Abq Journal Guest Column: “Abq Needs Choices for Mayor, Not lesser of 2 Evils”

On April 9, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest column:

“Abq Needs Choices for Mayor, Not lesser of 2 Evils”

Friday, April 9th, 2021 at 12:02am

Mayor Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales have said they are running for mayor. Both are seeking public financing and will likely make the ballot. Voters need at least four more viable candidates for mayor, and time still remains for others.

Mayor Keller

Keller is the front runner because of incumbency. His accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina – who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes – permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.

Sheriff Gonzales

Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms. When Gonzales says, “I answer to the people who voted me into office,” he is saying he answers only to those who support him.


The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little to none economic development.

The city cannot afford another mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed is a mayor who actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election. A highly contested race for mayor will reveal solutions to our problems. With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or not voting.”

The link to the guest column is here:



From April 17 to June 19 is the only time period that candidates for Mayor seeking public financing can circulate nominating petitions for 3,000 signatures and allowed to solicit the $5.00 qualifying donations to the city for public financing. It’s highly likely that given the advantage of the offices they hold, both Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales will likely collect the 3,000 nominating petition signatures and qualify for the $661,309.25 in public finance by collecting 3,779 qualifying $5 donations made to the city by registered voters. Both also have measured finance committees who will raise money to promote their candidacies.

There is plenty of time for other candidates to run as privately financed candidates and raise private campaign donations. The commencement time for privately finance candidates to collect the 3,000 nominating petition signatures for Mayor is much later and is June 8 to August 10. Privately finance candidates can collect donations at an time.

Anyone one interested in running for Mayor is encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s office. The link to the city web site for candidates is here:


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