All in all, it hasn't been a very good couple of weeks for Albuquerque's Mayor Martin Chavez. In fact, we can't remember a time in his ten years in office, that the Teflon Don of the 11th floor has been hit with this much criticism all at the same time. No doubt his honor can relate to General George Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (except Custer was almost 6 feet tall).
It all started Friday June 8th, when APD spokesperson Trish Hoffman tried to spin her way out of a Journal story (Subscription Required) about favoritism shown to former AFD Captain Ralph Ortega; who is also AFD Chief Ralph Ortega's brother. In addition to some other fairly ridiculous statements, Ms. Hoffman claimed that the reason officer Bret White was ordered to transport Ralph Ortega directly to the Westside MDC instead of the PTC (Prisoner Transport Center), was that the PTC was closed on Tuesday nights; a statement that was quickly reported as untrue by our ever faithful Eyes. The PTC is in fact open on Tuesdays but only to DWI arrests.
The following Monday afternoon, an above the fold story in the Albuquerque Tribune told readers about the crackdown on license plate covers (one that we told you about back in mid-April) that had resulted in 500 citations for "obstructed plates." 770 KKOB AM afternoon drive-time host Jim Villanucci picked up on the story and added information supplied to him from the county (and indirectly the PRC) that indicated that not only had accidents not gone down at "photo enforced" intersections, most of the intersections actually saw an increase.
The next setting down at city hall was Spin Mode. Tuesday afternoon, Marty sent out four henchmen and a handler (Kevin Broderick, John Castillo, Joe Bowdich, Ron Hetes, and John Walsh) to try and put down this radio rebellion by appearing on Villanucci's afternoon show. Their performance was soooo poor and unconvincing that we ended up doing our first live blog! For the rest of the week, red light scam-era irritation had become unrestrained anger as callers vented along with the show's host and co-host Richard Edes.
If all of this weren't enough, Marty decided to snuff-out smokers on city property; a move that resulted in lighting the fuse of his own recall movement. Plus, our Eyes told us about a scheme hatched on the 5th floor to jigger scam-era intersection numbers to exclude accidents that didn't occur inside the box formed by the crosswalks.
We thought that Saturday would provide an escape from the red light scam-era story, if not from the scam-eras themselves. WRONG! The Almighty descended from his perch on the 11th floor to do his weekly show over at 770 KKOB AM and took with him a very large can of gasoline to pour on Jim Villanucci's fire. During the weekly Saturday show (1pm), the mayor chose to term Villanucci's personal timing of yellow lights and their subsequent change the previous Wednesday, "hogwash."
Monday saw yet another 4 hour erruption of Mt. Villanucci followed Tuesday by the Journal revelation that the 30% to 40% reduction in accidents at scam-era intersections "was strictly an estimate" (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required). APD spokesman John Walsh went on to tell the Journal about the overtime "effort" to look at every intersection and "examine" every crash. We simply called it Cooking the Books. The Journal posted the uh... "raw" numbers here (Subscription Required).
To say that the last two weeks were crazy would be an understatement. We were subjected to so much "spin" that our next purchase at our local hardware store will be a very large shovel. Chief Schultz is famous for emphasizing truthfulness. He tells all of his managers that APD has no use for people that lie. We wholeheartedly agree with the chief and believe that it applies to everyone in government.
APD spokespeople, city department heads, and the mayor himself have all been caught over the last couple of weeks at the very least "spinning" the truth. Right now, if someone from the administration or APD's 5th floor told us that the sky was up, we'd get a second opinion. Many of our city officials have lost credibility (Subscription Required) because of their lies, damn lies, or their "spin."
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes