Faced with spending about $10,000 compared to more than $500,000, the Albuquerque City Council openly revealed how they could care less about citizen tax dollars. A citizen initiated ordinance which would change the “viability” date of late term abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, is prepared to go to the voters. But instead doing what they have the power to do and include the measure on October’s city ballot, city councilor’s are instead desiring to have a special election for the matter. At issue are to matters:
1) Can the city council approve an election resolution
2) Can city clerk Amy Bailey certify the 12,000 or so signatures of the approximately 28,000 turned into her by September?
Costs for a special election are anticipated to run between $500,000-700,000. But why spend $10,000 when you can spend over half-million?! Instead of moving forward with the necessary resolution and offering to supplement Amy Bailey’s staff to certify the necessary signatures by hiring people, the members of Albuquerque’s city council want to bilk tax payers for the cost of the special election. While they had no problem looking the other way on a “consulting fee” of $10,000/per month for recently departed chief of police Ray Schultz, city councilors can’t seem to assign a few people for $20/per hour to help count signatures. How many community centers could stay open a few extra hours each day if the council used that money for our kids?
But this kind of upside down thinking shouldn’t surprise us. Even though the current mayor, RJ Berry is supposed to be a “businessman” (we thought that meant making and saving money not wasting it…) under his administration, APD has shrunk and not grown. At latest report there are approximately 853 sworn officers. And his approach to dealing with crime in the city is also the inverse of what needs to be done. Instead of dealing with it, he hides from it then says it doesn’t exist.
Under Berry, gang violence has increased and now there are midday shootouts where recent gang violence spilled up to 70 bullets into the streets in gun fight last Sunday afternoon (Here: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/
When asked about this mess and the lack of officers, newly pressed APD Chief Allen Banks openly stated to City Councilor Ken Sanchez that APD’s Gang Unit has not been disbanded but merely “dispersed.” (By the way, even KRQE anticipated gang violence weeks ago: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/
Like STD’s the legacy of disgraced former Public Safety Director Darren White continues to give. Just recently the city settled a high profile case where he encouraged aggressive action on citizens back in 2010. In the fabled “4th Street Mall” case, we got to see how litigation rich targets, also known as Leah Kelly and Jennifer Jara, pushed their badge around on citizens not violating any crime. (Here: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/
This is the same Leah Kelly who would be involved in a shooting a few months later which has yet to fully litigated. Will the city settle this one also or will they take it to court and risk another $10 Million? Given that the target of the shooting was found to have not committed any crimes and Kelly has, well, an endless discipline and complaint history we expect there to be a lot of fireworks in this mess. We'd like to see the lawyers involved in this matter grill White as to what personal liability does he have Kelly's actions against her victim/target. By failing to discipline Kelly and Jara for their behavior on the 4th Street Mall did he encourage and incite such aggressive behavior? If not for White's inaction to appropriately discipline Kelly and Jara did they not feel they were untouchable and fully empowered to go on their own shooting rampage?
The point is folks, just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, well they are. Then there is the matter of some discriminatory practices involving what is known as “The Kirk” (a predominately black neighborhood) that we at the Eye have uncovered. We’ll leave that for next week though….