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 31, 2007

Eye Poll: Neck and Neck

After an extended Eye Poll Eye readers are almost evenly split between Heather Wilson -53% and Steve Pearce - 47% in our unscientific poll (See the results here). Our gut feeling tells us that this is a pretty accurate picture of the Republican primary with both candidates running neck and neck.

This week we focus on how you feel about your safety in Albuquerque. APD's manpower levels have and continue to be an issue, but the real problem is our high crime rates. In addition, it's also important to determine public perception because perception often mirrors reality. Don't forget to vote!

Dec 29, 2007

The Numbers Game - APD Style

If at first you don't succeed, change the goal - that's what APD did this past week when confronted with the certainty that they could not, would not reach their goal of 1,100 officers by January 1.
"They did not meet my expectations or my direction," the mayor said Wednesday. "There will be some interesting meetings next week. Having said that, it's hard to grow a police department with the highest standards in the state. And this isn't like growing other departments (in city government). These people have badges and guns.

"But I've always, always told my chiefs that it's more important to grow it right than it is to grow it quickly. You pay for years when you make that mistake."
Anyone who has been paying any attention over the last two years could have predicted APD's failure. It has been apparent that APD has been attempting to hide their actual force strength since the 2005 election when Mayor Marty set goals of 1,000 then 1,100 officers by January 1, 2008. APD has steadfastly refused to publish a list of sworn officers and their positions within the organization.

Our Eyes hold that they're counting everyone with a pulse and a badge and the badge may be optional. The number of officers on the street has been an issue for some time. APD's number has ranged from a low of 857 two years ago to a high of 1,033 claimed by DC Castro just last September. It's clear that it's almost impossible to take the 5th floor at their word; which ultimately is at the heart of our crime problem.
"A lot of people will come up and say: 'We need 1,500 officers; we need 2,000 officers,' '' Castro said. "But there is no mathematical equation that says we need X number of officers. We use our crime rates and other factors to determine that.
Normally we'd agree with the Deputy Chief but there's just one problem - Albuquerque's crime rate is on the increase in two major areas, property crime and violent crime. There are a lot of reasons for our crime problems and a lack of sworn officers is just one of them.

According to the data, the metro area per capita ranks in the top 10 percent for violent crimes, which include murder, rape and robbery. And the metro area ranks in the top 13 percent for property crime, such as auto theft and burglaries.
The impact is huge. More than 5,000 vehicles were stolen and more than 6,000 homes were burgled last year.

Each day, an average 15 autos were stolen and 17 homes or businesses were hit.
If Albuquerque's crime rates were decreasing we'd tend to agree with Castro, but the stats show an alarming increase. Currently (assuming you accept APD's 998 number which we don't), APD has 1.81 officers per thousand assuming a population of 550,000. The national average for cities over 250,000 is 2.8 officers per thousand (FBI Crime in the United States).

The fact is it doesn't matter how many officers APD has if they are able to effectively police their jurisdiction. Since that doesn't seem to be the case, we'd believe that the 5th floor would be doing everything in its power to make sure that we lose as few experienced officers as possible.

Instead we've seen what can only be characterized as an exodus of experienced officers losing over 10% of APD's manpower in just 2 years with 62 retirees last year and at least 55 retiring this year. Our Eyes tell us that officers who are fully vested are leaving even though they would rather stay. In other words, they're voting with their feet; choosing to leave rather than continue to have to fight crime on our streets and an administration that just doesn't seem to get it.

So what's going on? If you've read many stories about APD over the last year, it's plain to see that they've got a problem. There are the standard issues of pay and retirement, but there also seems to be a serious division between the brass on the 5th floor and the rank and file in the field.

Lincoln once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand" and so it is with our police department. As long as they keep playing the numbers game, it will be impossible for the public or the rank and file officers to trust APD's management and their house will continue to be divided.

We are already one of the top 10 most violent cities and we are seeing "unexpected" officer attrition. As citizens of Albuquerque, we are being placed in more and more danger by and administration that would rather play politics than do their jobs. Eventually, their house will collapse. Unfortunately, it will fall on those who it was designed to protect.

----- Correction -----
Sometimes our fingers out run our spell check... such is the case above when we typed loose when we intended lose. It has been corrected above.

Dec 26, 2007

Tax Crunch

While everyone was out doing their last minute shopping and enjoying their family, friends and a well deserved eggnog, the governor's Task Force on Mortgage Lending weighed in its report on how to fix the subprime lending "crisis." The Christmas Eve story in the Journal is a perfect example of how government tries to slip a story past the public at a time when they are distracted by more pressing concerns. The last time we saw this type of chicanery was when the Almighty Alcalde tried to slip his trolley past the voters while we were focused on the 2006 mid-term elections.

According to the Journal, the Task Force's mission "was to evaluate the potential local impact of the subprime lending crisis and to come up with ways to protect consumers against abusive lending practices. (ABQ Journal - Subscription)." First of all, beware any time the government starts trying to "protect" the public, especially when it has to do with your money. Generally the result is your money being sent somewhere you don't want your money to go.

Strictly speaking the subprime mortgage "crisis" is not a crisis at all. It's the logical result of over-eager lenders making money available to people who shouldn't be getting it in the first place. The result is a tightening of the money available by the very people who were practically begging you to take out a loan just a year ago. The reality is that not everyone should own a home; there are those whose financial position is better suited to renting at least for now.

Back to the governor's Task Force... Since the subprime "crisis" was created by over-zealous lenders and brokers, you'd think that the recommendation of the task force would be some sort of restrictions on lending (not that we'd like that much either). Nooooo... The task force's recommendation is to make all private home sale prices public. Why? Because the task force blames the "crisis" on "unscrupulous appraiser[s]."
"One of the problems in the mortgage meltdown were loans based on inflated values," said task force co-chair Michael Loftin, who is executive director of Homewise, a nonprofit home ownership organization in Santa Fe. "So if you make more transparent what the values (home sales prices) are, it makes it harder to cook an appraisal."
First of all, the market has a perfectly functional mechanism for taking care of unscrupulous appraisers who either over-value or under-value property - lenders stop using them. Lending institutions rely on accurate appraisals to determine risk. When appraisals are inflated, lenders run the risk of having to foreclose on a property that cannot be sold at a price that allows them to recover their investment.

Second, the Journal story implies that appraisers have no access to sales price data and are somehow working in a vacuum seemingly coming up with prices based on some kind of gut feeling or something. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It's safe to say that most houses in Albuquerque are sold by Realtors using their private Multiple Listing Service. Every house sold through the MLS is recorded along with its sales price. Appraisers use this data (and have for years) to determine comparable prices or comps for a specific property. Since most homes are sold through the MLS the comps are usually very accurate.

So what is all of this really about? Since 2004 New Mexico has required that all sales prices be reported to the county assessors. That data was not to be used for assessing value. Of course if they have the data they will find a way to use it. Before 2004, property owners could choose to provide the sales price but weren't required to do so.
The Bernalillo County Assessor's office used to send out a very official letter to new homeowners that asked them to report the sales price. The letter was constructed in such a way as to make you believe that casual observers would believe that they had to report their sales price. In other words, before 2004 the county assessors would trick you into reporting your own sales price.
(End Sidebar)
Of course this whole thing isn't about protecting anyone from predatory lending; it's about separating you from your money. Requiring every sale price to be reported will allow the assessors to easily increase your property value and therefore increase your property taxes.

Before you start thinking "it's only fair that the assessed value track the market," remember that there's a very real possibility that people who have lived in a home for an extended period of time will be taxed right out of their home. In addition, our assessment system was taken into account when our property taxes were set so changing the assessment method will simply result in increased revenue not originally planned for. In other words, a tax increase where the hardest hit will be those on fixed incomes. (How's that for progressive taxation?!) Plus, you know that the sales data will be used to support an increase in assessed value and won't reflect market corrections when they occur.

With the state facing a substantial reduction in new revenue, we'd bet that Governor Richardson sees fit to put this on his upcoming legislative agenda. Make no mistake, this is about money not consumer protection and should New Mexico become a disclosure state we'll be filling state coffers on the backs of people who can least afford it.

Dec 24, 2007

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 an increase in 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.

Dec 23, 2007

Holiday Spirit for the Homeless

Fellow blogger Mario Burgos' company Mudhouse Advertising has started a campaign to raise money for Art Street a program of Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless. Mudhouse has produced a short video to help raise awareness about homeless issues here in Albuquerque. For each viewing of the video, Mudhouse will donate $1 (up to $10,000). You can also help with your own donation by going here.

Take a couple of minutes this holiday season, view the video below and just by watching help the homeless. It won't cost you a dime (unless you want it to) and you'll be spreading a little Christmas cheer to those who have very little to be cheerful about.

Dec 21, 2007

Conspiracy Revealed?

Sixteen months after the Jason Daskalos DWI diversion from APDs paddy wagon, we finally found out who is accused of conspiring with former Officer Ben Kirby. Of course, the whole conspiracy thing didn't show up until fourteen months after the incident and just coincidentally right after Kirby filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city (read about it here).

According to our Eyes, Officer Matt Fisher is the officer being accused of conspiring with Kirby to release Daskalos. Interestingly enough, Daskalos himself isn't being investigated for his role in the whole affair. It seems as if the DA's office is treating Mr. Daskalos - who was under arrest at the time - as an innocent victim even though he was the one escaping at the time.

As we've said before, this whole thing has been kind of strange. Daskalos was arrested for DWI; he is then taken on a field trip from the DWI paddy wagon, returned to the paddy wagon, booked on DWI, tried for DWI, and ultimately acquitted. As you all know, Officer Kirby was fired for his role; but what gets us is that the DA initially chose not to prosecute but fourteen months latter ended up deciding to begin a grand jury investigation that didn't involve Daskalos.

Seemingly, the conspiracy is revealed and those who conspired are APD rank and file officers. To us this just doesn't add up. Two APD officers decide - on their own - to bust Daskalos out of DWI custody with no orders from above and no indication of any personal ties to Daskalos himself.

Folks, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that there's a lot more to this story and that we'll probably never know what really took place August 25th, 2006.

Dec 18, 2007

Scam-era Scammers

As you all know by now Monday night saw the defeat of relief from governmental intrusion and tyranny. The Albuquerque City Council overwhelming voted to uphold the Almighty Alcalde's veto of Council President Brad Winter's bill to suspend scam-era operations at least until the mayoral task farce presents its report.

Everyone knows what the task farce will return, but it'd be nice for a change if our city government would err on the side of freedom and justice rather than on the side of "excess money."
"During the holiday season, I ask that we reflect on what matters most, the safety of our loved ones," Chávez said in a one-page message to the council. "Virtually no one argues that this technology is not effective in catching violators. Do we really want red light runners and school zone speeders to be given a free pass this holiday season and into the school year?"
- ABQ Journal (Subscription)
Really... since when is there a school zone on I-25 and isn't school out for the non-religious, non-threatening, barely Winter break anyway? Besides, when we reflect on our loved ones we're concerned about their safety, but we're even more concerned about their liberty; something that a majority of the council and the Almighty Marty "Hugo" Chavez seem to care little about.

To that end, we thought we'd post who is most responsible for the continuation of the scam. We have decided that these Scam-era Scammers, those people most responsible for the continuation of the red light con will be posted permanently on this website - starting with this post.

Martin J. Chavez
The Scammer in Chief, defender of the con, whose absolute faith in the infallibility of the Redflex system has cost us a bunch of cash and him a shot at the U.S. Senate.

The mayor has even tried to tell us that the system isn't turning a profit, characterizing the red light largess as "excess money." Now he's using the oldest scare tactic in the world to keep us pumping cash into city coffers citing school zone speeders as scam-era justification.

Ray Schultz - APD Chief of Police
The Chief brought the scam from his previous job in Scottsdale, Arizona. Schultz continues to support the Redflex program as if he were a stock holder often confusing his job as chief with that of a scam-era lobbyist.

Ken Sanchez - Councilor District 1
Councilor Sanchez was famously not present during the 1st scam-era moratorium vote. We don't think it would be any different than this vote as the councilor can only be characterized as being in Marty's pocket. After all Sanchez served as the mayor's treasurer until being convinced to run for council.

Debbie O'Malley - Councilor District 2
At least O'Malley is consistent in her support of the scam, but that's about all I can say for a councilor who feels that fleecing the public through scam-eras is a good idea.

Isaac Benton - Councilor District 3
Councilor Benton is consistently neo-socialist preferring government run transportation and government dictated development. It comes as no surprise that the councilor would support enriching the government while limiting the rights of everyday citizens.

Rey Garduño - Councilor District 6
We were pleasantly surprised by Garduño's initial support of the scam-era moratorium. Of course, the councilor we dubbed "Sticky Fingers" during the last election flipped his vote and flopped when it came to keeping the city's hands out of our pockets.

Sally Mayer - Councilor District 7
What more do we have to say... despite her seeming support of Councilor Winter when the Marty was caught balancing the budget with scam money, The Mayer failed the sniff test herself when it came time to protect our due process rights.

Trudy Jones - Councilor District 8
Councilor Jones got a mulligan from us when she missed this vote (and her first council meeting) in favor of participating in the Capo's tantrum. This time she showed up and failed the test.

Don Harris - Councilor District 9
We really can't figure Harris out. He complains about being sold out to the "liberals" and then sides with all of them to keep the scam-era cash coming.

All of the officials listed above need to be remembered. They have by their own actions supported expanding the administrative authority of the city while doing little to protect our freedoms.

"Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

Dec 16, 2007

Missing the Point... Keeping the Money

Late Friday the Almighty Alcalde vetoed Council President Brad Winter's bill to halt the Marty's red light scam-era program. The move cleared the way for the city to continue raking in MILLIONS of our dollars based on claims of increased safety. The mayor has decided that it is more important to keep them money than to assure our right to due process.
Chavez said suspending the program would be saying that violators have the right to run red lights and speed.

"I would be saying you're not going to get a ticket for running a red light and you're not going to get a ticket for speeding through a school zone," Chavez said.
Chavez's reasoning is as devoid of logic as it is justice. Last time we checked it was illegal to speed in a school zone, illegal to run a red light, and illegal to speed on the freeway. The Almighty One's veto doesn't make us safer it simply makes us less free (and millions of dollars poorer).

Before all of you scam-era supporters go off with your bumper-sticker logic saying anything to the effect of "if you don't want a citation don't speed or run a red light," consider the utter lack of thought required to take such a position and the dangers associated with simply accepting a quasi-law enforcement program built on inequity. It's the type of logic that somehow makes sense until you are wrongfully accused and you are denied the ability to defend yourself by a system that presumes your guilt.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The City of Albuquerque, the mayor, and the council have made a conscious decision not to enforce the State of New Mexico's traffic code in favor of a self-created and profit driven civil process in which the city has a direct financial interest. Due process cannot be present where one party holds the power of judgment and a financial interest in the outcome.

There's a reason that our judicial system is set up to include a third uninterested party - more commonly known as a judge. Their job is to both make findings of fact and to make sure that the rights of the parties involved are preserved. A judge's impartiality is required to make these decisions without prejudice. Marty's hearing officers have a direct link to the "prosecution" and cannot be considered impartial under any standard.

Folks the real issue here is freedom. Not the freedom to run red lights or to speed (both are rightfully illegal), but the freedom to defend yourself, the freedom not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The absence of justice is the presence of tyranny.

From what the Journal (Subscription) is reporting, it looks like Councilors Sanchez and Mayer won't support a veto override. The jury (something you're guaranteed not to have in Marty-roo Court) is still out on Councilors Jones and Harris. Councilor Winter would need 6 votes to override the Almighty Alcalde's veto, which means he'd need at least 3 more than he got on Capo's night at the Council.

We'd suggest contacting your councilors... again. Perhaps they can be convinced to be more concerned about our liberty than their own power.

Dec 14, 2007

The Scam Goes On

For those of you who haven't been near a radio today, 770 KKOB AM is reporting that the Almighty One is all set to veto the scam-era moratorium passed by the city council on Capo's night. Of course the reason given will be that he would like the task farce to have time to do their work and Councilor Sanchez is already predicting the outcome will be lower fines, a continued revenue stream for the city's general fund, and Marty's guilty until proven guilty kangaroo court systems.

Of course Marty's move doesn't exactly surprise us as he really doesn't have any political pressure points right now due to his early defeat in the Democratic primary. His Honor will feel free to pretty much operate with impunity except for that pesky Council President Brad Winter and what still looks to be a somewhat hostile council.

Dec 13, 2007

Indictment Follies or Indictment Folly

If you've watched enough Law & Order (and we have) you know that a District Attorney can indict a ham sandwich. That's why we were so interested when we heard about the goings on with the grand jury looking in to conspiracy charges against Officer Ben Kirby.

Kirby is the officer that was fired for taking Jason Daskalos who was in custody on charges of DWI (later determined to be not guilty), on a detour from the paddy wagon. Just this past year officer Kirby filed a wrongful termination suit against the city and shortly thereafter was notified that he's the target of a grand jury investigation (read it here) on suspicion of tampering with public records and conspiracy.

According to our Eyes the promised grand jury investigation began on Wednesday. Apparently the proceedings came to a screeching halt when one of the grand jurors asked the same question we've been asking - if conspiracy is the charge, who is the co-conspirator? Seems like a logical question to us but at that point our Eyes tell us that the DA's office decided to continue the case rather than answer the question.

We don't know why the ADA decided to do what they did but it would seem to us that you'd have a hard time proving conspiracy without conspirators. We haven't seen the DA's case and we certainly can't begin to tell you why they waited over a year to move on a case that they'd already decided not to prosecute, but their case must be shaky indeed if they can't handle the question of conspirators in a conspiracy case.

Dec 12, 2007


It just about slipped by us... yesterday was our blog-aversary. Yep, December 11, 2006 was the date of our first post. Just guess what we were talking about... Red Light Scam-eras.

Since that time, we've taken a look at a lot of different issues that affect the people of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. As you may have noticed we certainly have our own ideas and we love to find things that the city would rather keep hidden and let you know about them. After all, government workers and elected officials work for us and we should know what they're up to.

But what really makes this site fun is our readers. Those of you who agree, disagree, and post little known information make this site what it is. The Internet is truly the new village square and we're proud to be a part of the exchange of information and the expression of ideas.
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.
When you come here and post comments or when we post our thoughts or information, we are all exercising our rights to assembly, speech, and in some cases petitioning the Government for redress of grievances. It's our belief that if the founding fathers could have imagined the Internet or a virtual village square, the blogosphere would have been the very thing they envisioned.

Thank you for reading Eye On Albuquerque but most of all, thank you for agreeing, disagreeing, arguing, and informing our readers and the people of Albuquerque.

The Eye

Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Weirder...

All you have to do is take a gander at today's Albuquerque Tribune to know how weird Albuquerque politics is becoming. Right there on the front page above the fold in front of God and everyone is the War of the Roses (or Chavez's) and the K-Mart Councilor.

Just yesterday we were busy beating-up Councilor Mayer for her actions and claims regarding the City Council Presidency. Today, we find out that she's taken a second job at K-Mart helping customers and straightening the deodorant (almost makes her a sniff test expert).
Since the week before Thanksgiving, the 57-year-old Mayer has been working five days a week at $7 an hour — 25 cents more than the city-mandated minimum wage she twice voted against.
We really don't know whether to laugh or cry. Apparently, the councilor needs some holiday cash in order to make ends meet. No one should be ashamed of making an honest wage at a retail store part-time or otherwise even if you are a sitting city councilor. Frankly, we're glad to see that despite her modest K-Mart income she's standing by her principles even if we disagree with a number of them.
Still, if she could go back in time she wouldn't change her previous votes against raising the wage locally.

Then and now she protests the use of the term living wage, a phrase she feels is disingenuous, believing that raising the wage a few dollars does little to make low pay livable.

"I object more to it now. It is a minimum wage," she said. "There are lots of people here who have two jobs."

If the K-Mart Councilor weren't enough, Mayor Marty and ex-wife Margaret look like they may be heading for a fight- this time at the ballot box. Margaret Aragon de Chavez announced yesterday that she plans to form an exploratory committee next spring to evaluate the idea of whether or not to run for her ex-husband's job (ABQ Tribune).

Of course Marty, would have to get past the under-card bout in court to overturn the city's mayoral term limits, but most people seem to see the effort as a mere formality as the council's term limits have already been overturned.

We can hear announcer now... "In the red light corner - the three term mayor fresh off his term-limit victory - Martin The Almighty Alcalde Chavez!! In the blue corner - the challenger and one time Albuquerque First Lady - the woman with the goods and a serious chip on her shoulder - Margaret Aragon de Chavez!! This is a fifteen month fight where hitting below the belt is mandatory sooooo... LET'S GET RRRREADY TO RRRRUMBLE!!!!!!!"

And we thought that next year's election brouhaha was going to be entertaining. Could it get any weirder than this?

Dec 11, 2007

Dumb and Dumber

Two of the Foolish Four were back at it today claiming that Councilor Winter made some sort of back room under-handed deal with the devil to gain his seat as President of the City Council. According to Harris, Winter sold the three water authority appointments to the "liberals" in order to obtain their support for his presidency (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

Meanwhile Dumb's sidekick Councilor Mayer was busy insisting that there was some nefarious scheme afoot since Councilor Winter's wife Nan Winter works for the Water Authority and has for some time. Mayer is quoted as saying "I don't think it passes the sniff test... It just doesn't seem right" (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
The councilor ought to know something about stinky situations as her admitted ex-boyfriend and real estate partner continues to receive $50,000 a year contracts from the False Alarm Reduction Unit to do... well, something anyway. If you'll remember, the false alarm ordinance was sponsored by none other than The Mayer herself.
(End Sidebar)
Granted, the appointments to the Water Authority are important but their claims make the two Capo's Councilors look foolish and petty... again. Councilor Winter made them look even dumber-er when he named his first appointment - newly elected councilor and founding (and hopefully ex) member of the Foolish Foursome Trudy Jones.
As we've noted before, we don't think there should be a Water Authority. This quasi-governmental agency has an awful lot of authority to bond debt, set rates, punish water evildoers, and stymie economic growth. Councilor Cadigan said just last week that the board should stop extending service to new areas even when water wasn't an issue (read our take here).

Not to be out-done, last month former Councilor and Congressional Candidate Heinrich wanted to use aerial photography and drive by inspections to tell consumers the amount of water that they should be using (ABQ Journal - Subscription). Heinrich insists that the $20,000 pilot program would simply be giving advice on how much a particular household could save (ABQ Journal - Subscription), but it's a short step from should to must and we don't want any government agency peeking over our wall telling us the amount of water we are allowed to use.
(End Sidebar)
Let's face it folks, there's a reason that Mayer and Harris faced recall uprisings in their respective districts - they don't seem to be able to learn from their mistakes. You'll notice that Councilors Sanchez and Jones aren't out making themselves look like idiots (again) by giving legs to a story that had essentially gone away. You can also bet that neither of these two brain donors will be serving on the water board anytime soon.

Dec 10, 2007

Eye Poll: Not that it Matters

Last week's Eye Poll looked at the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate between Tom Udall and Marty (I'm still looking for my next job) Chavez. As everyone knows by now Tom Udall vanquished the Almighty Alcalde faster than the U.S. military deposed Saddam Hussein and with nary a shot fired, but in this week's Eye Poll Marty pulled it out by a single vote - not that it matters.

Of course the now ex-candidate sent out a get out the vote email to his supporters urging them to vote in our little unscientific poll, a fact that we had planned to reveal in this posting but Marty went and dropped out of the race before we could expose his shenanigans.

We're starting to wonder if we're starting to develop an Eye Poll curse similar to the Madden curse or the Chunky soup curse in football. Only time will tell as we take a look at the Republican side of the senate equation this week. Don't forget to vote!

Dec 8, 2007

No Money, No Marty

While the media is busy analyzing Marty's withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race and Marty's campaign is busy trying to make him into a political martyer for the Democratic Party, everyone is missing the main reason... money.

Our Eyes tell us that Marty held a $1000 a plate fundraiser last week at Scalo's Northern Italian Grill. The campaign had hoped to rake in around $100,000 to keep the senatorial campaign machine fueled. The Eyes have it that only 4 people showed up. We know that fundraisers include funds from people who are not present because there are a lot of people that don't have time to attend or don't want to be seen at these things. 4 people?! That means the most they could have hoped for is around $10,000.

Do the math, if a sitting mayor of New Mexico's largest city holds a fundraiser and is only able to get 4 attendees and somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000, his immediate political aspirations are kaput. There was a time when Marty could hold a bar-b-q for $30 suggested contributions and bring in that much; but much has changed in the short time since his re-election.

The Almighty One has many problems, a police department in disarray, a hostile council, an increasingly suspicious media, and budgetary problems looming on the city's fiscal horizon, but the issue that may have finished Marty's senate bid... you guessed it, red light scam-eras.

The program was a debacle from the start. Whenever profit becomes involved in law enforcement, there's an inherent conflict of interest. People will not trust that they are being charged fairly and with Marty's Kangaroo Court system, they can't trust that they will receive a fair hearing. This lack of trust reflects directly upon the person who is in charge of the program... Mayor (and former gubernatorial candidate, former senate candidate) Martin J. Chavez.

We're pretty sure that the original idea to bring these scam-eras into our lives originated with Chief of Police Ray Schultz who had experience with them in Scottsdale Arizona. However, the decision to bring them here lies directly with The Almighty Alcalde.

Ironically, Marty's pursuit of scam-era money may have put an end to his ability to raise money for his senate campaign as nothing we can think of has consistently damaged his image on both ends of the political spectrum. For those of you who think public financing is a good idea, consider this. If Marty had access to our tax money to pay for his senate campaign there's little doubt that he would still be in the race; and there's little doubt that he would do a considerable amount of damage to Tom Udall before it was all over.

Dec 7, 2007

The Almighty has Fallen - Out of the Race

There's good news and bad news this Friday... the good news is that there's now no chance (as if there were much of a chance in the first place) that Marty will get the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate; which also means he will not replace Pete Domenici in the Senate. The bad news is that he will have the next two years to continue pillaging the City of Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Journal and the rest of the media are all trying to be the first to tell you that Marty is out and that Tom Udall has his full support. (Guess that scam-era moratorium veto just became a sure thing.) All this despite the fact that he's leading in this week's Eye Poll 52% to 48%. Of course in true Marty fashion he sent out a blast email to the Martycrat faithful asking them to head over to Eye On Albuquerque and vote for him in our little unscientific poll.
Hello Everyone,

A local blog here in Albuquerque has a poll online asking, "Who do you favor in the Democratic Primary?" I believe over the last 2 years of my third term as Mayor we have made tremendous strides in Albuquerque by becoming green, being a business friendly city,and building out all our amenities. I would like to bring the strong leadership that I have brought to Albuquerque to the U.S. Senate.

Today, I am asking you to spend 30 seconds by clicking here and voting for me, Martin Chavez. Thank you so much in advance.

If there is anything I can do for you in the future please feel free to contact my campaign office at 830-2008.


We're all for getting out the vote, but for an Internet poll?! Sheesh! Perhaps the Martycrats figured out that there's no way to push the primary. More importantly, The Almighty One was probably having a hard time finding enough support to make it past the pre-primary convention with its mandatory 20%.

"While I deeply appreciate all the support I have received, it has become very clear to me that Democrats should not be divided in the upcoming election. It is crucial to the future of New Mexico and this country that a Democrat become the next U.S. Senator. A hotly contested primary, as this one certainly could be, would likely dramatically weaken the Democratic nominee and place the general election in jeopardy."
- Martin Chavez
Senate Race eMail Announcement
Rrrrriiiiiight! Marty has been bashing Udall since before Udall even announced to announce to announce. We're having a hard time believing that he suddenly has put the good of the Democratic party before his personal ambitions.

The next question is will Marty bounce back to a gubernatorial run, over to a Congressional run, or challenge the city charter in order to make him mayor for life (kind' a like another Chavez recently - Hugo).

There's no doubt that today The Almighty has fallen. The only remaining questions are how far and what kind of vengeance he will mete out while serving out the rest of his term.

Eye on the Grapevine: Playing for Time

A couple of months ago the Albuquerque Police Officers Association ran a full page ad in the Albuquerque Journal. It was smack dab in the middle of the Balloon Fiesta and timed to put maximum pressure on the Almighty Alcalde and Chief Schultz. The ad puts APD's strength at just 900 officers at a time when DC Castro had just told an Oshkosh paper that APD had 1,033 officers (read it here).

According to the grapevine, the above ad seemed to have the intended effect as Chief Schultz opened negotiations shortly thereafter telling the powers that be over at the APOA that negotiations would take a month or so. That was early October (read about it here) and the additional money approved by the council has still not found its way to the officers of APD. The story is that talks between the union and the 5th floor have stalled and the Chief Schultz is telling union officials that everything will get done, just give him some time.

We really don't know for sure that Schultz and the union have been talking at all. However, it does make sense in light of the lack of follow-up by the union. There's little doubt that the ad had an impact and that back in October the APOA had the upper-hand. In fact, many Eye readers questioned why union President Ron Olivas failed to press his advantage.

If indeed Schultz and company had opened negotiations, the union would understandably be reluctant to continue the campaign. However, our friends over at the union better understand that time is not on their side.

At the time, Marty had just announced for Senate and there were thousands of visitors from all over the world in town to see the colorful fiesta. The smart political move was to play for time, get the visitors out, and hopefully the media and the public would lose interest. So far the move seems to have worked.

Dec 6, 2007


Yesterday's Albuquerque Journal did a somewhat short story in the Metro section about Councilor Cadigan and his designs to use the Water Authority to control growth. We've been concerned about this exact misuse of water and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority since it was stupidly created by the legislature and Governor Bill some 4 years ago (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

The excuse used at the time was that the city and county weren't playing nice in the aquifer; and perhaps they weren't. Frankly, we don't really care because just like many of the drugs advertised on TV, the cure is far worse than the disease.
The Water Authority was the brain child of none other than accused crook Manny Aragon. That by itself should give you pause, but the real problem with the authority is that it's not directly accountable to the public.
(End Sidebar)
The stated goal of Senate Bill 887 (2003 legislative session) was to force the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to communicate better by creating a board consisting of 3 county commissioners, 3 city councilors, and a representative appointed by the mayor of Albuquerque. This board has complete control over the life blood of the city and county and now Cadigan wants to use the board's authority to stop growth in the city.
Albuquerque City Councilor Michael Cadigan is calling for the city-county Water Authority to flex its muscles to control development.

Cadigan, who is also a member of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority board, said the board should block service to some new developments, even if water availability isn't the issue [Emphasis Added].

The Water Authority ought to look at all growth issues— including the impacts a development would have on schools and traffic— before giving the go-ahead for water service.

"The water supply is the teeth of urban planning," [Emphasis Added]he said.

City and county governments can only tell a developer how to build, Cadigan said, not if it can build. But developers "don't have a constitutional right to water," he said.
Look, if Comrade Cadigan gets his way the Water Authority will end up more powerful than either the city or county governments that gave life to this socialist Frankenstein. The neo-socialist underpinnings of his statements are simply terrifying for anyone who believes that government's first obligation is to protect freedom - our freedom.

Worse yet, it won't just be water that is tapped-out it'll be jobs, housing (especially affordable housing), opportunity, innovation, and all of the things that make a community and a city great - all of the things that are only present when a community is growing.

Dec 4, 2007

Holding Kids for Ransom

Before he's even received the passed moratorium on his scam-era system, The Almighty Alcalde is telling 770 KKOB that he believes that the scam-vans are important because the stop speeders in school zones saying "if you speed through school zones you ought to get a ticket."

We couldn't agree more, except that the scam-vans are not about punishing evil-doers, it's about making money for Marty to balance the budget with (among other things). It's not like these vans are being used exclusively for school zone enforcement; just ask the 1306 freeway scam-era citation recipients from June 19th.

More importantly, be afraid... be VERY afraid when a politician who's on the ropes, running for senate, and desperate to save an unpopular yet lucrative program starts talking about children. They're usually using the poor unsuspecting innocents to hide something and distract you long enough to change the subject.

You watch; Marty will veto the council bill claiming that he just couldn't allow our children to be in danger without these scam-vans. Meanwhile, he's holding those very children for ransom and getting paid one Redflex citation at a time.

And the Allegations Fly...

No, we're not talking about Udall - Chavez, Wilson - Pearce, White - Carraro... we're talking the Foolish Foursome. You'd think that this was an important election with the future of the nation at stake instead of yet another failed attempt to make Ken Sanchez president of a governing body.

The accusations from last night's dinner club debacle have had us laughing all day as last night's absent councilors tried to explain away their precipitous and foolish boycott.
Mayer said that for two months, Winter had said he would support her for the job. She said he later agreed to support Sanchez but changed his mind again just before Monday's meeting when he received a call from Allen Weh, chairman of the state Republican Party.
Sanchez said he had the support of Councilor Brad Winter, a much needed vote, but minutes before tonight's meeting Winter said he wouldn't support Sanchez.

"Politically to me you're only as good as your word," Sanchez said at a news conference. "This is an issue of integrity: this is an issue of honesty."
"He said that his wife would divorce him and his wife does serve on the Water Authority. And I would hope that would not be the case when we are making decisions as members of this council," said Sanchez.
That last one is a real gem... Divorce over a position that only about 9 people care about! Funny stuff! Besides, how many of you have told everyone that would listen that you were going to vote for one candidate only to press the opposing candidate's button? (John Kerry supporters you know who you are.)

What's even more entertaining is that our Eyes tell us that "moderate Democrat" (Ok, Martycrat) Sanchez has been dissed no less than 4 previous times by the Democrat controlled County Commission. Each year Commissioner (now Councilor) Sanchez would nominate himself for the president's post only to have his fellow Democrats pass on his presidential bid.

Perhaps the brain trust of Mayer and Harris should have done a little historical research before backing the Sanchez horse. Newly elected Councilor Trudy Jones might want to be careful who she takes political advice from. She gets a mulligan on this one but let's hope she's smart enough not to miss her second council meeting.

Dec 3, 2007

Tantrum! Council Disobedience

Four city councilors pitched a fit at tonight's council meeting and decided a dinner date at Capo's restaurant was more important than attending the meeting. Councilors Sanchez, Mayer, Harris, and newly elected Trudy Jones decided to show their displeasure with the vote to make Councilor Winter President of the Council by boycotting the meeting.

Of course the councilors made time after their main courses to drop by city hall long enough to look foolish for the media and make the 10 o'clock news, but they apparently didn't have time to do what they were elected to do - our business. The reason given by the foolish foursome - Councilor Winter decided to pull his support for Councilor Sanchez's bid for President in favor of... well, himself. Hey, who would you vote for?

Meanwhile issues like Tax Increment Funding Districts, Red Light Camera Moratoriums, and Neighborhood Recognition Ordinances were on the agenda with barely a quorum to hear them. What we're really torqued about is the fact that even though the Red Light Camera Moratorium passed 3 to 2 (Winter, Cadigan, & Garduno in favor, O'Malley & Benton against) it's not even close to veto proof. And if today's little tantrum is any indication, Winter will have a heck of a time trying to get three votes out of tonight's Capo's Dinner Club members should the Almighty Alcade decide to veto the bill.

We've got some news for the Foolish Foursome, NO ONE CARES! Most people would have a hard time naming the councilor they voted for much less which one ended up president of this "august" body. Tonight's little show of council disobedience only served to make you look foolish and petty. Not at all the best start for the new council.

Comments Are Back

We've decided to re-institute comments after some careful consideration and a little cleanup work. We're still in the process of removing content that just doesn't meet our standards of good taste even if those comments include solicitations for cookie recipes. (We'd forward those particular readers to, a site where your sweet tooth can be satisfied without boring the rest of us with your culinary ignorance.)

Over the next few weeks we'll be working to remove the offensive and the just plain stupid. In the meantime we'll being moderating the comments on this site. You'll still be able to post anonymously but we'll only allow posts that have something to do with the topic at hand and don't include language that would make a sailor blush because that won't make the cut either. Feel free to disagree with us or with any commenter just do it within the bounds of good taste. So let the games begin... again.

Dec 2, 2007

Eye Poll: Scrap the Scam-eras

On the eve (hopefully) of the city council vote to suspend scam-era operations until Marty's task farce finishes it's work on the issue, it comes as no surprise that 67% of Eye readers wanted to get rid of the traffic scam. In last week's unscientific poll, 46% wanted to scrap the program and refund the fines, 21% simply wanted the program scraped, 7% wanted to lower the fines again, 25% wanted the program left alone, 1% didn't know, and 1% didn't care (read the results here).

No matter how you look at it 67% is a very large section of our readership population. It would be wise for the council to consider this system's growing unpopularity before they decide not to vote for a moratorium.

All of which brings to mind another issue. Councilor Winter must have the votes to suspend the rules to allow his moratorium to be even discussed. An easy out for wimpy councilors would be to simply vote against suspending the rules; which would mean that Councilor Winter's bill wouldn't be heard at this council meeting.

We've urged you to contact your councilors before and we're about to do it again. If you have already sent an email to the council - good work, but you might want to do it again tomorrow. The council has to realize that there are serious issues with the entire system from its claims of lowering accidents (it doesn't) to its complete and utter lack of due process that could more accurately be described as fraud.

We've received a copy of the class action lawsuit that was filed last Friday and have had a chance to skim through the filing. From our layman's perspective it looks damn good. We'll be talking about it more next week and we'll make a copy of it available for your own review as well.

This week's Eye Poll takes us back to politics. After all of the announcing to announce the leak to announce the announcement took place, last Thursday's entry by Congressman Tom Udall was something of a let down. That being said, we're almost positive (as positive as any Eye can be this early in a race) that he'll be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate (unless of course he's hit by one of Marty's eco-friendly extra large buses that have been seen cruising the streets of Albuquerque lately). But that's our opinion; let us know what you think in this week's Eye Poll!

-----Council Emails-----

District 1 - Ken Sanchez -
District 2 - Debbie O'Malley -
District 3 - Isaac Benton -
District 4 - Brad Winter -
District 5 - Michael Cadigan -
District 6 - Rey Garduno - (Assistant to Councilor Garduno)
District 7 - Sally Mayer -
District 8 - Trudy Jones -
District 9 - Don Harris -

One of the emails that we have been giving out has been incorrect. apparently belongs to another RGarduno. We apologize for the inconvenience to Ms. Garduno.

Which brings up another gripe. Since our friends on the council have been allowed to hire their own personal assistants, they've taken their emails off the website and listed only their "policy analysts." We don't know about you, but those yahoos work for us and it's incumbent upon them to have a direct means of communication.

More importantly, they shouldn't be using paid staffers as a shield to keep us from taking them to task when we feel like it. They're the ones that signed up for this job and spent the money and time to be elected. (Ok... O'Malley and Garduno used our money but you get the point.) Criticism fair or not comes with the territory.

To Comment or Not to Comment - That is the Question

As you know Eye On Albuquerque has always allowed unfettered comments. We've always enjoyed a good dust-up and giving our readers the ability to express themselves (right or wrong) has at the very least been entertaining and sometimes very informative. Our policy has been to allow people to say what they wanted to say even if it made little sense, defied logic, was off topic, or even flat-out nuts.

We always tried to keep an eye on the running dialog and have deleted a comment or two that were in bad taste or were obnoxiously hawking T-Shirts or pushing cookie recipes. The comments themselves were always from our readers who were solely responsible for their content (or lack thereof).

However, we've been increasingly concerned that some of the comments have not only left topic but left reality and far too often the realm of good taste.

So in order to avoid becoming the on-line version of the pay-per view Jerry Springer show, we've disabled the comments - at least for now. We may reactivate them at a later date and of course, we're more than happy to publish well written commentary in our Letters to The Eye section.

In fact we'd love to hear your opinion on the subject. If you'd like to see the return of our comments section, shoot us an email at

Nov 30, 2007

Scam-era Carnival

The circus came to Marty-roo court today when retired APD Captain Sonny Leeper decided to fight his scam-van citation. You see Captain Leeper decided to bring along a few friends from the local media and their video cameras.

Our Eyes tell us that channels 4, 7, and 13 showed up along with 770 KKOB and wanted to witness the proceedings. At first chief hearing officer Roberto Albertorio tried to deny access to the local media and relented after discussing whether or not the city has the authority to deny access to a public hearing.

Shortly after granting admission to the Marty-roo scam-era circus, APDs media goon John Walsh showed up with a number of police officers primed to defend Marty's scam-eras. The Eyes have it that the hearing was a short one as the presiding "judge" dismissed the citation without comment from the defendant.

Captain Leeper later told 770 KKOB radio that this was his second hearing over the citation for driving 42 MPH in a 40 MPH zone and that he fully expected to be found "guilty" by the sham court but things changed when the media showed up. Apparently, hearing officer Horata blamed the wind for the dismissal (and his dog for eating his homework).

Nov 29, 2007

Stop the Scam-eras - Contact Your Councilor!

Ok... so the word is out. We hate these scam-eras and their attendant Marty-roo courts. We told you in our last post that the 5th floor and the Almighty Alcalde's loyalists are burning up the phones trying to get folks like you to contact their councilor and tell them to keep the scam going.

If you hate these things because their unjust, unfair, unscrupulous, or just plain annoying, Councilor Winter has provided you with an opportunity to put a stop to the scam-era madness (at least temporarily). We'd suggest that you contact the entire council via phone or email and let them know that you want this program to be put on ice at least until Marty's Task Farce delivers its report.

You can reach the council by phone at 768-3100. Each councilor's email is listed below. It should be a fun meeting for the two new additions to the council who will attend their first council fracas Monday night!

District 1 - Ken Sanchez -
District 2 - Debbie O'Malley -
District 3 - Isaac Benton -
District 4 - Brad Winter -
District 5 - Michael Cadigan -
District 6 - Rey Garduno -
District 7 - Sally Mayer -
District 8 - Trudy Jones -
District 9 - Don Harris -

Nov 28, 2007

Scam-era Campaign

The 5th floor has swung into high gear. According to our Eyes the boys upstairs have started their own little campaign to keep the scam-era money flowing; a reaction to Councilor Winter's planned scam-era moratorium that we told you about yesterday (read it here).

The campaign kick-off was actually yesterday as Chief Schultz made the media rounds to defend the scam-eras. Today our Eyes tell us that the 5th floor is hitting the phones to try and contact friends, relatives, and supporters of Marty's scam-era program in order to get them to call or email the council and we presume show up at Monday's council meeting.

This isn't the first time that the 5th floor has campaigned for this scam. Back in March, DC Callaway sent out a memo mandating attendance at Councilor Winter's red light camera town hall (read it here). They ran point on packing the town hall and had a large number of uniformed officers (high ranking or wanna be high ranking) in attendance. Despite the APD campaign, the town hall was filled with a large number of angry citizens voicing complaints that even some of the supporters echoed (read it here).

Our Eyes tell us that the campaign has a couple of objectives. Obviously, the first objective is to keep the moolah rolling in. The second is to provide cover for the Almighty Alcalde. You see the folks over at the Chavez senate campaign have rightly determined that Marty's red light scam has the potential to put a STOP to his senatorial aspirations. Consequently, the 5th floor is trying to keep Marty out of this whole affair. That's where the scapegoat... uh, chief comes in.

At least until Monday's council meeting, the most dangerous place in Albuquerque will be between a reporter and Chief Schultz as The Almighty One attempts to make Schultz the poster boy for the red light scam-era program. Our suggestion is... don't buy it. Schultz may be at least partially responsible for bringing this scam to Albuquerque from Scottsdale, but ultimately the man in charge is none other than the loser of the Democratic senatorial primary - Martin J. Chavez.

Chief Schultz is just the muscle behind the racket. Marty owns this one and no amount of media spin will change the fact that he's sold his soul to RedFlex for a $5.8 MILLION city profit and $10.6 MILLION in ill-gotten gain.

Nov 27, 2007

Carraro Push Poll?

As you probably know by now, State Senator Joe Carraro has decided to run for Congress challenging Sheriff Darren White for the Republican nomination. The electrons had hardly dried over at Heath Haussamen's blog announcing the impending announcement when someone hit the phones with a Carraro push poll.
Is it just us or are you as tired as we are of the announcement to announce the announcement thing that seems to be gaining popularity with New Mexico politicians (Tom Udall you know who you are). Come on! Are you running or just announcing?! Get it over with already!
(End Sidebar)
According to our Eyes ears, the "poll" talks about how experienced the State Senator is and makes absolutely sure that you know that his rival for the R nomination has never held a "legislative" office while touting his own "legislative" accomplishments. Yeah... we know it's pretty ham-fisted but some people fall for it.

Senator Carraro's emphasis on legislative accomplishment could come back to haunt him. The very thing that the senator likes to tout is the very thing that he won't be able to lay a glove on the Sheriff about. In other words, Carraro has but one punch and he's already taken it; and before he's even announced.

Now we can't prove that Carraro is responsible for the push poll, but unless his mother is investing in her son's political future, there aren't many other independent groups that would be trying to push a Carraro candidacy. One other thing that State Senator Carraro might want to consider; since a seat in Congress is a federal position the race falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission.

Our Eyes tell us that the push poll making the rounds Tuesday night didn't have the federally mandated disclosure identifying who paid for the announcement. We do know that the caller ID indicated Buffalo New York as originating city for the call. We also know that financial records are almost impossible to get destroy. Perhaps the Carraro folks should brush up on their federal election regulations before jumping in too deep.

Scam-era Suspension: Update

We just got our eyes on a copy of the bill being proposed by Councilor Winter (read it here). As we suspected, the legislation is a moratorium on STOP operations based on indications that scam-eras don't save lives, are not "scientifically reliable," the program is for revenue generation, equipment operation (calibration or the lack thereof), and due process concerns (Marty-roo court).

The bill also talks about Marty's Task Farce that was created to cover... uh, "study" the STOP program and uses the task force as part of the reasoning for suspending the program "until the council has reviewed and independently considered and analyzed any report of the Mayor's task force and has acted to authorize the continuation of the program."

Certainly the move is welcome if long overdue and it does protect the public from a continuing red light scam. We also like that it requires the council reauthorize the program before Marty can start raking in the dough again regardless of Marty's Task Farce report.

However, we're concerned that the council will be too addicted to the revenue stream to enact the moratorium in the first place; much less act on it at the December 3rd meeting. After all Marty and crew have already been caught balancing the budget on the backs of scam-era victims.

Suspend the Scam-eras!

We received an email earlier today from Councilor Brad Winter. According to the email, the councilor plans to introduce legislation to suspend scam-era operations. He also indicates that he would like to introduce the legislation at the next council meeting December 3rd. We've asked for more details on the councilor's bill and will post them as soon as we get them.

It certainly looks like a step in the right direction, but before you get too excited it's only a suspension not a discontinuation. We'll be much happier when we find out that this scam is headed for the scrap heap.

Scam-era Representation

We've been getting some emails from readers who would like to have the names of some attorneys who are interested in representing owners and their outlaw vehicles in Marty-roo court. Since we understand that it causes the hearing officer in charge tremendous heartburn when a defendant has the temerity to engage proper legal council, we thought we'd start a free directory of attorneys who are interested in taking on these cases.

Sooo... If you are an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of New Mexico and would like to be listed on Eye On Albuquerque, shoot us an email at We'll compile a list of attorneys and post them with the rest of our scam-era information. The best part is that it's FREE! Free for the attorney. Free for the potential defendant.

Nov 25, 2007

Thoughts on Scam-vans

Over the long weekend we've been considering the scam-van program and how it's being used. Let's be clear, the STOP program is simply government sponsored and implemented fraud masquerading as a public safety program. What we're wondering is exactly what obligation does the officer in the scam-van have to enforce New Mexico's traffic code?

Let's assume for a moment that officer Salazar from scam-van 1 were monitoring speeds in a "properly marked" speed zone rather than the "improperly marked" zone last June. The scam-van officer witnessed 1306 violations of the New Mexico Traffic Code and handed out exactly ZERO traffic citations.

Now we understand that officers have broad discretion when it comes to enforcing misdemeanor infractions, but if the city weren't out to make a buck then officer Salazar would have at least issued one or two criminal citations. Thanks to the STOP scam, we're paying trained law enforcement officers to run toll booths with orders not to write criminal citations.

Have a look at the scam-van log from June 19, 2007. Besides the numerous misspellings, you'll find that the log seems to meet the standards for issuing a criminal traffic citation - a citation that would have ended up in criminal court where the 1300 plus erroneous citations could have been rectified. (View the log here).

Eye Poll: Suspect Motives

To say that Eye readers are a little suspicious would be an incredible understatement. In our extended 2 week Eye Poll with 431 participants 80% indicated that the Almighty Alcalde might have had some alterior motives for forming a "task force" to "study" Albuquerque's camera scam. 31% believed that the mayor was (and is) worried about his U.S. Senate run, 3% believed that it was an attempt to fool the Legislature, 46% believed that it was both of the afore mentioned motives, 9% believed that it was due to the under performance of the system, 1% didn't know, and 10% didn't care.

We've kind of been amused by this whole scam-era thing. On one level it makes perfect sense - Marty's task force provides the perfect cover for his senate ambitions. On another level it could be a colossal mistake. Marty's task force has breathed new life into an issue that had faded somewhat over the past few months; bringing it up again simply reminded voters why they don't want anything to do with a Senator Marty Chavez.

Now we find out that the system that Marty made seems to be collecting money form the public and their nefarious autos when in fact the dastardly vehicles are innocent. We wonder if Marty may end up in a federal institution after all.

This week's Eye Poll is designed to give Marty's "task force" some ideas about what should be done about the scam-eras and the Marty-roo courts. Don't forget to vote!

Nov 20, 2007

Getting Plucked

By now you're all probably tired of the seemingly endless Thanksgiving references. Sorry, but we just couldn't help ourselves because we've never seen a bigger turkey than Marty's scam-era program. We've talked extensively about the faults of the red light toll system, but what we haven't spent much time on is the speed vans (scam-vans) that are also a part of the Safe Traffic Operations Program.

In our opinion these vans are the least offensive of the STOP components. Unlike their fixed intersection counterparts, the vans have a police officer present who performs calibration at the beginning of the operation, at the end, run the internal radar check. At best the intersection scam-eras run only an internal check and as far as we know are never independently calibrated.

Before you think that The Eye has gone over the edge, the equipment calibration and the presence of a sworn police officer are the only two things we don't object to.

Like the scam-eras, the scam-vans issue a citation by mail complete with photographic "evidence" that your vehicle has become an evil-doer. There is no indication of who the driver is and no direct evidence that your vehicle has indeed violated the law and become a public nuisance.
The Village of Los Lunas is suing the City of Albuquerque in District Court because the scam-eras give no indication of who is actually driving the vehicle. Apparently, the Chief of the Los Lunas Police Department (or more specifically his scofflaw vehicle) received a scam-era citation and the village doesn't want to pay unless the City of Albuquerque proves who was driving the village vehicle. (KOB-TV read it here.)

Remember people don't run red lights - vehicles do! We can't be expected to know what our vehicles are up to when we're not driving them!
(End Sidebar)
When you receive a speed van citation (on behalf of your dastardly vehicle) you have the option of paying or challenging the citation in Marty-roo court; run by the same "hearing officers" that run the rest of the scam-era program and who are hired (and potentially fired) by the Almighty Alcalde.

We received information and supporting documentation about one of these speed van incidents just today. In this case, the owner of the unruly vehicle decided to challenge the citation and took the time to obtain the Speed Van Deployment Log of speed van number 1.

The log clearly shows the date, speed limit, start time, end time, and location of the speed van. It also contains the notes of the attending police officer. What's interesting is that the officer's notes include a list of license plates followed by statements like "(no violation) other vehicle trip camera" which indicates to us that this particular officer was paying attention to the operation of the equipment.

On this day back in June - June 19th to be exact - the mobile revenue generator... uh, scam-van started rolling in the dough at 0907 and stopped filling city coffers at 1213. In that 3 hour and 6 minute period, 5278 vehicles were assessed of which 1306 were tagged for violating the speed limit - that's 25% of all of the vehicles passing scam-van 1.

We know that the Albuquerque isn't exactly known for driving too slow, but 25% of all vehicles in a three hour period were exceeding the speed limit by 10 MPH or greater?! Come on!

Here's the problem... and what ultimately led to the dismissal of this scam-van citation. The van was parked and operating in an "improperly marked" zone. You see the scam-van was sitting in a 65 MPH zone and handing out citations as if it were a 55 MPH zone. Ooops!

The hearing officer down at Marty-roo court knew about the mistake and promptly dismissed the citation marking the Findings of Fact Decision and Order sheet as being dismissed by the APD officer. The "judge" went on to tell this particular defendant and his attorney that ALL of the citations from June 19th were being dismissed. (Go ahead and check your citations... we'll wait.)

When we heard this story it clicked with some other information that we've had for some time. Our Eyes told us a few months ago that an APD scam-van officer had reported to their supervisor that there was a problem with one of the vans that made all of the citations issued that day suspect. According to our Eyes the officer was told to send the citations anyway. Let's say that again... the officer was told to issue suspect citations despite his belief that they were inaccurate.

We don't know whether or not these two stories are actually the same story from two different sides. However, if the owner of the dastardly Dodge, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, etc. had simply paid the citation (which you are nearly threatened with your life to do in the citation letter) they would have never known about the scam-van problem June 19th and the city would have happily dumped their money into the general fund.

This is the problem when PROFIT gets involved in law enforcement. If only half (we'd bet it's more like 70% to 80%) of the citation recipients decided to simply pay, the city would have hauled in almost $100,000. And if the numbers from the recent audit are any indication $54,000 would have been considered "excess money" a.k.a. PROFIT. Not bad for 3 hours and 6 minutes on the freeway.

There can be little doubt that the Red Flex scam-era system is flawed, but we believe that knowingly allowing 1306 individuals to receive questionable citations could be considered fraud. If a city official, ranking officer, or hearing officer knew of the problem and did nothing to make sure that people who were slapped with fines in error received their money back, then we'd say that constitutes a conspiracy to defraud. We're no attorney here but doesn't that constitute a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act? We're quite sure that it could become the basis for a class action lawsuit since we understand that there's one (yes another one) in the works.

One thing is sure - like Thursday's turkey we're all getting plucked. The only question is whether or not some city officials (mayor, chief, etc.) end up with their gooses cooked.

Nov 19, 2007

Scam-era Illegals

Commissioner Michael Brasher has decided to find out exactly how many illegals we've got running red lights at scam-era intersections. Citing the KVOA story that we told you about here, the Bernalillo County Commissioner has written a letter to City Attorney Bob White requesting information about the City of Albuquerque's procedures for handling scam-era citations issued to vehicles from foreign countries.
November 13, 2007

Bob White
City Attorney
City/County Building
4th Floor, Room 4015
One Civic Plaza NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Re: Photo Ticket Program

Dear Mr. White:

I am writing to inquire about the City of Albuquerque’s process and procedure for handling citations issued to a vehicle with a license plate from a foreign country. In particular, please advise of the number of citations that have been issued, through the Photo Ticket Program, for vehicles bearing a license plate from a foreign country. I would also like to know how many of these citations have been paid. With respect to those citations that were not paid, please advise of the steps that the City of Albuquerque has taken to attempt to collect the fines for the citations.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this request.


Michael Brasher

Attachment: “Red light camera complaints” by Erica Heartquist, KVOA Tucson, 11/8/2007
As you can see the letter asks some interesting questions. From our perspective the most interesting item will be to see how many "undocumented" vehicles are prowling our streets. We don't expect that the city even has a plan to collect on the scam-era citations. After all if APD won't notify ICE when a suspected illegal is nabbed by a police officer, why should we expect the city to try and collect on "undocumented" scam-era fines?

Update - Levi Chavez

Almost a month ago we told you about the apparent suicide of the wife of APD Officer Levi Chavez. Mrs. Chavez was allegedly upset about an affair that her husband was having with another APD officer (read it here).

The initial investigation into Mrs. Chavez's death netted a whole bunch of forensics, some marijuana, and drug related paraphernalia. Our Eyes told us that the amount of pot found was substantial (somewhere around a 1/4 of a pound), although later reports characterized it as "minute" (KRQE News 13).

Today, the Eyes have it that the initial forensic tests have cast more doubt upon the suicide theory; enough to change Mrs. Chavez's cause of death from suicide to undetermined. We're told that officer Chavez was relieved of duty as of 1:00pm and we'd guess that means paid administrative leave until officer Chavez is either cleared of wrong doing or enough evidence is gathered to warrant administrative action.

Nov 17, 2007

Deficits and Deception

Since Marty announced his red light scam-era marketing, uh... "task force," the city's photo money makers have been almost constantly in the news. First we find out that of the $10.6 MILLION in total revenue, $5.8 MILLION was dumped straight into the city's general fund. The Almighty One characterized the bounty as "excess money," we'd call it a tidy profit for the city.

Last night KOAT Target 7 broke the story that despite promises that the PROFIT would be used for public safety, the PROFIT was instead used to balance the city budget. This morning the Journal carried the same story (Subscription). It seems that Councilors Mayer and Winter aren't too happy that the red light green has been used by the city to make ends meet.

As far as we know this money was always set to be dumped into the general fund. Frankly, it doesn't make a bit of difference which fund the money is headed for. All of the money is sent to the city and its use is ultimately their responsibility. That means the Almighty Mayor and the council.

The councilors go on to complain that they were deceived stating that administration has been "misleading from the beginning." We couldn't agree more. Chavez and his minions claimed that the program was about public safety - it wasn't. They claimed that accidents went down - they didn't. They said the money would be used for the program and public safety - it hasn't been. They say that they'll create a fund for the PROFIT - it won't matter.

We're also wondering just how it is that the city found itself needing to play games with scam-era money in order to balance the budget. We know that spending has gone through the roof since Marty took over, but how did we end up running a deficit that needed to be covered by scam-era revenue?

Last week APD spokesman John Walsh told KRQE News 13 that Marty's scam-eras had caught APS bus drivers running red lights at intersections. The implication was that without the program we wouldn't know that APS bus drivers were endangering our children by running red lights.

We'd like you to think about this a bit... As you know, no one on a school bus (except for the bus driver) is wearing a seat belt. We're pretty sure that a school bus weighs substantially more than your average Prius making it more than a little difficult to stop one on a dime. Do you really want bus drivers stopping short? We can just picture APS students learning to fly - over the seats, their classmates, past the bus driver, and through the front windshield - just so APS and a bus driver avoid a scam-era citation.

We've talked about this before, but we still believe that there are times when it's safer for everyone if a vehicle "runs" a red; particularly when stopping short would endanger lives. These are times when a driver must use their judgment and when it's absolutely imperative that a police officer is present to use their judgment in determining whether or not the driver was correct. Scam-eras will never be able to judge a situation and Marty's Kangaroo Courts are designed to make money not hear cases.

Our Eyes tell us that the 11th floor is putting pressure on Chief Schultz and APD to make the case that the cameras are necessary and blames them for the current situation. We'd think that if Marty and crew were really serious about a "task force" he wouldn't be pressuring Ray, and Ray wouldn't be using John Walsh to bash APS bus driver in the name of our children's safety.
Our B.S. meter always goes off when politicians start using children to prove a tangential point. It's usually a distraction and a deception.
(End Sidebar)
Look... if the esteemed councilors want to fix the problem with the scam-era system they have the power to do so. All they have to do is convince four other councilor's that Marty's scam has gone on long enough. To date all they've done is hold town halls and make minor reductions in fines. We've compared it to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and so it is.

The Mayer (Councilor Mayer) claims that she supports the system but would like lower fines. When thieves break into your house and steal everything but your brand new TV - you're happy they missed the TV but still pissed that they got the rest of your stuff. Mayer's typical idiocy fails to recognize that the whole system is based on deceit and has been an utter failure.

Meanwhile, Councilor Winter has held his town hall and heard the vehement complaints of constituents and the general public, but has failed to act. We generally like the councilor, but this is a time for action not compromise.

The Mayor and his CEO Bruce Perlman have created a corrupt system designed to bring in revenue. Remember, these are the guys that brought us ABQ PAC, a political action committee created to fill Marty's political coffers and his pockets too. If there was ever any doubt that this whole thing is about money (which there shouldn't have been considering Marty's track record), even the most naive, deaf, dumb, and blind supporter of the Almighty Mayor should be having second thoughts.