(Sidebar)While the Journal managed to expose the Almighty Alcaldes's greenhouse gas, they've been gobbling up stories about Albuquerque's Animal Control fed to them by former Journal reporter and current $70,000 a year Marty Man, Jim Ludwig.
Lest you believe that we are buying into the whole man made global warming political scare movement - we're not. While temperatures may be on the rise, we're not ready to turn over the keys to our economic engine to a bunch of scientists and zealots whose consensus is that man is responsible for rises in global temperatures. Twenty-five years ago a similar group believed that we were headed into another ice age. There's a huuuuge difference between scientific consensus and scientific fact.
(Sidebar)Let's take a look at the first of three stories recently run by Jim Ludwig's former co-workers. In the December 13th story "Good News for Critters" by Dan McKay (Subscription), the administration makes incredible claims that live exits from shelters are up 14% and euthanasia is down 19%. The Eyes have it that while the shelter has made gains, the numbers are no where near 14% and 19%. In fact, the numbers we've seen are live exit increase of 9% ('07 LE 44%/'08 LE 53%) and a euthanasia decrease of 9% ('07 EUTH 56%/'08 EUTH 47%) over the same September - October - November time period.
This is a case where The Almighty Marty took a page from Big Bill's playbook. Hiring a former reporter allows him to shape public opinion by getting favorable stories into the mainstream media and mitigate damaging stories when they occur. It's sheer genius on the part of the politician but MSM consumers have to remember that it creates a cozy if not obvious relationship between the media outlets and the politicians that the former reporters now represent.
What's more interesting is that Chavez and crew are claiming that these gains are due to Marty's creation of a director's level position over at Animal Control. Back in September, The Almighty One fired (or more precisely, reassigned) former Animal Control supervisor Denise Wilcox replacing her with Jeanine Patterson; whose background is nursing not animal husbandry. McKay's article claims that these gains are since September, but in reality the numbers for July and August are almost identical to those from September through November meaning Marty's change had nothing to do with the improvements.
The second story by D'Val Westphal (a bit of a Marty-phite herself) entitled "City's Toasting Animal Welfare Revamp This Year," makes another set of claims that don't seem to hold up to scrutiny.
Four months ago, Mayor Martin Chávez ordered a shakeup of what was then Animal Services. He says when he learned almost 1,500 healthy animals got sick in the shelters this year and ended up being euthanized and disposed of like so much garbage, he had to do something major.Here's the problem... The claim that 1,500 animals that "became sick while in the shelter" is disputed by our Eyes. They claim that only 382 healthy dogs became sick while in the shelter. Now... we know that we didn't mention cats but even if a plague of biblical proportions hit the shelter we have a hard time buying that 1,118 cats or other animals made up the difference.
Moving on to the final PR piece dutifully placed by Jim Ludwig and printed by the Journal "Animal Shelters are Empty".
For the first time in their history, the city of Albuquerque's east- and west-side shelters have no animals available for adoption— all found homes at a weekend event.This according to our Eyes was the most egregious exaggeration of all. Our Eyes tell us that the adopt-a-thon was held December 21st through the 23rd and that a few days after the event 67 dogs and 55 cats were still available before December 24th. Further, the Eyes have it that while the press was treated to visuals of an empty kennel in building A, the animals were moved into the other two kennel buildings in order to create the illusion of an empty kennel for a media eager to see our beloved dogs and cats placed in happy homes.
More than 500 dogs and cats were adopted at Home 4 the Holidays, held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a parking lot at Cottonwood Mall, said Mike Davis, communications director of Watermelon Mountain Ranch, a no-kill shelter in Rio Rancho that was one of several sponsors.
Frankly, we'd love to see every healthy animal that doesn't pose a danger to society placed in happy homes too. However, it's more important to us that the city and the Chavez administration tell us the truth - regardless of how it affects their political future.
One thing that we are able to confirm is that Animal Control (yes... we know the benevolent Marty calls it Animal Welfare, a marketing move if we've ever seen one) seems to be in chaos. Despite the recent mending of the rift between The Mayer (Councilor Mayer) and the mayor, nothing seems to have substantively improved since The Almighty One took complete control (and credit) of the now Animal Welfare Department. In fact, there are currently a number of law suits filed against the city that seem to indicate that at the very least, things aren't as rosy in the kennels as The Almighty Alcalde would have us believe.
More importantly, it's hard to believe that the administration is telling us anything resembling the truth when it comes to any kind of statistical data. Claims of red light scam-eras reducing accidents - not true. The claim of almost 1,100 APD officers - not true. Claims of the City of Albuquerque reducing its greenhouse gas emissions - not true. Now it seems that our furry friends are being used to make us believe we are not only a greener Albuquerque but a kinder, gentler one as well.
The folks on the 11th floor and the one who leads them are giving us the best argument that we can think of for term limits. The more entrenched mayors are, the more likely they are to bend, break, and/or ignore the rules. Even when they're not taking liberties with legal and ethical standards, they're busy using their own version of fuzzy math; hoping that no one will notice that their claims cannot be supported by hard statistical data. When challenged, they simply claim that was an unintentional error and act like it never happened.
A few things to remember... This is the mayor that brought us the ABQ PAC scandal - yet, we re-elected him. This is the mayor that brought us the evidence room scandal - yet, we re-elected him. This is the mayor that wants to strike down term limits for himself. The question is if he is successful, are we foolish enough to put the reigns of power back in his scandal-covered hands and are we willing to continue to accept his fuzzy math?