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

Jun 29, 2010

Your Tax Dollars at Work

An "events center" or a performing arts magnate school... what is the real future of the First Baptist Church building on the corner of Central and Broadway? The Albuquerque Public Schools - awash in bond money approved by voters back in February - has put in a bid to buy the church for $11.3 MILLION. APS wants to turn the facility originally built in 1927 into a performing arts magnate school (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

Meanwhile, the city is watching its dream of an arena, uh... "events center" exit stage left. So the city council in a 7-1 vote with Councilor Lewis objecting and Councilor Winter recusing himself, resolved to urge the mayor to try and negotiate a deal with APS to allow the two governmental entities to share the site (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

The real question is what are either of these two taxpayer paid for entities doing spending our tax dollars on a school for the performing arts or an "events center?" Both the city and APS are in the middle of what can only be called a serious budget crisis. Layoffs and cuts are rampant at both but don't worry, you'll have an "events center" or a magnate school to go to even if you can't afford the tickets or pencils.

Notice how the unpopular arena has become an "events center?" Like global warming - now climate change - the arena has become increasingly unpopular with the public. So we'll build an "events center" not an "arena" - a distinction without a difference. Or more like a boondoggle by any other name still stinks the same.
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The problem is that money for capital projects like this purchase come from the sale of bonds. They're essentially loans supported by taxes. Sometimes money will come from various federal programs like the spending package euphemistically known as ARRA - The "American Reinvestment and Recovery Act." But in the final analysis all of the money comes from us.

More importantly, the completion of these monuments to entertainment will require operational money that comes from already depleted general funds. Remember, both APS and the city are cutting salaries and laying off personnel.

In short, there are a number of very compelling reasons not to build either project. The school board looks like it's got $617 MILLION burning a hole in its pocket courtesy of a tiny tilted turnout. The city doesn't have the $400 MILLION it wants for an arena, but if or when it does you'll be the one paying for it.

This isn't about economic development and it's not about education. It's about spending every dime provided by taxpayers regardless of the long-term consequences. By the way, today - June 30th - is the last day you'll be paying 6.625% on purchases. Tomorrow you'll be paying 7% in Albuquerque - sending even more of your tax dollars to "work" so that bureaucrats and politicians can play. 

Jun 28, 2010

Broken Records

Records... they're the bane of just about everyone's existence but an essential part of law enforcement. Without records and reports, officers would find it almost impossible to truthfully testify - forgetting details or even confusing cases. Believe it or not, most officers spend a lot of time in court testifying. Without accurate records event the most experienced DA would have a difficult time convicting anyone.

As we told you back in January, the Albuquerque Police Department's records department is behind - way behind. And despite forced overtime, the folks over at records can't seem to catch up. Much of the delay seems to be due to the new data entry system affectionately known as Crapperfire (officially known as Copperfire).

Back in January we told you that the delays were problematic, evidence was getting separated from reports and that 229 reports had simply disappeared. More recently our Eyes tell us that supervisors have been seeing reports rejected for corrections only to find that the required correction had been made over a year prior but hadn't been recorded yet.

Most concerning is that the system has now lost considerably more than 229 reports. Our Eyes tell us that somewhere around 10,000 reports are simply gone. The 5th Floor is asking officers to re-write the reports but officers are refusing to do so.

Now before you go and think that they're just being difficult, understand a significant amount of time has passed since many of these reports were originally written. Officers must testify under oath to the accuracy of their reports and will base their testimony on those same reports. If an officer is attempting to re-create a police report even a few months later, it's likely that many of the details would be lost. As a result, officers could not truthfully testify to the events in question and cases would be dismissed. It's even possible that officers could be sanctioned or charged with perjury.

Copperfire appears to have been a bad choice made worse by poor implementation, under staffing, and bad training. It seems as if the hole being dug by Crapperfire is getting deeper. We don't quite know how to get APD out of this and away from all of these broken records, but the first thing to do when you've found yourself in a hole is to stop digging.

Jun 27, 2010

It’s An Economic War Stupid

A war analogy is used to describe the situation in the Gulf. From the Oval Office, Obama addressed, “the battle we’re waging,” saying, that our shores and citizens are being assaulted.

We are in a war. But to watch the political maneuvering taking place in Washington, it appears we are at a war with BP, when we should be partnering with them to battle the constant flow gushing into the Gulf.

Earlier this month, Obama demonized BP for spending money on television ads. BP is in the midst of a PR nightmare—exacerbated by ill-managed comments from the CEO. BP needs to consider their stockholders, pensioners, and their future ability to pay.

In effort to lift their own lackluster performance, the administration has to paint BP as the villains. There is plenty of blame to go around and surely BP will end up owning a fair share of it, but no one wins if BP is not healthy. In the last month, their stock has sunk, the news is rife with reports of a possible bankruptcy, and talk is heard of a potential government seizure. In order to pay the myriad charges against them, BP needs to be solvent—even successful. The President shooting at them shows how little he understands about basic business principles—unless his goal is the demise of BP.

A few days later, Obama ratcheted up the adversarial tone when he declared that BP’s CEO Tony Hayward, “wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements.”

Then, he summoned the BP executives to the White House as newscasters commented on the “perp walk.” Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”

Once there, they went through what Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) called a “shake down” resulting in agreement to a $20 billion escrow fund—which they probably would have agreed to even under friendly circumstances. BP has repeatedly offered assurances of payment. This was not something they had to do. But the actions circumvented the law.  Why is there so little outrage over the denial of due process?

Like his colleagues, Tony Hayward was called in front of Congress—patiently listening to their attacks and accusations while he was “sliced and diced.” Henry Waxman (D-CA) all but acknowledged that after reviewing thousands of pages of internal documents, there was little evidence of upper-level executives being aware of the problems with the well. (Most of us have worked for a company where we were confident that the CEO has little awareness of what was really going on.) The interrogation produced little but political grandstanding by representatives who want to look like they are doing something. The hearings are a distraction, an attempt to shape the agenda and push cap and trade as was made clear by Ed Markey’s (D-MA) opening comments.

One Representative defended their actions by saying that they were protecting the American Citizens—an apt role for government. But if government was truly on it on day one, no escrow fund, no hearings would be needed. Despite the quantity of past violations, the government approved BP’s drilling and disaster response plans. A luncheon was even scheduled honor BP with a safety award for that very well. There has been plenty of cronyism between BP, the MMS and the administration that points to a failure of government as much as it does to BP. With proper government protection, the blow out may never have happened.

The government’s actions toward BP set a terrible precedent of government vs. business. The drilling moratorium is an example: it is government who has caused massive laid-offs.

Additionally, the government/business relationship is fickle. BP may have received favors because they were about to endorse the President’s beloved cap and trade scheme. When you are a big business who can help the agenda, you get perks and exemptions—otherwise, the policies punish you. Who’d want to invest, or grow? Businesses fear government may turn on them.

We’re in economic peril. Out-of-touch elitists shouldn’t beleaguer job creators. They should work with them, be on the same team. No one wins when business goes bankrupt. Congress needs to quit grandstanding and work with the oil companies to find solutions to the Gulf crisis. There will be plenty of time later for investigations and interrogations.

Yes, we are in a war, but it is not a war against BP or even against the oil spill. It’s an economic war, and if we do not draft a different battle plan, America is going to lose.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit, membership-based organization advocating for citizens rights to energy freedom. She can be reached at or

Jun 25, 2010


After weeks of anticipation the county finally made public the results of the promised Dantis investigation... sort of. Instead of releasing the full report, the county provided an "executive summary" to reporters at a late Friday morning news conference.

The $20,000 "executive summary" covered all of the points of everything that everyone already knew. In truth, the "investigation" didn't uncover anything new. But taxpayers should feel confident that the county spent an inordinate amount of taxpayer money to find out something everyone already knew.

County Manager Thaddeus Lucero gave a prepared statement to members of the press and after stating that he was "protect[ing] the due process and other rights of the accused and the witnesses" went on to name a number of county employees who would be disciplined and in one case terminated.

Excuse us, but it's a bit strange that the only person that County Manager Thaddeus Lucero was unwilling to talk about (other than witnesses) was the one man that was referenced no less than 17 times in the 7 page "executive summary" - Deputy County Manager, John Dantis.

Of course, the DCM wasn't referenced to by name but rather as the DCM. In fact, the name John Dantis who happens to be the DCM, doesn't appear a single time in the "executive summary."
According to a witness who participated in the hiring process for Dantis, the DCM encouraged him and the Clinically Managed Detox Supportive Aftercare Community MATS Facility management Program Manager (the “Program Manager”) to hire Dantis despite their concerns with his qualifications and the short length of time that Dantis had been in recovery.
Even according to the "executive summary," the hiring of Jamie Danits was a violation of the county nepotism policy. Therefore, none of the events following the hire have a whole lot of relevance because the hire should have never have taken place.

Should county employees who helped further the younger Dantis career by covering for his failings be disciplined and even terminated? Absolutely. But the problem is the main actor in this county kabuki dance is being allowed to retire without a hint of discipline and without a definite date.
John Dantis has been in discussion with me for the last six months prior to any accusations and the investigation, regarding his retirement. At this time, I do not have an official letter of retirement from Mr. Dantis. I will not take any further questions on this matter.
- Prepared Statement of County Manager Thaddeus Lucero
No questions, no date, no disciplinary action. This action (or lack thereof) sends a crystal clear message to county employees... if you're high enough on the food chain you're untouchable. More, it actually reinforces the idea that county managers and deputy managers are untouchable therefore, you better play ball.

One need look no further than today's news conference to determine how and why an unqualified son of a "DCM" was able to not only get but keep his job despite numerous incidents of questionable behavior. Accountability starts at the top and no one should be untouchable.

Eye on the Grapevine: Chief Schultz to Retire?

It looks as though Public Safety Director Darren White is or soon will be in the market for a new Chief. The Eyes on the grapevine have it that Chief Ray Schultz will be retiring perhaps as soon as July. Frankly, the move makes sense.

Meanwhile, the rumor mill has spun out a couple of scenarios. One where newly promoted Deputy Chief Beth Paiz was offered the job but turned it down and the post was offered to also newly promoted DC Allen Banks. The second spin was that Banks was offered the job outright and that Paiz was none too happy.

We're not sure which of the two is true or if either of them are. However, the retirement rumor makes sense. Chief Schultz has now completely earned his Chief's retirement and can ride into the sunset (or perhaps a job with the feds) pulling down over $200,000 a year.

Sometimes these things are simply products of an over active imagination or wishful thinking. Other times there's a nugget of truth there.

One thing is sure... If Albuquerque's top cop is leaving his perch on the 5th floor the replacement games are just beginning. Stay tuned.

Jun 22, 2010

Need to Know

The long awaited report on the Jamie Dantis (newly minted fugitive from justice and son of Deputy County Manager John Dantis) affair is finally in and... 

Initially, County Manager Thaddeus Lucero indicated that the investigation into how Jamie Dantis continued to receive high marks for his work performance (and remain employed for that matter) despite a growing list of incidents including multiple arrests, passing out at work, and crashing a county vehicle. A short time later, Lucero announced the county would retain the services of an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry (read it here - subscription).

Today, the Dantis report was presented to the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners and immediately sequestered from the public.

There are a couple issues here. First of all, what could possibly be in the report that requires that its contents be concealed? The taxpayers of Bernalillo County reportedly paid around $20,000 in order to have a presumably impartial third party explain where the system broke down and who if anyone was at fault for protecting Jamie Dantis from potential disciplinary action. Second, our Eyes tell us that the report itself was initially delivered to the county last week. Why was the report withheld from the commissioners whose job it is to represent the public?

The Journal stories have painted a pictures of a powerful father in charge of the most important (and expensive) division of county hiring and then protecting a troubled son with the aid of county employees that work for him. In other words, a questionable hire followed by a cover-up.

Now the county is further delaying the release of an important report on the incident making whatever information that is finally released more than a little suspect. In fact, how can commissioners trust the report presented to them today when the original copy was delivered to the county last week?

It's hard to trust a report that has been concealed. Is it a case of CYA or simple arrogance on the part of county officials?
Our Eyes tell us that County Manager Thaddeus Lucero announced to his staff a couple of weeks ago that he was applying for the Executive Director's job over at MRCOG. In a curious twist of fate, the Eyes now have it that two commissioners are trying to lure the former MRCOG ED, Lawrence Rael to the county to take the County Manager's job.
Rael left his post at MRCOG to run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor but was defeated by Brian Colon. He has also been mentioned prominently as a candidate for chief of staff should Diane Denish become governor. Would it be a good idea to hire a manager that may only serve for less than six months? If Rael put his name in the hat, what would that say about his confidence in Denish?

In any case, the county commission is a game of 3s. If two of the commissioners are looking to hire Rael then Lucero is on thin ice indeed.
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Look... The public has a right to know the contents of the original report and the commission has a duty to exercise oversight should any county employee or manager be found to have knowingly participated in the sordid affair. As of tonight, the public is on a need to know basis and the county has determined that the public doesn't need to know.

Jun 19, 2010


YouTube, MySpace, Facebook... We don't quite know what drives people to take pictures of themselves breaking laws and post them in public places. It's kinda like an armed robber leaving a phone number and instructions to call him when the boss gets back to open the safe. (No kidding. It really happened in Chicago back in 2008. Read it here.) Criminals are generally not the brightest bulbs in the shed and neither are the twenty-something trespassers.

APD is now on the hunt for a group of cyber-idiots who decided it was a good idea to break into the Albuquerque Zoo and play Dr. Doolittle with the animals there. Of course, they couldn't resist the urge to document their misadventure and post photos of themselves on Facebook.
Albuquerque police say they are investigating a group of young adults who posted pictures on Facebook showing themselves scaling and crawling under fences to get into the Rio Grande Zoo after hours, entering the enclosures of the giraffes, sea lions and possibly the rhinos, and feeding and touching some of the animals.
BioPark director Rick Janser said an anonymous tipster sent police the Facebook pictures, which had been removed from the page of the person who was posting them Wednesday afternoon.
"We have their images; we have their names," Janser said Wednesday at a news conference about the break-in.
 Since no one found a body in the Rhino cage, we assume that all of the Facebook Fools found their way out of the Zoo alive. Well, at least one of them did anyway.

What immediately crossed our mind was how could a bunch of twenty-somethings - presumably at least a little inebriated - manage to break through a perimeter fence, hop into various animal habitats to party with the animals? They had to be making a bit of a ruckus, laughing, giggling, and disturbing the zoo's inhabitants - not to mention the flashes from their cameras. Why didn't city security detect the Dastardly Dummies?
Janser said zoo security consists of a fence around the entire zoo and guards who patrol at night. He wouldn't say how many guards there are, but said their work that night would be examined to see how they could have missed the people who broke in, wandered around the zoo and took pictures of themselves.
He said there is no video surveillance of the fences that surround the zoo, although there are cameras inside.
While Janser wouldn't tell the Journal how many guards prowl the zoo at night, our Eyes tell us that there's exactly two - one that must stay in the guard house and one on patrol. Two guards might be enough to cover the zoo if they were assisted by security cameras - which they are not. As it stands the guard in the shack is useless for detecting grounds violations unless the break into a building and the zoo grounds are too big to cover for a single patrol officer. Our Eyes tell us that the BioPark is even more vulnerable.

The city has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the zoo and the neighboring Albuquerque BioPark. Doesn't it make sense to provide adequate security to protect the taxpayer's investment?

Currently, city security has 82 guards and 14 supervisors. Yes... 14 supervisors. That's one supervisor for every 5.8 officers. It might not be a bad idea for a few supervisors to bolster the ranks out in the field. It's also probably a good idea to look into hiring a few more guards.
This is another example of how political legacy building damages the future. In a time of plenty, government can often scrape together enough money to build a huge facility but there's not enough long-term money to maintain and protect it.

The same applies to programs that fall outside the core function of government. They're created during a time of tax largess and impossible to get rid of when government receipts will no longer support them.
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We understand that money's tight right now and that hiring new employees is probably an impossibility. However, the city has a responsibility to protect its facilities as well as the cyber-idiots who might endanger themselves.

One other thing to consider... If you take the time to view the Facebook photos (Subscription),  you'll note that there was apparently a large group of idiots on parade through the zoo. It seems unlikely that this was the first time the zoo had been compromised. It's more likely that one or two of the participants acted as guides and were familiar with how to enter the grounds and what the security (or lack thereof) was like.

This time, no one and no animal appears to have been harmed. But what about next time and what kind of liability is attached should someone be killed?

Jun 16, 2010

Eye Told You: DWI Arrests Drop

Last Friday KRQE reported that there has been a 23% decrease in DWI arrests so far this year in Bernalillo County (read it here). Back in March we told you about APD's decision to change the department's DWI policy. The new policy required that all DWI arrests will be handled by the officer who made the initial contact. The change was made to reduce overtime costs - which it did. Unfortunately, it also resulted in a drop in DWI arrests.

We first told you about the drop in DWI arrests back in April. At the time, our Eyes told us that arrests had dropped by 73% and alcohol related accidents were up 200%.  Since that time, our Eyes tell us that the drop has remained at around a 73% to 76% decrease. More, the Eyes have it that the number of cases tried monthly by an ADA from the DA's office has dropped from 45 plus to the mid-teens.
Kelly's manager, Alfonso Serna, thinks people at Kelly's and other bars are being more responsible.

"They're not drinking as much, alot of people are calling cabs and we're doing alot more of that than we have in the past," Serna said.
We all hope that Mr. Serna is correct and that people are "getting the message." But there are some problems with the numbers.
From January 1st through June 11th of 2009, there were a total of 3,170 DWI arrests in Bernalillo County.

For the same stretch of date in 2010, that number is 2,446 DWI arrests.
The numbers given to Channel 13 compare apples to oranges. APD provided an approximately 23 week aggregate that included the DWI policy change.

Using APD's numbers, last year officers were making around 138 arrests per week. This year they're making 106 arrests a week over the same time period.

If we assume the new policy went into effect March 22nd and that prior to the 22nd APD was making more like 138 arrests per week and subsequent to that they were making around 106 arrests per week, you end up with 2790 arrests over the same 23 week period. In other words, a 12% drop in arrests once you take into account the policy change.

Understand there are a number of assumptions here. However, using rough numbers you can see that at least 12% of the drop can be easily attributed to the fact that officers are not making arrests. They simply don't indicate that drivers are "getting the message."
News 13 asked APD if the decrease has anything to do with the new policy enacted in March that requires patrol officers to make their own arrests after making a DWI stop.

In the past, patrol officers could pass of the case to the DWI Unit officers.

APD says it's looking into that possibility.
Look, there's a simple way to determine whether or not APD's just missing a whole slew of drunk drivers or if there has been a drop. Simply compare the pre-policy numbers from 2010 and 2009 to the post-policy numbers from both years. KRQE indicated that APD would be getting back to them this week. So far...

Jun 13, 2010

County Chaos

There's more trouble on John Dantis Road and this time the allegations are criminal. Saturday the county's Community Custody Program Czar Vince Peele was himself taken into custody on charges of taking bribes to place MDC inmates into the CCP program.
Peele, 48, faces two counts each of demanding or receiving a bribe by a public official and acceptance of a bribe from a witness. He is also charged with 28 counts of identity theft and one count of conspiracy, Bernalillo County Sheriff's Lt. Duncan Sanchez said.
Since the end of April we've been treated to a series of stories that - shall we say - makes one less than confident in Bernalillo County management. We've had sons with substance abuse problems working at MATS, overpayment of county vendors, employee retaliation, alleged bribery, the controversial hire/no-hire of former Commissioner Al Valdez, and apparently Ron Torres' entire family got jobs at MDC. (Ok, so maybe it's not Torres' entire family but the Journal identified 6 family members and our Eyes tell us that there may be a few more.) That's a whole lot of smoke and almost all of is coming from the county's Public Safety Department which is run by none other than John Dantis.

County officials are busy trying to put out the multiple fires threatening their governmental house. Dantis the elder is still working while Dantis the younger resigned rather than face termination (read it here - Subscription). An inquiry into the Dantis affair has begun and according to our Eyes, the findings are expected early this week. Meanwhile, the county confirmed it overpaid Canteen Correctional Services almost $400,000. But an audit performed by terminated county accountant Carlos Villanueva indicated as much as a $2.9 MILLION overpayment (read it here - Subscription).

Bernalillo County has largely remained hidden by the shadow of the City of Albuquerque making it fertile ground for those who would abuse their authority. It's no surprise that the Journal's investigations have uncovered so many alarming and potentially criminal activities.

Cronyism, nepotism, corruption...They're all here. So far, neither the commission nor County Manager Thaddeus Lucero have done anything to substantively address the problem.

Organizations always take on the attributes of their leaders. It's up to the 5 members of the Board of County Commissioners to determine who those leaders are and the character of the organization (or lack thereof). There's little doubt that the county is in chaos and it'll take more than an investigation and a couple of tweaks to an ethics ordinance to fix it.

Jun 1, 2010

Election Day Eye Poll!

The polls are open! It's win or go home for a number of Democrats and Republicans in the only poll that really matters. But until we find who officially won, let's take a look at last week's Eye Poll of the Democratic and Republican primaries.

They were both squeakers with Lawrence Rael edging out Brian Colon on the D side and John Sanchez taking the prize from Senator Kent Cravens for the Rs. The margin of victory for both was a single vote. Lawrence Rael received 37%, Brian Colon 36%, Jose Campos 21%, and Gerald Ortiz Y Pino and Linda Lopez tied with 3% each (view the results here). For the Rs John Sanchez received 43%, Kent Cravens 43%, and Brian Moore 14% (view the results here).

Of course our results are unscientific, but it's looking like all of the action in tonight's election won't be in the Republican gubernatorial contest. In fact, it's probably going to be the lieutenant governor candidates that are burning the midnight oil on both sides of the isle.

If you haven't voted yet, make sure that you do so today! You can find your polling place here. As has been our tradition, we'll be posting our predictions (after consulting with Ms. Cleo) just after the polls cose at 7 pm. See you later tonight!