The More Things Change With Keller Administration’s Dealing With Properties That Are  Magnets For Crime, The More Things Stay The Same: Keller Photo Ops With Little Real Progress

On March 14, it was reported with great fanfare that Mayor Tim Keller was reviving up one of his  pre-pandemic programs targeting the most dangerous and problematic buildings in the city. The home at 1828 Mary Ellen NE  was targeted by the city’s Problematic Property Program (PPP)  having been abandoned for roughly 20 years and increasingly become a burden on city services.  As a  backhoe was preparing to demolish the severely dilapidated and deteriorating, city officials found a homeless person sleeping inside.

In the last year, the northeast Albuquerque home had been the subject of 54 calls to Albuquerque police, seven fire calls and has been boarded up 10 times. Neighbors who gathered to watch the demolition said that for decades the house had been a source of shootings, drug deals, fires, among other things, and they were happy to see it go.

Keller said this:

“In the last 12 months this particular building has had 54 APD calls, it’s had seven fire calls, and it’s been boarded up 10 times. We …  know that these buildings are being burned down all the time by squatters, so it’s a safety hazard for them, and of course for the neighbors.  … It should not take 20 years to deal with a building like this. … There was actually somebody sleeping in here this morning. … Fortunately, we were able to try and connect him with services.  We try and secure properties but at some point, if we cannot secure the property and the owner can’t secure the property, then we have to resort to things like demolition. [The city has razed]  32 other buildings …  deemed a threat to safety in the past year.  It’s not a number that we’re proud of, because it reflects broader problems in our community, we know that. …  There is a huge backlog, but we are working it and in due time and legal appropriateness.”

There are currently five in the pipeline that are expected to be torn down in the near future. Under the Problematic Property Program,  the City Planning Department identifies  and demolishes  dilapidated buildings that often magnets for crime and other safety concerns to Albuquerque neighborhoods.

City Planning Department Director Alan Varela  said the city has  five upcoming emergency demolitions and another seven properties under review that could get added to the list. Varela said this:

“Most of the time, we can encourage and nudge the owner into taking them down themselves, it’s much less expensive for the owner to do it. … If the city takes it down, the city bills it back to the property owner, we put a lien on the property, and if the liens are large enough, then we look at foreclosure actions as well.”

Varela noted that  the troubled Ambassador Inn near I-25 and Menaul is an example of a problematic property where the owner is cooperating with the city. Varela said

“The owner has taken upon themselves to start doing renovations and so it’s our understanding that they’ve completed renovations on at least one of the floors. And they’re working their way through the building in order to clean it up and run it the way it should be run.”

City councilors are working on a plan to speed up the nuisance abatement program. The city says there are five more emergency demolitions planned in the future and seven more properties that are under review.

The links to quoted news source material are here:,on%20hold%20during%20the%20pandemic.


It was on  June 9, 2021 that Mayor Tim held a news conference to reveal his   “Problem Properties Program” (PPP) to deal with substandard or vacant commercial and residential properties that have become magnets for crime and that bring down property values. The program it consisted  of an online roster administered by the City’s Code Enforcement Division of Albuquerque’s “Top 15 Problematic Properties.

When announce on June 21, 2021Albuquerque’s code enforcement division claimed the city metro area had upwards of 300 vacant, substandard and uninhabitable residential homes. There is a percentage of the properties that require a high level of city code enforcement. It will be these properties that will make up the new the new “Top 15 Problematic Properties” list. The overall goal is an effort to expedite city action on the properties to get them into code compliance whether through rehabilitation or demolition.

According to city officials, the PPP Program is intended to raise the profile of substandard properties in order to encourage property owners maintain their propertied and make repairs to bring them up to mandated housing codes to allow occupancy. The intent is to also to show neighbors that the city is aware of the properties and is attempting to address them through effective code enforcement.

When originally announced, the Problematic Properties Program included a webpage highlighting the 15 worst dilapidated, neglected, or abandoned residential properties. The public could  scroll through the list of properties and see the city’s current mitigation efforts, if the structures are being remodeled or being sold. The City had hoped that the PPP site would  help the city get in contact with property owners, who can sometimes be hard to track down and restore the buildings faster.

The link to the city PPP Program web site listing the 15 properties and giving photos of the properties, addresses and status is here:

Links to news sources and quotes are here:


When condemnations occur, the Planning Department city code enforcement division prepares condemnation resolutions that are presented to the City Council that make findings that the structures on the property are an immediate danger or threat to the public health, safety and welfare and constitute and attractive nuisance and have become magnets for crime. The resolutions usually include findings of structural damage and code violations that render the buiding “substandard” to the extent that they cannot be occupied nor repaired.

The Keller Administration gives the owner at least one year before pursuing demolition of a substandard property, but it often takes longer than that. Ultimately, the city’s goal is compliance to avoid tear downs with code enforcement working with owners who express a willingness to address violations.

During the June 9, 2021  news conference revealing the PPP program, then Planning Director Brennon Williams, who oversaw  the City Code Enforcement Division,  had this to say:

“At least 12 months has to be provided to a property owner that has a property like this and that’s a requirement not only state statute but under the uniform housing code. This is a long process, and it’s a long process intentionally. When we’re talking about knocking down somebody’s house or apartment building. We want to give that property owner every opportunity to come forward. … We make every effort from an enforcement standpoint to let a property owner know what the issue is and what can be done to correct it. It’s only when we don’t get any communication back and forth … [and] good faith efforts are not made that we take action.”

During the June 9 press conference, City officials said dealing with these properties can take up to six years. Never one to miss a photo op, Mayor Tim Keller stood in front of 400 Mesilla St SE, 404 Mesilla St SE to take credit for the PPP Program and demolitions and had this to say:

“Folks will be able to view where the progress is and also understand what the mitigation efforts are. Maybe if we shine a light on this, things will change faster than (in) six years. … ”


It was 4 years ago in July, 2019 that Mayor Tim Keller announced the creation of the “Addressing Dilapidated and Abandoned Property Team” (ADAPT). The ADAPT program supposedly relies on new data to target the worst 100 properties in the city. ADAPT is a program in the Fire Marshal’s Office that focuses on abandoned and dilapidated properties that have a pattern of serious criminal activity or pose an immediate threat to public health, safety and welfare.

According the city’s web site for the ADAPT Program:

“Utilizing the ArcGIS mapping system, ADAPT will compile and filter information from the data systems of Albuquerque Fire Rescue, Albuquerque Police Department, the Code Enforcement Division of the Planning Department, 311, and other referrals. ADAPT will assign a point value to each specific response type based on the severity. Properties [are] in four sub- categories:

Non Residential

Each category has a different point value threshold that will be considered critical. This point system will be a fair and equitable way to help identify criminal nuisance properties that will be placed into the ADAPT program.

ADAPT … leads a full inspection of the property with other City departments. The first step is to attempt to work with property owners to clearly identify the source of the criminal activity, and to assist in establishing a plan of action to correct any violations and to improve the property. If the owner cannot improve the property or fails to meet the plan of action goals, ADAPT will move to legal action.

Nuisance properties that do not rise to the level of the ADAPT program are referred to the Code Enforcement Division of the Planning Department to address the deficiencies or problems affecting it. Suspected criminal activity may also be referred to APD.”


From 2002 to 2009, the Safe City Strike Force was formed to combat blighted commercial and residential properties and Deputy City Attorney Pete Dinelli was the Director the full 7 years.

Thirty (30) to forty-five (40) representatives from the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department, the Fire Marshal’s Office, the Planning Department Code residential and commercial code inspectors, Family Community Services and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office participated and comprised the strike force.

Seventy (70) to one hundred fifty (150) properties a week, both residential and commercial properties would be reviewed by the Safe City Strike Force.

The Albuquerque City Council would be given weekly updates on the progress made in their districts on the nuisance properties identified by the Strike Force. The City Attorney’s office routinely conducted interventions with property owners along with their attorneys and would negotiate nuisance abatement agreements as well as voluntary tear down agreements. The Code Enforcement Division component of the Safe City Strike Force routinely prepared condemnation resolutions for enactment by the Albuquerque City Council to tear down substandard buildings, including commercial buildings.

Over 8 years, the Safe City Strike Force took civil enforcement action against some 6,500 properties, both commercial and residential properties.

The success of the Safe City Strike Force is clear and unmistakable and can be summarized.


One of the most effective tools to deal with substandard residential and commercial properties was the City Attorney component of the Safe City Strike Force to negotiate voluntary board ups and tear downs of structures where the property owner gave permission for the city to do the work and then place a lien on the property. The liens would allow the city to be reimbursed upon sale.

The Safe City Strike Force was responsible for the tear down of an entire residential block of homes located at 5th Street and Summer in the Wells Park neighborhood area located north of downtown Albuquerque. It was done without a condemnation action but a voluntary tear down agreement. It took 2 months to negotiate the agreement and to tear down the substandard residences on the property, including one commercial building. There were a total of 21 abandoned and vacant, boarded up properties that could not be repaired, owned by one elderly woman who agreed allowed a tear down of the structures by the City.

A voluntary tear down of an entire strip mall was negotiated by the Strike Force. The strip mall had been boarded up for years, beyond repair, located near the former Octopus Car Wash on Menaul Street and Eubank. The strip mall was constantly being broken into, with fires being set by the homeless, and at one time a dead body was found at the location.

Two long vacant and vandalized restaurants, the Purple Plum and a Furr’s cafeteria, both on far North-East heights Montgomery, were also torn down by the Safe City Strike Force using voluntary tear down agreements.

One year, Albuquerque experienced a large spike in meth labs where almost 90 meth labs were found and identified and where the Safe City Strike Force was asked for assistance with contamination clean up. A few of those residential properties were torn down with negotiated tear down agreements.


The Safe City Strike Force required commercial property and motel owners to make repairs and they were required to reduce calls for service and address security on their properties.

The Safe City Strike Force took code enforcement action against 48 of the 150 motels along central and forced compliance with building codes and mandated repairs to the properties. The Central motels that were demolished were not designated historical and were beyond repair as a result of years of neglect and failure to maintain and make improvements.

Central motels that had historical significance to Route 66 were purchased by the City for renovation and redevelopment.

The Central motels that the Safe City Strike Force took action against include the Gaslight (demolished), The Zia Motel (demolished), The Royal Inn (demolished), Route 66 (demolished), the Aztec Motel (demolished), the Hacienda, Cibola Court, Super-8 (renovated by owner), the Travel Inn (renovated by owner), Nob Hill Motel (renovated by owner), the Premier Motel (renovated by owner) the De Anza (purchased by City for historical significance), the No Name, the Canyon Road (demolished), Hill Top Lodge, American Inn (demolished), the El Vado (purchased by City for historical significance), the Interstate Inn (demolished).

The Safe City Strike Force was responsible for the demolition of at least seven (7) blighted motels that were beyond repair. When people were displaced by enforcement actions taken by the Safe City Strike Force, the City’s Family and Community Services Department would provide vouchers to the displaced and assist in locating temporary housing for them.


The Safe City Strike Force took action against violent bars on Central that were magnets for crime. Many Central bars have hundreds of calls for service a year placing a drain on law enforcement resources.

A few of the bars located on or near Central that were closed or torn down by the Safe City Strike Force include the Blue Spruce Bar, Rusty’s Cork and Bottle, the Last Chance Bar and Grill and Club 7. The Safe City Strike Force closed Club 7 and the owner was convicted of commercial code violations.

The city attorney’s office in conjunction with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office brought criminal charges against and convicted the Club 7 downtown Central Avenue bar owner that hosted a “rave” that allowed under age participants to mingle with adults and where a young girl was killed.


The Safe City Strike Force took enforcement action against a number of convenience stores on Central that had substantial calls for service to APD. In 2005, The Safe City Strike Force identified convenience stores that had an unacceptable number of “calls for service” which resulted in the convenience stores being considered a public nuisance by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). Outdoor phones at the convenience stores used for illicit drug transactions were identified.

APD felt the convenience stores were relying upon APD to provide security at taxpayer’s expense rather than hiring their own private security company. In 2005, the Strike Force negotiate a stipulated settlement agreement with three major convenience store corporate owners of seventeen (17) convenience stores throughout Albuquerque and they agreed to pay for private security patrols.


The Safe City Strike Force was responsible for the closure of Louie’s Flea Market and the Star Flea Market, two Westside flea markets both on Old Coors Road South of Central. The flea markets brought down property values. Both flea markets had been around for decades and caused extreme traffic congestion on weekends they operated causing problems for the established or developing residential areas. Both flea markets were found by the Albuquerque Police Department to be locations where stolen property was being sold and both had an excessive number of calls for service.
In 2010, the previous administration began to dismantle and reduce funding for the Safe City Strike Force. At the beginning of 2018, the Safe City Strike Force had one employee, its director, and the Safe City Strike Force existed in name only.

Today in the Mayor Tim Keller Administration, the Safe City Strike Force no longer exists.


The more things change with the Mayor Tim Keller administration dealing with problem properties and  magnets for crime, the more things stay the same: press conferences and photo ops with little progress. Mayor Tim Keller’s ADAPT program and the PPP Program are nothing more than extensively watered-down versions of the Safe City Strike Force.

It absolutely false when  Mayor Tim Keller says  that substandard properties can take one to six years to deal with problem properties and tear downs.   Keller wants the public to believe condemnation by the city council is the only line of offense for tear downs. If it takes 1 to 6 years for a tear down, or for that matter 20 years  as was the case with the abandoned 1828 Mary Ellen NE  it’s because of sure laziness and failed commitment and leadership to get the job done.

The Safe City Strike Force and City Attorney’s office repeatedly met with many residential and commercial property owners and was able secure permission and voluntary tear down of substandard and residential and commercial properties without any need for a condemnation action. The City would do the teardowns and place a lien on the property and when it was sold, the city would be reimbursed.

The City of Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico have some of the strongest nuisance abatement laws in the county. Crime rates can be brought down with civil nuisance abatement actions that protect the public health, safety and welfare of the public.


Confidential sources within City Hall have said that Mayor Tim Keller felt the Safe City Strike Force had too much of an “aggressive sounding title”, he and others did not like it as fitting into his “ONE ABQ” slogan and the city wanted to soften the approach to nuisance abatement. Confidential sources  said Mayor Keller’s first Planning Director David Campbell made it known to the housing code inspectors he felt housing code inspections and posting residential homes as “substandard” was not a priority. The former Planning Director was reluctant or refused to allow inspectors to file misdemeanor charges as was done in the past.

ADAPT is essentially a “passive aggressive” approach by the Planning Department which really has not worked, or has little success and the number of vacated, abandoned and substandard properties needing to be demolished in the city has only increased in the last 12 years. Truth be know is that it is likely there are far more than the 300 vacant properties that city hall wants to acknowledge.

When dealing with meth labs, crack houses and magnets for crime, legal action by the city attorney’s office is in fact the most effective approach to crime and slumlords. What Keller fails to understand is that for residential property owners who feel the sting of crime in their neighborhoods and living next door to magnets for crime, a slogan of One ABQ is meaningless when their own quality of life is affected, not to mention a reduction in property values.


Mayor Keller’s ADAPT program and the PPP Program sends the wrong message that he wants city residents and property owners to be content and ADAPT to the fact the city really does not want to do anything at all about nuisance, substandard and abandoned properties, or at least drag things out for as long as possible. What Keller should do is to reinstate the Safe City Strike Force.

It is very disappointing that Mayor Tim Keller reneged on his decision to reinstate the Safe City Strike Force when the decision was made to replace the Safe City Strike Force with his own ADAPT program. The Strike Force was a proven and effective program and was recognized as a best practice nationally.

When it comes to Mayor Tim Keller, images and press conferences have always been his go to crutch to promote himself  and what  is important to him.  On more than one occasion he has appeared on TV news casts to take credit for “teardowns” done by the city.  Someone should tell him he can do another press conference announcing he is reinstituting the Safe City Strike Force and maybe that will motivate him to do it.


New Mexico Sun: Blocked Dinelli Emails Topic Of City Council Meeting; Keller Administration’s Claims Of “Phishing” Stinks To High Heavens

On April 5, the online news outlet New Mexico Sun published the following news article:

Headline: Emails topic of city council meeting, Bassan says constituents ‘very upset’ on issue

By T.H. Lawrence

Apr 5, 2023

Emails from blogger Pete Dinelli to city of Albuquerque addresses were incorrectly blocked because of security concerns, a city IT staffer told the Albuquerque City Council on Monday, but the error was recognized and corrected.

Two city councilors expressed their doubts.

Mark Leech, the director of the city’s Department of Technology and Innovation, said millions of emails are blocked because they are seen as suspicious and potentially harmful to the city’s electronic infrastructure. That’s what happened to Dinelli’s emails, Leech said.

“It looked like it could have been an attack. We had a very short window of time in which to make a decision,” he said. “We made the decision in order to keep the city assets safe. It was a very quick decision.”

Dinelli, a former Albuquerque city councilman who writes a news and commentary blog,, previously told the New Mexico Sun his emails were blocked to more than 250 Albuquerque city officials and employees from March 22-27. He said he doesn’t believe the reasons offered by city staff last week and again Monday.

“The IT director read a statement giving general remarks about IT security and costs associated but not addressing the real issue of blocking city councilors from receiving or screening emails from public,” Dinelli told New Mexico Sun.

Albuquerque Digital Engagement Manager Erika Eddy previously told the New Mexico Sun that Dinelli’s email address was identified as a potential phishing expedition on March 22 and it was blocked. Eddy said the block was removed March 27 once it was determined the earlier assessment was incorrect.

On Monday night, City Councilor Brook Bassan said it’s clear many Albuquerque residents are angry about this apparent censorship of ideas and commentary.

“I would like to make sure to be very clear that I never directed anyone to block my emails for the city so I would be prevented from … I don’t want to sit there and pick and choose who I hear from from my constituents,” Bassan said during a lively and contentious question-and-answer period with city administration. “And they’re very upset.”

Leech said a tidal wave of emails arrives daily, and city staff does its best to let legitimate messages through, while stopping harmful missives from entering the system. He said 8 million emails were received by the city in the last quarter, and 40% of them, or 3 million, were blocked. Another 700 were reported by city staff as spam or phishing attempts.

He also stated that cities and counties across the country are spending millions to secure their IT systems from harmful attacks, including Ransomware, using “well-established security protocols.”

Bassan asked how the city can reassure citizens that city staff and elected officials will listen and respond to them and their views are not being censored.

“They’re very angry, and I frankly am as well,” she said. “I also respect that we have to be safe and keep the city protected. But we’re here to serve.”

Leech said city staff will reflect on what happened and try to learn from it. Emails are only blocked if they are deemed harmful or suspected as malware or are of malicious origin.

Councilor Louie Sanchez tried, once again, to pin down who exactly blocked Dinelli’s emails.

“Who permitted it? Why did it happen? We’re asking a specific question,” Sanchez said. “Councilor Bassan asked a specific question about who does it, who makes the blocks, who permitted it, how is it decided to do so and why is it done without the permission of the owner of the email.”

Leech said it’s done by the system because an email address is deemed suspicious or potentially harmful. He said hackers often use what appear to be private email addresses in an attempt to gain entry into a system.

Sanchez, without mentioning Dinelli by name, said a blogger’s email address was blocked after he published a column critical of some city actions. Sanchez noted numerous emails have come from that same address many times. Why was it blocked this time?

Leech had no direct response to that.

Sanchez said the council was not getting a straight answer.

“This happens over and over and over again. This body up here, we’re the City Council. We’re the legislative body, the City Council,” he said. “Our job is to check and balance the administration so we need to know exactly what is going on, and we don’t get those answers.”

Leech said he didn’t want to go into details and tip the city’s hand on how it operates its IT security system. He said it was a hasty decision, and once it was determined this was not from a dangerous address, it was unblocked.

Sanchez was unconvinced and said it still appears suspicious.

“It sounds very, very fishy to me,” he said. “That’s what it looks like to us.”

Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael dismissed the idea that this was politically motivated. Rael said the use of spam blockers and other IT defense mechanisms are common techniques.

“Yes, we do block some emails from time to time whenever it is determined either through the systems in our IT world that actually flag those as phishing expeditions or whatever the term may be in that world of IT, that could signal that there could be some folks are trying to phish information, etc., out of our system,” he said. “Once it was determined it wasn’t a phishing expedition, it was unblocked,” he said.

Rael said he had no clue this was happening, and he played no part in the process. He said Mayor Tim Keller was not involved, either.

“It has nothing to do with politics, Councilor Sanchez,” Rael said.

Councilor Klarissa Peña said she appreciated the discussion and was glad the councilors had finally received the emails. Peña asked Rael and Mayor Keller to examine the city’s email policy to ensure citizens are confident their voices are being heard.

Dinelli told New Mexico Sun he watched the meeting and was pleased four councilors pressed city officials on the email issue. But he said more could have been done.

“It was just discussed with Bassan and Sanchez asking questions and administration tapping around with no explanation who blocked and why,” he said. “Only generalities and no disclosure as to exactly how my emails were Malware or malicious. Sanchez called it fishy, but no one asked that the inspector general or internal audit look at.”

The link to the New Mexico Sun article is here:


The New Mexico Sun made contact with  Digital Engagement Manager Erika Eddy and she said the email block was removed March 27. Erika Eddy said the block was put in place after a “misunderstanding” and she told New Mexico Sun this:

“The Department of Technology and Innovation has not received any requests to block Pete Dinelli’s emails and also does not block any emails based on requests. … On March 22, 2023, DTI used its normal security protocols to review an email that was flagged as attempted phishing. The email appeared to fit many criteria for a phishing attempt and was blocked, with the block removed yesterday once it was determined to be non-malicious. DTI has the primary responsibly to keep all city digital assets secure, including the roughly 1.5 million emails sent to the city each month.”

The term “phishing” when it comes to an organization’s internet communications system is generally defined as “A fraudulent practice or  technique of sending emails or other messages purporting to be from reputable source  in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information or sensitive data, such as bank account numbers, through a fraudulent solicitation in email or on a web site  in which the perpetrator masquerades as a legitimate business or reputable person.”

The explanations given at the April 3 city Council meeting   by  Mark Leech, the Director of the Department of Technology and Innovation, and Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael should not be believed by the public and members of the city council. The simple emails transmitting links to articles on news and comment do not met the definition criteria for “phishing”.

For over 6 years, transmittal emails with links to  articles on various city hall issues  have been sent to city councilors and government employees without a single block.  The emails were not a solicitation of any kind, requested no response and did not ask for disclosure of confidential information.  Ostensibly someone was screening what they wanted City Councilors and government employees to see. And that goes for Mayor Tim Keller and his administration.

The on line news agency ABQ Raw is currently in litigation with the City of Albuquerque over being denied access to public documents and information they are entitled to and not being recognized as news agency.  ABQ Raw has an extensive history of negative interactions with APD Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos.  A source at ABQ Raw has revealed that discovery in the civil case shows that APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has been given unprecedented “off site” access to the city Information Technology (IT) and he has access to all emails sent and received by city employees including all APD employees and elected officials and that he has the ability to block emails. Gallegos was not available for questioning by the City Council at the Aril 3 meeting and no one knows if he had anything to do with the blocking of emails.

The biggest question is did Gilbert Gallegos block Dinelli  emails and if not who at City IT did and was it at the direction of Mayor Tim Keller, Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael or Chief Harold Medina? It’s a question the the City’s Inspector General or Internal Audit Department should be asking and demanding a response.


City Council Challenges The Nefarious Conduct Of  APD Public Relations Flack Gilbert Gallegos And Chief Harold Medina On  Social Media Bullying To Vilify Citizens And Judges Done With Backing Of Mayor Tim Keller;  Keller Administration Declines To Disclose Who Blocked 251 Emails Sent To City Employees And Elected Officials

The City of Albuquerque employs between 30 and 35 Public Information Officers (PI0s) who are paid as low as  $35,000 a year and as high as $65,000 a year. Some are classified employees who can only be terminated for cause while others are at will employees and can be terminated without cause and for no reason at the discretion of the Keller Administration. The function of PIO’s is to interreact with the press and the public and distribute accurate information to the public and the press and give interviews where necessary. The APD  Spokespersons  historically have  been sworn police officers assigned APD vehicles with the rational that they understand the duties and responsibilities of police work and  they  wear a police uniform when being interviewed by the press.

Gilbert Gallegos is the current APD Public Information Officer. He is a civilian at will employee and is paid $120,000 a year. Gallegos has no law enforcement training, he is a former Albuquerque Tribune reporter and worked for Governor Bill Richardson and  Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham when she was a congresswoman. When Governor Richardson left office, Governor Susan Martinez terminated him.


The on line news agency ABQ Raw is currently in litigation with the City of Albuquerque over being denied access to public documents and information they are entitled to and not being recognized as news agency.  ABQ Raw has an extensive history of negative  interactions with APD Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos.  A source at ABQ Raw has revealed that discovery in the civil case shows that APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has been given unprecedented “off site” access to the city Information Technology (IT) and he has access to all emails sent and received by city employees including all  APD employees and elected officials and that he has the ability to block emails.

On March 22 it was reported that  251 emails forwarding articles published on to city employees  critical of APD and the Keller Administration  were blocked without any warning and without giving any reason or justification to The blocks occurred after a blog article reporting on APD overtime pay abuses in the millions giving salaries and overtime paid to 250 top paid city hall employees giving names, titles and amounts paid in 2022.   The City IT blocks included the email addresses of all 9 city councilors, the APD Chief’s command staff and many area commanders, captains and lieutenants.

At the April 3 meeting of the Albuquerque City Council, City Councilor Brook Bassan asked why APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos was not present and she  was given no particular reason even though APD Chief Medina gave a presentation along with an APD  commander.  Under questioning by city councilors, City IT Deputy Director Mark Leech and  Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael would not answer and declined to state who specifically was  responsible for the blocking of Dinelli emails, what the specific  criteria was used for the blocking  and who ordered  the blocking. It is unknown if APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos was involved with the blocking in that he was unavailable for questioning by the City Council.


On February 3 and March 22,  KOAT TV Target 7 investigation took to task the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)  for its social media posts that were considered by many as inappropriate. It constituted intimidation and harassment of the general public. APD for its part made no apologies for official tweets on its TWITTER and FACEBOOK page. The source of APDs posts was APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.

The links to the news sources are here:

On April 4, the Albuquerque City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting took to task the Keller Administration and what it considered the nefarious conduct of APD Public Information Officer Gilbert Gallegos. Below are the April  4 published reports by the on-line news agency ABQ Raw and KOAT TV Target 7  on APD Police Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.  Both articles are followed by the link to a related Dinelli blog article entitled “APD Public Relations Flack Gilbert Gallegos And Chief Harold Medina Engage In Social Media Bullying To Vilify Citizens And Judges …  Done With Backing Of Mayor Tim Keller”


“Albuquerque, NM – On April 3rd, 2023 at 5PM, the Albuquerque City Council had it’s monthly meeting to discuss city matters. During the question-and-answer period, City Councilors can ask the Mayor’s office and its department heads any questions they feel are necessary to address during open government.

District 9 City Councilor and Vice President of Council Renee Grout wasted no time during the question-and-answer period to ask the administration about an offensive tweet posted by Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos. She showed on the big screen a tweet that showed Gallegos attacking one of the largest landowners and business men in Albuquerque, Doug Peterson, who owns Peterson Properties.

Councilor and Vice President Grout questioned Chief Administration Officer Lawrence Rael about the behavior of Gallegos’s tweets and if it was considered good customer service.

Rael stammered with his answer and said he had already reviewed his response.

“Look, I have gotten the point of what you all have made and we will visit with that. I am in the opinion we should always be professional and stick to the subject matter,” said Rael.

Rael then went on to back Gallegos saying he was a very dedicated individual public employee and thanked the Councilor for bringing it to his attention.

Council President and District 6 Councilor Pat Davis then called APD Chief Harold Medina to the podium to answer questions about Gallegos’s behavior and why they have not disciplined him for violating APD’s social media policy. Davis asked who Gallegos reports to and followed up who has access to the APD’s PIO Twitter account.

“He answers to the Chief of Police. I would say there is about three who could have access to the PIO account,” said Chief Medina.

Sources tell us that Gallegos is the sole person who has exclusive access to all of the APD run PIO Twitter accounts and changed the login credentials when he came into power for the position. The Tweets and response tweets indicate Gallegos is the sole person running the account. On October 24th, 2022, ABQ RAW posted an editorial about Gallegos behavior. The account responded to a person in a mocking manner saying #recallGilbertGallegos.

Davis then went on to say in the public forum that himself and Rael have talked about Gallegos behavior at least 6 times prior to this meeting. He addressed Rael and Chief Medina with a stern and emotional tone about Gallegos’s behavior.

“This issue has been going on for quite some time. We have had personal conversations and news stories. It is very clear this account that engages with our community is disruptive and unhelpful in engaging the community. It is time to stop! Will you commit that person will no longer be allowed to operate that account until they are retrained or will you continue to allow this person to do so in violation of policy that specifically says they must treat people with respect,” said President of Council Councilor Davis.

Rael responded with: the city will have more conversations with Gallegos about being professional. Davis then doubled down about the Twitter and Gallegos behavior.

“I will work personally to defund that position, to defund that account, and prohibit the City from using Twitter in that way if we continue to not solve this problem. We are not going to pick a fight with people online in social media. We are not Qanon trolls but we are participating in it and encouraging it, and elevating all those people by responding to it and it is beneath the dignity of you, and this department. We do not make fun of our former Police Chief’s health conditions on Twitter and that is too far, and someone needed to be disciplined for it and as far as I can tell it hasn’t happened,” said Davis.

Chief Medina would not confirm if Gallegos was ever disciplined or there is any plan to put Gallegos in remedial training. When Gallegos is brought concerning the tweets the Chief spins it to say people are attacking his officers and this is a way to fight back. He never answers council directly about Gallegos’s job performance.

All of our responses are geared to facts and our responses are geared toward supporting our officers,” said Chief Medina in response back to City Council.

Gallegos has so much support from Keller and Police Chief he was issued a new police SUV complete with lights and sirens. Gallegos uses this vehicle quite often speeding from his residence in the gated community of Tanoan to crime scenes where he has no purpose speeding and using his emergency lights on the vehicle. This vehicle is disguised with a civilian license plate to conceal his employment as a government official.

It is unclear why a civilian PIO needs a police SUV with red and blue lights when other civilians have no take home police cars, no lights, and no sirens at all. We and others have noticed on several instances where Gallegos arrives on scene passing all established crime scene boundaries with his lights engaged.

APD Standard Operating Procedure states only sworn personnel are allowed to use lights engaged in the Use of Emergency Warning Equipment:

2-6-2 Policy

 It is the policy of the Department to adhere to statutory restrictions on the use of emergency warning equipment. Emergency warning equipment is employed only under authorized conditions and circumstances in order to minimize the risk of crashes or injuries to personnel or the community.

 2-6-3 Definitions

 1. Authorized Emergency Vehicle. An authorized law enforcement vehicle displaying a government-issued license plate that is equipped with authorized emergency warning equipment and other emergency warning devices required by New Mexico state statute and used for emergency response situations.

 2. Authorized Emergency Warning Equipment. Equipment on authorized emergency vehicles that emits audible or visual signals in order to warn others that law enforcement services are in the process of being delivered, such as a siren, flashing or rotating red and blue lights, or amber lights.

It is also unclear why PIO Gallegos needs to get to scenes in a hurry and who if anyone actually authorizes his use of emergency lights to scenes or on scenes.

Gallegos’s typical uniform consists of a polo shirt identical to high-ranking officials with “gold” lettering signifying rank and importance. The polo shirts also have affixed the official gold supervisor police patch that sworn supervisory officers wear. All other civilians, such as PSA’s, wear a light blue uniform with a civilian city patch. He could be mistaken and probably is continuously as a sworn law enforcement officer dressed in his current outfit. The practice of driving a police car with lights and siren in a police type uniform hinges on impersonation of an officer and places the city at great risk for lawsuits.

A couple weeks ago there was an officer involved shooting and media personnel saw Gallegos arrive on scene at about 8:15PM with his lights and siren and we waited in great anticipation for a statement from him about what had happened.

Gallegos was not once seen during the hours that media waited on scene patiently for a statement or update and it is unclear what his purpose on scene even was. It seems that Gallegos’s presence was useless, since he made no statement to media whatsoever. Eventually after several delays Chief Medina did make a statement to an unknown solo entity while we along with other stations were oblivious to it. It was a perfect example of PIO Gallegos abusing his powers when he showed up on scene shortly after the smoke of the shooting had cleared.

Gallegos has an office next to the chief on the fifth floor. Gallegos also has a police radio with a call sign, and a police badge, just like Mayor Keller’s. Gallegos is also assigned an assistant director of communications Rebecca Atkins, and he also has two other sworn PIO’s at his disposal. Officer Daren De Aguero and Officer Chase Jewell are the sworn PIO’s however, none of the sworn PIO’s nor Atkins are allowed to make independent comments publicly unless Gallegos has approved it, making the other staff useless.

The sworn officer PIO practice had been in place up until recently when Mayor Keller under his first administration appointed civilian PIO Gilbert Gallegos to the position of “director of communications” for the Albuquerque Police Department. The pay for this civilian PIO position is now comparable to that of a very high-ranking commander at over $100,000 per year. Gallegos, nevertheless, is not of any sworn rank, but he is instead an “at will” disposable employee.

Gallegos is apparently not accountable to the city taxpayers who pay his salary. Not once has Gallegos had to answer to anyone of authority in the Keller administration about his actions. Gallegos has never faced consequences for his actions.

For as long as recent history can remember, the Albuquerque Police Department has employed a spokesperson to deal with the media on behalf of the Chief of Police and its department. For the first few decades, APD relied on internal employees who were sworn officers within the rank and file to serve as the Public Information Officer, AKA PIO. The officer assigned would be trained by PR firms or internal specialists on how to deal with the public and media station inquiries.

This formula worked for decades because people for the most part trusted a sworn member of the police department to be honest and forthcoming about incidents that were of significance to the public’s safety. As we know, upon graduation from a police academy, officers swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution that they will be honest and will be held accountable up to termination if untruthful. By Keller hiring a civilian PIO to replace sworn PIO’s, the position in now not accountable to the US Constitution or any rules or ethics. The civilian PIO is now allowed to constantly lie to the public without consequence to their employment or to anyone else.

This civilian PIO is the same city employee that’s been highlighted by ABQ RAW for years and now recently KOAT for his unacceptable behavior on social media. The behavior consists of harassing business owners, chastising a crime victim’s family, he’s been rude to other Albuquerque residents just for making comments on Twitter, and he’s made inflammatory and derogatory comments, all of which does not reflect well on the City of Albuquerque or the Albuquerque Police Department.

Questions still remain as to why a full-time, high paid PIO is even needed if they only speak during sporadic press conferences. It seems the old way of having a sworn officer fill in these duties would suffice.”

The link to the ABQ Raw article is here:


In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal on Tuesday April 4, Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael described Gallegos as a “dedicated” public employee but said he and Chief Medina have had, and would continue to have, conversations with Gallegos about remaining professional.

Chief Medina for his part told the city  council he feels his department is caught in the crossfire of a “very big political battle” waged by people who loathe Mayor Tim Keller. He said the goal is to defend officers’ work and successes but that the department will do that differently moving forward.  Medina said Gallegos has not been disciplined, nor will he be. He said he had allowed the spokesman to “push back” on some people he believed to be spreading misinformation. Medina said this:

“I have a lot of loyalty from Gilbert. I have a lot of loyalty from my staff. … Anytime somebody threatens to make me look bad, they’re always there to defend me and this department, because they like the direction we’re going.”

The link to the quoted Journal report is here:


Following is the April 4 KOAT Channel 7 report on APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos:

“Albuquerque City Council President Pat Davis gave the police department an ultimatum: either stop the mean tweets they have directed toward people complaining about APD or he will do everything in his power to defund the department’s public information officer position.

“Let me make this clear,” Davis said during Monday’s city council meeting. ”I will work personally to defund that position, to defund that account, and to prohibit the city from using Twitter in that way If we continue to not solve this problem, we are not there to pick a fight with people online on social media.”

A Target 7 investigation has found the Albuquerque Police Department’s public information officer’s Twitter account has been used to poke fun at a former chief’s rumored dementia, attacked property owners who have complained about crime and made fun of crime in an affluent neighborhood.

So far Police Chief Harold Medina and Mayor Tim Keller have taken no action to stop the tweets and have said they have no problem with the responses even though they acknowledge it violates city policy which states when replying to posts on city accounts, city employees are supposed to, “keep it professional and avoid confrontation.”

City officials have said APD public information officer Gilbert Gallegos is behind these tweets. Gallegos is a former Albuquerque Tribune reporter and worked for Governor Bill Richardson and Michelle Lujan Grisham when she was a congresswoman.

“We are not QAnon trolls, but we are participating in it and we are encouraging it and we are elevating all of those people by responding to it,” Davis said. “And it is beneath the dignity of you in this department and everything you’re working on.”

APD had a news conference last week announcing that property crime had dropped 40%.

Former APD officer and attorney Tom Grover took to social media and said, “or another way to look at this is under Chief Geier there was a 23% drop in property crime while under @abqpolicechief there was only 12%”

The APD PIO Twitter responded to Grover’s tweet, “ask your client who is responsible for lower property crime? Oh wait, he probably isn’t aware.”

It has been rumored that Geier had dementia. Grover has said it is not true.

“And we’ve had this conversation. People are allowed to disagree with us,” Davis said. “We do not make fun of our former police chief’s health conditions on Twitter. That is too far and someone needed to be disciplined for it. As near as I can tell, it hasn’t happened. That’s enough. We’ve done with this.”

When asked recently if their tweets followed city policy, Medina told Target 7, “some of them may not, but some of them bluntly point out differences. And I’m okay with that.”

The mayor’s office told Target 7 multiple times they “support the department in their efforts to push back against misinformation on social media.”

[City councilor Pat Davis had this to say]:

“It is very clear that this account in the way it engages with our community is disruptive, is unhelpful to our engaging with the community and our positive relations. … It is not that we are just bringing this to your attention. We have brought it to your attention. Channel seven has brought it to your attention.”

Other councilors also took issue.

“I think it’s unacceptable,” Councilor Renee Grout said. “And, I wouldn’t put up with it in my business, an employee that I had. And, so it needs to change.”

Grout told Medina and Rael she was getting complaints from her constituents and even showed this tweet when Gallegos poked fun at crime in the gated community of Tanoan.

“We are all here to serve the citizens of Albuquerque. Do you think that that response is good customer service,” Grout asked.

“I’ve gotten the point that you all have made, okay. And we will certainly visit with that,” Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael said to Grout. “Look, I have always been of the opinion that we should be professional.”

This time Rael said things were going to change.

“I would commit to you that we will have the conversation with the individual and with the utmost importance that it is about being professional and treating people with respect as you requested,” Rael said.

Target 7 obtained documents that show that more than a year ago a local journalist filed a complaint against Gallegos after he was blocked by a city account and called a troll.

The board found that Gallegos violated three different APD policies.

It’s not clear if Gallegos was ever disciplined. Target 7 filed an open records request and has yet to hear back.”

The link to the KOAT TV report is here:


Relevant portions of  the March 28  Dinelli blog article  entitled “APD Public Relations Flack Gilbert Gallegos And Chief Harold Medina Engage In Social Media Bullying To Vilify Citizens And Judges; Stoop To All Time Low; Done With Backing Of Mayor Tim Keller” merit quoting:


On March 22, KOAT TV Target 7 Investigation reported for a second time that APD’s nasty little tweets were continuing from Public Information Officer flack Gilbert Gallegos and that he had reach a new low.  This time the tweets poked fun at former APD Chief Michael Geier and rumored dementia as well as crime in affluent Tanoan.

EDITOR’S SIDEBAR: Least anyone forgets, former APD Chief Geier was forced to retire on September 10, 2020, some would say terminated, by Mayor Tim Keller and replaced him with APD Chief Harold Medina.  It was  Geier who recruited Medina to return to APD as a Deputy Chief of Field Services. A few days after Geier “retired” it was revealed that Geier was indeed forced out by Mayor Tim Keller.  Chief Geier was summoned to a city park by Mayor Tim Keller during the September 5 Labor Day Holiday weekend where Geier was told that his services were no longer needed. It was also revealed then First Deputy Chief Harold Medina helped orchestrate Geier’s removal. He did so  with the help of  then CAO Sarita Nair.   Medina became insubordinate to Geier and learning Geier was going to take disciplinary action against him and demote and transfer him, Medina struck back.   Geier also hired Gilbert Gallegos as an APD Spokesman and Gallegos was a Medina loyalist.  As soon as Gieir left, Gallegos and Medina both unleashed a torrent of criticism of Chief Geier blaming him for all of APD’s mismanagement all the while Medina himself refused to take any  responsibility for any of his mismanagement as Deputy Chief of the Field Services.

The latest TWITTER exchange began on  March 16, 2023 when APD held a press conference to release the city’s  2022 crime statistics  and announced  that property crime had dropped 40%.  Former APD officer and now private attorney Tom Grover who represents former APD Chief Michael Geier  posted a response on TWITTER to APD’s statistics.

Grover posted this about the crime stats:

“or another way to look at this is under Chief Geier there was a 23% drop in property crime while under @abqpolicechief there was only 12%”

APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallego’s responded to Grover’s post on TWITTER saying this:

ask your client who is responsible for lower property crime? Oh wait, he probably isn’t aware.”

In an interview with Target 7, Grover said this about APD’s TWEET:

“There’s been this really disgusting theory that somehow Chief Geier has dementia or pre-onset Alzheimer’s and that he was forgetful on certain occasions. … They’re just these grotesque aspersions towards the chief. He [Gilbert Gallegos]  was making fun and he was acting in a manner totally inconsistent with what we would expect from the largest law enforcement agency in the state.”

On the same day APD released the city’s crime stats, downtown property owner Doug Peterson tweeted that the crime stats released by Gilbert an “absolute joke.”

APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallego’s responded to Peterson’s TWEET by posting “how’s crime in Tanoan” referring to the affluent gated community

KOAT Target 7 contacted former Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who was also an APD police officer, and asked him about the APD Tanoan TWEET and APDs policy of “pushing back” on social media .  After seeing the APD TWEET, White said this:

I don’t think the family of James Hogan who was murdered in a home invasion in Tanoan would think this tweet is funny. … Which I felt was completely insensitive. …  Pointing out the failures of the mayor and the chief is not misinformation. It’s just criticism.  You’re going to be criticized no matter what you do, good or bad. There are always going to be people that criticize you. And that’s just part of the game.”

Target 7 reached out to the mayor’s office and specifically asked if the mayor condoned tweets that were reportedly making light of someone’s alleged medical condition and crime in an affluent neighborhood. A spokeswoman for Mayor Keller said in an email:

“As stated previously, we support the department in their efforts to push back against misinformation on social media.”


APD Chief Harold Medina’s and APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallego’s social media attacks have not been confined to private citizens that may have legitimate complaints against APD and its job performance. They have been known to go after the courts on social media and level sharp criticism to court rulings attacking and degrading judges for decisions they have rendered and that they disagree with.


In March, 2022, Defendant Adrian Avila was accused  and arrested for allegedly killing 2 people in two separate Albuquerque shootings that occurred 6 months apart. The first is an August 2020 case where a teen was killed during a gun robbery. The second is a February 2021 case where a man was killed in front of his home by his brother’s kidnappers.

Under the law, the prosecution has the burden of proof to make the case that a defendant charged with a violent crime is too dangerous to release from jail pending trial. After an evidentiary hearing, 2nd Judicial District Judge Stanley Whitaker ruled that prosecutors had credible evidence to charge Adrian Avila for the crimes, but prosecutors did not prove “no conditions of release could protect the community.”

Second Judicial District Judge Stan Whitaker granted Avila’s release on strict conditions, including GPS monitoring and a curfew. In addition to wearing a GPS ankle monitor, Whitaker ordered that Avila remain under house arrest and be allowed to leave his mother’s home only to attend a charter high school and for educational purposes. Judge Whitaker’s decision to release Adrian Avila on house arrest with a GPS monitor pending trial drew immediate vilification from APD Chief Harold Medina. APD Spokesman flack  Gilbert Gallegos followed Medina’s lead and on  social media  vilifief the court’s decision.

APD Chief Harold Medina said this in a TV interview:

“These people are accused of killing somebody and we’re counting on an ankle bracelet to protect the community. … [Adrain Avila is] at the root of gun violence. … [His release is] ridiculous.”

The link to the news interview is here:

On Thursday, March 22, at 2:07 pm,  public relations flack Gilbert Gallegos posted on APD’s official FACEBOOK page a photo of Defendant Adrian Avila with the following post:

“A judge released a murder suspect from jail today on an ankle monitor. Adrian Avila is charged for 2 separate murders. Think about that. Two murders. This suspect is at the root of the gun violence we’re seeing in Albuquerque and the record number of homicides.  Our officers and detectives are doing everything possible to investigate and arrest the people who are terrorizing our neighborhoods committing robberies and homicides with stolen guns. At the same time, we are getting reports of violent suspects cutting off their ankle monitors and left to roam the streets until we re-arrest them. This is beyond upsetting. This jeopardizes the safety of our community, including our officers.”

On March 22,  Gallegos posted on APD’s  TWITTER account a photo of Defendant Adrian Avila with part of the same text:

“A judge released a murder suspect from jail today on an ankle monitor. Adrian Avila is charged for 2 separate murders. Think about that. Two murders. This suspect is at the root of the gun violence we’re seeing in Albuquerque and the record number of homicides.”

Gsllegos also posted a follow up TWEET:

“This is beyond upsetting. This jeopardizes the safety of our community, including our officers.”


As a result of the posts, APD’s FACEBOOK page was inundated with over 2,200 overwhelmingly “angry emoji” reactions, over 1,900 shares and over 718 comments. The overwhelming majority of the comments were negative, derogatory and personal attacks on Judge Stan Whitiker.

Below are just a few of the posted public comments on the judge:

Judges who release dangerous criminals need to be held accountable if they commit any crimes!

Yep… that’s New Mexico for you. The criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens.

As a community we need to band together and victims of the crimes of these criminals need to start suing the judges and metro court for releasing them into our community this is ridiculous already

What a slap in the face for the family, friends & law enforcement that have all done their jobs. I’ve lost all faith in the judicial system.

Chief Harold Medina needs to be in the judge’s chambers in front of judge Stan Whitaker and DEMAND answers. How can we hold the criminals accountable when the judge’s themselves aren’t held accountable?

So agreed!!! Unbelievable to see these judges that are a contributing reason for the high crime rate. You officers risk your lives and these judges pour more gasoline on the fire, called crime. I thank you for all you do, and wish we could hold these judges accountable for what do or don’t do!!!

These judges be smoking crack! Jail for life is where people like this need to be. Streets are not safe anymore. AlbuCrazy!!!

That judge should be arrested next.

The fact that this was posted by the APD says alot… I’m sure they are tired of beating the same dam dead horse too. Risking their lives to bring these people in just to have them released.

Y’all need to be in that judge’s chambers asking why. No excuse for that and until we hold judges accountable when they think they are God we’ll see no improvement

So glad we live in a safe city with murders going free!

The people will eventually get tired and start taking them out them self

Expose these judges. Make the public aware of their decisions individually.

This creep committed multiple other crimes and hasn’t been charged! If he had been disciplined in 2018 when he carjacked our boys, maybe these other families would not have had to bury their children. The entire system is a mess!!!

The judges should be the ones to sit and listen to the families of lost family members to gun violence! How many bodies are needed for these “judges” to snap!!?

The judges only care about the criminals they don’t care about y’all or us

Get rid of the judges.

Our justice system is so irresponsible and culpable. These judges are putting us all in danger, including our law enforcement officers, and the police are frustrated because their hands are basically tied. God help us all!!!

What would one of these judges do if one of their family members were murdered? They’d make certain the criminal was not released into the public.

You guys should promote people carrying firearms since the left is already against you guys might as well get the more triggered.

Hopes someone will take care of him.

Someone needs to handle that judge. We’ r Nuevo Mexico.

People like him are the reason why abortion should stay legal, it’s a real shame he didn’t meet the business end of a coat hanger or at the very least have the courtesy to take themselves out lol

Obviously, this judge is a friend of his family. This kind of corruption needs to stop.


Criminal defense Attorney Ahmad Assed, who represents Adrian Avila said it was not the law that failed but law enforcement and the prosecutors who have failed to prove their case and that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Assed argued in his response to the prosecution motions to detain pending trial that the prosecution’s evidence against Avila in the August 2020 homicide was circumstantial evidence and based largely on cellphone and Snapchat account records that did not reliably establish his involvement. In other words, there was no direct evidence such as eyewitness testimony nor forensic evidence such as fingerprints and ballistic testing linking him to the crime.

Assed said this about his client:

“[My client has] no criminal history, no history of failure to appears, he’s got a family that he’s associated with that are law-abiding citizens, hard-working folks, he reached out to law enforcement and sought out the turn-in on his own, and quite frankly conditions have never been in place where we can say he’s ever violated conditions of the court. … We don’t decide cases based on innuendo and DA’s closing arguments geared toward the eye of the media. That was the whole deal today, was just those notion of a closing argument or opening statement for the media’s purposes. It’s not for the court or the judge to discuss the details of the case. The judge must follow the law, and the law clearly requires the state to act. If the state does not act, and in this case, the state did not act, the court must follow the law.”

With respect to Chief Medina, attorney Assed said Medina’s comments were “irresponsible and reckless” statements having the potential to poison a jury pool and raise questions about APD’s ability to investigate crimes objectively and he said this:

“It’s outrageous for Albuquerque’s chief law enforcement officer, who wasn’t even at the hearing, to make a knee-jerk comment that is purely reactionary and pandering.”

Attorney Assed added that Chef Medina and he personally negotiated Avila’s surrender to APD. There was no disclosure if Medina ever asked Assad that his client be held in jail pending trial, yet Medina objects when a judge makes a finding that there was insufficient evidence to hold the accused in jail pending trial.

APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos was asked why Medina believed Avila was the root of gun violence. In response, Gallegos said there is probable cause to believe Adrian Avila committed 2 homicides, and the community has a right to be concerned about the release of someone who faces such serious charges. Gallegos in a statement wrote:

“Mr. Assed is entitled to his opinion. He is a defense attorney and he is understandably concerned about the murder charges against his client. … Chief Medina is focused on the safety of the community and getting justice for the murder victims and their families.”


APD Chief Medina’s blind loyalty to APD politcal flack spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has allowed Gallegos to engage in outrageous conduct that should not be tolerated of any public employee and would normally be grounds for termination. There is no doubt that APD Chief Harold Medina and his APD Public Information flack Gilbert Gallegos know exactly what they are  doing with their social media propaganda releases attacking private citizens and judges. They are both taking it to an all-time low level. They know damn well their social media posts generate extreme hostility and mistrust towards private citizens and judges by those who support APD and we have a Mayor who is allowing them to get away with it.

The condescending drivel and very dismissive remarks by APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallego’s questioning the motives of private citizens, private attorneys and also attacking judges for their decisions is dangerous.   It’s the dangerous drivel coming from APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos and Chief Medina that reflect what is so very, very wrong with APD on so many levels.

A citizen who has what they believe are legitimate complaints about APD does not mean APD has the right to vilify them or take issue with them and just presume that what they say is  inaccurate requiring a public “push back”. It does not mean APD has the right to engage in libel and slander nor violate people’s first amendment rights of free speech nor for that matter due process of law when it comes to the criminally charged.


From a public information standpoint, there is no problem with law enforcement giving interviews and posting on social media information regarding law enforcement initiatives, the status of an investigation and even arrests. However, when it comes to pending criminal prosecutions, APD has no business posting on social media anything that will jeopardize the successful prosecution of a case and anything that vilifies a judge who must decide that case.  Medina and APD posting on social media to express “opinions” regarding a judge’s decision to release a defendant pending trial was irresponsible hyperbole to inflame the public against the court and in a real sense it placed a judge in harm’s way.

Chief Medina and APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos also have a warped misunderstanding of their role when it comes to dealing with the general public and processing citizens’ complaints and talking to citizens in general.  Their attitude as reflected by the TWIITER posts is that unless you agree with APD and all of its actions, you are “anti cop” and you are a “cop hater”.  Chief Medina and APD Spokesman Gallegos taking to social media to respond to what’s posted on a public forum that they personally disagree is irresponsible and it is dangerous and eventually it is  going to get someone hurt.

It’s a practice Mayor Tim Keller should not tolerate from his Chief let alone a public relations flack like Gilbert Gallegos as APD spokesperson. Mayor Tim Keller should tell both his Chief and the APD Spokesperson to tone it down and show more respect to the public that they are supposed to “serve and protect” not “vilify and slander.”

Keller should also rescind APD’s social media policy and instruct the city attorney’s office to review and approve all of  APD’s social media posts to ensure that its not engaging in libel and slander of private citizens.

The City Inspector General and Internal Audit should open an investigation to determine who has City IT access and if city policy is being violated.

When an APD Spokesman becomes the news as opposed to reporting the news, it is  time to ask them to move on. The time has come for Mayor Tim Keller to thank APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos for his services and that his services are no longer needed by the City. That probably should include Chief Harold Medina, but Mayor Keller Keller will never admit  the poor job he is doing.

APD Releases Officer Involved Shooting Report; Action Items To Reduce Police Shooting Identified; APD “Going To Have To Figure Stuff Out On Its Own” Not Too Reassuring After Millions Spent On Reforms And Training

In 2022, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) experienced 18  police officer involved shootings (“OIS”).  The first happened on February 1 and the last on November 25, 2021.  10 of those shootings were fatal and exceeds the number of deadly force and excessive force cases that brought the Department of Justice to the city in 2012 to investigate APD.

Given the high number of shootings, APD decided to create an executive “working group” to review each of the 18 officer involved shootings and prepare findings and recommendations.  The working group of APD leadership consisted of  Deputy Chief of Compliance Cori Lowe, Internal Affairs Deputy Director Zak Cottrell, IA Force Investigations Commander Scott Norris, Field Services Deputy Chief Josh Brown, Investigative Bureau Deputy Chief Cecily Barker and Police Reform Bureau Deputy Director Jimmy Collins. For two months, the group   reviewed each of the 18 shootings looking for trends and places for improvement.

On March 23, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) held a press conference and released its Officer Involved Shooting Report (OIS) dated March 9.  APD also announced changes in policy it is making in response to the report. The OIS report gives a detailed analysis of each of the 18 shootings and provides case numbers and dates. The link to review the entire 21 page report is here:

During the March 23 press conference, Deputy Chief of Compliance Cori Lowe said the working group looked over each of the 18 police shootings from the initial dispatch records, to lapel videos, to reports from the Force Review Board. Even when a police shooting was within policy the working group suggested ways in which officers could have done better.  Lowe said this of the process used to review the 18 cases:

“We went case by case and we tried to figure out what was similar between all of them … and what trends that we saw from each of our individual aspects. … Then we had to try to bring it down and say, ‘OK, what exactly is important for this specific particular topic? …  These were the biggest priorities for this go round.”

APD Chief Harold Medina for his part said the department plans to do a similar review every 6 months.  Medina said this:

“It’s great we started it last year but, in retrospect, I wish we would have done it six months earlier. … The Albuquerque Police Department is going to have to figure stuff out on its own when the Department of Justice leaves, and it’s going to be a community expectation. … This is one of the first major steps we’ve done in making sure that we have the system in place that we’re taking into consideration … and how we want to function as a police department.”


Since November 16,  2014, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has been under a Federal Court Approve Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating 271 reforms after the U.S. Department of Justice investigation found a “culture of aggression” within APD with the its use of excessive force and deadly force, especially when dealing with people with mental illness and having psychotic episodes.

The CASA mandated APD adopt a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for misconduct and violations of policies, especially violations of excessive use of force and deadly force. Personnel procedures were implemented which included outlining details how use of force cases and deadly force cases must be investigated. The CASA requires far more reporting by officers and field supervisors. It requires detailed reviews of those reports up the chain of command within the department. Sergeants and lieutenants are required to be much more involved in field supervision and review of use of force and deadly force.

Every officer-involved shooting is investigated by the Internal Affairs Force Division (“IAFD”). Currently, the External Force Investigation Team (“EFIT”) supports IAFD personnel in completing timely and quality use of force investigations.   The requirements of the substance and quality of completed IAFD investigations as well as training and procedure are governed by the Court Approved Settlement.

All completed Officer Involved Shooting investigations are sent for consideration by the Force Review Board (“FRB”). The Force Review Board extensively reviews each case and confirms the investigative findings are supported by evidence, identifies violations of policy, and assesses the incidents for policy, training, equipment, or tactical concerns. A Multi-Agency Task Force required by the settlement agreement is tasked with conducting criminal investigations into all OIS and other instances of potential criminal conduct by APD officers.


“An OIS is considered the use of deadly force under APD’s use of force policy regardless of whether the individual is killed, or even struck, by law enforcement. APD’s deadly force policy provides: “an officer shall not use deadly force against an individual unless the officer has probable cause to believe an individual poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or anyone else.” …  In addition, APD officers must attempt to use de-escalation, when feasible, prior to using deadly force and the use of deadly force must be the minimum force necessary under the circumstances.”

(Page 1, OIS report)


“The APD working  group did not re-examine whether the shootings were within APD’s policy or the quality of the investigations. Even if every OIS was within policy, one of the purposes of the working group was to explore whether there are methods to reduce the overall number of OIS. In conducting this analysis, the working group explicitly applied the “20/20 vision of hindsight”, using information gathered after the shooting as well as information on other OIS to assess these incidents.

The findings of the working group [did]  not address whether the officer’s actions were objectively reasonable. Further to the extent the working group identified similarities in OIS, these are not sufficient to evidence a pattern of conduct. When reviewing the OIS, the working group gave special consideration to whether de-escalation was used and where the use of a less lethal tool earlier in the encounter might have avoided the need for deadly force.

To be clear, a determination that officers may have missed an opportunity for less-lethal force does not indicate that less-lethal force rather than deadly force should have been used at the time of the shooting, but that less-lethal force might have brought the incident to a resolution before the need for deadly force arose.”


The raw data gathered and the trends identified  by the APD Executive Working Group  on the 18 Shootings  is as followed:

LOCATION: Six of the 18 OIS were located in the Foothills Area Command, four were in Valley Area Command, and Southwest, Southeast, Northwest, and Northeast Area Commands each had two OIS.

USE OF WEAPONS:  Eight out of 18 OIS involved individuals discharging a firearm at the time of the OIS. During 1 of the incidents, the individual was actively committing a homicide.  Three out 18 of OIS involved an individual pointing a firearm at officer. In 1 shooting, the suspect was reaching for a firearm after being ordered not to retrieve it.  Two of the 18 OIS involved suspects with edged weapons. In total, 14 out of 18 of individuals subjected to deadly force were armed or attempting to arm themselves. Three out of 18 involved the use of perceived weapons which ultimately determined to not be lethal weapons. One individual was armed with a rock which he threw at officers prior to the shooting.

USE OF LESS-LETHAL MUNITIONS:  In three OIS, less-lethal munitions were attempted. In one OIS, less-lethal was used simultaneously with deadly force. The working group determined three OIS involved situations where the use of less-lethal force earlier in encounter might have resolved the situation and thus, avoided the need for deadly force.

USE OF DE-ESCALATION: De-escalation tactics were used in three (3) shootings. In  13  OIS, the working group determined de-escalation was not feasible due based on the facts of each case. The working group determined de-escalation should have been used but was not in two OIS.

IDENTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUAL PRIOR TO OIS:  In 8 out of 18 OIS, officers knew the identity of the individual prior to the shooting.

IDENTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUALS IN CRISIS:  Six of the individuals involved in an OIS had a history of calls involving mental health. However, 3  of these individuals were not identified by law enforcement prior to the shooting, thus there was no way for officers to know about any crisis intervention  history. Of the remaining three individuals who were identified as having a history of crisis intervention (CIT)  calls and CIT officers were dispatched to two of these scenes.

COMPLIANCE WITH APD POLICY:  In two of the OIS, at least one officer’s use of deadly force was found to violate APD’s policy. These 2  officers were terminated from employment with APD.

TIMING OF OIS:  Six  out of 18  of OIS occurred on Tuesdays. The working group considered whether Tuesdays tend to  be understaffed and otherwise attempted to evaluate whether staffing levels coincided with OIS. Based upon available data, the working group was unable to determine a link between staffing levels and increased OIS. Ten of the 18 occurred between 10PM and 4AM, 16 on the Swing or Graveyard shift. Younger officers with less seniority are more likely to work the Swing or Graveyard shift than more experienced officers. The working group discussed mentorship of officers which may be affected by fewer experienced officers on the shift.

EXPERIENCED OF OFFICERS-INVOLVED:  Twenty of the officers involved in an OIS had six or less years of experience. This represents nearly 2/3 of officers involved in an OIS in 2022.

PRIOR FORCE USAGE:  There were 33 officers involved with  the 18  OIS  who had a total of 87 prior uses of force since the beginning of 2020. Of these 87 incidents, seven were out of policy. Four officers involved in an OIS in 2022 had at least one prior OIS. An additional 21 officers at the 2022 OIS incidents applied force that was not deadly force (e.g. pointing a firearm or an electronic control weapon. These officers had a total of 50 previous uses of force with one (2%) out of policy.

CHARACTERISTICS OF INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED:  All 17 of the known individuals involved in the use of force incidents were men. There is one case where the involved individual is unknown. The youngest individual was 18 and the oldest was 59. The median age of involved individuals was 29 and the mean was 34. The percentage of Black and Native American individuals involved in OIS is higher than their population proportion in Albuquerque.


The March 9 Officer Involved Shooting Report identified the following 7 areas where it is going to train and equip APD police officers to help lessen and or prevent future officer involved shootings.


“More effective use of hands-on tactics may have allowed officers to bring some situations to a resolution prior to the use of deadly force. APD will consider increased maintenance training for officers regarding hands-on tactics. APD will ensure the training is provided by qualified staff and delivers consistent instruction.”


“The working group identified several OIS incidents in which there was potential opportunity for the use of less-lethal munitions prior to the use of deadly force. APD identified an issue with the policy, which has already been addressed in revisions to APD’s use of force policy published in January 2023. These revisions clarify the circumstances under which less-lethal force may be used and standardize the justification for using similar types of less-lethal force. APD has released a brief training video to address these issues ahead of planned start date of April 2023 for more in-depth training on the revised policy. Further, APD drafted its upcoming Reality-Based Training scenarios to focus on situations commonly faced by officers as well as issues discussed during the working group. In addition, APD will ensure officers continue to receive training on weapons selection to ensure less-lethal options are effective. Specifically, APD will continue to issue reminders about the limitation of Electronic Control Weapons (ECW) during colder months due to bulky clothing.”


“In several of the OIS incidents, there were critical situations that might have benefited from a supervisor on scene and/or more active involvement from supervisors. The working group will ensure APD return into policy for both APD and Emergency Communications that supervisors respond to certain calls for service. Finally, APD will increase focus on command and control during maintenance training for supervisors to include scenario-based training.”


“A significant number of officers involved in shootings had less than six years of experience. This observation is not surprising as the majority of OIS incidents occur with the Field Services Division and less-experienced officers tend to be assigned to FSB, during night shifts. APD officers complete a lengthy training academy as well as field training program upon graduation. However, to ensure newer officers continue to benefit from the guidance of more experienced officers, the working group recommends APD evaluate implementing a policy that Patrolmen Second Class (officers with a year or less experience) are not sent to calls for service with other P2C unless there is an urgent need. APD already limits the number of P2C officer bidding into the same squad.”


“One of the trends that emerged from review of 2022 OIS incidents is the number of times individuals fired upon officers. APD will evaluate providing all supervisors with a ballistic shield who will provide the shields to their officers during critical incidents when necessary. Additionally, APD will evaluate providing magnifier optic for officers with rifles. Magnifier optics can provide increased visualization for officers and may assist officers in evaluating the threat presented by an individual from a distance.”


“At least one OIS incident occurred after the primary suspect was taken into custody. Although policy and several legal doctrines allow officers to briefly search the area where individuals are taken into custody, APD will evaluate these policies to ensure officers do not have potentially unnecessary confrontations with individuals who are not suspected of a crime. To the extent a warrant is issued for a particular residence, APD will consider whether additional resources are necessary to execute a search warrant.”


“APD policy requires that officers attempt to render medical aid following an OIS incident, where officer safety considerations allow. One OIS incident was referred for further investigation for failure to render medical aid. Although APD does not have sufficient information to make a determination as to whether additional efforts would have improved the individual’s outcome, APD remains committed to ensuring officers provide appropriate medical care within their abilities. APD will ensure officers continue to receive training on wound care and will include post-incident wound care in future RBT scenarios.”

APD plans to hold these police shooting reviews every six months. Some of the new training for these changes will start in April.

APD intends to convene this working work on a semi-annual basis moving forward to discuss any future officer involved shootings.

The links to quoted news source material are here:

Click to access apd-2022-ois-review-report.pdf


On  November 9, 2022 Federal Court Appointed Independent Monitor James Ginger filed his 16th Report on the Compliance Levels of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the City of Albuquerque with Requirements of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement. The 16th Federal Monitors report is a 332 page report that covers the 16th reporting period  covers the time period of February 1, 2022, through July 31, 2022.The link to review the entire 16th Federal Monitors report is here:

Under the terms and conditions of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA), once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in the 3 identified compliance levels and maintains it for 2 consecutive years, the case can be dismissed. Originally, APD was to have come into compliance within 4 years and the case was to be dismissed in 2020.

The 3 compliance levels can be explained as follows:


Primary compliance is the “policy” part of compliance. To attain primary compliance, APD must have in place operational policies and procedures designed to guide officers, supervisors and managers in the performance of the tasks outlined in the CASA. As a matter of course, the policies must be reflective of the requirements of the CASA; must comply with national standards for effective policing policy; and must demonstrate trainable and evaluable policy components.


Secondary compliance is attained by implementing supervisory, managerial and executive practices designed to and be effective in implementing the policy as written, e.g., sergeants routinely enforce the policies among field personnel and are held accountable by managerial and executive levels of the department for doing so. By definition, there should be operational artifacts such as reports, disciplinary records, remands to retraining, follow-up, and even revisions to policies if necessary, indicating that the policies developed in the first stage of compliance are known to, followed by, and important to supervisory and managerial levels of the department.


Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency e.g., line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.

On  November 9, 2022 Federal Court Appointed Independent Monitor James Ginger filed his 16th Report on the Compliance Levels of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the City of Albuquerque with Requirements of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement. The 16th Federal Monitors report is a 332 page report that covers the  the 16th reporting period  covers the time period of February 1, 2022, through July 31, 2022.The link to review the entire 16th Federal Monitors report is here:

The Federal Monitor reported that as of the end of the IMR-16 reporting period, APD’s compliance levels are as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100% (No change)
Secondary Compliance: 99% (No change)
Operational Compliance: 80%. (10% increase from 70%)


This is the first time APD has released police shooting trends.  APD is now saying it needs to prepare for the day the Department of Justice leaves and it needs to find a way how to navigate through trends and situations. As was originally negotiated, the time frame was 4 years of implementation of the 271 CASA reforms, yet we are into the 7th year of implementation.

It’s likely the DOJ will be here at least another 3 years and even then there is no guarantee they will be gone.  Given the progress that APD has made with the compliance levels, there is a chance APD will reach the 95% compliance in each of the 3 compliance levels within a year but after that there must be 2 years of sustained compliance of 95%.  APD’s history is that they make progress and then backslide resulting in more monitoring. After millions spent the on reforms and training of officers over 7 years, there is still very little assurance that the City will be rid of the DOJ once and for all as hope springs eternal.

The general public can take very  little comfort when our ever so  eloquent APD Chief  Harold Medina says “The Albuquerque Police Department is going to have to figure stuff out on its own when the Department of Justice leaves.”  The biggest “stuff” APD is going to have to figure out after the Department of Justice leaves is not reverting back to its old ways of engaging in a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force and a systemic culture of aggression that brought the DOJ here in the first place.

City Announces “Land Swap” With State; Kills Safe Outdoor Space For Sex Trafficking Victims And City Solid Waste Transfer Station; Keller Tries To Make Fools Of Both Applicants And Opponents Of Menaul Safe Outdoor Space

On Saturday, April 1, April Fool’s day”, Mayor Tim Keller and New Mexico State Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla held a press conference at the vacant land located at 1250 Menaul NE to announce that the city has “swapped” the city owned property for 2 state owned properties.   The property at 1250 Menaul NE consists of two prime commercial vacant lots comprising 13.5 acres of land with an estimated value of at $4,333,500. The city swapped the land at 1250 Menaul NE for 2 state-owned properties.  One state property is located 401 Commercial NE, just northeast of the Convention Center and the second is at 3401 Pan American NE, along Interstate 25 near Candelaria.

The land swap was touted as a “win-win” transaction by both Mayor Tim Keller and State Senator Michael Padilla.  Keller said the state property exchange will allow the city to expand the Rail Trail and provide a larger, more-accessible space for a Solid Waste transfer station.  The Menaul site will be used for a public safety headquarters to replace the central New Mexico State Police office in Albuquerque located on Carlisle and provide a location for law enforcement training and operations.

Mayor Tim Keller said this:

“[Land swaps] are fairly routine, and they’re always important. … So this is a keystone piece of land … to make the Rail Trail possible. [It] does mean that we are going to get the access and the land we need to have a sort of anchor point for the Rail Trail.   [This is a] win-win. It brings closure to several key land questions for City services and public spaces in the city core. … Because the state is getting this land there will be no safe outdoor space or transfer station on Menaul.  …  So by default there is closure on the question of whether or not there will be a safe outdoor space at this location.”

In a news release, the city said the property 401 Commercial NE Commercial  located NE of the convention center  will play “an important role” for the future of the Rail Trail which is  described as “a transformational pedestrian-friendly path” connecting the Rail Yards to Downtown, the Sawmill District and Old Town.

It was in January the city Solid Waste Department announced that it was looking at the Menaul property for a future garbage transfer station where city garbage trucks would drop off loads to be taken by larger vehicles to the landfill. The transfer station would have been between the Safe Outdoor Space and the Sunset Memorial Cemetery.

The April 1 city press release states the Pan American site is an ideal location for a solid waste transfer station and it will allow easier access for large city vehicles. The city also stated that homeless providers “may still apply for safe outdoor spaces at other locations in the city.”

State Senator Padilla said the city property swap is for roughly equal valued state land saying the  traded properties are “almost even-steven”.   Padilla was not able to  give an estimated cost of the public safety headquarters.  He did say a modernized law enforcement facility will be built on the Menaul property  and the site will give law enforcement fast access to the Big I, where they can head any direction in response to unfolding situations.

Padilla said this:

“There are five disparate offices in Central New Mexico related to public safety and the state police, and what this is going to do is it’s going to consolidate all of those services onto this property. There will be greater coordination, planning efficiency. … We have a giant crime problem here in New Mexico and this is going to help in a tremendous way to positively affect that issue. … I think this is going to lend itself to really telling the bad guys, ‘Hey, we’re serious about this. We’re on top of this, we have more efficient operations.”

Padilla noted that since the land swap is a joint resolution, it only had to pass the state Senate and House. It does not need approval from the governor.

The links to quoted news sources are here:


It was last year on July 30, 2022 that  Dawn Legacy Point filed the very first application for a “Safe Outdoor Space” homeless tent encampment to be located at 1250 Menaul. The homeless encampment was intended to be a city sanctioned tent encampment  for upwards of 50 women who are homeless and who are “sex-trafficking victims”.

On August 8, 2022 the City Planning Department approved the Dawn Legacy Point application behind closed doors without giving notice to surrounding property owners, neighborhood associations and businesses as require by law. The Planning Department held no public hearing on the application and the Family Community Services Department gave Dawn Legacy assistance in identifying city property for the SOS, assisted with its design and with the application and agreed to provide funding.

Appealing the Planning Department decision were the Santa Barbara-Martineztown Neighborhood Association; Crowne Plaza hotel; LifeRoots Inc.; Sunset Memorial Park, Greater Albuquerque Hotel and Lodging Association; Menaul School; and Albuquerque Hotel Project.

On Friday, March 16, City Land Use Hearing Officer Steven M. Chavez granted the appeal of the 7 organizations to stop the City and the charitable organization Dawn Legacy Pointe  from constructing a Safe Outdoor Space (SOS) on the two city own lots located at 1250 Menaul Blvd. NE.  The hearing officer found the city should not have approved a safe outdoor space for that site in the first place. The hearing officer recommended to the City Council to reverse the approval by the Planning Department and it was likely the City  Council would have done that on April 3.

On March 28, Dawn Legacy Pointe announced that it had  withdrawn its application for a Safe Outdoor Space at 1250 Menaul Blvd. NE  citing the Council would likely affirm the hearing officer. The application withdrawal renders  moot any hearing and final decision by the City  Council on the SOS.


The Dawn Legacy point applicants and the 7 appellants likely feel that they have been made fools of  to an extent by Mayor Tim Keller on April 1 when he announced the land swap. There is very little doubt that this “win-win” land swap has been in the works for some time and likely for last 8 months. Confidential sources confirmed the Governor Lujan Grisham Administration expressed back in August of last year the desire to acquire not only the city owned Menaul property but as well as Coronado Park for state facilities.   Yet Mayor Tim Keller said absolutely nothing until April 1, April Fool’s Day, about what was going on behind the scenes, behind closed doors and only after it was a done deal.

Safe Outdoor Spaces have been one of the most divisive issues in the city for the last full year pitting City Councilors against each other and against Mayor Keller and his Administration and the general public.  Safe Outdoor Space city sanctioned homeless encampments are not just an issue of “not in my back yard,” but one of legitimate anger and mistrust by the public against city elected officials and department employees who have mishandled the city’s homeless crisis and who are determined to allow them despite strong public opposition. The general public has legitimate concerns that Safe Outdoor Space homeless tent encampments will become crime-infested nuisances, such was the case with Coronado Park when it became the de facto city sanction tent encampment, another Tim Keller bright idea.

The Planning Department and the Family and Community Services Department went out of their way to give preferential treatment and financial aid to the Dawn Legacy applicants for a Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused woman who are “sex-trafficking victims”.  Never mind the fact that victims of sex trafficking need stable and permanent housing and services and placing such women to live in tents  is very degrading and revictimizes them again.

It was Mayor Tim  Keller who just last year on April 1, 2022 first advocated  for “Safe Outdoor Spaces” by sneaking  $950,000 in his 2022 general fund budget for them. The City Council haplessly agreed to Safe Outdoor Spaces zoning amendments and then reversed course after public outcry and anger.  Three times the City Council attempted to exclude them but they failed with Keller vetoing the city council measures.

Keller and his administration have put the public through the emotional wringer by first encouraging and giving preferential treatment to Dawn Legacy with their application. Once approved, residents, businesses and neighborhood associations had to jump through the legal hoops with two appeal hearings, spend enormous amounts of time, energy and attorney fees and emotional capital to oppose the Manual property for a  Safe Outdoor Space.  Keller could have saved a lot of people a lot of misery, time and money by simply telling the parties something was in the works and that the Menaul property would likely  not be available within a matter of months.

This is not the way government is supposed to work.  Keller runs around with a smile on his face and a grin in his voice telling everyone nothing is wrong, he knows what he is doing and being less than candid until he can have a press conference to make an announcement.

The City Council has already approved amendments to the Integrated Development Ordinance that allows 2 Safe Outdoor Spaces for each of the 9 city council districts for a total of 18. Two applications have already been approved, one at the city owned property  westside shelter and one at the “Coming Home” unhoused facility on Candelaria.

Now that the Menaul property is no longer available for a Safe Outdoor Space, the City Council needs act immediately and enact legislation that prevents the city from making available for safe outdoor spaces any city owned open space zoned for industrial, commercial or residential use.  Otherwise the City Council  will continue to run the risk of being made fools of once again by Mayor Tim Keller.