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

Jul 1, 2007

Letters to The Eye: Tales From Scam-era Hearings

We're starting a new segment called Letters to The Eye. These are unedited letters that we found to be informative and are being published with the consent of the author. The content is being presented without any editing so that the integrity of the original letter is kept in tact.

Our first letter is from James Reich, a not so proud recipient of one of the Almighty's scam-era fines. Mr. Reich decided to fight the "citation" and the following is his tale... so far.


Tales From Scam-era Hearings

I am not a lawyer, just a regular guy. Nothing in the following is intended to be nor should it be used as legal advice. I do not have the knowledge or background to argue “due process” or constitutionality with the big boys. This is just my story and opinion so far.

I had an administrative hearing at City Hall on January 30, 2007, one-hundred and five days after the effective date of the notice of violation of my vehicle. The administrative hearing process was created by the STOP Ordinance and the administrative hearing officer is employed by or works for the Mayor’s office in city government. Per language in the STOP Ordinance, notices were and are routinely dismissed (if you ask for dismissal, they may not offer) if the hearing occurs after 90 days of the “effective date.” Hearing Officer Roberto Albertorio made up a new definition of “effective date” that afternoon for all who appeared and as the owner (they couldn’t identify the driver), I was ordered to pay up. I’ve been in Albuquerque 18 years and this was my first contact with City Hall. Never been in court, closest was jury duty.

Because I believe the hearing officer ignored clear and unambiguous language in the STOP Ordinance, within 30 days I filed (with a $122 filing fee) a request for an appeal with State District Court under rule 1-075, Rules of Civil Procedure. Legally, this is called a “petition for writ of certiorari.” In effect, it’s asking the District Court Judge to grant a review of the hearing. Under the STOP Ordinance, there is no right to an appeal, one may or may not be granted.

As I researched legalese while writing the petition and in preparation for writing a follow-up brief, I learned much about red-light cameras and their use in this country. Since the beginning of this year, they’ve been ruled illegal in Iowa and Minnesota, and the Michigan Attorney General issued an opinion letter against their use in that state. A decision should come from Ohio soon. A District Court Judge in Iowa ruled against their use in Davenport, which implemented an ordinance very similar to the one here in Albuquerque. In fact, I believe the ideas and much of the language in these ordinances actually comes from the contractors that lease the cameras. (The research has been a great civics lesson.)

The Minnesota case, recently upheld by the Minnesota State Supreme Court, struck down an ordinance in Minneapolis because it conflicted with Minnesota state law. The rationale was simple, straightforward, and similar to that used by the Michigan Attorney General. It made me take a good hard look at New Mexico state law.

And there it was:

Municipalities can pass ordinances that are "not inconsistent" and "not in conflict with" state law (NMSA 3-17-1 and 3-17-6).

Here's the state law that the STOP Ordinance is in conflict with: (begin excerpt)

34-8A-3. Metropolitan court; jurisdiction.

A. In addition to the jurisdiction provided by law for magistrate courts, a metropolitan court shall have jurisdiction within the county boundaries over all:

(1) offenses and complaints pursuant to ordinances of the county and of a municipality located within the county in which the court is located except municipalities with a population of more than two thousand five hundred but less than five thousand persons in the 1980 federal decennial census; provided that the metropolitan court shall not have jurisdiction over uncontested municipal parking violations;

(2) civil actions in which the debt or sum claimed does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), exclusive of interest and costs; and... (end excerpt)

The key words are "shall" and "all,” it covers ordinances and civil actions.

So, the city's administrative hearing process set up under the STOP Ordinance appears to be in conflict with and inconsistent with New Mexico law because of jurisdiction. Therefore, the ordinance should be declared invalid. According to New Mexico law, jurisdiction belongs to Metro Court. Municipal home rule within New Mexico grants broad powers to cities, but does not allow conflict with state law. Now, my interpretation is worthless. It’s what a judge decides that counts.

So if my appeal is granted, I’ll ask the judge to declare the ordinance invalid. Failing that, we’ll cover what occurred during the actual hearing.

So, as you can tell by now, I’m against the STOP Ordinance and how it’s being practiced by the city. I must admit, I like the basic intentions espoused by the city, I just don’t believe they believe them. The “it’s all about safety” line rings hollow, “it’s all about money” is more like it. I am not against using traffic cameras in all instances, but I do believe their use to be very specific and very limited. So limited as not to be very profitable, especially not for the city or any contractor. Enforcement for profit is a dangerous road to travel and is “unsafe at any speed.” The city wants to implement more “civil penalties” for more infractions in the future, taking all of us further down this dangerous road.

Mr. Villanucci’s recent programs have provided ample evidence of questionable practices and the equally questionable rationale of our city’s leaders. I am very glad to hear of the class action suit led by attorney Richard Sandoval. I am very glad to hear of the ongoing efforts of attorney Paul Livingston. Faced with an administrative hearing officer that either was unfamiliar with, or chose to ignore language in the city’s own ordinance, I am fortunate enough to have the resources and desire to try and do something about it. Many that went before him that afternoon are not able to. Maybe I’ll win, maybe I won’t. I do believe that eventually this ordinance will be shot down or shut down. The city must win each challenge to maintain status quo, and I do not believe the odds are in their favor. I don’t believe the legislature, public opinion or the law is on their side.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I notice that nowhere in Mr. Reich's dialog is there even a hint of innocence to the red light violation itself. It would appear that his lack of protest over the violation and his only focus being the process, led the hearing officer to the correct conclusion, guilty! Anyway, I'm glad he decided to pay his fine; it will go a long way toward additional enforcement, more camera equipment and ultimately added safety in our intersections, Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well put, Mr, Mayor (or "Linda" or whoever it is today). /sarcasm

Anonymous said...

I actually like the cameras. Cops just can't be everywhere and they do serve a purpose. What I don't like is Albuquerque enacted an ordinance that is in conflict with state statute. The fines should follow what is already set up in the state law. The hearing should be by an outside judge, not a city hearing officer. This program could be so good, but Schultz and Marty have made it divisive. As of right now I just don't see any compromise. Too bad, a good system is going to bite the dust because the Schultz and Marty did not do it in a fair way that the public could get behind.

Anonymous said...

The STOP Ordinance has not been judged in conflict with state law. The fines do not mirror state traffic law fines because they are not traffic laws. They do not have anything to do with NM traffic laws, points or your state issued drivers license. The Redflex system in place and the enforcement are nuisance violations much the same as if you operate a business w/o a business license. Compared to traffic violations the cam fines are cheap. Think of the fines and fees paid to metro court on a traffic citation, consider the points against your license with MVD and finally think about the rise in your insurance premiums when they are notified of your citation. None of this occurs with a camera violation. Think of all the valuable staff hours saved by the uniformed officers of the APD not having to focus on traffic violations. Leaving them to more serious duties. The bottom line is that they work. Peoples driving habits have changed for the better. No more do you see 3,4,5,6 cars continue through the now red turn arrow. I love the cameras, I am confidant the city will prevail and we will see even more intersections equipped with RedFlex Systems.......

Anonymous said...

I want one in my neighborhood !

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Well put, Mr, Mayor (or "Linda" or whoever it is today). /sarcasm
July 1, 2007 7:50:00 PM MDT


Thank You! Nah, I'm just being myself today. I'll think about being someone else tomorrow when I go back to work.....

Anonymous said...

Well said 3 posts up, I agree. I wish people would stop bitching about so many unimportant issues like these cameras & focus on the real issues in this world, wars, hunger, global warming, floods etc. You can all avoid paying the camera fines by NOT RUNNING THE LIGHTS!

Anonymous said...

Thank You

Anonymous said...

What's next someone sitting next to me in my car or home watching my every move? My dog's toe nails trimmed every other Thursday? Can't water the grass today and heaven forbid I don't have a toilet that conserves water. I'm beginning to feel like I live in a communist country. Has the dictator left office yet? Can't wait till he's long gone! Happy Trails!

Anonymous said...

Wait until he becomes Governor then you can move. We will need the space for good citizens, so hit the Happy Trail.

Anonymous said...

"I wish people would stop bitching about so many unimportant issues like these cameras & focus on the real issues in this world, wars, hunger, global warming, floods etc. You can all avoid paying the camera fines by NOT RUNNING THE LIGHTS!"

Yes...yes...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...focus on big things outside the city...outside the city...focus on the watch...you are getting sleepy...sleepy...count the sheep...the sheep...baaaaaaa

Anonymous said...

Zzzzzzz, Zzzzzzzzzz okay what now?

Anonymous said...

When i snap my fingers you will assume the persona of Linda, your alter-ego. You will call into the mayor's weekend talk show, make inane statements deriding the city council, profess your admiration for Mayor Chavez and offer to crawl from Albuquerque to Santa Fe while wearing a "Marty for Guv" bumper-sticker and clucking like a chicken.

Anonymous said...

Marty for gov? I don't think so.

It's beginning to sound like Marty knows how to make frog soup and on the menu is the great City of Albuquerque. Someday, when it's too late, you naive citizens are going regret that you didn't fight for your freedoms (no matter how small).

Anonymous said...

"Well said 3 posts up, I agree. I wish people would stop bitching about so many unimportant issues like these cameras & focus on the real issues in this world, wars, hunger, global warming, floods etc. You can all avoid paying the camera fines by NOT RUNNING THE LIGHTS!" - you're clueless! :)

Anonymous said...

It\'s Obviously againt the law - what the city is doing, but their Judges are bought and paid for so they\'ll continue to rape and pillage!

Anonymous said...

"The STOP Ordinance has not been judged in conflict with state law"

I don't think this comment can be made until the class action lawsuits go through and we see what the judges say. Some states have tossed out red light cameras and some have kept them. New Mexico's turn is coming and then we will find out if there is a conflict.

Anonymous said...

Guilty or not, if a judge denied you a jury when you were placed on trial or wouldn't let you present witnesses in yur defense or denied you any of your other constitional rights, you would move for the case to be dismissed too. You guys are missing the big picture (even though some of you think that you see it). Rights are bing violated. If you got a traffic ticket and went to metrol court and the officer did not show, but the judge said, "well just this once we wont use the officer, because you are guilty anyway." would you all agree that that is the idea of justice that we should be embracing here? In effect that is what happened to Mr. Reich. Instead of dismissing the ticket like the ordinance requires, they changed the rules and some of you folks are cheering that on. If denial of rights is what you all want, I hope that some day you all become a victim of your own justice. That some judge throws you in jail without a trial or seizes your property without due process becasue that is what is happening. A fine is a "seizure" of your "property" (money). Due process is required. The 14th amendment states:
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Due process means that the courts follow the rules. Not make them up as they go.
The ordinace requires that the citation be dismissed. End of question.
State law requires that these "trials" be heard by Metro court not the city. End of question.
Good luck with your lawsuit Mr. Reich.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that!

Anonymous said...

To the poster that said "Wait until he becomes Governor" ten posts up. Yeah your right we do NEED GOOD Citizens like ones that DON'T shoplift,BEAT their wives,Drink and Drive, etc., etc., OOOH only one of those can be PROVEN. None the less shoplifters should move somewhere else. Laters MAYOR and TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER WITH YOU WE ONLY NEED GOOD CITIZENS .....!!!! Now how FUCKIN' STUPID does that ANALOGY SOUND NOW ASS WIPE .....?

Anonymous said...

You kiss your Mother with that filthy mouth?

Anonymous said...

No just yours .......

Anonymous said...

No wonder she complained that it tasted like dick......C*&k sucker! hahahah

Anonymous said...

"Good luck with your lawsuit Mr. Reich".

No kidding, with legal advice like that you're going to need all the luck you can get..........

Anonymous said...

Eat a FAT DICK you punk FUCKS ....! I don't need Marty for a pay check I buy lotes and build homes and make good money. I don't need a shit bag like that PUNK to make money. Good luck when the GRAVY TRAIN IS OVER ....

Anonymous said...

Take some of that money and buy an updated version of spell check....

Anonymous said...

It's OVER. Maybe I will donate some to whoever the front runner is for Mayor and get me some cush city job. Yeah that's the TICKET!

Anonymous said...

What a moron, go back to building dog houses...

Anonymous said...

Who should I donate it to? I'm a moron. Give me a guess! You know that's how it works. Shit Dude 4,000 got Michael Padilla the Head of the communcation division. $4,000 dollars. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH. Who's the MORON? All city dept. head jobs are for sale. See ya' later little dollar.

Anonymous said...

Like I said ass wipe, go back to building your dog houses !

Anonymous said...

Yeah Code enforcement! Or plans/checking Thanks Bro. All of my buildings will pass. Small down payment for sooooo much upside. You have been such a big help. Thanks again little dollar.

Anonymous said...

Anytime....

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't they pass? Who couldn't build a 3x5 plywood & shingle roof dog house? Your product must be pretty bad if you find it necessary to try and bribe the code enforcement or planning Dept. employees.....Bro

Signed,
Little $

Anonymous said...

I just want the JOB. Who gives a SHIT about the product. Have you heard about the court house WE all are paying for? hahhahahhahahhahahahahhahahhahahahahhahahhahah CITY DEPT. HEAD JOBS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Those are county and state jobs involved in the courthouse, num nuts.....Go back to building dog houses & forget about a Department level job with the City, ur not qualified....

Anonymous said...

Hey its Laters boy...building houses on lots...I'm impressed!!! Since you're so on the up I'm sure all your workers are documented and well paid including a benefits plan...you sure as hell ain't work'n considering how much time you're here!!! See you at the courthouse steps homo.

Anonymous said...

Hell no I love wetbacks they work all day for very little pay no benefits shit they are lucky I don't call the Migra on there ass. Now about the Homo part? What's with the name calling little dollar? You see I OWN a company so I can do whatever, whenever I want. Gotta go lookin' into who to make that campaign contribution to. City Director Jobs RULE.........! Laters little dollar.

Anonymous said...

...my point exactly. A real contribution to society you're not but one who does nothing but complain, gripe, and bitch....what happened APD said "no thanks" after getting your interest card???? hahahahahahhhhahah--you're still a homo

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA HA...... APD? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...... Have heard the news lately? SCORE 1-0. Developers v.s. APD. I'm refering to Daskalos/Kirby. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Do you get it now? Laters little dollar. Try again next time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Homo, Kirby still is unemployed. So Im not sure what you think you know....Get back to your Dog Houses & pay ur taxes.

Anonymous said...

Exactly you fuck stick. SCORE ONE FOR the Developer. He got off his DUI and still has his JOB. That is my answer to the the remark of ME putting in a interest card for APD. Keep up or take a nap. Laters little dollar. I've got more important shit to do besides hold your hand in a conversation. Try to intimidate someone else like your boyfriend/mistress/ wife/girlfriend .... Shit don't work with me LAW DOG!

Anonymous said...

One last thing. I will pray Kirby get his Job back tomorrow. Dude was SOLD OUT. PERIOD. RIGHT IS RIGHT and well wrong is NOT really wrong it's a matter of who you are and how much YOU MATTER in the GRAND scheme OF THINGS.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dog House man....Go pack sand in your ass. You're probably the helper on the job site, picking up the spent nails & trash lumber scraps. Keep on dreaming homo, you may get there some day. For now, go back to collecting scrap lumber & store pallets & building your dog houses, dick wad.

Anonymous said...

A bunch of grade schoolers.

Poncho said...

Run through a red light, then pay your fine....

If you can't grasp this simple concept quit driving and become a pedestrian.

Anonymous said...

Down with the cameras - burn\'em all!! :)