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

Before You Sign City Council Nominating Petitions Or Donate $5 For Public Financing, Ask Questions, Know Where Candidates Stand

The regular 2023 municipal election to elect city councilors for City Council Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8 will be held on November 7, 2023 along with $200 Million in bonds to be approved by city voters. The City Clerk has posted on its city  web page the election calendar and information for all candidates.


The 2023 Regular Local Election Calendar for candidates began on April 30 with an “exploratory period” to allow candidates to organize and collect “seed money” donations  and ended on June 4.


The November 7 municipal election will remake the council and perhaps there will be a shift from the current Democrat control to a Republican controlled city council. Three of the four incumbents whose seats are on the ballot are not running for reelection and they are District 2’s Democrat Isaac Benton, District 6’s Democrat  Pat Davis and District 8’s Republican Trudy Jones. The only sitting councilor running this year is District 4’s first term Republican Brook Bassan and thus far she is running unopposed.  The city  council’s five other seats will not be decided again until 2025 and will include the Mayor’s race. Mayor Tim Keller has told at least 2  of his closest aides in the Mayor’s office that he is running for a third term. There are no term limits for city councilor nor the Mayor.

The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, the city’s  increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health  care programs and little economic development. Mayor Tim Keller is also proclaiming that the city is suffering from a low income housing crisis with the city in need of 13,000 to 30,000 new housing units as he proposes  what he calls “transformative changes” to the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) to allow construction of casitas and duplexes on virtually all residential property within the city to increase density and motels conversions where the city buys existing motels and converts them to low income housing.


Known candidates listed on the City Clerks web page as of June 5 include the following candidates listed:


  • Joaquin Baca, Democrat, a hydrologist and elected member of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District who intends to seek public financing.
  • Loretta Naranjo Lopez, Democrat, a retired city planner and current member of the New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association Board who intends to seek public financing.
  • Moises A. Gonzalez (No other information immediately available)


  • Brook Bassan, Republican, a stay-at-home mom and incumbent councilor who intends to seek public financing


  • Jeff Hoehn, Democrat, a nonprofit executive director who intends to seek public financing.
  • Abel Otero, Democrat, a barber who intends to seek public financing.
  • Joseph Pitluck Aguirre, Independent, a dentist and software development. company owner who intends to run a privately financed campaign.
  • Kristin Greene (No other information immediately available)
  • Jonathan Ryker Juarez (No other information immediately available)
  • Nichole Rogers (No other information immediately available)
  • Kristin “Raven” Greene (https://raven4d6.com/)


  • Dan Champine, Republican, a retired police officer and current mortgage lender who intends to seek public financing
  • Idalia Lechuga-Tena, Democrat, a consultant and former state representative who intends to seek public financing

The link to the City clerk’s website listing candidates is here:




All too often, city council races are ignored by many voters and the campaigns do not really heat up until the very last month of the campaign. Most city council races are won with direct voter contact and candidates going “door to door” looking for support and votes.  Before signing any petitions or donating to candidates, voters should know where candidates stand on the major issues they care about and what they will do if elected.

A few questions and issues candidates for City Council  need to think about and disclose their positions on include the following:



BACKGROUND:  Two New Mexico County Commissions and 3 municipalities have pass ordinances restricting a woman’s right to choose by prohibiting the operation of abortion clinics. The ordinances are  based on the Comstock Act which is federal legislation from the 1870s that prohibits the mailing of “obscene material,” including medication or equipment used in abortions.

1. Are you in favor of the City Council enacting similar legislation in the form of prohibiting the city from issuing licenses to do business in Albuquerque to any health care provider that provides abortion services?

2, During the last fiscal year, the city council  funded Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services, $150,000. Do you feel the City should continue providing funding to Planned Parenthood?


 BACKGROUND:   The exclusive authority on gun control is given to the New Mexico legislature and municipalities are barred by the New Mexico constitutions from enacting such legislation.   The 2023 New Mexico 60 day legislative began on January 17 and came to an end on March 18.  Upwards of 40 gun control measures were introduced, but only 10 were seriously considered and of those 10, only 2 made it through the session to become law. Among the laws that failed were banning the sale of AR-15-style rifles and prohibiting the sales magazines with more than 10 rounds.


1. Do you feel the City should seek home rule authority to allow it to prohibit the city from issuing a yearly license to do business in Albuquerque by any retail business that sells AR-15-style rifles and prohibiting the sales magazines with more than 10 rounds?

2. What gun control measures do you support and feel the city should support in its annual legislative priorities presented to the legislature?


BACKGROUND:  Each year the “Point in Time” (PIT) survey is conducted to determine how many people experience homelessness on a given night in Albuquerque, and to learn more about their specific needs. The PIT count is the official number of homeless reported by communities to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help understand the extent of homelessness at the city, state, regional and national levels.

In August, the 2022 the Point In Time (PIT) homeless survey reported that the number total homeless in Albuquerque was 1,311 with 940 in emergency shelters, 197 unsheltered and 174 in transitional housing. On May 22, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) released a  report on the state’s homeless and the affordable housing shortage.  The LFC report included the preliminary estimates yet to be  finalized 2023 Point In Time (PIT) annual homeless count.

The 2023 PIT preliminary data revealed  a significant 48% uptick in the state’s homeless population going from upwards of 2,600 people to nearly 4,000 people. The increase was reportedly driven primarily by an increase in the unsheltered count with 780 more people in Albuquerque and 232 more in the rest of the state. According to the LFC report, the 2023 Albuquerque unsheltered count increase by 780 more people. In otherwards Albuquerque homeless went from 1,311 in 2022 as reported by PIT  to 2,091 as reported by the LFC.

Over the past two fiscal  years, the City Council has approved and budgeted $33,854,536 for homeless emergency shelters, support, mental health and substance abuse programs and $60,790,321 for affordable housing programs for the low-income, near homeless.  It has also approved funding for  two 24/7 homeless shelters, including purchasing the Gibson Medical Center for $15 million to convert it into a homeless shelter. The Family and Community Services approved 2023-2024 budget lists forty five (45) separate affordable housing contracts totaling $39,580,738, fifteen (15) separate emergency shelter contracts totaling $5,575,690, and twenty seven (27) separate homeless support service contracts totaling $5,104,938 for a total of $50,261,366


  1. Do you feel that the city homeless numbers have reached a crisis level and do you feel the Keller Administration has been effective in handling or managing the crisis?
  2. 2. Should the City continue to fund city services to the homeless or near homeless at the current levels?
  3. Do you feel more or less should be spent on dealing with the homeless?
  4. What more do you feel can and should be done to reduce the homeless population in Albuquerque?
  5. What services should the City provide to the homeless and poor if any?
  6. Should the city be more involved with the county in providing mental health care facilities and programs?
  7. Would you be in favor of the City Attorney’s office participation in a mental health “civil commitment” program of the homeless suffering from mental illness and drug addiction where they would not be criminally charged or prosecuted and jailed but committed to a behavioral health and drug addiction facility or hospital  after a court of law finds that they represent a danger to themselves and/or the general public as found by a court of law relying on existing state laws for such commitment hearings where due process of law is followed and representation is required by law?


BACKGROUND: On May 9, Title 10 referred to as the Covid-era restrictions that allowed immigration officials to quickly turn away migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border expired at ushering in tougher policies for asylum-seekers. Republican controlled state governors such as Florida and Texas are busing migrants seeking asylum to major cities such as New York and Washington DC.


1. Should the city of Albuquerque provide housing or services to migrants seeking asylum and to what extent?


BACKGROUND: The City of Albuquerque has never been a “sanctuary city” where law enforcement is prohibited from enforcing federal laws and local government provides services to migrants seeking asylum. In 2001, the Albuquerque City Council enacted a resolution that declared Albuquerque an “immigrant-friendly”city and 10 years later the city council voted to affirm the policy. An “immigrant-friendly” city implements “welcoming city” policies and does not provide for city enforcement of federal immigration laws, and addresses only city services, including licensing and housing.

2.   Albuquerque’s “immigrant-friendly” designation welcomes immigrants to the city and is mainly symbolic. Should the city remain an immigrant friendly city as defined by city ordinance?


1.Should the current Mayor-City Council form of government where the Mayor is the Chief executive officer who appoints department directors to manage the city and the City Council is the legislative policy making body be replaced with a City Council – City Manager form of government where the Mayor would be a nonvoting member of the city council with no veto authority with all the Mayor’s executive functions vested in a council appointed city manager?

2. Do you feel the position of an elected City Councilor should be a part time paid position or a full-time paid position that should prohibit outside employment as is the case with Mayor?

3. On March 24, it was reported that the Citizens Independent Salary Commission responsible for making recommendations for compensating city elected officials voted to recommend increasing the pay of city councilors by 87%.  If approved, city councilor pay would go from the present $33,600 to $62,843 a year.  Are you in favor of the pay increase or should city councilor pay remain the same?

4. Are you in favor of a state “right to work statute” that would impact or eliminate city employee unions,

5. Should city unions be prohibited from endorsing candidates for municipal office?

6. As a candidate for city council will you seek and will you accept the endorsement of any city of Albuquerque union, including the endorsement of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association and the Fire Fighters local union?

7. Are you in favor of privatizing city services or work such as public safety, the 311 call center operations, the bus system or the maintenance and repair work done at city facilities such as the Bio Park?

8. Are you in favor of the city bus transit be free at charge to the general public?


BACKGROUND: On October 18, 2022 Mayor Tim Keller announced his “Housing Forward ABQ” plan. It is a “multifaceted initiative” where Mayor Keller is hoping to add 5,000 new housing units across the city by 2025 above and beyond what private industry normally creates each year. “Motel conversions” are a major component of Keller’s “Housing Forward Abq” plan and is where the City’s Family & Community Services Department  acquires and renovates existing motels to develop low-income affordable housing.  Mayor Keller wants to add as many as 1,000 housing units with motel conversions, with the city’s own estimated costs for remodeling being $100,000 per unit.

1.Are you in favor of motel conversions and if so to what extent should the city council be involved with approving the acquisitions?

BACKGROUND:  Amendments to the  Integrated Development Ordinance, which is the city’s zoning laws,  allows for the land use known as “Safe Outdoor Spaces” to deal with the homeless crisis. “Safe Outdoor Spaces” are city sanctioned homeless encampments located in open space areas that will allow upwards of 50 homeless people to camp, require hand washing stations, toilets and showers, require a management plan, 6-foot fencing and provide for social services.  The city council has voted to allow 18 Safe Outdoor Spaces, 2 in each city council district. The City Council has attempted 3 times to repeal allowing Safe Outdoor Spaces and funding with Mayor Keller vetoing the attempts.

2.   What is your position on city sanction and funded Safe Outdoor Spaces and should they be allowed at all and if so to what extent?

3.   Are you in favor of amending the Integrated Development Ordinance toallow the construction of both 750 square-foot “casitas” and “duplex” additions in the backyards of all 120,000 residential lots that have existing homes in an attempt to increase density? 

4.  Should “casitas” and “duplex” additions be a “conditional use” requiring an application process with the city Planning Department, notice to surrounding property owners and affected neighborhood associations and provides for appeal rights?  Should they be a “permissive use” that would give the Planning Department exclusive authority to issue permits for construction without notices and hearings and with no appeal process?

5.   The Integrated Development Ordinance enacted by the City Council in 2017 essentially repealed all sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character to favor the development community. Are you in favor of repealing the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) and reverting back to the comprehensive zoning code and enacted sector development plans?

6.  To what extent should adjoining property owners and neighborhood associations have the right to contest and appeal changes in zoning permissive and conditional uses?

7.  What do you feel the Albuquerque City Council can do to promote “infill development” and would it include the City acquiring property to be sold to developers and the formation of public/private partnerships?

8.  What do you feel the City Council can do to address vacant residential and commercial properties that have been declared “substandard” by city zoning and unfit for occupancy?

9.  Should the City of Albuquerque seek the repeal by the New Mexico legislature of laws that prohibit city annexation of property without county approval?


BACKGROUND:  Since 2014, the city and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)  have been working under a federal court approved settlement agreement after the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” and   excessive use of force and of deadly force.  Under the terms of the settlement, APD is required to implement 271 reforms with oversight by a court approved Federal Independent Monitor.  When APD reaches 95% compliance in 3 compliance levels and maintains that compliance for 2 years, the case can be dismissed.  On May 10, 2023  Federal Court Appointed Independent Monitor James Ginger filed his 17th 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 Federal Monitor IMR-17 report which covers August 1, 2022, through January 31, 2023,  reported APD’s compliance levels were as follows:

Primary Compliance 100%

Secondary Compliance 100%

Operational Compliance 92% (95% needed to be achieved and sustained for 2 years)


1. Do you feel the city should seek immediate dismissal of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement or wait and additional 2 years after APD comes into complete compliance in all 3 of the compliance levels?

2.The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including approving its budget. What oversight role do you believe the Albuquerque City Council should play when it come to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)?

3. Should the City seek to renegotiate or set aside the terms and conditions of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) and if so why?

4. What would you do to enhance civilian oversight of APD and the implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms?

5. Should the APD Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chiefs and APD command staff be replaced with a national search and replaced by “outsiders” to  make changes at APD with new leadership and management?

6. Should the function of Internal Affairs be removed from APD and civilianized under the city Office of Inspector General, the Internal Audit Department and the City Human Resources Department?

7. APD currently has 980 sworn police. What are your plans for increasing APD staffing levels and what should those staffing levels be?

8.  What are your plans or solutions to bringing down high property and violent crime rates in Albuquerque or your district?

9.  Should APD personnel or APD resources be used in any manner to enforce federal immigration laws and assist federal immigration authorities?

10.  Should the City Council by ordinance create a Department of Public Safety with the appointment of a Chief Public Safety Officer to assume management and control of the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department, the Emergency Operations Center and the 911 emergency operations call center?

11.  Should APD and the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office be abolished and consolidated to form one regional law enforcement agency, combining resources with the appointment of a governing civilian authority and the appointment of a Superintendent of Public Safety?


1.What strategy would you implement to bring new industries, corporations and jobs to Albuquerque?

2. Albuquerque’s major growth industries include health care, transportation, manufacturing, retail and tourism with an emerging film industry. What programs would you propose to help or enhance these industries?

3. To what extent should tax increment districts, industrial revenue bonds and income bonds be used to spur Albuquerque’s economy?

4.  What financial incentives do you feel the city can or should offer and provide to the private sector to attract new industry and jobs to Albuquerque, and should that include start-up grants or loans with “claw back” provisions?

5. What sort of private/public partnership agreements or programs should be implemented to spur economic development?

6.  What sort of programs or major projects or facilities, if any, should the city partner with the State or County to spur economic development?

7.  What programs can the city implement to better coordinate its economic development with the University of New Mexico and the Community College of New Mexico (CNM) to insure an adequately trained workforce for new employers locating to Albuquerque?

8.  Are you in favor of the enactment of a gross receipt tax or property tax dedicated strictly to economic development, programs or construction projects to revitalize Albuquerque that would be enacted by the City Council or be voter approved?

9.  What programs can Albuquerque implement to insure better cooperation with Sandia Labs and the transfer of technology information for economic development.

BACKGROUND:  The Economic Development Department provides services intended to bring long term economic vitality to the City. Included in the department are the economic development division, the film and music offices, the international trade division, the management of contracts for tourism and the program for economic development investments.  The mission of the department is to  develop a more diversified and equitable economy that works for everyone by growing and retaining local businesses and jobs; eliminating barriers to success in underserved communities; recruiting businesses in key industries; increasing Albuquerque’s competitiveness in the global market; and fostering a healthful built environment.  The proposed FY/24 General Fund budget for the Economic Development Department  is $3.8 million, a decrease of 62.1% or $6.2 million below the FY/23 original budget.

10.  Do you feel Economic Development Department department is adequately funded and if not what funding levels and personnel staff do you feel is needed?


1.Should the city continue to fund and provide full time APD police officers, known as school resource officers, to the Albuquerque Public School System or should the Albuquerque Public Schools expand and provide more funding to its own APS School Police and reassign APD Officers to patrol the city?

2. Should the City of Albuquerque have representation or be included on the Albuquerque School board, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents and the Community College of New Mexico Board?

3. What should the City do to help reduce high school dropout rates?

4.  What education resources should or can the City make available to the Albuquerque school system?


1.Do you feel that all increases in gross receipts taxes should be voter approved or should tax increases  be the exclusive prerogative of the city council as it is now?

2. Are you in favor of constructing an outdoor soccer stadium at the Balloon Fiesta Park?

3.  Are you in favor of constructing a multipurpose arena funded by use of voter approved bonding and if so where should it be built?


1. Do you feel Mayor Tim Keller has done a good job, do you support his agenda as Mayor and has he endorsed your candidacy?

2. If you qualify to be a public finance candidate, will you truly be a public finance candidate or do you intend to rely upon measured finance committee’s set up to promote your candidacy?

3. Should major capital improvement projects such as the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project or the building of a soccer stadium be placed on the ballot for voter approval or should major capital improvement projects be up to the city council?


The city cannot afford city councilors who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed are city elected officials who actually know what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on their next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election. A highly contested races reveal solutions to our problems.

Voters are entitled to and should expect more from candidates than fake smiles, slick commercials, and no solutions and no ideas. Our city needs more than promises of better economic times and lower crime rates for Albuquerque and voters need to demand answers and hold elected officials accountable.




The City Clerk has already posted on its city web page the election calendar and information for all candidates. The 2023 Regular Local Election Calendar for candidates begins on April 30 with an “exploratory period” to allow candidates to organize and collect “seed money” donations and  ends on June 4. The petition for signatures  and qualifying contribution period begins on June 5 and ends on July 10, 2023.


ELIGIBILITY: In order to become a candidate, a person must be registered to vote in, and physically reside in, the district they seek to represent by August 9, 2023. Any changes to voter registration must be effective on August 9, 2023. How a name appears on ballots cannot be changed at the time of candidate filing.

NOMINATING PETTIONS: A candidate for City Council must collect 500 signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent. The City Clerk’s Office encourages candidates to collect more petitions signatures than required. Though signatures collected on the website will be validated as registered voters, signatures collected on paper forms will need to be verified as registered voters in the candidate’s district by the City Clerk’s Office once you submit them. Because individuals don’t always know their registration status, it’s possible that a number of the signatures you collect may not count towards the total required. A Council Candidate may collect petition signatures from 8:00am on June 5 through 5:00pm on July 10.

Candidates for City Council can be either publicly financed or privately financed.

PUBLIC FINANCING: Candidates can qualify city public financing by securing $5 qualifying donations from registered who live in the district. The public finance candidate must agree to a cap and agree that is all they can spend. Candidates are required to collect qualifying contributions from 1% of the registered voters in the district they wish to represent. The number changes based on the district a candidate is running in. City public financing can be between $40,000 to $50,000 depending on the 1% of registered voters in the District. City Council candidates may collect qualifying contributions from 8:00am on June 5 through 5:00pm on July 10.

PRIVATE FINANCING: There is no cap on what a privately finance candidate can spend on their campaigns.  A privately financed candidate may give themselves  an unlimited amount of money to spend on their campaigns. However, another individual may only donate up to a certain amount. For a City Council candidate, an individual may only donate up to $1,683.00.

MEASURE FINANCE COMMITTEE: A Measure Finance Committee is a political committee, person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque.  Measure Finance Committees must register with the City Clerk, regardless of the group’s registration as a PAC with another governmental entity. Measure Finance Committees must also file financial statements at the same times that candidates report. Measure Finance Committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates. However, a Measure Finance Committee that supports or opposes a measure and receives aggregate contributions in excess of 30% of the Mayor’s salary from one individual or entity, must incorporate the donor’s name into the name of the committee. For 2023 Measure Finance Committees, that threshold number is: $39,750.00.

The links to the city clerk’s web pages are here:




First Term City Councilors Sanchez,Grout And Fiebelkorn Want To Weaken City’s Democracy With City Council-Manager Form Of Government; 4 Mayors Oppose; “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” 

On June 5, the Albuquerque City Council is scheduled  to hear and perhaps vote  on a City Charter amendment that would integrate the Mayor into the City Council, and the Council would appoint a city manager. The measure would be placed on the November 7 municipal ballot for voter approval and is sponsored first term City Councilors Democrat Louie Sanchez and Republican Renee Grout.   The city’s existing Mayor-Council form of government has existed for over 50 years and was implemented by voters in 1972 by enacting a new city charter to replace the city commission/city manager form of government.


The charter amendment would transfer all the mayor’s executive and city management duties to a city manager chosen by the city council. The mayor would preside over city council meetings and vote at council meetings only in the event of a tie. The appointed city manager would assume many of the powers now held by the mayor, including the authority to appoint the police chief and other department directors. According to the proposed legislation, the mayor would “be recognized as the head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes.”

At least 6 of the 9 city councilors must agree to put the measure on the November 7 municipal election ballot where City Council Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8, and $200 million bond will be on the ballot. City Clerk Ethan Watson said that he must file the measure with Bernalillo County no later than August  29 to get it on the ballot. The Charter Amendment would then require a majority vote from city voters. If approved by voters, the changes would not take effect until after the next mayoral election in 2025. As such, the measure would not affect Mayor Tim Keller unless he seeks reelection.


City Councilors Democrat Louie Sanchez and Republican Renee Grout and supporters say cities with a council/city manager form of government function more efficiently with a “council-manager” form of government. They say electing a new mayor every four-to-eight years disrupts progress in Albuquerque.  The much smaller cities of  Rio Rancho and Las Cruces have such governments.

Both Sanchez and Grout said this in a Journal guest opinion column:

“It’s time for Albuquerque residents to consider whether their city government is structurally capable of responding to their pressing challenges in the most effective, efficient and transparent way. We believe it’s time to consider an alternative to the mayor-council form of government, one that will give our city responsive leadership that balances diverse interests, rather than the interests of a select few, and prioritizes sound management over political power.” 


Democrat City Councilor Louie Sanchez blamed the strong-mayor form of government for Albuquerque’s lack of progress over the past half century. He  cited Phoenix as having  a council-manager system that makes the government more efficient and better able to attract business.  Sanchez said this:

“We’ve suffered because of this system for many, many years … If we look back to the late ’60s, early ’70s, Albuquerque was in a friendly competition with Phoenix to see which city was going to be the economic driver of the Southwest   … Albuquerque should have won that friendly competition …  And it’s time that we work together as a city and move our city forward. If the voters tell us that we need to change the government, we change it.”

Republican City Councilor Renee Grout had this to say:

“It’s not about politics for me — it’s about growing in the right direction. … When you look at the cities around us, they are thriving. … I want to take politics out of what we are doing.”

First term Democrat City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn signaled her support of the measure by saying this:

“This is not a referendum on the current mayor. … This is a referendum about what is the best form of government.”

City Council President Pat Davis said this:

“I personally bounce back and forth on this … I think it’s something that really needs to be considered, but I’m anxious that making a big structural change in the city, and with three weeks of notice, might have some unintended consequences.”

Links to quoted news sources are here:




Mayor Tim Keller opposes the measure and Keller’s office issued the following statement:

“We are committed to working with Council and taking a hard look at how we can work more efficiently, but an extreme change to our form of government is not the answer.  This proposal would drastically alter Albuquerque’s local government, eliminating individual accountability and checks and balances, placing all city power into a committee and an unelected city manager.”


Former Mayor David Rusk (1977 to 1981), was the city’s second Mayor. Rusk gave a history of creating the existing Mayor/Council form of government and said essentially said the city had “outgrown” a weak-mayor form of government. Rusk said this:

“The city needed strong executive leadership, and yet the city manager was in effect a hired hand and couldn’t appropriately provide that kind of leadership in terms of helping shape public opinion.”

Former three-term Mayor Martin Chávez (1993 to 1997 and 2001 to 2009) said passage would result in an absence of leadership in the city and set off a power scramble among business groups, labor and other interest groups angling for position in the new government, Chavez said.

“A whole lot of dynamics will come into play that I don’t think [City Councilor] Louie Sanchez is thinking about. …  You’re going to have the City Council running the city. … You are going to have a city manager who is beholden to that council.  And there will be no unified, centralization of authority to do stuff.”

Former Mayor Jim Baca (1997 to 2001) said this:

“It was hard to get decisions made with a council-manager form of government  … Things just took forever because there was nobody actually in charge. The manager was always trying to second guess – would he get fired if he made this one small decision.”



On Sunday, June 6, the Albuquerque Journal published a front-page story, below the fold story entitled When ABQ went from a ‘weak’ to ‘strong’ mayor”  written by staff reporter Oliver Osterbrock.  The article featured former Mayor’s David Rusk, Jim Baca and Marty Chavez, with all 3 in opposition to going back and creating a City Council-City Manager form if government. The short history given in the article is worth noting:

“The beginning of the end of Albuquerque’s now-defunct City Commission came during a raucous meeting in December 1973, when commissioners voted 3-2 to fire the city manager.

Accusations flew back and forth for five hours at a packed Convention Center Auditorium with an estimated 500 in attendance.

“The City Commission has lost control,” then-Commissioner Bob Poole said. “Policy has gravitated to the city manager.”

At the Dec. 10, 1973, City Commission meeting, three of the five commissioners berated then-City Manager Herb Smith for hours, accusing him of involving himself in politics and assuming too much policy-making authority, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Some speakers demanded a change in government, calling for a mayor and city councilors elected by district.

David Rusk, Albuquerque’s mayor from 1977 to 1981, said the city’s previous form of government “fell apart in very controversial circumstances” at that meeting.

A strong mayoral form of government had already been in the discussion stages for a few years, but the meeting appears to have been the tipping point.

The three commissioners who voted to fire Smith “expressed the view that perhaps Albuquerque had outgrown” the weak-mayor form of government, said Rusk, the city’s second mayor under the current system.

“The city needed strong executive leadership, and yet the city manager was in effect a hired hand and couldn’t appropriately provide that kind of leadership in terms of helping shape public opinion,” Rusk said.

Albuquerque was growing rapidly at the time, he said. Smith “was trying to establish an environment of more managed growth for the city, and that was at odds with some of the important interests” of the city, Rusk said.

A majority of commissioners found it inappropriate for Smith to exercise that kind of public leadership, he said.

Less than three months after that contentious meeting, Albuquerque voters approved a new form of government by a nearly 4-to-1 margin.

Voter approval of Proposition 3 on Feb. 27, 1974, gave Albuquerque a “strong mayor” with authority to “organize the executive branch of the city.”

The amendment to the city charter also gave the city a nine-member City Council elected by district, creating Albuquerque’s existing “strong mayor-council” system of government.

The change ended the five-member at-large city commission that had governed the city since 1917.

Once the results were tallied, then-Commissioner Ray Baca remarked that “the controversy over former City Manager Herb Smith pointed up the inadequacies of the commission-manager system” and created the impetus for the change of government.

But Proposition 3 emerged after years of discussion about the city’s appropriate form of government.

The strong-mayor system was first recommended in 1971 by a study group headed by the late Sen. Pete Domenici, who from 1967 to 1970s served as chairman of the City Commission – a post referred to as “mayor.” Domenici went on to serve as a U.S. senator from 1973 to 2009.

Additional details emerged from a working committee that met for 18 months following the initial recommendation  …  .

In adopting the strong-mayor system, Albuquerque followed a path taken by most large U.S. cities.”



On May 18, the Albuquerque Journal published a guest opinion column by UNM Professor Timothy Krebs with the University of New Mexico Department of Political Science.  Below is the opinion column followed by the link: 

HEADLINE: “Council-manager system would weaken democracy in ABQ”

City Councilors Renée Grout and Louie Sanchez are proposing to change Albuquerque’s current strong mayor-council system to a council-manager system. This would be a mistake, mainly because it would harm our local democracy.

In council-manager systems, voters elect the city council and a mayor, who serves as a member of the council. The mayor is expected to provide policy leadership and preside at council meetings. And like all councilors, the mayor can introduce and vote on legislation.

The mayor in this system, however, lacks executive power, which is given to an unelected city manager appointed by the council. The manager administers the day-to-day affairs of city government, appoints department heads, prepares the budget, and hires and manages city employees. Managers can be fired if they lose favor with a council majority.

By contrast, Albuquerque’s strong-mayor council system is rooted in a separation of powers arrangement. The city council is the legislative branch, while the mayor is a strong executive with the power to appoint officials – including a chief administrative officer approved by the council, craft a budget, veto council ordinances, execute city policy, and run the government.

The original versions of both systems had their flaws. Because part-time, volunteer city councils often defer to professional managers, and because managers can be fired by councils, council-manager systems often experienced crises of leadership. At the same time, strong mayor-council systems envisioned mayors who would be both savvy political leaders and effective administrators, but this rarely worked out. Recognizing this, council-manager cities started to directly elect their mayors in citywide contests to raise expectations for political leadership, while strong mayor-council cities steadily added chief administrative officers to enhance managerial competence and allow mayors to focus on politics and policy



Winston Churchill famously said:

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

It appears that Democrat City Councilors Louis Sanchez and Tammy Fiebelkorn and Republican Renee Grout are hell bent and choose to ignore history and want to repeat it because of their own personal dislike of Mayor Tim Keller.

 When Democrat City Councilor Louie Sanchez said “If the voters tell us that we need to change the government, we change it”, he shows his ignorance not knowing that is exactly what happened over 50 years ago. From 1917 until 1974 (56 years), Albuquerque had a City Commission and City Manager  form of Government.  Albuquerque has had a mayor-council government since 1974 when on Feb. 26, 1974, voters in a landslide voted 19,458-to-5,246 to establish a full-time paid mayor as the city’s chief executive, and a part-time 9 member City Council as the city’s legislative body. The proposition, which passed in all 63 precincts, was endorsed by a wide range of organizations and community leaders.


 Democrat City Councilors Louis Sanchez and Tammy Fiebelkorn and Republican Renee Grout were elected on November 2, 2021 having never been elected nor served before in any other elective office. They have served a mere 16 months as city councilor having been sworn into office on January 1, 2022.

Sanchez,  Fiebelkorn and  Grout now proclaim the city needs a complete and dramatic restructuring of city government with a 50-year throwback to the past city commission-city manager form of government without offering any substantive evidence that the current Mayor-Council form of government is failing or not working.  All they offer is self-righteous political rhetoric. They  prefer legislation amending the Charter without the convening of the Charter Review Task Force which is a permeant standing task force  was created in part to prevent this sort of nefarious conduct by city councilors.


There is very little doubt what is motivating Sanchez, Fiebelkorn and Grout. It is their sure personal dislike for Mayor Tim Keller and many of  his policies. Keller has repeatedly out maneuvered the City Council with his veto.  In the last 16 months, Sanchez and Grout have tried and have failed to override at least 5 Keller vetoes.  Thus far they have failed to stop Keller’s “Housing Forward ABQ Plan” which will allow 750 square foot casitas and duplexes in all residential back yards.  They have failed to hold Mayor Keller accountable for impropriety, such as the violation of the anti-donation clause with the $236,622 purchase of artificial turf for the Rio Rancho Events Center for the benefit of the privately owned New Mexico Gladiators.

Fiebelkorn is especially disingenuous when she says “This is not a referendum on the current mayor. … This is a referendum about what is the best form of government.” If that were the case, why would she even bother to mention the Mayor. Informed city hall sources are saying Fiebelkorn and Mayor Keller are not on the best of terms and that the extreme progressive  councilor has felt snubbed by Keller on more than one occasion by not giving her support she has demanded and expected. Fiebelkorn knew what she was being elected to when she ran and now flippantly says This is a referendum about what is the best form of government.”

Their solution is get rid of Keller’s power as Mayor in case he runs again, which is very likely in that he is privately making it known he is running, for another term, and wins, which is highly questionable.  Sanchez, Fiebelkorn and Grout knew exactly what they were getting into when they ran. If they do not like the existing form of government nor willing to work with Mayor Tim Keller, they should do us all a favor and just resign.  Instead, they promote a rues that they are searching for the best form of government and promoting  a 50 plus year failed throwback city council – city manager.


The city must file the measure with Bernalillo County no later than August  29 to place  it on the November  7 election ballot. The council should vote NO rejecting the Charter Amendment that is ill advised.

New Mexico Has 48% Increase In Homeless With  4,000 Reported Statewide; ABQ’s Homeless Goes From 1,311 To 2,091; LFC Report Emphasizes Need For  Affordable Housing;  Need For Mental Health And Behavioral Services Ignored

On May 22, the Legislative Finance Committee  (LFC) held one of its regularly scheduled meetings. A  report on the state’s homeless and the affordable housing shortage was delivered to the committee for review and discussion.  The report included the preliminary estimates yet to be  finalized 2023 Point In Time (PIT) annual homeless count. It expected the final report will be released in August. This is the first of two separate reports on the LFC’s Report on Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

Each year the “Point in Time” (PIT) survey is conducted to determine how many people experience homelessness on a given night in Albuquerque, and to learn more about their specific needs. The PIT count is done in communities across the country including New Mexico. The PIT count is the official number of homeless reported by communities to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help understand the extent of homelessness at the city, state, regional and national levels.


According to the LFC  Report on Homelessness and Affordable Housing,  New Mexico’s homeless has increased 48% in 2023 compared with last year. The LFC report found New Mexico’s emergency homeless shelter capacity has more than doubled since 2016, especially in the Albuquerque area, as the supply of affordable housing across the state has dropped.

This year Legislative Finance Committee staff accompanied volunteers on the annual Point In Time (PIT) counts of the homeless across the state that occurred in January.  What they found was that in 2023, about half the emergency shelter beds available were used the night of the PIT count taken in January, indicating overall adequate bed numbers statewide for those individuals who wish to use them.

However, shelter accessibility was reported as a challenge for some people, potentially lowering shelter utilization rates because some individual emergency shelters are full, and others are hard to reach. For example, the largest emergency shelter in Albuquerque, the Westside Emergency Housing Center, is 18.5 miles from downtown Albuquerque. The round trip by shuttle takes up to four hours, leaving people experiencing homelessness less time to seek services or employment.

According to HUD, in the decade between 2012 and 2022, homelessness on a given night in January declined by 28% in New Mexico.  The 2023 PIT preliminary  data indicated a significant 48% uptick in the state’s homeless population going from upwards of 2,600 people to nearly 4,000 people. The increase was reportedly driven primarily by an increase in the unsheltered count with 780 more people in Albuquerque and 232 more in the rest of the state. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, estimating the magnitude of New Mexicans experiencing homelessness is challenging, due to a lack of consistent definitions, the mobility of the population, and the potential changing status of those experiencing homelessness. Nevertheless, HUD provides guidance for annual point-in-time (PIT) and housing inventory (HIC) counts.

HUD tracks the number of emergency shelter beds in New Mexico and how many are used on the night of the PIT count in January, when the weather is cold and emergency shelter use is generally at its peak. Through the housing inventory count (HIC), HUD creates an annual inventory of provider programs that provide beds and units dedicated to serving people experiencing homelessness.

The 2023 New Mexico Legislature appropriated $84 million for housing and homeless programs, but the LFC report found the amount may not be enough and some market-driven forces will  be difficult to reverse.

During the May 22 LFC hearing, LFC program analyst Kathleen Gygi and others presented the findings. The new data presented to the committee revealed the state’s emergency shelter capacity has more than doubled since 2016, while the supply of affordable rental units has declined by 50% since 2020.  Gygi said this:

“Homelessness is visible. It’s tragic and it’s increasing. … The state as a whole is doing very well in providing emergency shelter for those most at need and at risk. … However, we’re not doing such a good job at moving people into permanent housing. … We do not have enough affordable housing to systematically move people out of homelessness.  …  Poverty rates are high, labor participation is low. There is high substance abuse rates. These are all things that compound the problems.” 

The May 22 LFC report found the state lacks enough transitional and permanent housing to help people exit homelessness and found the need for an estimated 859 additional housing units for the state’s homeless population. The estimated cost would be $11.4 million annually to accomplish.  According to the LFC report, the state stands to lose an estimated 5% of its roughly 29,000 publicly assisted rental units over the next five years due to expiring affordability commitments or deterioration.

Senator Siah Correa Hemphill, D-Silver City, asked if the proliferation of vacation rentals in some New Mexico cities and towns is contributing to the affordable housing shortage. Siah said this:

“As soon as a house comes on the market, someone from California will come and buy it and convert it into a vacation rental.”

In response, state housing officials said the issue does appear to be contributing to the state’s housing problem, but is not the sole factor.

Links to quoted sources are here:





The LFC  Report on Homelessness and Affordable Housing is 31 pages long and contains numerous graphs and charts.  The major take aways  that can be gleaned from review of the report on the homeless are as follows:


According to the LFC report the causes of homelessness points to many risk factors representative of vulnerable situations and populations. These risk factors include disconnection from formal employment; lower educational achievement; involvement with the criminal justice system; and physical, mental, and behavioral health challenges, including substance use disorder.

The following  7 risk factors for homelessness and housing insecurity were identified:

“POVERTY: Nearly 1-in-5 New Mexicans live below the federal poverty line. New Mexico ranks 3rd in the country in poverty

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION: In 2022, the labor force participation rate in New Mexico was 55%, compared to 62% nationally. New Mexico ranks 4th in labor force participation.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH:  Over 1-in-5 adults in New Mexico have a mental illness. Nearly 1 in 5 youths had a major depressive episode in the last year.  New Mexico ranks 29th for adult mental health disorders and 17th youth mental health disorders in the country.

PHYSICAL HEALTH:  Nearly 1-in-10 adults in New Mexico have multiple chronic health conditions.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE:  On average, every day five New Mexicans die of alcohol-related causes, and nearly three die from a drug overdose. New Mexico ranks 1st alcohol-related deaths and 2nd  in drug overdose deaths in the country.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:  In New Mexico, over 1-in-3 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Nearly 6,000 children suffered maltreatment in New Mexico in 2021. New Mexico ranks 26th in the country for domestic violence and 8th for child maltreatment.

INCARCERATION:  New Mexico has a relatively low incarceration rate, with 203 individuals incarcerated per population of 100,000.”

Quoting the report:

“People experiencing unsheltered homelessness are more likely to exhibit multiple risk factors. These individuals also tend to have higher service needs and, as a result, tend to be more frequent users of community services, such as emergency room visits and inpatient and outpatient treatments, and require more acute care.

In New Mexico and nationwide, African Americans and Native Americans are overrepresented among individuals experiencing homelessness. While African Americans made up 2.7 percent of the state’s population in 2021, they accounted for 8.6 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness according to HUD.

Native Americans made up 11 percent of the state’s population in 2021, but HUD reports they represented 17 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness. Unlike on-the-street homelessness, in tribal areas, homelessness often translates into overcrowding: 16 percent of households experience overcrowding compared with 2 percent of all U.S. households, according to the New Mexico Housing Strategy report commissioned by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA).”


“Homelessness carries significant immediate and long-term costs to taxpayers. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness reports that an individual experiencing homelessness can cost taxpayers between $30 thousand and $50 thousand per year in hospitalization, medical treatment, emergency shelters, and incarceration.”

“In 2023, the cost to New Mexico taxpayers, based on an estimated population of 3,842 individuals experiencing homelessness recorded in the annual point-in-time counts, would be $98.5 million to $192 million. Society also faces long-term costs from the effects of homelessness on youth. New Mexico has consistently had a higher rate of homeless students than the nation, with an estimated 3%  of students facing housing insecurity during the 2022 school year (or 10.6 thousand students).”


“People in New Mexico remain in emergency shelters or transitional housing for half the time of the national average, but governments and providers are less successful at moving people from temporary shelters to permanent housing. For example, in Albuquerque, about 1 in 5 people in shelters or other temporary housing transition to permanent housing each year. This is about half the rate in the rest of the state and nationally … . This low transition rate to permanent housing reflects the relatively high rate of return to an emergency shelter within two years in Albuquerque … . Potential reasons for this performance in Albuquerque could include a more vulnerable homeless population, insufficient social services, insufficient subsidies, or a tight housing market.”

“HUD does not report  this data for Las Cruces or Santa Fe, which are included in the rest of the state  continuum of care reporting. These issues are common in urban versus rural areas in Western states. For example, Phoenix and Tucson have similarly high return-to-shelter rates compared with the rest of Arizona at 26% percent, 23% and 18%, respectively. However, Arizona has higher rates of transitioning to permanent housing at 40%, 54%, and 32% for the two cities and the rest of the state.”


[The Linkages Program is a]  state-funded permanent supportive housing program designed to provide rental subsidies, utility assistance, and supportive services to extremely low-income adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and diagnosed with severe mental illness. The Behavioral Health Services Division at the Human Services Department administers the Linkages Program.

While most existing supportive housing in New Mexico (over 2,450 housing units) is federally or locally funded, the state’s Linkages Program plays an important role in reaching individuals who may fail to meet narrow federal voucher eligibility requirements, or need housing more immediately than can otherwise be provided. Linkages sites require a support service agency to provide case management, managed by the Behavioral Health Services Division of the Human Services Department, and a housing administrator to identify housing units and distribute vouchers, managed by the Mortgage Finance Authority.”


“A 2022 New Mexico Housing Strategy report commissioned by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority estimated transitional housing only accounts for 1%  of the $123 million public allocations to rental assistance in 2022 and 7% of the $123 million that went to permanent supportive housing. The report noted several estimates ranging from 6,500 to 8,400 units needed for populations, including the chronically homeless, people on the state’s developmental disabilities waiting list, and people exiting prison or mental health institutions.”

“Considering only homeless populations, LFC staff estimate New Mexico could benefit from another 859 permanent supportive housing units based on cost estimates from the state’s Linkages program and a methodology from the Corporation for Supportive Housing … . Using an existing cost estimate from Linkages, which spends about $13,300 per client annually, state and local governments could fund such housing at an annual cost of approximately $11.4 million annually. However, more recurring funding will not be the only barrier to increasing supportive housing. The New Mexico Housing Strategy report  also noted that existing supportive housing providers are oversubscribed, and there is a shortage of providers to take on any expanded work. Further, the general lack of affordable housing units also impacts availability of units to house supportive housing clients.”



Each year the “Point in Time” (PIT) survey is conducted to determine how many people experience homelessness on a given night and to learn more about their specific needs. The PIT count is the official number of homeless reported by communities to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help understand the extent of homelessness at the city, state, regional and national levels.

PIT follows the HUD definition of homelessness and counts only people who are sleeping in a shelter, in a transitional housing program, or outside in places not meant for human habitation. Those people who are not counted are those who do not want to participate in the survey, who are sleeping in motels that they pay for themselves, or who are doubled up with family or friends.

The PIT count includes “Sheltered Count”, “Unsheltered Count” and a “Transitional Housing Count.”

The Sheltered Count is the count of people experiencing homelessness who are sheltered in emergency shelter and transitional housing on a single night.  Sheltered homeless also include homeless “residing in an emergency a motel paid through a provider or in a transitional housing program.” It does not include people who are doubled up with family or friends.

The Unsheltered are defined as those who encamp in neighborhood open space areas, alleys, parks, high-traffic areas and points of congregation, meal service sites, and general service sites.   The Unsheltered Count uses surveys and street outreach to account for individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness on the night of the count.

“Transitional Housing Count” is exactly what the category implies and consists of homeless who have received government housing assistance and will eventually moved into permanent housing of their own.

Through the PIT counts, HUD annually tracks the number of people and families that experience homelessness, but only reports data for the two continuum of care organizations it funds: the city of Albuquerque and the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness (NMCEH) for all other locations in the state. Each year about half of the state’s individuals experiencing homelessness are in Albuquerque.  HUD does not report how the other half are dispersed throughout the state.


Comparing this years PIT numbers of homeless to past numbers is essential to understanding the extent of the increase.   The 2022 Point in Time Survey was released last year in August, 2022.  The 2022 survey included the total estimated number of people counted during the Balance of State Point-in-Time counts for every other year from 2009 – 2022 with a measurable decline over the years.   New Mexico’s numbers for the last 13 calculated ever 2 years are as follows:

2009:  1,471

2011:  1,962

2013:  1,648

2015:  1,342

2017:  1,164

2019:  1,717

2021:  1,180

2022:  1,283

EDITOR’S NOTE: These numbers do not include homeless counted in Albuquerque.

Page  18, Point in Time Survey,


The total estimated number of households experiencing homelessness in Balance of State on January 31, 2022 were reported are as follows:

Totals of HOUSEHOLDS with one child, without children and with only children:

Emergency Shelters:  574

Transitional Housing: 70

Unsheltered: 366

TOTAL: 1,010

Page 17, Point in Time Survey


The total estimated number of INDIVIDUALS with one child, without children and with only children experiencing homelessness in the Balance of State on January 31, 2022 :

Emergency Shelters:  785

Transitional Housing: 107

Unsheltered: 391

TOTAL: 1,283

Page 17, Point in Time Survey



In August, the 2022 the Point In Time (PIT) homeless survey reported that the number total homeless in Albuquerque was 1,311 with 940 in emergency shelters, 197 unsheltered and 174 in transitional housing. Surprisingly, the survey found that there were 256 fewer homeless in 2022 than in 2021 which was 1,567.  In 2019, the PIT found 1,524 homeless.

The 2022 PIT report provides the odd number years of shelter and unsheltered homeless in Albuquerque for 8 years from 2009 to 2019 and including 2022.  During the last 12 years, PIT yearly surveys have counted between 1,300 to 1,600 homeless a year.  Those numbers are:  2011: 1,639, 2013: 1,171, 2015:1,287, 2017: 1,318, 2019: 1,524, 2021: 1,567 and 2022: 1,311.

The 1,311 figures in the 2022 PIT report is the lowest number of unsheltered reported for the last 5 years. According to the 2022 PIT report there were 256 fewer homeless in January 2022 than in January 2021, yet the public perception is that the city is overrun by the homeless likely because they have become far more aggressive, more assertive  and more visible.

According to the LFC report, the 2023 Albuquerque unsheltered count increase by 780 more people. In otherwards Albuquerque homeless went from 1,311 in 2022 as reported by PIT  to 2,091 as reported by the LFC.

The link to review the entire 2022 PIT is here:



A national data compilation organization reports that in 2022,  there were 582,500 individuals experiencing homelessness on a single night across the nation as was found by the Point In Time (PIT) survey. There are 10 states that stand out for their particularly high homeless populations. These states are:

  1. California (171,521)
  2. New York (74,178)
  3. Florida (25,959)
  4. Washington (25,211)
  5. Texas (24,432)
  6. Oregon (17,959)
  7. Massachusetts (15,507)
  8. Arizona (13,553)
  9. Pennsylvania (12,691)
  10. Georgia (10,689)

The link to the quoted source material is here:



According to last year’s 2022 PIT annual report, there were 1,567 sheltered and unsheltered homeless people living in Albuquerque. Of the 1,567 homeless in Albuquerque, 30.19% of the homeless self-reported as having a serious mental illness and 25.5% self-reported as substance abusers. There is an overlap with homeless suffering both mental illness and substance abuse.  In other words, a whopping 55.69% combined total of those surveyed self-reported as having a serious mental illness or were substance abusers.

The 2022 Point In Time Report provides what it referred to “balance of the state” statistics where the Albuquerque’s homeless numbers were excluded. The total estimated number of households experiencing homelessness in balance of state on January 31, 2022 were reported are as follows:

Totals of HOUSEHOLDS with one child, without children and with only children:

Emergency Shelters:  574

Transitional Housing: 70

Unsheltered: 366

TOTAL: 1,010

Of the 366 unsheltered, 43% were identified as adults with serious mental illness and 40% were identified as adults with substance use disorders or a staggering 83% combined figure.

The PIT report is 40 pages long and includes graphs and pie charts outlining the statistics reported.  You can review the entire report at this link:




New Mexico’s increase in the homeless numbers are serious and need to be addressed. However, the 4,000 figure found by the Point In Time survey  in no way comes close to the homeless crisis in the neighboring states of Arizona (13,553) and Texas (24,432). The blunt truth is that the homeless crisis is not as bad in New Mexico as it is in other areas of the country and neighboring states.

It’s not as if government is not doing nothing to address the homeless crisis. Over the last two years in Albuquerque alone, the Keller Administration has spent upwards of $100,000,000  to provide services and shelter to the homeless. It will now be spending another $50 million in fiscal year 2023-2024. The 2023 New Mexico Legislature appropriated $84 million for housing and homeless programs, but the LFC report found the amount may not be enough, yet the state had a $3.6 Billion surplus.

Being homeless is not a crime and government has a moral obligation to help the homeless. It’s not at all likely we will ever be free of the homeless but it must and can be managed and can be reduced.  To reduce the numbers of the homeless, the root causes of homelessness must be addressed and not just by housing and shelter. Those root causes include poverty, economic disparity, mental illness and drug addiction.

It is in the area treatment of mental illness and drug addiction that significant efforts need to be made when dealing with the homeless and that will have an immediate impact. Then there is the matter of the homeless who simply refuse any and all services, including housing, emergency shelter, mental illness treatment and drug addiction treatment and counselling.

The 2022 PIT data breakdown for the unsheltered for the years 2009 to 2022 reports that 46% of the unsheltered suffer from serious mental illness and that 44% of the unsheltered suffer from substance abuse for a staggering 89% combined total. It is these homeless who refuse government services, who do not want to be housed in shelters and who essentially want to be left alone, to do what they want, when they want and how they want, including illegal activities and illegal camping.

When it comes to the  homeless in Albuquerque, 30.19% of the homeless  self-reported as having a serious mental illness and  25.5% self-reported as substance abusers. There is an overlap with homeless suffering both mental illness and substance abuse.  In other words, a whopping 55.69% combined total of those surveyed self-reported as having a serious mental illness or were substance abusers. When it comes to the balance of the state homeless numbers,  43% were identified as adults with serious mental illness and 40% were identified as adults with substance use disorders or a staggering 83% combined figure.


Absent from the May 22  LFC report is that mental getting mental health and drug counseling to the homeless is just as critical as housing, temporary shelter and transitional housing.  A glaring reality is that much more must be done with the initiation of civil commitment hearings to deal with the mentally ill and the drug addicted who are homeless and a serious danger to themselves and to others to ensure that they get the medical and mental health treatment and counselling services they desperately need before they can be transitioned into gainful employment and housing . A greater emphasis must be made to get those who are homeless and the drug addicted who may or may not be in the criminal justice system the medical care and assistance they need without criminal prosecution and warehousing in the county jail.

There is a critical need for a civil mental health commitment court for the homeless suffering from mental illness or drug addiction and who pose a threat to themselves, their family and the general public. There is an even bigger need for the construction and staffing of a mental health facility or hospital to provide the services.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the legislature should seek to create one single specialty “Behavioral Health Treatment Court under the direct supervision of the New Mexico Supreme Court that would be an outreach and treatment court for the drug addicted and the mentally ill with an emphasis on the homeless.   As it stands now, there exists less than adequate facilities where patients can be referred to for civil mental health commitments and treatment. There is glaring and absolute need for a behavioral health hospital and drug rehabilitation treatment facility.

New Mexico is currently experiencing historical surplus revenues and this past legislative session the legislature had an astonishing $3.6 Billion in surplus revenue. It likely the state will continue to see historic surpluses. Now is the time to create a “Behavioral Health Treatment Court and dedicate funding for the construction of behavioral health hospital and drug rehabilitation treatment facility the courts can rely upon for referrals.

15 Street Medians Targeted For Enforcement Of “Pedestrian Safety Ordinance”; Action Vilified By American Civil Liberties Union As Interfering With Free Speech; Free Speech Does Not Include Negligent Conduct Getting Yourself Killed; ACLU Should Tell Clients To Stop Using Street Medians To Panhandle

On May 23, Mayor Tim Keller  and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) announced a major effort to enforce the “Pedestrian Safety Ordinance” to discourage people from standing on major highway medians saying the crackdown is intended to improve public safety and not target panhandlers.  The legal basis for the initiative is Mayor Tim Keller’s revision of a 2017 “pedestrian safety ordinance,” which was struck down by a federal judge in 2019 and then amended. The ordinance targets medians less than 4 feet in width, on roadways with a speed limit of 30 mph or greater. Violations are a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $100.  On May 22, the new ordinance went into effect and on May 15  APD had  issued 14 citations to violators.

The city has identified 15 intersections for enforcement The city has placed signs on those medians that warn “Unlawful to occupy median.” The locations where signs have been placed alerting pedestrians not to stand on medians are as follows:

•  Montaño and 4th Street
•  Indian School and Carlisle
•  Carlisle and Lomas
•  Louisiana and Menaul
•  Avenida Cesar Chavez and Broadway
•  Copper and Eubank
•  Montgomery and Louisiana
•  Menaul and San Mateo
•  Menaul and San Pedro
•  University and Gibson
•  Yale and Gibson
•  Montaño and Coors
•  Ellison and Coors
•  Coors and Irving
•  Alameda and Corrales


Albuquerque has a grim record for pedestrian deaths on its roadways. The New Mexico Department of Transportation data shows that 40 pedestrians were struck and killed in Bernalillo County in 2022 and of those 33 happened within the city limits.  The Governors Highway Safety Association has ranked New Mexico the nation’s deadliest state for pedestrians since 2016.

APD spokesperson Rebecca Atkins explained how the medians were selected. She said this:

“The medians were selected through a combination of complaints that have come into the area commands, crash data, as well as medians [that have been identified] as smaller than 4 feet in width that meet the qualifications of the ordinance. … The first 15 is just the first round of locations. … We are working on the second round of locations in the future.”

Link to quoted news source is here:


In announcing the enforcement initiative of the ordinance, Mayor Keller had this to say:

“We know pedestrian safety is a real challenge in Albuquerque and in New Mexico. So, it’s never lost on us that for a long time, we have been at the top of the ranking, that we don’t want to be at the top, when it comes to pedestrian safety. … We also know since last year, pedestrian fatalities doubled. That’s a terrible thing for our city. It’s also a call for us to try and do more about it.”

Way too many of our pedestrian fatalities have been on super-busy intersections and have been from a person either going to, or coming off, a median. … It’s fundamentally about safety, not about [free] speech. … When you get smaller than 4 feet, it’s just dangerous, especially in these busy intersections.”

“Historically, the city had two laws, and they were both thrown out in court. Now this third law, which passed in January, is only about safety on four-foot medians regardless. Our legal team at least believes that will stand up in court.”

APD Chief Medina for his part said this about the initiative:

“This is not about panhandlers. … It’s about public safety.We know there are individuals across the city who frequent our medians for a multitude of reasons, but this presents safety concerns for them and drivers. … We decided to begin enforcement of this ordinance slowly, with warnings to educate the public that this is a citable offense, but also to spread word of the dangers. … It’s a typical misdemeanor that will go through Metro court. Generally, it’s under $500 in less than 90 days.”

Not at all surprising, the New Mexico Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union took sharp issue with the Mayor and Chief Medina. A spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico said the term “median enforcement” is a coded term for “anti-panhandling” measures.  Maria Martinez Sanchez, the legal director for the ACLU, said this:

“It is no secret that the city’s goal is to sweep under the rug individuals seeking assistance from their neighbors on Albuquerque’s streets. … The intent is and has always been to drive the most vulnerable and desperate in our community out of public spaces where they are most visible.”

The links to quoted news sources are here:







The ACLU’s downright hostility towards the “Pedestrian Safety Ordinance” and the enforcement initiative should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone given the fact that it was the ACLU that successfully challenged the initial ordinance enacted by the City Council. It was in 2017 that Albuquerque City Councilor Trudy Jones sponsored the original “Pedestrian Safety Ordinance” that was enacted unanimously by the city council. The 2017 Pedestrian Safety Ordinance was very restrictive as to make it “unconstitutional” making it illegal to occupy certain medians and stand on highway entrance and exit ramps. It also barred “any physical interaction or exchange” between pedestrians and vehicle occupants while the vehicle was in a travel lane.

The American Civil Liberties Union  (ACLU) filed  a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging  the original  city ordinance after repeated warnings were made to the city council.  The  ACLU  represented  multiple plaintiffs including a woman who is homeless and routinely used the medians to ask for donations as well as  individuals who distributed  donations from their vehicles.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack in Albuquerque ruled in 2019 that the ordinance violated free speech protections because it was “not narrowly tailored to meet the City’s interest in reducing pedestrian-vehicle conflicts.”  The city appealed the ruling and in 2021 the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Brack’s ruling.  The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in its ruling  wrote:

“[The city was]  unable to establish that the ordinance does not burden substantially more speech than necessary to further its interest in pedestrian safety … [and] has almost completely failed to even consider alternative measures that restrict or burden the speech at issue less severely than does the ordinance.”

The original ordinance was amended to address the specific concerns raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals.  On November 21, 2022,  the Albuquerque City Council enacted a “new and improved” “Pedestrian Safety Ordinance on a 7 to 2 vote. The city council amended the original city ordinance that severely restricted panhandling and that was ruled by the federal courts as unconstitutional.

The “new and improved” ordinance specifically bars individuals from standing in or entering street and highway travel lanes unless they are “legally crossing.” It also prohibits using or occupying medians on 30 mph or faster roads where there is not a flat surface of at least 4 feet wide having no greater than 8% grade.

A city council legislative analysis determined that the ordinance will affect just over 17% of the linear feet of higher-speed arterial roadway medians across Albuquerque. These are the medians on roadways with the highest traffic flows  and highly visible to the driving public.  In other words 83% of medians in the city will be available for constitutionally protected free speech activities.

Under the new ordinance, if pedestrians are on a median that doesn’t meet the bill’s requirements, a $100 citation will  be issued.  APD and the Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS) will  be authorized to give warnings, or  are a person can be criminally charged with a misdemeanor and fined a $100. The updated ordinance removes the unconstitutional provisions of the original ordinance, including the part banning exchanges between drivers and pedestrians, and loosens up where pedestrians can be on sidewalks.

City Attorney Lauren Keefe told the city council at the time of enactment of the new ordinance:

“The biggest concern from the court was whether the ordinance as drafted burdened more speech than necessary, meaning it took away more places people could stand and engage in expressive conduct than necessary in order to ensure people remain safe.”

The link to a quoted news article is here:



There is no doubt that the work of the American Civil Liberties Union is commendable and is necessary to help protect and preserve the right of free speech in this country. However, there are times the ACLU goes way too far and presumes the absolute worst in  government  and accuses  government of dark and sinister motives to interfere with a person’s right of free speech.

Such is the case when Maria Martinez Sanchez, the legal director for the ACLU, when she said this about the amended Pedestrian Safety Ordinance ordinance and the enforcement action being taken by the city:

“It is no secret that the city’s goal is to sweep under the rug individuals seeking assistance from their neighbors on Albuquerque’s streets. … The intent is and has always been to drive the most vulnerable and desperate in our community out of public spaces where they are most visible.”

First of all, Sanchez presumes all panhandlers “seeking assistance” are the most “vulnerable and desperate” as she puts it and even homeless but that is not likely the case given some of the tactics reportedly used by panhandlers. Those tactics include using carboard signs with false claims, such as being a veteran, and having their cars parked within walking distance to where they panhandle so they can return to their homes after they panhandle with tax-free income.

This city’s goal is in no way trying to sweep under the rug individuals seeking assistance from their neighbors on Albuquerque’s streets” given the city’s financial commitment to the homeless.  Over the last two fiscal years, the city has spent upwards of $100 million to address assistance to the homeless including funding for affordable housing, programs for the low-income, near homeless and funding for mental health and substance abuse programs and two 24/7 homeless shelters.

Simply put, free speech is not an absolute right with no restrictions. It does not give you the right to act negligently and place yourself and others in harm’s way. Protected free speech has limitations that requires one to use your common sense. There is a very old case taught in law school where the United States Supreme Court found free speech does not mean you can stand up in a packed theater and falsely yell “fire” causing a stampede for the exits.

Government has the legitimate right to take reasonable steps to preserve and protect the safety of our roadways and to protect the safety of those that use them, including both drivers and panhandlers.  Drivers have the right to expect that their view while driving will not be impaired or distracted by unwelcomed advances made by panhandlers.  Panhandlers should not be allowed to negligently place themselves in harm’s way risking death by being hit by speeding cars asserting that it is their free speech right to do so and be on a median.

There are times you can not expect the New Mexico Chapter of the ACLU to be at all reasonable when it comes to vilifying legitimate City of Albuquerque government actions to protect the public safety and public property. It is those times of being unreasonable with the City of Albuquerque when the ACLU loses respect and public support.  Least anyone forget on August 18, 2022 the NM Chapter of the ACLU has sued the City of Albuquerque over the closure of Coronado Park claiming that their clients’ civil rights were violated and the city  failed to provide shelter.  Coronado Park had become the largest de facto homeless encampment with upwards of 100 to 150 homeless camping at the park  each night.  It was costing the city $50,000 a month to repeatedly clean up the park of trash left by the homeless.  The city  cited ground contamination and  lack of sanitation posing a health risk to those at Coronado Park as playing a major role in the park closure, as well as overall damage to the park.

The biggest factor and justification in closing the park was crime.  Criminal activity had spiked at the park over the previous 3 years. The city park has an extensive history lawlessness including drug use, violence, murder, rape and mental health issues. In 2020, there were 3 homicides at Coronado Park. In 2019, a disabled woman was raped, and in 2018 there was a murder. APD reports that it was dispatched to the park 651 times in 2021 and 312 times in 2022. There had  been 16 stabbings at the park in the previous 2 years and 30 days before closure of the park APD has seized from the park 4,500 fentanyl pills, more than 5 pounds of methamphetamine, 24 grams of heroin and 29 grams of cocaine. APD also found $10,000 in cash.

The New Mexico Chapter of the ACLU would no doubt  likely be one of the first in line to bring a wrongful death action against the city for negligent maintenance of street medians when one of its panhandling  clients holding a carboard sign his hit and killed by a speeding car while using an unsafe median to panhandle. This dispute over the new panhandler ordinance is one battle the ACLU should not pick.  Instead the ACLU should get word out to their clients not to use medians to excercise their free speech.

Mayor Keller Signs City Council Approved $1.37 Billion City Budget, $827.1 Million General Fund Budget; “No Growth” Budget Analyzed

On May 26, Mayor Tim Keller signed off on the Albuquerque City Council approved  $1.37 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2023 and ends June 30, 2024. Keller said this is the hardest budget he’s worked on since taking office because there was “no extra money”.  The budget provides funding for the Albuquerque Police Department to boost staffing up to around 1,000 sworn officers, and millions for the city’s efforts to combat homelessness. City employees will get  a 3.5% raise. The city is also putting nearly $17 million to close the “pay equity gap”  for  around 900 positions in the city. Keller had this to say:

“I will tell you the pay equity issue was the right thing to do, and so I’m proud that we did that as a city – we had to do, we should have done a long time ago. And so we just decided we’re going to rip the Band-Aid off, and we’re going to try and do this right going forward.”


This blog article is an overview and analysis of the 2023-2024 city budget giving major highlights of the 4 largest funded departments.


The overall approved budget is for $1.37 billion with $827.1 million in general fund appropriations marking a 3% decrease from the current year. The combined operating and capital budget of $1,367,695,000 and it is $53.6 million lower than the fiscal year 2023 budget. The approved budget includes a 3.5% pay raise for city employees.   The approved budget reflects tighter revenue and an end to much of the federal funding the city received during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The approved budget also includes $48.8 million in nonrecurring appropriations, including a $3 million subsidy for the city’s transit department to pay for free fares on city buses, and $14 million for housing vouchers. The budget also establishes the  first-ever minimum wage of $15 an hour for the city’s approximately 6,000 employees,  a move that only affects a few dozen people. Inflation made it a priority to give employees a 3.5% pay increase  to maintain the city’s competitiveness attracting and retaining employees. The Keller administration’s proposed  budget had contained a 2% pay raise.


City Council President Pat Davis had this to say about the enacted budget:

“It’s a lean budget year. … There’s no growth in programs.  The economy is slower than it used to be. We don’t have the federal funds we had during COVID. There’s nothing that’s going to move the needle significantly on any of our key issues, like homelessness and public safety.”

Councilor Brook Bassan, who sponsored the budget bill, said councilors found it challenging this year to maintain existing programs. Bassan said this:

“It was very hard this year because things are so tight. … We don’t have all the same one-time funding that we had last year and the year before. So there wasn’t a lot of growth.”

The link to a quoted news source is here:



The overall  operating budget that will begin on July 1, 2023 and end on June 30, 2024  approved  by the Albuquerque City Council is for $1.37 billion Billion. $827.1 million is the General Fund which is a reduction of $29.2 million or a 3% decrease from last year’s 2022 budget. The decrease is due to the reduction in non-recurring funding.  The general fund provides funding for city essential and basic services such as police protection, fire protection, the bus system, solid waste collection and disposal, the zoo, aquarium, the city’s museums maintenance, city libraries, the bus system, senior and community centers, swimming pools and parks and road maintenance.

The Fiscal Year 2024 forecast includes $48 million in non recuring expenses while only $3.7 million is available for in nonrecurring resources.  The approved 2024 Fiscal Year budget includes an estimated $3.4 million for the operation of capital projects that will be coming on line during the year.

The number of budgeted city hall jobs continues to increase under Keller’s tenure.  The proposed 2023-2024 budget provides for 7,014 employees which is up 1.5% from the current budget and 16% from 5 years ago when Keller first assumed office. The current increase in jobs includes 33 more positions at APD and 18 in Solid Waste. The city Human Resources Department continues to deal  with a high vacancy rates citywide.

Also included are the following major appropriations for city hall employee worth noting:

$8.7 million for a 2% pay raise across the board for City employees.

$9.5 million to increase the subsidy to support Transit Department operations.

$1.3 million increase in medical benefits.

$4 million for risk recovery allocations.


Between spring of 2020 and spring of 2022, the city received upwards of $259 million in pandemic relief and recovery money from the federal government. The infusion of federal funding allowed a major surge in nonrecurring expenditures which are one time yearly funding  that are not included in the ongoing annual budget.  Last year’s 2023 budget had $96 million in nonrecurring expenses but this year’s 2024 budget is down to $48.8 million.

This year’s nonrecurring budget includes $14 million in rental assistance vouchers and $3 million to subsidize zero-fare bus service. It also includes $3.4 million in Parks and Recreation efforts, including $766,000 for “urban forestry,” $500,000 for park rangers and $350,000 to host this summer’s USA Cycling Masters national championships.


According to the 2023-2024 approved budget, the city expects revenue growth to slow. The 2023 budget is built around 5.7% growth, returns have come in even higher but Keller’s administration is budgeting based on 2.4% revenue growth in the coming fiscal year. There is no proposed tax increase in the budget.  However the budget would boost parking fees at the Albuquerque International Sunport structure by $1. The increase is expected to generate an additional $1.6 million annually.

Least any forgets, it was in May, 2018, 4 months after Tim Keller was first sworn in as Mayor, the Albuquerque City Council enacted a gross receipt tax increase that raised upwards of $50 million a year. The tax enacted was in response to reports that the city was facing a $40 million deficit. Mayor Keller did not veto the tax increase.  Keller  broke his pledge  to demand a public vote on any  tax  increase and signed off on the $50 million a year tax increase. He signed off on the tax increase without any fanfare and without proposing any alternative budgets dealing with the deficit. The $40 million projected deficit never materialized. The City Council never repealed the tax and Keller went on a spending splurge.


Public Safety and reducing the city’s crime rates continue to be the biggest priority of Mayor Tim Keller. So much so that Keller’s Executive Summary went to great length to embellish the preliminary crime statistics for 2022 proclaiming property crime is slightly down compared to 2021 but down 40% from a record high in 2017. The executive summary acknowledged that the city is struggling with homicides related to gun violence and the fentanyl epidemic, but did not disclose the actual numbers.


The 2022-2023 approved  budget contains funding for neighborhood safety initiatives. Those initiatives and funding are as follows:

Full funding for the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program, including hearing officers.

Full funding for nuisance abatement, including the Code Enforcement Division of Planning and the ADAPT program in the Fire Marshal’s Office to continue voluntary abatement, condemnations and clean-ups.

Full funding for emergency board-up activities and the Duke City Ambassador program.

Full investment in youth programs in partnership with APS and nonprofits that keep our kids off the streets and out of harm’s way and youth violence prevention initiatives that aim to break the intergenerational cycle of crime and incarceration.

$341,000 for temporary contract workers at the City Clerk’s office to work the backlog of Police Inspection of Public Records Act requests.

Recurring funding of $25,000 for Citizen Policing Councils through the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA).

$500,000 for Park Rangers through the Parks and Recreation Department.

$400,000 for creation of a specialized team in the Planning Department to help manage and control errant properties.


The 2023-2024  budget includes the establishment of a $15 minimum wage for all regular full- and part-time City workers.

The budget includes $16.9 million in salary increases to close gender pay gaps inside city government. That affects about 900 positions and comes just a few months after the city agreed to pay $17 million to settle a years-old collective action lawsuit alleging it paid women more than men for doing the same jobs.


Other 2020-2024 proposed budget includes investments to support small businesses and community development and includes the following line items:

$1 million of Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds, which has helped the City retain and attract businesses like Build with Robots and Bueno Foods.

$500,000 investment in the Job Training Albuquerque (JTA) program, which fills workforce training gaps by offering fully-funded job training opportunities to workers at Albuquerque-based small businesses.

Full, recurring funding for the Small Business Office, which has provided technical assistance to help local businesses access COVID relief programs, navigate permitting processes, and connect to resources for starting up and scaling.


The Fiscal Year 2024 budget  continues  youth programming by fully funding the Head Start program and our highly successful Youth Connect suite of youth programming.


In 2023, Albuquerque became the first city in the nation to sign onto the Biden Administration’s Justice 40 initiative that prioritizes disinvested communities for certain federal investments including climate change, clean energy, and affordable and sustainable housing. The City will continue to invest in green technologies and infrastructure.

The 2024 Fiscal budget continues sustainability efforts towards achieving the goals set out in the American Climate Cities Challenge and Climate Action Plan. The budget continues the Department of Municipal Development’s (DMD) and Transit’s phasing in of electric vehicles through the City’s replacement of depreciated vehicles and buses.

The newly established General Services Department (GSD) will further citywide efforts at energy efficiency and carbon reduction in City buildings.  The city expects to achieve cost and carbon benefits from Solar Direct this year, using 68,194,230 kwh of renewable energy through the program. The Solar Direct program is located on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation and is instrumental for the City’s achievement of receiving 88% of its renewable energy from solar, which is projected to save the City over $600,000 on this year’s energy bill.


There are 27 major departments at City Hall, but only 4 of the major departments are highlighted to reflect the highlights and priorities of the Keller Administration. The department budgets reviewed in detail are the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Department  (AFRD), the Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACSD) and the Family and Community Services Department (FCS). The postscript to this blog article gives a very short synopsis of a 11 more department budgets.

You can review all city hall department budgets at this link: 

Click to access fy24-proposed-web-version.pdf


The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) continues to be the largest city budget out of 27 departments. The fiscal year 2024 approved  General Fund budget is $257 million, a 1% increase from last year or 31% of the general fund. Last year’s 2023 APD’s budget was $255.4 million, which represented a 14.7% increase or $32.8 million above the fiscal year 2022 level.

When Keller first was first elected in 2017 he pledged that APD would have 1,200 officers by the end of his first term. Throughout Keller’s first term, APD has consistently failed to recruit and fill sworn police vacancies and has failed to keep up with yearly retirements.

During the last 4 years, funding has been for 1,100 sworn police each year.  Today, APD  has 856 sworn officers.  APD’s budget line item proposed  budget list 1,847 full time positions with  funding for 1,040 full-time, sworn police positions and 804 civilian support personnel for the 1,847 full time positions.

Although the 2023-2024 proposed budget includes $8.7 million for a 2% pay raise for all city employees, the exception are APD Police Cadets.  APD Police cadets will get a 40% pay increase and be paid $60,000 a year salaries.

The proposed APD budget includes investments in crime fighting technology.

It was on November 14, 2014 that the City of Albuquerque and APD entered into a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the Department of Justice after an investigation found that APD engaged in a pattern of excessive force and deadly force and a culture of aggression.  The Fiscal Year 2024 budget provides for operations of the Office of the Superintendent under the CASA, $800,000 for continued compliance efforts under the CASA, funding to pay the federal court appointed federal Independent Monitoring Team, and $1.7 million for External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) created under the settlement.


On Thursday, March 16, 2023 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released the 2022 crime statistics along with crime statistics for 2021 for a comparison.  APD Chief Harold Medina reported Albuquerque crime statistics as follows:


2021:  13,242

2022:  12,777 (4% DECREASE)


2021:  44,822

2022: 43,824 (2% DECREASE)


2021: 3,903

2022:  5,133 (24% INCREASE)

Chief Medina also presented a vertical bar graph that revealed that over the last 6 years, Albuquerque has had a dramatic 71% spike in homicides.  In 2017 there were 70 homicides, in 2018 there were 69 homicides, in 2019 there were 80 homicides, in 2020 there were 78 homicides, in 2021 there were 110 homicides and in 2022 there were 120 homicides.

There are 3 major public safety departments. The departments in order of funding size are the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Fire Rescue Department and the Albuquerque Community Safety Department.

The links to quoted news source material are here:





APD’s  2023-2024 proposed budget include the following performance measures for “solving crime”:

The number of  felony arrests made in 2021 were listed as 6,621 and in 2022 that number dropped to  6,122.

The number of misdemeanor arrests made in 2021 were 16,520 and in 2022 that number dropped to 9,799.

The number of  DWI arrests made in 2021 were 1,230  and that number increased in 2022 to 1,287.


APD’s clearance rates for crimes against persons (e.g., murder, rape assault) for fiscal year 2021 was 56% and the clearance rate went down in 2023 fiscal year to 44%.

APD’s clearance rate of crimes against property (e.g., robbery, bribery, burglary) for fiscal year was 12% and the clearance rate went down in 2023 fiscal year to 9%.

APD’s clearance rate of crimes against society (e.g., gambling, prostitution, drug violations) for fiscal year 2021 was 77% and the clearance rate went down in 2023 fiscal year to 57%.

APD’s Homicide Clearance rate for fiscal year 2021 was 53%  and for 2022 was 71% with a 2023 mid-year rate of  51%.


The approved Fiscal Year 2024 General Fund budget for the Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Department (AFRD) is $115 million. It reflects an increase of 4.3% or $4.8 million above the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. The AFRD proposed budget contains funding for 817 full time positions. Personnel adjustments include funding of $1.4 million for union negotiated longevity plan as well as an adjustment to overtime of $306 thousand.

The budget contains funding of $1.5 million for a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment, subject to negotiations for union positions and $738 thousand for the employer’s share of the State mandated PERA increase of 0.5%. Funding of $334 thousand is included for the 2024 leap year and $231 thousand to address the interim pay structure.

In addition to serving as first responders to fire, medical, and other emergencies, AFRD manages other programs including the Abandoned and Dilapidated Abatement Property Team (ADAPT) program for properties declared substandard  and the Home Engagement and Alternative Response Team (HEART) program for frequent 911 callers.


AFRD’s 2023-2024 proposed budget include the following work load performance measures:

The number of emergency calls AFRD was dispatched to in the 2021 fiscal year were 106,236 and in the 2022 fiscal year the department was dispatched to 112,651 emergency calls.

The number of medical emergency calls AFRD was dispatched to in 2021fiscal year were 92,022 and in 2022 fiscal year it was dispatched to 99,802 medical emergency calls.

The number of fire calls AFRD was dispatched to in fiscal year 2021 was 14,214  and in the 2022 fiscal year it was dispatched to 12,849 fire calls.


It was in 2021 that Mayor Tim Keller created the Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS). The department provides a non-police response to 911 calls associated with homelessness, intoxication and mental health. The Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS) dispatches first responders to 911 calls with or without other first responders from the police and fire departments.  According to the departments performance measures, in the 2022-2023, the department responded to 10,619 total calls for service with 6,062  calls diverted from police intervention.

Albuquerque Community Safety responders may have backgrounds as social workers, peer-to-peer support, clinicians, counselors, or similar fields. It is a first-of-its-kind cabinet-level department responding to calls on inebriation, homelessness, addiction, and mental health. It  works  alongside APD and AFR as a third option for 911 dispatch. It was created from a unique, Albuquerque idea based on programs the City developed and tested with the community.

The Fiscal Year 2024  General Fund budget for Community Safety is $17.2 million, a $5.4 million or 46.1% increase over the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget.  Total full-time positions budgeted for the department is 141 with an increase of 8 over last year.  Keller’s proposed budget increase would enable 24/7 operations across the city and full funding for the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), including the first phase of School-Based VIP in partnership with APS. The budget also includes $800,000 for the ACS building and Trauma Recovery Center coming-on-line.


Since day one of becoming Mayor, Tim Keller has made it a major priority to deal with the city’s homeless crisis. It is the city’s Family and Community Services Department that administers the city’s programs to address the homeless, additional housing, and behavioral health services, including mental health services and counseling.

Mayor Keller has proclaimed an “all above approach” to deal with the unhouse and provide housing and services the homeless and near homeless to address the root causes such as substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and youth opportunity.

For five years, Mayor Kellers “all the above approach” has cost the city millions. Keller has done the following over the last two fiscal years:

  • Over two years, budgeted $33,854,536 for homeless emergency shelters, support, mental health and substance abuse programs and $60,790,321 for affordable housing programs for the low-income, near homeless.
  • Established two 24/7 homeless shelters, including purchasing the Gibson Medical Center for $15 million to convert it into a homeless shelter.
  • Established a “no arrest” policy for violations of the city’s camping, trespassing and vagrancy laws with an emphasis on citations.
  • For five years, allowed Coronado Park to become a “de facto” city-sanctioned homeless encampment, which he was forced to close down because of drugs and violent crimes.
  • Advocated and funded city-sanctioned safe outdoor space (SOS) homeless tent encampments.

The  Fiscal Year 2024 General Fund budget for the Family and Community Services Department is $81.9 million, a decrease of 3.9%, or $3.3 million below the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget. The department employs 341 full time employees.   Technical adjustments include a $584 thousand increase for the mid-year creates of one community outreach coordinator, one program specialist, one fiscal analyst II, one Gibson Hub facility manager, as well as one gateway systems analyst and one community outreach coordinator that were not inactivated as planned in Fiscal year 2023. The budget decreases $199 thousand for one social service coordinator and one VIP social service program manager that were transferred out to Albuquerque Community Safety Department. The wage adjustment and reclassification for various positions increase the budget by $30 thousand which is offset by decreasing operating costs.

The Fiscals Year 2024 budget for the department’s grants, which is appropriated in separate legislation, are at $4.5 million in the Community Development Fund and $24.3 million in the Operating Grants Fund. This is a combined decrease of $6.4 million from the FY/23 original budget. Funding for all contract types from all funding sources are listed at the end of the department’s narrative. Intra-year personnel changes include four temporary Community Services Program Specialist Assistants created with ARP funds appropriated in Fund 265.

The Family and Community Services proposed budget lists forty five (45) separate affordable housing contracts totaling $39,580,738, fifteen (15) separate emergency shelter contracts totaling $5,575,690, and twenty seven (27) separate homeless support service contracts totaling $5,104,938 for a total of $50,261,366.

The Fiscal Year 2024 Family Community Services budget includes the following line-item funding:

$14 million in non-recurring funding for supportive housing programs in the City’s Housing First model.

$736,000 in non-recurring to fully fund the Assisted Outpatient Treatment program.

$730,000 in recurring and $500,000 in non-recurring funding for a partial year of operating a Medical Sobering Center at Gibson Gateway Homeless Shelter and Health Hub, which will complement the social model sobering facilities available at the County’s CARES campus.

$100,000 in non-recurring for emergency housing vouchers for victims of intimate partner violence.

$1.2 million for Homeless Support Services

$1.7 million for Mental Health for service contracts for mental health,

$200 thousand for Substance Abuse, early intervention and prevention programs, domestic violence shelters and services, sexual assault services, health and social service center providers, and services to abused, neglected and abandoned youth.

$1.5 million in recurring and $500,000 in non-recurring funding for a Medical Respite facility at Gibson Health Hub, which will provide acute and post-acute care for persons experiencing homelessness who are too ill or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on the streets but are not sick enough to be in a hospital.

$3 million in recurring funding to operate the first Gateway Center at the Gibson Health Hub, including revenue and expenses for emergency shelter and first responder drop-off, facility operation and program operations.

$1.2 million for the Westside Emergency Housing Center, which has operated at close to full occupancy for much of the year.

$500,000 non-recurring to fund the development of a technology system that enables the City and providers to coordinate on the provision of social services to people experiencing homelessness and behavioral health challenges.

$500,000 non-recurring to funding for Albuquerque Street Connect, a highly effective program that focuses on people experiencing homelessness who use the most emergency services and care, to establish ongoing relationships that result in permanent supportive housing.

$185 thousand for Child and Family Development

$75 thousand for Educational Initiatives

$1,300,000 for Emergency Shelter

$130,000 for Health and Human Services

$103,000 for Strategic Support

$1,200,000for Gateway Phase one and Engagement Center, and a net of $500 thousand for Medical Respite.

Recurring funding of $3,500  million for Family Housing Navigation Center/Shelter (Wellness-2) which has been using non-recurring emergency/COVID funding

Capital Improvement Projects  coming-on-line expenses are budgeted to increase by $500,000  for Gateway Homeless Shelter, Phase one, and Engagement Center and $500,000 thousand for the Sobering Center at the Gibson Homeless Shelter Health Hub.


Last year, Mayor Tim Keller declared the proposed budget as being “bland.” What he failed to fully disclose and the city council missed completely during its hearings was that $750,000 was included for the operation of “safe outdoor spaces” with another $200,000 for developing other sanctioned encampment programs for the homeless. Last year’s budget described Safe Outdoor spaces as government sanctioned encampments for the homeless as “ultra-low barrier encampments … set up in vacant dirt lots across the City.”

It was not until months later that the city council changed the zoning laws to allow for “safe outdoor space”.  A “safe outdoor space” is defined as a lot, or a portion of a lot, developed to permit homeless encampments with 40 designated spaces for tents, allow upwards of 50 people, require hand washing stations, toilets and showers, require a management plan, fencing and social services offered. Safe Outdoor Spaces proved to be one of the most divisive issues dealt with last year by the council.

The City Council budget process is one of the very few times that the council can bore deep down into each of the city department budgets. All too often, Mayor’s and their political operatives view the City Council more of an annoyance as opposed to being a legitimate oversight function. All to often, it becomes a process of members of the City Council asking the Mayor and his top executives the main question “What is it in this budget do you not want us to know about?” or put it another way “What is it that you are hiding or lying to us about?” 



Other major departments budgets worth noting in the 2023-2024 proposed budget  are as follows:

The SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT approved budget contains funding for   542 full time positions. The department   provides residential and commercial trash collection, disposal, and the collection of residential recycling. The department oversees large-item disposal, graffiti removal, weed and litter abatement, median maintenance, convenience centers, and neighborhood cleanup support. Other services include operating the City landfill in compliance with State and Federal regulations and educating the public about recycling and responsible waste disposal. The approved  fiscal year budget for the Solid Waste Management Department is $93.9 million, of which $69.9 million is to fund operations and $24 million is in transfers to other funds. The Fiscal year 2024 proposed operating budget for the Solid Waste Management Department reflects an increase of 3.7% or $3.3 million above the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget level.

The DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE approved budget contains funding for 411 full time positions.  The Department is comprised of seven divisions: The Albuquerque Biological Park (BioPark) operates the Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Gardens, Heritage Farm, Bugarium, Tingley Beach and the Albuquerque Museum. The FY/24 proposed General Fund budget for the Department of Arts and Culture of $50.7 million. The approved budget reflects a decrease of $578 thousand or 1.1% below the FY/23 level. Technical adjustments for FY/24 include a net decrease of $194 thousand to account for changes in medical as well as the insurance administrative fee and group life. Other personnel adjustments include funding of $582 thousand for a 2% Cost of Living Adjustments and $134 thousand for the employer’s share of the State mandated PERA increase of 0.5%. Funding of $113 thousand is included

The TRANSIT DEPARTMENT approved budget contains funding for 553 full time positions.  The Transit Department  provides fixed route (ABQ Ride) and rapid transit (ART) bus service for the Albuquerque community and Para-Transit (SunVan) service for the mobility impaired population. The Fiscal Year 2024 approved  budget for the Transit Department Operating Fund is $58.2 million, a decrease of 8.5%, or $5.4 million below the Fiscal Year 23 original budget. In Fiscal Year 2024, the budget includes an increase of $557 thousand for a 2% COLA, subject to negotiations for positions associated with a union. There is a State mandated 0.5% PERA increase of $115 thousand for the employer’s share. Technical adjustments include a decrease of $152 thousand for health benefits, insurance administration fee and group life insurance. Internal service costs associated with communication, risk and fleet decreased by a $468 thousand. Funding of $108 thousand for the 2024 leap year and $516 thousand to address the interim pay structure are included.

The PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT  approved budget contains funding for 343 full time position. The department serves the recreational needs of the residents of Albuquerque and the surrounding metropolitan areas. The department is organized into the following divisions: park management, recreation services, aquatics, open space, golf, parks design, planning and construction. The proposed Fiscal year 2024 General Fund budget is $48.2 million, a decrease of 12.9%, or $7.2 million from the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget.. The primary cause of the decrease was the deletion of $7.1 million in Fiscal Year 2023  one-time funding. Non-recurring Fiscal Year funding of $2.7 million remains in the budget to continue to support the Mondo indoor track, park ranger PSA’s, park security, cycling USAC master’s championship, urban forestry, trails and park maintenance, youth connect summer recreation programs and umpire and other sport referee’s pay increase, to name a few.

The DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL DEVELOPMENT (DMD) approved budget contains funding for  334 full time positions.  The Department operates and maintains City streets, storm drains, traffic signals, street lighting, parking operations and the development and design of capital public buildings. The Fiscal Year 2024 approved  General Fund budget is $38.4 million, a decrease of 4.0% or $1.6 million below the Fiscal Year 2023  original budget  is requested.  Last year, there were 546 full time positions.  The Fiscal Year 2024 Gasoline Tax proposed budget is $6.9 million, a decrease of 1.3% or $89 thousand from Fiscal Year 2023 and includes a transfer to the General Fund in the amount of $248 thousand for indirect overhead. Revenues are estimated at $4.1 million and the fund is subsidized at $2.4 million. The Fiscal Year 2024 Speed Enforcement Fund proposed budget is $2.6 million, a decrease of 66.2% or $5.1 million from Fiscal Year 2023 original budget. The Fiscal Year 20 24 parking enterprise proposed budget of $5.3 million reflects an increase of 2.3% or $121 thousand from the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget. The fleet management fund has a Fiscal Year 2024 proposed budget of $14.7 million.

The GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT (GSD) approved budget contains funding for 257 full time positions.  The General Services Department is a new department created last year  with the key responsibility of centralizing maintenance of major City facilities such as the Albuquerque Government Center, the Baseball Stadium and the Convention Center, which includes contract management. This department is responsible for the facilitation of security and fleet operations throughout the City. GSD also includes Energy and Sustainability as well as the Law Enforcement Center and Gibson Medical Center. The Fiscal Year 2024 approved  General Services budget is $27.9 million, a decrease of 28.3% or $11 million below the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget. In Fiscal Year 2024 there is a decrease of $10.4 million in nonrecurring budget for facilities and buildings, security vehicles, startup costs, and a transfer to the railyards.

The PLANNING DEPARTMENT  approved budget contains funding for 193 full time positions.   The Planning Department’s Fiscal Year 2024 proposed budget is $21 million, a decrease of $1.2 million or 5.3% below the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget. Funding for 193 full time positions is being requested. The budget removes Fiscal Year 2023 one-time funding of $2.3 million, largely earmarked for Posse System replacement, Streamline DRB processes and various other projects. However, $300 thousand remains and is carried over for property abatement. Of that amount, $178 thousand will be transferred to the Refuse Disposal Fund to continue supporting after hour board up activities. The Fiscal Year 2024 proposed budget includes funding of $90 thousand to contract a development hearing officer, and $75 thousand for a contract Posse replacement project manager. Additionally, $401 thousand is added as onetime funding for an extinction team to manage and control the errant properties.

It was in last years fiscal year 2022-2023 city council approved budget was for $21.9 million, an increase of $5.2 million or 31.6% above the fiscal year 2022 original budget. The planning department was to  add 21 new positions, including 10 “to streamline and expedite” development review processes, and new departmental software. In Code Enforcement, 8 positions were  added to increase the division’s ability to respond to customer inquiries, provide quicker review times for building permits, and to properly enforce new ordinances and initiatives.

The  Legal Department or City Attorneys Office approved budget contains funding for  66 full time positions.   Legal Department advises the City in all legal matters, and consists of six main divisions: the Litigation Division; the Employment Law Division; the Municipal Affairs Division; the Division of Property, Finance, Development and Public Information; the Policy Division; and the Compliance Division. The Litigation Division appears on behalf of the City in all courts in New Mexico and before administrative and legislative bodies. The legal department is responsible for managing and defending the City, its elected and appointed officials, and departments before all federal and state courts in relation to civil rights and tort related claims. The proposed Fiscal Year 2024 General Fund budget is $8.4 million, a decrease of 13.1% over the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget.

The OFFICE OF THE CITY CLERK approved budget contains funding for 34 full time employees.  The City clerk maintains official records for the City of Albuquerque, administers the public financing program for municipal elections, manages and administers all municipal elections, accepts construction and contracting bids from the general public, as well as accepts service of process for summons, subpoenas and tort claims on behalf of the City of Albuquerque. The City Clerk is the chief records custodian for the City of Albuquerque and processes requests for public records pursuant to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IRPA). The city clerk receives upwards of 10,000 public records requests each year. The Office of the City Clerk also manages the Office of Administrative Hearings and is responsible for conducting all hearings specifically assigned by City of Albuquerque ordinance, including animal appeals, handicap parking and personnel matters. The proposed Fiscal Year 2023-2024  General Fund budget is $5.1 million, an increase of 18.5%, or $804 thousand above the 2022-2023  Fiscal Year  original budget with funding requested for 34 full time employees.

The Chief Administrative Office Department approved budget contains funding for  16 full time employees. The Chief Administrative Office Department supports the Mayor of the City of Albuquerque and general city functions. The  approved  FY/24 General Fund budget for the Chief Administrative Office is $2.8 million, an increase of 12.4% or $305 thousand above the FY/23 original level.

The Mayor’s Office approved budget contains funding for  7 full time employees.  The office supports the elected chief executive and ceremonial head of the City pursuant to the City Charter. The office is comprised of support staff and constituent services that keep the Mayor in touch with residents of Albuquerque and their concerns. The approved  Fiscal Year 2024 General Fund budget for the Mayor’s Office is $1.2 million, a decrease of 15.9% or $229 thousand from the Fiscal Year 2023 original budget.

Other much smaller budgeted city departments include Senior Affairs, the Human Resources Department, the Office of Inspector General, Office of Internal Audit and the Civilian Police Oversight Department. Smaller departments such as City Support, Finance and Administrative Services, and Human Resources have large appropriations because of the number and type of funds managed within the departments.

The link to the 229 page 2022-2023 budget to review all city department budgets is here:

Click to access fy24-proposed-web-version.pdf


2023 Memorial Day Dinelli Family Tribute

Each Memorial Day, I am compelled to pay tribute to members of my family who have given so much and sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and to protect this great country of ours. All these family members were born and lived in New Mexico, two were born in Chacon, New Mexico and the rest born and raised and educated in Albuquerque.

One gave the ultimate sacrifice during time of war.

My father Paul Dinelli and my Uncle Pete Dinelli, for whom I was named after, both served in the US Army during World War II when the United States went to war with Italy, Germany and Japan.

My father and uncle were first generation born Americans and the sons of Italian immigrants who settled in Albuquerque in the year 1900 to live the American dream. My Uncle Pete Dinelli was killed in action when he stepped on a land mine. My father Paul Dinelli was a disabled American Veteran when he returned to Albuquerque after World War II and was honorably discharged because of a service connected disability. Years after the war, my father met my mother Rose Fresques at the Alvarado Hotel where she had worked as a Harvey girl. After the couple married, my father went to barber school in Denver, Colorado, returned to Albuquerque and opened “Paul’s Barber Shop” which was located at Third and Lomas.

My uncles Fred Fresques and Alex Fresques, my mother’s two brothers, also served in World War II. My Uncle Alex Fresques served in England and was in the Air Force.

My uncle Fred Fresques saw extensive action in the US Army infantry during World War II and was awarded 2 Bronze Star medals and a purple heart for his service. The Bronze Star medal is awarded to individuals who, while serving with the Armed Forces of the United States in combat, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service. The purple heart is awarded for being injured in combat or dying in combat. My Uncle Fred would never talk to anyone about what he saw. After the war, my Uncle Fred returned to Albuquerque and raised a family in Barelas. Over many years, my Uncle Fred was active in the Barelas Community Center and was a trainer for the “Golden Gloves” competition teaching young adults the sport of boxing.

My father-in-law, George W. Case, who passed away at the age 93, served in the United States Navy during World War II and saw action while serving on a destroyer. My father-in-law George Case was so proud of his service that he wore a World War II Veterans cap every day the last few years of his life. After the war, my father-in-law George Case returned to Albuquerque was married to my mother-in-law Laurel Del Castillo for 50 years, raised a family of 4 girls. George eventually owned a liquor store for a few years and then went on to build, own and operate the Old Town Car wash, which still stands today, and he was in the car wash industry for a number of years.

My nephew Dante Dinelli, was born and raised in Albuquerque and joined the service a few years after graduating from Cibola High School. Dante served 20 + years in the US Navy, retired as a Chief Petty Officer and worked in a civilian capacity for the Navy.

My two nephews, Matthew Barnes and Brandon Barnes, the sons of my younger sister, Pauline were born and raised in Albuquerque and went to Bosque Prep. My nephew Brandon Barnes is a graduate of the US Naval Academy. My nephew Major Matthew Barnes graduated from UNM with honors and served a tour in Afghanistan. Both Mathew and Brandon are Majors in the United States Marine Corps and both continue to climb the promotion ladder in the Marine Corps.

To all the wonderful and courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve our country to protect and secure the promise of freedom and the ideals upon which the United States was founded upon, and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I thank you for your service to our Country.

Your service and sacrifices to this great country of ours will never be forgotten. God bless you all and God Bless this great country of ours!