On Friday, May 21, the Albuquerque Journal Published a guest column entitled “Groups Oppose Bernco Sheriff’s Run For Mayor”. It was written by Brianna Gallegos, the President of the Young Democrats of New Mexico. Below is the guest column in full with the link to the Journal article:
“On behalf of the following caucuses and affiliated organizations within the Democratic Party of New Mexico – the Adelante Progressive Caucus, the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus and the Young Democrats of New Mexico – we must ensure our elected officials uphold values that are key to our Democratic platform.
With the upcoming Albuquerque municipal election, and the announcement that Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales is running for mayor, it is important that we speak out.
Since being elected sheriff in 2014, Gonzales has taken controversial positions, refusing to enforce laws he alone deems unnecessary and rejecting standard police reforms that would have improved public accountability, transparency and safety for our communities.
I. Gonzales worked with the Trump administration, not local law enforcement, to the detriment of vulnerable communities. In 2020, during the height of political unrest over police shootings and the backlash over federal agents’ heavy-handedness in response to protests, Gonzales worked with the Trump administration and Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, to bring federal agents to Albuquerque …
His behavior was condemned by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sen. Martin Heinrich and many other Democratic leaders in New Mexico. Community and immigrant groups feared the specific targeting of low-income neighborhoods in Albuquerque. In August, Trump praised Gonzales in a tweet, thanking him for his support.
II. Gonzales was responsible for excessive use of force, systematic racism and expensive lawsuits. According to the ACLU, the “Bernalillo County Sheriff Office (BCSO) has shown an alarming escalation in the use of force which has resulted in unnecessary loss of life in the community and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in lawsuits resulting from excessive force.” Multiple lawsuits have been filed against BCSO for systemic racial profiling against African Americans. Yet, Sheriff Gonzales denies there is a problem and believes his deputies don’t need further training.
III. Gonzales refused to adopt mainstream policing tools like body cameras and stalled on law enforcement transparency and accountability. Gonzales refused to equip his deputies with body cameras, first saying the department couldn’t afford them, and after funding was made available by the County Commission, saying he didn’t trust they worked. Not until the state Legislature passed a law in July 2020 was he forced to begin using body cameras.
IV. Gonzales worked with the NRA to defeat common-sense gun reform legislation. In 2019, he endorsed the NRA’s “2nd Amendment Sanctuary Counties” in New Mexico to defeat common-sense gun safety laws like background checks and “red flag” laws that would take guns away from the most dangerous people.
V. Gonzales picks and chooses which laws to enforce based on his conservative political views. In late 2020, he called the governor’s COVID-19 health orders “unconstitutional,” saying he wouldn’t enforce them. … Last December, Gonzales tangled with 2nd Judicial District Attorney Ra ú l Torrez after advising his deputies to ignore the officer misconduct questionnaire that Torrez’s office asked APD officers and BSCO deputies to complete, also known as “Giglio disclosures.”
We stand in strong condemnation of Manny Gonzales and the actions he’s taken as sheriff. He is no Democrat and does not stand for the Democratic values that we fight for, and we cannot support his candidacy for mayor. These opinions are from these Democratic caucuses of the Democratic Party only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the DPNM or other caucuses within the DPNM.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
After reading the 550-word guest column, one can only wonder if the blog article entitled “Führer Trump’s Favorite Democrat Sherriff Manny Gonzales Runs For Mayor; A DINO And Law Enforcement Dinosaur” published on April 20 was used as source material. The link to that blog article is here:
The Journal Guest column is very polite, but does indicate the tone of the campaign for Mayor will be taking over the next few months. It is more likely than not, the column was written by organizations that are already supporting Tim Keller for a second term, they just did not come out and say it. You can expect supporters of Sheriff Gonzales will be compelled to write their own column regarding Tim Keller which will likely center on Keller’s weaknesses.
LESS THAN STELLAR KELLER MAKES MANNY VIABLE
Democrats are very reluctant to acknowledge the shortcomings of Mayor Tim Keller out of sure sense of loyalty. Usually, any criticism of Keller in private with Democrats results in extreme hostility that is almost cult like.
There is no doubt that the city’s out of control crime rates will be the number one issue in this year’s Mayor’s race. That is the only reason why Sheriff Manny Gonzales poses a real threat to Keller. Had Mayor Tim Keller done a better job, and kept all of his promises the likes of Manny Gonzales being a viable candidate would not even be an issue.
For more on Keller’s broken promises see the below blog article entitled “Mayor Tim Keller’s Promises Made, Promises Broken As He Seeks Second Term; Voters Will Decide If Keller “Has Done A Good Job”.
Keller is the front runner now because of his incumbency, but as the body count mounts things are only going to get worse for him. His popularity will be taken down with each body count increase. 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.
BURQUE BROS FAIL TO BRING DOWN VIOLENT CRIME
There is little doubt that crime will be the biggest issue in the 2021 election for Mayor. There is one very big thing that Mayor Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales have in common and that is they have been both failures in bringing down the cities violent crime. 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.
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.
The link to a related blog article entitled “Keller And Gonzales Run For Mayor; Both Failures In Bringing Murder Rates, Crime Rates Down; City And County’s 2021 Homicide Rates Likely To Break All Time Record”
THE CHALLENGES WE FACE
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 the hell 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.
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 later and is June 8 to August 10. Privately finance candidates can collect donations at any time.
Anyone one interested in running for Mayor and who has a real love for this city and is concerned about what is happening is encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s office.
The link to the city web site for candidates is here:
LINKS TO RELATED BLOG ARTICLE ARE HERE