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

Jan 29, 2007

Eye On Your Money - The Reasoning of a Child

"A baby is an alimentary canal with a loud voice at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

There's no better description of what Albuquerque's city government has become. On one end we have the loud voice of the mayor and the council telling us that we need, need, need. On the other we are constantly dumped on by having to pay for the consequences of that insatiable desire.

Trolleys, arenas, even decorative pots... We are told that we need these things. We as voters often approve the shiny new toy because like an envious teenager, we are told that all the other kids our size have them. Today we have a perfect example of both ends of the governmental baby. Amazingly enough the justification for the need and the consequences are both the same.

Mayor Chavez made his State of the City address yesterday at the NAIOP luncheon. In it he reportedly referred to the recent defeat of his Desire Named Streetcar and noted that he lost by just one vote. Well the mayor is back on track pushing to get this thing out of the station. (We apologize for the overuse of the ridiculous railroad metaphors, but they're no more ridiculous than the project itself.) The justification used... other cities our size have one and if we want to be like everyone else we should have one too!

The other end of the governmental baby made its presence known earlier in the morning. According to the Albuquerque Journal we will all be paying more for parking at the airport if city officials have their way. Read the Journal report here. (Subscription Required) The move would raise an estimated $1.7 million according to airport spokesman Daniel Jiron. Surprise, surprise the justification given for increasing parking fees... other cities our size charge more than we do! Blogger Mario Burgos nails this one when he notes:
"Mr. Jiron is not saying we need additional revenue to cover costs. Instead, he is saying that he just wants to bump up the costs because other municipalities charge more. Would somebody please explain to the goofballs what it means to have a competitive advantage?"
At first glance there doesn't seem to be any real justification for the additional revenue. But once you start taking a look at both ends of the baby you'll find that the city needs all the money it can get if it is to continue to spend like teenagers set loose with their parents no limit credit card. $270 million for a train, $10 million just for the land for an arena, and budget shortfalls, all require cash. Unfortunately, we're the ones they send the bill to. $3.5 million from red light cameras, $1.7 million from increased parking rates, alarm permit fees, extensions of taxes that are set to expire, are all indications that the city is doing all it can to increase the flow of money into its coffers and out of our pockets.

There's no doubt that the city baby is active and dumping on us with no sense of responsibility whatsoever.

----- UPDATE -----

Last night we were a bit bleary eyed and were unable to find the recent journal article that announces the city's budget shortfall. In the bright light of the morning, The Eye spotted the remembered journal article about the predicted $22 million budget shortfall for 2008. The article points out that the city's spending is $125 million ahead of inflation since Mayor Chavez took office. You can read about it here. (Subscription Required). Is it really any wonder that the city is squeezing revenue from every possible source?

Jan 28, 2007

Eye Alert - New Red Light Camera Locations

Marty's money makers are up and coming to two new locations. Recently we discussed the economic motivation behind the red light cameras, (Read it here.) Since the Mayor and Chief of Police Schultz claim that the only reason the city has begun its red light camera operation is public safety you would guess that these new cameras address these serious concerns at locations where there have been numerous accidents. If you did... you'd be wrong. The newest photo toll booths are at the intersections of Wyoming/Academy and San Mateo/Academy.

Neither of these new locations are in the top 20 for the most number of traffic accidents. However, they are located in the most profitable area of the city. I got a look at Wyoming and Academy and those new toll takers look just about ready to start filling the city coffers. The Eye has never advocated running red lights, breaking the law, or driving recklessly, but we maintain that this is about revenue not safety.

We heard a great observation recently, "if the red light cameras were about public safety, there'd be signs warning drivers that the cameras were in operation well before the intersection." Point taken.

Jan 24, 2007

Governor Marty? Mayor Payne?

Didn't we just do this? As we found out from the Journal yesterday, the gubernatorial contest is already underway in the state of New Mexico. Mayor Martin Chavez filed his paperwork to form a campaign committee on friday and will have a $2,000 a head fundraiser to kickoff his bid. Now I don't know about you but I'm a little tired after last year's election hoo haa and have just gotten used to the fact that we've got at least a school board election AND a city election on the slate for this year.

Mayor Marty is apparently terrified that he'll get behind in the money race and decided to fire the starting gun. You can read all about it here (subscription required). Now what does that mean for the city? You see, Marty's current stint as Mayor of Albuquerque is up in 2009. Our political Eyes tell us that he'll have to make a decision on the governors race at the same time he decides whether or not he'll run for Mayor. If he does run for guv, then the Mayor's race is for an open seat. The open seat for the top spot in the largest city in the state is bound to attract a lot of attention from area politicos.

Some of the names that have surfaced are Ken Sanchez, Sally Mayer, Michael Cadigan, and now reported on Joe Monahan's blog Transit Director Greg Payne. Now Joe has a reputation as being Big Bills favorite blogger and is also known to be close to Director Payne. Payne is known to be one of Monahan's "alligators" not to mention being featured by name regularly. The real question here is whether Payne can lure his Republican support back or whether his behind the scenes deals and history of betrayal will catch up with him.

To further our suspicion that Payne is very serious about making a run for City Hall, he was spotted today having lunch with some of Marty's biggest supporters in blue, retired Captain Rob DeBuck, former Deputy Chief Paul Chavez, and Deputy Chief Mike Castro. DC Castro is best known for his meteoric rise through the APD ranks and his generous contributions to Mayor Marty's campaign fund.

In short, the opportunistic Payne will be certain to have the inside scoop on whether the mayor will run for guv. We'll have our Eyes on Payne to see if his campaign trolley leaves the station.

Jan 22, 2007

In a Hurry - State Police Stops High Ranking APD Officer

Our Eyes on the Inside tell us that one of APDs high ranking officers was pulled over by State Police for excessive speed. Apparently this routine traffic stop didn't go well and ended with some hurt feelings, strong language, and a citation for the afore mentioned APD officer. State Police are determined to make sure that there's no favoritism in the court proceedings so they've moved the case to Torrence County where APD has very little influence. We're keeping our Eyes on this one and will let you know more as it develops.

No sooner had we pressed the publish button than we got a tip that the APD officer involved is none other than the recently promoted Deputy Chief Kevin McCabe. The Eyes have it that DC McCabe got a little mouthy when stopped in the East Mountains. State Police Officer Forrest Smith stuck to his guns (figuratively speaking) and issued the DC a citation. The citation apparently has been sent to the magistrate court in Moriarty. Local media seems to be in hot pursuit.

Neighborhood Associations & Homeowners Associations Under Fire

The city is set to further involve itself in the functioning of both neighborhood associations and homeowners associations through the introduction of three ordinances. The neighborhood ordinance is designed to dictate how a neighborhood association will nominate and elect officers. It also dictates how members are to be notified and provides for mail in balloting. The bill itself is a change to the current Neighgorhood Association Recognition Ordinance. The home owners association legislation actually creates city oversight for a private entity whose primary purpose is the maintenance of the development it serves. The third bill is to create a taskforce to study homeowners associations and neighborhood associations.

First of all it seems a little strange to create the legislation with regard to the associations before forming the taskforce. Looks an awful lot like predetermining the outcome. Second, both the neighborhood associations and the homeowners associations are essentially private non-profit organizations. Currently, neighborhood associations have to meet certain obligations before they are recognized by the city's Office of Neighborhood Coordination, are run entirely by volunteers, and generally have a very limited budget. Homeowners associations are not recognized by ONC, are often professionally administrated much like apartment complexes, and have much larger operational budgets in order to maintain the grounds, pools, medians, common areas, etc.

Our Eyes tell us that there's considerable resistance to the Council and the City getting involved in the operation of neighborhood associations. It's difficult to find volunteers who are willing to give the time and effort necessary to maintain an association when there's no pressing issue (i.e. Wal-Mart moving into the neighborhood) and some of the notification/balloting requirements would put a strain on what is already a limited association budget. While homeowners associations are essentially a management organization. Buyers of properties governed by an association are notified before purchasing their home and are given copies of its bylaws before closing. What business does the city have in getting involved in either of these private organizations?

The legislation by and large looks to us a lot like a solution in search of a problem. Our Eyes on the Inside tell us that much of this comes from Councilor Harris' problems with the Four Hills Neighborhood Association and the impending formation of the East Gateway Coalition whose organizational meeting is set for January 25th at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center. Historically city councilors have either worked with their NAs or worked at cross purposes. When the latter happens, they often feel like they need to get their districts and associations under control. Councilors would do well to remember that they must work with their constituents not attempt to impose control when they disagree.

Jan 19, 2007

More Evidence - Update

The suit we told you about Tuesday made it to the paper today. According to the article, Kelly Sandoval a former Evidence Technician in APDs Evidence room is seeking damages for the loss of her job. Named in the suit are former Chief Gil Gallegos and former Deputy Chief Ed Sauer. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this lawsuit, whose heads end up on the chopping block, and how fast the city settles. You can read more about it here. (Subscription Required)

Red Light Cameras: Update

Today the Albuquerque Journal ran an interesting story (subscription required) about the city's candid cameras. Seems that nearly 28% of the 50,462 vehicles that were caught on camera last year weren't sent a citation. There were a number of reasons ranging from trailer hitches to the weather. What was most interesting was the number of citations actually issued - 36,521. Now if each one cost the driver a minimum of $100 then the city charged its citizens a cool $3,652,100. Now we don't know how much of that the city actually got to keep and how much went to the Arizona based contractor Redflex but regardless of the split, the city seems determined to expand its revenue base.

Jan 18, 2007

Streetcar May Be Back On Track

Albuquerque's streetcar may be back on track and is scheduled to arrive in the City Council station in early February. Back in November the Mayor and his confederates on the council tried and succeeded in ram rodding a 10 year extension to Albuquerque's Transportation Infrastructure Tax to help pay for Marty's folly trolley. The $270 million dollar amusement park ride would link Nob Hill to Coors & Atrisco. The move timed to be taken up and passed the day before the November election backfired and resulted in the creation of SWAT (Stop Wasting Albuquerque's Taxes), a group dedicated to keeping an eye on how the city spends our tax dollars. The extension of the Transportation Infrastructure Tax was initially passed by council and then later withdrawn when even sponsors Heinrich and Benton received so much pressure from their constituents that they had no choice. The trolley jumped the tracks.

The result of all of this hulla baloo was two bills to study the trolley. One sponsored by Councilor Harris, called for a $50,000 appropriation for an independent cost-benefit analysis. The second sponsored by Councilor Winter, called for the formulation of a task force to study the problem. Both bills appear to have serious problems. The $50,000 "independent" analysis could easily be handed to streetcar contractor HDR and we all know how that would turn out. Not to mention that believe it or not $50,000 is not near enough to perform the type of comprehensive transportation study necessary to determine what the future of transportation in Albuquerque will be and whether or not a trolley should be a part of that future. The task force approach sounds good but our Eyes tell us that its make up will include an inordinate number of declared streetcar proponents which would likely make the outcome a foregone conclusion.

Call it a lack of trust or perhaps a healthy skepticism, we believe that Mayor Chavez and most of the council would like to put this back on the fast track regardless of whether it's a good idea, would actually improve Albuquerque's transportation future, or even whether anyone would even ride it. As always we'll keep our eye on it.

Remember, we're always looking for more Eyes on the Inside. If you have a tip, don't hesitate to leave a comment or email the Eye at

Eye Alert - New Red Light Camera Location

In an effort to continue to bolster the city's coffers, our Eyes on the Inside tell us that there will soon be a new candid camera location. Where is this new location? I-40 and Coors? Coors and Central? Coors and Irving? Nope. Our Eyes tell us that the next location will be at Menaul and Carlisle.

Jan 17, 2007

Red Light Cameras: Economic Profiling?

Are the red light/speed cameras used to profile the citizens of Albuquerque?

Illegal profiling is defined as:

  • A prohibited activity that consists of targeting individuals for enforcement action or other activity based solely upon; race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affliction or ECONOMIC STATUS, age cultural group or any other identifiable group.

Mayor Chavez said the cameras are being placed at intersections with the high crash ratings, is this true? Below is a table showing the top 20 crash ratings at intersections in Albuquerque.

Rank - Intersection --------------------------- Number of Crashes





Coors/Paseo Del Norte



Montgomery/San Mateo









I-40 Westbound Wyoming



Jefferson/Paseo Del Norte















Coors By Pass/Ellison



I-25/Paseo Del Norte



I-40 Westbound/San Mateo






Wyoming/Paseo Del Norte



San Mateo/Menaul






San Mateo/Candelaria





Now look at the table below showing where the cameras are being placed

Area --------------------- Camera Intersection --------- Ranking


Juan Tabo/Lomas

Not on the top 20 list



Not on the top 20 list


Montgomery/San Mateo

#3 on the top 20 list



#4 on the top 20 list



Not on the top 20 list



Not on the top 20 list


San Mateo/Menaul

#17 on the top 20 list


Jefferson/Paseo Del Norte

#7 on the top 20 list


Coors/Paseo Del Norte

#2 on the top 20 list



#11 on the top 20 list



#5 on the top 20 list




If you analyze the data you will find some curious items:

  • The Juan Tabo/Lomas intersection located in the Foothills is not on the top 20 list.
  • Out of 6 intersections in the Northeast, 3 are not on the top 20 list. The 3 that are, are rated 3, 4 and 17 out of 20.
  • The Jefferson /Paseo Del Norte intersection located in the Valley is rated 7 out of 20.
  • The 3 Westside locations are rated 2, 11 and 5 out of 20.

It seems pretty clear that the city is engaging in its own form of economic profiling. The #1 rated intersection (I-40 & Coors) does not even have a camera! Is this really about traffic safety? Or are these cameras simply placed in parts of the city where Mayor Chavez and his team know the citizens will pay the fines?

Take a look at the following map courtesy of that shows the income distribution in the Albuquerque Metro Area.

Now, look at the large area of income levels over $55,000 and you'll find that is also where (you guessed it) a majority of the Red Light Cameras are being installed. Even a blind man, woman, or small animal could see that the cameras have become a revenue stream for the city.

Now, you may have noticed that the Eye, while spending an inordinate amount of time watching those characters down at city hall, simply hates the idea of these crazy cameras watching the profitable intersections in the Northeast Heights. Some may even speculate that we spend our time practicing for the previously blogged and recently renamed Daskalos 500 and don't want to see our shining eye caught in Mayor Marty's candid camera. Nothing could be further from the truth. We simply believe that law enforcement should not be used for revenue generation. It's too easy for the Mayor and Council to start depending on that camera cash cow. And you know what that means... manipulating the time of yellow lights and putting the cameras in the most profitable parts of town. (Oh yeah! They already did the latter!)

What to do if you want to make a change... Call the Mayor and the City Council to remind them that you vote and you did not vote for this tax. If you do nothing, you are allowing Mayor Chavez and the City Council to tax you without your consent. You are allowing Mayor Chavez and the City Council to take a basic freedom away, the right to vote.

If you get one of these candid camera citations, don’t just pay, demand a hearing on a specific date and time. Let the city know in writing you will not wait longer than 30 minutes for your case to be heard.

Our Eyes have found that citizens are waiting up to 3 hours for their case to be heard. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!

Remember the city elected officials work for you. You are their boss. The elected officials do as you direct or they get FIRED!

Your comments are welcome.

Next: How to Fight the Camera Tax

Jan 16, 2007

Eye Alert - More Evidence

Our Eyes on the Inside have it that an EEOC lawsuit will be filed as soon as tomorrow. This former employee who was allegedly placed on medical retirement worked in APDs evidence room. As you remember the APD evidence room was rocked with scandal when items tagged in as evidence which included cash, went missing. The mayor promised heads would roll and so one (Chief Gil Gallegos) did.

Lawsuits are a messy business filled with claims and counter claims that come in the form of depositions and/or testimony under oath. Our Eyes are seeing some very nervous faces on the 5th floor, as anyone connected with the evidence room directly or indirectly, could be called to testify. We'll see what happens and if this lawsuit is filed, how long it takes the city to settle.

Speaking of Breaks...

The Albuquerque Journal led today with yet another story about developer Jason Daskalos. Apparently Mr. Daskalos, after using his Prosche in his own version of the Albuquerque 500 and evading (temporarily) Albuquerque Police officer Josh Otzenberger, tried to use his political connections to get himself a "break." This particular connection is with none other than Mayor Martin Chavez.
"He was just asking for breaks, to let him go, he was already home, he won't drive anymore, things like that. I said 'no man, you got to go to jail,' '' Otzenberger said in the deposition.
"And he said, 'Come on man, give me a break. I just gave a ... building to and ate dinner with the mayor' or something like that." - Albuquerque Journal (Subscription Required)

Seems the amateur race car driver and speeding ticket collector, believed that giving the Chavez Campaign what amounts to $7,500 entitled him to some special treatment when it came to reckless driving and DWI.
According to campaign finance reports, Chávez used a Daskalos building in Nob Hill as his campaign headquarters in 2005.

The campaign paid $4,500 in rent for the building, and, shortly afterward, Jason Daskalos Properties gave the campaign a check for $4,500. An additional $3,000 in rent was forgiven by a Daskalos company, La Sierra Construction. That was listed as an "in-kind contribution" on campaign finance reports. - Albuquerque Journal (Subcription Required)

Mayor Chaves' only response was to admit he may have had dinner with Daskalos that night and to claim that not even his mother gets a break.
Mayor Chavez has a full-time APD body guard and driver paid for by (you guessed it) the citizens of Albuquerque. Determining whether the mayor had dinner with Jason Daskalos should be a simple task. If he did, what role did Mayor Chavez play in this whole affair? Was Mr. Daskalos intoxicated when he left dinner?
Let's see if I understand this, a prominent developer, from a prominent family, with connections in the City Attorney's Office and a history of getting breaks, who donates at least $7,500 to the Chavez campaign, isn't treated any differently than the rest of us? Why would anyone believe that?! Remember, this is the Mayor that brought us the Sunport Observation Deck debacle and the ABQ PAC scandal.

Give US a break!!