Election 2019 Results: 2 Incumbents Win; 2 Runoffs; All City Bonds And APS Bonds Pass; Democracy Dollars Fails

For the last 35+ years, New Mexico political blogger Joe Monahan has done election coverage both on his blog and on the radio the day before the election and election day. This election day is no different. On November 6, Mr. Monahan published an excellent summary and analysis of the November 5 results on his blog:

http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/

Below is the Monahan election results report followed by the raw vote numbers for City Council and Propositions 1, Election Code Update and Proposition 2, Democracy Dollars with final commentary:

Election ’19: Turnout Is The Surprise Of The Night, Two Council Run-Offs In Store, All Bonds Pass But Voters Send Message On Some And APS Gets A Reprieve
NOVEMBER 6

There’s always a surprise or two on any Election Night and last night was no different in Election ’19, except the surprise came with a twist.

The surprise wasn’t what happened on the ballot, it was who cast the ballots. Turnout soared in the off-year election to just over 97,000, 24 percent of the 419,000 registered BernCo voters.

BernCo Clerk Linda Stover said the legislature’s decision to consolidate city elections with smaller elections–like the APS bonds that once were previously held separately–proved a winner. Then there was the clerk’s heavy election advertising and the four contested ABQ city council races that encouraged voting. It was a solid and welcome start to the new system.

As for the election results. . . away we go!

In District 2 Dem ABQ City Councilor Ike Benton easily held off five challengers but because he fell short of 50 percent–coming in at 42–there will be a December 10 run-off for the Valley seat between him and second place finisher Zack Quintero.

That’s the good news for Quintero. The bad news is that he lagged Benton by 21 points, finishing with just 21 percent of the vote. While the run-off offers Quintero a second chance it’s not a bet you would take running to Santa Ana Casino. Still, if Quintero can lasso the support of the other lagging candidates, including onetime Republican turned independent Connie Vigil who scored 11 percent, he has a shot. If outside groups think there’s some Benton blood in the water they could join the fray.

Benton was endorsed by Mayor Keller, Senator Heinrich and Congresswoman Haaland. They will now be called on to help Benton pull out the run-off win.

There was some last hours second-guessing of Benton. In the early voting Benton scored 46 percent but faded to 42 percent when the Election Day vote was tallied. Quintero’s messaging over a controversial mailer from a progressive PAC backing Benton may have made a a difference as well as his last minute barrage of mail attacks over Benton’s support of ART and his record on crime fighting.

BASSAN VS. ROMERO

In District 4 in the NE Heights Democrat Ane Romero survived to fight another day, but only barely. Republican Brook Bassan scored 48.97 percent, just shy of the needed 50 percent to avoid a Dec. 10 run-off with Romero who received 42 percent. A third Dem candidate scored 9 percent and Romero will work to get those voters in her column for the run-off.

Some Dems said Romero’s campaign missed an opportunity by not hammering Bassan harder over the six party switches Romero said Bassan had made over the years. Romero now has a second shot.

Bassan will be narrowly favored in the rematch because of the Republican lean of the district. GOP voters are seen as more motivated as they work to keep the seat in GOP hands. It has long been held by retiring GOP Councilor Brad Winter.

All in all, it will be a run-off race to watch along with those hot holiday shopping sales.

DAVIS COASTS

In District 6 in the SE Heights Dem Councilor Pat Davis had an easy win over challenger Gina Naomi Dennis. Davis won a second four year term 57 to 43. The win was not unexpected as Davis has championed progressive causes favored in the district and Mayor Keller, popular in the district, endorsed Davis. Also, Davis’ support of the controversial ART project and his crime fighting record in a city suffering a crime epidemic did not undergo harsh scrutiny by his foe.

JONES WINS BIG

In District 8 in the far NE Heights it was a mild surprise when Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones, who had been hammered by the progressive Working Families Party, trounced Dem Maurreen Skowran. It was Jones 57 to 43. Jones will now begin a fourth four year term.

The Bassan and Jones showings were good news for the beleaguered GOP. By finally cutting their losses after their devastating 2018 defeats in big BernCo the party saw a glimmer of hope of holding on to what’s left of their fort in 2020.

Dem Councilor Ken Sanchez, who analyzed the races on our KANW 89.1 FM Election night coverage and who supported Jones, attributed her win in part to her ability to work across party lines. Others opined that the progressive groups backing Skowran erred when they introduced Trump into the race. They said that hardened GOP support for Jones rather than helping Skowran. Where were Skowran’s attacks on Jones over ART and runaway crime? They asked.

DEMOCRACY DUD

Democracy dollars was a dud with the ABQ electorate, falling to defeat 51 to 49 percent. Sure, it was close but not really. Carla Sonntag, president of the NM Business Coalition, told our KANW audience her group tallied at least a stunning $500,0000 in outside progressive support for the initiative in in kind and cash donations. In that context, it wasn’t close.

The proposal would have given each eligible citizen a $25 voucher to contribute to the publicly financed candidate mayoral or council candidates of their choice. It was a gambit to level the playing field with privately financed candidates. But political consultant Sisto Abeyta said on our air that the message was hard to communicate and understand.

Progressives, mainly financed with out of state money, also managed to get a voter initiative for a sick leave ordinance on the city ballot in 2017. It too was narrowly defeated.

On the other hand the proposition to update the city’s public financing system by awarding more money to publicly financed council and mayor candidates did pass muster with the voters, winning 58 to 42.

BACKING THE BONDS

All the city bond issues totaling some $128 million handily passed, but there was a bit of reticence over the $21 million bond package that included $14 million for a homeless shelter. It drew 69.63 percent support, stopping short of the over 70 percent margins many other bonds scored.

Citizens were heard complaining that they feared the 300 person capacity shelter would be in their backyards. But Mayor Keller told the KANW-FM audience last night that realistically there are only five possible locations and that all of them need to be near downtown where many homeless services are already located. Keller and the council will now get to work finalizing a location.

ART PAYBACK

We overlooked this one in our hour long special election report, but there was some payback for the hyper-controversial ART project. The public transportation transit bond won, but only received 58 percent support, far short of what the other bonds received. Voters have been up in arms over the rapid transit plan down Central Ave. and many showed it at the voting booths.

The proposal to renew a quarter cent tax for transportation did not encounter rough waters, The tax, first approved in 1999 won renewal with 65 percent of the vote. However, it won’t be up for renewal again. There was no sunset provision on this year’s renewal.

REINING IN THE RAIL YARDS

And that’s not all. Voters sent a message to Mayor Keller and other supporters of renovating the historic ABQ Rail Yards. The Metropolitan Redevelopment Bonds, which included $5 million to clean up the Rail Yards, received just 58.09 percent support, the lowest of all the bond issues.

The city bought the Rail Yards in 2007 but planned development has mostly stalled. The ongoing expense of maintaining and renovating the Yards in hopes of private sector interest, appears to be wearing on voters.

APS REPRIEVE

ABQ Public Schools was celebrating Election Night, after suffering a blistering defeat earlier in the year. The second trip to the table with a much leaner bond package–$100 million–than the one that was defeated in February was a winner. Voters also approved the mill levy for APS. The bonds passed with 68 percent support and the mill levy won with 63 percent.

CNM won a vote of community support. The bond for the community college garnered 70 percent support.

Thanks for joining us here today and on the radio last night. The voters say we’re not done with Election ’19. We have two council run-off elections on tap for December 10. We’ll keep you posted.”

You can email Joe Monahan at newsguy@yahoo.com and the link to his blog is here http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/

ELECTION DAY RAW NUMBERS

Below are the raw numbers for all four of the City Council races. The runoff for Districts 2 and 4 will be held on December 10.

DISTRICT 2 CITY COUNCIL

Isaac Benton: 4,836 (42.04%) (Runoff Candidate)
Connie Vigil: 1,267 (11%)
Steven Baca: 674 (5.85%)
Joseph R. Griego: 662 (5.76%)
Robert Blanquerqa Nelson: 1,692 (14.69%)
Zack Quintero: 2,337 (20.66%) (Runoff Candidate)

DISTRICT 4 CITY COUNCIL

Brook l. Bassan: 5,095 (48.97%) (Runoff Candidate)
Athena Ann Christodoulou: 907 (8.71%)
Ane C. Romero: 4,403 (42.33%) (Runoff Candidate)

District 6 City Councilor:

Patrick M. Davis: 4,246 (56.78%) (Re elected to Second term)
Gina Naomi Dennis: 3,230 (43.22%)

District 8 City Council

Trudy Jones: 7,305 (56.51%) (Re elected to 3 term)
Maureen Skowan: 5,624 (43.49%)

PROPOSITION 1: Amendments to Open and Ethic Elections Code. This proposition ostensibly deals with updating the city’s public finance ordinance by increasing the amount given to candidates for Mayor. Under Proposition 1, the amount given to qualifying candidates increased from $1.00 to $1.75 per voter, which means public fiancé will go from $380,000 to $665,000 in public finance paid by the city to candidates for Mayor.

YES: 46,468
NO: 38,813

PROPOSITION 2: Democracy Dollars. This proposition would have set up a city funded voucher system to use city general funds to give out $25 vouchers to all residents, not just registered voters nor United States Citizens, who in turn would have given the vouchers to candidates they support. A measured Finance Committee was formed to promote Democracy Dollars and it reported $257,735 in in-kind contributions as of Nov. 1, much of it staff time. Democracy Dollars was endorsed and supported by progressive organizations Common Cause New Mexico, Center for Civic Policy, New Mexico Working Families Party, Equality New Mexico and OLÉ. It was also endorsed by the Bernalillo County Democratic Party.

YES: 39,232 (49%)
NO: 41,249 (51%)

COMMENTARY

Congratulations to City Councilor incumbents Pat Davis and Trudy Jones for being elected to another term on the City Council.

Best of luck to both Isaac Benton and Zack Quintero in District 2 and to both Brook L. Bassan and Ane Romero in District 4 as they face off in the run off to be held on December 10.

A heartfelt congratulations to all the voters in the November 5, 2019 election for taking time out to exercise their right to vote. City residents and voters can take great pride in making a financial commitment to sustain our City and our public-school system with the enactment of all the bonds.

Given today’s political climate, where so many voters seem to be happy or content just seeing things just burn down, President Abraham Lincoln said it best about the importance of voting:

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

If you did not vote on November 5, please do not bitch about how bad things are in our community or with your city councilor and you can just sit on your blisters.

ITS NOW ONTO THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!

Election Day, 2019; Vote Or You Can Just Sit On Your Blisters

Today, November 5, 2019 is election day. It is the first consolidated elections for the City of Albuquerque. The Local Election Act (LEA) was passed by the New Mexico Legislature in 2018. The Local Election Act provides for consolidated local elections to be conducted in New Mexico. The November 5, 2019 ballot is very lengthy and includes 4 City Council elections, $127 million in city general obligation (GO) improvement bonds, continuation of a city road tax, the Albuquerque Public School Board election, a ballot measure for a continuation of a tax levy for APS school maintenance and bonds, and the CNM governing board.

BALLOT PROPOSITIONS

There are also two propositions at the very end of the ballot on the reverse side of the ballot.

PROPOSITION 1: This proposition ostensibly deals with updating the city’s public finance ordinance but in reality, it is misleading in that all it does is increase the amount given to candidates for Mayor with no changes for making it easier to qualify for public finance. Under Proposition 1, the amount given to qualifying candidates would increase from $1.00 to $1.75 per voter, which means public fiancé will go from $380,000 to $665,000 in public finance paid by the city to candidates for Mayor. You can read more about Proposition 1 here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/10/26/vote-no-on-proposition-1-updating-public-finance-changes-not-public-finance-reform-but-increases-taxpayer-money-trough-for-politicians/

PROPOSITION 2: This proposition sets up a city funded voucher system to use city general funds to give out $25 vouchers to all residents, not just registered voters, who in turn will give the vouchers to candidates they support. It is likely proposition 2 violates the New Mexico anti-donation clause. The New Mexico Constitution strictly prohibits donations to individuals by governmental entities. The provision provides in pertinent part:

“Neither the state nor any county, school district or municipality, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation … .” (N.M. Const. art. IX, § 14.)

You can read more about Democracy Dollars here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/10/25/democracy-dollars-warped-interpretation-of-democracy-violating-state-anti-donation-clause-and-federal-campaign-finance-laws/

NEW MEXICO POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN

Although today is election day, early voting started a few weeks ago. For the last 35+ years, New Mexico political blogger Joe Monahan has had election coverage both on his blog and on the radio the day before the election and election day. This election day is no different. Mr. Monahan provided an update of the voter turnout in his November 5 blog on the 4 city Albuquerque City Council races as follows:

“It appears the new state law consolidating a lot of elections previously held separately will boost voter turnout. Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover reports 51,752 votes had been cast early as of late Monday with some more absentees expected today.

There are 418, 867 registered voters in BernCo. If we get about 32,000 votes today that would make for 84,000 and a turnout of 20 percent. That’s at the upper end of expectations.

There’s been a noticeable spike in turnout for the four contested city council races over 2015. We mean noticeable.

ABQ [has a] … run-off system. Tonight there’s a chance that two city council contests could be decided in a December 10 run-off election between the two top votegetters in each district.

In District 2, mainly in the ABQ Valley, it’s a six way race so a candidate getting to 50 percent and avoiding a run-off is a steep climb. In District 4 in the NE Heights it’s a three candidate race. That one could also go to a run-off. Council Districts 6 and 8 each feature only two candidates and will be decided today.

In District 2 in the ABQ Valley where Councilor Ike Benton is seeking re-election 5,872 early votes have been cast. In 2015 Benton was unopposed so the total vote then was just 2,631. This is a six way race that could be headed to a run-off.

In District 4 there have been 6,367 early votes cast. In ’15 in that NE Heights district all votes cast totaled 4,982. That is a whopping increase in the district being vacated by GOP Councilor Winter. This is a three way race, with Dem Ane Romero trying to turn the district blue against R Brook Bassan. A third candidate Dem Athena Ann Christodoulou is in as well.

In District 6 in the SE Heights Clerk Stover reports 3,790 early votes. In ’15 the total early and Election Day vote was 4,295. Councilor Pat Davis is seeking re-election in the district. He is opposed by attorney Gina Naomi Dennis.

In District 8 in the far NE Heights 8,188 early votes have been cast. In 2015, Republican Councilor Trudy Jones was unopposed and the total vote was only 3,112. She is opposed this year by Dem Maurreen Skowran and that mammoth increase in turnout could bode well for her. The Working Families Party and other progressive groups have targeted the increasingly blue district. We’ll see tonight if the R’s can keep pace.

Turnout here has been trending higher in the Trump years. We’ll know soon if that holds true for this election.

You’re invited to join us for ABQ Election Night coverage beginning at 7 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM ABQ/Santa Fe and at KANW.COM”

You can read the complete New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan blog article at this link:

http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/

COMMENTARY

Given today’s political climate, where so many seem to be happy or content to seeing things burn down, President Abraham Lincoln said it best about the importance of voting:

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

Please get out and vote today. If you do not vote today, then do not bitch about how bad things are in our community and you can just sit on your blisters.

FOR RELATED ELECTION BLOG ARTICLES SEE:

On November 5, Vote Out DINO’S Pat Davis and Isaac Benton

Vote NO On Proposition 1 Updating Public Finance; Changes Not Public Finance Reform But Increases Taxpayer Money Trough For Politicians

“DEMOCRACY DOLLARS” Warped Interpretation Of Democracy Violating State Anti-Donation Clause And Federal Campaign Finance Laws; Vote No on Proposition 2

Vote YES On Extension of APS Mill Levy For School Repairs, School Security!

ABQ’s $127 Million Bond Package And Road Tax; City Hall “Movida” With Homeless Shelter Because Of NIMBY; Vote YES on November 5 For All The Bonds And Road Tax

NM And ABQ Still Violent; Gov. MLG Creates “Fugitive Apprehension Unit” ; Crime Rates Will Be Defining Issue In 2021 Mayor’s Race

New Mexico posted the nation’s second-highest violent crime rate and its highest property crime rate in 2018 driven by high crime rates in Albuquerque. According to Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), in 2018 New Mexico had the second-highest violent crime rate and highest property crime rate in the nation. While the national crime rate in 2018 was around 369 violent crimes and 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 residents, New Mexico had 857 violent crimes and 3,420 property crimes per 100,000 residents.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1376413/metro-surge-cost-1m-resulted-in-738-arrests.html

NEW MEXICO STATE POLICE SURGE

On May 4, 2019, a University of New Mexico student was shot and killed outside a Nob Hill nightclub. Four days after the shooting, law enforcement officials in the Albuquerque area were called to a meeting by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to discuss ways to fight violent crime in the state’s largest city. The decision was made to send 50 New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officers diverted from other parts of the state to patrol certain areas of the city for a two-month period. From May 10 to June 5, the 50 state police officers were stationed mainly in Southeast Albuquerque and off West Central and in an area in the Northeast.

On October 9, it was reported that the two-month NMSP “Metro Surge Operation” cost $975,765, including $407,889 for 14,674 regular patrol hours, $407,306 for 9,850 overtime hours, and $93,143 for lodging and $67,428 for meals. The Metro Surge resulted in 14,674 traffic stops and netted 738 arrests with the majority of the arrests being for felony or misdemeanor warrants.

GOVERNOR CREATES FUGITIVE APPREHENSION UNIT

On October 30, 2019, in part because of the success of the May New Mexico State Police surge in Albuquerque which resulted in 738 arrests for felony or misdemeanor warrants, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham order the creation of the “Fugitive Apprehension Unit” to apprehend hundreds of criminal defendant’s across New Mexico who have not shown up for court hearings or wanted on bench warrants. The Fugitive Apprehension Unit will consist of State Police officers and state Corrections Department staffers. The unit will work with local law enforcement officials around New Mexico to track down and arrest people charged with committing violent crimes. According to the New Mexico Administrative Office of the District Attorneys, there are more than 1,600 outstanding bench warrants for people charged with violent crimes.

Governor Lujan Grisham created the Fugitive Apprehension Unit by executive order. The unit will be made up at first of 7 State Police officers and 7 Corrections Department staffers. Everyone team member must have a clean background with no significant disciplinary actions. Team members will be selected from different parts of the state in an effort to avoid affecting day-to-day operations. The unit will be required to make monthly reports to the Governor’s Office documenting its arrests. The executive order also instructs other executive branch state agencies to cooperate with the special law enforcement unit by providing requested information and assistance.

In announcing the “Fugitive Apprehension Unit”, Governor Lujan Grisham had this to say:

“Our justice system is undermined when people accused of serious criminal offenses evade prosecution. We need to explore every avenue for increasing public safety in New Mexico; we need to be smart on crime while being tough on crime. By deploying these resources in a targeted fashion and continuing to work hand in hand with local jurisdictions, the state can make meaningful strides toward reducing crime in our communities and ensuring high-profile violent individuals are brought into the judicial process.”

ALBUQUERQUE’S VIOLENT CRIME RATES

On October 2, 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released the 2018 crime statistics for Albuquerque based on crime reports or offense reports statistics the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) provided to it. The FBI statistics reflect that Albuquerque had a decrease from the record high crime rates reported in 2017.

According to the data released, Albuquerque had 1,365 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2018 compared to the states 369 per 100,000 residents. The city had rates of 1,365 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, and 6,179 property crimes per 100,000 residents compared with 3,420 statewide and 2,200 nationally.

The FBI report showed the following crime rates for 2018:

Property Crime: 34,619 offenses per 100,000 residents
Violent Crime: 7,646 offenses per 100,000 residents
Auto theft was down by 27% between 2017 and 2018, and it is down another 22% in 2019.
Robbery is also down by a third this year.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1373840/abq-mayor-crime-stats-show-need-for-state-help.html

New Mexico as a state had a significantly lower violent crime rate reported as 857 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. The national violent crime rate was 369 per 100,000 people, significantly less than the city’s or the states rate. Albuquerque had four times the violent crime rate as the United States as a whole.

Auto theft decreased by 27% between 2017 and 2018, and it is down another 22% this year. Despite huge drops in the number of auto thefts in the city in the past two years, Albuquerque still ranked number one in the country for auto thefts.

The FBI statistics revealed improvement in the categories for the first six months of 2018. Robberies were down 47%, aggravated assaults down 10% and rape was down 29%.

The murder rate continues to be very problematic for the city. As of October 2, 2019, the city recorded 63 homicides through September compared with 69 murders in all of 2018.

Reporting by law enforcement agencies for the annual report, which was released October 2, is voluntary. The raw data offers a broad look at crime in thousands of U.S. cities, but many times is inconsistent or incomplete. According to the FBI the data does not take into account factors that analysts say are known to affect crime: economic conditions, poverty, drug abuse or population density.

ANOTHER PRESS CONFERENCE AND PRESS RELEASE

Since taking office on December 1, 2017, Mayor Keller has made it a point to hold a press conferences every 3 months to report on APD’s and the city’s progress toward lowering crime statistics. Albuquerque’s high crime statistics have taken front an center in all the press conferences. Albuquerque’s violent crime rates are still at unacceptable levels and Mayor Keller and APD Chief Michael Geier have acknowledge this fact each time they have held a press conference to discuss FBI statistics.

In July, Keller and APD held a news conference announcing a significant drop in crime across the board when comparing the first six months of 2019 with the first six months of the two previous years. Keller and APD announced that aggravated assaults from January through June had declined 33% in comparison with the same period during the previous year. taken front and center in the last 4 races for Albuquerque Mayor.

In the October 2 press release announcing the new statistics, Mayor Keller and APD had to backtrack on many of July figures and said that while there had still been a decrease in crime, aggravated assaults had declined just 10% and auto theft had declined 22%. In total, Albuquerque had 69 murder or non-negligent manslaughter cases for the entire year of 2018, while all other New Mexico cities included in the FBI’s 2018 data set had 49 such cases combined. Albuquerque police officials said that preliminary 2019 figures showed there had been 63 homicides in Albuquerque from January through the end of September.

CITY’S 2008 TO 2018 VIOLENT CRIME STATISTICS

Albuquerque’s FBI Uniform Crime statistics for the years 2008 to 2018 reveal just how bad violent crime has increased in Albuquerque over the last 10 years. Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults. Property Crimes include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. The hard numbers for the last 10 years reflect that crime has not declined much and that like a waive on a beach, it had “ebbed and flowed” over the years.

As of October 2, 2019, of this year, there were 63 homicides in Albuquerque. The number of HOMICIDES reported each year from 2008 to 2018 are:

2008: 38
2009: 56
2010: 42
2011: 35
2012: 41
2013: 34
2014: 30
2015: 42
2016: 61
2017: 72
2018: 65
2019: 63 homicides as of October 2.

The number of RAPES reported each year from 2008 to 2018 are:

2008: 370
2009: 326
2010: 338
2011: 264
2012: 278
2013: 439
2014: 402
2015: 404
2016: 381
2017: 473
2018: 461

The number of AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS reported each year from 2008 to 2016 are:

2008: 2,960
2009: 2,597
2010: 2,971
2011: 2,910
2012: 2,740
2013: 2,803
2014: 3,121
2015: 3,273
2016: 3,846
2017: 4,213
2018: 3,885

The total number of VIOLENT CRIMES (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault combined) reported each year from 2008 to 2018 were:

2008: 4,718
2009: 4,082
2010: 4,291
2011: 4,207
2012: 4,151
2013: 4,322
2014: 4,934
2015: 5,405
2016: 6,245
2017: 7,686 (Aggravated Assaults: 4,213, Non-Fatal Shootings: 470)
2018: 6,789 (Aggravated Assaults: 3,885, Non-Fatal Shootings: 491)

https://www.cabq.gov/police/annual-reports/uniform-crime-reports

INCREASING SIZE APD POLICE FORCE

APD’s is spending $88 million dollars beginning last year in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers. The massive investment is being done in order to full fill Mayor Tim Keller’s 2017 campaign promise to increase the size of APD and return to community-based policing as a means to reduce the city’s high crime rates. Last year’s 2018-2019 fiscal year budget provided for increasing APD funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040. This year’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget has funding for 1,040 sworn police.

On June 17, 2019, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) announced that is has hired 116 police officers during the first full budget year of the Mayor Tim Keller Administration. A very large percentage of those officers are lateral hires from other departments. It is projected that with the additions APD will reach 957 sworn officers by the end of July, 2019 and reach 981 by the end of the summer. For the 2019-20129 fiscal year that begins July 1, 2019 APD has been is budgeted for 1,040 full time sworn officers.

https://www.koat.com/article/116-new-officers-hitting-abq-streets/28069973

According to an APD news release at the time, about two-thirds of the 116 new officers are already patrolling the streets and taking calls for service. The remainder are expected to be on duty by the end of the summer. Of the 957 police officers APD now has, 533 are patrolling the streets taking calls for service.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The good news for the city is that the hard numbers reflect that for one full year of 2017 to 2018 and the first 6 months of 2019, crime was going down in the major categories. The bad news is the 10-year statistics confirms crime is not down, especially when it comes to violent crimes. In a nutshell, violent crime is not down and a dramatic turnaround is needed before people will feel safe.

Crime statistics and rankings for years have been a major political hot issue in political races in the state and the subject of measures passed in the legislature. New Mexico lawmakers for the last 12 years have debated how to boost public safety while attempting to attract more tourism and jobs.

Sooner rather than later, APD and the city will not be able to rely on other law enforcement agencies like the State Police to help out reducing crime. APD has now grown, and citizens will be expecting far more from APD as well as Mayor Tim Keller.

On December 1, 2019, it will be a full two years that Mayor Tim Keller has been in office. The Keller Administration has made impressive strides in returning to community-based policing, implementing the Department of Justice Court Agreed Settlement Agreement (CASA), has grown the APD to what will in all likely be 1,100 officers by the end of next year, and has spent millions to get it all done.

Notwithstanding all of the law enforcement accomplishments, the city’s violent crime rates are still at unacceptable levels. Mayor Keller has another full year before the 2021 municipal election begins in earnest in February, 2021 where he is expected to run for another term. We can expect that crime rates and APD will once again be major issues in the 2021 municipal election for Mayor.

Congresswoman Debora Haaland Sticks Her Nose Into Municipal Election

Congresswoman Debra Haaland was elected to the United States Congress in November 2018 and on January 3, 2019 was sworn into office and became one of the first two Native American women ever to be elected to the United States Congress. She is a 35th generation New Mexican who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, and also has Jemez Pueblo heritage. Ever since being elected Congresswoman Debra Haaland has been a source of great pride to the people of Albuquerque. She is a fighter for democratic core values, especially civil rights and has been a unifying force when it comes to racial divides. By all accounts, she was doing a good job, until now.

HAALAND’S MUNICIPAL ENDORSEMENTS GALORE

It has come as a major surprise to many city hall observers and democrat activists how active and involved Congresswoman Debra Haaland has gotten involved with the 2019 municipal election, especially in city council races where incumbent Democrats are being opposed by Progressive Democrats. She has exerted herself and her political support to influence the municipal elections by endorsing two anglo incumbent Democratic City Councilors who vote and act more like Republicans over other young Progress Democrats who are people of color.

Further, Democratic activists are surprised she has endorsed “Democracy Dollars” apparently not aware of the “class warfare” and tactics being used by its supporters to get it passed.

“DEMOCRACY DOLLARS”

The November 5 election ballot includes the Democracy Dollars “Proposition 2” which sets up a city funded voucher system to use city general funds to give out $25 vouchers to voters who in turn will give the vouchers to candidates they support who will cash them with the city. If Democracy Dollars passes, the city will donate and mail $25-dollar redeemable vouchers to all “qualified” city residents, not just registered voters, to make money donations on their own to a candidate of their choosing.

Proponents of Dollars for Democracy argue that it will encourage more people to register to vote and more varied and diverse candidates will run for office who normally do not run or who cannot raise the necessary funding for a campaign. Proponents also argue Democracy Dollars will have the benefit of candidates directly contacting and discuss issues that affect them. Democracy Dollars does not require recipients be registered voters, just city residents.

HAALAND’S ENDORSEMENT OF DEMOCRACY DOLLARS

On November 31, New Mexico Frist Congressional Congresswoman Debra Haaland issued and unequivocal endorsement of City of Albuquerque Proposition 2 by saying:

“I believe campaigns should be run the old-fashioned way, by building a grassroots team of supporters. I fully support Prop 2! Democracy Dollars gives candidates the freedom to walk out of that high-dollar fundraiser and come knock on your door. Proposition 2 puts the power in the hands of voters – and gives all of us a say in how our local elections are funded. I fully support Prop 2!”

DEMOCRACY DOLLARS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS REPRESENT CLASS WARFARE

“Democracy Dollars” campaign has set up a “web page” and a FACEBOOK page to promote the ballot initiative. The web page link is here https://www.burquebucks.org/ . The web page contains numerous bold claims including:

“Too many elections are often decided by a small group of secretive and rich political donors. They have all the power to decide who represents us, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Today’s candidates pay too much attention to wealthy donors and not enough to regular people.

The “Democracy Dollars” web page has an entire section entitled:
“Albuquerque Donors Do Not Match the City’s Diversity: Democracy Dollars Can Make Every Voice Matter in Albuquerque’s Elections”. This section contains the following statements:
“A review of donations from individuals to mayoral and city council races in 2017 shows that those who contribute to campaigns, and therefore are more likely to have their voices heard, do not reflect Albuquerque’s diverse population. Instead, the donor class is whiter, older, and higher-income than the general population. As a result, people of color, young people, and middle- and working-class residents are underrepresented in the city’s politics and policies. Our elections are fairer—and our democracy works better—when politicians listen to the entire public instead of only to a few, unrepresentative big donors.

While 41% of Albuquerque residents are white and 48% are Hispanic, the donor pool in Albuquerque is 70% white and only 23% Hispanic. Native Americans make up 4% of Albuquerque residents but only .04% of donors to city elections.

Together, blacks and Asian Americans make up 6% of Albuquerque residents, but only 2% of donors.”

The “Democracy Dollars” campaign is not even subtle about the “class warfare” they promote when they publish and inflame division within this city on its web site.

Virtually all of the above statements used by “Democracy Dollars” are highly questionable, misleading or downright false and on so many levels. No supporting research or data is offered by Democracy Dollars to back-up the sweeping statements, especially when it comes to ethnicity claims and who donates.

With her unequal endorsement of “Democracy Dollars”, first Congressional Congresswoman Debra Haaland has endorsed “class warfare” never seen done by any congressional representative in the first Congressional District.

HAALAND’S CITY COUNCIL ENDORSEMENTS

On August 26, 2019, Democrats Mayor Tim Keller and Congresswoman Debra Haaland released a joint video endorsing Democratic Albuquerque City Councilors Isaac (IKE) Benton and Pat Davis for another term to the Albuquerque City Council. The joint endorsement raised more than a few political eyebrows, especially among Democratic activists. In the video endorsement, both Mayor Keller and Congresswomen Haaland proclaim that Benton and Davis have been tremendous City Councilors and are in the best positions to move Albuquerque forward and stating “With the right leadership we truly can come together to be the best city we can be.” You can view the full video here:

https://www.facebook.com/BentonForABQ/videos/504381937059221/

Keller has been in office for 21 months and Haaland has been in office 10 months, but they both think they know Davis and Benton have done such great jobs for the last 4 years that they need to be reelected.

HAALAND’S ENDORSEMENT OF ISSAC BENTON

Registered Democrat Isaac (Ike) Benton, 67, is the District 2 City Councilor and was first elected to the council in 2005. Benton is a retired architect and avowed urbanist. Benton’s city council district includes a large area of downtown Central and the North Valley which leans left and is heavily Hispanic.

Benton now has 5 opponents with 4 having qualified for public finance. Four of his opponents are Hispanic males ranging from the ages of 28 to 39, and one is an Hispanic female registered as independent.

Benton’s 5 opponents are:

Hispanics Zack Quintero, 28, a recent UNM Law School graduate and economist, Steven Baca, 30, a process server, Joe Griego, 29, a medical equipment business owner, American Filipino Robert Nelson, 39, a nonprofit manager with The Grants Collective and community activist. One Hispanic woman is also running against Benton, Connie Vigil, 62, President of the Greater Albuquerque Business Association (GABA).

Incumbent Isaac Benton supporters are now embroiled in controversy over a racist political flyer that uses a “photo shopped” photo of Mr. Quintero superimposed on the body of another. Hispanic Progressive Democrat Zack Quintero, 28, is a recent UNM Law School graduate and economist, and was born and raised in New Mexico. He is one of 5 candidates running against long serving City Councilor Isaac Benton who calls himself a progressive Democrat. Political observers are saying Mr. Quentero has gained on Benton in the race and may even be leading in the polls.

HAALAND’S ENDORSEMENT OF PAT DAVIS

Democrat City Councilor Pat Davis was elected to the Albuquerque City Council on October 6, 2015 to represent District 6. District 6 encompasses the International District, Mesa Del Sol, Nob Hill, Southeast Heights, and the University of New Mexico. Last year, Davis ran unsuccessfully for US Congress in the First Congressional District. Davis withdrew from the race when he polled at 3% and could not raise the money to run a viable campaign.

Before Davis withdrew from the congressional race, Davis had no problem accusing the then Democrat front runner former US Attorney for New Mexico Damon Martinez of being a “racist”, which was an absolute lie. Pat Davis endorsed Debra Haaland who went on to become elected to congress. Candidate Debra Haaland allowed Davis to make the racist accusation against Martinez on her campaign letter head and never condemned the false accusation.

Democrat Pat Davis has only one opponent: Gina Naomi Dennis a progressive Democrat, who is an attorney, a neighborhood activist and was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic Party National Convention in 2016.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The “Democracy Dollars” system is touted as a “voucher” system to allow the city to donate $25-dollar redeemable vouchers to all “qualified” city residents who are less fortunate to make money donations on their own to a candidate of their choosing like those who can afford to make donations on their own. This is a warped interpretation of democracy. It equates political donations as the only meaningful way to participate in the election political process.

It is very misleading to call citizens who are not able to make monetary contribution under the present system to be referred to as “small donors” when they have been given a $25 money voucher to donate to a candidate of their choice and when the funding source for the voucher is the city general fund. Those who cannot afford to make political donations can and usually do get very involved with campaigns and volunteer time and “sweat equity” to campaigns on a grass root level. The hallmark of city elections is “door to door” campaigns to ask for a vote and support.

HAALAND KNOWS BETTER

Congresswoman Debra Haaland is a former State Democratic Party Chair. She knows that Democratic Party Officials are prohibited from taking sides in contested races within the party. It has been long unwritten practice within the Democratic party that federal office holders refrain from getting involved with local elections. It is also an unwritten practice within the Democratic party that Democratic federal elected officials not endorse anyone in particular when there are a number of Democrats candidates running against each other.

Congresswoman Debra Haaland has been in office for only ten months, has yet to accomplish anything other than notoriety, but yet she feels compelled to get involved with Albuquerque’s municipal elections. It is very curious to many why Congresswoman Debra Haaland would endorse the likes of Isaac Benton and Pat Davis. It is highly questionable why Haaland endorsed “Democracy Dollars” which is strictly a municipal public finance measure that has nothing to do with federal election laws and with Democracy Dollars violating both State and Federal law.

Major proponents and financial contributors of Democracy Dollars, include New Mexico Working Families Party, Common Cause New Mexico, Ole, Planned Parenthood, Equality New Mexico, Center for Civic Policy, Progress Now, Adelante Progressive Caucus and Strong Families New Mexico, and are all progressive organizations that supported Debra Haaland.

WHAT MOTIVATES HAALAND

It does not take a political genius to figure out why Congresswoman Debra Haaland with her very public support and endorsements of Pat Davis, Isaac Benton and Democracy for Dollars why she did it. She does not want to alienate or oppose some of her biggest donors or supporters who are also promoting Pat Davis, Isaac Benton and “Democracy Dollars” and no doubt calling in the debt she owes to them for the help they gave her to get elected.

With these endorsement’s and a lack of accomplishing much in her 10 months in office, Congresswoman Debra Haaland has sown the seeds among those she has not endorsed inviting opposition when she runs for another term.

On November 5, vote no on Proposition 2 Democracy Dollars and Vote Out DINO’S Pat Davis and Isaac Benton

For related blog articles see:

On November 5, Vote Out DINO’S Pat Davis and Isaac Benton

“Democracy Dollars” Engages In Class Warfare And Tribalism While Mayor Tim Keller Promotes Funding Source For His 2021 Election; VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 2 “DEMOCRACY DOLLARS”

Vote NO On Proposition 1 Updating Public Finance; Changes Not Public Finance Reform But Increases Taxpayer Money Trough For Politicians

On November 5, Vote Out DINO’S Pat Davis and Isaac Benton

The November 5, 2019 election will be the first consolidated elections for the City of Albuquerque. The ballot will include City Council elections and $127 million in capital improvement bonds, the Albuquerque Public School Board, CNM. Voters will get one ballot for the races that pertain to them when they go to vote based on their voter registration.

Democratic City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton are seeking to be elected to another term on the Albuquerque city Council with the municipal election to be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

DINO PAT DAVIS AND HIS OPPONENT DEMOCRAT GINA NAOMI DENNIS

Registered Democrat City Councilor Pat Davis, 41, was elected to the Albuquerque City Council on October 6, 2015 to represent District 6. District 6 encompasses the International District, Mesa Del Sol, Nob Hill, Southeast Heights, and the University of New Mexico. Within six months after being elected to the City Council, At one time, an effort was undertaken to initiate a recall against Pat Davis by Nob Hill business owners and his Nob Hill constituents because of Davis’ support of the ART bus project along central , but no formal process was initiated.

Last year, Davis ran unsuccessfully for US Congress in the First Congressional District. Davis withdrew from the race when he polled at 3% and could not raise the money to run a viable campaign. Before Davis withdrew from the congressional race, Davis had no problem accusing the then Democrat front runner former US Attorney Damon Martinez of being a “racist”, which was a lie, and Davis endorsed the eventual Democratic nominee who went on to become elected to congress.

DINO (D) Pat Davis has only one opponent: Gina Naomi Dennis a progressive Democrat and a woman of color who is an attorney, a neighborhood activist and was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic Party National Convention in 2016.

Following is the link to the Albuquerque Journal’s District 6 election coverage article:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1379926/fellow-democrat-challenging-incumbent-city-councilor-in-district-6.html

DINO ISAAC BENTON

Registered Democrat Isaac (Ike) Benton, 67, is the District 2 City Councilor and was first elected to the council in 2005. Benton is a retired architect and avowed urbanist. Benton’s city council district includes a large area of downtown Central and the North Valley which leans left and is heavily Hispanic. Benton ran unopposed in 2015.
Benton disclosed to a political blogger he thought about not seeking re-election and said he looked around to see if a younger, qualified person was “waiting in the wings”, but he said he could not find anyone to run. The “wing” Benton was probably referring to is the pediatric wing of Presbyterian Hospital where he yelled out “Does anyone of you live in my district who wants to be city councilor?” Benton now has 5 opponents with 4 having qualified for public finance. Four of his opponents are Hispanic males ranging from the ages of 28 to 39, and one is an Hispanic female.

Dino (D) Isaac Benton has 5 opponents and they are:

Hispanics Zack Quintero, 28, a recent UNM Law School graduate and economist, Steven Baca, 30, a process server, Joe Griego, 29, a medical equipment business owner, American Filipino Robert Nelson, 39, a nonprofit manager with The Grants Collective and community activist. One Hispanic woman is also running against Benton, Connie Vigil, 62, President of the Greater Albuquerque Business Association (GABA).

You can read the Albuquerque Journal District 2 candidate bios and questionnaires here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/10/14/abq-journal-district-2-city-council-candidate-bios-questionnaires-other-issue-needing-to-be-discussed/

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

Since January 1, both Pat Davis and Isaac Benton have appeared at and called press conference after press conference. You always know when it’s an election year when politicians call a press conference to announce new initiative’s and funding to please their constituents and curry favor to get back in the good graces of their constituents. What is pathetic is when those same politicians think that their constituents are so damn stupid or naïve not to realize their actions are to make amends for past positions and votes.

Specific instances this past year alone where both have tried to get back in the good graces of their constituents include the following:

1. On May 3, 2019, Albuquerque City Councilors Isaac Benton and Pat Davis held a press conference to announce their proposal to invest up to $1.5 million in specific Central corridor “public safety” initiatives and marketing measures for the Nob Hill area affected by the ART Bus project. Included is $500,000 in one-time funding for grants to nonprofit business associations and merchant groups along the Nob Hill area central corridor. Many business owners and residents in Nob Hill along the Central Corridor where the ART Bus project was constructed have complained about repeated vandalism in the area and numerous break-ins resulting in the businesses having to spend money on expensive repairs and security measures. The only reason Benton and Davis supported investing up to $1.5 million in specific Central corridor for “public safety” initiatives and marketing measures for the Nob Hill area affected by the ART Bus project is that they hope their constituents will “forgive and forget” their past support of the ART Bus project and their refusal to place it on the ballot for a public vote.

2. On August 13, 2019 a mere 4 days after the Bernalillo County Commission enacted the county paid sick leave ordinance, Albuquerque City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton ordered an economic analysis of the paid sick leave legislation enacted by the county to see how it would work in Albuquerque. It was late in 2018 that Davis introduced a “paid sick leave” bill for the city council to consider. The paid sick leave ordinance has yet to have a committee hearing and make it to the full council for a vote. Davis said he knows his bill “lacks enough votes” on the nine-member council to pass it even though the council is controlled by a Democratic majority of 6 to 3 Republicans. Benton and Davis demand for an economic analysis of the paid sick leave should have been done long before Davis introduced his legislation and amounts to nothing more than a publicity stunt in an effort to shore up sagging support within their progressive Democratic districts so they can say all the right things to get media attention and for progressive Democrats to hear.

3. On August 16, Mayor Tim Keller issued an administrative executive order banning guns from city community centers and from the city’s health and social service centers. Not to be out done by Mayor Tim Keller, on September 18, Albuquerque City Councilors Isaac Benton, Pat Davis, citing more than a dozen shootings that have occurred at government buildings and public meetings around the country in the past 22 years, introduced legislation to ban guns on city properties. The ordinance bans guns on “any city structure, building, or office space which is owned, leased or otherwise occupied by the City for purposes of hosting the public, or conducting business with the public”. The proposed ordinance would include City Hall, all parks, libraries, and any place the City Council, city commissions or elected officials are holding an open meeting.

Davis on his own also introduced two other gun-related bills. The first gun control measure requires gun owners to keep their firearms locked up when outside of their immediate possession and control. The proposed laws would require people in Albuquerque to keep their guns locked in a safe at home or with a secure device in the car when they are not with them. The second gun control measure would make it illegal to threaten mass violence in Albuquerque, including over social media, which Davis said would allow police to initiate investigations sooner than they now can.

All 3 of the proposed city ordinances violate the New Mexico Constitution prohibiting municipalities from enacting legislation regulating citizens “right to bear arms” under Article II, Section 6 of the Constitution of New Mexico” which states as follows:

“No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”

The proposed city ordinances clearly exceed the authority of the Albuquerque City Council which is zero under the New Mexico Constitution. It is well settled case law that gun control measures are within the exclusive authority of the New Mexico legislature which has enacted gun control legislation and will be considering even more in the 2020 legislative session.
For more on New Mexico statutes and case law on gun control see:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/09/26/three-city-councilors-ignorant-on-gun-control-and-grand-stand-before-election-nm-law-and-court-rulings-on-gun-control/

TALK LIKE DEMOCRATS VOTE LIKE REPUBLICANS

Both Davis and Benton proclaim to be “progressive democrats”. However, their City Council voting records say otherwise and they have proven themselves to be Democrats In Name Only (DINO).
During the past four years, Albuquerque has suffered from record breaking high crime rates and the ART bus project without either Benton nor Davis even trying doing much to improve things, at least not until when they want to be elected again.

There are at least 9 egregious specific votes Isaac Benton’s and Pat Davis’s that reveal the true voting record as going against core Democratic principles and both being Democrats In Name Only (DINO):

1.Councilors Benton and Davis voted repeatedly for and the disastrous ART Bus project that has destroyed the character of Route 66. Both refused to advocate to put the ART Bus project on the ballot for public approval. Benton and Davis voted to spend federal grant money that had yet to be appropriated by congress. The ART Bus project has been a total disaster resulting the destruction of the character of Route 66. ART has a negative impact on Central resulting in several businesses going out of business. Many central businesses and Nob Hill businesses, no longer exist because of the ART Bus Project.

2.Both Benton and Davis voted to use $13 million dollars in revenue bonds to pay for the ART Bus project. The revenue bonds were not voted upon by the public. It was reported that the Albuquerque City Council borrowed over $63 million dollars over a two-year period to build pickle ball courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down central by bypassing the voters. The $65 million dollars was borrowed with the Albuquerque City Councilors voting to use revenue bonds as the financing mechanism to pay for big capital projects.

https://www.abqjournal.com/919263/revenue-bonds-find-favor-in-abq.html

3. The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including controlling its budget. Benton and Davis did nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the previous Administration and the former APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Court appointed Monitor presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Benton and Davis remained silent. Both declined to demand accountability from the Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms. Both Benton and Davis failed to attend any one of the federal court hearings on the consent decree.

4. Both Benton and Davis voted for the city ordinance amendments requiring equal pay for woman but failed to demand more. The amendments to the equal pay for woman ordinance sounded good and look good on paper but accomplished very little. The truth is that the equal pay for woman ordinance only applies to city contracts and those who do business with the city. The ordinance is voluntary and gives preferential treatment on city contracts to those who voluntarily comply. The equal pay for woman ordinance should apply to all businesses licensed to do business in Albuquerque, it should be mandatory for all businesses and enforced by city planning that issues business licenses and could be made so by the city council.

5. When he served on a task force to overhaul Albuquerque’s public fiancé laws, Pat Davis declined to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance. The only change both Davis and Benton agreed to was increasing the amount of money candidates get and not the process of collecting the donations to qualify and not expanding the time to collect qualifying donations. The lack of changes to the public finance laws favors incumbents like Davis and Benton.

6. Davis advocated for enactment of the Healthy Workforce ordinance by voters which would have mandate the pay of sick leave by employers and was always there for a photo op with those organizations who pushed to get it on the ballot. However, both Benton and Davis never demanded the City Attorney’s office enforce the existing Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance, even when workers were forced to sue their employers. Davis and Benton claim to be in favor of increasing the minimum wage, but they have never demanded the Mayor nor the City Attorney to enforce the current city ordinance enacted by voters with a 2 to 1 margin.

7. On July 2, 2018 Democrat Mayor Tim Keller vetoed the $2.6 million economic development package that would help Topgolf to construct a $39 million entertainment complex at the site of the former Beach Waterpark. Benton and Davis went along with the City Council voting 8-1 to give the incentives after a 9-0 veto override Keller’s veto of a resolution expressing the city councils support. A few weeks later, Both Benton and Davis again voted to override Democrat Mayor Keller’s veto of the funding. Rather than give the new Democrat Mayor the benefit of the doubt, Benton and Davis voted to overturn the veto, but never once voted to overturn a veto of the previous Republican Mayor.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1192145/keller-vetoes-topgolf-economic-development-package.html

8. On October 7, with the votes of Davis and Benton, the City Council approved a $30.5 million “Sports -Tourism” lodger tax package on a unanimous vote to upgrade and build sports facilities throughout the city for the general public use. Revenue generated by the lodger’s tax will be used to pay off the $30.5 million bond debt. The unanimous city council vote was done over the objections of the Greater Albuquerque Hotel and Lodging Association (GAHLA) and the Lodgers Tax Advisory Board (LTAB) who were never conferred with or asked for their approval. Normally, capital projects such as stadiums, sports complexes are funded by using general obligation bonds which require voter approval or revenue bonds approved by the city council. This is how the renovation and the reconstruction of the Isotopes Baseball Park Occurred. When you examine all the projects that will be finance by the “Sports Tourism Lodger” tax bonds, it is no doubt the projects are for the building of facilities and infrastructure to be used by the general public which violates the lodgers tax law. The glaring problem is the plain language of the lodger tax state law and ordinance requires the lodger’s tax must be used “for the purpose of advertising, publicizing and promoting tourist-related attractions, facilities and events”, not to build facilities to be used by the general public. Instead, the City Council including Davis and Benton got sneaky again as they have done with the $67 million in revenue bonds and expedited the vote saying the interest rates were the most favorable and there was no time to delay.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1375946/city-council-approves-new-lodgers-tax-bonds.html

9. The most egregious votes by Benton and Davis was that they voted for the final adoption of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers. The enactment of the comprehensive plan was a major priority of Republican Mayor Berry and the development community pushed hard for its enactment before Berry left office. The ABC-Z project rewrite was nothing more than making “gentrification” an official city policy and the “gutting” of long-standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character. Benton, a retired architect knew better but refused to intervene on behalf of neighborhood interests.

CONCLUSION

What people should be sick of are Democrats acting and talking like Republicans especially after they get elected to positions like City Council and arguing that they are being “nonpartisan”. Both City Councilors Isaac Benton and Pat Davis have said that they have done a great job as City Councilors by acting “non-partisan” and they needed to cooperate with Republicans to get things done, even though Democrats now hold a majority of 6-3 on the City Council and even though the Mayor is a Democrat.

There is a significant difference between cooperating and working with other elected officials from the opposite party and then being hypocritical and going against your own basic political philosophy of what you believe to be true and then turning around and acting and voting against that what you claim to believe in. What would be disappointing is if Davis and Benton are elected again saying they are Progressives Democrats when in fact they vote like conservative Republicans.

Any of those running against Davis and Benton would better serve voters of District 2 and 6. City Councilors Benton and Davis need to be thanked for their service and voted out of office. If their constituents “forgive and forget” they deserve the representation they get for another 4 years and cease any complaints of the two city counselors ignoring what they want and who promote their own personal agendas and political careers.

ABQ Journal Editorial On Proposed Homeless Shelter

The upcoming November 5, 2019 election will be the first consolidated elections for the City of Albuquerque. The ballot is lengthy and will include 4 City Council races, $127 million in city general obligation (GO) improvement bonds, continuation of a city road tax, the Albuquerque Public School Board, a continuation of a tax levy for APS school maintenance, and the CNM governing board.

The most controversial bonds on the November 5 ballot are the $14 million designated for a centralized, 24-hour, 7 day a week homeless shelter. The $14 million in funding is buried in Bond Question 2 for $21.7 million with the language saying it’s for “senior, family, community center, homeless and community enhancement bonds”.

Below is the October 31, 2019 Albuquerque Journal Editorial with the Journal link a as well as link to a related blog article published on October 29 entitled “Compromise, Consensus And Concessions Needed For City Homeless Shelter; Vote YES On Bond Question 2.

Editorial: Proposed homeless shelter is city’s first, very important step
BY ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD
Thursday, October 31st, 2019 at 12:02am

“How much research and planning is enough?

It seems for critics of Albuquerque’s proposed centralized, low-barrier homeless shelter, no amount will suffice.

The city is asking voters to sign off on a $14 million general obligation bond issue that will fund the first stage of the shelter. Early voting continues through Saturday; Tuesday is Election Day. Supporters, including the Journal Editorial Board, see it as an important step in combating homelessness. While the shelter is no panacea, it will help fill a number of needs not being met by the current disparate resources available.

Critics, including City Council candidate Connie Vigil in a column in the Journal on Wednesday, have voiced concerns the project is a knee-jerk answer and provides a short-term solution that won’t solve the larger problem.

Homeless shelters by definition are short-term solutions. But the proposed shelter also provides access to resources that could help provide long-term solutions.
It also creates a place for law enforcement to take the thousands of “down-and-outers” they come across each year. Currently they or other first responders take them to hospital emergency rooms, even though a fraction have life-threatening conditions, which costs more than $15 million. This shelter will provide a smarter alternative where individuals can get the care they need without clogging ERs or taking first responders off the streets.

Critics worry having a one-size-fits-all shelter will dump an even bigger burden on those living and working in the area it lands. The city has yet to pick a location but says it will work with the adjacent communities.

The fact is, the needs the shelter aims to fill are here, front and center. Voters just have to take one look around the metro area to know what we’re doing now isn’t working well. And it’s not like leaders haven’t been doing their homework. Last year a delegation of city, county and law enforcement officials, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and University of New Mexico Hospital, toured the massive Haven for Hope homeless campus in San Antonio, Texas. And while that may not be the exact blueprint for Albuquerque, Haven for Hope serves around 1,700 homeless people daily and has got nearly 4,100 people into permanent housing, cut San Antonio’s downtown homeless population by 66% and jail bookings by 3,300, and saved $96 million in jail, emergency room and court costs.

Currently, Albuquerque’s Westside Emergency Housing Center is a good resource, but many who need it won’t use it because it’s too far away from where they want or need to be during the day. Meanwhile, taxpayers spend around $1 million a year busing those who do use it out there and back. The other overnight shelters serve only men. Or only women and children. Or only youths. Or only victims of domestic violence. Or don’t allow pets. Or turn away those under the influence of substances.
Or they’re constantly at capacity.

Vigil is right to call for a statewide, comprehensive plan to address homelessness on multiple fronts, as well as metrics to measure success, failure and deliver accountability to the taxpayers footing the bill. But the time is now to embrace realistic expectations and secure $14 million for a low-barrier shelter. It’s the first important step in addressing our homelessness crisis.”

The link to the editorial and the blog article are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1385597/proposed-homeless-shelter-is-citys-first-very-important-step.html

Compromise, Consensus And Concessions Needed For City Homeless Shelter; Vote YES On Bond Question 2