The city of Albuquerque will start paying the District Attorney's Office $275,000 to prosecute repeat offenders.Of course Mayor For Life Marty didn't bother to get council approval he simply committed the money without all of that legal mumbo-jumbo required by the City Charter. More interestingly, the money comes almost a week to the day after Kari's major flip-flop on investigating APD.
At a joint news conference Wednesday, Mayor Martin Chávez and Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg announced that a team of prosecutors will be formed targeting suspects who have multiple convictions. The city will provide funding for the team for one year.
Last Thursday the Journal quoted Brandenburg as saying...
"I think it would be prudent for it to be turned over to an investigatory agency so they could look at it," she said. "We are interested in any injustice being done. I would certainly think the circumstances warrant for an independent investigation."By Friday...
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Thursday she will look at the cases her office prosecuted. She also said she feels APD can investigate the allegations involving the reserves making arrests.Perhaps Brandenburg was no longer interested in "justice being done" because Marty got out the city's checkbook in order to dump $275,000 into the cash strapped District Attorney's office. In the process Marty gets to go out and look like he's doing something to discourage repeat offenders.
She previously said an independent investigation was warranted, but clarified that APD should do its own independent investigation.
One of Chávez's opponents in the October mayoral election, Richard Berry, issued a statement after the news conference saying the announcement was "disingenuous."Of course none of this makes any sense. The city is going to provide two lawyers and a civilian for one year at a cost of $275,000 in order to get the DA's office to pursue repeat offender sentencing enhancements that they should be pursuing already. Exactly how does it cost more money and require three people to pursue a sentencing enhancement? The previous DA seemed to be able to do so.
"This is nothing more than a $275,000 smokescreen," Berry said in the statement. "In the last weeks of the campaign, Chávez is scrambling to appear tough on crime in the hope that voters will forget his record, but after 12 years as mayor, he has been unable to solve the problem."
The only way this makes any sense is in the context of a payoff. Brandenburg knows that she's facing a shrinking budget (No root beer floats for you!). Marty knows that an independent investigation of APD will turn up all sorts of embarrassing problems with The 5th Floor. The Almighty Alcalde simply can't afford to have a sitting elected official - particularly the DA - calling for an investigation of his administration.
The funny part is that we'll bet that Brandenburg has been had. The money ain't Marty's to blow and by the time the $275,000 doesn't show up the election will be over along with the mayor's incentive to fight the council for it.
Even more funny is that we're hearing rumors that outside parties are already poking around in the PD's past. Marty's move was most probably a payoff - one that Brandenburg will never receive.