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

Dec 28, 2009


Former Mayor Martin Chavez is becoming legendary for his little side agreements with his loyal minions. Firefighter's union President Diego Arencón signed an agreement with the Formerly Almighty Alcalde guaranteeing himself a hefty $90,000 a year salary despite holding a position as a Firefighter First Class (read it here). Ed Adams - Marty's right hand man - recently produced one of these little pieces of paper signed by former CAO Bruce Perlman that basically says that Adams has the right to keep his sweet salary ($147,000 a year) no matter what job he holds with the city.

Now our Eyes tell us that in the spirit of spreading the wealth to other Minion Alums, Lawrence Torres has produced a memorandum of understanding signed by former CAO and current Municipal Development employee Ed Adams that moved the former union president back to APD as a Patrolman 1st Class and like Adams Torres managed to keep his over $80,000 a year salary. The move was specifically designed to allow Torres to retire from APD.

You see, APD has a 20 year retirement. Despite the fact that Torres spent only around 15 years in open space, his service in HR (a non-public safety position) counts towards his PERA retirement if he retires from a public safety agency. The problem is according to our Eyes, Torres' allowed his state certification to lapse which would make him ineligible to return to APD as a sworn officer.

Our Eyes have it that back in late October, Deputy Chief McCabe spent some time over at the academy with Torres' file after which the file was noticeably bigger. It doesn't take a genius to guess that the additional forms might have something to do with Torres' certification.

Torres is set to retire later this week. It looks like he'll be able to use his salary from his job as "Employee Relations Director" to determine his retirement benefit and the fact that he's retiring from APD to make him eligible for a 20 year retirement.

The mistake that Adams and company may have made is in allowing Torres to take his former salary back to APD as a P1C. Our Eyes tell us that there are a number of officers who are none too happy that one of their fellow P1Cs was making roughly double their salary - even if it was for just a couple of months. Those officers are considering a lawsuit based on a violation of the APOA's collective bargaining agreement.

These little side agreements were standard operating procedure for the Chavez administration. What concerns us is that APD is still lead by those who have a vested interest in keeping these shenanigans under wraps. So far, three of Marty's closest Minions have been able to produce these MOUs. In the Torres case, Chief Schultz is directly responsible for allowing the move and potentially responsible for altering public records.

It's entirely possible that the Torres transfer was completely legal. But if Mayor Berry truly wants to create a transparent city government, every contract, every expense, every MOU needs to be easily accessible to the public. Taxpayers have to pay these bills... We should at least know what the bills are for.

Dec 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Somewhere along the line those two words - Merry Christmas - became controversial. Perhaps they were caught up in the wash of political correctness that flowed from the mindless (or mindful) discrimination perpetrated against the smaller ethnic and religious groups that have always been a part of our society. Perhaps it was the direct result of certain anti-religious elements whose faith dictates the removal of religion from the public square. When all is said and done, the reason doesn't matter when the result is increased intolerance in the name of tolerance.

Since its founding, our country has been a majority Christian nation. That's not to say that these Christians agreed on everything. It seems that there were as many different flavors of Christianity then as there were religions in the world and perhaps more; the same holds true today.

Because of these differences our founding fathers were wise enough to construct our Constitution on the foundation of liberty and freedom. They envisioned a public square not with an absence of religion but rather with a riotous tapestry of religious thought and expression; even if that religion was based on the faith that there's no God at all.

What these men from various religions and varying degrees of faith were most afraid of is that the government would choose one religion over the others even if that religion were a form of Christianity.
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.
Unfortunately over the last twenty or thirty years, one religious voice has gained a measure of dominance over the others. In the name of religious freedom this voice has worked tirelessly to reduce or even remove the voice of Christianity in the public square.

It's ironic but often true that groups will use the banner of freedom and tolerance to in fact restrict the freedoms of others. The freedoms of religion, speech, the press, and assembly are freedoms designed specifically for the expression of thought even or especially when that thought is religious in nature.

We've often held that if you do not allow your views or beliefs to be challenged, perhaps you need to re-examine those beliefs and the reasons for them. The same is true for religious belief. If your faith can not withstand the simple expression of "Merry Christmas," then perhaps you should re-examine your own faith - even if that faith is a certainty in the absence of God.

So... to those of you of the Christian faith (no matter which one) who will be celebrating Christmas, we wish you a very Merry Christmas. For those of you who are of different faiths - what ever they may be - we wish you a Merry Christmas as an expression of our faith not as an attack on yours.

----- Editors Note -----
This post first appeared December 24th, 2007. On this Christmas Eve when our freedom is under attack by the very people who have sworn to protect it, our expressions of faith are more important than ever.

Celebrate your faith and take joy in your freedom. Those things that go uncelebrated will exit our lives. Merry Christmas!

Dec 23, 2009


The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board is another one of those myriad of governmental boards that you've probably never heard of... unless of course you're a law enforcement professional. The board is essentially responsible for setting training standards for officers in the State of New Mexico. They are also responsible for officer certification and "revocation or suspension of certifications for officer misconduct" (read it here).

State law enforcement agencies forward the cases of officers who have been found guilty of a crime or found responsible in a civil proceeding to the NMLEA board for review. The board can then suspend an officer's certification or revoke it. When the state suspends or revokes an officer's state certification, they can no longer work in law enforcement at any police or sheriff's department in the State of New Mexico for as long as they remain uncertified.

The Albuquerque Police Department regularly forwards the cases of officers who have been found responsible for civil rights and other violations to the NMLEA board for review. However, there is one notable exception - Raymond D. Schultz.

Almost a month ago (November 25th), a jury found state certified officer Ray Schultz responsible for violating former Officer Sam Costales' Constitutional right to free speech (ABQ Journal - Subscription). Despite costing the City of Albuquerque almost $1 MILLION, APD has not sent the case to the NMLEA board.

Our Eyes tell us that APD officers who have been found responsible for violating someone's civil rights have not only been forwarded to the NMLEA board for action but have had their certifications pulled for costing the city far less than the approximately $862,000 awarded to Costales.

It's not really all that surprising that the chief's case wouldn't be forwarded to the state for review - after all, the chief's the one making the decision. But the Eyes have it that folks up in Santa Fe are somewhat surprised that no one else has filed a complaint. At the very least one might think that Sam Costales and/or his attorney would make an issue of the finding.
Interestingly, Chief Schultz sits on the NMLEA board. We would assume that the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy would have in place policies to prevent the accused from participating in making decisions in their own cases. But it does bring to mind the question of whether or not Schultz participated in determining punishment for officers that APD had forwarded for review.
[End Sidebar]
Our understanding is that anyone can make a complaint that an officer was found to have violated someone's civil/Constitutional rights. The complaint initiates an investigation that may or may not result in action by the board.

Should the board determine - as the jury did - that Schultz violated someone's civil rights, the board could recommend revocation of his certification. Revocation would make Schultz ineligible to work in any law enforcement capacity.

It's pretty obvious why the chief wouldn't forward his own case to Santa Fe despite having done so with other officers in very similar if not identical situations. A jury of his peers has already found him responsible for violating Sam Costales' 1st Amendment rights costing us over $800,000. A similar finding by the NMLEA board could cost him his job and his Chief's pension.

So, the chief will remain undisciplined and the rank and file will see yet another example of disciplinary inequity.

Dec 22, 2009

The Small Things

Mayor Berry is leading by example. The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that Berry declined the city's offer of a new mayor mobile.
Instead, Berry wanted a used vehicle out of the city's fleet.

"These things don't get you $50 million" in savings, Berry told the Journal recently. "What they do is set the tone."

The mayor ended up in a 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe LS. It has about 41,000 miles.
The mayor is absolutely right... every employee and every citizen looks to the mayor to set the "tone." If the mayor is driving a brand new set of wheels while having to slash the bloated budget, people have a hard time believing that the cuts are necessary. More importantly, people rightfully question his integrity.

The other element is consistency. Sure... taking a vehicle from the city motor pool is the right thing to do, but people won't forget the $12,000 a year raise he gave the new CAO. David Campbell makes roughly $12,000 a year more than his predecessor Ed Adams - who also managed to keep his $147,000 a year salary due to a backroom deal with the recently departed Almighty Alcalde.

The good news is that by saving the city some $40,000 plus, Mayor Berry just about broke even with Campbell and all it cost him was a new car.

Shining the Spotlight on Energy

by Marita Noon

The flurry of Christmas activities, shopping, and parties may occupy more of your brain space than news events. Even if you follow the news, health care fills the political reporting as it should. It has the potential to radically change an enormous portion of the American economy. However, there are other issues that need frequent attention lest, as the Wall Street Journal cites, the legislation quietly "rolls through."

I refer to the various energy policies, legislation, or regulation that are currently on the table. While healthcare may represent 1/6 of the economy, energy is the economy as energy usage and GDP go hand-in-hand. There are three major energy issues that require diligence: Cap and Trade, Climategate/Copenhagen, and Carbon Rulings.

Cap and Trade has been a news item, reaching its current pinnacle in July, when the House passed the Waxman-Markey Bill-under which US producers (primarily energy sources) would receive tradable permits to emit greenhouse gases. It aims to cut manmade emissions from the United States by 83% by 2050. Remember, energy use and GDP are intricately connected. Energy cuts will have an economic impact and reduce jobs. The Waxman-Markey Bill turned out to be unpopular once the public got wind of the significant costs. Those who voted for the bill were booed back at home. Now, the Senate is unenthusiastic about its own version of Cap and Trade. Many say it is "dead on arrival." If it comes up in the Senate at all, most are suggesting that it will be late spring. I called Senator Bingaman's office and they could not give me a potential date. Instead, they said, we are "doing healthcare now." Udall's office did not respond.

In the midst of the quiet on Cap and Trade, days before the start of the Copenhagen Climate Conference, e-mails were leaked from the Climate Research Unit--now known as "Climategate." These e-mails bring the entire issue of "climate change" into question. One has to wonder, why would the scientists hide or adjust data if they were as convinced of the strength of their case as they claim to be? The e-mails show a blacklisting of dissenting opinions, manipulating of peer review, and avoidance of freedom of information requests. Despite this, the Copenhagen Climate Conference is going full-speed-ahead in the hope of coming away with a treaty that will change the world as we know it.

Hope springs eternal. While on his Asian tour, Obama acknowledged that the best one could hope for is a political agreement. He is going back to the Scandinavian region with the promise of an 83% cut in US greenhouse gas emissions--about which WSJ says, "are only possible when everyone knows they will not happen." If the goals of the Copenhagen Conference are achieved, they will have America paying reparations for an imaginary climate debt accumulated while building the greatest economy of all times. There is little "hope" that China, India and even the Gulf Arab States will comply, thus making Copenhagen just a massive fossil-fuel-burning, carbon-emitting dog and pony show.

With the above scenarios as accepted fact, the Environmental Protection Agency had to do something to give President Obama cover. On December 7 (the opening day of the Copenhagen Conference), they announced that greenhouse gases "threaten the public health and welfare of the American people." Using the Clean Air Act that was written decades ago and was never, as the author agrees, intended to apply to carbon, EPA has given Obama a meaningless piece of paper to wave around in Copenhagen. While many businesses have sided with cap and trade thinking it will be less onerous than EPA regulations, it is widely agreed that the Clean Air Act is the wrong vehicle for the task. As Congress is in the midst of addressing the issue, the EPA's saber-rattling is typical administrative overreach, violating statutory authority. The ruling gives EPA's non-elected bureaucrats the ability to threaten business and recalcitrant Democrats--making it clear that they'd best toe the line. Meanwhile, the EPA decision will be tied up for years--if not decades--in the courts.

Whew! While energy is not dominating the news cycle, it is still charged up. During this Christmas season, hang your lights, cook your feast, and stay warm inside! If each of these issues moves forward without push back, it may be your last year to do so.

Marita Noon is the Executive Director at CARE (Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy), the nonprofit organization working to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom and the American way of life. Find out more at

----- Editor's Note -----
It was more than just a little humorous that President Obama was forced to cut short his Copenhagen Catastrophe Conference on global warming in order avoid getting stuck chilling in Copenhagen due to a major east coast snow storm.

The climate has always changed and it always will. This is not consensus it's simple fact backed up by empirical data. How did some of us become so arrogant as to actually believe that we could destroy the planet by burning carbon based fuels? Sheesh!

Dec 21, 2009

Ethical Dilemma

Last Wednesday, the Journal reported that State Senator Linda Lopez (D) was essentially handed a job with Bernalillo County to work on "regional jail initiatives and other assignments." It was a job that the county was paying MRCOG to do on their behalf and Lopez was apparently the doer at the COG.
[Lopez] makes about $26 an hour, the same amount she made at the COG, for 15 to 20 hours a week, officials said.

Lopez, a South Valley Democrat who is seeking her party's nomination for lieutenant governor, said her role as a state lawmaker didn't affect her hiring.

"I felt that since they were paying my salary ... it made sense to work for the county," Lopez said. "The money was already being funneled straight over to the COG."
The Journal felt that the problem was the fact that Lopez got the job with the county without a proper posting - and that's certainly a part of the problem. The bigger problem is that as a state senator, Lopez is one of the officials that control state funding for the county not to mention that by hiring Lopez, she could be in violation of the Hatch Act.
The Hatch Act applies to executive branch state and local employees who are principally employed in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency.
The Hatch act governs behavior of employees of governments whose agencies receive federal funding. Bernalillo County - like most governmental agencies - receives a healthy amount of federal funding. As such, Lopez is a covered employee according to the Office of Special Counsel.
Covered state and local employees may not-

* be candidates for public office in a partisan election
* use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination
* directly or indirectly coerce contributions from subordinates in support of a political party or candidate
Not only is Ms. Lopez a state senator, she is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor both of which are partisan elections. To be fair Senator Lopez' previous employer - MRCOG - was also a governmental agency that receives huge amounts of federal dollars, so she was probably already in violation.

But there's another potential county violator - Commissioner Maggie Hart-Stebbins. You see, Commissioner Hart-Stebbins works for the Mid-Region Council of Governments or MRCOG.
Hart Stebbins currently serves as the Special Projects Manager for the Mid-Region Council of Governments, where she has been an integral part of many projects including the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.
Ms. Hart-Stebbins was originally appointed by Big Bill, so there's a pretty good argument that she hasn't technically violated the Hatch Act... yet. However, when she becomes a candidate for the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners she will be working for an agency that receives large amounts of federal funding and will be a "candidate for a partisan election."

More ironically, the district 3 commissioner may be in violation of her own proposed ethics legislation (read it here). The commissioner's legislation has a pretty broad definition of prohibited source. One of which is "any person or entity who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the officials duties of the elected official, volunteer or employee."

The county has three seats on the MRCOG Board of Directors. The board members are county commissioners. And even though Commissioner Hart-Stebbins is not one of MRCOG's board members, she certainly has influence with the commissioners who are. More importantly, Commissioner Hart-Stebbins has an interest or interests that may be substantially affected by the commissioners serving on MRCOG's Board of Directors.

There's really no end to potential conflicts of interest when government employees also serve as elected officials whose interactions affect one another. There's also no end to the number of temptations.

Voters need to feel that the officials they elect have the best interests of the electorate at heart. When personal interests can be affected by the vote of an elected official, that official's integrity and ethics should rightfully be called into question. Both Lopez and Hart-Stebbins present an ethical dilemma created by their employment for government agencies and power entrusted to them as elected officials.

----- Correction -----
An Eye reader rightfully took us to task for our creative spelling of the word "dilemma." It has been corrected above.

Dec 14, 2009

Eye Poll: Wrong Move

After several weeks and almost 1,000 votes, Eye readers have spoken... Keeping the Old Cheif (Now New Chief) was a mistake. In our unscientific survey, a whopping 73% of participants felt that keeping APD Chief Ray Schultz was not the right decision. Only 23% felt that keeping the chief was the right move and 4% didn't know (view it here).

There are reasons that incoming executives clean house - particularly after a formerly entrenched administration. If you truly want to change the rules of the game you have to change the players.

Mayor Berry is confronting at least a $24 MILLION deficit created by the Chavez administration's out of control spending. Without a rapid recovery, there will have to be some difficult cuts - cuts that will not be popular. How do you fix a spending problem when many of the spenders are still in positions to spend?

Fortunately, the new mayor has run a business and does understand finances. However, only time will tell whether he will be able to clean up the mess over at APD - a mess that the chief has an interest in keeping hidden.

Dec 8, 2009

The Road to Tyranny

The greatest threat to our freedom isn't some Islamo-Facist group training in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan (although they remain a threat to our security), it's the internal threat created by good intentions. Whether it's global warming or healthcare these crises of convenience are serving to render liberty a quaint reminder of our past.

Our individual liberties are being consistently eroded by our good intentions. As a country and a society we are a generous people who want to see those less fortunate provided with an opportunity to better their lot in life. We also want to be good stewards of the environment in which we live. Our response is to give ever increasing authority to government eschewing our own responsibilities and delivering our liberties to those who are the most likely to abuse them and us.
Gov. Bill Richardson has issued an executive order today that contains a slew of new emission reduction directives designed to combat climate change, which the governor described as "the most critical environmental issue of our time."
In addition, the executive order specifically calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that stem from coal-fired power plants and mining operations.
Never mind that the global warming "scientists" are far too willing to substitute consensus for evidence. Never mind that the historical record indicates periods of global cooling and warming long before man's discovery of the useful nature of carbon based fuels. Ever increasing regulation will strangle innovation and for a state dependent on oil and gas revenue that has regulated itself into a $600 MILLION deficit, more regulation equals economic disaster.

American success is built upon American freedom. Whether it's regulating a gas created by every mammal on the planet in the name of saving said planet or creating a new health insurance system that will inevitably lead to poorer care and fewer choices, our personal and economic freedoms are under attack.

The Tea Party movement is a direct response to our government's attack on freedom. They understand that when government spends our money and binds us to financial commitments that cannot possibly be repaid for generations. Each dollar spent by government, each financial obligation incurred necessarily our economic options - our economic freedom.

If we continue down this road of empowering government rather than insuring liberty we will achieve the ends that are the goal of our country's Islamo-Facist enemies, economic collapse and governmental tyranny.

Dec 3, 2009

First You Laugh, Then You Cry

"There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth." Victor Borge

Saturday Night Live has received widespread acclaim for their recent skit called "China Cold Open, China would like their money back." (Google that it if you have not seen it.) NBC's website features page after page of praise for the great skit. One calls it an “instant classic.” Another proclaims that with this skit, SNL has been “reborn.” Surely, they hit the ball out of the park with this one. It has been talked about around water coolers, posted on FaceBook and passed around via e-mail.

It is truly laugh-out-loud funny. However, after you laugh, you cry. Like the Victor Borge quote, it is truth. SNL knows to base humor on truth. The rest of us need to acknowledge China's prominence as truth.

Unfortunately, as the skit highlights, America is in no position to lecture China on their shortcomings. We are borrowing their money, but have no way to pay it back. As the skit makes clear, we cannot pay it back in “clunkers.”

In the current economy, China holds all the cards.

Some important news items relating to China have been buried by all the noise about healthcare.

One is in regard to rare earth minerals— things most people are totally unaware of, but things that are essential to modern life. Rare earths include names that most of us cannot pronounce like neodymium, dysprosium, and terbium. (Perhaps that is why no one talks about them.) But these unfamiliar words represent essential components of things as everyday as computers, cell phones, and television as well as less obvious necessities like magnets, CDs, and infrared equipment. The China connection is that China controls 97% of the world’s rare earth market and is working to take over more—a move that was struck down by Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board as they realized the geopolitical danger of China's control. Add to that the fact that China just announced that they will discontinue the export of rare earths as their own needs are exceeding production. This means that all items requiring rare earths will have to be manufactured by China—giving them full market dominance. Unless, America quickly moves forward on accessing our own rare earths that we have in abundance. An important thing to note is that China’s rare earths are essential for the widely touted "green energy."

Next, China is rapidly moving past us when it comes to energy. We hear a lot about how many new coal-fueled power plants China is building and we hear about China's pollution. But we are not reading between the lines of those two news tracks. Yes, China has polluted their skies and waters—much like we did in the early seventies. And, like we did, they are now working to clean them up. However, unlike America, they understand the direct connection between energy, manufacturing, and economic development. So, while they know they need to clean up, they are investing in clean energy that works. They know they need the large-scale power that comes from coal and nuclear and their new power plants are multiplying like rabbits. We all know that nuclear provides clean energy, but what most do not realize is that coal has cleaned up its act. The power plants that are being built in China—and that could be being built here—are now as clean as a natural gas-fueled power plant. The difference is that China is building them and in America we are busy demonizing coal. Professor Michael Economides, author of the new book Energy: China's Choke Point, says “If China and America decided to do something on the same day, two years later America would still be mired in the permitting process and China would have it done.” They now have the “can-do” attitude and America keeps saying we “cannot.”

While China is building the power they need, America is trying to move off of what works and hopes supplemental, intermittent energy can carry the load—when many of the parts needed for wind and solar energy and hybrid cars come from China.

China is loaning us money that we have virtually no hope of paying back. China will also be holding all the cards when it comes to energy. They'll have all they need and we won't have enough. China will be laughing and Americans will be crying. First you laugh, and then you cry.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit organization that operates from the platform of “Energy Makes America Great” and supports all domestic energy development. She can be reached at or

Dec 1, 2009

A New Beginning

Today the City of Albuquerque will experience something that we have something we haven't had in 8 long years... a new beginning. Marty will be handing over the keys to the city and taking many of his merry band of minions with him.

We've been critical of some of Mayor-Elect Berry's choices - particularly Chief Schultz and David Campbell. However, they are Berry's choices for good or ill. The major difference between the outgoing mayor and the incoming mayor is that R.J. Berry is making choices that he believes are good for the city - people who can keep the governmental lights on and keep the buses running on time.

Monday, the Albuquerque Journal ran what can only be described as a puff piece - fortunately the final puff piece of the Chavez tenure. Predictably, the Journal's focus was on the Chavez Legacy.
"I think, when all is said and done, people will say Mayor Chávez got things done," Chávez said Friday in a telephone interview. "The city is dramatically different than it was, I believe, when we started."

He added that he had help from city administrators: "I can't take full responsibility for everything."
The article goes on to list water conservation, the Montaño Bridge, the Paseo extension, graffiti removal, blah, blah, blah. Marty said himself that he couldn't take full responsibility - and that's probably the first absolutely honest quote we've read in a very long time. And one other thing... the mob gets things done too.

The fact is Marty had a lot of help from a lot of different elected officials. Moreover, how many of his legacy accomplishments would have been accomplished under another mayor? (Ok, maybe not Jim Baca.)

Marty's true legacy will be one of self-service and ever-increasing tyrannical behavior. Which brings us back to our new beginning.

If you'll remember, the Chavez campaign ran a whole slew of misleading commercials trying to portray Berry as less than honest. (Berry's new Chief of Police participated in a similar attack on Berry's character implying that he was somehow responsible for the crimes perpetrated against him.) The fact is the reason Marty was attacking Berry's honesty is because Mayor Berry is an honest man and as such he will honestly administer city government and we're all better for it.

Don't kid yourself... government is never pretty. Generally speaking, governments are made up of competing interests, beliefs, and agendas. Some feel that the ends justify the means and will do anything to advance their agenda. As a result, there will be bumps in the road and embarrassments for the new administration. The difference will be in how those bumps are handled by the mayor himself.

In October, the voters restored integrity to the mayor's office. We have high hopes for the future and for the new beginning that Mayor Berry brings with him.