On April 19, it was reported Bernalillo County Sheriff’s (BCSO) deputies were called to 1932 Coors Blvd. SW in front of Valley Fence County Monday evening in reference to a roll-over crash involving a dark-colored sedan. Deputies located two unidentified male subjects deceased on the scene from apparent gunshot wounds.
On April 22, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD issued a press release that it launched a homicide investigation after a woman was found dead on Central near Vermont. An APD spokesman said officers responded sometime before 10:45 p.m. to report of a woman “lying on the ground lifeless” near Central and Vermont SE. When officers arrived, they confirmed the female was dead. It was the city’s 38th homicide of the year.
On April 23, it was reported that the Albuquerque Police Department is investigating its second homicide in less than 24 hours, the 39th homicide of the year for the department. Police said they were called to the 900 block of Locus Place, which is near the Big I. That’s where they found a male with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Friday April 23, Bernalillo County Sheriffs Deputies responded in the evening to a call at Bridge, SW, where a man had crashed into a yard after being shot. It was reported that another a person in another vehicle shot him. The victim was taken to the hospital where he died.
On Sunday, April 25, APD was dispatched from the Southeast Area Command and found a man shot during a domestic violence incident, and he died with the woman who shot him taken into custody.
On Tuesday, April 26, the Albuquerque Journal published an editorial entitled “Homicides are too routine on too many ABQ streets” The link to the full editorial is here:
On April 21, KRQE News 13 posted on its web page under Data Reporting an excellent and very lengthy report written by Curtis Segarra. Such reports are not fully reported on the nightly news because of length. The headline and link to the full report is here:
“2021 Albuquerque homicide rate outpacing previous years: the numbers behind the rise”; Albuquerque Homicides: Why are there so many?”
The pertinent portions of the report relating to homicide is as follows:
“New Mexico is no stranger to violent crime, but so far this year’s homicide count is outpacing the average of the last two years by about 75%. As of April 18, 2021, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) recorded 35 homicides across the city. By this time last year, there were only 18. In April 2019, there were only 22 homicides by April 18.
Estimates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that New Mexico’s violent crime and homicide rates have been above the national average for several years now. Since 2016, between 6 and 8 homicides per 100,000 people, each year are estimated to have occurred in New Mexico, according to the FBI data. Neighboring states, such as Arizona and Texas, have seen an estimated 5 to 6 homicides per 100,000 people each year. … “
As of Tuesday, April 28, APD has opened an astounding 40 homicide case investigation within the first 4 months of this year. The 40 homicides are half the number of homicides that occured in 2019 which was the city’s all time record.
In the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County, there have bee reported 4 homicides that we know of in that the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department has a policy in place that the office will not report them unless the media asks questions.
BERNALILLO COUNTY CRIME RANKINGS
The Best Places to Live web site compiles data on cities and counties throughout the United States ranking them in such categories such as cost of living, job market, economy, real estate, education and health and weather. Crime is one of the most important categories. Best Places to Live ranks crime on a scale of 1, low crime, to 100, high crime.
According to the data published Bernalillo County, New Mexico, violent crime is 42.3 with the US average being 22.7.
Bernalillo County property crime is 66.5 with the US average being 35.4.
THREE YEARS OF HISTORICAL HIGH HOMICIDE NUMBERS AND FAILED PROGRAMS
In 2018 there were 69 homicides the first full year of Mayor Keller’s term. 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. 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.
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, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program). Based on the city’s high violent crime and murder rates, it appears Keller’s programs have been a failure.
On Thursday, April 16, 2021 it was reported that killings in the city have nearly doubled. According to the report, the Albuquerque Police Department has investigated 34 homicides this year, almost twice as many as the city had at this point in each of the past two years. By April 15 in both 2020 and 2019, there were 19 killings. APD ended up with 77 homicides in 2020 and a record 80 in 2019. Of the 34 homicides, APD has made an arrest in six cases and filed an arrest warrant for 15-year-old Josef Toney in the double homicide of two women.
As of April 24, there have been 45 homicides thus far in 2021 in the city.
It is clear the city is on its way to the highest murder rate in its history.
A link to the news sources are here:
SHERIFF GONZALES TAKES CREDIT FOR A LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND
On August 28, 2020, U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson reported that in a little over a month since federal agents arrived in Albuquerque as part of “Operation Legend”, earlier called “Operation Relentless Prusuit”, 19 violent felons were arrested on federal charges. According to Anderson, it is just a small number of people driving the majority of violent crime in Albuquerque, and their goal is to get those people off the streets. The Department of Justice (DOJ), including the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is targeting people with lengthy and violent criminal histories and convicted felons accused of crimes like carjacking, illegally shooting guns and drug dealing.
U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson had this to say:
“Operation Legend is about combating dangerous crime and gun crime in our cities. … It’s not about policing any kind of protest in our city. It’s not about immigration enforcement. … We are really looking at the people who are driving the violent crime epidemic in Albuquerque. … We are looking to remove the most violent folks from communities, not simply rack up arrest numbers of people who do not have serious criminal histories. … There are more cases on which prosecution has been initiated, but I can’t say more about them because they are under [court] seal. … More than anything, I hope to see reduction in violent crime and people feeling safer living and working in the city.”
When it comes to taking credit for “Operation Relentless Prusuit” and “Operation Legend”, Bernalillo County Sherriff Manny Gonzales was front and center making sure he got the credit as being instrumental in bringing the Federal funding and agents to New Mexico, so much so he made sure he did a press conference and did a photo op with former US Attorney General William Barr right here in River City. Gonzales also flew to Washington, DC during the summer for a photo op with Der Führer Trump. Gonzales takes credit for the funding proclaiming he will cooperate with anyone and cross party lines while totally ignoring and feuding with Democratic law enforcement elected officials such as the Bernalillo County District Attorney.
Even with the initial success of Operation Legend, the 35 sworn law enforcement brought for Operation Legend as well as the 40 new sworn police paid for by the Operation Legend grant, Operation Legend has not made any difference in reducing the city and counties crime rates. Given the city and counties existing law enforcement personnel resources, our crime rates are still some of the highest in the country for the last six years.
Operation Legend has proven to be nothing more than a legend in the mind of Bernalillo County Sheriff Gonzales.
CITY’S HISTORICAL LOW HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES
For the past three years, the city’s 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 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% and to approximately 30% thus far this year. Of the 75 homicides thus far in 2020, half remain unsolved.
There are only a dozen APD homicide detectives each with caseloads high above the national average. Each year since 1995, the FBI has released annually its Crime In The United States Report.
Following are the national clearance rates for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as reported by the FBI:
In 2016, the national clearance rate for murder offenses was 59.4%.
In 2017, the national clearance rate for murder was 61.6%
In 2018, the national clearance rate for murder was 62.3%
In 2019, the national clearance rate for murder was 61.4%
BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE FAILS TO REPORT STATS TO FBI
In all the 6 years Manny Gonzales has been Bernalillo County Sheriff, he has been conspicuously silent on just how bad the crime rates are in Bernalillo County. There is a very reason for that silence. On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline “BCSO has been silent about this year’s homicides.” It was reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.
The link to the full report is here:
According to the Journal report, in previous years, including 2020, BCSO regularly sent out email and Twitter alerts when BCSO detectives opened a homicide investigation. BCSO usually gave details on the incident and solicited tips from the public. Until April 7, BCSO had been silent on the 2021 cases, yet increased email and Twitter notifications for warrant roundup operations and “repeat offender” arrests often criticizing the actions of courts for previously releasing the suspects.
BCSO Transparency and Public Information Coordinator Jayme Fuller explained the delay in reporting on the 2 homicides as not always telling about homicides, or other incidents, until reporters ask about them and they confirm them with BCSO supervisors.
The most troubling fact in the Journal report was glossed over. Buried in the article is the statement:
“Last year, BCSO’s crime statistics were not included in the annual FBI report because the agency didn’t meet the March deadline to report them, and they couldn’t be certified in time.”
The problem is that the yearly FBI statistics are the best measure as to performance measures of BCSO. Further, Bernalillo County and BCSO rely upon those statistics to secure federal grant funding.
BCSO’s crime statistics not being included in the annual FBI report was likely no mistake. No doubt Gonzales wants to hide the statistics that show our out-of-control high crime rates are just as bad in the county as in the city as he runs for Mayor.
“USE OF DEADLY FORCE” CASES DURING SHERIFF GONZALES TENURE
“Use of deadly force” cases by law enforcement are not classified as homicides but are a sperate category of statistics. In the day and age of the “Black Lives Matter” as well as the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, many police reform advocates want such statistics to included in all murder rates.
There is no doubt as Sheriff Gonzales runs for Mayor, his total mismanagement of BCSO will be examined as will any and all lawsuits filed against the department under his watch for systemic racial profiling, excessive use of force and deadly force. Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out upwards of $10 million in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) over a 2-year period of Sheriff Gonzales tenure as Sheriff.
When settlements he did not like were announced, Gonzalez said the amounts were excessive and he defended the actions of his sheriff’s deputies. As an act of defiance, Gonzales even issued issued commendations to the deputies involved with the killing of an 88-year-old suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, claiming his appointed deputy sheriffs acted properly.
Following is a listing of the cases:
2015 WRONFUL DEATH OF FIDENCIO DURAN: $1,495,000 SETTLEMENT
It was on September 14, 2015, Fidencio Duran, 88, died after he was shot numerous times with a “pepper ball” gun after he encountered BCSO Deputy Sheriffs in the South Valley. Mr. Duran was partially blind and deaf and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His wife of 67 years had died the day before after a three-year bout with illness. Duran wandered around the neighborhood shirtless. He banged on the door of a neighbor, who called the BCSO.
When BCSO Deputies arrived, a 90-minute standoff ensued, in which Mr. Duran, shirtless and wearing one shoe and reportedly holding a four-inch knife, spoke, sometimes incoherently, in Spanish. Eventually, the BCSO officers fired over 50 rounds of pepper balls at him from two directions. Some of the pepper balls penetrated his skin, causing contusions and embedding fragments of plastic.
BCSO officers unleashed a muzzled K9 police dog after shooting with pepper balls. The dog knocked the 115-pound man over, breaking his femur and hip. He was taken to the hospital, where it took doctors days to remove all of the pepper ball fragments. He never left the hospital, succumbing to pneumonia as a result of his injuries a month later. A doctor from the Office of the Medical Investigator “determined that the manner of death was Homicide” according to a civil lawsuit filed.
In an ostensible act of defiance, Sheriff Manny Gonzales issued commendations to the deputies involved.
2017 WRONGFULL DEATH OF ROBERT CHAVEZ: $700,000 SETTLEMENT
On August 16, 2017, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies spotted a stolen car near Coors and ILiff. When they tried to pull over the vehicle a chase ensued. The stolen vehicle crashed into Robert Chavez’, 66, car near Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez in the Southwest part of the city. When Robert Chavez was hit, Chavez broke his back, shoulder, forearm, wrist, ribs and pelvis in the crash and also had other internal injuries. Chavez went into a coma and died 11 days after the crash. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the county and BCSO.
The BCSO Sheriff Department’s old policy would not have allowed officers to pursue for a stolen vehicle, but Sheriff Manny Gonzales changed the hot pursuit policy allowing such chases a year before the fatal crash. The Bernalillo County settled with Mr. Chavez’ family for $700,000 but not before the county backout of a $1 Million settlement.
2017 KILLING OF MARTIN JIM AND SHOOTING OF ISAAC PADILLA: $3.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT
On November 17, 2017, BCSO Deputies, at around 4 am in the morning, initiated a high-speed chase of a stolen truck across the South Valley on November 17, 2017. A BCSO Deputy rammed the truck at Coors and Glenrio NW on Albuquerque’s West Side obliterating the front driver’s-side wheel. With the truck at a standstill, two BCSO deputies parked their vehicles to block the truck from moving forward.
BCSO Deputy Joshua Mora soon arrived on the scene. Mora is the son of then-undersheriff Rudy Mora and had worked for BCSO about 18 months as a sheriff’s deputy. In the span of 18 seconds, Mora jumped from his car, ran to the truck, yelled commands at the driver, and fired 7 shots into the vehicle occupied by 3 passengers, including a 4-year-old child. Mora did no know Martin Jim was sitting in the back seat. A settlement in the case was reached after Senior U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera of Albuquerque ruled that a “reasonable jury could conclude that Deputy Mora acted unreasonably.”
On May 21, 2020, it was reported that the family of Martin Jim, 25, the man killed in 2017 incident settled the federal excessive force lawsuit against the county for $1.5 million. An earlier $400,000 state court settlement arising from the same deadly shooting paid to Jim’s partner, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son, amounted to $1.9 million. That is an addition to the $1.36 million settlement paid to the estate of the driver of the pickup truck, Isaac Padilla, 23, who was also killed. Another $40,000 was paid to two other passengers in the truck. The total payout to resolve legal claims related to Deputy Joshua Mora’s actions was $3.3 million.
The defendants, Mora, the county and Sheriff Manny Gonzales maintained Martin Jim’s death was unintentional and that the killing of Isaac Padilla, the driver of the truck, was justified. No weapons were found in the truck negating Mora’s defense that his actions were justified and in self-defense.
2019 THE KILLING ELISHA LUCERO: $4 MILLION SETTLEMENT
On July 21, 2019, Elisha Lucero, 28, who suffered psychosis and schizophrenia, was shot to death in front of her RV, which was parked in front of her family’s South Valley home. BCSO Deputies had responded to the home after a relative called 911 saying Lucero had hit her uncle in the face. According to the 911 call, a relative said Lucero was mentally ill, needed help, and was a threat to herself and to everybody else. Just one month prior, Lucero had called BCSO and asked to be taken to the hospital for mental health issues.
According to the lawsuit, when deputies arrived, they said Lucero initially refused to come out of the home. Eventually, the 4-foot-11 Lucero, naked from the waist up, ran out screaming and armed with a kitchen knife. The BCSO Deputies pulled their revolvers and shot her claiming they feared for their lives. According to an autopsy report, Lucero was shot at least 21 times by the deputies. The two BCSO Deputies who shot and killed Elisha Lucero were not wearing lapel cameras. Sheriff Gonzales refused to have lapel cameras purchase and mandated for the BCSO.
Bernalillo Count settede the case for $4 Million. Even after the shooting of Elisha Lucero and the $4 Million settlement, Sheriff Gonzales did not change his opposition to lapel cameras. Gonzales has proclaimed his deputies do not need lapel cameras because they have audio recorders on their belts.
BCSO RACIAL PROFILING CASES SETTLED: $100,000 SETTLEMENT AND COUNTING
It was on December 6, 2017 that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American woman on temporary assignment in New Mexico as an Immigration and Customs Agent (ICE) deportation officer. The lawsuit alleged that Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies racially profiled her by pulling her over three times, twice by the same deputy, within a month with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that she was breaking the law. None of the three times she was pulled over was she given a warning or a citation.
ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Kristin Greer Love had this to say at the time:
“Our client is an accomplished federal agent who was targeted for driving while black … BCSO unlawfully and repeatedly stopped her because she fit a racial profile. Targeting people because of the color of their skin is unconstitutional and bad policing. Racial discrimination has no place in New Mexico, and BCSO must take immediate action to ensure that this behavior does not continue.”
On July 8, 2020, it was reported that two black women from Wisconsin are suing Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and two deputies alleging racial and religious profiling stemming from a traffic stop in July 2017. The lawsuit was filed about five months after Bernalillo County reached a $100,000 settlement with Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American who filed a lawsuit against BCSO after she was pulled over three times in 28 days by BCSO deputies Patrick Rael and Leonard Armijo, the same deputies named in the new lawsuit, in spring 2017.
The civil case was filed by Sisters Consweyla and Cynthia Minafee, and a 5-year-old child, Yahaven Pylant, were traveling from Phoenix back to Wisconsin when they were pulled over by Rael on Interstate 40 the morning of July 7, 2017. Cynthia Minafee was Yahaven’s legal guardian at the time. According to the lawsuit, the traffic stop lasted almost an hour and included an extensive search of the vehicle with a drug dog.
According to the lawsuit, Rael told the women to get out of the car and said he could smell marijuana on Cynthia. Cynthia said that she had not smoked in the car and that there was no marijuana in the vehicle. Consweyla Minafee, the driver, was not issued a traffic citation, but Cynthia Minafee was issued a citation for not having Yahaven properly restrained. The citation was dismissed in May, online court records show.
A link to a news source is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
There is little doubt that crime will be the biggest issue in the 2021 election for Mayor. It is disappointing that inept “Burque Bros” Tim Keller and Manny Gonzales are running for mayor and are the two top contenders. Both are seeking public financing and will likely make the ballot.
Mayor Tim Keller, who has been in office for over 3 years, and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who has been in office over 6 years, have both been ineffective in bringing down the city’s and the county’s crime rates. Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his BCSO are just as hapless in dealing with spiking crime rates as Mayor Tim Keller and APD.
During the last 3 years under Mayor Tim Keller’s leadership as well as the leadership of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, things have only gotten worse in the city as well as the county when it comes to murders and violent crime rates. When you listen to both, you hear them say things will get better. Gonzales especially says he can do better than Keller as mayor. Gonzales doing better than Keller as Mayor is not at all likely given he has failed at the county level during his entire tenure as Sheriff and he has failed to keep up with changes in law enforcement and constitutional policing practices.
MAYOR TIM KELLER
In August, 2017, then New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller, candidate for Albuquerque Mayor, had this to say about the city’s high crime rates:
“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.”
Candidate for Mayor Tim Keller ran on the platform promising to reduce the city’s crime rates, increase the number of sworn police and return to community based policing, promises that have essentially been broken. APD has 985 sworn police while Keller promised 1,200 sworn by the end of his term. On February 8, Chief Harold Medina told the City Council Public Safety Committee that APD had 957 sworn police, but only a mere 371 sworn police are assigned to the field services taking calls for service which in now way can be considered enough to do community based policing in 6 area commands. The Homicide Unit has only 12 detectives for one unit with case loads way above the national average for best practices and two years ago the city council was told that APD needed at least two homicide units or roughly 24 detectives.
Keller is the front runner mainly 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 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 the four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.
BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES
When Gonzales says he can do better than Keller when it comes to crime, he acts like no one knows he has been Bernalillo County Sheriff for 6 years and in law enforcement for over 25 years. Sheriff Gonzales’s programs and felon warrant sweep initiatives in Albuquerque, especially in the South East Heights, have not brought down crime rates, but have only given him the press he covets.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales wants voters to think his jurisdiction and law enforcement activities are confined to the county and do not include the city of Albuquerque which is APD’s territory. Truth is, the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department have concurrent jurisdiction. Any attempt by Gonzales to distance himself from the city’s high crime rates needs to be called out for what it is and that is a political ploy to avoid transparency and accountability of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department during his tenure.
That’s the case unless of course when Gonzales seeks publicity and decides to do law enforcement initiatives in the City such as when he did it in the South East Heights last year proclaiming how businesses and resident’s asked him for help. In the 6 years he has been Sheriff, it was the very first time Gonzales decided to “help out” in the city. Truth be known, Gonzales was already thinking about running for Mayor and he jumped on the opportunity to make Mayor Tim Keller and APD look incompetent and unable to do their job in dealing with crime rates. It was very effective revealing just how opportunistic Gonzales really is.
Then there is the matter of Gonzales working with federal law enforcement, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI to work on Der Führer Trump’s initiatives brought to the city last year for Operation Legend with 50 federal agents sent to Albuquerque. He also jumped on the chance to go to Washington, DC all dressed out in his formal Sheriff’s uniform for special occasions for a photo op with Der Führer Trump which gave him the opportunity to strike up a friendship with Sam Vigil, the widower whose wife was slain in her driveway. Sam Vigil is now heading up a measured finance committee to raise money to oust Tim Keller and he has expressed support for Gonzales as Mayor. Mr. Vigil has also been a guest of Sheriff Gonzales on a government cable where Vigil promoted 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.
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 next 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.
There is still time for other candidates to run for Mayor as privately financed candidates. The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect 3,000 qualifying signatures from registered voters to run is from June 8 to August 10, 2021. Hope springs eternal that more viable candidates for Mayor will run and give voters viable alternatives to the “Burque Bros”.
With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with walking into a voting booth, holding our nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, or just not voting at all.