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

Sep 30, 2007

Problems with the Bar

We've been telling you for some time that all of these ethics complaints against Councilor Harris might end up causing him problems with the State Bar. Well, it looks like there has been an unrelated complaint filed with the State Bar Association accusing Attorney Harris of conflict of interest and taking a client's retainer and subsequently failing to provide the agreed upon legal services.

By now we've all heard of Mr. Harris' use of his attorney's trust fund as a campaign slush fund, but taking a retainer and not providing services seems to us like fraud. We would expect the Bar Association to conduct an investigation but disclosure of the allegations won't do anything to help the councilor in his bid to hold off the recall; a fact that Mr. Harris apparently realized when he allegedly asked the complainant Angelo Winfield not to file the complaint until after Tuesday's election.

Eye Poll: Katherine Martinez Soundly Defeats O'Malley

In another surprising turn of events, Katherine Martinez (M) who is running against City Council President Debbie O'Malley (D) soundly defeated Ms. O'Malley in this past week's Eye Poll. Ms. Martinez received 69% to Ms. O'Malley's 31% in an unscientific poll that can only be described as bucking the conventional wisdom (view the results here).

We honestly don't know how this will play out Tuesday. Our hunch is that the incumbent O'Malley will hold the seat easily, particularly if this election turns out to be a referendum on the Almighty Marty. However, if the election comes down to Councilor O'Malley's propensity to spend our tax dollars and her less than warm and fuzzy personality the Eye Poll may end up being a harbinger of things to come.

This week we wade into the tempestuous waters of the Flag Flap. We understand that Peter Ryan Lynch is receiving large amounts of support from Eye readers along with free legal services from attorney John D'Amato.

Curiously, the Saturday UNM Homecoming football game featured more United States flags than we have ever seen in University Stadium. We couldn't help but wonder if the administration was trying to project a sense of patriotism to donors and alumni after taking a beating in the press over the Mexican Flag Flap.

Frankly we were glad to see Old Glory featured so prominently and the crowd spontaneously singing our national anthem sent chills up our spine. We hate the fact that it takes a series of screw-ups, unfounded charges, and constant media attention to remind most of us that the American flag represents more than just a government, but freedom, liberty, and the sacrifices of patriots that made them possible.

Let us know what you think should happen to Mr. Lynch in this week's Eye Poll. Don't forget to vote!

Sep 27, 2007

City Slum Lords

We've all heard of affordable housing and by and large we all want affordable housing. October 2nd voters here in Albuquerque will get the chance to vote for a General Obligation Bond whose stated purpose is to provide affordable housing to those who can't afford their own home.
"Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $10,100,000 of its general obligation bonds in support of the Workforce Housing Act to provide resources towards the construction and rehabilitation of high quality, permanently affordable housing for low to moderate working families, including affordable senior rental?"
Wow! Sounds great doesn't it? We're going to use our tax dollars to help working families afford their own homes; and more importantly these patches of paradise will be "permanently" affordable. The Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board (not surprisingly) came out in favor of this G.O. Bond just yesterday.
"This bond represents the first of three installments over the next six years into a Workforce Housing Trust fund. Every dollar from the city's trust would leverage $4 in private money, focusing those resources on Metropolitan Redevelopment Areas and properties along transit corridors.

Some programs are more beneficial for the first buyer, who later sells the property at market prices. This program maintains affordability by limiting the amount of equity that accrues to owners and keeping the sales price below the market level for subsequent buyers."
The tricky part is the last part, that says "this program maintains affordability by limiting the amount of equity that accrues to owners and keeping the sales price below the market level for subsequent buyers." The ordinance creating this affordable housing "opportunity" is O-06-8 and was passed just a little over a year ago. The Ordinance explains it this way:
"In a neighborhood with increasing housing prices the goal is to preserve a mixed income environment and avoid the dislocation of low income residents by creating a reserve of permanent workforce housing protected from price increases and danger of converting to market rate housing, allowing renters to own their housing, and otherwise financially insulating low income residents from financial burdens of gentrification while accruing its benefits."
What that means is that the city will use our tax dollars to help "low to moderate" income families buy homes that are "protected" from the market, making them "permanently" affordable. In other words, these "owners" will be paying a mortgage on a property that they don't truly own because they won't be getting the equity that is naturally created through time and the free market increase in property value. In short, their financial position will be only slightly better than renters because most of the equity they receive would be the equity that they put directly into the property through their payments.

The result of this type of affordable housing program is predictable; run down properties that have little or no value due to the cap on equity imposed by the affordable housing ordinance. Why would an "owner" invest any of their own money in a property where their investment can't grow? It would be better to rent a house or apartment where the property owner at least has some financial motivation and legal obligation to keep the property in good repair.

Another requirement of this legislation is that "affordable" housing must be included in new developments. Look, impact fees have already added $10,000 to houses being built on the West Side; $10,000 that contrary to assertions by socialist politicians is not paid by the developer but added to the price of the home.

Only government logic can justify raising the price of homes by $10,000 and then complain about the price of homes and the need for affordable housing. Like impact fees, the cost of the "affordable" units will be paid for by the other home owners in the development raising the cost of homes and pushing homeowners out of Albuquerque; and yes, that means more sprawl.

In 20 years, you'll be able to spot the "affordable" eye sores in every development where this short sighted socialist scheme is in effect and the neighborhood slum lord will be the City of Albuquerque. What do you bet that the Almighty Mayor's Safe City Strike Force won't answer your calls when you're complaining about one of their properties?

No matter how you slice it, these ordinances create a series of hidden taxes and fees that are borne by the rest of us. The system is deceitful and dishonest and right now the only way to put an end to it is to make sure the program is not funded.

Sep 26, 2007

Top of the List - Again

It seems that New Mexico is becoming known for topping lists. Of course they're generally the type of lists that no one wants to be on in the first place; the only exception being the much ballyhooed best place to do business list from Forbes Magazine. According to today's Albuquerque Journal (Subscription), the Metro Area is one of the most dangerous in the country.
"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."
These latest stats didn't surprise us because we've been telling you for some time that APD is facing a manpower crisis; one that despite all of the money spent on recruiting, isn't going away. Just last week APD recruiters were up in Appleton, Wisconsin testing for new recruits.
"The Albuquerque Police Department is casting its net far and wide, looking to keep the rapidly expanding Southwestern city adequately staffed with law enforcement.

Now it's coming to northeastern Wisconsin.

Deputy Chief Michael Castro said the department has 1,033 officers and is looking to hire another 67 by the end of the year."
Folks, that is what you call spin. It's true Albuquerque is a rapidly growing city with our population now said to be over 800,000, but growth isn't the only reason our police department is lagging behind. APD seems incapable of closing the gap between the number of sworn officers we have and the number we should have.

Back in May, the Journal ran an article that claimed the department had grown nearly 12% since 2002 and that the number of officers over at APD was 998 (Subscription). Our Eyes took issue with the 998 number and informed us that the number was really closer to 800 (read it here). Now Deputy Chief Michael Castro tells that APD has "1,033 officers and is looking to hire another 67 by the end of the year."

Again our Eyes are taking issue with the numbers being given to the press claiming that the number of sworn officers over at APD is somewhere between 814 and 828. In addition, the Eyes have it that day shift officers are being ordered not to go to court because manpower levels are so low that they need them on the street rather than in court. Just guess what happens when an officer doesn't make it to court.

APD has repeatedly refused to provide a list of sworn and non-sworn personnel and their departmental assignments; even to city councilors. As a result, it's almost impossible to verify their force strength numbers. When you consider the fact that the Almighty Marty, Chief Schultz, and the rest of the 5th floor have developed a reputation for cookin' the books, it's hard to believe any statistics without supporting documentation.

The fact of the matter is APD doesn't have enough sworn officers on the force and on the streets. You don't need to look any deeper that today's Journal article to find proof of that fact. Out of 349 metropolitan areas - 43rd in murder, 51st in rape, 74th in robbery, 32nd in aggravated assaults, 58th in burglaries, 95th in larcenies, and where we really excel - 17th in auto theft.

Chief Schultz's reaction, "I feel safe." Let's see here... he carries a gun, a badge, and a radio; and oh yeah, he's the CHIEF OF POLICE! Even more annoying, infuriating and just plain funny is that he blames Albuquerque's poor ranking on us!
"Schultz said the FBI statistics are misleading because Albuquerque residents tend to report crime more often than residents from other cities.

"This is not a dangerous place," Schultz said. "This is a place in which people take crime very seriously and will report it when it occurs.'"
What?! We're talking about violent crime here. Chief Schultz can't seriously expect us to believe that violent crimes go unreported in other cities and that somehow our poor showing is the result of over-reporting violent crime. We're not sure what's more frightening, the crime statistics or a Chief that would actually expect us to believe that the FBI numbers are somehow inflated because of us.

Remember folks, it's all up to you. The next time your stabbed, raped, assaulted, burgled, or come across a dead body... whatever you do don't, call the police to report it or Albuquerque will continue to be a dangerous place to live.

Sep 25, 2007

Nothing New - Nothing Much

Yesterday's candidate forum held during the monthly NAIOP luncheon featured all but one of the candidates (Sticky Fingers Garduño), the beleaguered Don Harris, and all the buzz words you could stomach. In fact, we now believe that the word "stakeholders" should be removed from political discourse. Blogger Mario Burgos has a pretty good description of a forum that at times seemed interminable (read it here).

Only one candidate distinguished herself in the hour long forum, the soon to be councilor from district 8 Trudy Jones; who was certainly playing on her home field and doesn't face an opponent in the seat being vacated by Craig Loy. Ms. Jones cut through the rhetoric and pointed out that many problems like affordable housing are actually caused through "hidden taxes" and attempts at "social engineering" (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

Surprisingly, Councilor Harris from district 9 was given a seat at the forum and addressed all of the questions that the other candidates were asked to answer. In his closing remarks, he spent a great deal of time bashing the Almighty Mayor and complaining that should he be recalled, the mayor would appoint his replacement. A strategy that left us scratching our head, as this group hasn't had the warmest of relations with Councilor Harris but has generally worked well with the Almighty One.

The Honey Bee (de'Pascal) made a smart strategic move during her closing statement addressing her divorce and her BS BS and MBA. Her argument is that she has been the victim of terrible attacks and that she can take the heat. The problem is she didn't do a thing to address the civil charge of embezzling $60,000 and her more recent attempt to pass off fraudulent degrees from the diploma mill Almeda University on an unwary electorate. If you haven't figured it out by now Ms. de'Pascal has problems with the truth, more specifically being truthful. Her performance at this particular event was credible, but it was just that - a performance.

Not surprisingly, most of the candidates made sacrifices on the altars of density, public transportation, affordable housing, impact fees, and "green" development. The sitting councilors generally defended the current council claiming that they were getting things done, while the challengers deplored the council's acrimony toward the Almighty Mayor and each other.

In the end, there was nothing new here (with the exception of soon-to-be Councilor Jones). The candidates generally parroted different formulations of the same answers, particularly the candidates from district 6. We wonder if this is an unintended consequence of public financing - vanilla candidates with vanilla ideas. They never had to face challenges to their ideas from potential donors so their answers to questions tended to sound uninformed or cliché. If this is what we have to look forward to in future elections, we've got nothing much to look forward to.

Sep 24, 2007

Letters to The Eye: Peter Ryan Lynch Responds

We received this as a comment to our Fault and Desecration post. Although we can't verify that it is from Mr. Lynch, its content leads us to believe that it is indeed written by Mr. Lynch. His comment was well written and provides a detailed explanation of his actions with regard to the Mexican national flag. As with most stories, there's more to this one than meets the eye.

Peter Ryan Lynch Responds

My fellow Americans,

My name is Peter Ryan Lynch; I am a student at UNM. I am a decorated 8-year veteran of the US military, honorably discharge this July. I am appalled a foreign banner flew unaccompanied on UNM campus flagpole for three days, including a US holiday. I am an American passionate about our country and I would feel the same way if it were ANY foreign banner.

The Mexican flag was flying over UNM campus unaccompanied by an American flag on U.S. Constitution Day 17 September 2007.

According to United States Code (Federal Law):
"The flag should be displayed on all days especially on… Constitution Day, September 17…."

"The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution."

"The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse."

Throughout history, flying a nation’s banner is a claim of ownership. To do this on U.S. Constitution Day is an insult to all Americans. I am outraged that UNM administration allowed this happen. I thought before my class was over they would address the issue. I left class, and the foreign banner was still unaccompanied. I went to the dean’s office, pleading for action. I also notified Army ROTC, who has the honor of raising and lowering the US flag on UNM campus this month. I waited one and one half-hours after these notifications to take action myself. I made a profound statement and tore down this foreign banner. My actions although overzealous, are warranted.

Americans have one of the most diverse cultures on the planet, we embrace our differences, and unless you are a foreign visitor or illegal immigrant then your nationality is American! We are all equals under the Constitution and Stars and Stripes that protect us. Americans should fly their historical nations’ banners with pride. UNM is a public institution, governed by the laws of our nation, and on 17 September 2007, Federal law was broken; American’s are insulted. I am livid, with all the press coverage, only Julian "Top" Martinez said anything in my defense. Furthermore, the press has a responsibility to gather all the facts before printing.

I would like to assure El Centro de la Raza that hate or racism did not motivate my actions. I ask UNM administration specifically, David Schmidly (University President), Rita Martinez-Purson (Interim Vice President for Academic Diversity), and Cheo Torres (Vice President for Academic Affairs), to apologize to all the American Students, including Mexican-American students, for allowing a foreign banner to fly over UNM for three days in violation of Federal laws.

Peter Ryan Lynch

Sep 23, 2007

Eye Poll: Surprising Results

This week's Eye Poll double header featured the four way race in district 6 and the district 4 re-poll. In district 4 the results (which we believed were suspect the first time) showed a narrowing of the gap between incumbent Councilor Winter and challenger de'Pascal. However with 111 fewer participants due to more stringent voting rules, de'Pascal still ended up with an 8 point advantage with 54% to Winter's 46% (view the results here).

We always stress that this is an unscientific poll and we believe the increased voting security is at least partially responsible for the change in the poll results. One way or the other the Eye Poll shows a determination by the de'Pascal camp to get out their voters at least for the Eye Poll. It remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to muster enough votes on election day and during early voting which is now in progress.

Our featured Eye Poll took a look at the vacant seat of Councilor Martin Heinrich, district 6. This is a four way race between Rey Garduno (D), Joan Griffin (M), Blair Kauffman (D), and Kevin Wilson (R). Martycrat Joan Griffin took this one with 41% of the vote, Kevin Wilson was surprisingly strong with pulling 37%, Rey Garduno thought to be the odds on favorite only got 19% of the vote, and Blair Kauffman rounded out the group with 3% (view the results here).

Our unscientific poll showed surprising strength from Republican Kevin Wilson. He seems to have run a fairly high profile campaign, at least from the outside. It will be interesting to see whether the 2 Democrats and the Martycrat (registered as a D) end up splitting the vote enough to allow Mr. Wilson to slide into the seat.

This week we take a look at the last two candidates who are running for the district 2 council seat. Incumbent Council President is the odds on favorite, but it will be interesting to see what effect the Almighty Mayor's endorsement will have on the Martinez campaign; especially in light of the mayor's recent media problems. Don't forget to vote!

Sep 21, 2007

Fault and Desecration

Turns out that this whole flag thing is nothing but a big "misunderstanding." One of our readers posted an "enlightened" comment that directed readers to the Daily Lobo website where all of our concerns were supposed to be addressed.

According to the letter to the Daily Lobo (read it here) from Lt. Col. Erik Sevigny, the Army ROTC was responsible for raising the American flag and our state flag last Friday morning. The third flag pole that normally flies the university flag was left empty and unlocked for the Mexican Student Association to fly the Mexican national flag. The Mexican Student Association later arrived and raised the Mexican flag on the pole that normally flies the UNM flag.

That night, the Army ROTC returned, lowered the American flag and the state of New Mexico flag but left the Mexican flag, assuming that the Mexican Student Association would return to remove the Mexican national flag which they had raised earlier in the day. The MSA apparently never returned to lower the flag. The result, the Mexican flag remained flying over Scholes Hall and the University of New Mexico until Monday morning when Ryan Lynch found the Mexican flag flying solo over a state university.

In his letter to the Lobo, Lt.Col. Sevigny goes on to trumpet cultural awareness and diversity; something every good association that is "allowed" to operate on campus is expected to do. When you analyze this flag "incident," there's plenty of blame to go around.

Mr. Lynch was probably correct in removing the Mexican flag that was flying alone outside of Scholes Hall. Maybe he shouldn't have ripped it into two pieces but under the circumstances perhaps his actions were not only understandable but justifiable.

Maybe the Army ROTC whose responsibility it was to hoist the Stars and Stripes along with the Zia of New Mexico should have also taken down the Mexican national flag instead of leaving it flying. Although, we can understand why they didn't since they were not the ones to raise it.

That leaves the Mexican Student Association. Who according to Lt.Col. Sevigny were responsible for raising it. The MSA subsequently failed to lower the Mexican flag and left it flying alone over the University of New Mexico until Monday morning when Ryan Lynch removed it.

When you look for blame... there's plenty. When you look for fault, it lies squarely with the Mexican Student Association. After all, they were responsible for leaving the Mexican flag flying Friday night. A flag that continued to fly solo over the weekend and was only lowered after Ryan Lynch removed it for them.

We will never know whether they left the Mexican flag flying by accident or intentionally. What we do know is that they never returned to remove the flag that they were supposed to be honoring.
It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
Since the flag poles in question are not illuminated, the first "desecration" of the Mexican national flag actually occurred Friday night when the MSA failed to remove the Mexican flag. It was repeated both Saturday and Sunday night as it continued to fly over UNM without deference to the flag of the United States; which by the way should have never been allowed by the university.

Maybe Mr. Lynch should not have ripped the flag in two, but it certainly had already been "desecrated" no less than three times by the time Mr. Lynch removed it from the UNM flag pole. There is fault and there certainly was desecration, but both were the responsibility of the Mexican Student Association.

Without Delay

We just got information from the Harris recall camp telling us that a conference call was held today to determine whether or not Councilor Harris' ethics hearing would be held next Monday as scheduled. According to the email, the hearing will proceed as planned with only a few limitations placed on the complainant; their attorney will not be able to put the full city audit into evidence. He will however, be able to refer to the audit for questioning purposes.

So the big Ethics Event is on... The outcome of which could very well determine the outcome of the recall effort. The only way that we believe Councilor Harris could pull this thing out is to have a majority of the charges dismissed; which we don't believe will happen. One thing is sure, GOV TV is bound to have the highest ratings in its history.

For those of you who don't know about GOV TV, it's on Comcast channel 16 and the hearing begins at 5:30 pm, Monday September 24th. We're trying to find out whether or not it will be on the Internet as well. One way or the other, you know we'll have our Eyes on it.

Playing for Time - Harris Requests Delay

We've seen it before, when politicians are approaching judgment day they will almost always try to put it off as long as possible. Yesterday, Councilor Harris' attorney Douglas J. Antoon, filed a request for a "rescheduling" of the Harris' ethics hearing based primarily on the premise that the councilor has not been given enough time to respond to the allegations; in particular the additional violations revealed by the recent city audit (read it here - pdf).
We're told that Councilor Harris had a less than favorable reaction to the recent mailer sent out by New Mexican's for Democracy, the group spearheading his removal. It was presented as an exhibit in the councilor's request for rescheduling and included in the above attachment. According to our Eyes the councilor was "incoherent and full of rage." It probably dawned on him (finally) that having the Ethics Hearing one week before the election wasn't such a good idea. Sort of like making sure your name was on the second page of the ballot all by itself instead of on the first page buried in the middle of a number of bond issues.
(End Sidebar)
Further, Mr. Antoon claims that Assistant City Attorney Mark Shoesmith has inappropriately assumed the role of prosecutor on behalf of the complainant as opposed to legal advisor to the ethics board. Of course this assertion is based on information obtained by Councilor Harris or by Mr. Antoon from "one well-placed official," and "those close to the process but afraid to go on the record."

The mainstream media and bloggers regularly use unnamed sources... we do it all the time. However, information allegedly obtained from "well-placed" officials and fearful sources "close to the process," are hardly valid in a legal or quasi-legal proceeding. Without direct attribution subject to testimony and/or a deposition, they can't be considered anything but hearsay and innuendo (if that).

Antoon also claims that there are substantial errors in the audit report and alleges that the City Attorney not the City Auditor actually wrote the report. The funny part of that assertion is that the respondent (Harris) hasn't had enough time to analyze the audit report, but somehow knows that it contains errors. Shouldn't those errors be discussed at length during the Hearing? Isn't that what the hearing is for?

Harris is clearly following in the footsteps of previous politicians who've managed to get caught with their hand in the cookie jar or cigar... uh, never mind. Deny and delay, delay and deny until you wear down your opponent or the voters get bored with the story.

Harris has already attempted to legally derail the process by trying to get a court to decide that the City Charter required a higher number of petition signatures than specifically indicated. His current gambit is designed to keep voters from seeing him "on trial" as it were, for violating the city's ethics regulations and campaign contribution limits. It's just another play for time designed to put the issues in question beyond his October 2nd judgment day and deny his constituents the ability to evaluate the allegations for themselves.

Sep 20, 2007

The Flag at Issue

Wednesday, The Albuquerque Journal ran a story about 30-year-old Peter Ryan Lynch (Subscription). Apparently, Mr. Lynch took exception to the Mexican flag being raised outside of a UNM administration building.

According to UNM officials, flying the flag was part of a celebration of Mexican independence day last Sunday, sponsored by the Mexican Student Association. The criminal complaint indicates that Lynch removed the flag, tore it in half, and proceeded to the Air Force ROTC office with flag (now flags) in hand. His objection... there was no American flag present. Mr. Lynch has been charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property and of course the MSA called it a "hate crime."

You know, we're all for freedom, liberty and being able to fly whatever flag you want. However, UNM is a state school paid for with American tax dollars. It is wholly inappropriate for the UNM administration to allow the Mexican national flag to be flown in place of the flag of the United States. In fact, the act is against the U.S. flag code.
No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof...
Even more irritating is the fact that UNM's new President, David Schmidly promised the Mexican Student Association that they could raise the Mexican national flag again Thursday. The MSA enjoys the freedom of association and the freedom of speech provided by the U.S. Constitution and symbolized by the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.

Is it really too much to ask that they respect the flag of the country that provides those freedoms even when celebrating the independence of their homeland? It's certainly not too much to ask that the administration and President Schmidly to abide by the United State Flag Code at a publicly funded university.

One other nagging question we have is... Would Mr. Lynch be facing charges if he had committed the same "crime" against the flag of the United States? Even if he did, we'd bet that some group like the ACLU would be out there defending his right to do so. Perhaps some enterprising, patriotic lawyer will step up to the plate and defend a man who was through his actions, defending the flag of the United States of America and upholding U.S. Code title 4, chapter 1, section 7.

Sep 19, 2007

More than Skeletons

The Albuquerque Journal ran a story (Subscription) today that we told you about last night (read it here), district 4's Honey Bee (or more accurately Honey BS) decided it would be a good idea to claim that she had both a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree from Almeda University. Ms. de'Pascal's claims sure made her educational experience more of a match for her opponent Councilor Brad Winter, who holds both a Master's Degree and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.

As you already know, Almeda University is a diploma mill, so the Honey Bee's B.S. is just that and might as well have been made a Kinko's. In today's Journal she responded saying, "you show me someone who doesn't have skeletons in their closet. That person is a saint... (ABQ Journal - Subscription)"

Well, no one is accusing her of being a saint and we've found precious few candidates or elected officials who are. The problem is Ms. de'Pascal's skeletons just keep falling out of her closet and have a direct bearing on whether or not she can be trusted by those she seeks to represent.

Another skeleton just happened drop out right in front of our Eyes. According to our Eyes, Ms. de'Pascal's questionnaire was filled out by none other than Captain Payne himself, with the help of Karen Fisher. We've heard for years how city officials have often crossed the line when it comes to elections; sometimes innocently other times not. Our understanding is that these questions were answered downtown on a city computer. Can we prove it... no, but if The Captain and any crew on the city payroll are campaigning on city time using city equipment, we've got a real problem.

According to the Journal, degrees from Almeda University cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500. We wonder, when did she get these bogus degrees and who paid for them? Is this yet another example of candidates using "clean" money?

Ms. de'Pascal's educational qualifications were never an issue until she decided to try and pass off bogus degrees from an unaccredited university as genuine. This is not an example of a "skeleton" in a closet but rather the conscious effort to deceive, right here, right now.

Sep 18, 2007

Cruising with More BS than MBA

We both love and hate the Albuquerque Journal Candidate Questionnaires. They usually consist of eight or so questions about district issues followed by the obligatory "gotcha" questions that the Pope himself wouldn't want to answer without fibbing a little. The most amusing question is always held for last - the mea culpa question for candidates and incumbents.
Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state?
The question is soooo broad that if you've got a pulse and are above the age of 18, you've got to answer "yes" or you've been living in a convent all of your life. Remember, traffic tickets are misdemeanors and even if you are found not guilty of a traffic violation, you have still been "charged with" a misdemeanor. Apparently, Honey Bee de'Pascal has been living in the afore mentioned convent because she answered "no," but we digress.

The questionnaire also contains some other information like party affiliation, place of residence, age, occupation, family, political/government experience, and education. When asked about her education The Honey Bee buzzed out the following:
St. Joseph HS, N.Y., TVI Certified Nursing Assistant Program; TVI LPN Program, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, CA., NM Real Estate Institute, BS, MBA, Almeda University, ID, Continuing Education for Real Estate every three years.
It's the B.S. and M.B.A. stuff that caught our attention. Our Eyes told us that Ms. de'Pascal didn't have a collegiate level degree, so the B.S. and M.B.A. from Almeda University really grabbed our attention.

After a little digging (about 2 seconds really) we found out that Almeda University is what is commonly known as a diploma mill.

Almeda University is an unaccredited American diploma mill that offers an MBA program through online courses, a "Life Experience Degree" and an online certificate program. Almeda University was founded in 1997.[1]

Almeda is not accredited by any recognized accreditation body. As such its degrees are not acceptable to any employers or other institutions and the use of its degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.
We didn't just take Wikipedia's word for it; we found another site by the U.S. Department of Education that allows users to check college accreditation. You guessed it... no Almeda University.

Did Ms. de'Pascal lie on her Journal Questionnaire? Probably not; she more than likely holds these two degrees that according to and Wikipedia are really more BS than anything else. The problem is that her degrees are not even legal in some jurisdictions and claiming them in her campaign is just one more attempt to embezzle the votes of district 4 voters.

In our opinion this is a far more egregious act than Sticky Fingers Garduño's larceny. Claiming degrees from an unaccredited university is an intentional act designed to fool the voters into believing she has recognized credentials that she has not earned; for the sole purpose of winning an election. The Honey Bee's supporters might want to start asking themselves if they really know anything about the person they support.

The good news is that in the next few days you will have to start referring to us as Dr. Eye (Courtesy of Almeda University). The bad news for the de'Pascal Pleasure Cruise, Captain Payne, the Almighty Marty, and the Honey Bee herself is that her degrees aren't worth the paper that they're printed on... or for that matter the one that they're printed in.

Sep 17, 2007

Hats Off - Sheriff Greg Solano

We've been busy the last couple of weeks and didn't catch this until just today. In an August 29th post, we mused that it will be interesting to see whether as a candidate for Lt. Governor he would continue his blogging avocation. Sheriff Solano's response:
Not only will I continue to blog, I have even started a new blog which will detail the run for Lieutenant Governor in a personal and honest way that I believe has never been done in New Mexico politics. One thing I vowed when I first ran for office was that "politics will not change me, I will change politics".

I truly believe this and this is not some made up campaign slogan. I will not formulate an opinion based on what polls say or based on what might be best for the campaign. I had a job before politics and should the voters decide I am not right for the position I am running I will have a job and continue to serve my community in other ways. So come here and read my ramblings and yes I am sure my opponents will try and use these writings against me, the good thing is that "you never have to remember what you said if you always say the truth".
Our hats off to the Sheriff and Lt. Governor candidate. We may not agree with his opinion, but we believe that it's an honest one. What's more, it takes courage to take a position and voice your opinion especially when one is a candidate for elected office; because every time you do someone will disagree with you. If the Santa Fe Sheriff is able to live up to his convictions, it truly will be a breath of fresh air for New Mexico politics.

Eye Poll: Love for the Honey Bee

Last week's Eye Poll caught us by surprise early in the week as challenger Paulette de'Pascal opened up a 20 point lead over incumbent Brad Winter in an Eye Poll that saw even more votes (468) than the mayoral job approval poll (465) that we ran back in June. Since the numbers seemed strange, we started to look at our site statistics and found not only unusually high traffic, but large numbers of visitors coming from City of Albuquerque IP addresses.

We started to suspect that Captain Payne had set his course on pushing the Eye Poll. It wasn't until later in the week that we received confirmation from a couple of our Eyes that indeed there was a quite effort to push last week's Eye Poll. The push didn't surprise us as it's happened before when the Almighty Mayor himself blasted out an email to his campaign supporters urging them to vote for his approval. His gambit failed by 10 points (view the results here).

What to do? We admit that our Eye Poll is unscientific at best. However, we do want it to represent the opinions of Eye Readers as accurately as possible. So... in order to achieve that goal, we decided to do two things.

First, we changed the security parameters of the poll in order to make it harder for one person to pump up the votes for a specific candidate. Second, we decided to run the district 4 poll again; which seemed only fair in light of last week's push.

So... this week we feature two Eye Polls - a district 6 poll, and a repeat of the district 4 poll. Don't forget to vote!

Sep 15, 2007

Violation Matrix

Thursday night KRQE Channel 13 ran a story on Councilor Harris' ethics audit. The package featured a pan of a piece of paper with a bunch of check marks on it. Reporter Michael Herzenberg indicated that each check mark would be considered a violation.

We were curious about that violation matrix and managed to get our Eyes on a copy of the checklist(read it here). We counted 175 individual violations. Frankly, we couldn't believe that someone who has presumably passed the state bar could have screwed up his campaign reporting so badly.

The most troubling part for us was Harris' repeated acceptance of donations that exceeded the maximum allowed by law. Mr. Harris like all candidates, had to have been aware of the donation cap; it's hard to view his actions as anything other than a willful disregard of the law. In our opinion, these acts alone disqualify him from holding elected office.

Councilor Harris has already lost the trust of a good portion of his constituents, it remains to be seen whether or not the Ethics Board will recommend to the council that he be removed from office; which after seeing the type and number of violations revealed by the audit seems likely.

As a member of the State Bar, Mr. Harris should be held to a higher standard; a standard that doesn't allow for willful violation of the law. The consequences of his misdeeds could and probably will extend beyond the council chambers. Perhaps it's time for Councilor Harris to resign in order to concentrate on more immediate problems like keeping what's left of his legal reputation.

Sep 13, 2007

Parties to the City Election

This October's Municipal Election has got it all. We've got educators and a toy salesman, a retired housing advocate and a builder's advocate, an accused embezzler and an admitted larcenist, Democrats (D), Republicans (R), and Martycrats (M). If that weren't enough... District 9 is in a state of open rebellion and is on track to give their councilor the boot even though his replacement will be a card carrying Martycrat. It's enough to make you long for a good old fashioned partisan race.
Our Eyes tell us that Admiral Lowe and crew are pretty confident that the ethics hearing for Councilor Harris will reveal misdeeds that could amount to thousands of dollars in fines. To make matters worse for the embattled councilor, he'll be featured on the second page of the district 9 ballot, making the recall almost impossible to miss for the voters in his soon to be former district.
(End Sidebar)
If all of that isn't enough to make you a little bit crazy, 5 of the participants (Sticky Fingers Garduño, Honey Bee de'Pascal, Ad Guru Griffin, Toy Man Wilson, and Commissar O'Malley) are all fueling their campaigns with your tax dollars. If they are so willing to use money that has been forcibly taken from the taxpayer to run their campaigns, what do you think they'll do when they have the power to do it for themselves? Talk about larceny!

Fortunately we can't vote in every district (well without voter ID... maybe we'll give it a shot), but if we could it'd be very hard for one of the above candidates to talk us into spending our vote when they've already stolen our money. On that note, let's talk about who's not already taking your money.

Katherine Martinez(M) - District 2 (Challenger)
Frankly, we don't believe that Ms. Martinez has a chance to beat Commissar O'Malley whose long, deep family ties in the North Valley and her incumbent status make her almost invulnerable. The irony here is that we have a former (current really) housing advocate being challenged by a representative of people who know how to build homes.

Even though Ms. Martinez has been directly endorsed by the Almighty One and would surely be expected to vote the Marty line, we don't believe she'd take the position that the City of Albuquerque should become landlords to people who can't afford homes. There are many ways to help people buy homes, but they all need to include earning and ownership.

Brad Winter (R) - District 4 (Incumbent)
Councilor Winter is completing his second term as councilor. He has been effective for his district and more importantly hasn't spent his time as councilor or as a candidate sticking his hand in our wallets. Another point in his favor is that he's the only councilor that's done anything to try and fix some of the problems caused by the Red Light Scam-era system.

His opponent on the other hand, is accused of embezzling over $60,000, and is already being run by the Napoleon of the 11th floor. Despite the Honey Bee's attempts at claiming victim status, the only victims in this race are the taxpayers.

Blair Kaufman (D) - District 6 (Open Seat)
You know, we'd really like to be able to say something nice about this particular candidate. He hasn't taken any of our money for his campaign which could mean he respects the taxpayers and their hard earned money. But after reading the Journal's Online Chat (Subscription) we suspect that the only reason he isn't rolling in "clean" money is that he didn't qualify.

It's really disheartening for those of us who believe the government should spend less time in our lives and in our wallet to see each candidate trying to out spend the other. Not one of them talked about freedom, not one talked about personal responsibility (except Sticky Fingers Garduño after he'd been nailed for fibbing on his Journal questionnaire).
It's amazing how frequently candidates and politicians have a Michael Vick Moment after being nailed. They suddenly find Jesus, Allah, or head out to rehabracadabara. What responsibility does a candidate for elected office have to be truthful, even when faced with a "gotcha" question from the Journal?
(End Sidebar)
We really feel for the residents of District 6. There's not a bit of difference between the candidates. The Republican isn't, the two Democrats are all the same except for the larceny thing, and the Martycrat spouts the exact same big government crap that the other three are busy spewing. Personally, we believe Sticky Fingers will end up representing District 6, but it probably won't make any difference except to Marty.

Sep 11, 2007

Remember 9/11

Forget about politics today. Take a moment to remember the over 3000 people that lost their lives in a savage, brutal, and unjustifiable attack on innocent civilians just 6 short years ago. Remember the firefighters and police officers who rushed in to save those innocent civilians without hesitation. Remember the soldiers fighting to protect our country from terrorist extremists in places known and unknown, and their comrades who have died by their sides. Remember too that we are all Americans, with a common love of freedom and a generosity that is unmatched in the history of the world.

It is unfortunate that we often become so embroiled in the now, that the atrocities and the victories of our past become foggy distant things that fail to move us.

There's a man in our family... a distant relative really, who died in the Pacific in 1945 fighting to defend our country in World War II. He never married and never had children. His only brother and his only brother's only son never had children. Everyone who was his blood relative is now gone. The only proof that he was ever alive or sacrificed his life for his country - for us, is a small stack of faded letters, a few discolored photographs, and the flag that draped his coffin.

It's been only 6 years since that September day; a day where the world changed (at least temporarily). How many of those who lost their lives that day are already fading into the dark recesses of our minds? How many didn't have family to honor their memory and their sacrifice? How many will become just a faded stack of letters or an unknown face in a photograph?

It's up to us to remember all of them from the soldier to the civilian who sacrificed their life, or whose life was viciously taken. Remember those who have died, and pray for those who continue to fight the war that was started by a brutal attack on innocent civilians 6 years ago today. Remember 9/11.

Sep 9, 2007

Eye Poll: Recall Councilor Harris

In our second poll involving Councilor Harris, the results turned out to be almost the same. 69% of Eye readers felt that the councilor should be recalled, 21% felt that he should continue, 4% didn't know, 6% didn't care. (View the full results here.)

Remember, this is an unscientific poll and the only real poll that counts is the one in October and it only includes the registered voters in his district. However, it never bodes well to see even an unscientific poll that's this lop-sided. It also mirrors our earlier approval poll which indicated a 60% disapproval rating.

This week we're taking a look at the council race in district 4 where incumbent Brad Winter is being challenged by Paulette de'Pascal. Don't forget to vote.

Sep 7, 2007

Tryst in Paradise

We've been wondering about the somewhat ironic relationship between Transportation Director Greg Payne and Martin Chavez. You see... way back in the day Payne ran for his first elected office against incumbent councilor, current county commissioner, and fellow Republican Tim Cummins. The irony is that Payne ran on accusations that Cummins was too close to then 1st term Mayor Martin Chavez.

Last week we were sent some video that might explain the unnatural and unlikely relationship between the Almighty Mayor and his Transportation Director.

Now that's funny!

----- UPDATE -----
We've gotten a couple of emails stating that there's no video embedded in this post. So in an effort to make sure humor is spread throughout the fine city of Albuquerque here's a direct link.

----- Correction -----
We were rightly chastised for misspelling tryst. So... the original pithy headline added its own source of humor at our expense.

Sep 6, 2007

Petulant Paulette

District 4 council candidate Paulette de'Pascal is out with a mail piece that screams "Bad Brad!" Apparently, she's got her dander up about the revelations coming from the blogs (including this one) and other media outlets. We haven't seen the piece but the Pascal Pleasure Cruise on our dime, made sure that the Tribune got a copy which resulted in a front page story.

You see Ms. de'Pascal (Martycrat) is going through a messy divorce, which frankly isn't news in and of itself. However, when your soon to be (or at least sometime in the future to be) ex-husband is accusing you of embezzling $60,000 you can bet it's going to become an issue in your council race. Right now there has been no finding regarding the accusations against her which makes the divorce in question not only relevant, but an important consideration when choosing a councilor.
Martycrat- An ambitious politician that swears allegiance not to their party or their constituents but rather the Almighty Marty, King of the 11th floor, maker of media, and prince of the pedantic. Can be identified by a tendency to switch parties right before elections and will act like Republicans whenever addressing certain development groups. Right now there are three running for office and one likely to be appointed.
(End Sidebar)
After all, we have seen far too many public officials on the take here in New Mexico. Do we really need to elect someone who may be responsible for putting company funds in their own pocket? Honey Bee Paulette is solely responsible for choosing to run in this election, at a time when her actions are still in dispute. For her to try to grab the mantle of victim through a childish mail piece only reminds voters of how foolish she looked after the release of the Sandra Richardson email.

Speaking of Captain Payne, this "Bad Brad" mail piece has his finger prints all over it. It's precisely the type of piece he would come up with to try to put the Honey Bee back in the race. Unfortunately, this one only serves to make his candidate look somewhat childish, while bringing up the issue of her divorce the underlying claims. Folks the divorce ain't the issue, otherwise we'd be talking about her other ones. The issue is her integrity and ability to lead.

Sep 5, 2007

Illegals: A Source of Crime

A few weeks back we posted some statistics we found all over the web regarding the link between crime and illegal aliens. Last week 770 KKOB aired an hour long special on immigration hosted by Laura McCallum. The show started with a litany of statistics supplied by former INS Senior agent Mike Cutler, that should scare the bejeezus out of everyone.

- 86% of Warrants for Murder in Albuquerque are for Illegal Aliens
-75% of People on the FBI's Most Wanted List are Illegal Aliens
-48% of ALL Inmates in New Mexico Prisons are Mexican Nationals here Illegally
-66% of Drivers in New Mexico Do Not have a Drivers License, Insurance, or Registration - 98% of Those are Illegal Aliens
One thing is abundantly clear; people that come across our border illegally are responsible for an inordinate amount of crime and violent crime at that. If there was an apartment or home in your neighborhood that accounted for half of the crime in the area, you can bet Marty would be out there with his Safe City Strike Force seizing property. For some reason the mayor and his administration expect someone else to take responsibility for this obvious source of crime in our midst.

"APD secures Albuquerque, it does not secure the boarder," says Director Payne on Marty's radio show. (We'll let you guess what that sucking noise is.) If APD is not in the business of removing a known criminal element illegal alien or otherwise, then APD isn't securing anyone or anything.

We doubt that even in their heyday the organized crime families of New York and Chicago were responsible for 86% of all murder warrants. Illegal aliens are coming here, they are a major source of violent crime, and therefore they are our problem; which makes them APD's problem. The cavalier and dismissive attitude of the Almighty Mayor is at best a failure to fully grasp the problem, and at worst a willful dereliction of his duty as mayor.

APD's SOP has got to be crystal clear. Illegals must be reported to ICE if arrested, in custody, or charged with a crime. Further, officers should be encouraged to report those who give them probable cause to believe that they are here illegally unless they are victims of or witnesses to a crime that is serious enough to warrant some sort of leniency.

This isn't about some member of the huddled masses coming to America to find a better life for himself and his family. Illegal aliens are putting pressure on our health care and social services, in addition to our legal and penal systems. It's time for them to go home and stay there and it's time for APD and Mayor Chavez to take responsibility for fighting crime that illegal aliens represent.

Common Sense Breaks Out at School Board

The Albuquerque Journal (Subscription) is reporting that common sense broke out at tonights APS School Board meeting. Apparently the same board that had thus far resisted arming APS Police officers voted to create a full fledged police force. We're making the assumption that it means they'll be armed but who knows, they may have still flunked the test.

Sep 4, 2007

Swing Vote Maes

According to today's Albuquerque Journal, the safety of students and teachers at APS comes down to one vote - the vote of board president, Paula Maes. Unlike voters in last week's Eye Poll, the school board seems to be in a deadlock with 3 members from the East Side (Mary Lee Martin, Marty Esquivel, and Gordon Rowe) in favor of arming APS police officers, and 3 West Side members (Berna Facio, Dolores Griego, and Robert Lucero) against. That leaves District 5 representative and board president Paula Maes as the swing vote.

Wednesday night the board meets to take final action on the safety commission recommendation to arm the defenseless officers and protect students and teachers. We think it's a no brainer - give officers the training and equipment necessary to do their jobs. Otherwise we shouldn't expect officers to be able to protect anyone, including themselves.

The good news is that even though the board has largely shown that it doesn't get it and won't do what's necessary to protect anyone, Maes appears to be on the fence. Perhaps a few emails or phone calls would persuade her that even though she's "not a gun person," she should vote to equip and pay police professionals to their jobs. You can reach Ms. Maes by email at or by phone (505) 880-3739. If she fails to see common sense, you can use those numbers to let her know how unhappy you are.

----- Update -----

We were just listening to a 770 KKOB news break and were alarmed to hear that Maes told them that she didn't believe that one more gun would have prevented the tragedies at Virginia Tech or Columbine. This type of attitude shows an amazing disconnect with reality. There are bad people out there who want to kill other people, some are crazy, some are just simply evil. Not liking guns and not arming trained police officers doesn't make these types of people go away.

Sep 3, 2007

Eye Poll: Carrying for Students

We said that APS Police carrying their sidearm was an 80% issue with the general public. We were wrong... according to this past week's Eye Poll it's an 85% issue. Eye readers rejected the APS School Board's decision to disarm APS Police during school hours with 85% of participants voting to allow APS police to carry their weapon, 15% did not want them to carry a sidearm, and 1 lone vote didn't care (see the results of our unscientific poll here).

We don't really know what they've been smoking down there at the school board, but really what are APS Police officers supposed to use to stop murderous thugs from gunning down children... harsh language? It's pretty clear that the board does not represent the general public when it comes to public safety and the security of the students and teachers in their charge.

It's September now and in the 2007 election season is in full swing so... this week we'll be taking a look at the District 9 recall election. The question of Don Harris continuing as district 9's councilor will be on the ballot in October, so it's our Eye Poll this week. Don't forget to vote!

Sep 1, 2007

Localization and Lunacy

In the news business it's called "loacalization." We've all seen it, a national tragedy or natural disaster occurs and every reporter in the state is out trying to find some New Mexican who knows someone who knows someone who knew one of the people who could have been involved. The result is usually some tangential relation to the story that often makes little sense and comes off looking silly.

What really drives us crazy is when local political officials get into the act trying to "localize" a national policy issue, especially when that local official or governing body can't keep its own house in order. Such is the case with the councilor from Albuquerque's district 3 Isaac Benton, who has introduced a resolution to end the Iraq war.

Never mind the fact that the resolution R-07-293 reads like a leftist propaganda piece and that the council is in no position to prove or disprove any of its assertions, Benton and the council have no authority whatsoever to affect national security policy and further, they are not privy to any of the classified information required to make informed decisions. You'll notice that even the Congress controlled by Democrats who largely ran the last election on an anti-war platform, have not introduced legislation to de-fund the war and withdraw our troops immediately.

We tend to believe that if Democrats in Congress who know that there will be hell to pay with the far left wing of their party aren't clamoring to pull the troops out immediately, then there's probably a pretty convincing reason for them not to act. After all, most of them ran on an anti-Iraq war impeach Bush platform and their failure to act is driving the Kozheads and MoveOn-ers absolutely nuts (that could be redundant)!

The funniest part of Benton's whole resolution is that he mentions "$383,900,000" dollars of Albuquerque taxpayer's money that has been spent on the war. We don't know where he got his numbers but even if it's true, this is the same councilor that wont' bat an eye to spend $240 MILLION (realistically more like $300 MILLION) of our money on a trolley that will serve a couple thousand people, max.

At the very least the money spent in Iraq has benefited millions of Iraqi's (believe it or not living under a dysfunctional democracy is superior to living under a tyrant), protected our national interests, and made the world generally safer by making our terrorists enemies fight us where they live instead of where we live.

In the final analysis it doesn't matter whether or not you are for or against the war, or for that matter whether you were for or against the war. It is a waste of our time (since city councilors work for us their time is ours) for the council to be debating resolutions that have absolutely no impact on policy. Benton will create a media circus and he'll fill the council chambers with radical lefties but NOTHING will be accomplished; only a lunatic would believe otherwise.