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

Nov 19, 2008

Whispers in the City Halls

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the electoral waters... it's time to start ramping up for not one but TWO elections in 2009. February features the little noticed (except by teachers unions) APS School Board election and coming in October is the first publicly financed mayoral fiasco.

It may be early but our Eyes downtown have ears and they're starting to hear the whispers of ambition echoing through the halls of city power. There will be five council seats on the ballot and The Almighty Alcalde will either have to defend his 11th floor office or ride into the green sunset.

Our Eyes have it that The Almighty Alcalde is hoping to land a high paid gig with the Greens in Washington. Apparently the Greens on the national tree haven't heard about Marty's flirtations (some might say collusion) with the development community - a partnership that came to a screeching halt once Marty decided to run for Governor... uh, Senat... aw hell mayor looks good.

Marty's leftward lurch was no doubt an effort to appease his more liberal detractors. The move doesn't appear to have worked as that's the very group that damn near dragged Tom Udall out of his northern Congressional district to make him New Mexico's next Senator.

Never one to be out of options, Marty made sure that he wouldn't have to rely on the Greens for employment by suing the city that he runs to overturn the City Charter's prohibition on third terms. In one of the most bizarre displays of court room unity the plaintiff (Marty), the City (defense attorneys hired by the city run by Marty) and the Judge all agreed that term limits were unconstitutional under the State Constitution. So... The Almighty Alcade has the option of becoming His Honor for life.

Our Eyes tell us that Marty has been heard to say that if District 5 Councilor Michael Cadigan were to run then the Greens would have to find another Washington lobbyist. We think that the Green thing and the whole Candigan ploy is hhhhhhogwash. Marty's running because no one else wants him and the Greens have probably figured out by now that the "greening" of the Q is more about the gaining of political power for The Almighty Alcalde.

Which brings us to Councilor Cadigan... The District 5 two termer is looking to move up to the 11th Floor and probably figures that after three terms Marty fatigue has got to have set in. He's also no doubt banking on the recent rejections by Democrats of the current 11th floor occupant to give him a leg up with city Ds.

Meanwhile, there's another unlikely whisper careening through downtown halls - Councilor Sally Mayer. Councilor Mayer has been consistently supported by the development community and who knows... if the Ds are busy duking it out in the Duke City she might just pull an upset.

Meanwhile down in the council chambers there are the echoes of two past councilors who could be seeking a return to city hall. Interestingly, both are current County Commissioners whose terms would end in 2010. Our Eyes tell us that Alan Armijo and Michael Brasher may have designs on returning to their respective council districts.

Thankfully, the 2009 election season is still a few months off. But, 2009 promises to be an intriguing year none the less even if it begins with a few whispers and not the thunderous explosion of Senator Domenici's cataclysmic retirement.

Nov 17, 2008

Misleading

Sometimes you've got to wonder whether or not the Albuquerque Journal is handling public relations for APD's 5th Floor. Today's little timely story about APD response times comes just three days before Chief Ray Schultz faces an APOA no confidence vote. More disturbing is that this little piece of journalism leaves readers with the wrong idea.
Police have been getting to your door faster — but Police Chief Ray Schultz has been getting heat for that.

Schultz changed the work schedules for most officers in April, assigning them to work five days a week instead of four 10-hour days. The main reason, he said, was to improve response times.

As a result, officers have been vocal in opposition of the change, criticizing Schultz at staff meetings and on Internet blogs.
- ABQ Journal (Subscription)
(Pray tell what "Internet blogs" could they mean?!)
The Journal's police beat reporter, T.J. Wilham, would have you believe that since officers have gone to the new 5 day a week - 8 hour a day schedule that they are arriving on your doorstep faster than they used to.
Since 2002, response times have increased. Last year, on average, it took APD 8.9 minutes to get to top priority calls. It took an average of 24.5 minutes for all calls combined.
Since the new schedule was started, APD has been averaging 7.8 minutes for top priority calls and 15.2 minutes for all calls.
What Wilham doesn't tell you is that these average response times are from the time an officer is dispatched to the time they arrive on-scene. It absolutely does not mean that an officer will arrive 7.8 minutes from the time you call for help.

APD dispatch is kind of like a triage unit. They prioritize calls based on how dangerous the situation is to the caller and whether or not a crime is in progress. Dispatch holds lower priority calls and dispatches to high priority calls first. The problem is dispatch only has so many officers to work with. As a result, even Priority 1 calls stack waiting for officers to clear.

video
"Folks when I started this job [2]7 years ago, we were stacking calls. When Joe Bowdich started his job they were stacking calls. Who cares? Who cares if calls are waiting? I don't care if calls are holding."
As you can tell, Chief Schultz isn't overly concerned about waiting calls - just how long it takes from dispatch to arrival. Sure those numbers are important, but they're just part of the picture.

Our Eyes behind the badge tell us that the primary reason that the average dispatch time has been reduced is because the 5-8 schedule allowed Ray and Company to staff a 6th Area Command. That 1.1 minute reduction in "response time" is primarily due to geography. Officers simply don't have as far to go to reach their destinations.

You're probably thinking that the move to 5-8s could be considered a success - it isn't. Marty and Ray simply exchanged officer fatigue and morale for a minimal gain in response times that may have nothing to do with the schedule changes.

The move to 5-8s was a desperate move to conceal the fact that APD is understaffed - a situation that despite new contracts and advertising campaigns, The Almighty Alcalde and the 5th Floor have failed to rectify. The fact is calls are still stacking and people needing help are still in danger despite the Journal's misleading story and despite the Chief's misleading numbers.

----- Correction -----
We originally indicated that the move to 5-8s was to allow the staffing of a 5th area command. Ooops! We meant 6th area command. It has been corrected above.

Nov 16, 2008

Legacy and OPM

At a time when Congress, President Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed, and President-Elect Barack Obama are busy either spending $700 BILLION or asking for even more, Comrade, uh... Councilor Benton and Councilor O'Malley have the temerity to ask for another $400 MILLION to pay for an undersized arena with no anchor tenant at a time when we just approved a RailRoader tax and are generally afraid that we may not have a job come Monday.
(Sidebar)
Ok... that's probably the worst run-on sentence we've ever seen. Even we admit it's somewhat ridiculous. But, we're not asking for $400 MILLION for an un-needed arena when almost everyone else is worried about the next dollar they may, or may not be able to earn - that's truly ridiculous.
(End Sidebar)
Somehow, somewhere, the council came up with almost $1 MILLION to for a "feasability study" that looked at whether or not (or rather whether without the not) we all should cough up $400 MILLION for a new downtown arena.
Dale Lockett, president of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city risks losing convention business without the project. The city already provides a roughly $1 million subsidy to the Albuquerque Convention Center, a consequence of not having enough hotel rooms for big conventions, he said.

"Cities after cities are lining up to do these projects," Lockett said. "It's our competition. ... We are in serious jeopardy of being completely out of the convention industry."
So, we're dumping $1 MILLION a year into the Convention Center, all because we don't have enough hotel rooms. Hmmm... Have you ever noticed that we have a somewhat large event every freaken year that's ten times the size of any convention we've ever seen? It's called the Balloon Fiesta and we seem to be able to handle that "convention."

There was a time when finding a room anywhere from Belen to Santa Fe during the Balloon Fiesta was near to impossible. However, the market provided and now we have all sorts of hotels all over town and a fair number of entrepreneurs who put their own homes up for rental - and it didn't cost taxpayers a dime. It's hard to believe that we don't have enough hotel rooms for a any convention that might be held in The Convention Center.

This sounds an awful lot like the AIG bailout... "we're in danger of being out of the convention business." Lockett's solution is for the city to go into the hospitality business. In other words we need to have another money pit to go with the Balloon Fiesta Museum, The Convention Center, and the Bio Park - all because we're "in danger of being out of the convention business." The government is too big to fail.
Benton also said a mail-in ballot might be the way to quickly get the issue before voters. Waiting until October might not work because the group that owns the First Baptist Church — part of the planned site — could sell it before then to someone else.

"The sooner we deal with this, the better," O'Malley said.
O'Malley and Benton's idea to have a "special" or "mail-in" election is nothing but a ploy to reduce turn out and tilt the odds in favor of a new city funded arena/hotel complex. They understand that a municipal election that includes the Mayor historically generates a larger turnout - a turnout that has repeatedly said "no" to raises and taxes not related to public safety.
October might not work because the group that owns the First Baptist Church — part of the planned site — could sell it before then to someone else.

"The sooner we deal with this, the better," O'Malley said.
At this point we're really stunned that anyone in government would ask for more money and higher taxes in order to build an arena and hotel complex that the city doesn't need. If the folks over at First Baptist Church decide to sell their property to another buyer before the general election they're probably doing "the Lord's work."

The arena isn't something we asked for and it's not something that we need. Spending other people's money on a project that can't possibly pay for itself is easy - particularly when you've just spent $700,000 on a marketing... feasability study that shockingly tells you to go ahead with the project despite an economic downturn.

What's hard is for elected officials to resist the temptation of paying for huge projects with our money in order to have some kind of legacy - some proof that they held office. Of course their legacy is built with Other People's Money.

Our first post-election Eye Poll concerns the Legacy that O'Malley and Comrade Benton seek to build. Arena yes or no... Don't forget to vote!

Nov 12, 2008

A Way Out

The fallout from last week's national election continues. While Democrats vie for positions on Congressional staffs and/or the Obama administration, Republicans have seen their crushed under the weight of Hurricane Obama. APD Chief Ray Schultz falls into that latter category.

According to our Eyes, the beleaguered chief had his sights set on a position on the White Congressional staff. Of course there's only one problem with Ray's plan - the White Congressional staff ended up being the Heinrich Congressional staff.

The Eyes have it that Schultz has become shall we say weary of leading New Mexico's largest police department. It's understandable that the chief would be looking for Congressional parachute considering the rumors of yet another APOA no confidence vote, increasingly tense relations with the Almighty Alcalde, and well... a bothersome little blog known by APD brass as "the site."

Schultz's tenure hasn't exactly been without controversy. He was responsible for bringing the RedFlex Scam-era system to our fair city. Property crime and violent crime have been on the rise. He has repeatedly failed to meet staffing goals. There are rumblings of yet another Evidence Room Scandal. And who can forget his move to 5-8s to um... "reduce response times."

It'll be interesting to see if the Chief finds another way out. He leads a department that by and large would like to see the back of him and works for the Almighty Alcalde who will show him the door if he becomes a political liability. Times are tough and we're not just talking the economy here.

Nov 4, 2008

Congratulations

We extend our congratulations to Senator, now President Elect Barack Obama. He is the result of years of hard work by countless Democrats and his unfailing eloquence. For once we truly hope that we are wrong and that Mr. Obama is more than he appears and deeper than his rhetoric.

Democrats will have the opportunity to lead with a House firmly in their control and Senate where they hold sway. The responsiblity for their governing for - good or ill - will be their own. Ultimately it's our responsiblity to hold them accountable and to remember their campaign, their promises, and this night.

For Republicans it's a time to rebuild, to re-engergize, to find their way. Unlike many pundits who keep claiming that Republicans lost because they were too conservative, we'd argue that Republicans lost because they lost their way. Republicans need to find the core values of limited government, lower taxes, lower spending, and liberty. They lost not because they were too conservative, but because they became too much like their opponents.

For now... congratulations President Elect Obama. Our grand experiment in democracy continues while we peacefully transfer power as we have for over 200 years.

Nov 3, 2008

Beware the Redeemer

History is replete with examples of men who have sold themselves as redeemers. People look to these leaders to restore their pride, save them from enemies, or assuage their guilt over a past sin. Desperation is the common thread. The more desperate or scared the public is, the more willing they are to look past clear indications of danger.

For the past eight years, Democrats have been beating the drums of fear and pointing the finger of blame. For 9/11 it was why didn't we connect the dots? Their demands resulted in the Patriot Act. Iraq was a heralded as a danger to the free world and developer of WMD's (which by the way they were - chemical weapons count) by both Republicans and Democrats. When we invaded, we were doomed to fail (Remember quagmire?). When we deposed Hussein (the dictator not the Senator) the drums beat failure because we hadn't captured the dictator that went to ground - quite literally.

Of course the saga continued with Democrats gleefully counting our honored dead and screaming for more troops. When we sent more troops as part of the surge, they screamed for their immediate departure. At every turn they were the purveyors of doom and fear preparing the way for an articulate man from Illinois to rise out of the fog of dirty Chicago politics - a redeemer to save us from war, a mortgage crisiss, and our past guilt.

Barack Obama was the perfect candidate to act as a redeemer. He undeniably has charm and charisma on a level never before seen in politics, and the ability to beguile an audience with a message of hope, while hiding a core of wealth redistribution, central government control, and associations with domestic terrorists.

Unfortunately, what began as politics as usual has effectively created a pervasive environment of fear - an environment that history shows can give rise to a despot in redeemers clothing. What concerns us is not Obama's skills, or even his terrifying belief in "economic justice," but the blind devotion he inspires in his followers.

In the 1930's another charismatic leader offered redemption to his people - redemption from an economy in shambles and a badly wounded national pride following a traumatic war. Like Obama this redeemer used the media to great effect even creating one of the most famous propaganda films of all time - Triumph des Willens.

Obama has sold himself as a redeemer in a time of economic trouble and eight years of negative propaganda from a party desperate to regain its political power. Now like the Germans of the 30's Obama's followers are ignoring what he has said and who he has associated with in favor of who they would like him to be.

We're not trying to say that Obama is the next great despot. He may be simply a misguided community organizer with uncommon communication skills propelled to national prominence through a series of dirty tricks and uncanny luck. However, Obama has positioned himself as a redeemer - a savior - which is incredibly dangerous when it inspires blind allegiance. Beware the Redeemer for he can bring damnation as quickly as salvation.

-----Update-----
We wrote the above post last night before we had seen what turns out to be a more complete analysis of what the Obama campaign and his handlers have been peddling. Like our post, Claude Benson makes comparisons to 1930's Germany.
Goebbels made famous the utility of the Big Lie. If a lie was big enough and told often enough, people would more easily accept it and themselves make it stick. Axelrod has made Obama’s entire history a Big Lie. Much of Obama’s biography, record, goals and intentions has been staged and structured to fit our wishes rather than our scrutiny. Axelrod has kept much of his history from his birth certificate, his true background, the funding possibly from the likes of an advisor to Saudi Prince Awaleed bin Tal for his Columbia and Harvard education, what he wrote at Harvard and elsewhere to his deep relationships with radical revolutionary Saul Alinsky, ACORN, Raila Odinga’s campaign, and others hidden from true independent clarification.
It's a great read and details how the public can be manipulated when the conditions are right and when a charismatic leader emerges. We'd urge you to read the complete post (here).

Some of the comments we have received tried to compare Regan to Obama. Regan was no doubt charismatic, but the major difference was that Regan ran a campaign based on reason that created hope for the future. Obama peddles undefined "change" and "hope" without reason. His followers believe what they want to believe despite his past and regardless of what he says.