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

Apr 25, 2008

Weekend War

There's a war being waged here in Albuquerque... Ok, so war may be too strong a word but we liked the alliteration and weekend isn't exactly accurate either unless you consider Wednesday through Saturday the weekend. The battles are taking place downtown and there are 8 to 10 of them every night.

Albuquerque's downtown area between the railroad tracks and 8th Street has become an entertainment district through the efforts of the city, the Downtown Action Team, developers, and business owners. It's become like any number of urban entertainment districts around the country. And like many of them Downtown Albuquerque has become a magnet for crime.

Our Eyes tell us that there are 8 to 10 incidents every night between Wednesday and Saturday. To handle the volume of nefarious night time activity, APD has SWAT, K-9, and mounted patrol complete with 4 mounted officers and a sergeant. In addition, they will add DWI and traffic when necessary.

That's a lot of police presence for a relatively small area of town. But with the high number of incidents in the area even with APD's show of force, it's probably justified.

Of course the police presence is visible - it's meant to be. Besides it's kind of hard to hide a horse. Visibility is important - it keeps the honest, honest and it makes criminals work harder to find their victims.

Recently, that visibility has come under fire and the Almighty Alcalde has ordered APD to reduce their visibility somewhat. The new rules for downtown patrol include dictate that officers are never to walking more than two abreast and not to parking within one block north or south of Central.

At first glance one might think that the new rules don't seem too burdensome. Let's be honest, the walking two abreast thing is just plain silly. However, forcing officers to park their vehicles over a block away is dangerous. In an emergency officers must run to their vehicles to access their life-saving equipment - which doesn't seem to matter either unless you are the one in need of that assistance.

There's little doubt that Albuquerque's Downtown entertainment corridor needs the police protection - the question is should the City of Albuquerque be providing the additional services for free and at the expense of the safety of those who live in the Valley Command?

Right now, Downtown is the priority for the Valley Command. If officers are unavailable for Downtown duty due to training, illness, or vacation, they're taken from field services. That means if you live in the Valley you're the second priority and will have to wait longer when there are force deficiencies Downtown.

Many of the bars around town have additional police protection. The difference is that these officers are paid for by those establishments through Chief's Overtime. The cost for Downtown's additional security rests squarely on the shoulders of the tax payers and at the expense of Valley residents.

There's got to be a better solution. The taxpayers of the valley pay for service that they're not receiving, while the Central entertainment district gets premium protection at no additional expense. Not to mention the fact that the politicians on the 11th floor should not be getting involved at all in how that additional service is provided.

It's a tough problem to solve. Downtown represents everything the city is trying to do. It's an urban environment where people can live, work, and play. It's also an environment where crime is a problem and protecting the public has become a political function rather than a law enforcement endeavor.

What we can tell you is that the Downtown area should not be the determining factor in the force structure of the entire command, the people living in the Valley should not be put at risk because of the Downtown area, and politicians should stay out of how the police do their jobs.

Apr 23, 2008

Thuggery and Abuse

As we moderated the comments to a recent story about the recently failed motion to put the narrowly approved APD/APOA contract to a new vote, we noticed the following post.
Why is it that "The Eye" has quit posting info about IP Addresses soon to be released....Anyone but me read the AP Article in the Journal the other day about Eclipse Aviation filing a civil suit against this "Blogger" host in an effort to identify and stop people from posting comments about the airplanes? Eclipse won, and now has handed Google a subpeona to force them to hand over the IP Addresses of all who posted on that site....The end is near people, Blogger is the host site for this blog. It's only a matter of time before someone else comes along and get's the IP Addresses for us.....
The story the poster was referring to was Tuesday's Journal story entitled Eclipse Seeks Bloggers' Identity (Subscription). First of all we don't know the identity of the above poster even though we have their IP address. Further, we're not looking and respect their wishes to remain anonymous. It's our policy to post all opinions even when they disagree with us and especially when they disagree with other posters.

Second, there's a HUGE difference between the Eclipse blog (eclipsecriticng.blogspot.com) and your friendly neighborhood Eye On Albuquerque. The Eclipse critic blog seems to be talking about information that could be considered proprietary. Eclipse Aviation is a private company and that according to the Journal story has executed non-disclosure agreements with its current and former employees. They claim that these posts could violate those agreements if they are being posted by any of the people that have signed one of these agreements.
(Sidebar)
There's a pretty good argument that Eclipse has made a major mistake by going after some 28 registered Google posters. The negative media generated from the court case could hurt the company more than any of the comments on the website. And remember Eclipse is paying for this negative press. Mario Burgos has a pretty good take on this one read it here.
(End Sidebar)
One more note about the Eclipse fishing expedition. Having the IP addresses of individual posters is just the tip of the judicial ice berg. Even if Google does turn over the IPs, there will have to be a whole new round of subpoenas issued to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with their own set of lawyers and privacy policies. We doubt that any court in its right mind will continue to allow Eclipse to go on an open-ended fishing expedition through multiple ISPs to find a group of unknown posters who may or may not have ever been Eclipse employees.

For those of you on the 5th or 11th floors that haven't figured this out yet, Eye On Albuquerque is a political website. We talk about government and public officials whose actions are not always known by the public and in many cases need to be. This is precisely the type of speech that the founding fathers intended to protect.
1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Let us remind the folks on the 5th and 11th floors that the courts and federal law enforcement take a very dim view of elected officials and police departments working to deny citizens their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

We recently watched as APD tried to deny Sergeant Heh his right to free speech and his right to petition the government for a redress of grievances (read about it here). Like the him or not, agree with him or not - the vocal sergeant has the right to speak his mind and to ask the council to intervene in a grievance - even if the council only has limited authority to do so.

We'd also remind the Almighty Alcalde and his Chief of Police that using city resources to investigate a private citizen, critic, or rival for political reasons is unethical, an abuse of power, and illegal. Not to mention a waste of taxpayer money.

We wouldn't be surprised if the above poster has some connection with the 5th floor. After the recent 5th Floor Fiasco, we wouldn't be surprised. Whether the comment was generated by a 5th floor confederate or not it shows the type of thuggery that we've come to expect from a group used to controlling its own officers through fear and intimidation. It's simple abuse of power by people who believe they have the God given right to abuse it.

Tips for Safe Anonymous Posting

1. Never, EVER use a city owned computer attached to a city gateway. The city's IT gurus can easily track posts and they don't need a warrant or subpoena to do so. Also, government owned computers and email accounts generate an electronic trail that are part of the public record. Concerned citizens and news organizations can file freedom of information requests to review these records and the city is required by law to provide them at a reasonable cost. Some of you on the 5th floor might do well to remember that.

2. Do NOT create a Google identity. Even if that identity doesn't contain any accurate or personal information it provides a marker for "investigators" to follow. In other words, remain just another needle in a stack of needles. Don't stand out.

3. Post from home using your own high speed connection. Most of these connections are DHCP connections which means they receive different IP addresses from a pool of addresses assigned to a particular service provider. The rotating IP addresses make it more difficult for an "investigator" to track. Also, it's very hard to argue that posting your opinion from home anonymously isn't exercising your Constitutional right to free speech.

4. Use public access Wi-Fi hot spots. This is probably the safest way to maintain anonymity. As long as you are using your own computer in an environment where there are multiple users it would be extremely difficult to track a specific poster after the fact. Be sure to only use hot spots that allow guest or anonymous users.

The bottom line is that while it's not impossible to find out who an anonymous poster is, by being careful you can make it exceedingly difficult. Those who wish to learn your identity have to have enough money to pay for attorneys to continuously file subpoenas to multiple companies in multiple jurisdictions or they have to launch a criminal investigation and have the investigative authority to issue search warrants to multiple companies in multiple jurisdictions. Plus there's that little thing about investigating private citizens for political reasons.

Apr 21, 2008

Earth Day!

Tuesday is Earth Day - the high holy day of the environmental movement. Started in 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated amidst fears of an impending ice age. Today the "new" fear is global warming and of course we're at fault.

Interestingly enough, whenever you read accounts of the first Earth Day you never hear that the leading fear at the time was global cooling and you certainly never hear that that was the second time in the previous 75 or so years that a new ice age had been predicted separated only by a period of global warming hysteria (read founder Senator Gaylord Nelson's account here).

In fact, scientists and the media have regaled us with alternating warming or cooling doom and gloom scenarios for the past 100 years. Sometimes they even embraced both concepts at once as has recently happened with our own global warming scare (read about it here).

All of this is would be funny if sometime in the past 38 years the environmental movement hadn't morphed into a dangerous political movement. Look, we're not anti-environment. We think it's a really bad idea to foul your own nest. But the truth is the earth has survived cataclysmic events on a scale that we puny humans can't even imagine. There's very little chance that our collective carbon footprint is even noticed by the planet we inhabit even if we all took to driving Hummers and dumped all our hybrid vehicles in a landfill.
(Sidebar)
One of the easiest ways to reduce our "carbon footprint" and provide an almost unlimited supply of energy is to go nuclear - something almost every signatory of the Kyoto Treaty has already done. There really isn't another viable alternative to carbon producing natural gas, oil, or coal fired electric power generation. While there probably will be viable alternatives in the future, that time is not now and that time will never come if we don't have the energy necessary to create the required technology.
(End Sidebar)
What we're most concerned about is the effect that the environmental movement is having upon individual freedom. Make no mistake, environmental groups and unscrupulous politicians are using the movement to increase their own personal power and to strip you of your liberties.
Socialism refers to the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community.[1] This control may be either direct—exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils—or indirect—exercised on behalf of the people by the state. As an economic system, socialism is often characterized by state, worker, or community ownership of the means of production, goals which have been attributed to, and claimed by, a number of political parties and governments throughout history.
While the stated goal of the environmental movement is different the means and the effects are the same. Socialism advocates centralized control over the means of production. The modern political environmental movement takes it one step further advocating centralized governmental control over both the means and the uses of everything from energy to property.

Politicians of every stripe and governments at every level are participating in this rush to control our liberties and our lives. The city is planning to force homeowners to replace old heating equipment with slightly more efficient units at nearly double the cost. They're also advocating density at all costs. The theory is that density makes public transportation more effective and public transportation reduces our carbon footprint.

Councilor Benton's Form Based Code is designed to create density by inserting an alternate Form Based Code into the current function based code. The Planned Growth Strategy was an earlier attempt to increase city in-fill development by penalizing West Side developments. You can even find elements of the city's push for density in the Big Box Ordinance.

As federal, state, county, and municipal governments create their own regulatory structures designed to save the planet, they increasingly transfer power over resources and property to the state. By doing so, they transfer ownership over those resources in all but name. When a group, committee, or government dictates how we use our property there's a point where ownership is immaterial.

Our country was built upon the concept of liberty. It is the very foundation of our society. Today that liberty is threatened by a movement that started perhaps innocently, but has become a political movement that will end the world as we know it more surely than global warming, global cooling, or the even more terrifying climate change.

So... Happy Earth Day! The world is coming to an end after all.

Apr 17, 2008

Motion Failed

Sergeant Paul Heh's motion to re-vote on the narrowly passed APOA - City of Albuquerque contract has failed. The final vote was 81 for a re-vote and 192 against.

Our Eyes tell us that probationary officers were allowed to vote... again. But with over a 100 vote margin our guess is that those in favor of the new contract would have carried the day anyway.

It remains to be seen if the original vote and tonight's vote that included probationary officers was legal under the organization's bylaws. There also seems to be language in the contract that says that the "City of Albuquerque recognizes the APOA as the exclusive bargaining agent for the permanent full-time non-probationary sworn police officers through the rank of captain." Tonight's vote included probationary officers who are not technically covered by the contract so their participation in the voting process could be considered inappropriate. That's certainly an argument that could be made if senior officers choose to take the matter to court.

Ultimately we don't know what will happen. There's a motion on the floor to authorize the expenditure of union funds to pay for an attorney to file an unfair labor practices suit against the union... as if that has any chance of passing. There's also talk of supervisors leaving the APOA.

We don't believe that any of this is good for the officers of APD and in the long run we're concerned that we won't be able to recruit fast enough to make up for trained officers leaving for more profitable jobs in other jurisdictions. None of this is good for those of us who make Albuquerque home.

We don't blame the junior officer of the department. They're doing what they think is best for their careers and families. They are getting paid now and there's a really good argument that they should. Our hope is that we will be able to retain them once their ability to climb through the ranks tops out. After all there are only so many sergeants, so many lieutenants, ands so many commanders positions available.

For the next three years it looks as if this is the contract they will have to live with and do so by their own choice. We truly hope that the rank and file can come together under this new contract and both sides stand to learn from the experience. We know that the professionals working in the Albuquerque Police Department will always do their jobs as they always have... with honor and integrity.

Apr 16, 2008

Eye Poll: Re-vote

Membership to Vote Thursday Night on Re-vote Motion

Last week's Eye Poll took on the issue of the narrowly passed APD contract. We asked our readers whether they thought officers should have the opportunity to review the city's contract and vote again - essentially the motion that is on the floor over at the APOA.

Initially, the poll was tilting toward the "it's over with" crowd. However, after the first few hours the poll went solidly towards a re-vote and and stayed there until Sunday night when our Eye Poll ended. Of the 371 votes in our unscientific poll, 42% said it's over, 54% said that there was insufficient time to review the contract and wanted a re-vote, 2% didn't know, and 3% didn't care (read the results here).

Tomorrow night is the next meeting of the APOA (6:00 PM at the FOP). Sergeant Heh's motion for contract review and re-vote is on the floor and scheduled to be voted upon.

Our Eyes tell us that there have been some shenanigans in the past - things like not having enough board members at the meeting for a quorum. We don't know how the APOA bylaws read, but we'd think that it would be incumbent upon the APOA board members to be at this meeting. It's important to the membership and it very well could decide the future of the APOA.

In the last month we've watched as APD officers have vehemently split over the contract. We've watched as the chief - thinking the contract was a done deal - announced major change in APD force allocation from four ten hour days (4-10s) a week to five eight hour days (5-8s). More importantly, we watched as APD brass targeted a senior sergeant for speaking his mind in front of the council.

APD has a long tradition of respectability, honor, and integrity. Its officers have been and are heavily recruited on a national basis because of their training and their reputation.

However, the department's tradition cannot and will not overcome a politically charged work environment or one where officers are made to fear speaking out when something is wrong - be it a contract dispute or criminal infractions like the APD evidence room scandal. Regardless of whether or not the contract hurts senior officers (which we believe it does), the best way to keep officers is to create a work environment where officer know that they've got backup from their leadership.

Thursday's vote will determine the future of the department, the union, and in many ways the security of each and every person living in Albuquerque. If we are going to meet the challenges of a growing city we need to attract new officers and we need to keep senior officers whose experience is invaluable on our streets. You'll never be successful in filling a bucket with a large hole in the bottom no matter how much water you put in it - particularly when the water being poured into the bucked has been reduced to just a trickle.

If you're a member of the APOA you've got a lot to think about before tomorrow's meeting. We'd encourage you to reflect on what has been going on for the last month and what has happened to your department over the years. You are the only ones that have the power to make change - change that could benefit not only your fellow officers, but all of us who depend on the men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department to keep us safe.

Apr 14, 2008

Irony and Slavery

As everyone knows by now, the state's Human Rights Commission has done a terrible wrong. The story ran last Friday under the headline "State: It's Discrimination" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). We had other more pressing matters last week that prevented us from taking a look at what has to be one of the more frightening decisions we've seen from an appointed commission in some time.

It's not that we don't understand where this type of decision comes from... we do. In political circles there's tremendous pressure to grant certain groups super-rights. It's the same type of logic used to create "hate crime" legislation. In essence, government extends special protections not afforded to the general population to specific groups that claim and are recognized as societal victims.

In this case, a private photography business refused to sell their services to one of these specially protected and self-identified groups and told them why in an email.

The irony here is that Vanessa Willock the plaintiff in the matter, was attempting to hire Elane Huguenin of Elane Photography to photograph her commitment ceremony. In other words, Elane Photography was being hired to photograph a ceremony that was a public expression of Ms. Willock and her partner's beliefs. By all accounts Elane Huguenin refused to provide service based on her own beliefs.

Without going into the specifics of these two differing belief systems - which by the way don't matter in the least - the conflict that resulted in Ms Huguenin being ordered to pay for Ms. Willock's attorney's fees ($6,637.93) arose from conflicting belief systems. By ruling in favor of Ms. Willock the New Mexico Human "Rights" Commission chose in favor of a particular belief system.

One would ask if the commission would have ruled the same way if the photographer in question had specialized in commitment ceremonies and refused to photograph a traditional marriage or if a photographer specialized in Jewish weddings refused to do a Christian wedding.

The danger of the ruling is that it directly affects the right of a business to refuse service. When the state compels the service of a private person or business they are taking away their freedom not to work for someone else - a condition known as slavery.

The commission's ruling also manages to trample on a number of other rights such as freedom of association, speech, and religion. But who cares about the rights of someone who's not in a protected class?

By creating protected classes and granting groups "super-rights" we are establishing the exact type of governmental discrimination that commissions like the state Human Rights Commission were formed to end. This latest decision is a danger to every group, in every class because it takes away our freedom to say no.

Apr 13, 2008

Misinformation

We've been watching for the last few days as a number of comments were posted making claims like "I heard that it's just a matter of days before the Eye and all of us who post here are outted and identified." If you analyze that statement and its inherent threat, you realize that it only benefits one group of people... those whose dirty laundry is being aired in cyberspace.

The poster goes on to say "I was told that once that happens jobs will be at risk and law suits are sure to follow. I'm finding another blog to log into & post. You would do well to follow my lead, I'm outta here....Good luck & I'm 10-7." What started as an implied threat became an overt one.

If you ask us this last part is a not so subtle threat to fire any employee for expressing their opinion whether it be here or anywhere else. It's not above the 5th floor to engage in a misinformation campaign - they did it last week when our Eyes tell us they were telling officers that 770 KKOB records all off air conversations in an attempt to stop 34's from calling in and giving Producer Billy Cornelius information off the air.

It looks to us like the 5th floor is attempting the same type of misinformation campaign here. Use fear and intimidation to keep the troops in line and quiet by posting seemingly innocent comments warning posters not to put their opinions out where others can read them.

Wait a second... Didn't we see this just last week when in their arrogance and anger the Mayor, Chief, and company decided to try to shut down Sergeant Heh by initiating an Internal Affairs investigation immediately following his very public comments on the recently and narrowly approved APD/APOA contract?

Folks, don't forget for a civil case the plaintiff has to prove damage and in a criminal case there has to be probable cause that there is criminal activity taking place to even initiate an investigation. Not to mention that there are serious technical challenges when attempting to trace an IP address from a specific location at a specific time - challenges that require sweeping legal authority not available to the 5th floor.

Is it impossible to track comments through the Internet to their original sender... no. Certainly the FBI, and the NSA could do it but we seriously doubt that a local law enforcement agency has the ability to do so. More importantly, we don't believe that they could do so in order to investigate alleged violations of APD's SOP.

Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment. There is no employment contract or SOP that trumps the very specific right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Posts and rumors like the one we previously mentioned are just another form of misinformation designed to create fear and intimidation. The practice is despicable and shows how desperate they are to keep their activities hidden from the public.

----- Post Script -----
Just to clear things up... We don't know whether or not the above post was associated with the 5th. If you are not we apologize for the insult. That being said, the post itself was a good example of a couple of similar posts. Who actually posted the comment is immaterial. The fact is it looks as if APD's brass is engaging in yet another fear and intimidation campaign through misinformation.

Apr 11, 2008

Funny Business

We normally don't talk about stuff like this. In fact, we've only mentioned it once that we can remember. Last time - coincidentally just about a year ago - we were just a little miffed to say the least (read it here). This time we think it's hilarious.

According to our Eyes the boys up on the 5th floor have asked Journal Reporter T.J. Wilham for a bit of a favor. They would like him to use his investigative prowess to find your ever lovable Eye. Yep, T.J. is on the case and looking for yours truly.

Why do we think it's funny this time? Well, last time they were using department personnel and resources to seek out our identity in what could only be deemed an illegal investigation of a private citizen exercising their First Amendment rights. That's a big no-no folks that can land someone in the clink. This time they're so desperate that they've called in Wilham to try to accomplish what they have thus far failed to do - get a look at The Eye.

Wilham is a reporter working for a private company. If the Journal wants to pay him to seek us out they've got every right to do so. But somehow we can't imagine T.J.'s bosses caring much about the likes of us, so this is probably more along the lines of a personal favor. Perhaps it's even a form of repayment for getting some exclusive stories out of the folks on the fifth floor.

Who knows... T.J. might even be successful in tracking us down as we lurk the halls of power and spy on the very public business that goes on down at city hall. There is one thing that's sure though - after all this time they still don't know who we are.

Don't worry - we won't let it go to our head. We talk about far too many serious things to take ourself (or is it ourselves) too seriously.

Target Heh - The 5th Floor Fiasco

It's been fascinating to watch APD's PR machine over the last few days. For those of you in the business or just curious as to how it works, this is exactly how you don't handle a public relations crisis. In fact, APD should have fired their spinmeister John Walsh, after his disastrous news conference Wednesday evening.

Of course you know we're talking about the 5th floor's reaction to Sergeant Paul Heh's very public objection to the new APD contract. Their first reaction was an attempt to scare him into silence with an IA investigation. It's a tactic that our Eyes tell us is commonly used by the brass and one that is generally successful.

It's easy to terminate an officer for a violation of the SOP. Officers deal with a hostile public on a daily basis. No one is thankful to be arrested and when an officer shows up it is not uncommon for some to be arrested. So finding a complaint is a simple matter of looking through an officer's arrest records.

This time the threat of an Internal Affairs investigation didn't work because the council, 770 KKOB, and eventually the rest of the media got wind of their little scheme and exposed it. Our Eyes tell us that Chief Schultz spent a considerable amount of time in the Almighty Alcalde's office yesterday morning getting his um... behind chewed and got a repeat performance later in the day when KKOB's Jim Villanucci picked up the story for the first three hours of his show.
(Sidebar)
We've been spending a lot of time talking about the 5th floor. You've got to remember that the Chief of Police is basically an at-will employee of the mayor. As a result, he takes his marching orders from the mayor himself. The chaos over at APD is certainly the result of mismanagement but it is the direct responsibility of the mayor.
(End Sidebar)
Today, the 5th floor brain trust tried yet another tactic... plant a story with The Journal's T.J. Wilham about Sergeant Heh's 2007 earnings. According to the Journal - which curiously has not posted the story online - the sergeant made over $108,000 last year with over $43,000 of overtime.

What Wilham doesn't tell you is why a sergeant in the Albuquerque Police Department makes that kind of money. Our Eyes tell us that Sergeant Heh is an exceptional DWI hound. In fact, he's almost a one man DWI unit picking up somewhere over 20 DWIs per month on average. Since the sergeant works graveyard a shift from 10:00 pm to 8:00 am Tuesday through Saturday, he's in court during the day.

Metro Court schedules trials between 8:30 am and even as late as 9:00 pm. Officers are also required to attend pretrial hearings, MVD hearings and seizure hearings - any one of which a failure to appear results in the defendant going free. In other words, officers must attend all of the hearings. To make matters even more fun, trials and hearings are scheduled by three different agencies - the court, the city, and the state.

Because DWI officers and graveyard officers work at night when the courts are closed, these hearings always take place during their off hours. Guess what that means... overtime and lots of it.

Sergeant Heh is incredibly dedicated to his job and his mission. In fact, our Eyes tell us he's almost a fixture at Metro Court. There can be little doubt about Sergeant Heh's honor and dedication just listen to the interview from KKOB that we posted earlier this week (read/hear it here) or read Officer Aria's post from Wednesday (read it here).

The fact that an officer with 21 years on chooses to work grave says it all. A senior sergeant with that amount of time on can have any shift pretty much anywhere in the department. But this sergeant chooses to do the hard work at the most difficult time of day and refuses to ignore his responsibility to follow through in court or in hearings.

T.J. Wilham's story is really about trying to destroy an APD officer's credibility in the media. Our Eyes tell us that this story was planted by the 5th floor and thus it serves their purpose.

The problem is that in their anger and desire for retribution, they decided to try and silence the outspoken sergeant before they tried to tarnish him. The story has moved waaaaay beyond a contract dispute between senior officers. It's become a story about how the Albuquerque Police Department does business.

Sergeant Heh isn't the first officer to have been silenced through intimidation. However, he should be the last. The only difference here is that Sergeant Heh caught the attention of the media and the heavy-handed tactics of the APD brass were exposed. The simple fact is a senior officer like Sergeant Heh is the type of seasoned officer that you want to keep on the force - not force out through threats and intimidation.

This fifth floor fiasco and public relations nightmare is the direct result of arrogance and foolishness. Arrogance to believe that they had the absolute authority and ability to destroy one of their officers for standing up for what they believe. Foolishness because of their inept handling of the situation.

There's a saying that an organization takes on the attributes of its leader so it's no surprise that APD is being run through intimidation and fear. They've taken on the attributes of their leader - Mayor Martin Chavez.

Sergeant Heh should be decorated for his dedication and honor, not destroyed because he disagrees with an administration that could care less about the employees they lead. It'll be interesting to see what these 5th floor fools come up with next because we know they won't be wise enough to stop here.

Apr 9, 2008

Retribution - APD Reacts

Wednesday was a wild day to say the least. It started with 770KKOB reporter Peter St. Cyr reporting that APD had initiated an investigation of senior Sergeant Paul Heh notifying him of the investigation immediately following his testimony in front of the city council. By the end of the day the story had grown legs with Jim Villanucci picking it up and challenging the rest of the media to do the same. The Eyes have it that during the Villanucci show the 5th floor was frantically trying to kill the story before it could get out of their control.

At one point we were told that Chief Schultz and crew believed that they'd managed to put the genie back in the bottle only to have Councilors Winter, O'Malley, and Cadigan drop a press bomb on their efforts. The result was the lead news story on KRQE, and KOAT with KOB running it later in the newscast. APD ended the day in full bunker mode sending John Walsh out to express hastily cobbled together outrage.
(Sidebar)
We got our eyes on both the press release from the council that included their letter to the chief, and an incredibly poorly written reaction from APD - part of which was read on-camera by APD's spinmeister John Walsh.

We would respectfully request that before APD releases a written statement to the press or the public that they proof read it, run it by an English 101 student, or at least run spell check. We have to read these things after all and we would prefer it if the sentences made some sort of well... sense.
(End Sidebar)
OK, so maybe the APD outrage wasn't feigned. On camera, John Walsh looked to be shaking with rage. The 5th floor is certainly not happy with elected officials sticking their noses behind APD's curtain. One would think that city councilors have not only the authority to ask questions of the Chief of Police but have the obligation to do so when it appears that administration officials may be abusing their authority.

APD's reaction contained a bizarre mix of denials, admissions, outrage, and accusations. They deny the investigation had anything to do with Sergeant Heh's appearance before the council and admit that his public comments were directed at the APOA. (To criticize the Chief, Department, or the Almighty Alcalde could be construed as a violation of APD's SOP.) APD makes the claim that "complaints were voiced" by sworn officers of the sergeant creating a hostile work environment over the APOA contract. They also claim that said environment "was being perpetrated by other sworn members of the APD."

By the way that last part is the basis for APD's IA investigation. According to APD's "complaints" the sergeant managed to create a "hostile work environment" relating to a contract that was presented and voted on in 24 hours.

Folks, these are cops. They deal with hostile environments on a daily basis. We have a hard time believing that a lone sergeant even with determined help could create an environment hostile enough to even be noticed by most officers.
(Sidebar)
If one would like to talk about hostile work environments, let's talk about officers having to keep their mouths shut - even when they're not on duty - for fear of having someone on the 5th or 11th floor take offense and start an IA investigation that could take away the retirement that you've quite literally bled for. That's a hostile work environment and that's the environment our Eyes tell us the 5th floor has created for all of the officers that have taken the oath to protect us. We imagine that it's pretty difficult to deal with the criminals in front of you while trying to protect your back from being stabbed by your own department's leadership.
(End Sidebar)
Moving on to the rest of this ridiculous illiterate reaction... The Chief wraps himself in altruistic stupidity claiming that "[he] will not tolerate any possible intimidation or interference in any way regarding fair process, such as the recent voting that took place." Huh? Won't tolerate intimidation? (See previous Sidebar)

The next few points of the APD statement basically take the council to task for doing their jobs telling them to butt-out and "chastis[ing] them for trying to turn internal workings of the Dept. into politics publicity." (Walsh actually read that last part on the air.)

Finally, one last claim - one that the 5th floor probably felt was the coup de grĂ¢ce. They voiced their "great" concern that Sergeant Heh may be working on Councilor Winter's Campaign and "this might have political motivation." Fortunately, the TV news guys gave this all of the coverage that it deserved... none.

As far as we're aware, there's only one semi-announced candidate for mayor. At least there's only one candidate that has sued to make sure that they can run for mayor should they decide not to run for governor - which of course they've already decided not to do because they decided to run for U.S. Senate, something they found out they couldn't do only to have to sue in order to keep their current job which they would have lost. Yes... we're talking about the Almighty Alcalde - Mayor Martin Chavez. And yes, he's running for the only position that he could possibly win - at least three years ago.

Floating the idea that this whole thing is more about Councilor Winter than the shenanigans of the Albuquerque Police Department's leadership is just one more way to try and kill the messenger and distract the rest of us. It shows just how politically involved the department has become. It shows that they're more concerned about keeping their jobs than doing their jobs. It shows that we're all in trouble - not just a sergeant that steps up and speaks his mind.

-----Releases-----
Councilors Winter, O'Malley, and Cadigan - Press Release and Letter to Chief Schultz
APD's Reaction

-----Correction-----
In our early morning pajama clad haze we inadvertently screwed-up the link for the city council press release. Thanks to an alert Eye reader, we have corrected the link above.

Letters to the Eye - A Comment from Officer Steven Arias

We noticed the following comment from Officer Steven Arias. Obviously, we can't absolutely verify that he's the author but he make some good points that bear reading. Of course we don't agree with everything Mr. Arias has to say particularly concerning our motivation.

To us it's about the health of the Albuquerque Police Department. For far too long there have been infections festering beneath the surface. Often one must lance an infection - a painful process to be sure but one that will result in a healthy department from top to bottom.

We want to thank Officer Arias for taking the time to post his thoughtful comment.

(Fr: Steven Arias)
34s-
We need to take a step back and breath, please! Why is everyone so angry? The money? We disagree, I understand that but these personal attacks have crossed the line. They have no place in negotiations, arguments, and debates. Tuesday afternoon, Sgt. Heh and I got together on a 47 trial. God has a great sense of humor...but you know what? We acted like mature adults, studied the 42 together, exchanged thoughts, and eventually got a plea conviction because of Sgt. Heh's testimony. After, in the lobby, we again exchanged thoughts and ideas on the department's status and the contract. We disagree, but we did so objectively, and like adults, and we even overcame our petty personal differences to get a drunk driver his due legal punishment, shook hands, and pressed on with our business. In the end, that's all the citizens of ABQ care about; they don't care about our high school-trash talking and drama. They care about living in peace. I used to read this blog for entertainment purposes as well as a diverse source of information that I often disagree with (my reading of this blog ends tonight). However, to the author of this blog, you have a hand in playing these officers against each other- you understand how contentious the situation is- you have played it for e-ratings. If you cared about the health of the department, you would not approve the comments from anonymous men and women who feel at liberty to make personal attacks because they know they will never be held to account. Rather, you would use your blog as vehicle of reconciliation, and a place for legitimate debate among our diverse ideas. Please stop with these biased articles constantly condemning the leadership for every conspiratorial misfortune, or at the very least, please use better judgment in discouraging hateful and intellectually-bankrupt comments. I want everyone to have a voice and excercise their freedom of speech, but some people are yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded room. This has tangible effects on people's feelings, performance, and self-esteem. I understand you feel afraid to put your name out there as the author; but if we're standing up for what we believe is right without attacking people, and are punished at the end of the day, I could still live with myself, and so could you. To me, I.A. has no wrath like what 34's have brought upon on each other. Sgt. Heh told me Tuesday he was informed of an I.A. investigation. None of us should bask in delight over this; I don't like going to I.A., and I can tell you that I do not wish I.A. on anyone. I know some of you anonymous folks out there blame me for the misfortunes of some in I.A., but I said my piece to those of you who were at the meeting... face to crowd. I never went to any length to file any complaints against anyone, in fact abuses of positions of power were well known at high levels of command prior to my hearing 34's complaining about it. I do not like going to I.A. and I don't want any of you there; if you received "the letter" it's because someone filed a formal complaint on you. Sgt. Heh and I talked about this, he knows my position isn't about the money, but defending officers who can't defend themselves or will not. I don't need the money, but some young officers and recruits wanting to come to APD do, and ALL of us deserve it...and I thank the union guys and gals, the council, the administration, and the public for no longer treating law-enforcement as a privelege, but now as a PRIORITY. This contract may save the department and the city...we're losing our grip on crime despite the great efforts of a disproportionate number of 34s-to-citizens. Sgt. Heh is still a cop; the Chief is still a cop; Marty is still the mayor; the union guys are still cops; we're playing on the same team. We may not agree or like our leaders/teammates but that is in no way justification for some of the things said here. I'm asking those who agree and disagree to extend eachother respect and courtesy merely because of that. I'm also asking everyone to stop making personal attacks on one another and feeding into this blog. You may feel that the author is our friend, but a friend doesn't play you against your other friends. That goes for attacks on the Mayor, the Chief, the councilors, the union folks and anyone you disagree with, it means nothing to say angry words on a blog that further our problems- approach them like professionals, it gains better results, and it's how 34s conduct themselves. If you have something to say, attend an APOA meeting and let's talk. Or call that person and discuss your issues. Talk to each other. I know 34s in the union and elsewhere who are feeling sick from all of this...because of what **WE** are doing to **EACHOTHER**. Some of you will undoubtedly tell me to stick it... fine. Every word we speak in this job may be our last, so, if for nothing else, let our last words to each other not be in anger. It shouldn't take tragedy to bring us together, and it shouldn't take money to divide us. It's in OUR hands.
-Arias

Retribution - Update

Apparently things aren't going well for our friends on the 5th floor. Our Eyes tell us that the APD brain trust is busy working the phones trying to kill the story that 770KKOB reporter Peter St. Cyr broke today about the 5th floor's retribution against Sergeant Heh. Their objective is to make sure that no one else (TV, Radio, Newspaper) runs with news of their exceedingly suspicious shenanigans.

Of course one would think if they had a case against the vocal senior sergeant that they wouldn't care who knew about the investigation. However, if the investigation is the retribution that we believe it to be then the last thing the 5th floor wants to have their heavy-handed tactics exposed.

Our take is that since Sergeant Heh is at or beyond retirement the IA investigation is just a way to push him out and shut him up. Our Eyes tell us that this wouldn't be the first time IA has been used to push out a senior officer. We'll see if the rest of the media falls for the 5th floor's frantic media manipulation.

Retribution

We heard something this morning that has us seeing red... again. According to 770KKOB, the Albuquerque Police Department's Internal Affairs department has targeted Sergeant Heh for an investigation (read it here). Of course the department isn't releasing the nature of the investigation and the city attorney couldn't comment because it's a "personnel matter." But it seems to us that even though the nature of the investigation hasn't been released, the reason for it is perfectly clear.

As you'll remember, Sergeant Heh had the audacity to ask the APOA for a re-vote on the recent hastily passed APD contract. What made matters worse is he had the temerity to take his complaint before the city council Monday night as a private citizen exercising his rights to free speech and redress of grievance.

As a general rule, the 5th floor (and the 11th for that matter) takes a dim view of employees speaking their minds publicly - especially when their opinions differ from the powers that be. Over at APD officers are pretty much forbidden to speak to the media or anyone outside the department. Legally the SOP doesn't trump the 1st Amendment, but don't think for a second that public involvement of any kind in city policy or politics outside of the department isn't noticed.

In other words, don't talk about it, don't think about it, and don't reveal it to anyone even if it's unflattering, unethical, or especially illegal. It's the code of silence and hell hath no fury like a department whose questionable behavior is revealed.

In many circumstances it's important for officers to remain behind the blue wall - keeping what they know and what they've seen to themselves. In fact, most of us couldn't handle much of what they know and what they've seen.

However, that code of silence needs to be broken when their department and their futures are in jeopardy not from the criminals that they've sworn to protect the public from, but from the very leaders that are supposed to be backing them up - be they union or government. Of course, that doesn't sit well with those in power.

Our Eyes tell us that APD's strategy when confronted with someone like Sergeant Heh, is to put them squarely and resolutely back in their place or to fire them. Their favorite tool for keeping the troops in line is the Internal Affairs investigation. Don't get us wrong, IA does perform a needed service. Someone needs to police the police. Unfortunately, the power that IA wields can easily be used to intimidate and to seek retribution. In short, the power of an Internal Affairs investigation - like any governmental authority - can be misused and abused.

It's no surprise that Sergeant Heh is being investigated immediately after speaking out publicly. The 5th floor and no doubt some of the folks over at the APOA see the sergeant as the leader of a rebellion. How dare he question our contract? How dare he ask to see the contract before casting his vote? How dare he make us look bad?!

Intimidation and fear are the primary weapons of organized crime. Pay our "protection" money and we uh... the "crooks" won't destroy your store or kill your family. Keep your mouth shut and don't complain and you won't have to worry about Internal Affairs. It's sad and frankly terrifying, to see the Albuquerque Police Department brass using the tactics of their sworn enemy - on their own personnel.

What does that say about the department? What does that say about us? All of us have the responsibility to keep an eye on the leaders in government. When someone has the courage to step forward and expose a problem the investigation should be of the problem not the messenger.

Clearly APD has problems and their source seems to be the department's leaders - political and administrative. This type of blatant retribution by the 5th floor is just the latest shenanigan. Don't the 800 or so APD officers deserve better than to live in fear of their own department? Don't we deserve better?

Apr 8, 2008

Sgt. Heh Speaks

We received this interview conducted by 770 KKOB's Peter St. Cyr. It was conducted yesterday before Sergeant Heh spoke to the City Council. In it he talks about his reasons for opposing the narrowly passed APD - APOA contract.

It's not often that you get the opportunity to hear a full interview. Most of the time you're limited to 3 to 4 second sound bites whizzing by you at the top and bottom of the hour. We'd like to thank Peter St. Cyr for sending over the link to the entire unedited interview and we'd encourage you to take the time to listen to it. We've posted it below and you can also listen to a Quicktime stream here.

Apr 7, 2008

Eye Poll: Set Richard Free

By an overwhelming margin, respondents to our extended Eye Poll felt that Elton John Richard II should be either pardoned or have his sentence commuted to time served. Only 30% of our readers felt that Big Bill should not intervene, while 12% felt that a commutation is in order 56% (almost 2 to 1) felt that the Richard should be pardoned outright (read it here).

We tend to agree with the outcome of our poll. We believe that Mr. Richard is serving a sentence for making every attempt to detain a criminal for lawful prosecution. Unfortunately, Romero chose to attack a determined marine just one too many times. As we've said before, this is the type of case that the executive pardon was made for.

There's been a lot of heated debate going on around here concerning the new APD contract, the APOA and the handling of the contract's ratification. It's good to see such strong feelings from both sides. So, just guess what the Eye Poll is about... Yep, whether or not the APOA should re-vote on the contract after all of this fine debate and after everyone has had a chance to actually review the contract themselves. Don't for get to vote!

Apr 6, 2008

APD Contract Rally

Off Duty Officers to Rally in Front of City Hall

The recent brouhaha has APD in an uproar. Monday night at 5:30, off duty officers will be exercising their rights to free speech and assembly by rallying in front of city hall. Our Eyes tell us that the idea is to ask the City Council to reject Marty's proposal that divides the department and is detrimental to any officer that stays with the department. As we understand it, since the contract is a multi-year deal it requires council approval.

Our Eyes tell us that sergeant Paul Heh is organizing the event as part of his quest to have the contract reviewed by the entire membership. If you're an officer that would like to be part of the event show up at 5:30pm at city hall and let the council know how you feel.

Apr 4, 2008

Your Union Dues at Work... and Play?

Officers for the APOA have a few perks - one of them is a "company" credit card. The card is conferred upon the elected officer to pay for union related expenses. We assume that those cards are not issued to be used for personal gain or for some sort of compensation.

Our Eyes sent us the Bank of America credit card statements for three of the APOA's officers from mid January through early may of 2007. It's interesting reading to say the least. In fact, from the expenditures on the statements it looks as if there were at least a few shall we say... questionable purchases.

Let's take a look at APOA President Ron Olivas. In the four month period covered by the statements he spent $9,712.92 averaging $2,428.23 a month, that's over $29,000 a year.

There are a couple of things that jump out at you when reviewing the statements. The first is that President Olivas loves his coffee. With 27 trips to various coffee houses it's apparent that coffee is an important part of his day. His favorite coffee house appears to be the Tazza Coffee Bar.

In addition to coffee, Olivas seems to be spending an awful lot of union money on food and beverages with over $3,000 spent at places like Capos, The Flying Star, Bravo, DG's Deli, Conrad's, The Standard Diner, the Carom Club, and even McDonald's.

In addition to the curious use of union credit cards for food, beverage, and coffee, President Olivas bought 7 airline tickets to Las Vegas for $246.80 each and apparently 5 rooms at the Flamingo Hilton for $147.15. Curiously, there were seven airline tickets and only 5 rooms... We'll let you draw your own conclusions here.

After reviewing the credit card statements it looks an awful lot like Mr. Olivas is using his union credit card to support his everyday life. Things like trips to Wal-Mart, food, and coffee are almost daily occurences. We understand that part of the job description of union officers is to schmooze elected officials. However, we have a hard time believing that schmoozing includes multiple trips to the Tazza Coffee Bar or $497.23 outings to Conrad's.

APOA members have a right not only to know what their elected officers are spending their dues on, but to make sure that these expenditures are in fact union related. From the looks of the four months of credit card statements that we've gotten a look at, it appears that Mr. Olivas, Christopher George, and Benjamin Baker have been spending union money on non-union goods and services.

We believe that in light of these somewhat questionable expenditures, it might be wise for the APOA membership to dig deeper into the use of union funds by APOA office holders. If they can't be trusted to steward union dues, why should they be trusted to negotiate member contracts? After all, they're your union dues and the membership should determine whether they are used to work or for the board members to play.

-----Update-----
Yesterday we didn't post the documents that we reviewed for this post. There's something about posting credit card records that makes us uncomfortable - even when those records are not our own. After further review, we've come to the conclusion that there's no information in the statements that would allow some unscrupulous soul to use the information for their own gain. So... we'll let you decide whether or not the elected representatives of the APOA have already used these credit cards to fill more than just their coffee cups (review the documents here).

Remember, an elected union board can be just as corrupt as any elected government official. In fact, some union officials have even been connected to organized crime. It really doesn't matter whether or not they're wearing the union label. Anyone that has access to your money needs to be monitored and monitored closely lest they take the opportunity to make their cup runneth over.

Apr 3, 2008

CAD Chaos

In light 5-8s and a controversial new contract that has split junior officers from their more experienced counterparts, you'd think that the brain trust on the 5th floor would have waited a little while before installing a new Computer Aided Dispatch system, particularly one that seems to have an incredible number of unforeseen problems.

A few weeks back APD installed the Tiberon CAD system. We don't know what the reason for replacing the old system was and frankly we don't care (unless of course they happen to be large donors to certain politicians). However, since APD plays a pivotal role in our safety we expect the system to work.

Our Eyes behind the badge tell us that there have been a huge number of problems with the system ranging from training to support to technical problems that make the system in its current state dangerous.

Last week Chief Schultz told Bob Clark that the reason that the system was having some problems is that officers didn't pay enough attention during training. Whenever an organization makes a technological transition there are always training issues. A lot of them come from the simple fact that most of us hate change - particularly when it involves a piece of technology. Of course the training officers would need to have a password for the new system before attempting to train other officers - which our Eyes tell us, did not happen in many cases.

The problem is that in this case there are a number of functional problems with the new system that have nothing to do with training. For example, our Eyes tell us that their old system would display in their vehicle all of the pertinent information on a particular license plate when that information was radioed to dispatch during a traffic stop - things like the type of vehicle and whether or not the vehicle had been stolen or not.

In short, an officer knew instantly the kind of situation they were getting into before they approached the vehicle. With the new system, the officer is required to run a search on the tag in the field after they have made the stop. Meanwhile, the subject has plenty of time to, well... arm themselves should they decide that they don't want anything to do with the law.

Other functional problems include license plates, warrants and court dates failing to come up. In addition, the system will log off officers for no apparent reason. Our Eyes tell us that when contacted about the problem Radio will make every attempt to log them back in but when their attempts fail they tell officers that the problem is a lack of bandwidth.

Basically, officers are placed in a situation where they are relying completely on their radios to get vital information. Now that's OK if it's an emergency or if it's law enforcement 1973, but today it simply puts officer's lives at risk.

The other complaint that our Eyes behind the badge have is a lack of technical support on weekends. Law enforcement is a 24 hour 7 day a week business - we never close. Installing a new Computer Aided Dispatch system with technical support that's closed on weekends and holidays doesn't exactly make sense. We'd think that the folks at Tiberon would understand that concept.

No one can foresee every difficulty when making a change to new technology. However, there are things that can absolutely be predicted. First, the amount of bandwidth necessary for the system to operate properly. Second, the fact that no matter how much mandatory training is required before the system is installed there will be problems and those problems won't always happen at a convenient time of day.

Third, there will be a disconnect between the people who choose the system and those who have to operate it. New systems need to not only provide better functionality - they must provide the same functionality that officers are used to.

When you get right down to it, it's just as important how you implement a new system as what that new system can do. In this case, part of the equation is when you decide to transition. We're also concerned that the Tiberon system wasn't adequately evaluated for technical specifications (bandwidth requirements), ease of use (compatibility with the previous system), and proper technical support.

In the end, APD has found itself with a CAD system that is not only going through implementation problems, but may not have the ability to meet the requirements of the department in the first place. A few weeks back, the system crashed and dispatchers found themselves using radio and 3x5 cards.

In the final analysis, we don't care what system APD uses for dispatch as long as it works, and has proper training and support for the officers who have sworn to keep the rest of us safe. The current CAD Chaos is intolerable and dangerous for all of us.

Apr 2, 2008

Going Green - Drowning in Red

Mayor Marty has been touting his Albuquerque Green initiative for sometime (AlbuquerqueGreen.com). He's even received an award for his efforts.
[T]he conference announced that the mayors of Albuquerque, N.M., and Fayetteville, Ark., had won first place honors in this year's Mayors' Climate Protection Awards Program.

The awards honor mayors for measures to curb global warming and increase energy efficiency. Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez was recognized for shepherding a city program that promotes "green-tech'' companies, use of bicycles and purchase of cleaner city vehicles. The program has caused an overall reduction of city greenhouse gas emissions by 67 percent since 2000.
Of course it didn't take too long for the Journal to expose the Mayor's greenhouse gas reduction claims as, well... gas.
It is a claim every Albuquerque resident who cares about global warming could be proud of: Since 1990, city residents have cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent.

It is also untrue.
It sure looks like The Almighty Alcalde pulled the wool over the Conference of Mayors and the Governator himself back in June of last year when he sold them on a 67% greenhouse gas reduction since 2000. You'd think that there would be some modification in the mayor's approach in light of the less than stellar results of his green scheme and the city's looming budget crisis.

The city is continuing to purchase a new fleet of vehicles that are designed to reduce greenhouse gases and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In fact, you may have noticed that APD sergeants are driving brand new E85 Tahoes. These new Tahoes are designed by General Motors to run on both E85 and regular gas.

E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. So what's the problem? A Tahoe running regular unleaded gasoline gets about 13 MPG in the city - running E85, the same vehicle gets about 9 MPG. In other words, E85 vehicles are about 69% as efficient as their gas powered counterparts.
In New Mexico, ethanol costs about 13% less per gallon than gasoline (E85prices.com). Comparing apples to apples, we're paying somewhere in the neighborhood of 18% more for E85 than we would for the same vehicle to burn gas. Many of you are thinking that you're willing to pay more to save the environment and combat global warming.
(Sidebar)
Have you notice that global warming has now become "climate change?" As if adherents to the consensus hadn't already blamed both warmer and cooler temperatures on global warming they've now begun to call global warming "climate change." We wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that this year has been one of the worst and coldest winters in a long time.

"Change" works either way and you don't get caught having to defend "warming" while record snows fall in the Midwest. You really don't need any more proof that "global warming" is a political movement not a scientific one than their willingness to change the name when it no longer fits the circumstances.
(End Sidebar)
The problem with saving the world for a mere 20% surcharge paid by the city is that we supply that premium with our tax dollars and it gets worse. Ethanol is subsidized by the government to the tune of $1.05 to $1.38 a gallon and it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce that one gallon of ethanol. More importantly for those who are convinced that reducing greenhouse gas by reducing the amount of fossil fuels consumed, it takes over a gallon of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol (Townhall.com).

There are other consequences to Marty's march toward the green - our Eyes tell us it's having a direct impact on our safety. E85 isn't available everywhere and officers are forced to buy it rather than regular gasoline - that means more time out of service due to availability and the increase in consumption.

To reduce consumption (and we suspect cost), officers are now being told to turn off their engines when they're on a call. The problem here is that they can't turn off the equipment and radios that rely on the vehicles for power. Turn off the engine, kill the battery. The vehicle and its officer are out of service.
(Sidebar)
Our Eyes tell us that officers may want to take a look at page 46 of their new contract. It addresses the issue of take home vehicles. In short, the Chief of Police can take away all take home vehicles simply by notifying the union. Forty-five days later you're driving to work, even in emergency situations.
(End Sidebar)

AFD has switched to biodiesel in its fire engines. Like E85, biodiesel isn't readily available which requires engines to be out of service for an extended period of time. In addition, the engines weren't designed to run on biodiesel so the long term effects on the equipment aren't known.

In both of these cases the monetary consequences are obvious. But the more important consequence is the danger that the out of service vehicles place all of us in. How long will it be until someone loses their life because it's time for an officer to refill, or an engine needs more biodiesel? Or... has it already happened?

Lynch Found Guilty

We're getting reports from our Eyes downtown that Peter Ryan Lynch has been found guilty for misdemeanor destruction of property. The sentencing is supposed to take place later today and our Eye tell us that Mr. Lynch faces a fine and up to 6 months in jail for his actions.

We have no doubt that Mr. Lynch destroyed the Mexican flag - he admitted as much. What astounds us is the fact that The Center of the Race (El Centro de la Raza) and the UNM ROTC are utterly incapable of taking any responsibility for the incident. Both organizations directly contributed to inciting Mr. Lynch by failing to live up to their respective responsibilities - the ROTC for not removing the Mexican flag when The Center of the Race failed to show up to do so, and The Center of the Race for not showing up in the first place.

It's too bad that a Mexican flag met an early demise, but it leaves you asking the question - if Mr. Lynch had destroyed Old Glory would he have been prosecuted at all. Something is very, very wrong here and it goes far beyond the torn fabric of another nation's flag.

-----Update-----
770 KKOB is reporting that Peter Ryan Lynch has been sentenced to 48 hours of community service, court fees of some unspecified amount and to replace the Mexican flag - which he had already offered to do. We've got a great idea... Perhaps, Mr. Lynch could spend some time teaching patriotism to children. You know, love of country, respect for our flag, and dedication to duty.

-----Update 3:30pm-----
For some reason there has been some confusion about Mr. Lynch's sentence. Our Eyes tell us that the sentence is 48 hours of community service (agency eligible) and $71 in court fees. The replacement of the Mexican flag was part of a preexisting agreement with the university. The conviction itself will be expunged from Lynch's record if he stays out of trouble for 6 months. One other item... we're not hearing anything about anger management class as part of the sentence.

Our question is if Lynch had already agreed to replace the flag, why did the UNM Police and the District Attorney's Office feel the need to get involved and prosecute? In our opinion, The Center of the Race missed a golden opportunity by not accepting an apology and a new flag. Instead they called for hate crimes prosecution and insisted on prosecution.

Apr 1, 2008

All Hail The Almighty Alcalde!

Marty can be Mayor for Life

It's not like anyone's surprised or anything but Monday His Honor got his first victory in quite a long time - at least since the last time we sent him back to his perch on the 11th floor. Yes, Marty can run... aaagain.

The Journal reported Tuesday that Judge Linda Vanzi found the Albuquerque City Charter's term limits to be unconstitutional under the New Mexico state constitution (ABQ Journal - Subscription). Of course the city's contract attorneys didn't really put up much of a fight.
"Respondents believe that the mayor term limits provision of the Albuquerque City Charter is inconsistent with the qualifications clause of the New Mexico Constitution ... and as such is unconstitutional,"
As a taxpayer, we wonder exactly how much we paid Joseph Goldberg, Theresa Duncan and Michael Goldberg - the city's contract attorneys - to essentially say "we surrender." Kinda' sounds like a Monty Python skit... "run away, run away, run away!" And apparently it took no less than three, yes THREE attorneys to lose this case without firing a shot or making an argument.

Damn! Whatever happened to vigorously defending your client's (read taxpayer's) position? Who knows, perhaps a good argument might have gone a long way towards reversing the previous decision striking down term limits for councilors. It certainly would have been better than... "we surrender!" But we guess when the guy signing the checks is the same guy that's suing your client the outcome was never really in doubt.

As you might have guessed we are for term limits - especially for executive positions. At least legislative shenanigans are held somewhat in check by the other legislators. But, after eight years even the dumbest executive has managed to stack their branch of government with allies that will look the other way when they screw-up or even break the law. Just imagine how many of Marty's Minions wander the halls of power after eleven years.

A pleased Chavez told the Journal, "It brings clarity to the landscape, and I've had a lot of folks encouraging me to seek an additional term." It certainly makes things clear. The Almighty is going to run again and if we're not very careful we'll all be forced to scream "All Hail The Almighty Alcalde!"