such a facility could be built with the City and the State entering into a joint power’s agreement for construction and management of the facility.

The bottom line is that tax increases may be necessary because the $1.1 billion surplus is not the guaranteed continuing revenue flow source needed to support our public education system and the massive amount of education funding being mandated by the state court ruling on the prior Republican Administration failures in our Public Education System over the last 8 years.

For more article on the state tax code and proposed budgets, see:

OLD SAYING: “Never Get Into A Pissing Match With Those Who Buy Ink By The Barrel”; A Deep Dive Into Malicious Defamation Against The Press

Although the title to this article is somewhat crude, with apologies made to anyone who is offended reading it, it is an old saying that rings true when a newspaper and by extension the news media get sued by those claiming malicious defamation.

This is a “deep dive” analysis into such a complaint and why they are so difficult prove.

The parents of the 16-year-old who was involved in an encounter with Native American advocate Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2019 has filed a defamation lawsuit in Federal Court in the State of Kentucky against The Washington Post.

The Washington Post is the only named defendant in the case.

The 16-year-old’s parents filed the lawsuit for him seeking $250 million in damages from The Washington Post for its coverage of the incident.

Quoting the complaint:

“In order to fully compensate Nicholas [Sandmann] for his damages and to punish, deter and teach the Post a lesson it will never forget, this action seeks money damages in excess of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars ($250,000,000.00), the amount Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, paid in cash for the [Washington]Post when his company, Nash Holdings, purchased the newspaper in 2013”. (Page 4, paragraph 19 of complaint.)

The complaint is also seeking “compensatory damages” of Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000.00).

Punitive damages are awarded against a defendant to punish, deter and teach a lesson in order to keep a defendant from engaging in conduct and prevent them from ever doing it again.

Compensatory damages are the damages that must be proven in court and awarded to make a person whole again.

Sixteen year-old Nicholas Sandmann was among the students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat during a trip to the Lincoln Memorial when they encountered Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist.

You can read the entire 38-page civil federal court lawsuit complaint filed in United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Northern Division at Covington here:

The federal lawsuit alleges a cause of action for defamation that the Washington Post published six false and defamatory articles concerning 16-year-old Nicholas Sandman, including two in its print newspaper and four online. (Page 18 of civil complaint.)

According to the federal civil complaint, The Washington Post:

“wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C. when he was unexpectedly and suddenly confronted by Nathan Phillips …, a known Native American activist, who beat a drum and sang loudly within inches of his face. … Nicholas stood quietly and respectfully for several minutes after being targeted and bullied by Phillips and Nicholas’ body language remained non-aggressive and passive throughout the incident.”

The complaint asserts that the Washington Post “targeted and bullied” 16-year-old Nicholas Sandman in order to embarrass President Donald Trump.

Numerous national news accounts and videos of the encounter resulted in a debate over the behavior of all the participants, including the students, the Native American protesters and the “Hebrew Israelite” protesters.

The complaint alleges:

“In a span of three days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann, an innocent secondary school child”.

Nathan Phillips for his part is a self-described Native American activist who was on the Washington Mall that day for the “Indigenous Peoples March” and is an American Veteran.

Phillips told media outlets that he was walking toward the Lincoln Memorial when he encountered the Covington Catholic (CovCath) High School group.

Nathan Phillips was chanting and beating a small drum when he came face to face with 16-year-old Sandmann.

The complaint makes the accusation that the Washington Post “bullied” Sandmann in its news stories “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red “Make America Great Again” souvenir cap he had purchased the morning of the incident”.

The complaint proclaims that Nathan Phillips is not a Vietnam Veteran, that he is “a phony war hero [who] was too intimidated by the unruly Hebrew Israelites to approach them, the true troublemakers, and instead chose to focus on a group of innocent children.”

According to the lawsuit, the Washington Post “did not conduct a proper investigation before publishing its false and defamatory statements of and concerning Nicholas [Sandmann]”

The Washington Post is accused of ignoring videos that showed a fuller picture of the incident and of using “unreliable and biased sources,” thus acting with “knowledge of falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth.”


Noteworthy accusations to highlight in the complaint include the following numbered allegations:

“7. In targeting and bullying Nicholas by falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18 incident, the Post conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by “swarming” Phillips, “blocking” his exit away from the students and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct.

8. The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.

9. As a 16-year-old secondary school student, Nicholas’ political beliefs are anything but established and entrenched in his young mind.

10. Nicholas has zero history of political activism or aggressiveness and did not exhibit any such conduct even when confronted with unbridled racist attacks by activist bullies at the National Mall.

11. The Post’s campaign to target Nicholas in furtherance of its political agenda was carried out by using its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles which effectively provided a worldwide megaphone to Phillips and other anti-Trump individuals and entities to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the President.

12. Unlike the Post’s abuse of the profession of journalism, Plaintiffs do not bring this lawsuit to use the judicial system to further a political agenda. This lawsuit is brought against the Post to seek legal redress for its negligent, reckless, and malicious attacks on Nicholas which caused permanent damage to his life and reputation.

13. The Post bullied an innocent child with an absolute disregard for the pain and destruction its attacks would cause to his life.

14. The Post proved itself to be a loud and aggressive bully with a bully pulpit.

15. In targeting and bullying Nicholas by falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18th incident, the Post conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by “swarming” Phillips “blocking” his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct.

16. But the Post did not care about protecting Nicholas. To the contrary, the Post raced with a reckless disregard of the facts and truth because in this day and time there is a premium for being the first and loudest media bully.

17. The Post wanted to lead the charge against this child because he was a pawn in its political war against its political adversary, a war so disconnected and beyond the comprehension of Nicholas that it might as well have been science fiction.

18. The Post must be dealt with the same way every bully is dealt with and that is hold the bully fully accountable for its wrongdoing in a manner which effectively deters the bully from again bullying other children. In a civil lawsuit, punishment and deterrence is found in awarding money damages to the victim and target of the bully.

19. In order to fully compensate Nicholas for his damages and to punish, deter, and teach the Post a lesson it will never forget, this action seeks money damages in excess of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars ($250,000,000.00) the amount Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, paid in cash for the Post when his company, Nash Holdings, purchased the newspaper in 2013.”

Detailed allegations of online videos of the January 18 incident are made in the civil complaint.


The complaint gives a version of the events of January 18, 2019 by making the following numbered allegations:

“20. On January 18, 2019, Nicholas attended the March for Life on a school trip chaperoned by sixteen adults, nine of whom were faculty members at Nicholas’ school, Covington Catholic High School (“CovCath”).

21. …

22. Nicholas was wearing a red cap Make America Great Again cap (“MAGA cap”) that he had purchased that day as a souvenir.

23. While at the National Mall, a small group of adult gentlemen who describe themselves as Hebrew Israelites a known hate group began verbally assaulting and taunting Nicholas and his CovCath classmates with including but not limited to, threats of physical violence and vitriol calling the students “incest babies” “dirty ass crackers,” and “future school shooters.”

24. One of Nicholas’ classmates requested and received permission from a school chaperone to engage in CovCath school sports cheers in an effort to ignore and drown out the hate speech being hurled at them by the Hebrew Israelites.

25. The school cheer is intended and undertaken to promote unity and school pride and should have been correctly seen as a positive act, not a racist act.

26. During the school cheer, Phillips and a small group of his companions all of whom had been participating in the Indigenous Peoples March at the National Mall that day instigated a confrontation with Nicholas and his CovCath classmates.

27. Rather than focusing their attention on the Hebrew Israelites, who had been relentlessly insulting both the teenagers for almost an hour and the Native Americans attending the Indigenous Peoples March before that, Phillips and his activist companions approached the CovCath students from a distance while beating drums, singing, dancing, and carrying cameras to capture the confrontation on video.

28. Apparently, Phillips, a phony war hero, was too intimidated by the unruly Hebrew Israelites to approach them, the true troublemakers, and instead chose to focus on a group of innocent children a much safer endeavor for activist tactics of intimidation.”

The complaint makes allegations regarding the very close face-to-face interaction between the 16-year-old and Nathan Phillips beating a drum by alleging:

“44. While he stood there with Phillips beating a drum near his face and singing loudly, Nicholas remained silent and did not utter a single word to Phillips.”


The complaint argues that the Post did not conduct a proper investigation before publishing its false and defamatory statements concerning the 16-year-old. (See paragraph 71 of complaint.)

The lawsuit contains allegations and quotes from specific stories and videos published and statements made by school officials and the sixteen your old himself in a national TV interview.

According to the lawsuit an investigation was conducted that revealed the truth about what happened on January 18 and that inconsistent and false claims were made by Native American Activist Nathan Phillips.

Nathan Phillips is not a named party defendant.

The complaint also alleges false and defamatory statements concerning the 16-year-old published by the Catholic Diocese of Covington on January 19 before a proper investigation had been conducted by the Diocese.
(Paragraph 72)

The Catholic Diocese is not a named defendant.

The complaint makes specific allegations that the 16-year-old is not a “public figure” as defined by the law but is a private figure for the purposes of this defamation action, claiming he has lived his entire life outside of the public eye. (See paragraphs 163 to 168 of complaint.)


The distinction between a “public figure” and a “private figure” under the law is a critical distinction when it comes to the First Amendment Right of Freedom of the Press and the lawsuit filed.

The civil complaint specifically alleges that “The Post published negligently with actual malice”.

The First Amendment rights of free speech and of the press have limitations when it comes to libel, slander, defamation and malicious statements that harm others.

An act of malicious defamation involves the intentional commission of a wrongful act and statements made against another, absent real justification, with the intent to cause harm to others.

An act of malicious defamation is considered an intentional violation of the law that injures another individual in some manner and where actual damages can be proven.

“Absence of malice” refers to the legal defense against charges of libel (written) defamation, and is used in journalism to illustrate the conflict between disclosing damaging personal or newsworthy information and the public’s right to know.

If something is published or telecast with an “absence of malice” against a person reported upon, there is no liability owed to the person or subject harmed with the publication considered “freedom of speech” or of the press.

In the context of civil defamation actions for libel and slander for damages, a person who is found to be a “public figure”, such as an elected official, cannot succeed and recover damages in a lawsuit for false statements unless there is proof that the writer or publisher acted with actual malice by knowing the falsity or by reckless disregard for the truth and there must be actual and provable damages.

The plaintiff’s in their case against the Washington Post have requested a jury trial.

In any civil lawsuit seeking damages, the party bringing the lawsuit must prove their case by a “preponderance of the evidence” before the “trier of fact”, the jury.

“Preponderance of the evidence” is defined as the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil, non-criminal, lawsuit for a jury to decide in favor of one side or the other.

This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence.


When you review the federal lawsuit against the Washington Post, what is glaring is that more than few individuals have been omitted or ignored who should have been named as parties to the lawsuit.

President Donald Trump is not name as an injured party and Native American Nathan Phillips, the Hebrew Israelites who allegedly instigated the incident and the Catholic Diocese of Covington are not named as defendants.

The complaint boldly proclaims the Washington Post “targeted and bullied” 16-year-old Nicholas Sandman in order to embarrass President Donald Trump, which is very easily alleged but will be difficult to prove in court.

“Bullying” can be loosely defined as physically or emotionally hurting someone, or shaming and embarrassing someone over an extended period of time forcing that person to do something they do not want to do to themselves or others.

“Bullying” someone usually takes the form of personal threats against a single individual being bullied and not against a third party that the person being bullied does not even know.

Besides, Trump has show repeatedly that he is incapable of being embarrassed and that he is beyond being shamed, just ask Stormy Daniels.

The Plaintiffs boldly proclaim they “do not bring this lawsuit to use the judicial system to further a political agenda” yet the lawsuit itself is seeking to stop the Washington Post and punish it for exercising First Amendment Rights of Freedom of the Press and reporting what was witnessed.

It is interesting that the complaint seeks to punish the Washington Post for “targeting and bullying” when many would say that is the exact and same type on conduct that Trump has engaged in all of his life and as President of the United States, especially against the press and minorities.

Alleging that the 16-year-old “has zero history of political activism or aggressiveness” is somewhat absurd because he was on the Washington Mall wearing a red MAGA cap with his school group attending the “March for Life Rally”, and anti-abortion rally.

It is likely the Post will defend by asserting much of the following:

1. The 16-year-old became a public figure participating in a “right to life” protest because of his religious beliefs, wearing a red MAGA hat at a public function, and there was no reasonable expectation of privacy from photos and videos.

2. The Plaintiff was under the supervision of an adult who should have intervened to prevent the incident, but instead encouraged it by having the students make school chants to drown out other protesters.

3. The 16-year-old went on national TV to do an interview all by himself to defend his action showing a great degree of maturity beyond his age.

4. All the actions on the mall the day of the incident and his appearance on national TV combined to make the 16-year-old a “public figure” in which case the plaintiff will have to prove actual malice by the Post which is very difficult at best.

5. The sixteen-year-old has suffered no damages or negligible damages and nothing near the $50 million in compensatory damages and he not entitled to punitive damages.

The complaint asserts that Nathan Phillips instigated the incident with his drum beating and that he is not a Vietnam Veteran, but that he is “a phony war hero” an allegation that will now have to be proven in court.

There are no videos quoted that have Phillips proclaiming to be a war hero and besides being a phony war hero does not mean you are prohibited from exercising your constitutional right of free speech.

The widely published photo and video of the expression on the 16-year old’s face as to what it conveyed and what he was actually thinking will be subjected to many interpretations by the public and attorneys, including it was a reasonable reaction to the situation or it was a “smirk” done to antagonize Nathan Phillips.

No doubt Mr. Phillips will have to be called as a witness in the case to get his version of what happened and what he felt.

The allegation that the Post has a “well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump” is nothing but that, an allegation.

The civil complaint alleges and argues the Post news accounts were its own interpretation of the events, which is exactly what news agencies do in their reports.

There is no requirement that all news must be uniformly, accurately and reported upon without any biases by all news agencies, otherwise FOX News would be out of business.

What will happen now is the attorneys for the Washington Post, no doubt some of the finest in the country when it comes to the First Amendment Right of freedom of the press, will comb over all the allegations and do extensive investigation themselves and file an Answer to the Complaint.

It is highly likely that a Motion to Dismiss will be filed by the Post alleging that the civil complaint fails to allege a cause of action where relief can be granted against the Washington Post.

If a judge does not dismiss the case and allows the case to proceed, the Plaintiff’s will have to prove all the allegations made in the complaint, such as those noted above, in a court of law by “preponderance of the evidence” and show the damages sustained.

All the events occurred in Washington, DC, where the Post does business and where its reporters are, its offices are and for that reason a motion can be anticipated for a change of venue removing the case from the Eastern District of Kentucky to the Washington DC Federal Court

It is also possible that a motion will be filed to add necessary and proper parties to the lawsuit, such as Trump, Nathan Phillips, the Hebrew Israelites and the Catholic Diocese of Covington so that all the facts can be explored and damages accessed.

The Washington Post could file a counterclaim against the Plaintiff’s alleging “bad faith” on their part and for filing a frivolous complaint to interfere with the Washington Post’s First Amendment right of Freedom of the Press in order to have a chilling affect on their constitutional rights.

Another potential is that other news outlets who reported on the case may decide to intervene in the case.

All too often, Plaintiff’s file lawsuits with inflated expectations not fully comprehending that the results could result in a totally different outcome to their own determent.

As the saying goes, never get into a “pissing match” with those who buy ink by the barrel.

District Attorney Raul Torrez Is Tenant, Not Owner Of Office

The elected Bernalillo County Commission and the Bernalillo County Government are required by state law to provide for the housing of the 2nd Judicial District Court, the Metro Court, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the Bernalillo County Attorney’s Office and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.

The elected 5 members of the Bernalillo County Commission appoints the County Manager who in turn is responsible for managing, repairing and maintaining all county buildings and facilities using taxpayer funding.


During the last 40 plus years, there have been 3 physical locations for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office: the 2nd Judicial District Courthouse, “Union Station” and the Steve Schiff District Attorney Building.

Over the last forty years, the Bernalillo County District Attorney office has grown from a small office of one elected District Attorney and 10 appointed Assistant District Attorneys to an office that employs 319 full time personnel consisting of 118 full time attorneys, and numerous paralegals, secretaries, investigators, and victim advocates.

For many years, and for many District Attorneys, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office was located on the second floor of the old 2nd Judicial District Courthouse downtown at 5th Street and Marquette, NW

The old courthouse still stands today and it is often used for TV and film productions, including “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” for courtroom scenes.

Notable elected District Attorneys who officed on the second floor of the old courthouse include Democrats Alexander Soresse, James Brandenburg, Ira Robinson and Republicans Steve Schiff and Bob Schwartz.

As both the 2nd Judicial District Court and the District Attorney’s Office grew over the years, it was necessary for the county to move the District Attorney’s Office to its own separate building because of its sure size.

The historic Union Station building located off of Central and the rail road tracks in downtown Albuquerque housed the District Attorney’s office for about 10 years, with the county remodeling and repairing it over those years.

Only two elected District Attorneys worked at the Union Station building: Republican Bob Schwartz and Democrat Jeff Romero.

Jeff Romero was the first hispanic elected Bernalillo County District Attorney who was born and raised in Albuquerque.


It was Democrat District Attorney Jeff Romero who successfully lobbied the Bernalillo County Commission to fund and build the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office on Lomas adjacent to the seven story Bernalillo County Courthouse.

Democrat District Attorney Jeff Romero lobbied “one on one” all Bernalillo County Commissioners and the Bernalillo County Manager to get the office not only built, but to make it a modern functioning office that would last for decades as the office grew within a growing city.

The building of the courthouse and the District Attorney’s Office were both part of the same project costing $55.9 million dollars to construct both buildings.

The 80,000-square-foot Steve Schiff District Attorney Building houses both the Bernalillo County District Attorney as well as the Bernalillo County Attorney’s office.

The elected DA’s office is on the 3rd floor while the appointed Bernalillo County Attorney Offices are located on the 4th floor.

There is one Bernalillo County Attorney with 7 Assistant County Attorneys who office on the 4th floor of the District Attorney’s office.

The current Bernalillo County Attorney is former Democrat Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives Ken Martinez.

An emphasis was placed on aesthetics for both the new courthouse and the district attorney office to include public art, including sculptures and paintings.

Outside and in front of the entrance of the District Attorneys office is a commissioned sculpture of an adult “American eagle” in a nest with chicks to symbolize the nurturing of justice.

The outside bronze piece is a commissioned work of art by well-known New Mexico sculptor Sonny Rivera.

Former Republican US Representative Steven H. Schiff was a five-term Republican Congressman from New Mexico who helped research the ethics case against former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who was admonished for his actions by the House.

Steve Schiff passed on March 26, 1998 at the age of 51 from a lengthy battle with cancer leaving a wife and a young son Daniel.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office was named by the Bernalillo County Commission after former congressman Steve Schiff soon after he passed away.

The outside of the building bears the name “The Steve Schiff Building”.

Three elected District Attorneys have had their offices at the Steve Schiff District Attorney Building: Democrats Jeff Romero, Kari Brandenburg and Raul Torrez

In the dedication area for the District Attorney’s office building is a commissioned bronze bust of former Congressman Steve Schiff who also served as Bernalillo County District Attorney for a number of years before becoming a United States Congressman replacing Republican Congressman Manuel Lujan.

After the dedication of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office and the revealing of the Steve Schiff bronze bust, the photos of all the past elected Bernalillo District Attorney’s where found and framed using taxpayer money with the photos exhibited for historical reasons.

The photos were exhibited in a small room area immediately south of the front desk entry, behind the metal detector screening area.


Some of the best trial attorneys in New Mexico have either been elected District Attorney or started their careers at the District Attorney’s office to get trial experience.

Many prominent attorneys who are still practicing law today were given their first job right out of law school by a past Bernalillo County District Attorney.

More than a few attorneys started their careers in the District Attorney’s Office went on to become Metro Court Judges, District Court Judges, or Appellate Court Judges or becoming prominent private practice trial attorneys.

It is important to the legal community that the memories of past District Attorney’s not be forgotten but respected for the years of service they gave to our criminal justice system.

An act that was considered an act of pettiness was when current District Attorney Raul Torrez removed without any explanation all of the framed photographs of past elected District Attorneys that also had their dates of service.

Ostensibly, Mr. Torrez took the photographs down without the permission of the County Manager who manages the property.

According to sources within the DA’s office, dedication plaques to long time serving Deputy District Attorneys for the office who have passed, Deputies Joe Paone and Chris Lackman, have also been removed from conference rooms dedicated to their memory.

Elected officials often believe the offices they hold means they can do whatever they want to government facilities and its contents.

All too often elected officials do not realize how short their tenure can be if they are not careful with how they treat people or how they perform in office after elected.

Time and time again, elected officials quickly find it is easier to run for office than to hold office and fall into the trap of governing by constantly campaigning and attending events to keep a positive image with the press.

Another common tactic by insecure elected officials is to make sure that the legacy of their predecessor is dismantled, forgotten or scrubbed from public memory, such as what President Donald Trump has been trying to do for the past 2 years with the Barack Obama Legacy.

If things continue as they are for District Attorney Raul Torrez with bad stories regarding his management of the office, he needs to make sure he gives to his successor a nice photo shot of himself.

His photo can then be exhibited with all the photos of his predecessors he has taken down, if those photos can be found, not destroyed or thrown away by Torrez.

In the meantime, the Bernalillo County Manager and the Bernalillo County Commission need make sure the history of the District Attorney’s Office be preserved and remind Mr. Torrez that he is a tenant, not an owner, of the building.

Two Very Bad News Stories And Acts Of Pettiness By DA Raul Torrez

For the second time within a week, a very negative news report regarding the mishandling of a domestic violence case by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office has been reported.

Both news stories call into serious question the management of the office by District Attorney Raul Torrez.

There have also been a few very small acts of pettiness by Raul Torrez within the office.


According to a February 20, 2019 Channel 4 Investigates Report, an imposter “scammed the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office” falsely claiming she was a victim in a case.

The imposter demanded the charges dropped against the violent defendant and that he be released from jail.

Below is the link to the Channel 4 report:

According to the news report, the Defendant Freddie Trujillo pled guilty in a 2017 aggravated assault case.

Originally, Trujillo was placed on probation but in December 2018, Trujillo was jailed for violating his probation.

Trujillo violated his probation when he physically attacked his estranged relatives, David and Mary Ann Baca.

Trujillo was arrested after the attack on his relatives and jailed.

One month later Trujillo was released from jail after the District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against him.

The DA’s office dropped the charges when a woman apparently claiming to be the victim Mary Anne Baca walked into the courthouse and demanded the charges be dropped.

The only problem is the woman was an imposter and the DA’s office fell for the scam.

David and Mary Ann Baca were shocked that Freddie Trujillo was released and questioned why nobody at the District Attorney Office bothered to check if the woman claiming to be the victim really was the victim.

David Baca expressed outrage when he confronted someone, presumably a prosecutor, at the DA’s office and told them:

“How dare you release someone – I [said] … don’t you have anything in [your office policies] … that says look we’re going to have to check your ID to make sure you’re the victim or you’re the assailant … And he said ‘we have nothing in [our policies] … .”

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to Ch 4 Investigates that there is no office policy that requires a person to show their identification to confirm they are the victim in a pending case or a case about to be dismissed.

DA Torrez declined to be interviewed by Channel 4 preferring to have the office Public Information Officer issue a statement that the incident was being investigated.

The Public Information Officer sent Channel 4 Investigates the following statement:

“Unfortunately, the criminal justice system currently lacks both the staff and the infrastructure to enforce a strict policy requiring every participant in the process to prove their identity. Moreover, the rigid application of that type of policy can create unnecessary barriers for many traumatized victims who must trust and communicate with our prosecutors on a regular basis. While this type of fraud is extraordinarily rare we have a responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the system and we will pursue any legal action necessary to deter this type of misconduct in the future.”

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that an investigation is underway to identify the imposter and will determine if the imposter will face charges.

What is problematic for Torrez is the fact that he has repeatedly blamed judges for the release of violent, repeat offenders, yet it was his office that released violent repeat offender Freddie Trujillo.

Channel 4 Investigates repeatedly requested to speak with District Attorney Raul Torrez on the issue.

When Torrez refused to do an interview, the reporter went out of the way to report how Torrez has an extensive history doing media interviews to report actions of his office, but declined Channel 4 Investigates an on-camera interview on the case.


According to a February 14, 2019 Channel 13 news story, an anonymous tipster within the District Attorney’s office sent News 13 pictures of stacks of domestic violence cases piled up on a table in the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.

Below is the link to the story:

The photos were of 3 stacks of roughly 500 domestic violence case reports.

Each one of the domestic violence reports were linked to a domestic violence victim left waiting from 2 to 5 months without hearing anything after calling police reporting misdemeanor domestic violence crimes including assault, theft and restraining order violations.

Torrez went on camera with Channel 13, but only after a week had passed giving him time to clear out the backlog.

District Attorney Raul Torrez explained the stacks of reports were made up of “criminal summons” cases where police did not arrest anyone for various reasons such as suspects had already left the scene of the crime.

Torrez acknowledged that victim advocates before would call people who reported domestic violence cases within 2 weeks compared with an average of 2 months to 5 months because there use to be more investigators and victim advocates working the cases for his office.

Torrez proclaimed on camera:

“Right now, there is no backlog … The question for us, though, is how do we sustain this over the long-run? We obviously have to move faster … It’s obviously disappointing to me to have that kind of delay … Every single case that comes into the office and every single victim of crime in the community deserves to get immediate attention.”

According to Torrez taking quick action on court cases is one of the best ways to deter someone from committing more crimes in the future.

District Attorney Raul Torrez’s explanation for the domestic violence case backlog was revealing when he said:

“We moved some of those resources into the felony side of the office so that we could increase the case speed on those most violent and dangerous offenders”.

Torrez said focusing resources to move fast on the few repeat offenders responsible for the majority of crime is working to drop the overall number of criminal cases in Bernalillo County.

DA Raul Torrez went on to tell News 13 that he has requested another budget increase this year from the 2019 Legislature put in another budget increase for more investigators and victim advocates.

Torrez failed to disclose to Channel 4 that he has 44 fully funded vacancies within his office that he has failed to fill over the past year despite his repeated complaints of lack of staff.

The 44 vacant positions include 11 vacant “at will” attorney positions, 15 classified legal secretary positions and 2 victim/witness positions (victim advocates).

For more on the vacancies and a link to the State’s Sunshine portal listing names, salaries and vacancies see:


Confidential sources within the District Attorney’s Office claim that District Attorney Raul Torrez is aloof with office personnel.

They have also said Torrez is obsessed with his news coverage and how he appears on camera during interviews and press conferences.

Confidential sources within the office complain he wants to make sure every Attorney within the office knows he is the current District Attorney and he is the one in charge, which is normal for any executive, but constantly reminding subordinates is not.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office was named after Steve Schiff by the Bernalillo County Commission after he passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.

The outside of the building bears the name “The Steve Schiff Building”.

Over 18 years ago after the dedication of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, the photos of all the past elected Bernalillo District Attorney’s where found and framed using taxpayer money and the photos were exhibited for historical reasons.

The photos were exhibited in a small room area immediately south of the front desk entry, behind the metal detector screening area.

In the dedication area for the building is a bronze bust of former United States Congressman Steve Schiff who also served as Bernalillo County District Attorney.

An act that was considered by office personnel as sure pettiness and a sign of jealousy was when District Attorney Raul Torrez ordered the removal without any explanation of all the photographs of all past elected District Attorneys that also had their dates of service.

According to sources, dedication plaques to long time serving attorneys for the office who have passed, Deputies Joe Paone and Chris Lackman, have also been removed from conference rooms dedicated to their memory.


The publication of both news stories by two separate news stations within a week is an indication that the news media is not as enamored with Torrez as they once were.

At least two news stations are now willing to report on his office management problems without giving him the benefit of the doubt.

In other words, after over two years in office, the honeymoon is over with the news media.

In both news stories, District Attorney Raul Torrez blamed to some extent the lack of resources or lack of personnel for the problems associated with the cases and his office.

This coming from the very District Attorney who last year was given a huge increase in his office budget.

According to the New Mexico State Sunshine Portal, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office is fully funded for 319 full time positions with a personnel budget of $14,529,202.

Even though the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office has 319 fully funded positions, only 275 are filled with 44 vacant positions listed as not being filled by Raul Torrez.

The budget increase included funding for more staff yet after a full year Torrez still has a major problem filling positions that are vacant.

Torrez is the very same DA who likes to take credit for reduction in crime statistics at functions he speaks at such as the Albuquerque Economic Forum.

Torrez has a bad habit of never taking management responsibility for what happens when cases in his office fall apart, or are dismissed, especially in high profile cases such as the prosecution in the murder case of 10-year-old Victoria Martens.

Within six months after being elected, Torrez had his office prepare a report on the statistics regarding the number of felony cases that were being dismissed by the District Court.

Torrez accused the District Court for being responsible for the rise in Albuquerque crime rates and releasing violent offenders pending trial.

District Attorney Raul Torrez also accused defense attorneys of “gaming the system” in order to get cases dismissed against their clients.

A subsequent report prepared by the District Court revealed that it was actually the District Attorney’s office that was in fact voluntarily dismissing far more felony cases for various reasons, including his office not being prepared for trial, the office’s failure to meet discovery deadlines, and prosecutors failure to turn evidence over to defense counsel as mandated by law and discovery court orders.

You can read a report here:

Raul Torrez now probably knows members of his own staff are on to him, do not like his management of the office and they are willing to leak information to the press to force him to be held accountable for his bad management decisions.

All too often elected officials believe the offices they hold means they can do whatever they want, not realizing how short their tenure can be if they are not careful with how they treat people and how they perform in office after elected.

All too often, elected officials quickly find it is easier to run for office than to hold office and make difficult decisions and fall into the trap of governing by campaigning to keep a good image.

If things continue as they are for District Attorney Raul Torrez with more bad stories reflecting poor management of cases on his part, he needs to make sure he gives to his successor a nice photo shot of himself.

His photo can then be exhibited with all the photos of his predecessors he has ordered taken down, if those photos can be found, not destroyed or thrown away by Torrez.