It sure does look like Albuquerque City Councilor “Re-Tread Extraordinaire” Dan Lewis acts like a spoiled child and throws angry little tantrums with the things he says and does especially when he does not get his way on the City Council. Two recent cases in point are the city council’s 1 to 8 vote against a repeal of a gross receipts tax and Mayor Keller’s veto of a resolution that would mandate vaccinations for COVID by city employees. Another time occurred on December 6, 2021 when he reacted with hostility to a published blog article that questioned his record on the city council. What is now happening is that the Dan Lewis private persona of nastiness and vindictiveness is being made public as he seeks to run for Mayor again in 2025.
REPEAL OF GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ENACTED 4 YEARS AGO FAILS ON 1 TO 8 VOTE
During the April 4 city council meeting, the Lewis resolution calling for the repeal of the gross receipts tax hit a “brick wall” when the legislation failed on an 1 to 8 vote. Lewis was the only city councilor to vote for his legislation. Lewis failed to get a single vote of support from any other city councilor, including one of his biggest supporters “Democrat in Name Only” Louie Sanchez.
The tax increase past 4 years ago yielded upwards of $50 million annually to start. However, it is now forecast to generate upwards of $79 million by the 2023 fiscal year. Lewis wanted to reduce the tax increment to 1/4 of 1%. The repeal would effectively save consumers 10 cents for every $100 spent on goods and services. The repeal would have also reduced the city’s cumulative take by about $26 million.
The debate on the Lewis resolution to repel the gross receipts tax was extremely confrontational. Dan Lewis accused Mayor Tim Keller’s administration of spreading “lies” about his proposal to cut the city’s gross receipts tax rate. Lewis went so far as accusing the Keller administration of distributing an email that mischaracterized the impact of his proposal proclaiming the email was filled with “misinformation and lies.” Lewis ignored that other councilors voiced concern that a tax cut could hurt city operations.
Albuquerque Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael called Lewis’ accusations “a bit of a stretch” and encouraged “civility,” even when councilors disagree with the mayor on policy. Lawrence Rael has decades years of service with the city, including serving as Chief Administrative Officer in the past. Rael is known to avoid confrontations with counselor’s in the press and is not known for grandstanding. For Rael to encourage civility by Lewis is a clear indication of just how bad things have gotten with Dan Lewis and his personal vendetta against Mayor Tim Keller.
Councilor Louie Sanchez expressed to some extent support for Dan Lewis even when he voted no on the repeal and said this:
“I support Councilor Lewis’ fight to get money back to the people’s pockets … [but] we have a major crime crisis in this city and times are uncertain, so I’m not sure diverting money away from public safety is the right thing.”
Sanchez did not offer what he meant when he said “the right thing”, but he likely meant Republican.
The link to quoted news source material is here:
VACCINE MANDATE FOR CITY WORKFORCE
It was on March 21 that the Albuquerque the City Council passed the Dan Lewis City Council resolution that prohibited imposing an employee vaccine mandate and from penalizing those who do not. The vote was 5 to 4 vote with Republican Councilors Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and lone Democrat Louie Sanchez voting to support it. All the 4 remaining Democrats Isaac Benton, Klarissa Peña, Pat Davis and Tammy Fiebelkorn voted no.
On April 2, it was reported that Mayor Tim Keller vetoed the anti-vaccine measure. In his veto message to the City Council, Mayor Keller wrote that city leaders have more pressing concerns than “manufactured ideological disputes” and noted that he has never imposed a COVID-19 vaccine requirement and Keller said “In this context a ban on vaccine mandates is an answer in search of a question.”
According to the Keller veto message, the city made vaccines readily available, took other safety precautions, and had therefore “successfully navigated a middle road” between those who strongly supported and strongly opposed such rules. In his veto message, Mayor Keller said this:
“City leaders need to come together to address crime, homelessness and housing, youth programming and services to seniors. We know that the best way to do that is to maximize our City’s flexibility to adjust to any new fiscal, health or public safety challenge. We know that manufactured ideological disputes do not advance our vision for a safe and healthy city.”
In response to the Keller veto, Republican City Councillor Dan Lewis had this to say:
“The majority of the council wanted to give our city employees some peace of mind. … Apparently, the mayor wants the ability to make them get a vaccine they don’t want or need.”
The Lewis response about the Keller veto was typical “right wing” Trump ignorance when he says “the mayor wants the ability to make them get a vaccine they don’t want or need.” The science is clear that the covid vaccine is indeed needed and effective to prevent the spread of the disease. The law is just as clear that an employer can require vaccination as a condition of employment.
It turns out the anti-vaccine legislation for city employees was not needed. It was sponsored by Republican Dan Lewis for show and headline. Mayor Tim Keller had suggested a vaccine policy earlier this year, announcing in January his administration would roll out a vaccine-or-test requirement to comply with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules. Keller then backtracked after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked those OSHA rules.
Democrats City Councilors Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Tammy Fiebelkorn and Klarissa Peña voted in opposition, and rightly so saying the city should not cede its ability to regulate its workforce because the public relies heavily on services and having “the staff available to them.” It is well established law that the private sector can mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment and that an employee can be terminated for refusal to get vaccinated.
Not requiring inoculation of city employees and then allowing those same city employees to deal with the general public no likely creates a liability issue for the city if a member of the public becomes infected with COVID by a city employee.
HISTORY OF A GRUDGE
Least anyone forget, 4 years ago Mayor Tim Keller signed off on a gross receipts tax that was primarily dedicated to public safety breaking a campaign pledge not to raise taxes without a public vote, even for public safety. The tax was enacted 4 years ago on 8-1 bipartisan vote as the city was facing a 40 million deficit and severe budget cuts.
Keller made the pledge not to raise taxes unless voted on during a TV debate for Mayor with none other than City councilor Dan Lewis who gave up his council seat to run for Mayor. The council’s 2018 tax required that the city spend at least 60% of tax proceeds on public safety and that expired two years ago. Keller won the 2017 runoff against Lewis by a decisive landslide by securing 60,219 votes or 62.20% against Dan Lewis who secured 36,594 or 37.8% of the vote. In 2021, Dan Lewis again ran for his City Council seat and won it to return to the city council.
On January 10, 2022 the newly elected Albuquerque City Council met for the first time. After losing the vote to become City Council President to City Councilor Isaac Benton, Dan Lewis immediately introduced 4 separate resolutions outlining what he intended to pursue in the coming few months and to hold Mayor Tim Keller and his administration accountable for past actions. Those resolutions were:
1. Repeal the 3/8 of the 1% gross receipts tax enacted 4 years ago.
The city council enacted a 3/8 of 1% gross receipts tax four years ago on an 8-1 bipartisan city council vote. Lewis is proclaiming it’s a financial crutch the city does not need and reversal would put money “back into the pockets of hard-working Albuquerque citizens.” That’s a good sound bite from Lewis, but the amount of money Lewis wants to return to citizens is roughly 10 cents which the tax represents on every $100 they spend in the city.
2. Bar the city from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for the municipal government workforce.
Lewis says the bill answers concerns he has heard from police officers and firefighters about a potential vaccine requirement. Lewis claims he has been vaccinated himself but said he has a “big issue” with mandating them for city workers. According to Lewis “Many of them I know said they would quit[with mandated vaccines].”
3. Repeal or limit mayoral authority during a public health emergency.
The resolution revoked most of the mayoral public health emergency authority the City Council added at the onset of the pandemic. The resolution past the city council on a 5 to 4 vote, Mayor Keller vetoed it and the council failed to override the veto.
4. Direct the city administration to consider and “to the extent advisable,” push to renegotiate the terms of the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).
The settlement mandates 271 reforms of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The settlement was entered into on November 14, 2014 after a Department of Justice investigation found that APD engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force and had a “culture of aggression.” The City Council Resolution can only be considered offered for show by Lewis in that it will have no affect on the settlement. The settlement is a Federal Court Order that the City Council has no authority over.
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS USED BY LEWIS TO INTIMDATE AND SHAME
City Councilors Republican Dan Lewis was sworn in on January 1st . Within weeks after being sworn in, Lewis began to demand that Mayor Tim Keller again nominate his top executive staff, who has been confirmed by prior counsels, so they could hold confirmation hearings and be allowed to vote to reject them for the positions they held. City Councilor Dan Lewis had this to say about his demand that all the names be submitted a second time:
“I’m going to always defend the authority of the council, and any authority that has been given to it by the charter and the people of the city.”
It soon became painfully obvious that the only reason Dan Lewis demanded Keller’s top executives previously confirmed be re submitted for a second time for confirmation was to try and shame and intimate them and to vote against them. On March 7, City Clerk Ethan Watson was confirmed on a 7-2 bipartisan vote of the city council but not before Lewis crossed examined Watson over his job performance during the 2021 municipal election. Dan Lewis questioned Watson’s impartiality in administering the city’s taxpayer-funded public campaign finance system, ignoring the fact that Watson is license attorney and as such an officer of the court who has taken an oath of office himself.
Lewis focused on Watson’s move to reject mayoral candidate Manuel Gonzales’ application for the money on the grounds he’d submitted fraudulent documentation, questioning if he’d applied the same scrutiny to Keller’s campaign. Lewis ignored that a state judge ultimately upheld Watson’s decision. Lewis at one point became very condensing and mean spirited when he asked Watson “how we can trust you moving forward in future elections?”. This coming from Dan Lewis who engaged in smear tactics and lies against his opponent incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego to get elected saying she was in favor of “sanctuary city polices” and the releasing of violent criminals. Dan Lewis paid Republican Political Operative Jay McClusky to run his campaign.
Dan Lewis was elected to the city council for a second term in 2013, the same year that Republican Mayor Richard Berry was elected to a second term. Republican Mayor Berry did not submit relevant reappointments for confirmation a second time, despite a request from then-council President Ken Sanchez to do so. Not at all surprising Dan Lewis then did not “defend the authority of the council” and said nothing at the time no doubt because it was a Republican Mayor that he needed to curry favor with but now he says something because he is dealing with a Mayor that beat him in a runoff in 2017.
The link to quoted news source material is here:
RESPONDING TO A BLOG ARTICLE
In response to a blog article written on December 6, 2021 about Dan Lewis and his past record as a city councilor, Dan Lewis wrote Pete Dinelli a series of emails and said this:
“Pete, write about me all you want. I don’t care. From what I hear nobody reads this crap anyway. … you make no sense at all. Are you still defending this failed mayor? I’m not trying to get the support of anyone … . I have nothing to prove. But you better believe that this mayor will be accountable now. … I’ve read many of your articles and honestly you don’t make any sense at all. I was the biggest critic of Berry and you know it. I get it, he kicked your ass and you’re still not over it. I see a lot of poison and insanity coming from you. Always glad to talk and I’m always available. Feel free to call any time. But honestly I’m not sure if you really want to hear any of the truth. I’m blocking these emails. Nothing here that’s anywhere close to productive.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Mayor Tim Keller has vetoed 3 city council resolutions all past within a month. The common theme of all 3 vetoes is that the vetoed legislation was sponsored by conservative Republicans with the passage of the legislation accomplished with the vote of west side conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez. In addition to vetoing the “anti-vaccine” resolution, Keller vetoed the resolution to repeal or limiting mayoral authority during a public health emergency sponsored by Dan Lewis. Keller also vetoed the “plastic ban” repeal legislation sponsored by Republican Brook Basaan.
DINO LOUIE SANCHEZ
Although the City Council is split 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans, Conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez has allied himself with all 4 Conservative Republicans. Both Dan Lewis and Louie Sanchez have pledged to hold Mayor Tim Keller and his administration accountable for their actions. Since commencing his term on the City Council, Louie Sanchez has aligned himself with Republican Dan Lewis and the other 3 Republicans on major Republican sponsored resolutions calling for the repeal of past Democrat initiatives. Sanchez voted for Lewis for City council President. Sanchez has voted for the Republican sponsored repeals of Democrat sponsored legislation including the city policy mandating project labor agreements on major city public works projects and voted to repeal the ban on the use of plastic bags at business. Democrat Louie Sanchez is now considered by many as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only), especially after forming a political action committee (PAC) to raise money and oppose incumbent Democrats in the legislature who he claims are too progressive or not moderate enough for his liking.
WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON WITH DAN LEWIS
When Mayor Keller says in a veto message “manufactured ideological disputes do not advance our vision for a safe and healthy city”, it is a clear shot across the bow to Dan Lewis. To put it mildly, there is no love lost between Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis. Least anyone forgets, in 2017, both Keller and Lewis ran for Mayor and in a runoff and Keller prevailed winning the election by a landslide with a 62.2% vote to 37.8% vote for Lewis.
Dan Lewis has already made it known privately to many of his supporters that he intends to run for Mayor again in 2025, perhaps again against Tim Keller. With that in mind, it is clear he intends to be as disruptive as possible on the city council in order to generate the news coverage he so covets. He will be very successful if Democrats like Louis Sanchez allow it to happen. Keller’s veto pen may be the only way that the obstructionist, vindictive tactics of Dan Lewis and Louie Sanchez can be stopped.
In private, Dan Lewis is known to be highly confrontational with anyone who disagrees with his right-wing ideology, especially when his record is exposed. In short, he is thin skinned and confrontational and he gets very personal. If anyone at city hall reads this “crap” today please let Dan Lewis know about it, perhaps read it to him, an offer to change his diaper.
The link to a related blog article are here:
Hypocrite Dan Lewis Objects To 4 Outgoing City Councilors Doing What He Did 4 Years Ago; “All That Crap” Nobody Reads And Getting “Your Ass Kicked”; Expect 4 Years Of Lewis Hypocrisy As Lewis Runs For Mayor In 2025