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

Jan 28, 2008

The Furr's Still Flying

We told you recently about the Chavez administration's continuing problems with fuzzy math (read it here and here). They seem to have problems with numbers in just about every department and frankly if the 11th floor claimed that there were 24 hours in a day, we'd ask to see a clock. Now they seem to be tailoring reports to specific councilor's sensibilities (or lack thereof).

Monday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that a four page report - meant to justify the mayor's shakeup over at Animal Control and convince the council to release some $4 MILLION in funding that had been frozen in response to the shakeup - had been tailored in an effort to please one councilor.
The administration's initial four-page report was cut in half at the request of Councilor Sally Mayer. The final document failed to include criticism of the old animal-care leadership team— information the administration had included to bolster its case for hiring a new director.

In an interview last week, Mayer, who supported the previous leadership, said the parts she objected to were misleading.

"I said, 'This is insulting,' '' Mayer said. "It was a big spin campaign."
The Mayer didn't like the idea that the administration's report included information that was less than flattering to the previous manager and her staff. First of all, we don't know what the heck Ed Adams was doing having a councilor approve a report to council. Second, the thing was four whole pages?! If your average mid-schooler showed up with a book report of four pages they'd probably be spending more time in mid-school than they'd like (except at APS but that's another story).

Remember, this report was supposed to justify the major shakeup over at animal control and almost half of the original report was characterized by The Mayer as "spin." So... the council takes definitive action freezing $4 MILLION and demands an accounting of the administration's actions and Mayor Chavez's team comes up with four pages. That's $1 MILLION per page - $2 MILLION per page for the submitted report. Apparently, even the councilors noted the lack of report in the report.
City councilors seemed surprised recently when the administration presented a two-page report on plans to improve animal care.

"This is the report?" two councilors asked during a November meeting, sounding surprised and disappointed.
We've been baffled by this whole shakeup thing and suspicious of the apparent rift between The Mayer and the mayor from the very beginning. It almost seemed to be a fight over who was going to take credit for making Albuquerque a live exit city.

From the numbers we saw the shelter was making substantial gains before the shakeup. After the shakeup the new director claims credit and follows up by inflating numbers at an adopt-a-thon that was by all accounts successful without the fuzzy fib.

There really doesn't seem to be any justification for what the mayor did when he sacked the previous management and even less justification for what The Mayer did afterwards. Why lead the charge to freeze money for Animal Control only to accept a substandard report as justification as long as it didn't speak ill of the people that it was supposed to justify replacing?

Yeah, we know... bizarre doesn't even begin to describe recent events.

Jan 27, 2008

APS W-2 Snafu

If you went to school here in Albuquerque, chances are you spent some time at one of the many APS elementary, mid, or high schools. One of the things we remember distinctly was being told to fill in each box (or bubble) completely when taking one of the many standardized tests. It was as much an exercise in art as it was an exercise in following the directions.

Well Friday the folks over in APS's accounting department failed to heed the advice of almost every teacher that has ever given one of those bubble sheet tests. Seems that our education administrators failed to fill in a couple of boxes on their employee's W-2 tax forms - the employers state tax ID number and the information for the ERA box 12.

APS is promising to fix the mistake by January 31st, but the biggest problem is that the fix will require the re-issuance of thousands of W-2 forms. That's a lot of money that won't be making it into our kids classrooms because the accountants at APS didn't fill in their employee's forms completely.

Jan 26, 2008

Taking Command

This past Thursday a little known and perhaps little understood APD special order went out, quietly creating a new position in APD's command structure.
Effective immediately, the current rank of Captain has been officially changed to Commander. The new rank will be incorporated into the Departments SOP, General Orders, Procedural Orders and Administrative Orders Manuals at a later date.
It certainly doesn't look like much, but with the stroke of a pen Chief Schultz removed an entire rank from the APOA. You see, up until last Thursday, your local substation commander was a captain; now the Captain in command is a Commander in charge.

You're probably thinking so what, a rose by any other name... The problem here isn't in the title it's in the job description. Now that Captains are Commanders, they are no longer a part of the APOA. In essence they have become at will employees of the Chief - who in turn is an at will employee of the mayor.

By creating the new rank to supplant the old, the 11th floor has managed to extend its tentacles through the 5th floor and right into your neighborhood substation. Our problem is that APD already has a problem with ambitious officers buying their rank (we won't mention DC Castro's name), removing Captains from the union only increases the necessity for Commanders to be loyal to the current administration.

We've been watching the administration for some time as it worked to move "their" people into the captain slots; as more senior and experienced Lieutenants were repeatedly passed over for promotion. Our Eyes tell us that these passed over Lieutenants didn't have a problem with qualification, but rather with loyalty to the current administration.

According to our Eyes this move has been in the works since 2005, when a number of APD Captains and Lieutenants were openly supporting other candidates; which by the way, they have every right to do as long as they are not in uniform and not on duty. Then Deputy Chief Paul Chavez vowed that the mayor was going to remove both Captains and Lieutenants from the ranks of the APOA; and it looks to us as if that is exactly what the mayor is up to.

You may be wondering why the APOA would go along with such an obvious power grab. Well The Eyes have it that the APOA quietly agreed to the provision under the tenure of former President, Lawrence Torres; who now coincidentally works for the mayor.

Our Eyes tell us that these types of tactics have been compared to the iron fisted control over the police wielded by the legendary "mayor" of Albuquerque Clyde Tingley, by none other than current DC Michael Castro. Oddly enough, we might find ourselves agreeing with the Deputy Chief on this one.

In the final analysis, it really doesn't matter whether we have a Captain or a Commander. What matters is that they make law enforcement their first and only priority. The Area Commands are not the places for the politics of the 11th and 5th floors; they're a place where citizens should be able to trust that eradicating crime is the only goal.

Unfortunately, these new Commanders will owe their jobs to the Almighty Alcalde and should they prove too independent from his honor, they we be forced to go it alone. Our Eyes have seen it too many times; cross the administration and suddenly there's an IA investigation that pops up out of nowhere. If you're perceived to be disloyal, you end up with your phone bugged.

The Albuquerque Police Department needs more insulation from the politics of the 11th floor, not less. That means that they need to be less dependent on the good favor of the mayor and more concerned about fighting crime so that headlines like "Crime Welcomes TV Crew" (ABQ Journal - Subscription) aren't just an expected part of the Albuquerque experience.

Jan 22, 2008

Getting in on the Scam-eras

Tuesday Governor Bill Richardson announced that he's got a hankerin' for some scam-era cash (ABQ Tribune). We figured that it would only be a matter of time before Santa Fe got into the act and tapped the new revenue stream that the Almighty Alcalde has created. With oil and gas tax revenue dwindling and state roads crumbling due to the Rail Runner raid on the state's road fund, we guess it was only a matter of time before Big Bill and company succumbed to the scam-era tax temptation.
Gov. Bill Richardson has added Albuquerque's controversial red-light camera program to the agenda of state legislators, with an eye on using some of its revenue for DWI prevention.
During last year's legislative session we were hopeful that Governor Bill would sign legislation that stripped the city of its prize "excess revenue" cash cow. After all, Marty said last year that he would have to end the scam-eras if the state got hold of his red light booty.
Senate Bill 780, unanimously approved by the Senate last week, would require the city to give the state $74 for every citation issued by the traffic camera program.
"This bill is a program killer," Chávez said. "This is very unfortunate. The state's largest city comes up with an innovative program to improve public safety, and the legislators just see green."
It's amazing how a year and two failed attempts at higher officer have changed The Almighty One. Now it seems that the city and Mayor Marty are ready to share and in a courageous statement made by Marty's political, uh... police chief, Marty embraced the Guv's idea.
"The mayor would welcome the opportunity, as of course would the Albuquerque Police Department, to work with the governor and the Governor's Office to utilize this excess revenue for traffic awareness and enforcement on a statewide level," Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said Monday.
Note the repeat of the phrase "excess revenue," known to the rest of us as profit. The scam has raked in over $5 MILLION in pure profit thus far. Marty has already used part of its largess to balance the city budget and Bill is moving to get his share just like Bill's neighboring gubernatorial colleague and Sandia High School graduate, Janet Napolitano.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano says the deployment of new photo radar or other speed enforcement technology on state highways is all about public safety. But her proposed state budget counts on the anticipated speeding fines to help erase a projected revenue shortfall.
- (Hat tip Eye Reader)
We had that AP story emailed to us over the weekend and couldn't believe our Eyes. Governor Napolitano came right out and nearly screamed "it's all about the money!" At least the Arizona Scammer-In-Chief is being honest about her desire to balance the state budget on the backs of scammed drivers. Our own Governor is trying to pass off the state's monetary pursuit as a philanthropic venture benefiting DWI prevention programs.

It's a new twist on a "sin tax." Eventually, we can sell prepaid scam-era indulgences to people who don't drive so well or just want to be careless for a week or two. Perhaps we can encourage participation by giving bulk discounts - buy a pack of ten and get one free. Just think - we'll all be able to sleep better knowing that we've already paid for something that we haven't done yet since we haven't got a chance to prove that we didn't do it in the first place.

In the final analysis, Governor Richardson is doing nothing to address the program's underlying injustices; he's merely providing yet another justification for continuing it. The scam was bad enough already with a mere 20 fixed locations and a couple of scam-vans participating. Just think if the state gets into the act spreading a couple hundred scam-era locations and ten or twenty scam-vans across the state. Public safety? Rrrrright.

Jan 21, 2008

Eye Poll: Limit Him!

Folks this special two week Eye Poll was never even close. In our unscientific poll 76% of Eye readers voted for term limits on current Mayor Martin Chavez; only 21% voted to let our current mayor continue after his second consecutive term (view it here).

We're generally in favor of term limits particularly in the case of administrative offices. By necessity and design, mayoral, gubernatorial, and presidential offices concentrate large amounts of power in the hands of one individual. An entrenched executive is not only difficult to remove, but difficult to catch should they decide to stick their hands in the public cookie jar; which brings us to our current Eye Poll.

Trust is an absolute necessity for government to operate effectively. Once the public trust has been violated it's almost impossible for it to be regained. Recently, the Chavez administration has been caught repeatedly fudging numbers in an apparent effort to make the mayor look good. Whether it's the number of cops on the streets, the number of accidents at scam-era intersections, the number of animals available for adoption, or even city greenhouse gas, the 11th floor has been caught giving out favorable statistics only to have them proven wrong.

We're curious what effect these repeated revelations have had on the public and the trust the public has in the current administration. Let us know what you think, don't forget to vote!

Jan 17, 2008


Mayor Marty announced that 1,200 jobs would be headed to Mesa del Sol as Fidelity investments agreed to a deal that would bring the jobs to Albuquerque (ABQ Journal - Subscription). So, what's the problem?

Well you see, Marty went and jumped the gun announcing the announcement before the announcement was to be announced. More importantly, it was none other than Big Bill himself that was to make the announcement. Marty's premature uh... revelation violated a written agreement with Fidelity, the county, and the state, drawing Governor Richardson's ire to say the least.

We think this is actually pretty funny. The man who would be governor, then senator, then mayor again, crossed the governor who would be president and now is governor again. Bill's not likely to be in a very good mood after leaving an almost two year campaign trail that ended unsuccessfully, a fact that failed to register with a mayor that can't seem to do anything right of late. The result is bound to be that if Marty wants it - Bill will make sure that he doesn't get it.

Even funnier is that this is the mayor who our Eyes say, is keeping a Washington lobbying job in his hip pocket just in case his elected days are behind him. Maybe he could take some classes in how not to offend the most powerful politician in the state.

Scam-era Contract Shenanigans

We know that you've been waiting for us to GO OFF on today's revelations about the Redflex contract. Frankly, none of this should come as a surprise to anyone. The Almighty Alcalde has been defending this scam from the very beginning like his life depended on it. The only exception being when the scam-eras became a political liability during his recent aborted U.S. Senate run; that's when he formed his task farce.

All things considered, finding out today that the council approved a significantly different contract than the one that was eventually signed wasn't exactly a surprise (ABQ Journal - Subscription). Councilors Winter, Jones, Cadigan, and O'Malley called it a "bait and switch," we call it unethical and potentially illegal. The mayor entered into a contract (which he has the authority to do) that our Eyes tell us never went out to bid and then made significant changes to a contract without informing the council of his actions.

Right now, the mayor is not required to go to bid for any contract that is under about $50,000 (You'd be surprised how many of those are being handed out). This Redflex contract has the potential to bring in MILLIONS of dollars and in essence, was a sole source contract.

Just this past Tuesday night, Councilor Harris threw a TIDD party that drew in a couple of hundred citizens. In addition to the lengthy TIDD presentation, a couple of Redflex representatives made a presentation "explaining" how the red light scam-eras worked. In addition they put on a little scare show that showed what can happen when a driver runs a red light. According to our Eyes the presentation contained enough gore to make the producers of the movie 300 proud, but failed to fully explain how red light scam-eras prevented these gory accidents.

What was more interesting than the Redflex propaganda presentation were a couple of questions asked by Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Brasher. Apparently, what the commissioner wanted to know was whether or not Redflex had retained the service of a lobbyist and whether or not they had made any contributions to any political office holders. Their answer... "we don't know."

In light of today's bait and switch contract revelations, the commissioner's questions take on particular importance and we have the answer to at least one of those two questions. The Eyes have it that yes - the folks over at Redflex have retained a local lobbyist to protect their interests. Knowing that, it's hard to believe that Redflex didn't throw a few bucks at Marty in at least one of the campaigns he's been involved with over the last few months.

Now listen, it's not illegal to support a politician who supports your point of view. It's also not illegal to obtain the services of a lobbyist. That's the way the system is supposed to work. Our problem is with the very dubious claim of the Redflex folks that they didn't know anything about contributions or lobbyists. It makes things look dirty; which Marty's scam-era contract shenanigans seem to confirm.

Jan 16, 2008

More Fuzzy Math for our Furry Friends

Apparently, we're not the only ones being treated to suspicious numbers from Albuquerque's Animal Control, Care, Welfare - whatever. According to the Albuquerque Journal the Alliance for Albuquerque Animals has been receiving statistics from Animal Control that don't jive with the numbers being fed the media.
A nonprofit advocacy group apparently received bad information from Albuquerque's animal shelters in response to public-information requests.

Debbra Colman, founder of the Alliance for Albuquerque Animals, said she believes the misinformation was deliberate.

"I'm profoundly disturbed that for three years the Alliance has been given false information," she said. "It just doesn't make any sense that the reports could have inadvertently been wrong rather than deliberately falsified."
We wouldn't expect the city to cop to playing with numbers so as expected Chief Operating Officer, Ed Adams turned on the spin cycle.
Ed Adams, the city's chief operating officer, said a question about the accuracy of reports is part of the reason the mayor shook up the animal program last year. Mayor Martin Chávez last fall brought in new leadership for the shelters and made the program a stand-alone department in city government, meaning it reports directly to his office.

The bad formulas were developed before Patterson took over, Adams said.
Yeaaaah... that's it! That's the reason the "mayor shook up the animal program last year"... bad formulas... that's the ticket! Now with Marty's new regime in place everything is above board and they've "got nothing to hide."

It appears that Director, Patterson's "nothing to hide" assertion isn't strictly true as we've received more evidence that the Journal story from Christmas Eve sounded better than it really was. The story by Journal reporter Jack King claimed that the Home 4 the Holidays adopt-a-thon left "Albuquerque's east- and west-side shelters [with] no animals available for adoption— all found homes at a weekend event."
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.
Today we received numbers from the Alliance for Albuquerque's Animals that shows that as of December 26th three days after the event, there were 41 cats and 87 dogs still available for adoption. The review date included suggests that all of these animals were available at the time of the Home 4 the Holidays event.
We're not suggesting that the Watermelon Mountain Ranch knew anything about the numbers being touted by the city. In fact, we don't want to do anything to discourage volunteerism at our city-owned shelters. However, we do believe that the city has both a legal and ethical obligation to tell us the truth about their successes and their failures.
(End Sidebar)
We've posted our latest information here. As you can see this report shows the impound number, review date, sex, spade or neuter status, animal evaluation, breed; and is broken out in to cats and dogs available in either the East or West side shelters on 12/26/07. While it's true that these numbers don't exactly match the ones we previously reported, they are close enough and they bear out that indeed there were animals available for adoption after the adopt-a-thon.

We really don't understand the administration's need to overstate the success of an event that had by all accounts been a tremendous success without having to inflate the figures. Kudos to the Watermelon Mountain Ranch folks and everyone who worked their tails off to place animals in good homes; they deserve better than fuzzy math for our furry friends.

Jan 15, 2008

Marty's Task Farce Reports

The day we've all been waiting for came today as Marty's task farce on the red light scam-eras reported in on-time and on-message. We know that you were as surprised as we were to find that the task farce endorsed the scam. Come on... did anyone really believe that they'd decide otherwise?

Marty's marketing group after "studying" the city's scam-era program for a little over 2 months came up with a whopping 13 page report (read it here). (Ok... so the thing's really 81 pages, but the other 78 pages are attachments and the cover page.) In essence the report contains the following recommendations:
• Lowering fines for a first offense fines from $100 to $69, the cost of a ticket and fees issued by an officer for running a red light.

• Creating an option for low-income violators to pay in installments.

• Keeping fines the same for repeat offenses.

• Conducting regular independent reviews of the program.

• Directing revenues from the program to traffic safety and to educating the public about the program. A reserve should be kept, as the task force anticipated lower revenues from the cameras as people change their driving behavior.

• Renegotiating the contract with Red Flex, the company that runs the cameras, so the company is not paid a percentage of fines. Under the current system, the company is paid through fixed fees, as well as a portion based on citations and fines issued.

• Conducting an immediate assessment of the hearing process for people who dispute the tickets, along with periodic reviews.

• Reviewing the placement of the cameras. Although most of the cameras were placed at the city's most dangerous intersections, some intersections have produced low numbers of violations.

The cameras at Montgomery and Carlisle boulevards Northeast produce about 25 percent of the program's total violations.

• Creating technical standards for where to place the cameras, which would determine all future decisions to install or remove cameras.
You'll notice if you read the report, that there are a couple of objectives that the "Blue Ribbon Study Group on Automated Enforcement" failed to achieve; the most important of which was to determine whether or not scam-era "protected" intersections reduce accidents. Despite the fact that the system has been in operation in some parts of the city for over two years, the task force reports that "[w]hen the STOP program was implemented, a protocol was not in place to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing crashes and deterring violations at automated intersections."

As a result, every time the city has made the claim that accidents have decreased at scam-era intersections you can't take them at their word because they simply DO NOT KNOW. Their numbers are simply more examples of Marty's greenhouse gas at Environmental Health, fuzzy math at Animal Control, or the number of officers at APD.

Another important omission is the overall legality of the program with respect to the authority of the city to implement a parallel legal system that supersedes both municipal and state law, and the question of due process with respect to the inherent conflict of interest of the program's hearing officers.

Both of these questions are raised in at least one of the class action lawsuits that are currently on file in District Court. The arguments against the city, the mayor, and Redflex are in our opinion compelling at the very least. (We have posted the most recent filing by attorney Paul Livingston here.)

Yet another un-addressed concern is the lack of verifiable calibration involved particularly in the case of the fixed scam-era speed detection units. Exhibit 11.1 attempts to convince readers that because the system has 4 sensors and two magnetic loops used to calculate speed they couldn't possibly malfunction. As you've seen right here on this website, the system does malfunction and there's almost no way for a defendant to prove a system malfunction.

Marty's Task Farce was as flawed as the system itself. It proceeded from the same assumption that the scam-era hearings do - namely that the scam-eras are infallible and therefore you are guilty until you prove otherwise. In this case, the program should continue because the numbers provided by the city and APD don't disprove that the system works.
We'd remind you here that a PRC analysis of the raw crash data provided by APD found that accidents didn't decrease and at some intersections actually increased (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
(End Sidebar)
In the final analysis, The Mayor's Blue Ribbon Study Group on Automated Enforcement was created by the mayor and produced a result that was as predictable as it was flawed. It's the old GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) theory in action. Insert faulty data on one side and get faulty conclusions on the other.

But don't worry; we're all just probably suffering from a case of "misconception." We don't really understand how the system works. We just need a bunch of billboards, TV ads, websites, bumper stickers, and a spokesperson or two. (Where is Trish Hoffman when you need her?)

Our concerns of due process, legality, accuracy, fairness - aren't really concerns at all. We're all guilty and apparently stupid, so pay your fine and shut your mouth because Marty's going to keep all of us sheep safe.

Jan 13, 2008

Fuzzy Math

We've seen it in the past - the Chavez administration inflating the success of the scam-era program (read it here) and flat out lying about the number of sworn police officers over at APD (read it here). We saw it just today - the Chavez administration caught once again "overstating" the numbers when it comes to claims of progress in reducing Albuquerque's carbon emissions (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
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.
(End 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.
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.
(End 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.

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.

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.
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.

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?

Jan 10, 2008

Infallible? Hardly.

As you all know by now, Chief Schultz, Mayor Marty, ET al. has been trying to convince us that their little red light scam-eras are infallible. In fact so infallible that you really don't need to have a fair and impartial hearing by an independent judge or at least a disinterested third party. Obviously you're guilty because there's a picture of you at that intersection.

Apparently the geniuses down under at Redflex don't realize that the intersection of San Mateo and Montgomery is in New Mexico, not Minnesota. According to the Albuquerque Journal (Subscription) Omar Vigil had his scam-era citation dismissed in Marty-roo court when he presented his citation that read "San Mateo and Montgomery, Albuquerque, MN."

Whoa... not only is San Mateo and Montgomery in Minnesota, Albuquerque is in Minnesota. We wonder how you'd say Albuquerque with a Minnesooota accent.

Vigil told the Journal "It's at least reasonable suspicion that the system is faulty." Damn tootin'! And if you'll remember this isn't the first time that the scam-eras at that intersection have malfunctioned. Back in August we showed you that very intersection (one of the first scam sites in Albuquerque) happily clicking away as all of the vehicles in the surveyed lanes were at a complete stop. We've helpfully posted the scam-era foul-up below.

Will the city pull every citation issued at the Montgomery - San Mateo intersection and refund the money because the citations were improperly issued? Will the city even check to see how long the infallible Redflex system has been improperly issuing citations and whether or not they're being properly issued at the other 19 scam-era locations?

For the answer, simply ask the 1300 or so people who were given scam-van citations for driving over the speed limit in a 55 MPH zone, when the zone was really a 65 MPH zone (read about it here). Marty and company seem to have the ability to find dastardly scam-era criminals in order to deliver their citations, but a complete and utter inability to find them when the scam-era system screws-up. Incompetent? Absolutely. Infallible? Hardly.

Jan 7, 2008

Fisher - Off the Hook

We told you right before Christmas that the Eyes had it that Officer Matt Fisher was being implicated as the co-conspirator in the Jason Daskalos DWI duck-out from APD custody (read it here). Today our Eyes found out that Officer Fisher is off the hook so to speak.

Apparently, there are no plans to indict Officer Fisher at this time. Of course there were no plans to indict former Officer Ben Kirby until he had the temerity to sue to get his job back.

Speaking of Kirby... We're wondering exactly where this development leaves the DA's case against the former officer. We're not a lawyer but don't you need more than one person for a conspiracy? You'll remember that our Eyes had it that the Kirby grand jury came to a screeching halt when a juror decided to ask exactly who the other conspirators were (read it here).

We'd think at this point the DA is going to have a tough time of getting around this particular elephant in the room. Either they're going to have to start naming people involved in the conspiracy or settle for indicting a ham sandwich - 'cause they don't seem to be able to get Kirby without it.

Jan 6, 2008

Eye Poll: Not Safe in Albuquerque

Back in October we ran this same poll (see the results here). We're not happy to announce that there has been little change in the past couple of months. Those of us who reside here in Albuquerque by and large do not feel safe.

In our unscientific poll 43% of Eye readers felt unsafe, 19% felt somewhat unsafe, 27% felt somewhat safe, and only 11% felt safe (see the results here). The results are almost identical to those of our October poll. No matter how you slice it we don't feel safe and thus far APD and Chief of Police Mayor Martin Chavez don't seem to be making any progress in that regard.

This week we look into how you feel about the possibility of a third consecutive term for Mayor Chavez. Don't forget to vote!

Jan 3, 2008

Couldn't, Couldn't, Couldn't, Shouldn't

KOB TV Channel 4 is reporting that Mayor Martin "Hugo" Chavez is taking the first step towards another term as Albuquerque's Alcalde. Apparently his recently fizzled senatorial campaign has inspired his honor to challenge the provision in Albuquerque's City Charter that prohibits mayors from serving more than two consecutive terms.

You'll remember that The Almighty One is already serving his third term as Eyeand's mayor only interrupted by Jim "The Duck Man" Baca's ill-fated term that ran from 1997 to 2001. In 1998 Marty's political ambition prompted him not to seek re-election for a second consecutive term so that he could take on Governor Gary Johnson in the 1998 gubernatorial campaign. The incumbent Johnson kept Chavez out of Santa Fe by defeating him 55% to 45%.

Since that time Chavez has managed re-election to Albuquerque's mayor's office twice but his attempts to move beyond the 11th floor have been thwarted not once but twice and that's just since his last election. Now Marty thinks that he needs to find a fall back position just in case the political winds continue to blow against him.

So now the mayor is challenging limits on his mayoral power not in council or at the ballot box, but in court on the basis that the limit is unconstitutional under the state's constitution. Most people seem to agree that the Almighty One has a pretty good chance in front of the robed ones since the council's term limits have already been struck down.
Our Eyes tell us that Marty has been telling people that if he were not to win the senate race - which he can't now that he's out - he'd leave public office and make some real money in the private sector. The Eyes have it that he's being courted by (or courting himself) environmental special interest groups who have plans to send him to Washington to lobby for their cause.

A note here to anyone who wants Marty to lobby for them - our Eyes tell us that every time he was in Santa Fe during the last session, his lobbying actually hurt his legislative agenda.
(End Sidebar)
In KOB's report with reporter Stewart Dyson, the mayor is quoted as saying that "at the end of this term I may decide to say... I'm going to ride off into the sunset and do something else." From what we've heard the mayor may decide not to run for a fourth term, but he's obviously trying to keep his political options open.

We've got to hand it to The Almighty One here. If he does decide to run for a fourth term, from a political stand point he has to challenge the term limits now. If he were to wait until the campaign for mayor became the focal point of local politics he'd only look like a power hungry politician whose options are limited and ego demands that he retain some kind of political power.

By suing now, he'll be flying under the cover of a national election that sucks up all of the oxygen in the mainstream media room. We're sure that he hopes the general public here in Albuquerque will forget that he was power-hungry enough to be compelled to sue to be able to maintain power. Unfortunately, he's got a track record of getting passes from the mainstream media and who knows; the winds of his political fortune could shift to his stern a year from now.

You know... twelve years should be enough for anyone in a job as demanding as that of the Mayor of Albuquerque. Why anyone would want to continue is beyond us, unless of course they are driven by a need to be important and a desire to hold power at all costs; which sounds more and more like that South American Chavez.

In short, Marty couldn't be Governor in 1998. He couldn't be Governor in 2010. He couldn't be Senator in 2008. Now he shouldn't sue to keep his office on the 11th floor unless of course he wants to prove that he's a desperate politician with a limited future and an unholy desire to maintain power.