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

Aug 29, 2008


Monday we told you about the disturbing attitude being exhibited by APD's Crimes Against Children unit. In essence they told the parents of two sexually molested children that their case wasn't a priority (read it here) because there was no penetration.

It seems that with the help of our Eyes and a heart-felt plea from the parents (read it here), the CAC got off of their, uh... cases and completed their investigation. We received another email from the two molested children's parents just today informing us that the parents had finally been contacted and that the APD portion of the case had been completed. According to the parents, the case is now in the hands of the district attorney's office for submission to a grand jury.

We're glad that this case is going forward. Our only concern is that it sure seems like it took public pressure to get the CAC to do their job. If so, it's more than a little concerning and reflects poorly on the leaders of the department - Chief Schultz and his boss, Mayor Martin Chavez.

Don't worry, we've got our Eyes on this one and will let you know how this case proceeds. You can be sure that if the DA drops the ball we'll be less than pleased and in an election year...

Aug 28, 2008

Incompetence and Excuses

We're finally getting some reaction from the 5th Floor with regard to nine of their officers allegedly trampling a crime scene.
Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz says all but one of the officers who showed up at the home of a fellow officer after his wife was shot to death in the couple's Valencia County home were there on their own time.
Uh... Excuse us but aren't these trained and sworn officers? It really doesn't matter whether they were on duty, of duty, or on vacation for that matter. Anyone who's watched more than one episode of Law and Order knows that you don't go trampling around a room containing a dead body unless your intent is to contaminate the crime scene.

We don't have a problem with officers going down there on their own time - we have a problem with the stunning lack of professionalism shown by the nine APD officers who allegedly entered an active crime scene. At the very least these officers made the jobs of OMI and the Valencia County Sheriff's Department much more difficult. At worst, they could have made prosecuting a murderer next to impossible.
"At the start of this, we truly believed it was a suicide," said Aaron Jones, the lead investigator for Valencia County. "Once we started looking at some things we didn't have knowledge of until days later, we realized it might not be a suicide. By then, the damage had been done to the investigation. We have learned a lot from this investigation."
We don't know what's more frightening, nine officers stupidly trashing a crime scene or the revelation that VCSO's lead detective learned that having nine people trampling a crime scene is a bad idea.

No one may ever truly know what happened to Tera Chavez, particularly since our Eyes tell us that the VCSO isn't exactly known for its investigative prowess. When you add nine APD officers who should have known better to the mix what you're left with is incompetence and a few lame excuses.

Aug 27, 2008

Letters to the Eye: In Their Own Words

Often when we post stories about the goings on in some department or court case, family members contact us with more information about the story itself. Sometimes it corrects mistakes or clarifies facts. Other times these emails add a whole new dimension to the story.

After our post Disturbing Behavior, we received one such email. The author wishes to remain anonymous and since this case involves allegations of criminal sexual behavior, the author has withheld the names of the detectives assigned to the case and of course the accused.

Although the letter does not contain specific allegations regarding the accused, our Eyes tell us that that acts of the accused are particularly contemptible.

Disturbing Behavior - The Parents' Side

Dear EYE,

It has been brought to our attention that one of your Eyes gave you a heads up regarding the situation involving our two boys, ages four and seven. We are sending this in an effort to clarify the details of our plight, and pray that pointing the “Eye” in their direction won’t cause our case to get “lost”.

This nightmare started the day our children told us that a close family friend who watched them had sexually abused them. We did what any competent parents would do, called CPS and APD. CPS advised us that since the perpetrator didn’t live in the home, they wouldn’t investigate. APD sent out an officer nearly 20 hours after our initial call to make a report. An officer took the report and was extremely helpful. He even called us later that evening to let us know who the detective would be and when she would be calling.

“Detective A” (for the sake of protecting our boys, we have chosen not to name any names) called the next day and we set up an appointment for the following day at All Faith’s Receiving Home. Our children were interviewed (video and audiotaped) and “Detective A” spoke with us afterwards. She suggested that we get a restraining order and told us where we could get help obtaining one. She also said that she would contact the offender, provide him with a “No Contact” order, and offer him a chance to tell his side of the story. She further said that she would have the report typed up quickly and get it off to the DA’s office by the end of the next week and we could hopefully expect an indictment soon.

That same day, we obtained a restraining order through the Victim’s Advocacy office. We left feeling confident that things would be dealt with swiftly and our children would be safe. Throughout the weekend, however, the offender attempted to contact various family members by phone. We avoided the phone calls, and the family members that did answer only made small talk so as not to give him details of the pending action against him. This was clearly in violation of the restraining order, so we called “Detective A” immediately to inform her that he was trying to contact us. We got her voicemail and left a message. On Monday, we called again and got a full voicemail box, and at that point I called 242-COPS to find out what to do. Another officer was sent over to make a report. He called for the status of the restraining order and it hadn’t been served. The order was in place Wednesday afternoon and 5 days later it still hadn’t been served. We had absolutely no recourse against him for violating an order that he had no knowledge of.

The next day, “Detective A” finally called back and told us that she and an advocate would make contact with the suspect and serve the restraining order. She went that afternoon and then took him for an interview where he of course denied the allegations. That’s the last time we heard from “Detective A” personally. We figured she would have had ample time to write the report and send it to the DA. Last week, we called the DA’s office to find out the status on the case, since “Detective A” had stopped returning our phone calls. The DA’s office had no record of it. We called “Detective A” again and left another message, and then we called her supervisor. “Supervisor B” returned our call the next day and said since our kids “weren’t raped or sitting in the emergency room with broken bones that they aren’t high on the priority list.” He further said “victims with offenders still living in the household take precedence. Emergencies are dealt with first, and (our) inquiries were doubling or tripling “Detective A’s” work load.” Please note that if our calls had been returned the first time, we wouldn’t have left 5 or 6 more messages, and certainly wouldn’t have called the DA’s office and then the supervisor.

Look, we completely understand that these things take time. It takes a lot of work to put a case together before it’s submitted to the District Attorney’s office so that the case is as strong as possible. We certainly don’t want this animal to get away with what he’s done. But all we’ve asked for is communication, and we are certainly entitled to at least that. We have a right to know where our case stands, and when this man will be indicted, arrested, and punished. And while we concede to the fact that there are children out there that are in greater danger and jeopardy than ours, it does not mitigate the fact that our children were sexually molested. We want justice for our children just as much as the other parents want justice for theirs.

It takes maybe 3 minutes to return a phone call and explain where things stand. We understand that the detectives in this unit have a huge case load and are understaffed, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that our case is “not a high priority”. Our children, especially the seven year old, are terrified that this man is going to come hurt them since they told on him. How do we reassure them that they are safe, when we can’t even count on law enforcement to serve a restraining order or even update us on the status of our case? We are good parents, have worked hard to protect our kids and arm them with the knowledge they needed to protect themselves. We never dreamed that something like this could happen, but when it did, we felt we did everything right. We find it unbelievable that “Detective A” couldn’t simply pick up the phone and call us back, and even more unbelievable that this supervisor would chastise and lecture us for simply wanting information on where we stood in the process. It certainly shakes our faith in the system.

We trusted the man that molested our boys implicitly. Our children loved him, and he used their love and trust for his own sick sexual gratification. We never, in a million years, would have thought he would be capable of doing something so absolutely disgusting and demented. Now we realize, despite knowing this man for nearly 20 years, that we really have no idea who he is or what he is capable of. The fact that he lives a block or two away from an elementary school is even more troubling. You would think that would be a pretty high priority, right?

In closing, there are a couple of details that need to be corrected in your story. While we did discover and report this incident in late July, we are UNSURE of how long it has been going on. The kids say this particular incident was the first and only time, but there are behaviors that our children have exhibited prior to our discovery of the molestation that lead us to believe otherwise. It is highly possible, and even likely (in our opinion) that this has happened before, and the kids simply don’t remember or have repressed. But at this point we can only prove this recent incident. This man has been a family friend for many years, and he has watched our children many, many times, so that aspect of your story is correct.

We want to thank “The Eye” for your attention to our story, and hope that our case gets the attention it deserves, and that justice is served for our children. We will keep you posted as things develop.


Two very frustrated and disappointed parents

Our Take

We understand why parents would be concerned. Their faith in a family friend has already been betrayed and now the people charged protecting their kids from predators like this "friend" are acting as if their case and their children don't matter - yet another betrayal. The last thing that these folks want to do is anger the people in charge of their case, but fear and frustration are powerful motivators and when your children are involved there's little a parent won't do to make sure their children are safe.

Officers over at the CAC unit need to remember that there's no child that isn't a priority. Parents of child victims need constant communication and updates. After all, it's a parent's responsibility to protect their child and to help them heal. Parents can't go on vacation, and they can't move on to some other priority as long as there's a chance that their child may still be in danger - particularly since most parents would already be feeling (wrongly) that they had failed their child or were somehow responsible. When a child has been through something like this parents don't give a damn whether or not the courts are clogged, the police have other priorities, or the DA is overworked - they demand and deserve justice for their children.

Knocking the No-Knock Ordinance

When some terrible tragedy befalls someone or a particularly heinous crime is committed, there's often a public outcry to do something. In other cases, there's not really a public outcry but a political one. Of course there's no such thing as a political outcry, but there is such a thing as political opportunity.

The Almighty One is grasping at such an opportunity with his anti-knocker ordinance. No... The ordinance has nothing to do with last weekend's topless protest in Santa Fe (ABQ Journal - Subscription), it's an ordinance designed force those nasty solicitors to register with the city and for them to comply with a no-knock list.

Hey, we hate being harassed by solicitors as much as the next Eye but if we're not in the mood to deal with a vacuum salesman or some political or religious nut we don't answer the door.

So where's all of this coming from? According to The Almighty One, the registration and no-knock list is a reaction to the 2007 murder of Tak Yi and Pung Yi by a couple of traveling magazine salesmen (Subscription). Apparently in the Alcalde's mind, magazine salesman plus murder equals no-knock ordinance (political opportunity).

It's nonsensical yes, but it gives Marty an opportunity to claim that he's doing something to prevent crime - in this case murder. Look, we have a hard time believing that two rapists and murderers would hesitate for a moment to violate the city's no-knock ordinance when they're already willing to rape and murder - which by the way are a bit more serious than the petty misdemeanor proposed by The Almighty Alcalde.
"The Chávez administration will continue to support citizens against predators who would take advantage of the innocent victims in Albuquerque," a mayor's spokeswoman said.

Chávez proposed the law after two magazine salesmen were accused of killing Tak Yi and Pung Yi at the couple's home. The measure calls for companies to conduct background checks on their solicitors and post a $500 bond. The city would also create a "no-knock" list for homeowners.
-ABQ Journal (Subscription)
If the mayor is so concerned about forcing a few door-to-door salesmen to register with the city, pass background checks, and post $500 bonds, then why doesn't the Almighty Alcalde want APD to report suspected illegal aliens to the federal authorities (read it here)? There are quite literally thousands of illegal aliens running around this city - a disproportionate number of whom are involved in crime.

Meanwhile, Marty is worried about traveling salesmen. Simply put, the no-knock ordinance is a nonsensical, politically motivated, unenforceable piece of, uh... legislation. It doesn't need re-writing as Councilor Ken Sanchez suggests, it needs circular filing.

Aug 25, 2008

Disturbing Attitude

Sex crimes are some of the most disturbing crimes committed in a civilized society. When that crime is perpetrated against a child the offense is particularly heinous. For that reason, police departments across the country have created specialized units whose primary function is to find these perpetrators and put them in prison.

In Albuquerque, the unit charged with protecting children from sexual predators is the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Our Eyes tell us about a recent case where a 4 year old and a 7 year old were allegedly being molested over a period of years by a family friend who had been babysitting the pair pretty much all of their young lives. The allegations came to light in early July and the parents of the children did what parents should do - they reported the 40 something babysitter to the authorities.

The case was referred to the Crimes Against Children unit who - following procedure - interviewed the children in a safe house to determine the veracity of the children's story. In addition, the detectives obtained a restraining order the required the babysitter to stay away from the children.

At that point the parents believed that the case was progressing and that something would be done about the sexual predator that they believe molested their child. However, this is where the story ends or at least the official investigation.

Our Eyes tell us that APD detectives stopped returning phone calls seeking to determine the status of the investigation. After repeated attempts, the frustrated parents went up the chain of command to the sergeant in charge. On the second phone call they were told that since there was no penetration involved, the case was not a priority.

We find that attitude more than a little disturbing. Pedophiles are among the most dangerous of sexual predators. More importantly, they are among the least likely to ever be rehabilitated. The attitude that repeated molestation over a period of seven years isn't a priority is simply appalling.

The Crimes Against Children unit has a duty to investigate every allegation of criminal sexual behavior against children no matter how small - today's molester is tomorrow's rapist. Failing to prosecute molesters simply because there's no penetration not only fails the victims in this case but places other children at risk.

----- Correction -----

Seems that our typos are showing... We initially entitled this post Distrubing Attitude. What we meant was Disturbing Attitude. Oops! It has been corrected above.

Aug 24, 2008

Eye Poll - Leaning White

Last week's Eye Poll took up the race for Heather Wilson's vacated seat in the 1st Congressional District between Sheriff Darren White and former City Councilor Martin Heinrich. Sheriff White carried our unscientific Eye Poll by a solid double digit margin of 14 points (57% to 43% read it here).

When considering the 1st CD most people tend to focus on the 2006 election where Heather Wilson held on to beat Pausing Patsy Madrid by some 700 votes. People tend to forget that Congresswoman Wilson traditionally won the 1st CD by a margin of around 10 points. It will be interesting to see whether or not the "Democratic Wave" has started to recede even with the Obama World Tour rolling through the 2008 election.
The Anointed One's announcement of Joe Biden as his High Priest leads us to believe that Obama is reluctant to share the spotlight with anyone. Biden may bring foreign policy experience to the ticket but we're not convinced that his conclusions have been accurate. When you consider Biden's penchant for shooting his mouth off - he brings almost no upside and the potential to create scandal and distraction.
(End Sidebar)
With redistricting looming and a Democratically held New Mexico Legislature, you can bet that the 1st CD will be redrawn to lean further to the left. Sheriff White may be the only hope for Republicans to hold the district through redistricting.

This week we'll move on to that other open seat. You know the one where Tom Udall is trying to convince voters that he's really for drilling despite his record of voting to restrict oil exploration at every turn. If Udall wants anyone to believe that he's for drilling as part of a comprehensive energy plan he ought to announce that his past support of radical environmentalists and their belief that any drilling harms the environment was a mistake. (Don't hold your breath on that one.)

It's the New Mexico U.S. Senate race - underdog Steve Pearce vs. Tom Udall. Let's get ready to ruuuuuumble! Don't forget to vote.

Aug 22, 2008

Letters to The Eye - Retired APD Lt. Steve Tate Weighs In on Rehire Program

Monday we told you about retired Officer Dennis Patrick and his attempt to return to APD through the department's rehire program (read it here). Suffice it to say Officer Patrick was denied rehire on some rather shaky grounds. In fact, recently rehired Captain John Robert DeBuck had a similar (if not worse) black mark on his record yet was rehired anyway.

One of the comments on the story caught our Eye. It was a story about another retired officer - Lieutenant Steve Tate - who applied for rehire not once but twice after being encouraged to do so by the officers placed in charge of two different departments. Lt. Tate had none of the financial difficulties evidenced by DeBuck or Patrick yet was denied both times.

We'll let Lt. Tate tell his own story but it's apparent to us that The 5th Floor's rehire policy is anything but consistent and seems to contain an extensive black list.

Retired APD Lt. Steve Tate Weighs In on Rehire Program

After reading and learning about Officer Patrick being turned down as a rehire, I felt the need to write this response as I may have indirectly impacted APD's decision in this matter. I was turned down on two separate occasions for positions as a part-time CSO during the past few months. I feel that my response to being turned down may have caused the department to more heavily scrutinize other rehires and deny them employment in an effort to masquerade their invalid reasons for denying me. Let me start by saying that I was only interested in these specific part-time positions because of the supervisors, the unit, and the ability to work around my current schedule of high school coaching and consultant training work. I was not interested in just coming back to APD in any capacity. Earlier this year I was asked to apply for a part-time CSO position in recruiting and Backgrounds by Sgt. Galindo with the blessing of Capt. Suazo. However, I was informed a week or so after filling out my application that I wouldn't be rehired because I "bumped" people off the list to attend the FBI National Academy and then retired a few months after attending the FBI Academy.
This reasoning given for not hiring me was very puzzling to me as the facts given were not accurate, and I do not understand how I could've ever had any input or power to "bump" people off any list since this decision rested solely with the Chief's Office and the FBI. The true facts are that I wrote a letter to then Chief Gallegos in 2002 requesting to be considered for the FBI Academy should any opportunities become available for lieutenants (as did many other lieutenants and captains). I later learned in December of 2003 that I was on a list and would be attending the FBI Academy in the Spring of 2005 (which I did). My retirement was effective on February 28, 2007. Because of these facts, the reasons given to for me not being hired for the Recruiting position made no sense and was not accurate.
Prior to turning in my first application to Sgt. Galindo, I informed him that due to my previous position as Academy Lieutenant, and my knowledge and involvement in the hiring and training processes, the Chief's Office may not want me conducting and presenting background investigations to the Chief's Selection Panel. Due to my position, I had been involved in Chief's selection processes where I voiced my opinion about the quality of candidates and whether or not they should be seated in academy classes. I also was aware of candidates that were previously denied for various reasons, being hired after my retirement. I told Sgt. Galindo that because of this, the Chief's Office may not feel comfortable having someone with that knowledge presenting candidates to them. After being denied, I felt that the awkwardness of that potential encounter was the likely reason.
I was later contacted in April of this year by Sgt. Ryan, of the Red Light Camera Unit, and asked if I would be interested in working with her. I advised her of my previous application denial and asked her to pursue it up her chain of command for their blessing. Sgt. Ryan advised me that Capt. Hetes approved it and would check with the Chief. However, I was later informed that they would not rehire me. The new reason given for me being turned down was now a simple "no", without any further explanation. The more I thought about this, the more it bothered me. I was being asked to help out units that had positions they needed filled and there was no valid reason to deny me. Based on my previous positions as a lieutenant in the Internal Affairs Unit and at the Police Academy, I was very aware of the hiring process and how backgrounds affected that process. However, there was nothing in my background that should eliminate me from being rehired with the Albuquerque Police Department. I was currently certified through the State through February 28th of 2009. I also knew the department was actively recruiting to reach its goal of 1100 sworn and that the part-time CSA/CSO positions (which are always counted for the numbers) are required to be filled by those already sworn (which I am).
On both occasions of my being asked to apply for these positions, I have had the blessings of the entire chains of command up to and including the Captain / Commander level. However, for some reason, someone in the Chief's Office had a problem with hiring me that appeared to be rooted in something other than my qualifications and background. Because of this, I sent an email to Chief Schultz on May 2, 2008 outlining these same issues I've explained here and asking him if I was being turned down due to any type of personal bias, discrimination, or retaliation, because without a valid explanation for these actions, it certainly appeared that I was not being treated fairly. However, I have never received a response to this date from Chief Schultz. So this wouldn't surprise me a bit if he refused to speak directly with Officer Patrick. After waiting a couple of weeks with no response, I sent an email to CAO Perlman explaining these issues. After receiving Perlman's response, it was clear he had no clue how the hiring process worked, let alone how the part-time CSA/CSO positions were being handled by APD. After explaining it again and clarifying some issues to him in a second email, I never heard from him again.

A few days after my email to Perlman, I learned that APD had setup a new policy for handling CSA/CSO applications. No longer would units contact people and ask them to put in for these part-time positions as they had in the past. This change would require them to apply at the city site for a general position and they would be assigned as needed once hired. Of course once hired, they will place the person where the need is. Anyone who works or has ever worked for APD knows what this really means. It's a way of discouraging those they don't want that are interested in certain positions, and ensuring they can take care of those they want to at the same time. I found it interesting and amusing that I was impacting policy after leaving the department.
I have also heard information that leads me to believe that Dennis Patrick would've most likely been hired if they weren't trying to make it appear that I wasn't being singled out. They know they had no valid reasons to deny me (only personal ones evidently) and if they were going to deny me, they better start denying some others that may have had some blemishes in their background...since they denied me and I have none......even if those blemishes wouldn't have disqualified them prior to me challenging my denials. Because of this , I feel sorry for those like Dennis that have gotten caught up in this charade. As for bankruptcy being an issue, I am aware of both cadets and rehires that have been hired that had them
in the recent past. So, I find it hard to believe that this was the only reason for him being denied.
When I retired, Capt. Sonny Leeper, Lt. Chas Hilger and I got involved in some training consultation services and some business ventures. None of us left APD disgruntled, contrary to what some have said. I enjoyed my time at APD and APD was good to me. There were issues I had involving hiring and training that I was not pleased about, but my decision to retire was based on multiple factors, the majority of which had nothing to do with APD. Those that worked for me and around me (and for Lt. Hilger and Capt. Leeper) at the time I retired know the truth. For some reason, still unknown to me, Chief Schultz has had some issue with us 3 that I have yet to figure out. Maybe he didn't like 3 command level officers leaving the training section within months? Maybe he felt it made him look bad? Who knows and who cares? To me it shows no level of maturity.
I was approached by members of the local Albuquerque Media during the months after my retirement. They were wanting to interview me regarding the hiring process for APD and the quality of candidates being let in. I had no idea who gave them my phone number as I had recently got a new number after turning in my department issued phone. I could tell they were looking for a story and at that time I felt that it was not in my interest nor APD's to go down that path. Any information provided wouldn't serve any useful purpose and any info that shed a bad light on APD would most likely be countered with allegations that I was disgruntled. Several months after retiring, I first learned of the Eye On Albuquerque site after a friend advised me that he overheard someone from APD's 5th Floor discussing the site and claiming that Sonny Leeper, Chas Hilger, and I were somehow involved in running it. This is not true. Over the past year or so, some of my friends at APD still jokingly call me the "EYE" when they see me, and I laugh and play along with them, but I need to set the record straight. I have no idea who runs this site, but I can say that their information usually appears to be fairly accurate. The do have inside sources for sure. The individual postings under the topics is a different story and they can get a little crazy. Trust me when I say that if I ran this site, I would claim it. If I have something to write about, I will put my name on it just like this post. This is the first post I have ever made here and have no problem putting my name on it.
I feel sorry for Dennis because after a career at APD, he deserves to be told the truth from those making the decision. Unfortunately, as I have learned that is not their style.....and it reveals more about them that they realize.

Steve Tate
Retired APD Lt.

Aug 20, 2008

Suspicious Behavior

By now practically everyone has heard about the wrongful death suit filed against APD Officer Levi Chavez in the case of Tera Chavez whose death was ruled a homicide. This thing has everything, sex, drugs, financial difficulties, insurance fraud, obstruction of justice, interference in an official investigation, and we're just getting started (read the lawsuit here). [Hat Tip: KOB-TV]

Named in the wrongful death suit are Chief Ray Schultz, Lt. Shawn O'Connell, Sgt. Ron Olivas, Sgt. James Silver, and six other "John Doe" officers. Of course every lawsuit names just about everyone in the phone book, but in this case if even half of the allegations are true the 5th Floor isn't running a police department it's running a brothel.

The lawsuit alleges that in addition to his police duties, Officer Chavez was protecting and serving (emphasis on the serve part) multiple female APD officers simultaneously. And our Eyes tell us that since Tera Chavez' untimely demise last October, Chavez has married - you guessed it... another APD officer.

Meanwhile up on the 5th Floor, our Eyes have it that the Chief and his brain trust are deeply concerned that this story could grow legs. In truth they're afraid of the kind of media scrutiny that former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson received in the disappearance of his wife Stacy Peterson and they still haven't found a body (read about it here).

In the Chavez case, we have a death ruled a homicide by the medical investigator, where the weapon was an APD issued and owned handgun, marijuana found at the crime scene, and a number of APD officers running around in a crime scene outside of their jurisdiction. This story looks juicy even before you throw in the wrongful death lawsuit. We can see it now, live trucks everywhere and a gaggle of reporters waiting to ambush APD brass every time they stick their noses out of the Main.

What they're really afraid of is the possibility that the Feds could step in and start nosing around with warrants and their ability to charge you for lying to a federal agent. It's never comfortable to have a federal agency digging around in your files, particularly when you're trying to keep something hidden. Our Eyes tell us that there are a number of somethings that higher-ups would rather keep from seeing the light of day.

Even more interesting has been the lack of action taken by The 5th Floor. Nearly a year later Officer Chavez is still on paid administrative leave. Our Eyes tell us that Chavez - a lateral transfer from Aviation - was a probationary officer at the time. They could have terminated him for just about anything, but have chosen not to.

According to the lawsuit, Chavez had a $14,400 judgment against him stemming from his early departure from the Rio Rancho Police Department. Apparently, just 4 months after graduating from their academy Chavez left RRPD for a job over at the Aviation Department thereby breaking his agreement with the agency.

APD has a policy about financial difficulties - of course they choose not to enforce that policy in "special" situations like when a rehire happens to be a jogging buddy of the Chief's (read it here). What has our Eyes and a lot of officers scratching their head is - what is so "special" about Levi Chavez? What makes him bullet proof?

You would think that finding marijuana at the home of an officer would be enough. Yet, here it is some 10 months later and Chavez is on a taxpayer funded holiday that doesn't look like it's going to come to an end anytime soon.

What's more concerning is that our Eyes tell us that The 5th Floor has been talking to Chavez' attorney in an effort to derail this lawsuit. The Eyes have it that they even had a hand in Wednesday's Journal story (Subscription) - which by the way was startlingly devoid of details about the lawsuit considering the number and type of allegations contained therein.

The 5th Floor sure looks like they're trying to protect Chavez at all costs. Perhaps they just got him mixed up with another Chavez they're fond of protecting - we don't know. But one thing is sure, there's plenty of suspicious behavior in this case and we're not just talking about Levi Chavez.

----- Update -----

We received a comment earlier today from someone claiming to be Joshua Cordova. The post contained language that was certainly inflammatory and expressed a desire for vengeance that bordered on threats. We posted the comment only because it also contained numerous assertions that the poster would do nothing to harm Officer Chavez despite the obvious animus.

This afternoon we received the following email from Brad Hall who represents the Tera Chavez estate:
I represent the Estate of Tera Chavez. It was brought to my attention that a post on your blogsite was attributed to Joshua Cordova, twin brother to Tera Chavez. I spoke with him today by phone and he did not know anything about any blogsite. He denies sending any posts to any blog sites, including yours. He is in the Navy and quite busy, and has not even read the posting attributed to him. The comments attributed to him were submitted by someone pretending to be Joshua Cordova. He and other family members request you remove that posting, as it is not representative of their views, ethics or manner of speech. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
The post in question has been removed.

Aug 19, 2008

It's a Duck

There's an old saying that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck chances are... The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that after consulting with Attorney General Gary King, Secretary of State Mary Herrera has determined "[i]t appears that New Mexico Youth Organized is operating as a political committee for purposes of the (state) Campaign Reporting Act." (ABQ Journal - Subscription)

NMYO is just one of the non-profit organizations that have an affiliation with lobbyist and political consultant Eli Lee. These groups - Clearly New Mexico, 1 Sky New Mexico, Center for Civic Policy, New Mexico Youth Organized - are just a few non-profits whose only mission is political advocacy and they accomplish their goals through tax exempt donations from undisclosed donors.
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.
These lobbyist organizations argue that they are simply engaging in constitutionally protected freedom of association and freedom of speech. In fact, we'd agree with them. In our opinion their activities are fully protected by the Constitution. It's not the groups lobbying or their "educational" activities that are at issue here - it's their ability to operate outside New Mexico campaign reporting laws.

It's hard to understand how these organizations are allowed to operate as non-profits in the first place. They admit to mailing "educational" pieces targeting specific legislators. If your local church were to engage in similar activities their 501c(3) status would be yanked faster than you could say "amen."

More importantly, these early expenditures benefit specific candidates - favored candidates like Eric Griego, Tim Keller, and Elanor Chavez - by preparing the electoral battlefield. They attempt to shape issues and tear down the opposition. After all, there are only two reasons that people vote for a candidate - they either love one of the candidates or hate the other one.
You may have noticed that last week our friends Hal and Bob got new sponsors. They were originally paid for by Eli Lee's Center for Civic Policy last week these same ads were sponsored by 1sky New Mexico and New Energy Economy. If there was any doubt that these organizations are acting in concert the ad's sponsor swap exposes the behind the collusion.
(End Sidebar)
There are two questions here. The first is whether or not these organizations should be allowed to continue to operate as 501c(3) non-profit organizations - a question for the IRS. The second is whether or not they should be allowed to continue to operate outside New Mexico campaign reporting law.

We'd argue that that since their primary function is lobbying either the public or the legislature they shouldn't be considered non-profit and therefore ineligible to receive tax deductible donations. Obviously, if their main function is issue advocacy - no matter what the issue is - these non-profit organizations need to abide by New Mexico law.

Aug 17, 2008

No To a New County Palace - McCain

Last week we ran an unprecedented two Eye Polls at once. One poll was a Presidential Poll, the other dealt with the now approved purchase of the County's new Castle at 500 Marquette. Not surprisingly Eye readers disapproved of the county's purchase by over two to one. In our unscientific poll 67% said "No Way" to the County Commission's Castle, 29% said buy it while 4% didn't know (see the results here).

It's interesting that readers so overwhelmingly rejected the idea of a new county government building when 4 commissioners (Alan Armijo, Theresa (my kid really didn't get an "F" did he?) Cordova, Tim Cummins, and Dina Archuleta) all decided to blow over $42 MILLION of our tax dollars on short notice and without a second thought. We're beginning to believe that the County Commission doesn't get the scrutiny that it deserves. It certainly seems that they believe they can act without fear of future consequences.

Meanwhile over at our presidential Eye Poll McCain beat the Anointed One by 18 points. It's true that this was an unscientific poll and that our readers probably tend toward the conservative/libertarian side, but we were kind of surprised that Obama lost by a solid double digit margin. Of course Obama has had a pretty bad couple of weeks with the Russians reminding voters how unstable the world can be and John Edwards sucking up all of the media oxygen with his, uhh... indiscretions.

We plan on running the same poll after the Democratic Convention and again after the Republican Convention. It will be interesting to see if there are bounces or shifts as a result of the media focus on both candidates generated during their respective conventions. So far, the fawning media coverage of the Anointed One seems to have done him more damage than good, to wit Obama's European Vacation.

We honestly don't believe that intense media coverage is particularly good for either candidate particularly the slanted human interest type coverage that is more appropriate for say... the Olympics. This week we take a look at the race in CD1 - Don't forget to vote!

Aug 13, 2008

History Repeating Itself?

Monday night four county commissioners decided to spend $42 MILLION plus dollars in order to purchase the Petroleum Building at 500 Marquette SW. The four commissioners who decided to spend our money also thought it was a good deal.
County Manager Thaddeus Lucero said the move would allow the government to consolidate its offices — now spread across a handful of Downtown locations — into one spot. Several real estate professionals said the new location would be more convenient.

"We can do it at no additional cost to the taxpayer," Lucero said. "This is a smart idea."

"Consolidation, no additional cost to the taxpayers" - sounds like APS trying to sell the purchase of the buildings formerly known as City Centre to the public. The consolidation has never happened and APS still holds all of the properties it previously owned and all but one are still in use.

We first told you about the purchase a week before the commission rushed the issue to a vote. The county has not even made a compelling case that it needs a new facility or studied the fiscal impact of the purchase.
The tenants "have some very serious concerns," Campbell said. "There hasn't been the kind of public discussion you usually require for spending tens of millions of dollars on public improvements."
By the way, these are the same tenants that the county is counting on to pay for the project over the first three years. Our guess is these tenants will be vacating the premises as soon as their leases allow leaving the county... well, us holding the bag. And let's face it; the county would be a terrible landlord - especially since it intends to occupy the property as soon as the current tenants are out.
Another little problem we have with the move is that it creates space over at the City/County Government Center. Just what we need, more space for the city. There must be a law somewhere that in every instance government will expand to fill the facilities it owns just like the sun always must rise in the east. If nothing else we need the county to stay put simply to keep the size of the city at bay.
(End Sidebar)
The only commissioner who seems to be able to resist the temptation to spend our money is Commissioner Brasher. In this vote - like many others - he was the lone voice asking for the county to justify its need for the property.

We can think of a lot of areas where the county could spend over $42 MILLION - like a jail expansion, or on aging county fire equipment. Instead, four county commissioners (Armijo, Archuletta, Cummins, and Cordova) are ready to spend our money on a new home for themselves while the westside jail overflows and fire equipment breaks down.

It seems that history is repeating itself... only this time the county will spend $42 MILLION without our consent and without making a convincing argument that they need the facility.

----- Correction -----
We originally posted that the new county building would be on the November ballot... Is our Eye red! We were wrrrrong... It's a done deal and voters will not have an opportunity to weigh in on the purchase. FYI - The Eye Poll is running 2 to 1 against the purchase.

Aug 11, 2008


About a year ago Officer Dennis Patrick - a 20 year APD veteran - decided that it was time to retire. One of the benefits of becoming an APD officer is the 20 year retirement that allows officers to start new careers at a relatively young age. It's a good deal and one that attracts a lot of new recruits.

Despite 20 year retirement, APD has been struggling with the inability to fully staff the department. They've spent millions on advertising, negotiated a new a contract that focuses on incentivizing new hires, and of course there's the rehire program.

Recently, Officer Patrick decided to apply for that rehire program. Despite a sterling record as an officer, the former Patrolman First Class was denied rehire. According to our Eyes the reason Officer Patrick was given for denial - bankruptcy. It seems the officer fell on some hard times a number of years ago and declared bankruptcy. Of course at the time Patrick was still on the street working as an APD officer.
Financial History
An applicant must not have a history or chronic recurring financial problems indicating an unwillingness or inability to live within his/her financial means. An applicant who has filed for bankruptcy will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. An applicant cannot be in collections for $500.00 or more.
As you can see, a poor financial history can be a reason for denial. What has us concerned is not the policy itself it's the application of the established policy.

A couple of months ago Albuquerque Journal readers were treated to a puff piece about the recent rehire of retired Captain Rob DeBuck (Subscription). DeBuck retired two years ago and like Officer Patrick decided that life without a badge wasn't for him.
“I lost my sense of identity … of who I was,” the 50-year-old DeBuck said. “I felt empty inside.”

DeBuck had retired in 2006 after 20 years on the Albuquerque Police Department. When he left, he was a captain and the fifth-highest ranking officer in the department.
A love of the job isn't the only thing the two men share. You see... Captain now Officer John Robert DeBuck declared bankruptcy back in 2003 ( Yet despite his bankruptcy the former Captain was rehired without question.

In fact, the Captain seems to have had a number of other financial difficulties over the years - at least according to a search. Understand that the other records could be another John Robert Debuck, but our Eyes tell us that the divorce and the notice of bankruptcy are indeed the former Captain.

We have two officers, both retire after putting in their 20, both decide to return, both have a bankruptcy at about the same time, yet only one is rehired. The only difference seems to be rank at retirement and a personal relationship with Chief Schultz.

Our Eyes tell us that Officer DeBuck is the chief's jogging partner and runs with him on a regular basis. We don't know about you, but it sure looks like the Chief is playing favorites with the rehire program, particularly when Officer DeBuck was given a coveted assignment as a School Resource Officer (read it here).

Look, we don't have a problem with a policy intended to protect the public from officers whose financial difficulties make them vulnerable to financial enticement. However, APD has the obligation to implement policy equitably. Arbitrarily making exceptions for friends leaves the department morally and ethically... bankrupt.

Eye Poll: Derailed

The Almighty Alcalde and a number of city councilors have been determined to have their own train right down Central. Two years ago they tried to sneak an extension of the Transportation Infrastructure Tax designed to pay for the trolley past the voters on the Monday before 2006 election - which included a hotly contested CD1 race between Heather Wilson and Patricia Madrid (read about it here). Eventually, the trolley jumped the tracks and a task farce was formed to "study" the idea.

Two years ago there was a huge public outcry that ended the trolley's immediate future. Last week we asked Eye readers what their opinion was today. 83% of those participating in our unscientific poll said no way when asked if the city should spend $240 plus MILLION on a new trolley, 16% said absolutely, 3% didn't know, and 1 lone voter didn't care (read the results here).

This week we're working on two polls - our first presidential poll and a poll on whether the county should be spending upwards of $44 MILLION to purchase a place of their own. Don't forget to vote!

Aug 6, 2008


When Freedom is Tyranny and Tyranny is Freedom

George Orwell may have created the concept of doublethink, but modern day union activists and their attendant politicians have taken the concept to a new level. Take for example the Employee Free Choice Act.
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . . To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.
For a number of years now union membership has been dramatically shrinking - the only exception being government sector unions. In an attempt to staunch the bleeding and even recoup losses in the private sector, unions and their allies cooked up a scheme that among other things leaves employees during a union organization drive vulnerable to the type of peer pressure and coercion that union organizers are famous for. That scheme of course, is the Employee Free Choice Act.

The major provision of the act is the implementation of card check unionization. In other words, if employees wanted union representation they would simply fill out a card. The signed cards would then be sent to the National Labor Relations Board and if the cards represented a majority of the employees - voilà union.

Union activists argue that you can join other organizations and political parties by filling out a card, why not unions?
The splashy debate is over the Employee Free Choice Act (“card check”), whose premise is this: You can join the NRA by signing a card. You can join the Republican, Democratic or Green party by signing a card. Why on earth can’t you join a union by signing a card?

Employers trot out the “secret ballot” argument, which would maybe have some resonance were it not for the fact that during union-election campaigns, employers like Wal-Mart pull out all the stops to make the elections as expensive, divisive, long and tough on workers as possible.
Mr. Bundy is the political and legislative director for the public sector union AFSCME. It's no surprise that he'd be all for a scheme that makes unionization easier and employees more susceptible to coercion and union thuggery.

Currently, employers have the right to demand a secret ballot. Employees have the right to make a decision regarding their personal financial future privately without the scrutiny of their employers, fellow workers, or union organizers. That's free choice and unions know it.

Mr. Bundy's specious argument that you can join the NRA, or a political party is simply an invalid comparison. Joining a political party or political activist organization doesn't involve your immediate financial future. Those organizations lobby congress and legislatures, they don't set terms and conditions for your employment. Oh yeah... they also don't require you to pay dues for their "services."

For those of us who believe in the free market, forcing employees to serve two masters is an anathema. What is free about having everyone from managers, to fellow employees, to union organizers know how you voted on unionization? What's wrong with unions having to convince employees that bargaining on their behalf is in their best interest? What's wrong with employers making their case against unionization of their businesses?

The very fact that union membership in the private sector has been on the decline for over a decade should tell you that employees are choosing not to work for two masters. It should also tell you that employers are recognizing the benefits of taking good care of their employees.

You'd think that unions would cheer the improved treatment of workers that is resulting in their obsolescence. Of course unions abandoned their altruistic motivations some time ago and now exist simply to sustain their own existence. Unfortunately, that's often the case with organizations of any stripe whose purpose is based on an issue that can be resolved. They need the issue that gave rise to their organization in order to justify their continued existence.

All of which brings us to Martin Heinrich. The former city councilor come candidate for congress has endorsed the Employee Free to be Pressured by Unions Act (read and watch it here) - an act co-sponsored by the candidate for continuous change, Barrack "The Messiah" Obama. Should the two men be sent to Washington, we all better get used to doublethink - freedom that is tyranny and tyranny that is freedom.

Aug 5, 2008

Eye Told You: Exposing the Weeds in the Grassroots

A couple of weeks ago we told you about the infestation of the New Mexico's political Bluegrass by political action groups posing as non-profits. We likened the infestation of the grassroots to that of the Bermuda trying to take over our Bluegrass lawn (read it here).

Last Friday, the first few shoots of that weed were exposed when three Democratic Legislators - Sen. Shannon Robinson, Sen. James Taylor, and Rep. Dan Silva - filed a lawsuit alleging illegal political activity involving one Eli Il Young Lee. According to the suit, Lee's Center for Civic Policy and the League of Young Voters New Mexico (now New Mexico Youth Organized) funneled money to six other non-profit organizations for the purpose of defeating both the targeted candidates and New Mexico Campaign Disclosure laws.
The lawmakers, all Democrats, allege in the lawsuit a "secret campaign" among opponents Eric Griego, Tim Keller and Eleanor Chavez to distribute literature, make phone calls to voters and funnel at least $180,000 of undisclosed campaign funds using local nonprofits.
The game being played by Lee and his cohorts is to use non-profits like Lee's Center for Civic Policy to send out hit, uh... "educational" mail pieces and to provide other campaign services that target politicians who won't play ball with them.
Officials for the Center for Civic Policy said in May they had sent out literature for the Legislative Accountability Project in conjunction with several other nonprofits, including the SouthWest Organizing Project.

They said they sent the materials out as mailers starting after the end of the last legislative session as educational materials for voters based on the legislators' voting records, not as campaign materials intended to unseat lawmakers.

The problem is that the mailers can't help but be coordinated since all of the players are associated with one another.

According to the lawsuit (it's posted on Haussamen here), candidates Tim Keller, Eleanor Chavez and Eric Griego (a long time Soltari client) shared a campaign manager, Neri Holguin. Holguin is a former employee of Eli Lee at Soltari and is the current Treasurer for Conservation Voters Alliance of New Mexico.

Meanwhile Keegan King another former Soltari employee runs New Mexico Youth Organized, is employed by 1Sky New Mexico where Lee is a "consultant," and is Executive Director of New Energy Economy, Inc. Another respondent, Javier Benavidez is the Executive Director of Conservation Voters Alliance and an employee of 1Sky New Mexico - again, where Lee is a "consultant."

You already need a score card to keep track of all of the players, their non-profits, and their entanglements and we haven't even gotten to the other non-profits like Southwest Organizing Project, ACORN (like they've ever been above board), or the role that Congressional Candidate Martin Heinrich played as an advisor to New Mexico Youth Organized when the illicit campaign cash was being meted out.

The filing further alleges that the non-profits were used to raise and funnel tax deductible contributions to the three campaigns, along with providing manpower for get out the vote efforts. The candidates are alleged to have full knowledge of the contributions and in fact are purported to have approved individual mail pieces distributed by the non-profit organizations.

The lawsuit truly does read like a who's who of far left activists and political groups and even names George Soros as a funding source. We'd like to say that we were shocked about former Councilor Heinrich's involvement, but like Eric Griego he has a long standing relationship with Lee through Soltari.

Folks, these guys are not the United Way or your local church. They're using multiple non-profits as a front for professional political activism and allegedly funneling tax deductible donations to illegally alter the outcomes of elections. In the final analysis, Lee and his cronies are no better than the corporate lobbyists that they attack in their "Hal and Bob" ads. In fact, they're probably a hell of a lot worse considering that these political "non-profits" purport to be supporting the grassroots when they're actually choking them out.

Aug 4, 2008

A Place of Their Own

Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque have been occupying the same facility for... well as long as we can remember. The arrangement has worked pretty well for the two government entities and could even be called efficient - if anything government related could ever be called efficient.

Our Eyes tell us that the county commission has been looking for a suitable property for some time and now they've got their sights set on the Albuquerque Petroleum Building at 500 Marquette. As luck would have it the building is for sale for the rock bottom price of $44 MILLION.

Someone should check the water down there at the government center because the urge to spend tax dollars on brand new toys seems to be spreading. In addition, the city's penchant for obtaining predetermined results from "studies" and task farces is also catching. You see they've asked Tommy Hughes to study the purchase and advise the commission on the feasibility of the purchase.

Mr. Hughes of Hughes & Strumor, Ltd. is the bond counsel for the county - which means that he and his firm would directly benefit from the sale of the bonds that would be required to purchase the property. Now, we don't want to impugn the integrity of Mr. Hughes or his firm, but one can't help but notice a severe conflict of interest. It's kind of like the city hiring Leland Consulting Group - a company that specializes in putting trolleys in cities - to consult on whether or not to install a 19th Century Streetcar (read our take here).

All of this is going on at a time when the economy is struggling, and the county is looking for new tax revenue. It's not like the commission has been frugal over the past few years in fact they've been on somewhat of a spending spree with expenses going from $220 MILLION to $521 MILLION in just three years. For the past two years expenses have outstripped revenue by almost 12% (read it here).

Look, we could understand the county moving if they needed to. Our Eyes tell us that the county isn't cramped or in need of space they simply want a place of their own and they're willing to spend $44 MILLION of our money to get it.

----- Update -----
The Albuquerque Journal ran a story Tuesday on the proposed property purchase (Subscription). The story sites a purchase price of $42 MILLION. That number does not include an estimated $2 MILLION required to make the building county ready. We're sure that there would be some remodeling involved along with physically moving phone and IT systems just for starters. In fact, we'd be surprised if it only cost $2 MILLION particularly if they plan to move other county facilities to the building.

Aug 3, 2008

Arena? No Way!

In last week's Eye Poll we took up the question of a brand new taxpayer financed and/or built 12,000 seat downtown arena. Look, there are a lot of problems with Marty's arena ambition not the least of which is they don't have any idea who could or would be an anchor tenant. Build it and they will come may be an interesting concept for a Hollywood movie but is hardly applicable in the real world.

Eye readers picked up on that concept and that The Almighty Alcalde's field of dreams has all of the makings of a colossal taxpayer funded boondoggle. 67% of those participating in the poll said no way, 28% said absolutely build a new taxpayer boondoggle (arena), 4% didn't know, and 2% took the road of apathy not caring what Marty plans for their tax dollars (see the poll results here).

This week we'll look at the second prong of the New Urbanist taxpayer spending spree - Marty's 19th Century Streetcar. As we speak (or write) Marty's taskfarce is busy preparing a marketing report to sell the trolley to the public. We're trying to save them some time by letting the taskfarce know how Eye readers feel before wasting their time trying to convince people that their upcoming recommendation to build the trolley wasn't a foregone conclusion. Don't forget to vote!

Aug 1, 2008

Doing it Again

It looks like there are problems down at APD's Evidence Room... again. Over four years ago APD was rocked with allegations that evidence stored at the facility was being mishandled and/or lost (presumably right out the back door)(ABQ Journal - Subscription). Humorously, then AG Patricia Madrid determined that there wasn't enough "evidence" to prosecute (and you wonder why she lost the last election).

APD's Evidence Room is the repository for evidence taken from a crime scene or as part of a criminal investigation. Evidence held at the facility can be just about anything from drugs and money, to TVs and computers. The Evidence Room not only stores all of the evidence collected by the Albuquerque Police Department but also any evidence collected by BCSO. When evidence is lost, so too are the cases that they are associated with.

Our Eyes tell us that just recently the DA's Office was forced to drop several drug cases because the evidence room had "lost" the methamphetamine seized in the investigation. In addition, our Eyes tell us that the situation down at evidence has degraded to the state that it was when the scandal first broke four years ago. Of course it's not like this is a new problems. We told you about one of the problems just over a year ago (read it here).

To make matters worse, the sloppiness over at evidence seems to have moved next door to the crime lab - APD's CSI. According to our Eyes the over-worked unit has been cutting some corners procedurally speaking that could result in the lab's results being challenged. The concern in 5th Floor circles is that a defense attorney will discover the procedural shortcuts and have their client's convictions thrown out. If even one conviction is overturned, you can bet that any criminal convicted using evidence processed at the crime lab will be challenged (as it should be).

Cutting corners is not an option in forensic science. It undermines the credibility of the findings. If the crime lab is truly overworked then we need to add the necessary personnel and facilities to handle the load. Allowing a criminal to go free because of a procedural error is unacceptable - and so is convicting someone who's innocent based on faulty science.