ABQ Reports: Keller’s Last Year’s 2020 State Of The City Address Full Of Lies About APD And Unkept Promises; Vile Attempt To Deceive

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in these two articles are those of Dan Klein and do not necessarily reflect those of the political blog www.petedinelli.com blog. No compensation has been paid. Links to the original articles can be found at the end of the articles.

Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque Police Sergeant after 20 years of public service. He has been a small business owner in the private sector now for 16 years. Mr. Klein has been a reporter for both on line news outlets the ALB Free Press and ABQ Reports. On Tuesday, January 12, and Friday, January 14, the following articles written by Dan Klein and published on line news ABQ Reports:

ABQ REPORTS HEADLINE: Keller’s APD lies, unkept promises

— Three years after Keller became mayor APD is still a mess. Albuquerque is still overrun with crime.

— It is clear from Keller’s 2020 speech that he would rather fudge facts and numbers to appease Albuquerque instead of taking ownership of this mess.

I have a calendar on my desk, like most of you have, where I make notes for future reference. One of those notes said, “Tim Keller State of the City speech January 11, 2020”. You can watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-93RRmjiGZU

The reason I marked this date is because Keller made several announcements one year ago, that I wanted to fact check a year later. I do this because of past lies (false APD crime stats and Geier’s so-called retirement jumps to mind) whenever Keller and his management team at APD speak. Unlike most local media outlets, I refuse to simply regurgitate press releases and canned statements from politicians.

Readers deserve better reporting.

Tim Keller is all about visual charisma and charmingly good looks. Studies have shown that people support those they believe are handsome and good looking. Elections are not about policy, ideas and ability, they are a popularity contest like a high school prom and plain-looking candidates need not apply. Which is why I decided to listen and not watch Kellers’ state of the city speech. I recommend that you do the same.

At 51 minutes Keller talks about the Albuquerque Police Department and the Department of Justice monitoring. Keller stated:

“When it comes to APD we need to talk about the DOJ settlement. I will tell you there are 276 requirements that APD has to develop policies for, train officers on, implement and then show the monitor that he can trust us to do it on our own. Only after we do all of those 276 requirements will the DOJ actually end their oversight. We decided to make a compliance bureau to work with the DOJ instead of against them. Because of the hard work of that bureau and every single police officer at APD we are announcing that next month we are walking into court and asking to end the outside monitoring of nearly one-quarter of all those requirements”

Every person in the audience applauds enthusiastically, but did it happen? NO.

February 2020 came and went without the city asking the court to end the monitoring. In the summer of 2020, the city filed and then withdrew the request to end some of the monitoring. Why?

“The Albuquerque Police Department has failed miserably in its ability to police itself…. I would have to be candid with the court and say we’re in more trouble here right now today than I’ve ever seen.”

A link to a related blog article on the 12th Federal Monitor’s Report entitled “12th Federal Monitor’s Report: APD “On The Brink Of Catastrophic Failure”; “Failing Miserably To Police Itself”; Police Union Obstructs Reforms; COMMENTARY: Remove Sergeants And Lieutenants From Union; Abolish APD Internal Affairs” is here

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/11/09/12th-federal-monitors-report-apd-on-the-brink-of-catastrophic-failure-failing-miserably-to-police-itself-police-union-obstructs-reforms-commentary-rem/

If APD was failing so miserably why did Keller tell us differently? Why indeed.

Keller then makes the following statement about APD:

“We set an ambitious goal to hire 100 officers per year for the next four years and we got our first batch on the streets just a few months ago. I am so proud to announce the next 100 are on the way. They are in the academy right now and in 2020, for the first time in years, our department (APD) is going to be at 1,000 officers strong.”

Once again this is met with applause from the audience, but a year later does APD have 1,000 officers? NO.

At the same time Keller was giving his January 2020 State of the City speech, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos reported to the ABQREPORT that APD had about 950 sworn officers. On January 3, 2021, the Albuquerque Journal reported that APD had 974 sworn officers (with another 55 cadets slated to graduate in March of 2021). Keller has hired more officers since he took over, but it seems that APD is now stuck, unable to stay above 1,000 officers (the number Keller promised). The reason APD is stagnant is because APD is losing veteran officers at a rate that does not allow it to grow.

I researched the entire police payroll for the first pay period in 2021. As of January 9, 2021, APD payroll shows that there are 953 sworn officers and now only 48 cadets in the academy. Why the discrepancy from January 3 to January 9?

I am sure APD and Keller knew that the end of the year brings a lot of retirements for APD. Why did Keller / APD give the Journal the end of 2020 numbers instead of the reality of the real 2021 numbers? Because 2020 would make Keller look better.

If APD payroll records are correct, and why wouldn’t they be, APD has only the slimmest chance of getting to Keller’s 1,000-officer goal in March 2021, a year later than he promised. Keller would have to pray that no cadets nor officers leave the department in the next three months. Based upon past performance that certainly does not seem likely. Knowing the number of officers that APD continues to lose on a yearly basis to retirements, terminations and resignations, my hunch is APD will still hover around 950 officers when January of 2022 comes around.

Mayor Keller promised us a year ago that his police department would attain 1,000 cops in 2020, it didn’t happen. Keller promised that APD was doing great with the DOJ consent decree when they weren’t. Keller clearly mislead the public in these two issues during his 2020 speech, it makes me wonder what else has he mislead us on?

Three years after Keller became mayor APD is still a mess. Albuquerque is still overrun with crime. It is clear from Keller’s 2020 speech that he would rather fudge facts and numbers to appease Albuquerque instead of taking ownership of this mess. 2021 is an election year, I hope Albuquerque is fed up with smiling untruths and elects a mayor who will fix this mess.”

The link to Abq Reports is here:

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/keller-s-apd-lies-unkept-promises

JANUARY 15, the following article also written by Dan Klein was published on ABQ Report

ABQ REPORTS HEADLINE: TIM KELLER’S VILE ATTEMPT TO DECEIVE US

What would you tell your kid if he came home from school with all Ds on his report card and when you questioned him about it, his response was, “You should be happy with me because my classmate, Jimmy, got all Fs.” Would you be happy? Well, you aren’t little Jimmy’s parent so you could care less about the grades Jimmy received and so you yell at your kid and tell him he needs to get his butt in gear, study and work harder and get better grades, or else.

That’s the way the real, normal and responsible world works. If you fail you acknowledge it and work harder to fix the problem and to get better. You don’t try to hide and explain away your miserable performance by saying someone is worse at it than you. Because saying that someone is worse than you at something is really low and sick, and it shows defeatism, a willingness to accept failure and a totally reprehensible attempt to deceive oneself and everyone else. In short, it’s ugly debasement.

Well, guess what, Albuquerque. Your mayor, Tim Keller, is that sick little kid who is getting Ds when it comes to fighting crime and who is trying to deceive you, his bosses, by saying that his failure is OK because other cities are doing worse than Albuquerque. Yes, welcome to the crime-fighting world of little Timmy Keller, who is failing miserably at his job. This is exactly what Failing Timmy did this week to cloak the fact that Albuquerque is just as crime-ridden under his leadership as it was under R.J. Berry.

Albuquerque has already had our fourth homicide since the start of 2021! At this rate we will eclipse the record high homicide rates of the last three years of Mayor Tim Keller’s administration.

So how does smiling Tim Keller respond to the tsunami that is the Albuquerque crime wave?

In 2019 Keller told Albuquerque residents that crime was going down, and he produced stats to support his statement. The crime stats were subsequently found to be a lie—fake, false and simply not true. Keller later apologized for the “mistake,” and soon enough real crime stats confirmed what everyone living in Albuquerque knew: crime here is really bad.

In 2020 Keller praised APD Chief Mike Geier for doing a great job (state of the city address) only to get rid of Geier months later. In what could only be described as cowardly behavior, Keller didn’t act like a strong mayor by calling Geier into his office and telling him he was done. Instead, Keller had Geier meet him, incognito, at a park on the Labor Day Holiday weekend. As Geier described it Keller was in disguise when he sat down with Geier on a park bench and asked him to resign. Weird. And cowardly.

How did this Forrest Gump, err Tim Keller park bench meeting turnout? Scandalous and embarrassing for all of Albuquerque. It’s worse than a soap opera, with Geier accusing Keller and Interim Chief Medina of plotting against him. In response Keller and Medina now say Geier was the worse chief ever (weird how Keller praised Geier just months earlier). While Keller was diverted into this stupid tit-for-tat with Geier, Albuquerque crime continued to grow unabated.

The year 2020 got worse for Keller and his police department as Attorney General Hector Balderas and State Auditor Brian Colón announced investigations and audits into APD overtime and spending. Balderas got involved when Colón requested that his office investigate potential criminal activity related to APD overtime. Once again, Albuquerque’s crime wave took a back seat to a profoundly serious issue within APD.

Again, I ask where was Tim Keller? APD overtime issues were well reported by ABQReport and other media outlets for years, so why didn’t Keller address them when the Albuquerque Police Oversight Board investigated and recommended termination for one of the officers involved? (A recommendation ignored by Keller and Geier.) Just where is Tim Keller when it comes to doing something about crime in our city?

As Albuquerque is reporting its fourth murder since the start of 2021, Keller and APD come to the citizens with one of the worse PR spins I have ever seen. Instead of focusing on Albuquerque and fixing our crime epidemic, Keller holds a press conference where he tells Albuquerque citizens that it’s worse in other cities. You heard me right. Keller is so lost when it comes to fighting crime in Albuquerque that he wants us to divert our attention to other crime-ridden cities.

Keller is telling us that the next time you get robbed at gunpoint, know that in Baltimore you could have gotten shot. Oh boy, that certainly will make everyone feel better. I can see it now, Keller and Medina will begin ordering APD officers to tell every crime victim that they should stop complaining because they could live in Detroit where crime is so much worse.

APD dispatcher: “911 what’s your emergency?”
Caller: “Help! I have been robbed!
APD dispatcher: “Sir, do you know how lucky you are to live in Tim Keller’s Albuquerque? In Memphis you would probably have gotten shot. Thank God for Tim Keller.”
Caller: “You are right, it would be worse if I lived in Memphis. Thank God I live in Albuquerque where I am warmed and comforted by Tim Keller’s smile. I am sorry to take your time. Disregard”

Note to Mayor Keller: You are the mayor of Albuquerque and it’s pretty clear you have no idea what you are doing when it comes to stopping the crime crisis and managing APD. Stop feeding us citizens with PR bullcrap about how it’s worse in other places or that you have a 20th crime initiative that looks like the 1st failed crime initiative. Victims of crime in Albuquerque don’t care about other cities and their problems; we only care about Albuquerque. I wish Keller would care more about Albuquerque than he cares about re-election and his PR spin.

Tim Keller you need to know you are the mayor of Albuquerque, and citizens here don’t give two-shits about Baltimore or any other city. We care about the job you’re doing, and right now your failing. Timmy, you’re coming home with Fs on your report card. And when you try to explain away your failures by saying that other cities are more dangerous we see it for what it really is: a pathetic attempt to hide your incompetence and an attempt to debase this entire community.

So Timmy, stop the PR crap and just do your job of making us safe. If you can’t do this, then we’ll have to find a mayor who can do the job better than you.

And Timmy, stop your pathetic and sickening game of trying to hide your incompetence and to deceive us. It’s vile.

The link to the January 15 ABQ Report column is here:

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/tim-keller-s-vile-attempt-to-deceive-us

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Dan Klein in his second article states “In 2019 Keller told Albuquerque residents that crime was going down, and he produced stats to support his statement. The crime stats were subsequently found to be a lie—fake, false and simply not true”. With the one sentence, Klein glossed over just how bad Keller mislead the public.

KELLER’S FALSE CLAIMS OF REDUCING CRIME

When Keller took office on December 1, 2017, every quarter when APD released the city’s crime statistics, Mayor Keller would do a press conference to proclaim and to some extent take credit for crime going down in all categories. He did so on July 1, 2019. Mayor Keller reported that crime was down substantially, with double-digit drops, in nearly every category.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1335502/crime-declining-in-albuquerque-new-numbers-show.html

On Sunday, December 1, 2019 the Albuquerque Journal reported that all the crime rate reductions Keller reported in his July 1, 2019 press conference were in fact seriously flawed by big percentages. Both the 2019 mid-year statistics and the statistics released at the end of 2018 were revised dramatically to include hundreds, and in some cases thousands, more incidents than were initially reported. The final numbers for all of 2018 showed violent crime actually increased.

At an October meeting of the City Council, APD provided the revised statistics but failed to disclose to the council that the numbers had changed drastically. Mayor Keller also did not hold any kind of a press conference to correct nor announce the corrected statistics. The Keller Administration blamed the false numbers on antiquated software programs, but only after the Keller Administration had essentially been caught by the Albuquerque Journal. Mayor Keller for his part has never issued his own personal apology for misleading the public and trying to take credit for bringing down crime rates by using false statistics.

The corrected crime statistics from those announced by Keller are:

Auto burglaries decreased 16%, not 38% as previously announced by Keller
Auto theft decreased 22%, not 39% as Keller reported
Commercial burglary decreased 3%, not the 27% Keller reported
Residential burglary decreased 16%, not 39% as Keller reported
Homicide decreased 2.5%, not 18%, but homicides have since increased substantially and the city has tied the all-time record of 71.
Rape decreased 3%, not the 29% Keller reported
Robbery decreased 30%, not 47% reported by Keller
Aggravated assault decreased 7.5%, not 33% reported by Keller

The link to the full December 1, 2029 Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1396782/flaws-discovered-in-apds-crime-statistics.html

Given the references to the city’s crime rates in both Dan Klein’s articles, a review of crime statistics under Mayor Tim Keller is in order.

HOMICIDES SPIKE DURING THE LAST 3 YEARS

In 2018, during Mayor Tim Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides. In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported in Mayor Berry’s last year in office. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1534762/homicide-numbers-high-despite-pandemic.html?amp=1

HISTORICALLY LOW HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES

For the past three years during Mayor Keller’s tenure, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 the clearance rate has dropped to 50%. Of the 75 homicides thus far in 2020, half remain unsolved. There are only a dozen homicide detectives each with caseloads high above the national average.

ARRESTS

The number of arrests for the four years of 2016-2019 are as follows:

2016: 14,022 total arrests made
2017: 13,582 total arrests made
2018: 15,471 total arrests made
2019: 15,151 total arrests made

FOUR YEAR TOTAL OF ARREST MADE BY APD: 58,226

Editor’s Note: Statistics for 2020 unavailable

VIOLENT CRIME

In 2018 during Mayor Keller’ first full year in office, there were 6,789 violent crimes, 3,885 Aggravated Assaults and 491 Non-Fatal Shootings.

In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault. In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.

2020 VIOLENT CRIME STATS

On Monday, September 21, 2020, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released statistics that revealed that overall crime in the city is down slightly across all categories in the first six months of 2020 as compared with the first six months of 2019. Crimes against persons are all violent crimes combined and include murder, deadly weapons assault and injury and rape. The decreases in “violent crime” from 2019 to 2020 was a decrease by only 21 crimes or a 0.28%. Over a two year, it decreased 4%. According to the FBI statistics released, there were 7,362 crimes against persons reported in the first six months of 2020 and there were 152 more in the second quarter than in the first.

Links to related Dinelli Blog articles are here:

Mayor Tim Keller’s Record Of Broken Promises, Failures And High Murder Rates As He Seeks A Second Term

Anemic Opposition And Incumbency Gives Mayor Tim Keller Upper Hand As He Seeks A Second Term; Expect Another $1.3 Million Race From Keller

Bernalillo County Awards $10 Million In Behavioral Health Tax Grants To 11 Programs

Studies suggest that nearly 50% of Bernalillo County residents needing mental health or addiction treatment services are not getting the help they need because of gaps in New Mexico’s behavioral health care. Untreated behavioral health conditions have led to increased and sometimes tragic interactions with law enforcement, over incarceration, overuse of hospital emergency and inpatient services, and unnecessary suffering on the part of patients and their families.

“SHE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED”

It should come as absolutely no surprise that behavioral health services in New Mexico are limited. Bernalillo County residents can give a big thanks and shout out to our former Republican Governor “She Who Shall Not Be Named” who was in office for a full 8 years and who almost single handedly destroyed New Mexico’s behavioral health care system. The single cruelest thing that former Republican Governor “She Who Shall Not Be Named” did was when she ordered an “audit” of mental health services provided by nonprofits in New Mexico. She did so based on questionable information. The audit eventually devastated New Mexico’s behavioral health care system.

In June 2013, under the direction of the former Republican Governor, the Human Services Department (HSD) cut off Medicaid funding to 15 behavioral health nonprofits. In 2014, more than 160,000 New Mexicans received behavioral health services, with most of those services funded by Medicaid. After the audits were completed, the former Republican Administration said that the outside audit showed more than $36 million in over billing, as well as mismanagement and possible fraud.

In early 2016, following exhaustive investigations, Attorney General Hector Balderas cleared all 15 of the healthcare providers of any wrongdoing and exonerated all of them of fraud. Even though the New Mexico Attorney General found no fraud and cleared the nonprofits of fraud, the damage had been done to the nonprofits. With the Medicaid funding freeze, many of the 15 nonprofits could not continue and just went out of business leaving many patients without a behavioral health service.

After a full 5 years, the behavioral health care system has made some progress in being restored.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/07/28/nm-suicide-rate-highest-in-country-a-long-road-ahead-before-behavioral-health-system-restored/

BERNALILLO COUNTY BEVHAVIORAL HEALTH TAX FOR SERVICES

On February 26, 2015, the Bernalillo County Commission approved a 1/8% gross receipts tax increase on a 3-2 vote to fund new behavioral and mental health services to improve access to mental and behavioral health care services in the county. The tax generates approximately $20 million annually.

When enacted, the county commission announced the intent for the tax was to invest the funding “in proven ways to better manage the high cost of addiction, homelessness and mental health problems”. According to a county commission announcement, “these issues impact families throughout the community and drive up the cost of public services, especially at the Metropolitan Detention Center.” The gross receipts tax costs shoppers one cent on a $10 purchase of goods and services.

https://www.bernco.gov/uploads/files/BH%20news%20release%20PDF.pdf

The 1/8th% gross receipts tax was enacted to be used for the purpose of providing more mental and behavioral health services for adults and children in the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County area. The intent is to provide a safety net system for those in need of mental health not otherwise funded in New Mexico.

In 2015 when the Bernalillo County Commission approved the tax, it failed to develop a plan on how all the money would be used, including not identifying services to be provides, location of facilities and qualifiers to obtain the services offered. As a result of having no spending plan or identifying priorities, the tax was collected but not spent. Since enactment of the tax in 2015, the tax has generated $91.6 million. Bernalillo County approved $20 million toward Behavioral Health Initiative projects with $70 million in tax revenue having accumulated but not spent. But that began to change.

The county has earmarked the bulk of what it has amassed for one-time expenditures. Those expenditures include $30 million for a new crisis triage center, $12 million for supportive housing and $4 million for the Bernalillo County CARE campus, formerly known as the Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment Services center, or MATS. The renovations to the CARE campus when complete will create an outpatient behavioral health clinic and living room space for peer-to-peer counseling sessions.

NEW SYTEM TO AWARD FUNDING

The Bernalillo County Commission established the Behavioral Health Initiative representing a significant step forward in local efforts toward addressing and preventing the mental health, substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness crisis in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County and the middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico.

In November, 2019, County Manager Julie Morgas Baca asked the Bernalillo County Commission to approve a resolution that permits “stakeholders, providers, community members, staff, commissioners, or other interested parties” to propose behavioral health service ideas through a website. Up until now, only county staff had been authorized to propose behavioral health service ideas. All program appropriations will require final approval of the County Commission.

According to Bernalillo County Manager Morgas Baca:

“I just really think it needs to be opened up, and we need to realize there’s a lot of people out there who have real life experience. … I want to solicit their input to see how much of a difference we can make in addition to what we’re already doing.”

On Tuesday, November 12, the resolution passed by a 5-0 vote unanimous vote.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1391385/c

In November, 2019, the Bernalillo County Commission approved a resolution that permits “stakeholders, providers, community members, staff, commissioners, or other interested parties” to propose behavioral health service ideas through a website. Up until then, only county staff had been authorized to propose behavioral health service ideas. All program appropriations are required final approval of the County Commission.

Under the new ordinance passed, each idea from stakeholders, providers, community members, staff and commissioners will go through a vetting process. A county commission appointed committee ensures each proposal meets the criteria for an expenditure based on the behavioral health tax language approved by voters. A separate subcommittee of stakeholders and subject matter experts will also review the idea and recommend the next steps.

Links to news sources are here:

https://www.bernco.gov/county-manager/news.aspx?2db258aa42a04430b8b8a83f4c866d4ablogPostId=0b8d62dfaab34851990ee817818ece04#:~:text=The%20Bernalillo%20County%20Department%20of,startup%2C%20and%20expansions%20of%20behavioral

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/12/18/a-day-late-but-not-a-dollar-short-behavioral-health-tax-collected-but-few-programs-funded-leadership-void-created-with-departure-of-hart-stebbins/

$10 MILLION AWARDED

On Oct. 15, 2019 he Bernalillo County Commissioners (BCC) voted and approved funding of up to $10 Million out of the behavioral health tax. The county typically awards contracts based on established areas of focus. In the past, priorities have included mobile crisis teams and programming for at-risk youth. The new funding approach of asking community input is much less narrowly defined. County officials said that a total of 47 providers ultimately submitted proposals. The county is funding 11 of the private providers at varying amounts by contract lasting up to 3 years.

On December 9, 2020, the Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca announced the award of the $10 million allocation to help support local providers for capital, startup, and expansions of behavioral health services. According to a news release:

“This allocation of funding will provide an opportunity for behavioral health providers to expand or develop services that are not otherwise funded and address a gap in the behavioral health continuum. Funds will be available for up to three years and are non-recurring after that time. These programs will be closely monitored by the Department of Behavioral Health Services and aim to measure causal relationships between service delivered and short-term and long-term outcomes.”

The expansion of behavioral health services, while also incentivize the providers to create sustainable, effective linkages between service providers and the people they serve, will improve patients’ access to preventative and chronic care services. The creation of these linkages can help develop and support partnerships between organizations that share a common goal of improving the health of the people and the community in which they live. The expansion will also promote improved outcomes for persons living with a behavioral health diagnosis, a more knowledgeable public, and increased referrals to appropriate services.”

Links to the county news release and news report are here:

https://www.bernco.gov/county-manager/news.aspx?”>https://www.bernco.gov/county-manager/news.aspx?

https://www.abqjournal.com/1529983/county-awards-10-million-for-behavioral-health-ex-money-will-help-providers-add-or-upgrade-facilities-and-cover-certain-costs.html

The $10 million in behavioral tax funding is the very first-time awards have been made to private providers since the county called on local providers to identify and offer services that are needed in the behavioral health care system.

The 11 providers sharing the $10 million award include:

A New Day
AMI Kids
ARCA
Children’s Grief Center
Crossroads for Women
Endorphin Power Company
First Nations Community
Healthsource
Los Puentes Charter School
NM Veterans Integration Center
Recovery Services of New Mexico

According to executive director Jade Richardson Bock for The Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, the funding wll be used to:

“expand even further and to meet the demand caused by the COVID pandemic, caused by overdoses, DWI deaths, cancer, heart attack (and) all of the tragic causes of death that affect our citizens.”

Crossroads for Women, which provides housing and other support to formerly incarcerated women, will buy a new property to accommodate its growing programs.

ARCA will use its money to help clients recovering from an acquired brain injury, any type of brain damage that happens after birth from a wide variety of causes. The money will go toward a planned intake and assessment facility that the nonprofit’s leaders say will help bridge the gap between acute injury care and the possible return to independent living. The center will include bedrooms for temporary stays, therapy areas and more, said Michele Cody, ARCA’s chief development officer.

ENDORPHIN POWER COMPANY

The Endorphin Power Company (EPC) outlay of $195,000 of the behavioral health tax is very noteworthy of the awards in that the allocation essentially embodies the spirit, purpose and intent of the behavioral tax. The mission statement of the Endorphin Power Company says it best:

“To provide single occupancy, transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness as a result of substance abuse. [It provides] a safe, clean and sober living environment where people become part of a healthy community and are encouraged to set and reach goals. The Endorphin Power Company see substance abuse and homelessness as both an individual and social problem. [The] goal is to address that problem on both levels at once. We want to contribute to the greater good of local and global communities by promoting the benefits of healthy-living, healthy connections and environmental consciousness. We seek to cultivate an environment in which individuals and communities foster health, happiness, and awareness through the “Four Pillars” of education, exercise, community and service to others.”

https://www.endorphinpower.org/about-us/

EPC is arguably the most sought-after transitional living facility in New Mexico. It offers a very unique program designed to help individuals dealing with addiction and homelessness. The EPC program also offers intensive case management and therapy for those in need of it and want it without being forced. EPC also operates a community center, fitness center and a step-down housing triplex to help clients with their transition process while also building a rental history (if necessary).

EPC has operated out of an old church located at 509 Cardenas Dr, SE, in Albuquerque’s International District, but that is about to change. Executive Director Jeffrey Holland announced a $3 million new facility at the location. EPC will demolish its “community building” and build a new facility that will offer a place for its live-in clients to get everything they need, from counseling to social support to physical fitness programs in one place, while also further extending its reach into the larger community. According to Holland, people who do not live on the premises there could come to see therapists and attend support group meetings or simply walk in from the street for help navigating the city’s larger social services landscape.

Executive Director Jeffrey Holland had this to say:

“[The Endorphin Power Company is in] a high need area … We want to reimagine the idea of a communal building. … We all know what ‘community centers’ look like, with basketball courts and that stuff, but have we ever thought of an idea of a ‘community services’ building?”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYIS

Although it took a little over a full year to allocate and distribute the $10 Million in accumulated funding of behavioral tax revenues, the long wait was worth it and so was the process. When Bernalillo County announced the new process to award funding, it generated an exceptional amount of interest from mental health care providers throughout the city. When the county held its first meeting to explain the proposal process, so many people showed up to the hearing room that the fire marshal had to be called to intervene. The county proceeded to reschedule the meeting for a later date and held the meeting at a larger venue.

Despite the pandemic, 47 providers ultimately submitted proposals to the County all of which had to be reviewed and analyzed. This is how government is supposed to work. Bernalillo County Government and taxpayers can take great comfort to know that the county is indeed spending the behavioral health tax on programs that will reach those that are in need of it the most.

President Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address

FOLLOWING IS THE FULL TEXT OF PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S IGNAUGURAL ADDRESS:

Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris. Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, McConnell, Vice President Pence, my distinguished guests and my fellow Americans, this is America’s day.

This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.

We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.

From now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible to carry out the peaceful transfer of power, as we have for more than two centuries.

As we look ahead in our uniquely American way: restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on the nation we can be and we must be.

I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know, I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation. As does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime of service.

I’ve just taken the sacred oath. Each of those patriots have taken. The oath, first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us, on we the people who seek a more perfect union.

This is a great nation. We are good people. And over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go. We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities, much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.

Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. Once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some four hundred years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

The cry for survival comes from planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity, unity.

In another January, on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “if my name ever goes down into history, it’ll be for this act. And my whole soul is in it.”

My whole soul was in it today. On this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.

Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus. We can reward, reward work and rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.

I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real, but I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never assured.

Through civil war, the Great Depression, world war, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of these moments, enough of us, enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward. And we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.

This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together.

And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.

My fellow Americans. We have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome, as was mentioned earlier, completed amid the Civil War, when the union itself was literally hanging in the balance. Yet we endured, we prevailed.

Here we stand looking out in the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand, where 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we marked the swearing in of the first woman in American history elected to national office: Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change.

Here we stand across the Potomac from Arlington Cemetery, where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace. And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground.

It did not happen. It will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.

To all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you’ve placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent, peaceably, the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation’s greatest strength.

Yet hear me clearly: disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans. And I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Many centuries ago. Saint Augustine, a saint in my church, wrote to the people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. Defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor and yes, the truth.

Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand, like my dad, they lay in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering, can I keep my health care? Can I pay my mortgage? Thinking about their families, about what comes next. I promise you, I get it.

But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like look like you or worship the way you do, or don’t get their news from the same sources you do. We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say, just for a moment, stand in their shoes. Because here’s the thing about life. There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days, when you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.

My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as One Nation. One Nation.

And I promise you this, as the Bible says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” We will get through this together. Together.

Look, folks, all my colleagues I served with in the House of the Senate up there, we all understand the world is watching, watching all of us today. So here’s my message to those beyond our borders. America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

We’ll be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security. Look, you all know, we’ve been through so much in this nation. And my first act as president, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those who we lost this past year to the pandemic. Those four hundred thousand fellow Americans, moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and coworkers. We will honor them by becoming the people and the nation we know we can and should be. So I ask you, let’s say a silent prayer for those who’ve lost their lives, those left behind and for our country.

Amen.

Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up? All of us? It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you, we will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.

Will we rise to the occasion, is the question. Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must. I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will. And when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America. The American story. A story that might sound something like a song that means a lot to me. It’s called American Anthem. There’s one verse that stands out, at least for me, and it goes like this:

The work and prayers of a century have brought us to this day.

What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?

Let me know in my heart when my days are through.

America, America, I gave my best to you.

Let’s add. Let us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us: They gave their best, they did their duty, they healed a broken land.

My fellow Americans, I close the day where I began, with a sacred oath before God and all of you. I give you my word, I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I’ll defend our democracy. I’ll defend America and I will give all, all of you. Keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power, but of possibilities, not of personal interest, but the public good. And together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history. We met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die on our watch, but thrived. That America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forbearers, one another and generations to follow.

So, with purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time. Sustained by faith, driven by conviction, devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.

GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnel “The Mob Was Fed Lies” By Führer Trump

A simple majority of members of the House of Representatives was all that was required to pass the one Article of Impeachment charging Führer Trump with the high crimes and misdemeanor and sedition. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has yet to forward the article of impeachment to the United States Senate for a trial and a vote to convict.

A two thirds vote to convict is required to convict. In the United States Senate The final vote therefor would have to be 67 to 33. The United States Senate is split evenly with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, but Democrats are in control the Chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris having the power to break any tie meaning all 50 Democrat Senators and 17 Republican Senators would have to vote to convict. Upon conviction, the Senate by a simple majority vote can bar Führer Trump from ever holding any elective office again.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL’S ASTONISHING SENATE COMMENTS

A mere 24 hours before President Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the 46 President of the United States, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say on the Senate floor the last full day of Führer Trump’s presidency:

“The last time the Senate convened we had just reclaimed the capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like. But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation, not even for one night. We certified the people’s choice for their 46th president.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/19/mcconnell-trump-provoked-capitol-attackers-460372

COMMENTARY

It is clear that Trump is the first fascist ever elected President of the United States who put himself above the law and his own country and who has no respect for our constitution nor free elections. Trump’s strongest and closest allies and supporters need to come to their senses and the realization that Trump is a traitor to his own country, to them, to all of us and to our democracy. Attempting to set aside the vote of the American people was an attempt to undermine our very democracy. It was a coup d’é·tat that failed.

The Senate trial should be very short and should last just a few days. The evidence should consist of the United State Senate seeing and hearing Führer Trump’s January 6 speech followed by all the video coverage of the insurgents breaking into the capitol building. Footage of house and senate members cowering in fear and then being swept to secured locations to remind them they were victims of an insurgency. Evidence of the 6 people who were killed as well as injuries to the capitol police should be presented.

What is shameful and disgusting is that what unfolded on January 6 was an attack on our country, our very democracy, by an elected President of the United States who lost his election for a second term and then attempted a COUP D’É·TAT of his successor who won not only the electoral college vote but the popular vote.

Let’s hope McConnel and at least 16 other Republican Senators along with all 50 Democrats will vote to convict Führer Trump of the one article of impeachment for “willful incitement of insurrection”. But that is not enough. The United States Senate needs to bar him from running for office ever again. If inciting a violent mop to storm the United States Capitol and to commit sedition to hold onto power is not enough to convict the facist, then what the hell is?

The extent of the physical damage is to the United State Capitol is easily repaired. The damage to our democracy by Führer Trump and his coup d’é·tat that failed will take years to recover from.

Führer Trump’s January 6 Speech Was Insurgency To Overthrow Government; Senate Must Vote to Convict And Prohibit Trump From Holding Office

2021 Begins With 7 Homicides In 18 Days; Mayor Keller’s APD Programs To Bring Down Violent Crime Rates Not Stopping Blood Flow

In 2017, then State Auditor Tim Keller campaigned to be elected mayor on the platform based in part on promising to bring down the cities skyrocketing violent crime rates and murder rates. Candidate for Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller had this to say about the city’s high crime rates at the time:

“It’s unfortunate, but crime is absolutely out of control. It’s the mayor’s job to actually address crime in Albuquerque, and that’s what I want to do as the next mayor.”

2021 BEGINS WITH 7 MURDERS IN 18 DAYS

As of January 18, 2021, there have been 7 homicides recorded in the city, close to one every other day. Only one of the 7 cases has resulted in an arrest. On Monday, APD released details on all 7 homicides. A link to a news report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1537603/woman-shot-killed-off-east-central.html

During the week of January 11, APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said APD believes new crime-fighting programs are working to bring down violent crime and had this to say:

“We have our Gun Violence Reduction Unit, we have our Street Crimes Unit, we now have the VIP program, that’s shown to be very effective on the intervention side. So, we really need to tackle this from every angle. … It’s reasonable [to believe the city will see homicides will go down in 2021] … We’re really shooting for that. … We need to get these guns off the streets and arrest these guys and keep them behind bars.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/2021-off-to-violent-start-in-albuquerque/5982418/?cat=500

Technology is also playing a role with the investigation of gun violence. APD has implemented the “Shot Spotter Gunshot Detection System” which is part of APD’s Real Time Crime Center. The device alerts APD officers when a shooting occurs in certain areas of the city so they can be dispatched to the scene.

APD VIOLENT CRIME PROGRAMS INITIATED 2019

In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates . Those APD programs are:

The Shield Unit
Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue,
The Metro 15 Operation and
The “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program).

This blog article is a discussion of all 4 programs with an emphasis on updating progress made with the VIP program. The VIP program is viewed as having the biggest potential to bringing down violent crime.

THE SHIELD UNIT

In February 2018 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) created the “Shield Unit”. The Shield Unit assists APD Police Officers to prepare cases for trial and prosecution by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. The unit originally consisted of 3 para legals. It was announced that it is was expanded to 12 under the 2019-2020 city budget that took effect July 1, 2019.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1325167/apd-expands-unit-that-preps-cases-for-prosecution.html

DECLARING VIOLENT CRIME “PUBLIC HEALTH” ISSUE

On April 8, 2019, Mayor Keller and APD announced efforts that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “public health issue”. The program is intended to deal with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque. Mayor Keller and APD argue that gun violence is a “public health issue” because gun violence incidents have lasting adverse effects on children and others in the community that leads to further problems.

APD is tracking violent crime relying on the same methods used to track auto thefts, weekly reports summarizing shootings, refining policies, and learning from best practices used by other law enforcement agencies. One goal is for APD to examine how guns are driving other crimes, such as domestic violence and drug addiction.

METRO 15 OPERATION

On Tuesday, November 26, Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference to announce a 3rdOn program within 9 months to deal with the city’s violent crime and murder rates. At the time of the press conference, the city’s homicide count was at 72, matching the city’s record in 2017. Before 2017, the last time the City had the highest number of homicides in one year was in 1996 with 70 murders that year. As of Friday, December 17, 2020 there have been 75 homicides in 2020.

Keller dubbed the new program “Metro 15 Operation”. It is part of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) Keller announced on November 22. According to Mayor Keller and then APD Chief Geier the new program is designed to target the top 15 most violent offenders in Albuquerque. In other words, it’s the city’s version of the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. According to Keller, the top 15 will be identified by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. Once a violent offender is caught, another violent offender will be added to the list.

“VIOLENCE INTERVENTION PLAN” (VIP PROGRAM)

On November 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced what he called a “new initiative” to target violent offenders called “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP). The VIP initiative was in response to the city’s recent murders resulting in the city tying the all-time record of homicides at 72 in one year. Mayor Keller proclaimed the VIP is a “partnership system” that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community provides to reduce violent crime.

The VIP program is modeled after the City of Oakland’s “Operation Ceasefire” and developed with the help of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. The goal of the VIP program is to reverse the spike in gun violence that has left hundreds injured or dead.

The 4 major components of the VIP program are:

LAW ENFORCEMENT: APD was “restructured” to create a first-of-its-kind “Violence Intervention Division” with its own Commander. The division is designed to make cross-functional partnership as productive as possible.

PROSECUTION PARTNERS: Prosecutors from all systems including the Attorney General, District Attorney, US Attorney and Office of Superintendent of Insurance will collaborate to share information and make sure cases are going to the appropriate teams and courts.

SOCIAL SERVICES: The City has always funded social services aimed at violence reduction. However, for the first time Family and Community Services is specifically working with the community to identify the most effective evidence-based violence reduction strategies, and requiring providers to work together in the Violence Intervention Program.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS: The City will reach out to community partners, including the Bernalillo County Community Health Council, that are dealing with the causes and effects of violent crime to work together on this program.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/mayor-keller-touts-new-plan-to-tackle-violent-crime/5561150/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/1394576/city-launches-violence-intervention-program.html

On August 18, Mayor Tim Keller introduced his Violence Intervention team and said in part:

“This isn’t about Power Point slides or interesting analysis. … This is about trying to get these people not to shoot each other. …This is about understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime. … And so, this actually in some ways, in that respect, this is the opposite of data. This is action. This is actually doing something with people. This is not just running reports and I think that’s a marked difference with what the city has done in the past.”

According to Keller vulnerable communities and law enforcement will be working together and building trust has proven results for public safety. The goal of the team is to find crucial common ground, build new relationships, and significantly reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods.

The four individuals introduced as part of the program are:

Jerry Bachicha, Violence Intervention Program Manager
APD Commander Luke Languit
Tonya Covington, Division Director of Rapid Accountability
Angel Garcia, Social Services Coordinator

All 4 work as a team to deliver “custom notifications” to people affected or involved with gun violence in an effort to get them help so they can avoid further involvement with violent crime.

UPDATE OF “VIOLENCE INTERVENTION PROGRAM” (VIP)

It has been over a year since Mayor Keller and APD announced the Violence Intervention Program (VIP). On December 27, an update on the success of the VIP program was given where APD Commander Luke Languit , Social Services Coordinator Angel Garcia and Program Manager Gerri Bachicha were interviewed. A link to the full report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1530537/city-program-sends-personal-message-about-gun-violence.html

HOW THE VIP PROGRAM WORKS

According to APD Commander Luke Languit, the VIP Program process first starts when they consult with law enforcement partners in the FBI and the District Attorney’s Office about whom to approach. Almost all of those chosen to be approached are involved in criminal groups or gangs. Some of the people selected for an “intervention” have been victims of crimes while others were at the scene of a shooting or were otherwise connected to the violent crime.

VIP Program Manager Gerri Bachicha had this to say about those selected for the program:

“Mostly these are all group-involved folks who have been harmed through gun violence and are, according to statistics, more likely than other people in our community to be harmed again through gun violence, or even killed, or to maybe end up in jail because of gun violence. … We want to intervene in that cycle so they don’t have to live that type of life anymore.”

According to VIP Social Services Coordinator Angel Garcia, an intervention is then scheduled once a person is identified for the VIP Program. APD Commander Luke Languit goes to a person’s house that have been identified to perform what is called a “customs” visit. The person is presented with a letter personalized outlining their criminal history. The person is told they could face more serious legal consequences, or get seriously hurt or killed, if they continue to engage in gun violence. According to Garcia, the VIP program offers to connect them with resources they might need, such as job training, food banks, rental assistance or help getting into school.

LIMITED PROGRESS REPORTED

On December 27, VIP Program Manager Gerri Bachicha said that there has been progress made with the program. According to Bachicha, 74 interventions have been conducted since late March and none of those people interviewed and counseled have been reported for committing a gun crime, or any other crime at least that they know. Notwithstanding, Bachicha said the VIP program will monitor those brought into the program for a long time and said:

“We know that it’s not falling off within six months, but we need to continue to track that to see if it falls off within a year, within a year and six months, within two years, and then we need to increase our ability to lengthen that.”

Bachicha said the VIP program will be considered successful if shootings decrease overall in the City. Reviewing the data reflects that shootings decreased in in the last few month of 2020, but there were more shootings in 2020 than in 2019. Shootings in the few first weeks of January are up.

SORTING OUT WHAT’S WORKING DIFFICULT

With at least 4 major crime-reduction initiatives going on across the city it is difficult to tell which are actually bringing down violent crime if at all. However, an attempt will be made. VIP Program Manager Gerri Bachicha put it this way:

“Sorting that out, what correlates to which program, what really helped, what really worked, that’s going to be important research going forward. … We are going to be partnering with [the University of New Mexico] for some of that research. It’s going to take a lot of research, and it’s going to take a couple of years to have enough data to look at those correlations.”

The city did issue grants to two entities to help with the VIP program of reaching out to help those identified for the program. Youth Development Inc. (YDI) received a$468,090 and the University of New Mexico Young Hospital Children’s Health Center received $264,910.

During last year’s January 2020 legislative session, $10 million was asked for to start the VIP program across the state with $2 million of that to go to Albuquerque program, but the funding failed to make it through the 2020 session.

SOBERING STATISTCS

The cities record breaking number of murders for the last 3 years are only a small part of the city’s overall violent crime problem. The crime statistics that gage the success or failure of the city’s programs must include not just actual murders but the arrest rates and high violent crime rates. For that reason, those statistics merit review.

HOMICIDES SPIKE DURING THE LAST 3 YEARS

In 2018, during Mayor Tim Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides. In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported in Mayor Berry’s last year in office. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1534762/homicide-numbers-high-despite-pandemic.html?amp=1

HISTORICALLY LOW HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES

For the past three years during Mayor Keller’s tenure, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 the clearance rate has dropped to 50%. Of the 75 homicides thus far in 2020, half remain unsolved. There are only a dozen homicide detectives each with caseloads high above the national average.

ARRESTS

The number of arrests for the four years of 2016-2019 are as follows:

2016: 14,022 total arrests made
2017: 13,582 total arrests made
2018: 15,471 total arrests made
2019: 15,151 total arrests made

FOUR YEAR TOTAL OF ARREST MADE BY APD: 58,226

Editor’s Note: Statistics for 2020 unavailable

VIOLENT CRIME

In 2018 during Mayor Keller’ first full year in office, there were 6,789 violent crimes, 3,885 Aggravated Assaults and 491 Non-Fatal Shootings.

In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault. In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.

2020 VIOLENT CRIME STATS

On Monday, September 21, 2020, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released statistics that revealed that overall crime in the city is down slightly across all categories in the first six months of 2020 as compared with the first six months of 2019. Crimes against persons are all violent crimes combined and include murder, deadly weapons assault and injury and rape. The decreases in “violent crime” from 2019 to 2020 was a decrease by only 21 crimes or a 0.28%. Over a two year, it decreased 4%. According to the FBI statistics released, there were 7,362 crimes against persons reported in the first six months of 2020 and there were 152 more in the second quarter than in the first.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

It was very difficult to keep a straight face when Mayor Keller said in describing the “Violence Intervention and Rapid Accountability Diversion Programs”:

“This is about trying to get these people not to shoot each other. … This is about understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime. …”

What Keller was attempting to describe was VIP program professionals reaching out and sitting down with violent criminals to discuss their propensity to murder and to stop them from committing another violent crime. Good luck with that! Violent repeat offenders who have killed are more likely than not going to change their violent ways with interventions. Violent gang members usually take some degree of pride in taking a life, with some having a tattoo of a tear drop under their eye.

VIP Program Manager Gerri Bachicha said that 74 interventions have been conducted since late March, 2020. She added that none of those people in the program who have been interviewed and counseled have been reported for committing a gun crime, or any other crime that they know. That’s all fine and good, but 74 interventions is not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the cities arrests, homicides and violent crime that are in the thousands.

To be perfectly blunt, what the VIP outreach program is doing is what is done by state probation officers who manage thousands of convicted violent felons a year, including those convicted of armed robbery, murder and rape. The efforts being made by the VIP program are commendable with a very idealistic approach being taken to try to intervene and provide counseling and direction.

In 2017, Candidate Tim Keller campaigned to get elected Mayor on the platform of implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms, increasing the size of APD, returning to community-based policing and a promise to bring down skyrocketing crime rates. Mayor Keller no doubt sincerely thought he could do a better job than his predecessor and he could actually make a difference. The truth is, he has not and crime in the city has only become worse since Tim Keller has taken office, especially in terms of violent crime.

In order to have any real success, all 4 programs Keller initiated IN 2019 need to be ratcheted up way beyond where they are today, otherwise they will continue to fail. The VIP program will have to be increased with hundreds of interventions, not a mere 74, otherwise it will have very low or no impact on violent crime. Working with the state probation office would in all likely help to identify those the VIP program are trying to reach.

A link to a related blog article is here:

Mayor Tim Keller’s Record Of Broken Promises, Failures And High Murder Rates As He Seeks A Second Term

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Budget And Priorities For 2021 Legislative Session; More Progressive Senate May Approve Recreational Marijuana, Repeal 1969 Law Prohibiting Abortions, Use Of Permanent Fund

On Tuesday, January 19, at 12:00 noon, the 60-day New Mexico Legislature will begin. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham released a proposed $7.3 billion budget plan on Monday, January 11. The released proposed budget is a zero-growth budget. It keeps spending levels flat for the coming fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2021. The 2021-2022 budget authorizes one-time expenditures aimed at fortifying businesses and families hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On January 19, the Legislative Finance Committee will unveil its own spending plan. During the session lawmakers will use the Governors proposed budget and their own to come up with a new budget bill during the session. The New Mexico legislature is required by law to enact a balanced budget with no deficit spending and with a reserve fund.

HIGHTLIGHTS OF THE BUDGET

The major highlights of the proposed $7.3 billion budget released by the Governor are as follows:

$475 million for additional pandemic relief for New Mexico.
$893.1 million in total fund money for behavioral health support across all state agencies.
$193 million for the continued rollout of early childhood education and care investments.
$5.1 million for youth, adolescent, and young adult suicide prevention.
$151.2 million to maintain K-5 Plus, Extended Learning Time (ELTP) & Career Technical Education and Community School Programs.
$26 million to continue on the promise for tuition-free education at one of New Mexico’s public colleges, including $4 million for a pilot program for students that lost the lottery scholarship.
$25 million to restore and revitalize the tourism economy.
$10 million from the General Fund for broadband expansion across New Mexico, which should be bolstered by significant funding from capital outlay.
$4.5 million for investments in cybersecurity for state agencies and public education institutions.
$2 million for innovative grid modernization projects.
$6 million for the Secretary of State to fund local elections.

Links to related news and sources quoted are here:

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/gov-lujan-grisham-releases-73b-budget-proposal/5975118/

http://www.nmdfa.state.nm.us/uploads/files/DFA%20Home/2020/FY21%20Executive%20Budget%20Recommendation.pdf

ONE TIME SPENDING ALLOCATIONS

The Governor’s proposed budget contains one-time major expenditures as follows:

The $475 million listed for pandemic relief efforts. This includes tax relief and cash assistance for essential workers
The $10 million listed to expand a state broadband network that has come under scrutiny with many residents working and attending school from home.
The $25 million listed for a new state tourism campaign
$80 million fund for school districts with the lowest-income students
$60 million for school districts with tribal land, military bases or other tax-exempt lands within their boundaries.

A $20 million transfer from the new “early childhood trust fund” created in the 2020 legislative session to expand the number of prekindergarten slots statewide and provide home visiting services to an additional 1,700 or so New Mexico families.

The one-time major expenditures of $600 million would come from drawing down New Mexico’s mandatory cash reserve fund. Notwithstanding the drawdown, there will be upwards of $1.8 billion left in cash reserves which is 25% of total state spending.

https://www.governor.state.nm.us/2020/01/06/gov-lujan-grisham-releases-fy-2021-executive-budget/

COURT RULING ON EDUCATION REVISITED

The additional $80 million and $60 million for education is a direct result of the 2018 state court actions of Yazzie v. State of New Mexico and Martinez v. State of New Mexico where the state was sued for failing to provide public school students with a sufficient education as mandated by the state’s constitution. The lawsuit challenged the state’s arbitrary and inadequate funding of public schools as well as its failure to provide students with the programs and services needed to be college, career and civic ready. The lawsuits alleged that the lack of necessary monitoring and oversight deprived students of the resources and services they need to succeed, particularly low-income, students of color, including Native American, English-language learners, and students with disabilities.

http://nmpovertylaw.org/2018/07/judge-rules-new-mexico-violated-public-school-students-constitutional-right-to-sufficient-educational-opportunities/

ANOTHER COVID RELIEF PACKAGE POSSIBLE

On November 24, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called a one-day special session as the state was confronting spiking COVID infection and death rates. New Mexico received more than $1.2 billion under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). On Tuesday, November 24, the New Mexico lawmakers passed a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill that provided a onetime $1,200 check to all types of unemployed workers and up to $50,000 for certain businesses.

The total approved expenditure was for $330 million and a total of $319 million was unspent funds the federal CARES relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico. An additional $10 million in state general funds were allocated for Covid 19 testing and tracing efforts.

The Special Session bill allocated $100 million to support businesses with 100 or fewer employees. The New Mexico Finance Authority distributed the grants which were up to $50,000. Businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry, which are the businesses severely harmed financially by New Mexico’s public health orders, would were given priority.

Another new COVID-19 relief package could also be passed during the opening days of the 60-day 2021 legislative session that starts January 19. Top-ranking Democratic lawmakers have said it could include expanding a tax break for low-income families and other measures. The new COVID-19 relief package could be passed early in the legislative session. It could include expanding a tax break for low-income families and other measures.

WHAT NOT INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET

The $7.3 billion budget recommendation for the fiscal year that starts July 1 would not provide salary increases for state employees and teachers, but some State Police officers could get raises under an already approved plan.

The Governor’s proposed budget does not include more funding for road construction and repairs around New Mexico.

AVOIDING MAJOR BUDGET CUTS

The Governor’s overall proposed budget avoids major cuts primarily because Governor Lujan Grisham in September ordered state agencies to prepare for 5% spending reductions in the 2021 Legislative session. The state’s revenue streams have improved due to federal relief measures and a modest rebound in oil and natural gas prices, making major budget cuts unnecessary.

In a statement released, Governor Lujan Grisham described her budget plan as fiscally responsible and she said it would maintain funding for necessary state programs and services. In the released statement, Lujan Grisham had this to say:

“Amid great adversity, I recommend a fiscally responsible budget while maintaining essential funding for our public education moonshot, for the innovative economic diversification and opportunity New Mexicans expect, for the community, public safety, and much more. … The pandemic and economic uncertainty may have disrupted our forward momentum in job creation, child wellbeing improvements, and various other policy emphasis areas, but we are ready to bounce back quickly and robustly. This budget recommendation is our first step to position New Mexico to prosper in a post-pandemic world.”

Links to related and quoted news coverage are here:

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/gov-lujan-grisham-releases-73b-budget-proposal/5975118/

https://www.abqjournal.com/1535055/nm-governor-proposes-7-3b-budget-plan-more-pandemic-relief.html

GOVERNOR LUJAN GRISHAMS MAJOR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

On Wednesday, January 13, a mere 5 days before the 2021 New Mexico Legislative session begins, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham outlined her legislative priorities that she wants the legislature to enact.

According to a written statement issued by the Governor, her legislative priorities in a nutshell are as follows:

1. The legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults. This failed in the 2020 session and has a good chance of passage in the 2021 session. Lujan Grisham has said in the past legalization of marijuana will create a new industry and could boost state revenue and promote job creation.

2. Repealing the state’s 1969 anti-abortion law, now largely unenforceable because of the 1971 United States Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade decision in which the Court ruled with a 7 to 2 decision that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Now that the Supreme Court has a 6 to 3 conservative majority the chances that the US Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade have increased dramatically. If that happens New Mexico’s 1969 anti abortion bill will once again become law. The repeal attempt failed in the 2020 session, but has a better chance of passage in the 2021 session.

3. Establishing a “clean fuel standard” to reduce emissions.

4. Boosting distributions out of New Mexico’s largest permanent fund to expand early childhood programs. The legislation is a proposed constitutional amendment that would also require voter and congressional approval.

5. Revising the state procurement code to promote spending within New Mexico and to help businesses owned by Native Americans, minorities and women to secure state contracts and to promote spending within the state.

6. Liquor license reform efforts. Lujan Grisham wants to provide a lifeline to restaurants by allowing alcohol delivery and broadening the state’s tightly controlled monopoly on liquor licenses.

7. Urging lawmakers to support budget changes aimed at delivering more money to school districts that serve low-income communities.

8. Overhauling a state program that provides loans to small businesses and nonprofit groups struggling amid the pandemic.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-mexico/articles/2021-01-13/new-mexico-governor-announces-priorities-for-legislation

https://www.abqjournal.com/1535770/lujan-grisham-unveils-legislative-priorities.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

As a result of the 2020 election, Democrats maintain substantial majorities in both the New Mexico House and Senate. Eleven of the Senate’s 42 members will be new and it will be their very first legislative session under new leadership. The biggest change that resulted from the 2020 elections is that primary challengers ousted some of the Senate’s long time and conservative Democratic leadership.

For decades, a conservative coalition of 5 conservative Democratic Senators along with conservative Republican State Senators controlled the New Mexico Senate. The 2020 June primary toppled the most powerful legislators of them all in Senate: Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith and Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants, and Senator Gabe Ramos of Silver City, and Richard Martinez of Espanola were also voted out of office. Of the five conservative Democratic State Senators targeted by progressive groups, only Gallup’s George Munoz survived.

The change in the Senate make up has resulted in a clearly more progressive chamber. The NM Senate was often referred to as the chamber where House progressive legislation went to be killed and die. As a result of the defeat of the 5 conservative Democrat Senators, the authorization and taxation of recreational cannabis, the repeal of the state’s 1969 anti-abortion law and a proposed constitutional amendment to tap more money for education from the state’s permanent state trust fund for education is now better than ever. All 3 of the initiatives were always opposed in one form or another by the 5 conservative Democrat State Senators.

https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/legislature/new-mexico-governor-announces-priorities-for-legislation/

Not surprisingly, the Governor is placing a major emphasis on economic recovery and education. The emphasis on economic recovery is no doubt associated with the impact of the corona virus on the state’s economy and the decline in oil and gas production revenues that resulted in a special session two months after last year’s session to deal with a major deficit. The emphasis in education is no doubt related to the landmark state court education ruling of Yazzie and Martinez where the state was sued for failing to a basic education in reading, writing and math to students.

Based upon the Governor’s proposed 2020-2021 budget as well as her priorities for the 2021 Session, and changes in the Senate leadership, the 2020 New Mexico legislative session promises to be another consequential session that will have a major impact on the state for years to come.

In 2020, Dinelli Blog Had 105,793 Total Reader Views, 70,208 Total Blog Visitors; Thanks For Viewing And Visiting; Onto A Better 2021 New Year! PLEASE WEAR THE DAMN MASK!