ALAN WAGMAN GUEST COLUMN: A Short History Of American Policing; Police Reforms And Oversight Will Not Solve Our Problems

Alan Wagman is a retired Public Defender attorney in Albuquerque. He served on the city’s Police Oversight Task Force in 2013-14 and continues to work on police reform and human rights issue. He has also worked as a legislative analyst. Mr. Wagman submitted the below guest column for publication on this blog:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are those of attorney Alan Wagman and do not necessarily reflect those of the political blog www.petedinelli.com. Mr. Wagman was not compensated for his guest column.

“On April 27, the Albuquerque Journal ran a front-page story about the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA). The APOA, it seems, has begun an advertising and public relations campaign against the city’s continuing efforts to comply with the consent decree in the Department of Justice lawsuit.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2384284/apd-union-launches-campaign-against-doj-oversight.html

The Washington post ran a story about the nationwide failure of civilian oversight of police. The story begins and ends with extensive coverage of Albuquerque, including the problems with the Civilian Police Oversight Agency and Albuquerque’s general non-compliance with the federal court consent decree.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2021/civilian-oversight-police-accountability/?

Both stories are important. Both stories illustrate the futility of efforts to reform policing. Not just in Albuquerque, but everywhere. The fatal flaw in both stories, though, is the failure to acknowledge the roots of American policing’s resistance to reform. To understand why reform is not working, it is necessary to examine the history of American policing: its beginnings; its development; its role today in a society with economic inequality at historic levels.

AMERICAN SLAVERY PART OF HISTORICAL ROOTS OF AMERICAN POLICING

Economic inequality has been with us throughout our history and is foundational to the United States, including and perhaps especially in the US Constitution. James Madison, often called the father of the Constitution, posited that the purpose of government is to protect the opulent minority from the majority. As instrumentalities of government, police are organized to protect the minority who have accumulated a disproportionate share of societal wealth and income. To that end, those who have been locked out of a fair share of wealth and income must be pacified. Pacification may be accomplished either by keeping people in an unfree status or by setting them against each other. In America, police have always been the front-line instrument to pacify those who are not getting fair shares.

Although policing in America has always served the core purpose of protecting the opulent minority, two separate policing traditions developed and then merged. One tradition began in the North; the other developed in the South. The Southern model – slave catching – is both the earlier and the more familiar model of the origins of American policing, so we can begin there, in Virginia.

The first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619. The story as usually told is that these Africans were enslaved upon arrival, and when we speak of unfree people and unfree labor in his country, the general assumption is that we are speaking of enslaved black-skinned people. But in the beginning, there was no color line that made some people free and others not.

Most white people – about sixty percent – who came here before 1775 were unfree when they arrived. Some came in as indentured servants on a contract to work for a specific number of years; some came in because they were in poor houses in England, and someone had purchased their debts and therefore owned their labor for a period of time; and some came in because they were simply kidnapped off the streets of London and sent to the colonies to work involuntarily.

In the beginning, there was not much difference in status between the unfree blacks and the unfree whites. The captive Angolans sold to Virginia colonists in 1619 were likely considered to be indentured, just like unfree whites; the historical record is ambiguous about the exact status of those particular Africans. It is clear, however, that for decades there were blacks who were considered as indentured, the same status held by unfree whites.

As one might expect of people holding the same status, the unfree people congregated together. They mixed socially. They intermarried. And they rebelled together.

That rebellion together became a problem, because the unfree laborers grossly outnumbered the people who owned their labor. In the absence of police to enforce unfree status, the opulent minority which controlled society resorted to setting the unfree laborers against each other.

To this end, beginning in about 1630 and continuing for about forty years, especially in the South, colonial legislatures enacted laws to separate the status of unfree blacks from that of unfree whites. The laws restricted the movement and other activities of unfree blacks more than that of unfree whites.

Even then, it still took until 1640 – more than a decade after the first of these laws was enacted and more than two decades after the arrival of African labor at Jamestown – before we have a clear, unambiguous record of a black-skinned laborer being enslaved rather than indentured. And even then, it was because a court changed the man’s status from indentured to enslaved.

In 1640, John Punch, an indentured servant of African descent, ran away with two other indentured servants. When they were caught, a judge punished the other two – an Englishman and a Dutch man – with a four-year extension of their indenture periods. As for Mr. Punch, the judge extended the indenture period until the end of his life, making John Punch the first officially enslaved person that we know of in the United States.

SLAVE PATROLS

In addition to imposing restrictions on black laborers of all types, elites promised unfree whites that they would eventually become eligible to purchase or otherwise own land stolen from the indigenous people of this continent. Whites also became eligible for jobs as overseers. But what was perhaps the most significant step to separate unfree and lower-rung whites from unfree blacks was to allow – and in fact, mandate – these whites to join slave patrols.

Slave patrols were mandatory for every white male from age eighteen to age forty-five. The Slave patrols were the “well-regulated militia” referred to in the Second Amendment to justify creating a right to bear arms. Privileging low-status, landless, unemployed whites to serve in slave patrols alongside the biggest landowners and the most prestigious white people in the area created a bond and an identification, a sense that whiteness set even the lowest status slave patroller apart from and against black laborers.

With this separation and opposition, there was no more congregating together across an artificial color line. No more socializing. No more intermarriage. And, most important for the elites, no more joint rebellions. Once white labor was no longer pacified by being made unfree, laborers were pacified – and social control was established, then and still – by setting non-elite white-skinned people against black-skinned people.

One other thing to note about slave patrols as forerunners of modern American policing: Slave patrols were allowed – and in fact mandated – to inflict corporal punishment upon black-skinned people they encountered out on the road without passes. Patrollers administered whippings and beatings on the spot, without court proceedings, without what we and the Constitution call “due process.”

Slave patrols, of course, ended after the Civil War, after enslaved people were emancipated. But the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, contained a loophole, one which Southern white elites used to reverse emancipation. And policing was key. The loophole in the amendment stated that slavery could be imposed “as a punishment for crime.”

BLACK CODES IN THE POST CIVIL WAR ERA

To take advantage of this loophole, Southern white elites passed so-called Black Codes throughout the South which made it illegal for black people to be unemployed or to be out in public with no money. Under these laws, nominally free black people could either submit to whatever terms an employer imposed or take advantage of “freedom” and quit to seek employment elsewhere, risking arrest.

Police were all too ready to arrest any black person who had left a job, who could not find a job, or who had no money. Once arrested, African-Americans were re-enslaved, “as a punishment for crime.” Southern states, counties, and towns sold enslaved labor to the cotton and sugar plantation owners from whom they had ostensibly been emancipated. Northern-owned concerns like US Steel purchased enslaved labor as well.

For decade after decade, police arrested laborers, counties enslaved laborers and sold their labor. It was not until 1940 that the United States Supreme Court made the practice more difficult by ruling that authorities could not arrest and convict people for the crime of not having money. Nonetheless, the license plates on cars are still produced by enslaved laborers.

ENGLISH POLICING INFLUENCE OVER THE NORTH

Unlike the home-grown policing tradition of the South, the policing tradition which took hold in the North began in England in 1829 with the passage of the Metropolitan Police Act. The Act allowed the formation of city police forces. Sir Robert “Bobby” Peel, from whom London police get the name “Bobbies” formed the London police force – but not to combat crime.

London at the time was flooded with unemployed – and more important, unemployable – displaced rural people who had lost their lands as agriculture became concentrated in the hands of fewer, wealthier landowners. The displacement followed the Enclosure Acts, under which so-called “common land” was sold off – often at reduced prices – to richer landowners. Peasants were barred from their traditional use of the commons. They could no longer graze cows or otherwise maintain their lifestyle and existence. The dispossessed rural folk, having nowhere to go, went to London.

At the same time, in urban areas, skilled tradesmen were losing their livelihoods to industrialization. Standardized production in factories made skilled trades and individual specialists unnecessary. The newly obsolete tradesmen joined rural folk in the London slums.

Both rural folk and tradesmen were used to working on their own schedule and taking care of their own chores and necessities when they saw fit to do so. Their habits did not change in the urban slums. With no need to get up in the morning, they stayed up late. With no need to be quiet and sober, they were drunk and rowdy.

This was a problem for London’s growing industrial economic power and the elites behind that power. Rowdy drunks who partied late into the night kept shift workers awake. The loss of sleep reduced workers’ productivity and cut into the factory owners’ profits. Equally bad for the industrial bosses, rowdy drunks who did not live by set schedules were not suitable to fill the growing number of industrial job openings. Until they were controlled and regimented, they could not serve as an excess labor pool to enable employers to keep wages low.

Enter Sir Robert Peel and the newly-created London police. The mission was not to stop violent crime. The mission was not to stop property crime. Superficially, the mission was to keep the public peace – meaning to keep things quiet enough so that people with jobs could sleep at night and be productive in the daytime. The corollary mission, though, was to create by force a population capable of being an industrial work force, full of potential employees who could both fill jobs and be set against those who already had jobs.

FIRST AMERICAN MUNCIPAL POLICE FORCE

Nine years later, in 1839, Boston created the first American municipal police force on the London model. Its mission was to control rowdy, drunken, Irish immigrants and transform them into an industrial work force, complete with excess labor to set against those already employed. Once again, this was less about crime than it was about making people conform to the needs of the elite owners of industrial production.

This became a pattern in Northern cities. There were no slave patrols, because by the time formal policing began, Northern states had abolished slavery. Unlike in the South, policing was not racialized by skin color; until the “Great Migration” of African Americans in the twentieth century, there was not a significant African-American population in the North. Rather, policing in the North set first generation immigrants against newly-arrived immigrants.

The first police in the North were Anglo-Saxons, who policed newly-arrived Germans. A generation later, first-generation German-Americans policed newly-arrived Irish immigrants. Still another generation later, first-generation Irish-Americans policed newly-arrived Poles and Italians and Jews. Each immigrant group, as it moved up into the socially-constructed definition of “whiteness,” gained that status in part by policing the next immigrant arrivals, who were not yet considered to be “white.”

By the latter part of the nineteenth century, Northern police added to their roles and duties. They served as enforcers – that is, hired thugs – for corrupt politicians. Police also served as strikebreakers, beating and arresting union members or workers who dared to go on strike or try to organize unions. (For example, the original mission of the Pennsylvania State Police was to suppress labor disputes.) Essentially, police openly and brazenly did the bidding of corporate and financial elites, And, as with slave patrols in the South, they were empowered to mete out extrajudicial corporate punishment.

A NEW CHAPTER OF AMERICAN POLICING

In the twentieth century, the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North ushered in a new chapter of American policing. Beginning in 1916, large numbers of black Americans came north, looking to escape destitution and Jim Crow. When white Americans arrived home from World War I, they found a new “immigrant” community in place, competing for jobs.

Whites responded in 1919. In that year alone, there were over 60 race massacres in cities across the United States – North, South, East, West, virtually everywhere. African American homes were burned; African American businesses were destroyed; hundreds of African Americans were murdered. Police response ranged from doing nothing to providing weapons to marauding whites to disarming and arresting blacks who were trying to defend themselves.

Throughout the 1920s, largely because of Prohibition and the growth of organized crime, police corruption grew and was perceived to be a problem. In response, August Vollmer, Berkeley, CA police chief, led a movement to “professionalize” police. This included training, modern equipment, widespread use of police cars, etc. In addition, Vollmer created university curricula for training police and wrote police manuals that are still in use today.

Although that sounds good, August Vollmer’s ideas about policing grew out of his experience in the Philippines during and after the Spanish-American War. During the war, the US allied with Filipino freedom fighters, who were fighting Spain for independence. After the US took the Philippines from Spain and reneged on promised Philippine independence, the rebels resumed their fight, this time against the US. Vollmer learned how to infiltrate Filipino villages, how to use extreme violence to exert control, and how to use torture to extract information. As well, this father of modern policing considered African-Americans to be a degenerate race, genetically disposed to criminality.

A new chapter began after World War II, as American police forces continued to reorganize and professionalize themselves. The Los Angeles Police Department reorganized itself explicitly to control the city’s growing African-American population. Orlando Wilson, Chicago Police Chief Orlando Wilson, a student of Vollmer, went before the Chicago City Council every year throughout the 1960s to request an increase to the police budget. Each time, he explicitly said that he needed the money because the African-American population was growing. Chicago City Council never denied Wilson his requested budget increase.

1960’s CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

From 1964 to 1968, racial rebellions broke out in cities across the country – Harlem, LA, Newark, Detroit, DC, Baltimore, and more. These rebellions differed from the racial massacres of earlier decades. These were not invasions of white people into black neighborhoods. These were not armed white people killing black people. These were uprisings of black people against the oppressive institutions in their own neighborhoods. In response, heavily-armed police, national guard troops – and in some cases regular US army troops – invaded African American neighborhoods and killed people to protect property.

The rebellions of the 1960s generated three policing responses:

(1) In 1965, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Law Enforcement Assistance Act, which accelerated the trend toward increasing militarization of policing.

(2) President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs.” This was not because there was a drug problem serious enough to justify a “war.” This was explicitly aimed at undermining white anti-war and black anti-racist political activity and potential joinder of the movements.

(3) Beginning with George Wallace and continuing through Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and more others than can be counted, calls for “law and order” were stand-ins to divide white people from black people.

All three of these trends use what are now popularly called “dog whistles” as proxies for race and race-based policing. As the late Lee Atwater, top political strategist to George H.W. Bush put it, “You start in 1954 by saying ‘N****r, n****r, n****r.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘N****r.’ That hurts you. It backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff and you get so abstract. Now you talk about cutting taxes and these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. … So anyway you look at it, race is coming on the back burner.” Although Atwater did not directly invoke the need for police in his explanation, he created the “Willie Horton” ad in the 1988 presidential campaign to stoke white fears of black people

POLICING IN AMERICA TODAY

Today, with or without dog whistles, police maintain a choke-hold on people of color and low-income communities. To this end, arrest warrants are an important new weapon in the policing arsenal. The process for generating arrest warrants is as follows: Police officers give out citations like candy, A ticket could be for a parking violation, for a broken tail light, for jaywalking, for making too much noise, for rolling through a stop sign, for an expired license tab, for air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, or for [fill in the blank]. If the person does not pay the ticket, because they can’t afford it, or they don’t make it to court, because they’ll lose their job, a court will issue an arrest warrant. But that’s just the beginning.

Once a warrant is generated against a person, nothing happens until police identify that the person has a warrant. Because neither police nor anyone else can tell who has a warrant and who does not, police stop anyone they choose to stop in order to check for warrants. Police do not have to see any wrongdoing or believe any wrongdoing is taking place. Police can stop anyone, anytime.

LAW ENFORCMENT HAS POWER TO STOP PEOPLE FOR NO REASON

Although it seems as though this should be unconstitutional it is not. In 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled it is Constitutionally permissible for police to stop people for no reason other than to see if they have warrants. Police do not have to suspect that a person is committing a crime or doing anything wrong. Police can stop anyone, whether it’s at random, or whether police are specifically targeting that person or that person’s neighborhood. Of course, this police power is only used in certain neighborhoods and on certain people.

How effective have police been at generating warrants?

Nationwide, not counting what are likely a far greater number of arrest warrants for unpaid traffic citations or parking tickets, there are 7.8 million outstanding warrants for petty offenses.

Worse, these warrants are not spread evenly across the population. In predominantly African American Ferguson, MO, with a population of 21,000, 16,000 people have outstanding warrants. Nine percent of adult Californians have outstanding warrants. Fourteen percent of New York City residents have outstanding warrants. Eleven percent of Pennsylvanians. Cincinnati, OH, population 300,000, has 100,000 outstanding warrants.

How many people do police stop for a warrant check?

In a single year in New Orleans, out of 60,000 arrests, 20,000 were for warrants for minor infractions, including unpaid tickets. In Newark, NJ, police stopped 52,235 pedestrians in a four-year period and ran warrant checks on 39,308 of them. In 92% of those 52,235 stops, Newark police officers had no legal reason for stopping the pedestrians other than wanting to check for warrants. There was no suspicion of crime; no suspicion of wrongdoing. It is difficult to argue that the reason for these warrant checks is anything other than to keep people unfree and under control.

BERNALILLO COUNTY

It’s not just a national problem. In Bernalillo County, there are 65,000 outstanding warrants, about one warrant for each ten residents. It is eminently safe to assume that these warrants are, not evenly distributed across the population. We know in which neighborhoods people are getting those warrants. We know how Albuquerque police and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office treat people in the neighborhoods where people are most likely to have warrants and are most likely to fear being stopped for a warrant check, lest they had not paid a jaywalking fine.

STOPPING CRIME NOT PRIMARY PURPOSE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

It is important to understand that this police activity is not primarily focused on stopping crime. It is focused on either keeping labor and laborers unfree or setting people against each other. It is focused on creating a vested interest among “white” people to believe that there is criminality, there is crime, and there is danger from crime in low income neighborhoods and in neighborhoods with people of color. Creating fear is the best way to keep people from working together to solve mutual problems.

It is also important to understand that police officers in general come from the newest entrants to “whiteness” or aspire to that entrance. Police officers who are people of color do not behave differently than police officers who are white – because policing is a path into what society defines as “whiteness.” And the path into whiteness is to put your foot down on – or put your knee on the neck of – the lowest stratum of society. This is the role that historically police have been created to fulfill. The result is, as US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor put it, if you are a low-income person or a person of color:

“You are not a citizen of a democracy, but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

Does this “cataloging” protect us in any real sense? What happens when policing stops? For seven weeks in late 2014 and early 2015, New York City police conducted a work stoppage. If dispatched to a location to deal with a situation, police would drive to the location but not get out of their patrol cars. They went where they were supposed to go but did nothing when they got there. They gave no tickets for jaywalking, vomiting on the sidewalk, being homeless, etc. They made few if any arrests.

What happened? Serious crime – robberies, domestic abuse, violence in general – went down. People double parked more. People ran more stop signs. But overall, neighborhoods became safer and more peaceful. And once the rate of major criminal activity went down, it stayed down, but only until the police went back to work.

LACK OF POLICING CAN CAUSE CRIME TO GO DOWN

In 2017, social scientists studied what happened, looking for why this occurred. They tested numerous hypotheses. Of all the hypotheses they tested, only one stood up. Serious crime had gone down not in spite of the lack of policing but because of the lack of policing. Crime went down because police stopped stepping on people in low-income neighborhoods.

Crime went down when people stopped losing their jobs because they got arrested for missing a court appearance for a petty violation. Crime went down when people did not lose their homes because they went to court instead of to work and lost their jobs as a result. Crime went down when people were not being harassed and put under stress, when households did not dissolve into violence because of the stress. Families stayed together because they were not stressed. And because residents’ stress level was lowered and people were not operating at or beyond the breaking point, neighbors were able to help neighbors.

The effect of policing has been to make it as difficult as possible for the bottom strata of society to look beyond the next five minutes, to work together, to form alliances, to pool resources, to evaluate how they are being kept down, why they are being kept down, who is keeping them down, and what they can do about it. This has been the effect of policing because this is what policing, from the slave patrols to the Municipal Police Act, has been designed to do.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONSENT DECREES ARE MISPLACED HOPES

This is why hopes resting upon civilian oversight and civil rights lawsuits brought by the US Department of Justice are misplaced hopes. If by some miracle every police force in the country were to come into compliance with the US Constitution, the real problem would remain:

**Police would still flood low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color;

**Police would still over-enforce petty offenses in those neighborhoods;

**People in those neighborhoods would still miss court dates or not pay fines for those petty offenses;

**People in those neighborhoods would still accumulate warrants.

**Police would still check for warrants while people in those neighborhoods are walking down the street doing nothing wrong;

** Police would still arrest people in those neighborhoods for those warrants.

Then people in those neighborhoods would lose their jobs, homes, families; people in those neighborhoods would still crack under the stress on individuals and communities; peaceful people, stressed beyond their limits, would become violent. And people in better-off neighborhoods would continue to increase police budgets, because, clearly, there is something wrong with the people in those neighborhoods, and we need the police to protect us from them.

Essentially, civilian oversight and the Department of Justice seek to moderate police imposition of extrajudicial corporate punishment, a practice rooted in American policing since its beginnings. Yes, it’s something. But we should not fool ourselves that it is nearly enough.

The alternative is to create a society organized to give everyone a full share, to serve and meet the needs of all of its people rather than just the needs of Madison’s opulent minority. A society where the levers of power are controlled by all of its members.

FINAL COMMENT

We won’t get there all at once, but we will never get there if we do not acknowledge the history and role of policing in our country and why police, no matter how much “reform” is instituted, will not solve our problems. As James Baldwin said:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Instead of allowing institutions to separate us – and police are on the front-line of creating that separation – we must create institutions which bring us together. It will not be easy. But one thing is clear: As long as we think fixing the police is the answer, we’re asking the wrong question.

President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days And High Approval Ratings; A President We Can Be Proud Of Again; Get The Damn Vaccine

It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who established the tradition to evaluate a first term president’s accomplishment during the newly elected President’s first 100 days in office. On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated President of the United States. Roosevelt moved at break neck speed during his first 100 days to pull the country out of the depression, get the country back to work, create prosperity and stimulate the economy, the manufacturing, construction and agricultural industries. Roosevelt summoned the United States Congress into a three-month, 100-day special session, during which he presented and was able to rapidly get passed a series of 15 major bills designed to counter the effects of the Great Depression.

Roosevelt passed 76 laws during his first 100 days many directing towards reviving the economy of the United States through various public works projects. Following Roosevelt’s lengthy 3 terms in office, many other presidents also made significant decisions during their first 100 days.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S FIRST ADDRESS TO JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS

On April 28, President Joe Biden gave his first address to Congress after his first 100 days in office. The address was extremely historic when it comes the visual for two major reasons. First, two women sat behind him, Kamala Harris, the first African American elected Vice President and Nancy Pelosi the first woman ever elected Speaker of the House. Second, the House Chamber for the Joint Session of Congress was sparsely filled with members of congress, only the Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts in attendance and only 4 cabinet members. The audience size was intentionally reduced because of covid restrictions and social distancing with all in attendance wearing masks.

President Biden marked his first 100 days in office by proposing a $1.8 trillion investment in children, families and education to help rebuild the US economy devastated by the corona virus and compete with rising global competitors.

Biden pointed optimistically to the nation’s emergence from the coronavirus scourge as a moment for America to prove that its democracy can still work and maintain primacy in the world. The speech was considered by many to represent a highly aggressive approach for government involvement to restore the country with a considerable gamble. Biden is governing with the most slender of majorities in the Senate with a 50-50 split and a slim House majority. The speech reflected Biden’s fundamental belief in the power of government as a force for good, as opposed to the traditional Republican condemnation of the size of government and government interference.

President Biden began his speech by telling the joint session of congress and the public by saying in part:

“I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength. … America is ready for takeoff. We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. Leading the world again. We have shown each other and the world: There is no quit in America.”

“I have never been more confident or more optimistic about America. We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and ‘We the People’ did not flinch.”

“Can our democracy overcome the lies, anger, hate and fears that have pulled us apart? … America’s adversaries – the autocrats of the world – are betting it can’t. They believe we are too full of anger and division and rage. They look at the images of the mob that assaulted this Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy. They are wrong. And we have to prove them wrong.”

President Biden addressed the broader national crisis over race relations in America by urging legislation be passed by May 25, 2020, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. Biden also call on Congress to act on the issues of prescription drug pricing, gun control and modernizing the nation’s immigration system.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDENS FIRST 100 DAYS

Following is a listing of President Joe Biden’s accomplishment during his first 100 days in office gleaned from news reports:

RESPONSE TO COVID PANDEMIC

President Bidens dealing with the Covid pandemic is considered his biggest accomplishment during his first 100 days in office. The United States has gone from having one of the worst Covid responses under Trump to being a global leader in vaccinations under Biden.

According to a CNN report:

“Biden came into office pledging to administer 100 million vaccine shots by his 100th day in office, after Trump fell short of his goal to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of 2020. The Biden administration reached its 100 million-shot goal in mid-March, about 40 days ahead of schedule. The administration reached 200 million vaccine doses on April 21 — a week ahead of Biden’s updated timetable.

Vaccine eligibility opened to everyone 16 years of old and over before Biden’s 100th day in office. Unemployment is falling, with new jobless claims hitting a pandemic low, and schools are reopening for in-person learning, returning kids and families to a semblance of normal life.

To increase Americans’ access to vaccines, the Biden administration started a federal retail pharmacy program that turned more pharmacies into vaccination sites. It also opened up vaccinations at community health centers and set up federally run vaccination centers across the country. The President ordered an expansion of the list of eligible vaccinators to include dentists, midwives, paramedics and optometrists, among other professionals, to meet increased demand. The administration also committed to partnering with community organizations to transport seniors and people with disabilities to get their vaccinations.”

“Biden put public health experts and scientists front and center in a number of roles within the administration. He tapped Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who had a contentious relationship with Trump, as chief medical adviser and elevated the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to a Cabinet-level position. And his administration restarted frequent Covid-19 briefings featuring federal government’s public health experts, including Fauci, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the head of the White House’s Covid-19 health equity task force.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/28/politics/president-biden-first-100-days/index.html

Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed without a single Republican vote in both the House and Senate. Biden was successful in getting direct payments of $1,400 per person to more than 160 million households. Hundreds of billions of dollars in aid is expected to arrive for state and local governments. The $1.9 trillion is enough money that overall U.S. growth this year could eclipse 6%, a level not seen since 1984. The Biden Administration believes that amount is more than sufficient to bring back all 8.4 million jobs lost to the pandemic by next year.

A significant amount proposed will ensure that eligible families receive at least $250 monthly per child through 2025, extending the enhanced tax credit that was part of Biden’s COVID-19 aid. There would be more than $400 billion for subsidized child care and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds.

Another combined $425 billion will go to permanently reduce health insurance premiums for people who receive coverage through the Affordable Care Act and the national paid family and medical leave program. Spending will be directed toward Pell Grants, historically Black and tribal institutions and to allow people to attend community college tuition-free for two years.

It’s the funding that will pose the biggest obstacle. The funding will be a series of tax increases on the wealthy that would raise about $1.5 trillion over a decade. Not at all surprising is that Republican lawmakers in Congress are highly critical of the total cost of Biden’s plans.

RETURNING TO NORMALCY IN GOVERNING

President Biden has delivered on his pledge to return the presidency to what it looked like before his predecessor Donald Trump. Gone are the inflammatory tweets attacking one and all. Gone are the days of Trump standing on the White House lawn answering questions over the roar of a waiting helicopter. Now there are daily press briefings and selecting a cabinet and staff of seasoned experts, and not appointing cabinet members determined to dismantle the agencies they oversee as was the case with more than a few Trump cabinet members.

Biden has made less progress with his goal of restoring bipartisanship and unity. Not a single Senate Republican voted for the Covid bill. Then there are moderate Democrats like Democrat Seantor West Virginia Joe Manchin who are resisting his efforts and balking in the face of unified GOP opposition to goals like immigration refprm, extending voting rights or passing Biden’s a massive infrastructure package.

As a candidate, Biden issued dozens of comprehensive plans for what he would do as President. But the Biden administration has faced hurdles, including a surge of unaccompanied minors coming across the US-Mexico border. Biden’s approach has shifted in some cases. The White House recently backed off on creating a policing commission that Biden had said he would establish during his first 100 days in office, opting instead to push for legislation in Congress.

CNN REPORT

On April 28, the CNN news agency published on its web page an excellent reports report entitled “Biden’s first 100 days: What he’s gotten done” . The report was written by CNN news reporters Maegan Vazquez, Kate Sullivan, Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco. Following is an edited and condensed version of the report with the link:

“ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Days before his inauguration, Biden put forth a massive economic relief proposal, asking Congress to approve $1.9 trillion in funding to provide Americans with another round of stimulus checks, aid for the unemployed, support for small businesses and money to help schools reopen safely.

The silver lining for workers after a hellish year? A jobs boom.

In March, Congress approved the package, known as the American Rescue Plan. Much of it mirrored Biden’s proposal, though there were some key changes, including narrowing the scope of the $1,400 stimulus payments, trimming the federal boost to unemployment benefits and jettisoning an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 a hour.

So far, the Biden administration has sent out more than 160 million stimulus payments worth up to $1,400 per person, released more than $80 billion in aid to state education agencies and beefed up Affordable Care Act subsidies on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov. It has also delivered $39 billion to states to help child care providers reopen or stay afloat.

States have largely implemented the $300 federal enhancement to weekly jobless benefits and the extension of two key pandemic unemployment programs through early September. Also in place is a federal income tax break on $10,200 in unemployment compensation for those earning less than $150,000.

The package provides more than $350 billion to states and local governments, territories and tribes, extends a 15% boost to food stamp benefits through September and offers billions of dollars in aid to struggling renters and homeowners. It also greatly enhances the child tax credit for one year, increasing its size, allowing more low-income parents to qualify and providing half of it as a monthly stream of income from July to the end of the year.

Separately, Biden has used his executive powers to expand food assistance, extend the federal moratorium on evictions and continue the suspension of federal student loan payments and interest charges.

Yet the rollout of relief programs hasn’t gone entirely smoothly. A new grant program for struggling restaurants that was established by the bill has yet to launch. The Small Business Administration ran into trouble standing up a grant program for closed theaters and music venues that had been approved under an earlier Covid relief package passed in December. It was taken offline hours after opening and reopened only this week. But money continues to flow through two existing aid programs for small businesses, boosted by the American Rescue Plan: the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Also going slowly is the Biden administration’s efforts to provide funds to low-income families whose children are missing free- or reduced-price meals in school because they are learning remotely. While Biden increased the value of the Pandemic-EBT benefits and the US Department of Agriculture has approved many more state plans for the 2020-21 school year, about a dozen states have not yet gotten the nod, leaving millions of children waiting for the aid program created last spring. Also, many parents are still waiting for the money even in states that have been approved.

REOPENING SCHOOLS

As early as December, Biden was already pledging to get the majority of schools open by the end of his first 100 days in office.

Unlike other countries, the US leaves school control at the local level, and the challenges to providing in-person instruction are not the same everywhere, making it nearly impossible to create effective federal and even state-level guidance as the pandemic wears on. In some places, school authorities faced strong opposition from powerful teachers’ unions.

At first there was confusion over how the administration defined reopening. When pressed about his administration’s stance during a February 16 CNN town hall, Biden clarified that by the end of his first 100 days, “the goal will be five days a week” of in-person instruction or close to that for K-8 students in particular.
There are certainly more schools offering in-person instruction now than there were at the beginning of 2021. But it remains unclear whether a majority of schools are offering it five days a week for all students.

A first-grader works on an English exercise on the first day of class in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021.

One estimate from the private data-tracking company Burbio says that about 65% of K-12 students are attending schools that offer in-person instruction each day, up from 33% the week Biden took office. About 29% currently attend schools offering hybrid models that include some in-person instruction, and less than 6% have only virtual options.

Younger students are more likely to be offered in-person learning. As of April 20, elementary and middle schools in a little more than half of the 101 largest school districts in the country are offering full five-day-a-week in-person instruction, according to CNN’s tracking.

Some experts say the transition to in-person learning could have come more quickly, arguing that guidelines released by the CDC in February made it harder for schools to reopen. The CDC relaxed its physical distancing guidelines in March, recommending that most students maintain at least 3 feet of distance, accelerating the return to school for some.

HEALTH CARE

Biden has acted swiftly to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, one of his main campaign promises. His administration has already taken multiple steps to reverse efforts by Trump to destroy the Democrats’ landmark health care law.

Biden reopened the federal Affordable Care Act exchange in mid-February, giving uninsured Americans until mid-August to sign up for 2021 coverage and allowing existing enrollees to shop for better plans with their beefed-up subsidies, which last for two years.

That additional assistance was part of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion relief package. Enrollees will now pay no more than 8.5% of their incomes toward coverage, down from nearly 10%. And lower-income policyholders and the jobless will receive subsidies that eliminate their premiums completely.

Also, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level — about $51,000 for an individual and $104,800 for a family of four in 2021 — are now eligible for help for the first time.
The 14 states, and the District of Columbia, that run their own exchanges have also extended enrollment, though the durations differ by state.

Laid-off workers who want to stay on their work-based coverage will receive subsidies that pay the full premium cost from April through September, as part of the relief package.

Biden has also started withdrawing approvals from the Trump administration that enable states to mandate work requirements in Medicaid.

And the administration has asked the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act, reversing the position of the Trump administration, which joined Republican-led states in urging the justices to strike down the entire law. The justices have not yet ruled in the case — and if they upend Obamacare, it’s not clear what Biden and congressional Democrats will be able to pass to replace it.

IMMIGRATION

Biden has signed several executive actions taking aim at Trump’s hardline immigration policies, including reversing the former President’s travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries and fortifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program after Trump’s efforts to undo protections for undocumented people brought into the country as children.

Biden created a task force focused on identifying and reuniting migrant families separated at the US-Mexico border as a result of Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy, and he revoked a Trump-era proclamation that limited legal immigration during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Young minors talk to an agent at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility in the Rio Grande Valley, March 30, 2021.

Biden rescinded Trump’s national emergency declaration, which allowed his predecessor to dip into additional funds for his signature border wall, and called for a review of ongoing wall projects. He narrowed immigration enforcement in the US. The President also directed relevant agencies to ensure LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers have equal access to protections.

Biden went on to end Trump’s so-called “remain in Mexico” policy, which required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their immigration court dates in the United States, and began the gradual entry of migrants who still had active cases. His administration also initiated a review of policies “that have effectively closed the US border to asylum seekers.”

Yet the Biden administration has struggled to keep up with the influx of migrants coming to the US southern border, particularly unaccompanied minors, who have been held in Border Patrol stations as officials scramble to find sites to accommodate them.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with the care of unaccompanied migrant children, announced or opened at least 11 new temporary facilities to try to get kids out of Border Patrol stations, which are akin to jail-like conditions and not suited for children.

Vice President Kamala Harris was assigned by Biden to oversee efforts with Central American countries to stem the flow of migrants to the US southern border. It is the first major issue Biden has assigned Harris, who is expected to travel to Mexico and Guatemala.

On legal immigration, Biden signed an order seeking to reverse Trump-era policies that targeted low-income immigrants, including calling for a review of the public charge rule, which makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers, and reestablished a Task Force on New Americans.

Biden has, however, gone back and forth on refugee admissions. The White House recently said the President would set a new, increased refugee cap by May 15 after facing blowback for keeping the Trump-era ceiling of 15,000, though without the restrictions put in place by Trump.

FOREIGN POLICY

While the US-China relationship was a key issue during the campaign, Biden has focused on three other areas since taking office: Afghanistan, Iran and Russia.

Two decades after the US launched what would become America’s longest war, Biden has committed to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon, just outside Washington.

Biden said the withdrawal will begin May 1, in line with an agreement made with the Taliban during the Trump administration. Some US troops will remain in Afghanistan to protect American diplomats, but a precise number of remaining troops has not been disclosed. US humanitarian and diplomatic efforts will continue in Afghanistan and the US will continue to support peace efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban, Biden said.

The President has also moved to salvage the US-Iran nuclear deal put in place in 2015 under President Barack Obama, which was abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018.

The US and Iran resumed talks in Vienna in April, though delegations from the two countries did not interact directly but instead exchanged views through officials from the global powers still party to the deal. A State Department official stressed earlier this month that the Vienna conversations were “just the first step of this first phase of a potential return to” the nuclear deal.

And the Biden administration issued sweeping sanctions and diplomatic expulsions against Russia in response to Moscow’s interference in the 2020 US election, its SolarWinds cyberattack and its continued occupation and “severe rights abuses” in Crimea.

The US pointed to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service as the group behind the SolarWinds hack. The White House also said it is expelling 10 Russian diplomats in Washington, including “representatives of Russian intelligence services,” for the hack and the election meddling.

The Biden administration also barred US financial institutions from participating in the primary market for bonds issued by Russia’s central bank and other leading financial institutions. Two days before issuing the sanctions, Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and proposed a summit between the two countries later this year.

CLIMATE CRISIS

Last week, Biden fulfilled his pledge to host a global climate summit within his first 100 days in office. During the event, he committed the US to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% below its 2005 emissions levels by 2030. While the goals are part of the Paris climate agreement, which Biden rejoined upon taking office, they are nonbinding and the administration has not rolled out a plan on how the US will meet them.

The wide range of leaders attending the two-day summit included a number of American allies, such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and the United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson, as well as leaders with whom Biden anticipates having a more confrontational relationship, like China’s Xi Jinping and Putin. While some countries reiterated during the summit that they were working toward their previously set climate goals, others, including Canada and South Korea, announced they were upping their targets.

Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office reversing Trump’s 2017 decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accords, the landmark international agreement to limit global warming championed by Obama. The US was the first and only country to pull out of the agreement, officially exiting in late 2020.

As part of the global deal, which the US formally rejoined in February after a 30-day review, countries are expected to enhance their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions every five years. The goals of the global pact are to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INEQUALITY

Biden kicked off his presidency by naming the most racially diverse Cabinet in US history, disbanding the 1776 commission and taking steps to address racial economic inequality, including signing executive orders that could potentially help bridge the gap in homeownership between people of color and White people, strengthen the fight against bigotry faced by Asian Americans and ease the anxiety of families with incarcerated relatives.

Biden signed an executive order in January repealing a Trump-era ban on most transgender Americans joining the military. The Pentagon said in March that its updated policies, which make it easier for transgender individuals to join up and to access medical treatment while serving, go into effect April 30. The changes will also protect transgender individuals from discrimination within the services.

In the wake of … [the] conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, Biden called systemic racism “a stain on our nation’s soul” and said he was heartened by the jury’s verdict, the testimony of other police officers against Chauvin throughout the trial and the collective realization about the reality of systemic racism worldwide that has taken place since Floyd’s death.

Yet his administration said in April that it would stand down on a campaign promise to create a White House-led commission on policing and instead move forward with efforts to pass police reform through legislative channels.

“The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and is working with Congress to swiftly enact meaningful police reform that brings profound, urgently needed change,” Domestic Policy Council director Susan Rice said in a statement.

NEXT STEPS

Last month, Biden laid out a massive plan to improve the nation’s infrastructure and shift to greener energy.

The roughly $2 trillion proposal, which Congress will spend months on, would provide funding for roads, bridges, trains, broadband, airports, waterways and ports. He would put billions toward manufacturing, job retraining, housing, schools, veterans’ hospitals and federal buildings.

He would also lay out $400 billion to enhance long-term-care services for elderly Americans and those with disabilities, as well as improve the pay of home health workers. To pay for the package, he would increase a variety of taxes on businesses, including raising the corporate rate to 28% from 21%, where it was set by the 2017 Republican tax cuts.

The President is also set to unveil an additional $1.8 trillion federal investment in education, child care and paid family leave during his first address to Congress on Wednesday.

The proposal calls for making community college free for two years, investing in a universal preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds, providing paid family and medical leave and helping families afford child care. It would also extend or make permanent enhancements to several key tax credits that were contained in the rescue bill.

To pay for the plan, Biden would raise taxes on the wealthy. In particular, he would reverse a key part of the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts by returning the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% for those in the top 1%. The GOP law had reduced it to 37%. The President would also raise the capital gains tax rate for households earning more than $1 million annually.”

The link to the full CNN report with photos and graphs is here:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/28/politics/president-biden-first-100-days/index.html

HIGH APPROVAL RATINGS

According to an NBC poll released on April 25, 53% of adults say they approve of Biden’s job as president, including 90% of Democrats, 61% of independents but just 9% of Republicans. The poll found 39% of all respondents say they disapprove of Biden, which essentially the same percent of Trump’s base.

President Biden’s APPROVAL rating of 53% for his first 100 days is essentially equivalent to Führer Trump’s DISAPPROVAL rating of 54% for his first 100 days. President Biden gets his highest marks on handling the pandemic at 69% approval, on dealing with the economy 52% approval, on uniting the country 52% approval and on race relations 49% approval. Throughout his entire 4 years as President Führer Trump never broke a 50% approval rating.

Comparing Führer Trump to President Joe Biden, Trump’s favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll is 32% positive, 55 % negative, while Biden’s score is 50% positive, 36% negative.

The link to the raw NBC poll data is here:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20690434-210098-nbc-news-april-poll-4-25-21-release

EDITED CONDENSED VERSION OF NBC POLL REPORT

Following is an edited and condensed version of the NBC report on its poll:

According to the NBC poll, slightly more than half of Americans say they approve of Biden’s job performance. Biden gets his highest marks on handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden gets his lowest marks on the situation at the southern border with Mexico.

The poll found that the public is largely supportive of Biden’s top legislative priorities. It also found that the public is more optimistic about defeating the pandemic and that the public is more optimistic about the country’s direction than it was back in January.

The poll also shows that nearly 1 in 5 Americans (20%) are resistant or hesitant about getting a Covid-19 vaccine. A majority of those polled believe the nation is on the wrong track and an astounding 80% still think the country is mostly divided.

According to the poll, Biden’s job rating is higher than Donald Trump’s was at this same point in time in the poll, 40% approve, 54% disapprove, but it’s lower than Barack Obama’s was at 100 days, 61% approved, 30% disapproved.

Among registered voters in the poll, Biden’s job rating stands at 51% who approve, 43% who disapprove.

The president gets his highest marks on handling the pandemic (69% approve), on dealing with the economy (52% approve), on uniting the country (52% approve) and on race relations (49% approve).

But Biden’s lowest scores come on dealing with China (35 percent), handling the gun issue (34 percent) and dealing with border security and immigration (33 percent).
And by a 55-to-34 percent margin, respondents believe that Biden has returned the country to a more typical way that past presidents have governed the country.

COVID AND INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS POPULAR

The NBC News poll found that Biden’s top legislative priorities are fairly popular with the American public.

46% of Americans say the Covid-19 relief bill he signed into law in March is a good idea, versus 25% who call it a bad idea, with another 26 % who don’t have an opinion.

And 59% say his infrastructure plan — which would upgrade roads and bridges, expand broadband access and pay to care for the elderly and disabled — is a good idea, while 21 percent disagree; 19 percent don’t have an opinion.

By party, 87% of Democrats, 68% of independents and 21% of Republicans support Biden’s infrastructure plan.

56% of respondents said they feel more hopeful when looking at Biden’s leadership and plans for the country, compared with 42% who say they feel more doubtful.

Fifty-one percent believe Biden has so far accomplished a great deal or a fair amount in office, versus 47% who say he’s accomplished very little or just some — a result that virtually matches the popular vote in the 2020 presidential election.

And when it comes to perceptions of Biden’s ideology, 42% of Americans identify the president as moderate; 29% say he’s “very liberal”; 15 percent believe he’s “somewhat liberal”; and a combined 8% say he’s conservative.

GROWING CONFIDENCE IN COVID FIGHT

A majority of Americans — 61% — say the worst is behind the United States when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, while just 19% believe the worst is yet to come.

That’s a significant reversal from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in October, when 55% of voters said the worst was yet to come, and when only 25% said the worst was behind the U.S.

The poll also showed that 57% of Americans say they’ve already received a Covid-19 vaccine; another 8% say they will take the vaccine as soon as they can; and 15% say they will wait to see if there are major side effects before take taking it.

That’s compared with 12% who say they will never take the vaccine, as well as another 7% who will take it only if it’s required.

There’s a striking divide by party here: Among Democrats, 74% say they’ve already been vaccinated, while just 4% say they won’t ever take it.
But among Republicans, 40% say they’ve been vaccinated, while 24% say they’ll never take it.

DIVIDED RATHER THAN UNITED

36% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction — up from 21% who said this in January.

Yet 56% believe the nation is on the wrong track, which continues a streak (going back to George W. Bush’s second term as president) of at least a majority of Americans holding this view in the poll.

And despite Biden’s positive marks on uniting the country, 82% of respondents in the poll say the country is divided, while only 16 percent say it’s united.

OTHER POLL FINDINGS

Asked to pick the one or two most important issues facing the country, Americans’ top responses were Covid-19 (30 percent), uniting the country (25 percent), race relations (23 percent), the economy (23%) and border security and immigration (22%).

The top responses among Democrats were Covid-19 (43%), race relations (35%), guns (25%) and unity (24%).

Among Republicans, the top responses were the border/immigration (47%), the economy (28%), taxes and spending (23%) and unity (17%).

Democrats hold a 5-point advantage in congressional preference, with 47% of registered voters preferring a Democratic-controlled Congress, and with 42% preferring Republicans in charge.

And former President Donald Trump’s favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll is 32% positive, 55 % negative, while Biden’s score is 50% positive, 36% negative.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/poll-100-days-biden-s-approval-remains-strong-can-honeymoon-n1265199

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Any and all references to Der Führer Trump is totally intentional and deserving. This is a political blog and after 4 years of total disruption and daily crisis, racism and hate coming from the WHITE supremist HOUSE that we can now comfortably call the WHITE HOUSE again. The country now has a President we can be proud of and President Biden has proven that the voters made the right decision.

With that said, GET THE DAMN VACCINE!

Keller And Gonzales Run For Mayor; Both Failures In Bringing Murder Rates, Crime Rates Down; City And County’s 2021 Homicide Rates Likely To Break All Time Record

On April 19, it was reported Bernalillo County Sheriff’s (BCSO) deputies were called to 1932 Coors Blvd. SW in front of Valley Fence County Monday evening in reference to a roll-over crash involving a dark-colored sedan. Deputies located two unidentified male subjects deceased on the scene from apparent gunshot wounds.

https://www.koat.com/article/bernalillo-county-sheriffs-office-investigating-double-homicide/36168855

On April 22, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD issued a press release that it launched a homicide investigation after a woman was found dead on Central near Vermont. An APD spokesman said officers responded sometime before 10:45 p.m. to report of a woman “lying on the ground lifeless” near Central and Vermont SE. When officers arrived, they confirmed the female was dead. It was the city’s 38th homicide of the year.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/police-begin-homicide-investigation-after-finding-woman-dead-in-ne-albuquerque/6084375/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/2383221/woman-found-dead-on-east-central.html

On April 23, it was reported that the Albuquerque Police Department is investigating its second homicide in less than 24 hours, the 39th homicide of the year for the department. Police said they were called to the 900 block of Locus Place, which is near the Big I. That’s where they found a male with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-investigating-second-homicide-in-less-than-24-hours/6085057/?cat=500

On Friday April 23, Bernalillo County Sheriffs Deputies responded in the evening to a call at Bridge, SW, where a man had crashed into a yard after being shot. It was reported that another a person in another vehicle shot him. The victim was taken to the hospital where he died.

On Sunday, April 25, APD was dispatched from the Southeast Area Command and found a man shot during a domestic violence incident, and he died with the woman who shot him taken into custody.

On Tuesday, April 26, the Albuquerque Journal published an editorial entitled “Homicides are too routine on too many ABQ streets” The link to the full editorial is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2384600/homicides-are-now-too-routine-on-too-many-abq-streets.html

KRQE REPORT

On April 21, KRQE News 13 posted on its web page under Data Reporting an excellent and very lengthy report written by Curtis Segarra. Such reports are not fully reported on the nightly news because of length. The headline and link to the full report is here:

“2021 Albuquerque homicide rate outpacing previous years: the numbers behind the rise”; Albuquerque Homicides: Why are there so many?”

https://www.krqe.com/krqe-plus/data-reporting/2021-albuquerque-homicide-rate-outpacing-previous-years-the-numbers-behind-the-rise/

The pertinent portions of the report relating to homicide is as follows:

“New Mexico is no stranger to violent crime, but so far this year’s homicide count is outpacing the average of the last two years by about 75%. As of April 18, 2021, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) recorded 35 homicides across the city. By this time last year, there were only 18. In April 2019, there were only 22 homicides by April 18.

Estimates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that New Mexico’s violent crime and homicide rates have been above the national average for several years now. Since 2016, between 6 and 8 homicides per 100,000 people, each year are estimated to have occurred in New Mexico, according to the FBI data. Neighboring states, such as Arizona and Texas, have seen an estimated 5 to 6 homicides per 100,000 people each year. … “

As of Tuesday, April 28, APD has opened an astounding 40 homicide case investigation within the first 4 months of this year. The 40 homicides are half the number of homicides that occured in 2019 which was the city’s all time record.

In the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County, there have bee reported 4 homicides that we know of in that the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department has a policy in place that the office will not report them unless the media asks questions.

BERNALILLO COUNTY CRIME RANKINGS

The Best Places to Live web site compiles data on cities and counties throughout the United States ranking them in such categories such as cost of living, job market, economy, real estate, education and health and weather. Crime is one of the most important categories. Best Places to Live ranks crime on a scale of 1, low crime, to 100, high crime.

According to the data published Bernalillo County, New Mexico, violent crime is 42.3 with the US average being 22.7.

Bernalillo County property crime is 66.5 with the US average being 35.4.

https://www.bestplaces.net/crime/county/new_mexico/bernalillo

THREE YEARS OF HISTORICAL HIGH HOMICIDE NUMBERS AND FAILED PROGRAMS

In 2018 there were 69 homicides the first full year of Mayor Keller’s term. In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1534762/homicide-numbers-high-despite-pandemic.html?amp=1

In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates . Those APD programs are: the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue, the Metro 15 Operation, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program). Based on the city’s high violent crime and murder rates, it appears Keller’s programs have been a failure.

On Thursday, April 16, 2021 it was reported that killings in the city have nearly doubled. According to the report, the Albuquerque Police Department has investigated 34 homicides this year, almost twice as many as the city had at this point in each of the past two years. By April 15 in both 2020 and 2019, there were 19 killings. APD ended up with 77 homicides in 2020 and a record 80 in 2019. Of the 34 homicides, APD has made an arrest in six cases and filed an arrest warrant for 15-year-old Josef Toney in the double homicide of two women.

As of April 24, there have been 45 homicides thus far in 2021 in the city.

It is clear the city is on its way to the highest murder rate in its history.

A link to the news sources are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2380171/year-to-date-homicides-up-significantly.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/abq-murder-rate-continues-to-climb-in-record-cases/ar-BB1fJHcG

SHERIFF GONZALES TAKES CREDIT FOR A LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND

On August 28, 2020, U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson reported that in a little over a month since federal agents arrived in Albuquerque as part of “Operation Legend”, earlier called “Operation Relentless Prusuit”, 19 violent felons were arrested on federal charges. According to Anderson, it is just a small number of people driving the majority of violent crime in Albuquerque, and their goal is to get those people off the streets. The Department of Justice (DOJ), including the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is targeting people with lengthy and violent criminal histories and convicted felons accused of crimes like carjacking, illegally shooting guns and drug dealing.

U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John Anderson had this to say:

“Operation Legend is about combating dangerous crime and gun crime in our cities. … It’s not about policing any kind of protest in our city. It’s not about immigration enforcement. … We are really looking at the people who are driving the violent crime epidemic in Albuquerque. … We are looking to remove the most violent folks from communities, not simply rack up arrest numbers of people who do not have serious criminal histories. … There are more cases on which prosecution has been initiated, but I can’t say more about them because they are under [court] seal. … More than anything, I hope to see reduction in violent crime and people feeling safer living and working in the city.”

When it comes to taking credit for “Operation Relentless Prusuit” and “Operation Legend”, Bernalillo County Sherriff Manny Gonzales was front and center making sure he got the credit as being instrumental in bringing the Federal funding and agents to New Mexico, so much so he made sure he did a press conference and did a photo op with former US Attorney General William Barr right here in River City. Gonzales also flew to Washington, DC during the summer for a photo op with Der Führer Trump. Gonzales takes credit for the funding proclaiming he will cooperate with anyone and cross party lines while totally ignoring and feuding with Democratic law enforcement elected officials such as the Bernalillo County District Attorney.

Even with the initial success of Operation Legend, the 35 sworn law enforcement brought for Operation Legend as well as the 40 new sworn police paid for by the Operation Legend grant, Operation Legend has not made any difference in reducing the city and counties crime rates. Given the city and counties existing law enforcement personnel resources, our crime rates are still some of the highest in the country for the last six years.

Operation Legend has proven to be nothing more than a legend in the mind of Bernalillo County Sheriff Gonzales.

CITY’S HISTORICAL LOW HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES

For the past three years, the city’s homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 the clearance rate has dropped to 50% and to approximately 30% thus far this year. Of the 75 homicides thus far in 2020, half remain unsolved.

There are only a dozen APD homicide detectives each with caseloads high above the national average. Each year since 1995, the FBI has released annually its Crime In The United States Report.

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/publications

Following are the national clearance rates for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as reported by the FBI:

In 2016, the national clearance rate for murder offenses was 59.4%.
https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/topic-pages/clearances

In 2017, the national clearance rate for murder was 61.6%
https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017

In 2018, the national clearance rate for murder was 62.3%
https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/clearances

In 2019, the national clearance rate for murder was 61.4%
https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/clearances

BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE FAILS TO REPORT STATS TO FBI

In all the 6 years Manny Gonzales has been Bernalillo County Sheriff, he has been conspicuously silent on just how bad the crime rates are in Bernalillo County. There is a very reason for that silence. On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline “BCSO has been silent about this year’s homicides.” It was reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.

The link to the full report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2377985/sheriffs-office-was-mum-on-2021-homicides.html

According to the Journal report, in previous years, including 2020, BCSO regularly sent out email and Twitter alerts when BCSO detectives opened a homicide investigation. BCSO usually gave details on the incident and solicited tips from the public. Until April 7, BCSO had been silent on the 2021 cases, yet increased email and Twitter notifications for warrant roundup operations and “repeat offender” arrests often criticizing the actions of courts for previously releasing the suspects.

BCSO Transparency and Public Information Coordinator Jayme Fuller explained the delay in reporting on the 2 homicides as not always telling about homicides, or other incidents, until reporters ask about them and they confirm them with BCSO supervisors.

The most troubling fact in the Journal report was glossed over. Buried in the article is the statement:

“Last year, BCSO’s crime statistics were not included in the annual FBI report because the agency didn’t meet the March deadline to report them, and they couldn’t be certified in time.”

The problem is that the yearly FBI statistics are the best measure as to performance measures of BCSO. Further, Bernalillo County and BCSO rely upon those statistics to secure federal grant funding.

BCSO’s crime statistics not being included in the annual FBI report was likely no mistake. No doubt Gonzales wants to hide the statistics that show our out-of-control high crime rates are just as bad in the county as in the city as he runs for Mayor.

“USE OF DEADLY FORCE” CASES DURING SHERIFF GONZALES TENURE

“Use of deadly force” cases by law enforcement are not classified as homicides but are a sperate category of statistics. In the day and age of the “Black Lives Matter” as well as the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, many police reform advocates want such statistics to included in all murder rates.

There is no doubt as Sheriff Gonzales runs for Mayor, his total mismanagement of BCSO will be examined as will any and all lawsuits filed against the department under his watch for systemic racial profiling, excessive use of force and deadly force. Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out upwards of $10 million in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) over a 2-year period of Sheriff Gonzales tenure as Sheriff.

When settlements he did not like were announced, Gonzalez said the amounts were excessive and he defended the actions of his sheriff’s deputies. As an act of defiance, Gonzales even issued issued commendations to the deputies involved with the killing of an 88-year-old suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, claiming his appointed deputy sheriffs acted properly.

Following is a listing of the cases:

2015 WRONFUL DEATH OF FIDENCIO DURAN: $1,495,000 SETTLEMENT

It was on September 14, 2015, Fidencio Duran, 88, died after he was shot numerous times with a “pepper ball” gun after he encountered BCSO Deputy Sheriffs in the South Valley. Mr. Duran was partially blind and deaf and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His wife of 67 years had died the day before after a three-year bout with illness. Duran wandered around the neighborhood shirtless. He banged on the door of a neighbor, who called the BCSO.

When BCSO Deputies arrived, a 90-minute standoff ensued, in which Mr. Duran, shirtless and wearing one shoe and reportedly holding a four-inch knife, spoke, sometimes incoherently, in Spanish. Eventually, the BCSO officers fired over 50 rounds of pepper balls at him from two directions. Some of the pepper balls penetrated his skin, causing contusions and embedding fragments of plastic.

BCSO officers unleashed a muzzled K9 police dog after shooting with pepper balls. The dog knocked the 115-pound man over, breaking his femur and hip. He was taken to the hospital, where it took doctors days to remove all of the pepper ball fragments. He never left the hospital, succumbing to pneumonia as a result of his injuries a month later. A doctor from the Office of the Medical Investigator “determined that the manner of death was Homicide” according to a civil lawsuit filed.

In an ostensible act of defiance, Sheriff Manny Gonzales issued commendations to the deputies involved.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/09/albu-f09.html

2017 WRONGFULL DEATH OF ROBERT CHAVEZ: $700,000 SETTLEMENT

On August 16, 2017, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies spotted a stolen car near Coors and ILiff. When they tried to pull over the vehicle a chase ensued. The stolen vehicle crashed into Robert Chavez’, 66, car near Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez in the Southwest part of the city. When Robert Chavez was hit, Chavez broke his back, shoulder, forearm, wrist, ribs and pelvis in the crash and also had other internal injuries. Chavez went into a coma and died 11 days after the crash. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the county and BCSO.

The BCSO Sheriff Department’s old policy would not have allowed officers to pursue for a stolen vehicle, but Sheriff Manny Gonzales changed the hot pursuit policy allowing such chases a year before the fatal crash. The Bernalillo County settled with Mr. Chavez’ family for $700,000 but not before the county backout of a $1 Million settlement.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1210343/man-injured-in-bcso-chase-dies.html

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/family-attorney-county-

2017 KILLING OF MARTIN JIM AND SHOOTING OF ISAAC PADILLA: $3.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT

On November 17, 2017, BCSO Deputies, at around 4 am in the morning, initiated a high-speed chase of a stolen truck across the South Valley on November 17, 2017. A BCSO Deputy rammed the truck at Coors and Glenrio NW on Albuquerque’s West Side obliterating the front driver’s-side wheel. With the truck at a standstill, two BCSO deputies parked their vehicles to block the truck from moving forward.

BCSO Deputy Joshua Mora soon arrived on the scene. Mora is the son of then-undersheriff Rudy Mora and had worked for BCSO about 18 months as a sheriff’s deputy. In the span of 18 seconds, Mora jumped from his car, ran to the truck, yelled commands at the driver, and fired 7 shots into the vehicle occupied by 3 passengers, including a 4-year-old child. Mora did no know Martin Jim was sitting in the back seat. A settlement in the case was reached after Senior U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera of Albuquerque ruled that a “reasonable jury could conclude that Deputy Mora acted unreasonably.”

On May 21, 2020, it was reported that the family of Martin Jim, 25, the man killed in 2017 incident settled the federal excessive force lawsuit against the county for $1.5 million. An earlier $400,000 state court settlement arising from the same deadly shooting paid to Jim’s partner, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son, amounted to $1.9 million. That is an addition to the $1.36 million settlement paid to the estate of the driver of the pickup truck, Isaac Padilla, 23, who was also killed. Another $40,000 was paid to two other passengers in the truck. The total payout to resolve legal claims related to Deputy Joshua Mora’s actions was $3.3 million.

The defendants, Mora, the county and Sheriff Manny Gonzales maintained Martin Jim’s death was unintentional and that the killing of Isaac Padilla, the driver of the truck, was justified. No weapons were found in the truck negating Mora’s defense that his actions were justified and in self-defense.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1458471/settlements-in-bcso-shooting-total-33-million-deputy-opened-fire-killing-driver-passenger-in-stolen-truck.html

2019 THE KILLING ELISHA LUCERO: $4 MILLION SETTLEMENT

On July 21, 2019, Elisha Lucero, 28, who suffered psychosis and schizophrenia, was shot to death in front of her RV, which was parked in front of her family’s South Valley home. BCSO Deputies had responded to the home after a relative called 911 saying Lucero had hit her uncle in the face. According to the 911 call, a relative said Lucero was mentally ill, needed help, and was a threat to herself and to everybody else. Just one month prior, Lucero had called BCSO and asked to be taken to the hospital for mental health issues.

According to the lawsuit, when deputies arrived, they said Lucero initially refused to come out of the home. Eventually, the 4-foot-11 Lucero, naked from the waist up, ran out screaming and armed with a kitchen knife. The BCSO Deputies pulled their revolvers and shot her claiming they feared for their lives. According to an autopsy report, Lucero was shot at least 21 times by the deputies. The two BCSO Deputies who shot and killed Elisha Lucero were not wearing lapel cameras. Sheriff Gonzales refused to have lapel cameras purchase and mandated for the BCSO.

Bernalillo Count settede the case for $4 Million. Even after the shooting of Elisha Lucero and the $4 Million settlement, Sheriff Gonzales did not change his opposition to lapel cameras. Gonzales has proclaimed his deputies do not need lapel cameras because they have audio recorders on their belts.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/family-of-elisha-lucero-settles-case-with-bcso-for-4m-/5667056/

https://www.abqjournal.com/1428402/family-of-mentally-ill-woman-shot-by-bcso-gets-4m-settlement.html

BCSO RACIAL PROFILING CASES SETTLED: $100,000 SETTLEMENT AND COUNTING

It was on December 6, 2017 that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American woman on temporary assignment in New Mexico as an Immigration and Customs Agent (ICE) deportation officer. The lawsuit alleged that Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies racially profiled her by pulling her over three times, twice by the same deputy, within a month with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that she was breaking the law. None of the three times she was pulled over was she given a warning or a citation.

ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Kristin Greer Love had this to say at the time:

“Our client is an accomplished federal agent who was targeted for driving while black … BCSO unlawfully and repeatedly stopped her because she fit a racial profile. Targeting people because of the color of their skin is unconstitutional and bad policing. Racial discrimination has no place in New Mexico, and BCSO must take immediate action to ensure that this behavior does not continue.”

https://www.aclu-nm.org/en/press-releases/aclu-files-racial-profiling-lawsuit-against-bcso

On July 8, 2020, it was reported that two black women from Wisconsin are suing Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and two deputies alleging racial and religious profiling stemming from a traffic stop in July 2017. The lawsuit was filed about five months after Bernalillo County reached a $100,000 settlement with Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American who filed a lawsuit against BCSO after she was pulled over three times in 28 days by BCSO deputies Patrick Rael and Leonard Armijo, the same deputies named in the new lawsuit, in spring 2017.

The civil case was filed by Sisters Consweyla and Cynthia Minafee, and a 5-year-old child, Yahaven Pylant, were traveling from Phoenix back to Wisconsin when they were pulled over by Rael on Interstate 40 the morning of July 7, 2017. Cynthia Minafee was Yahaven’s legal guardian at the time. According to the lawsuit, the traffic stop lasted almost an hour and included an extensive search of the vehicle with a drug dog.

According to the lawsuit, Rael told the women to get out of the car and said he could smell marijuana on Cynthia. Cynthia said that she had not smoked in the car and that there was no marijuana in the vehicle. Consweyla Minafee, the driver, was not issued a traffic citation, but Cynthia Minafee was issued a citation for not having Yahaven properly restrained. The citation was dismissed in May, online court records show.

A link to a news source is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1473973/two-bcso-deputies-face-second-racial-profiling-lawsuit.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

There is little doubt that crime will be the biggest issue in the 2021 election for Mayor. It is disappointing that inept “Burque Bros” Tim Keller and Manny Gonzales are running for mayor and are the two top contenders. Both are seeking public financing and will likely make the ballot.

Mayor Tim Keller, who has been in office for over 3 years, and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who has been in office over 6 years, have both been ineffective in bringing down the city’s and the county’s crime rates. Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his BCSO are just as hapless in dealing with spiking crime rates as Mayor Tim Keller and APD.

During the last 3 years under Mayor Tim Keller’s leadership as well as the leadership of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, things have only gotten worse in the city as well as the county when it comes to murders and violent crime rates. When you listen to both, you hear them say things will get better. Gonzales especially says he can do better than Keller as mayor. Gonzales doing better than Keller as Mayor is not at all likely given he has failed at the county level during his entire tenure as Sheriff and he has failed to keep up with changes in law enforcement and constitutional policing practices.

MAYOR TIM KELLER

In August, 2017, then New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller, candidate for Albuquerque Mayor, had this to say about the city’s high crime rates:

“It’s unfortunate, but crime is absolutely out of control. It’s the mayor’s job to actually address crime in Albuquerque, and that’s what I want to do as the next mayor.”

Candidate for Mayor Tim Keller ran on the platform promising to reduce the city’s crime rates, increase the number of sworn police and return to community based policing, promises that have essentially been broken. APD has 985 sworn police while Keller promised 1,200 sworn by the end of his term. On February 8, Chief Harold Medina told the City Council Public Safety Committee that APD had 957 sworn police, but only a mere 371 sworn police are assigned to the field services taking calls for service which in now way can be considered enough to do community based policing in 6 area commands. The Homicide Unit has only 12 detectives for one unit with case loads way above the national average for best practices and two years ago the city council was told that APD needed at least two homicide units or roughly 24 detectives.

Keller is the front runner mainly because of incumbency. His accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief.

Keller has appointed Harold Medina, who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes, permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and the four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.

BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES

When Gonzales says he can do better than Keller when it comes to crime, he acts like no one knows he has been Bernalillo County Sheriff for 6 years and in law enforcement for over 25 years. Sheriff Gonzales’s programs and felon warrant sweep initiatives in Albuquerque, especially in the South East Heights, have not brought down crime rates, but have only given him the press he covets.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales wants voters to think his jurisdiction and law enforcement activities are confined to the county and do not include the city of Albuquerque which is APD’s territory. Truth is, the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department have concurrent jurisdiction. Any attempt by Gonzales to distance himself from the city’s high crime rates needs to be called out for what it is and that is a political ploy to avoid transparency and accountability of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department during his tenure.

That’s the case unless of course when Gonzales seeks publicity and decides to do law enforcement initiatives in the City such as when he did it in the South East Heights last year proclaiming how businesses and resident’s asked him for help. In the 6 years he has been Sheriff, it was the very first time Gonzales decided to “help out” in the city. Truth be known, Gonzales was already thinking about running for Mayor and he jumped on the opportunity to make Mayor Tim Keller and APD look incompetent and unable to do their job in dealing with crime rates. It was very effective revealing just how opportunistic Gonzales really is.

Then there is the matter of Gonzales working with federal law enforcement, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI to work on Der Führer Trump’s initiatives brought to the city last year for Operation Legend with 50 federal agents sent to Albuquerque. He also jumped on the chance to go to Washington, DC all dressed out in his formal Sheriff’s uniform for special occasions for a photo op with Der Führer Trump which gave him the opportunity to strike up a friendship with Sam Vigil, the widower whose wife was slain in her driveway. Sam Vigil is now heading up a measured finance committee to raise money to oust Tim Keller and he has expressed support for Gonzales as Mayor. Mr. Vigil has also been a guest of Sheriff Gonzales on a government cable where Vigil promoted Gonzales.

Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms.

FINAL COMMENTARY

The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little next to none economic development.

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

There is still time for other candidates to run for Mayor as privately financed candidates. The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect 3,000 qualifying signatures from registered voters to run is from June 8 to August 10, 2021. Hope springs eternal that more viable candidates for Mayor will run and give voters viable alternatives to the “Burque Bros”.

With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with walking into a voting booth, holding our nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, or just not voting at all.

APD Police Union Spends $70,000 To Discredit Federal Court Order After Impeding And Resisting APD Reforms For 6 Years; Tactic Likely Grounds For Contempt Of Court By A Party For Interfering With Court Order

The Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) has launched a $70,000 political ad campaign to discredit the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms saying the police reforms are preventing officers from doing their jobs and combating crime. The Police Union leaders acknowledge that the city is bound by Federal Court Order but the union claims city leaders still have the ability, within that agreement, to push back on policies and procedures that they do not believe work for Albuquerque.

POLITICAL PUBLIC RELATONS CAMPAIGN

The Police Union political ad campaign consists of billboards around the city and testimonials on TV, radio and social media from former Albuquerque Police Department officers. The public relations campaign is urging the public to tell city leaders that crime matters more than the Police reforms mandated by the settlememnt.

The public relations campaign includes providing an email template for people to use and contact civic leaders. The template says APD has made progress with the reforms and says we are tired of living in a city filled with murder, theft and violence. … I’m urging you to fight for this city, stand up to the DOJ, and help us save the city we love, before it’s too late. ”

APOA Police Union President Shaun Willoughby described the need for the public relations campaign this way:

“You can either have compliance with DOJ reforms or you can have lower crime. You can’t have both. We think it’s time that our city leaders hear from the public that crime matters more because it does. … They want to focus on the growing crime problem, instead of wasting millions of dollars on endless Department of Justice oversight. … This conversation of reform needs to come back to common sense. … Right now, the City of Albuquerque capitulates to everything the DOJ wants and that might not necessarily be the right direction for the City of Albuquerque. … You don’t need enemies when you have friends like the city attorney. … We believe that our community deserves better from this police department. … We believe our community deserves better from this consent decree process.

“[We are asking] for the city of Albuquerque to stand up and support Albuquerque police officers and support common sense reforms that allow our officers to succeed. … . We’re talking about the bureaucracy of police officers being taken off the street because somebody that was not used force on said ‘ow”. And how that impacts this community, our ability to respond to the community and this community’s ability to control crime. Your Albuquerque police officers are terrified that they will lose their job for simply doing their job and it’s not fair.”

The APOA is also using its FACEBOOK page to get the word out with one post saying:

“Are you tired of the growing crime problems facing the city of Albuquerque? Are you tired of break-ins, stolen cars, vandalism, theft and murder being part of everyday living in our community? Then do something! If you don’t speak up and get involved right now, things will get worse. Tell your City leaders that you care more about fighting crime then than wasting millions on endless Department of Justice oversight. Share and make your voices heard because crime matters more.”

This is not the first time the police union has attempted to undercut the reform process. In a February 11 Target 7 news report Shaun Willoughby, President of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association said:

“The whole [reform effort] system is set up to fail and the taxpayers and the people that live in this community like me and my family are the ones that are taking the brunt of [violent crime]. … Really look at this process. … It is absolutely out of control. … The entire department and the processes within it are out of control. Your officers are running out the door. Really look at every single state or agency that’s been involved in this process. … What is happening? Did it bring harmony and trust with the community? I don’t think so.”

Willoughby is blaming the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) and its mandated reforms for the city’s high crime rates in Albuquerque and it’s a false narrative.

MAYOR KELLER AND CHIEF MEDINA RESPOND TO UNION

When Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina were asked about the campaign they said they don’t understand the unions goal because the city is under a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (Casa) that mandates the police reforms whether anyone likes it or not.

APD Chief Harold Medina had this to say:

“This past weekend, I had a couple of retired officers call me, and they talked to me about it how the perception on social media is that myself, the mayor or somebody could say that we don’t want to cooperate or work with DOJ anymore, and that we want our police department back, and that we’re going to move forward, as we were in the past. That’s not possible. Whether it’s me the chief, or somebody else is the chief or this mayor or another administration, they better understand they have to contend with DOJ and they can’t terminate this. … It’s not a contract. It’s a court order.”

Links to news source and quotes are here:

https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/albuquerque-police-union-starts-campaign-to-push-back-against-doj-requirements/6087348/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/2384284/apd-union-launches-campaign-against-doj-oversight.html

COURT APPROVED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

On April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, submitted a scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18-month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The 2014 investigation of APD found that APD officers engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force and deadly force and violating citizens’ constitutional rights and that a “culture of aggression” existed within the department.

You can read the entire report here.

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/04/10/apd_findings_4-10-14.pdf

On November 10, 2014, the DOJ Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was entered into after it was negotiated over a 6-month period. The 106-page negotiated CASA agreement contains 271 mandated reforms. Under the CASA, the assigned Federal Judge is given the power to enforce terms of the agreement and issue orders for compliance and issue sanctions for noncompliance and has contempt of court powers. .

Included in the 271 major reforms under the settlement are:

1. Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning choke-holds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and re writing and implement new use of force and deadly force policies.
2. The CASA mandates the teaching of “constitutional policing” practices and methods as well as mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill.
3. The City agreed that APD would overhaul and rewrite all of its “use of force policies” and “deadly force” policies, recruitment procedures, training, internal affairs procedures and implement field supervision of officers.
4. Stricter training and restrictions on the use of nonlethal force is required under the CASA, and it requires more training and controls over the use of Tasers by officers along with quarterly audits of their use.
5. The city agreed to the creation of a Police Oversight Board (POB) as a civilian review agency that independently reviews citizen complaints, serious uses of force and officer-involved shootings by APD. The civilian agency also monitors, reviews and make recommended changes to APD policy on use of force.
6. Under the CASA, the city agreed to the creation of Police Civilian Advisory Councils (CPCs), one in each of the 6 APD area commands, designed to increase community interaction.
7. The CASA broadens and removes obstacles to the types of civilian complaints Internal Affairs and the civilian oversight agency can review.
8. The agreement mandates that APD adopt a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented and outlining details how use of force cases would be investigated. It requires far more reporting by officers and field supervisors and also requires detailed reviews of those reports up the chain of command within the department. Sergeants and lieutenants are required to be much more involved in field supervision and review of use of force by officers.
9. Under the agreement, officers who point their firearms at a person, but don’t fire, must fill out a use of force report that will be reviewed by field supervisors. That review is separate from a city civilian police oversight agency that will be independent of the department and will review police use of force incidents as well as civilian complaints.
10. The City agreed to create a new “Use of Force Review Board” to oversee all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force. A new chain of command for the review of Internal Affairs reports of officer-involved shootings was created that reviews the Internal Affairs Reports and makes recommendations on discipline or asks for further investigation of an incident, and the board makes recommendations on discipline to the APD Chief. The Use of Force Board is required to make quarterly reports after reviewing all use of force reports to identify trends and policy changes.
11. APD agreed to revise and update its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all police officers.
12. Under the CASA, the City agreed to abolish the Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, within three months of signing the agreement for the reason that members of the unit were involved in a number of the controversial shootings investigated by the DOJ.
13. The agreement provides that if the city fails to implement the reforms or shows bad faith in the implementation of the CASA, the DOJ has the option of filing a federal lawsuit against the city over the city’s unconstitutional policing practices found by the DOJ investigation.
14. Certain types of hand-to-hand techniques are barred under the CASA unless the officer is in a situation that require the use of lethal force if it were available. Neck holds, sometimes called choke-holds, are explicitly forbidden to be used by officers except in situations where lethal force would be authorized.
15. A major change in the CASA bans APD officers from firing their weapons at moving vehicles in all but life-threatening situations.
The CASA provides that it is “designed to ensure police integrity, protect officer safety, and prevent use of excessive force, including unreasonable use of deadly force, by APD.”

The settlement agreement requires APD to strive and use its best efforts to come in compliance with all requirements within four years, and if that were to occur, the case would be dismissed.

https://www.cabq.gov/mental-health-response-advisory-committee/documents/court-approved-settlement-agreement-final.pdf

OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE LEVELS

The CASA was negotiated to be fully implemented over a four-year period. It has now been over 6 years. Under the terms and conditions of the CASA, once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in all 3 compliance areas, and maintains compliance for 2 years, the case can be dismissed.

For the purposes of the APD monitoring process, “compliance” consists of three parts: primary, secondary, and operational compliance levels.

The 3 compliance levels in the settlement are:

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

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

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

In the 12th Federal Monitors Report, the most recent, the Independent Monitor found the city at 100% primary compliance for the creation of policies; 91% secondary compliance for training of officers; and 64% operational compliance with police officers and supervisors acting according to procedures and being corrected when they don’t.

It was on Friday, October 6, 2020, that Court appointed Federal Monitor Ginger told the federal court:

“We are on the brink of a catastrophic failure at APD. … [The department] has failed miserably in its ability to police itself. … If this were simply a question of leadership, I would be less concerned. But it’s not. It’s a question of leadership. It’s a question of command. It’s a question of supervision. And it’s a question of performance on the street. So as a monitor with significant amount of experience – I’ve been doing this since the ’90s – I would have to be candid with the Court and say we’re in more trouble here right now today than I’ve ever seen.”

During the December 4, 2020 status conference hearing, Special Counsel for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Paul Killebrew said:

“APD has proven over and over again its agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA.”

During the February 26, 2021 hearing to approve a stipulated order, Paul Killebrew told the court that the order was necessary because after 6 years APD is still not holding officers accountable for using force that is out of policy. Killebrew told the Federal Judge:

“…[W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. It not an option right now to do nothing. If we sit back and wait, using all the tools that we have already been using, I don’t know why we would expect things to change on their own. The sense of the United States when we received the monitor’s report was that additional interventions were required.

When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations. This is essentially something short of a receivership, but far more extensive than what is occurring now. What we’re talking about is having external folks assisting Albuquerque investigators in each investigation to ensure that those investigations identify out-of-policy force and to ensure that there is a strong factual record available so that policy violations can be identified and that officers can be held accountable. That is simply a nonnegotiable term of the consent decree. We must have officers held accountable for out-of-policy force, and after six years, we cannot wait for that to happen any longer.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2363867/judge-signs-off-on-team-of-outside-investigators-to-help-apd.html

POLICE UNION PARTY TO LAWSUITE OPPOSES THE REFORMS

Soon after the entry of the CASA on November 10, 2014, the police union intervened in the lawsuit and became a third party to the case to advocate union interest in city policy. The police union has been at the negotiating table for 6 years over the use of force and deadly force policies and has sat in the court room during all the hearings. It was the police union that was a major contributing cause for a full one-year delay in writing the new policies.

It was on September 10, 2018, at a status telephone conference call held with the Federal Judge assigned the case that Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger first told the federal judge that a group of “high-ranking APD officers” within the department were trying to thwart reform efforts.

The Federal Monitor revealed that the group of “high-ranking APD officers” were APD sergeants and lieutenants. Because sergeants and lieutenants are part of the police bargaining unit they remained in their positions and could not be removed by the APD Chief. Federal Monitor Ginger referred to the group as the “counter-CASA effect.” Ginger described the group’s attitude as “certainly ambivalent” to the reform effort and the CASA. According to the transcript of the proceeding, Dr. Ginger told the Judge:

“The ones I’m speaking of are in critical areas and that ambivalence, alone, will give rise to exactly the sort of issues that we’ve seen in the past at the training academy. … So while it’s not overt, you know, there’s nobody sabotaging computer files or that sort of thing, it’s a sort of a low-level processing, but nonetheless, it has an effect. … It’s a small group, but it’s a widespread collection of sworn personnel at sergeant’s and lieutenant’s levels with civil service protection that appear to be, based on my knowledge and experience, not completely committed to this process … It is something that is deep-seated and it’s a little harder to find a quick fix or solution to it, but I think, in the long term, by having this foundation with new leadership and a new direction from the top down, we should be able to get through this and survive it.”

The entire 53-page transcript of the conference call can be read here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GzUumHhiD3Mw2_dLg_czXml_T6-3QI2w/view

The 10th Federal Monitor’s report provided specific examples where APD, after 4 years of implementing the reforms, are still resisting the reform effort.

“Some members of APD continue to resist actively APD’s reform efforts, including using deliberate counter-CASA processes. For example:

• Sergeants assessed during this reporting period were “0 for 5” in some routine aspects of CASA-required field inspections;

• Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) disciplinary timelines, appear at times to be manipulated by supervisory, management and command levels at the area commands, letting known violations lie dormant until timelines for discipline cannot be met; and

• Spin up of “new” FRB processes will require persistent and candid review, assessment, oversight and support at the field level. “

On November 2, 2020, the Federal Court Appointed Monitor said for at least the 4th time in his reports that the “Counter Casa” effect was interfering with APD accomplishing the implementing the CASA reforms. According to the 12th report:

“[The federal monitor] identified strong under currents of Counter-CASA effects in some critical units on APD’s critical path related to CASA compliance. These include supervision at the field level; mid-level command in both operational and administrative functions, [including] patrol operations, internal affairs practices, disciplinary practices, training, and force review). Supervision, [the] sergeants and lieutenants, and mid-level command, [the commanders] remain one of the most critical weak links in APD’s compliance efforts.

… the monitoring team often found in its reviews of management and oversight practices, a near myopathy at APD when it comes to assessing actions in the field against the requirements of APD policy and the CASA. Supervisors and command level personnel have a deleterious tendency to ignore the requirements of policy and training, and at times to even support processes to hide or circumvent internal systems designed to ensure compliance to established policy.

“APD’s compliance efforts have exhibited serious shortfalls during the … reporting period. These range from critical shortfalls in management and oversight … significant and deleterious failures relating to oversight and discipline; and executive-level failures regarding oversight, command and control, discipline, supervision, and training.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and a member of the advocacy group for police reforms “APD Forward” had this to say about the police unions political ad campaign:

“The only unfortunate thing is that so far the department has failed to demonstrate that it can hold officers accountable when they violate internal policies and the union bears a portion of the blame for that… . They have found ways to undermine various measures that are required under the consent decree and they have found ways to undermine accountability itself. This is just another example of that.”

It is downright disgusting and disingenuous for the Police Union to say that the union is not trying to get the city to end the reform process, especially 7 months before the November 2, 2021 municipal election where Mayor Tim Keller is seeking a second term. Four years ago, the police union endorsed Keller and the union is now saying it does not know who it will be endorsing this year. WINK, WINK, many of the union members and police union advocates are supporting Sheriff Manny Gonzalez for Mayor with a few working on his campaign. There is little doubt that once again APD and the union are attempting to run out the clock on another Mayor, this time the Keller Administration, knowing full well the municipal election is on November 2, 2021.

It’s more likely than not the police union’s $70,000 public relations campaign will fail, as it should. A major mistake the union has now made is that as a party to the lawsuit it should be taking its grievances to the Federal Court, and not the “court of public opinion”. Both the union attorneys are more than capable of filing pleadings in support or opposition of the CASA, present evidence under oath to the Judge and make argument in a court of law as to how the CASA reforms should be changed. With their $70,000 ad campaign, the police union may have bought a Contempt Proceeding for interference with a court order in a case that they are a party. No one knows if the Union attorneys had anything to do with the ad campaign or if they approved of it, especially with the Union spending $70,000 to disparage a Federal Court order.

APD has been struggling for over 6 years with trying to implement the DOJ consent decree reforms. After six years and millions spent, APD still has a long way to go to be compliant under the settlement before the case can be dismissed. The police union and rank and file have essentially done whatever they could do, and at different times, to interfere with the reform efforts.

The biggest failure made clear in Federal Court Monitor’s 12th report filed on November 2 relates to “Operational Compliance”. Operational Compliance is defined as “managements adherence and enforcement to APD policies in the day-to-day operation of APD” . Operational compliance is where line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and upper command staff. In other words, APD “owns” and enforces its own policies and without expecting the Federal Monitor to do it for them.

APD police sergeants and lieutenants, who are management but allowed to be part of the police union, are on the front line to enforce personnel rules and regulations, standard operating procedures, approve and review work performed and assist in implementing DOJ reforms and standard operating procedures policies. They are where the “rubber meets the road” when it comes to police reforms.

The point that has been repeatedly made by the Federal Monitor is that “until the sergeants are in harness and pulling in the same direction as the chief, things won’t get done as quickly”. In other words, without the 100% support of the sergeants and lieutenants to the CASA mandated reforms, there will be little or no progress made with police reforms.

Only until APD becomes in complete compliance will APD be able to fight crime without violating people’s civil rights and thereby allow the dismissal of the DOJ consent decree. One thing for certain is that only APD management, the police union and all APD police officers can make the consent decree actually work and have the court dismiss it sooner rather than later.

The City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice need to file a Motion for Contempt of Court, either individually or jointly, and seek sanctions against the APOA Union for intentional interference with the Court Approved Settlement Order with its political ad campaign and the CASA reforms. Two sanctions sought should be the removal of all APD Sergeants and Lieutenants from the bargaining unit and dismissing the APOA Union as a Third Party to the federal lawsuit. Otherwise, the disruptive nonsense of the union will continue.

Before You Sign Nominating Petitions Or Donate $5, Ask Questions

The 2021 Albuquerque Municipal election for Mayor and City Council officially started on March 1. It was the first day candidates can declare to seek public finance beginning an 8-month election process. Election day is Tuesday, November 2, 2021. On the ballot this year will be the office for Mayor and the 5 odd numbered city council districts of the 9 city council seats. The council seats up for election are City Council seats 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

Thus far, there are 4 candidates for Mayor and 10 candidates for city council in the various council districts. The postscript to this blog contains a listing of those known to be running as well as the time frames to collect $5 qualifying donations and petition nominating signatures from registered Albuquerque voters.

The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little economic development.

QUESTIONS AND ISSUES

Before signing any petitions or donating to candidates, voters should know where candidates stand on the issues they care about and what they will do if elected. A few questions and issues candidates for Mayor need to think about and disclose their positions on include the following:

CITY PERSONNEL AND SERVICES:

1. Should the current Chief Administrative Officer, City Attorney, Chief of Police, Fire Department Chief, Chief of Staff, Chief Operations Officer and all other current department directors be replaced and if so with whom?
2. Are you in favor of a state “right to work statute” that would impact or eliminate city employee unions?
3. Should city unions be prohibited from endorsing candidates for municipal office?
4. 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?

APD AND CRIME:

1.What is your position on the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree and mandated reforms?
2. The city and APD have been working under a federal court approved settlement agreement for 6 years after the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” and the use of deadly force. The city has spent millions a year on the reforms and the city is no closer to the dismissal of the case. Is it time to have APD placed in receivership of the federal court or should the case just be dismissed?
3. What would you do to enhance civilian oversight of APD and the implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms?
4. Should the APD Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chiefs and APD command staff be replaced with a national search and replaced by “outsiders”?
5. Should a national search be conducted for a new law enforcement management team to assume control of APD and make changes and implement the DOJ consent decree mandated reforms?
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. What are your plans for increasing APD staffing levels and what should those staffing levels be?
8. Since 2010, there have been 41 police officer involved shootings and the city has paid out $50 million to settle deadly force and excessive use of force cases. Should the City return to a “no settlement” policy involving alleged police misconduct cases and require a trial on the merits or a damages jury trial?
9 What are your plans or solutions to bringing down high property and violent crime rates in Albuquerque?
10. Should APD personnel or APD resources be used in any manner to enforce federal immigration laws and assist federal immigration authorities?
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?

THE ECONOMY:

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. Do you intend to keep the current Director of the City’s Economic Development Department and support staff?
4.The current budget for the Economic Development is $7.5 million out of a $1.2 Billion Budget, would you be in favor of more than tripling the budget to allow for investment grants?
5. To what extent should tax increment districts, industrial revenue bonds and income bonds be used to spur Albuquerque’s economy?
6. 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?
7. What sort of private/public partnership agreements or programs should be implemented to spur economic development?
8. What sort of programs or major projects or facilities, if any, should the city partner with the State or County to spur economic development?
9. 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?
10. 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?
11. What programs can Albuquerque implement to insure better cooperation with Sandia Labs and the transfer of technology information for economic development.
12. On September 6, 2019, a $29 million infrastructure bond tax package was approved by the Albuquerque City Council at the Mayor’s request to be financed by the City’s Lodger’s Tax. The lodger tax bond package was labeled as a “Sports – Tourism Lodger Tax ” because it was to be used for a number of projects around the city labeled as “sports tourism opportunities.” The lodger tax is paid by those staying at hotels and vacation rentals in the city and by ordinance is to be used to promote tourism, not athletics facilities for general population use. Do you feel that this was appropriate?

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT:

1.What is your position on the rewriting of the comprehensive zoning code which was an attempt to bring “clarity and predictability” to the development regulations and to attract more “private sector investment”? Critics say it has essentially “gutted” sector development plans by the development community and it has repeal all sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character.
2. Should the City of Albuquerque seek the repeal by the New Mexico legislature of laws that prohibit city annexation of property without county approval?

EDUCATION:

1.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?
2. What should the City do to help reduce high school dropout rates?
3. Should the City of Albuquerque advocate to the New Mexico legislature increasing funding for early child care development programs and intervention programs with increased funding from the permanent fund?
4. What education resources should or can the City make available to the Albuquerque school system?

POVERTY AND THE HOMELESS

1.What should be done to reduce the homeless population in Albuquerque?
2. What services should the City provide to the homeless and poor if any?
3. Should the City continue to support the “coming home” program?
4. Should the city be more involved with the county in providing mental health care facilities and programs?
5. The city has purchased the 530,000 square foot Gibson Medical Center for $15 Million. Should the facility be converter to one, single 24/7 homeless shelter facility for 300 or more homeless as a centralized facility or should the city use a “multi-site approach” to the city’s homelessness crisis and have a number of smaller shelters that would only house up to 50 to 75 people?

TAXATION AND PROJECT FINANCING:

1.Are you in favor of increasing the city’s current gross receipts tax or property taxes to pay for essential services and make up for lost gross receipt tax revenues caused in part by the repeal of the “hold harmless” provision and that has mandated budget and personnel cuts during the last 7 years?
2. Do you feel that all increases in gross receipts taxes should be voter approved?
3. The City has borrowed over $63 million dollars over the past two years to build “pickle ball” courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down central by bypassing voters and using revenue bonds as the financing mechanism to pay for big capital projects. Do you feel revenue bonds is an appropriate funding mechanism for large capital projects?

OTHER ISSUES

1. What is your position on the mandatory sick leave initiative known as the “Healthy Workforce” ordinance mandating private businesses to pay sick leave to employees?
2. Should the City and the City Attorney’s office enforce the increase in the minimum wage and mandatory sick leave initiatives?
4. 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?
5. Should major capital improvement projects such as the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project, be placed on the ballot for voter approval?
6. What is your position on the ART Bus project and should the line be dismantled and should historic Route 66 be restored to its original number of lanes and the ART Bus platforms dedicated to new uses ?
7. Should Albuquerque become a “sanctuary city” by City Council resolution or by a public vote or not at all?

CONCLUSION

The city cannot afford a mayor nor 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.
_________________________________

POSTSCRIPT

CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

DEMOCRAT INCUMBENT MAYOR TIM KELLER
DEMOCRAT SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES
NICHOLAS BEVINS
PATRICK BEN SAIS

From April 17 to June 19, 2021, publicly financed candidates for Mayor must gather both 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City and the $5.00 qualifying donations. Each name and signature on the nominating petition is reviewed and compared to the voter registration rolls. If the person who has signed the petition name is not on the voter registration rolls, it is disqualified. Therefore, far more than 3,000 signatures are needed to take into account disqualified signatures. Consequently, as many signatures above the 3,000 requirement is recommended for a “buffer” in order to ensure the minimum number of nominating signatures are secured.

LATER TIMES FOR PRIVATELY FINANCE CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect signatures is much later from publicly finance candidates. That time is from June 8 to August 10, 2021. Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor must also gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City.

CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL

On the November ballot this year will be the 5 odd numbered city council districts of the 9 city council seats. The council seats up for election are City Council seats 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Thus far, the candidates for City Council the November 2, 2021 municipal election are:

DISTRICT 1: Albuquerque’s Central West Side.

Incumbent City Councilor Lan Sena announced announced on April 25, she is seeking a full term after having been appointed by Mayor Keller to fill out the term of the late City Councillot Ken Sanchez.

District 3: Southwest part of Albuquerque.

Incumber City Councilor Klarissa Peña is making it known she will be seeking another term.

DISTRICT 5: Northwest part of Albuquerque

INCUMBENT CITY COUNCILOR CYNTHIA D. BORREGO is making it known she will be seeking another term.
PHILLIP RAMIREZ

DISTRICT 7: Mid-heights including uptown and parts of the near northeast heights.

Tammy Fiebelkorn
Mauro Walden-Montoya

DISTRICT 9: Far Southeast Heights and Foothills.

Andrew Lipman
BYRON K POWDRELL
ROB GILLY, JR.
RENEE GROUT

From May 31 to July 5, 2021, publicly financed candidates for City Council must gather 500 qualifying signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent. From May 31 to July 5, 2021, or approximately 4 weeks, publicly finance candidates for City Council can collect the $5.00 donations. There are varying number of $5.00 donations for each council district.

PRIVATELY FINANCED CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL NOMINATING SIGNATURES

The time for privately financed candidates for City Council to collect signatures is from July 6 to August 10, 2021. Privately Financed Candidates for City Council must gather at least 500 signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent.

Saturday, April 17 was the first day that candidates for Mayor and City Council seeking public financing were allowed to start circulating nominating petitions for signatures and allowed to solicit the $5.00 qualifying donations for public financing. The commencement time for privately finance candidates to collect nominating petition signatures for Mayor is June 8 and for City Council it is July 6.

Another Candidate For Mayor, Maybe Two; 5 More Candidates For City Council; One Measured Finance Committee For Keller

Saturday, April 17 was the first day that candidates for Mayor and City Council seeking public financing were allowed to start circulating nominating petitions for signatures and allowed to solicit the $5.00 qualifying donations for public financing. The commencement time for privately finance candidates to collect nominating petition signatures for Mayor is June 8 and for City Council it is July 6.

City Clerk records reveal that there is one more candidate for Mayor, 3 more candidates for City Council and a measured finance committee set up for the re election of Mayor Tim Keller.
The link to the city clerks web site is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/vote/candidate-information/2021-candidates

ONE MORE CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR, MAYBE TWO

RADIO TALK SHOW HOST EDDY ARAGON

According to the City Clerk’s records radio talk show host Eddy Aragon has submitted his candidate registration paperwork to run for Mayor. Aragon also ran for Mayor four years ago but failed to get on the ballot and collect the $5.00 qualifying donations for public finance because of a last-minute entry. Just recently, Aragon ran against State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce for Republican Party chairman proclaiming the party needed a new generation of leader. Aragon is an extreme, right wing conservative and staunch supporter of President Trump. Aragon is known for his sharp tongue approach on his radio programs that alienates both friends and foes alike. Aragon has essentially bought into the Sean Hannity approach to promoting right wing conservatism. Aragon has been extremely critical of Mayor Tim Keller and Keller’s progressive agenda at the city, and that is likely to get worse even if Aragon does not run.

NEWS UPDATE: ARAGON OUT

On April 27, “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan” has reported that Republican talk show host Eddy Aragon is not running for Mayor:

Radio talk show host, Republican and avid Trump backer Eddy Aragon told us Monday he will not be launching a mayoral candidacy, after speculation that he might:

“I don’t have the motivation to run. I have a business to attend to but I will continue to point out the wrong direction the NMGOP is taking including the role of Steve Pearce and Jay McCleskey. Republicans are backing Democrat Gonzales and that is traitorous. Not to mention that the current crime wave has happened under Gonzales’ watch.”

FORMER COUNTY COMMISSONER LONNIE TALBERT

It has been reported that former Bernalillo County Commissioner and Commission Chairman Lonnie Talbert has said “he’d “definitely consider … if it were the right opportunity at the right time.” Talbert is a bank executive and president with Southwest Capital Bank. Talbert recently termed out after eight years representing the county’s northeast district on the commission.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2383801/several-vying-for-abq-mayors-office.html

FOUR MORE FOR CITY COUNCIL

District 1

On Sunday, April 25 District 1 City Councilor LAN SENA announced that she is running for her first full term to the City Council. She represents Albuquerque’s Central West Side. She was appointed to the City Council in March 2020, by Mayor Tim Keller. To date there are no others running in District 1.

DISTRICT 5

CYNTHIS BORREGO: On April 29, City Councilor Cynthia Borrego filed her Candidate Registration form with the City Clerk and is listed as seeking public financing. JOSHUA MARTINEZ is listed as her Treasurer. Borrego has yet to make a formal announcement, but her registration and collection of $5 qualifying donations to the city confirms she is running for a second 4 year term.

DAN LEWIS: April 18 former Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis for the District filed his intent Listed as the thee Treasurer for the Lewis campaign is ELLIS MCMATH. Listed as an Alternate contact is MEGAN MCMILLAN who ostensibly is a political campaign consultant who works for Jay McClusk in that the contact email is for MCCLESKEY MEDIA. Jay McClusky in the former campaign manager for former Governor Susana Martinez and former Republican Mayor RJ Berry and is the go to guy for Republican candidates. Jay McClusky is known as a “slash and burn” political consultant.

PHILLIP RAMIREZ has submitted his candidate registration paperwork to run for City Council District 5. District 5 is the Northwest part of Albuquerque. Democrat City Councilor Cynthia D. Borrego is the incumbent and she was elected to City Council in November 2017. Ramirez was one of 5 candidates in 2017 who initially ran against Councilor Borrego, but Ramirez failed to qualify for the ballot.

Listed as the Treasurer for the Ramirez campaign is CORRINE TREVINO. Also listed as her email address is SISTO@ABEYTAASSICIATES.COM. Sisto Abyeta is a very well know progressive Democrat political consultant who has been involved in many campaigns over the years. He is the primary principal in his political consulting firm Abeyta Associates. It is more likely than not that Abeyta is the campaign manager for Ramirez. In 2019, Sisto Abeyta was the main political consultant for Democrat Joseph Griego who ran for City Council District 2 and was the first to qualify for public financing but District 2 incumbent City Councilor Isaac Benton prevailed beating out 4 opponents.

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/OrganizationDetail.aspx?OrganizationID=7113

DISTRICT 7

District 7 is current represented by Diane Gibson. District 7 is Albuquerque’s mid-heights including uptown and parts of the near northeast heights. On April 20, it was reported that Diane Gibson will not be seeking a third term. The city clerk lists Tammy Fiebelkorn as a candidate for the position but she has yet to announce.

On April 26, attorney and community activist Mauro Walden-Montoya announced he is running to fill the vacancy. Mr. Montoya was born and raised in Albuquerque, he is a Highland High School graduate, a New Mexico State graduate and he is a 1984 George Washington University Law School graduate. He has been very involved with the Albuquerque LGBTQ community and organizing the Gay Pride Parade in Albuquerque. Mauro Walden-Montoya is the past the president of the Albuquerque LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. He has been the LGBTQ Ambassador for the city’s One Albuquerque program and coordinated the Western Business Alliance conference in 2020. He is a board member for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and works at the City of Albuquerque and Albuquerque Tourism & Scenic Factory. He is married to Andy Walden Montoya since July 5, 2014.

The link to Mr. Walden-Montoya’s announcement in here:

https://www.facebook.com/DaddyMauro/videos/10159511077328552/?comment_id=10159511122498552&notif_id=1619485450214182&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif

DISTRICT 9

On February 27, Republican City Councilor Don Harris who was first elected to the City Council in 2005, announced he is not running for another term (as if anyone knew he has been on the council for 14 years). District 9 is the far Southeast Heights and Foothills.

There are two new candidates that have filed candidate registrations for City Council District 9, bring the total number up to 4 candidates with Byron Powdrell and Andrew Lipman.

The two other candidates are ROB GILLY, JR. and RENEE GROUT.

ROB GILLY, JR. is seeking public financing. The link to the Rob Grilly City Clerk page is here:

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/OrganizationDetail.aspx?OrganizationID=7116

STEPHANIE TEICH-MCGOLDRICK is listed as the Treasurer for Rob Grilley Jr for City Council.

RENNE GROUT

Renee Gout is seeking public financing. The link to the Renee Grout City Clerk page is here:

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/OrganizationDetail.aspx?OrganizationID=7115

Listed as the Treasurer for Renee Grout is RUSS HILLER.

Listed as the alternate contact for Renee Grout is MEGAN MCMILLAN.

ONE MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEE FOR MAYOR TIM KELLER

Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a Measure Finance Committee is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque. Measure Finance Committees are required to register with the City Clerk within five (5) days once they have raised or spent more than $250 towards their purpose.

All Measure Finance Committees must register with the Albuquerque City Clerk, regardless of the group’s registration as a political action committee (PAC) with another governmental entity, county, state or federal. Measure finance committees are allowed to commence fundraising at anytime but are required file financial statements and limits on donations are provided by law.

Measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates. However, a Measure Finance Committee that receives aggregate contributions more than 30% of the Mayor’s salary from one individual or entity, must incorporate the donor’s name into the name of the committee. No Measure Finance Committee is supposed to coordinate their activities with the individual candidates running for office, but this is a very gray area as to what constitutes coordination of activities and it is difficult to enforce.

Two measured Finance committees have been formed ostensibly to support and promote Manny Gonzales For Mayor. Those measured finance committees are:

1. RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR A BETTER ALBUQUERQUE

STATED PURPOSE: “Support Albuquerque mayoral candidate who will improve the quality of life for it’s citizens as well as oppose candidates that are detrimental to the future growth and safety of Albuquerque”.

The chairperson of the “Retired Law Enforcement for a Better Albuquerque is Jason Katz and the Treasurer is listed as Sistine Jaramillo. Upon information and belief, Jason Katz is a former and retired Chief Deputy of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and is a longtime supporter and has worked for Gonzales. No background information could be located on Sistine Jaramillo.

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/OrganizationDetail.aspx?OrganizationID=7104

2. SAVE OUR CITY

STATED PURPOSE: To address the serious crime and leadership problem in Albuquerque

The Chairperson of “Save Our City” is Sam Vigil and the Treasurer is Republican State Representative Bill Rehm.

Sam Vigil is the husband Jacquiline Vigil who was gun down in her car backing out of the family home driveway in the early morning hours as she was leaving for the gym. She is the mother of 2 state police officers.

Bill Rehm is a Republican New Mexico State Representative District 31, Bernalillo County, has been a State Representative since 2006. Rehm retired in 2000 from BCSO Sheriff’s office as Captain.

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/OrganizationDetail.aspx?OrganizationID=7109

AND NOW THERE IS ONE FOR KELLER

As of April 26, one measured finance committees has been formed to support Mayor Tim Keller’s bid for a second 4 year term .

The Measured finance committee is identified as “ BUILD BACK ‘BURQUE”.

STATED PURPOSE: Support mayor Tim Keller’s re-election to a second term for the city of Albuquerque

The Chairperson for “Build Back ‘Burque” is Michelle Mayorga. According to the American Association of Political Consultants “Michelle Mayorga has spent nearly 2 decades working on campaigns, progressive issues, and in local and national administrations. She previously served as Western Field Director at the AFL-CIO, Western Political Director at the DCCC, and Coordinated Director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico in 2012.”

https://theaapc.org/awards/40-under-40/class-of-2016/michelle-mayorga/

The Treasurer for “Build Back ‘Burque” is Robert Lara. Mr. Lara is a licensed New Mexico attorney and is the former State Treasurer of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

https://campaignfinance.cabq.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/OrganizationDetail.aspx?OrganizationID=7112

COMMENTARY: With well known Democrat Robert Lara, the former Democratic Party Treasurer and Michelle Mayorga, a highly successful Democratic political operative and fund raiser on board to head up “Build Back ‘Burque” you can expect they will be tapping into high dollar end donations within the Democratic Party from throughout the State and nationally. Both Lara and Mayorga have a proven record of raising high dollar campaign donations. It’s likely Lara and Mayorga will raise upwards of $1 million or even more to promote Keller for Mayor. Further the fund raising duo will likely solicit donations from Keller donors when he ran for State Senate and State Auditor where he raised hundreds of thousands in large donations from the Democratic party faithful. The meaning of the name of the measured finance committee “Build Back ‘Burque” is difficult to understand and it should have been called “Buy Back Burque Again”.

OTHER POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES TO WATCH

Even though the qualifying period to collect $5.00 donations and nominating petitions commence on April 17 and ends June 19, 2021 for publicly financed there is still more than enough time for many more to run for Mayor as privately financed candidates. The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect signatures is much later from publicly finance candidates. That time for Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor to gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City is from June 8 to August 10, 2021.

With two highly visible Democratic candidates running for Mayor, the chances of more Republicans entering the race does increase. A few of those Republicans being mentioned include:

1. Republican and former City Councilor Dan Lewis

Lewis lost to Keller 3 years ago in a landslide runoff. Lewis is giving mixed signals if he wants to run again for his old city council seat or run for Mayor. Lewis relied on private finance to run for Mayor 4 years ago. Review of all the campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk reveals that Republican Dan Lewis raised more than $847,000 in private cash contributions for his 2017 run for Mayor and raised more than $22,000 in “in-kind” contributions for the elections for a total of $869,000, which is an impressive amount of money by any measure for a municipal election.

2. Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes

Garcia Homes is a retired APD officer and Democrat Attorney General Gary King’s spokesperson, a 2017 candidate for Mayor, the 2018 Republican candidate for Lt. Governor and the 2020 Republican Candidate for Congress and staunch Trump supporter even after the January 6 insurrection and takeover of the United States Capital. Garcia Homes posted on FACEBOOK that it was not Trump supporters who stormed the capitol on January 6 but “antifa” dressed up pretending to be Trump supporters.

3. 2020 Republican US Senate candidate Mark Ronchette

Mark Ronchette could easily run for Mayor. Ronchette made a respectable showing for U. S. Senate and his strong Republican base of support and likeability by his viewers in Albuquerque would make him formidable in a nonpartisan race such as Mayor.

4. Republican Steve Maestas

Steve Maestas is a respected and successful real estate developer and principal of Maestas & Ward. He has never run nor held public office before and is unknown to the general public. Sources are saying is he is willing and wealthy enough to self-finance, but saying it and doing it are always two totally different things.

5. Republican freshman City Councilor Brook Bassan

City Councilor Bassan is emerging as a major critic of Mayor Keller on the City Council and making some sense at times. Bassan still has very limited understanding of city government and how it works after serving only two years, but would likely attract strong Republican support both in organization and funding.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Mayor Tim Keller is no doubt breathing a little easier now that a measured finance committee has been formed to raise money and promote him. In 2017, Keller’s public finance campaign was underwritten by 3 measured finance committees that raised thousands of dollars to promote Keller for Mayor. Keller did not discourage it but mislead the public when he said he was opposed to dark money campaign contributions but said he was “walking the talk” by accepting public finance and agreeing to the spending cap. He is doing it all over again as he runs for a second term. The beauty of such a scheme is to be able to run a positive campaign with you public finance money and let the measured finance committee throw the political collective feces at your opponents.

In the 2017 municipal election, “ABQ Forward Together” was the progressive measured finance committee that was formed specifically to raise money to promote progressive Tim Keller for Mayor. The measured finance committee chairperson was Neri Olguin a former campaign manager of Tim Keller’s when he successfully ran for State Senate and who is now an alternate contact for the 2021 Keller campaign. “ABQ Forward Together” raised over $663,000 for Keller’s 2017 bid for Mayor. The amount included cash donations or in-kind donations from the Working Families Party, Ole and the Center for Civic Action.

During the 2017 Mayor’s race, Keller received significant support in one form or another from the progressive organizations of OLÉ of New Mexico, the New Mexico Working Families Party, and Progress Now New Mexico. All 3 organizations or their membership in one form or another became very involved with the 2017 Albuquerque Mayor’s race.

When it was all said and done, a total of $1,358,254 was actually spent on Tim Keller’s 2017 successful campaign for Mayor. According to City Campaign finance reports, Keller was given $506,254 public finance money, $663,000 was raised by the measured finance committee ABQ Forward for Keller, $67,000 was spent by ABQFIREPAC on Keller’s behalf and $122,000 was spent by ABQ Working Families for Keller for a total of $1,358,254.

2021 MAYOR’S RACE

It is more likely than not the Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales will likely qualify for the $661,309.25 in public finance by collecting 3,779 qualifying $5 donations made to the city by registered voters. The same cannot be said for Mayor candidates Nicholas Bevins and Patrick Ben Sais given the extreme difficulty it takes to collect that many $5 donations unless you have hundreds of dedicated supporters. In order to collect 3,779 qualifying donations over the 64 days allotted, a candidate’s campaign must collect at least 59 donations a day plus 3 more.

(64 collection days X 59 donations a day + 3 = 3,779)

If Bevins, Sais and Aragon fail to collected the 3,779 qualifying donations of $5.00 for public financing of $660,000, they can always revert to and elect to private financing. They are still required to collect the 3,000 in nominating petition signatures.

MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEES WARP MAYOR’S RACE

The fact that measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates is what makes them a major threat to warping and influencing our municipal elections and the outcome. Any Measure Finance Committee can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and can produce negative ads to destroy any candidate’s reputation and candidacy.

The influence of big money in elections allowed by the US Supreme Court decision Citizens United is destroying our democracy. Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process. Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.

Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the outcome. It is disingenuous for any public finance candidate to secure taxpayer money first to run their campaigns, agree in writing to a spending cap, and then have their political operatives or supporters solicit or create a measure finance committee to help them get elected and spend massive amounts of money to give them an unfair advantage in the first election and then the runoff.

Voters need to follow the money and demand to know where the outside money known as “dark money” is coming from for any Measure Finance Committee and find out exactly who is trying to influence the election for the candidates. Voters need to beware of the candidates and their political consultants who are seeking help from measured finance committees to be fully informed as to who they are indebted to once they have been elected.

Links to previous related blog articles are here:

2021 Election For Mayor And City Council Starts March 1; 3,000 Petition Signatures For Mayor, 500 Signatures For City Council; $661,309 Public Finance For Mayor And $40,000 To $50,000 For Council; City Hall Jobs At Stake; Measured Finance Committees Will Warp 2021 Municipal

Four Seek Public Finance For Mayor, Two Seek Public Finance For City Council; “Elementary My Dear Watson” Who Two Measured Finance Committees Will Be Raising Money And Promoting For Mayor