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

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.

Nov 15, 2007

An Early Holiday Turkey

City employees who plan on buying the holiday turkey this weekend may have to wait. Our Eyes tell us that due to a computer "glitch" downtown almost half of the city's works have not been paid.

City of Albuquerque employees are on a bi-weekly pay system and today their checks didn't arrive as scheduled. The city's "glitch" could cause more than just an inconvenience for those who planned to pick up their holiday feast this weekend because many city employees (just like the general population) live paycheck to paycheck. When their checks don't arrive on time then their bills don't get paid on time. We all know what that means - late fees.

Let's see how fast the city gets this "glitch" fixed. After all, if it lasts too long The Almighty Mayor might have to suspend his shakedown of city employees; a particular problem when trying to raise money for his senate campaign. Not to mention that nothing makes the natives more restless than not getting paid on-time. Who knows, we might see even more of the 11th floor's dirty laundry hung out on certain lovable websites.

Nov 13, 2007

Target Kirby: Timeline for Retaliation

We've been following the story of Officer Ben Kirby for some time now. Kirby is the officer that got canned for springing developer Jason Daskalos from the DWI paddy wagon last year. A couple of weeks ago we told you that Kirby had become the target of a grand jury investigation into his actions (read it here).

We mentioned in that post that the timing of the investigation seemed curious. We'll we've gotten a little more information on the events following the notorious trip and it's got us even more intrigued. As we told you (here), the decision to target officer Kirby for indictment comes almost immediately after the city was notified that Officer Kirby intended to sue the city in order to get his job back. What's more interesting is that Chief Ray Schultz indicated in a letter to the Director of the NM DPS Center Thomas Lyon, that the District Attorney's office had reviewed the case and decided not to prosecute officer Kirby. The DA's decision was included in a letter concerning the revocation of Kirby's Officer Certification way back in March.

Let's take a quick look at the timeline:
  • August 25, 2006 - Kirby springs Daskalos
  • October 25, 2006 - APD terminates Officer Ben Kirby
  • March 21, 2007 - APD requests NMDPS Decertify Kirby
  • September 5, 2007 - Kirby files lawsuit requesting reinstatement
  • September 11, 2007 - DPS sends notice to Kirby at APD that he is subject to continued action regarding his law enforcement certification
  • October 22, 2007 - Kirby is notified that he is the target of a grand jury investigation
To us it looks just a little suspicious that none of the state agencies responsible for looking into the Daskalos incident chose to do anything about Kirby until after he files a lawsuit asking for his job back.

Our Eyes tell us that originally, the grand jury was to meet last Thursday and that at the last minute the session was canceled. The rumor is that the DA wanted to present evidence pertaining to the here to fore unnamed co-conspirator and that conspirator was Jason Daskalos for assisting an escape.

Now we don't know what's going on here. It seems strange that Daskalos could be charged as a conspirator in his own escape. We'd think he'd be charged with unlawful flight from prosecution or some such legalese.

However one thing is sure, whether Daskalos is in the DA's crosshairs or not, Ben Kirby certainly is and from the timeline above it looks as if they mean to get him. More importantly, it appears as if they went after him criminally and for decertification after he had the temerity to sue for his job back. Can you say prosecutorial misconduct? Can you say retaliation?

Scam-era Sanctuary

The Almighty Alcalde's weekend announcement that he's forming a task force to cover his a... uh, study Albuquerque's scam-era program got us skulking around the web for red light camera stories after a couple month hiatus on the topic. We were curious whether there were any new victims of "public safety" minded greedy municipalities. It didn't take long to find out that our neighbors to the southwest in Tucson are in the early stages of this public policy fleecing in the name of public safety.

Since misery loves company, we skimmed through a couple of stories and found that the scam is pretty much following the same pattern as it did right here in Eye Land. The city with the aid of the main stream media, market the scam as a way to cut down on accidents and speeding (read it here and here). At first the public generally accepts the idea - the first cameras are installed and the money starts to roll in.

Once those flashes start to count and drivers realize that it's not always the other guy that has to pay the fines, the first questions start to be asked; in this case, a question that we should have asked here but failed to consider. It seems that citizens of our sister city to the south thought to ask the question - what happens when the scam-era catches a vehicle from Mexico or any other foreign country for that matter?
"Right now, if a car from another country blows through a red light at the intersection of Tanque Verde and Grant Roads, police cannot track that driver."

"'Even a police officer who observes a Mexican plate on the street cannot run it for registration information," said Lieutenant Mike Pryor with the Tucson Police Department's traffic division.

Lt. Pryor says there's just no uniform system of tracking outside the United States."
Albuquerque is already a defacto sanctuary city. Now we find out that in addition to getting a pass from APD due to their don't ask and especially don't tell ICE SOP, illegals get sanctuary from RedFlex scam-eras too. Makes us want to make a run for the border to register the Eye Mobile in Mexico.

Thanks to the reader who correctly pointed out that we meant "border" not "boarder." One is an international boundry - the other is someone who pays rent. Since illegals don't even pay scam-era fines, it would be ridiculous to think that they'd be paying us rent to be here.

Eye Poll: APD's Morale Less Than Stellar

Last week's Eye Poll results came as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. Readers perception of APD's morale can only be characterized as terrible. With 260 votes in our unscientific poll 47% felt that morale was Terrible and couldn't get worse, 20% felt that it was not so good, 7% pretty good, 4% great, another 4% didn't know, and 19% didn't care.
For the almost 20% of you who didn't care... you might start caring if APD morale leads to a reduction in job performance. Being a police officer is one of the hardest jobs around featuring high stress, long hours, confrontation, and endless hours of mind-numbing paperwork. As part of their job, officer's fight daily battles against some pretty bad people. They shouldn't have to fight the 5th and 11th floors too.

When anyone has too many battles to fight, their effectiveness and performance suffer. In the police business that can mean someone dies; and that someone may be dear to you. You might want to consider that before you stop caring.
(End Sidebar)
Again, we weren't surprised by the outcome and even though this poll is unscientific, 2/3rds of you felt that there was an APD morale problem. In the world of government and politics, perception is reality. The reality here is that APD has a BIG problem. The responsibility for fixing those problems lies squarely with the department's leadership - Chief Ray Schultz and ultimately Albuquerque's Martycrat Mayor who's trying to jump ship before his political career drowns in a sea of red light scam-eras, dishonesty, and overall administrative incompetence.

In case you haven't already noticed, this week's Eye Poll takes up the issue of Marty's motives behind the scam-era task force. We bet you already know what we think... So let us know what you think in this week's poll.

Nov 11, 2007

The Blame Game

It's amazing what political ambition can do to a power hungry politician. As you know we've been seeing red over Marty's scam-eras since we entered the rarified air of the blogosphere. Thus far the lure of green for the city has had the Almighty Alcalde defiantly defending the scam-eras and their banana courts despite considerable pressure from the public. Marty and his Minions have even gone so far as to cook the books and enforce laws that don't exist.

We think that it's fair to say that the Almighty Mayor has supported this program with an almost religious fervor. Suddenly, (and we probably should have expected this) the Napoleon of the 11th floor has decided to form a "Task Force" to study the scam-era program saying that the program is not "delivering on its promises" (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

For months these little scam-era money makers have been snapping away at Albuquerque drives sucking money out of our pockets faster than three dollar a gallon gas pumps. Last week both KRQE and KOAT did exposés on Marty's scam-eras and found that of the $10.6 MILLION snapped up by the scam-eras $4.8 MILLION went to operation costs and $5.8 MILLION went into the city's general fund (read them here and here). Now on Marty's favorite day to manipulate the media, he's out there announcing a "task force." What's going on here?

The obvious answer is that the diminutive mayor is trying to find a way to get some political cover. You see His Honor has 20 scam-era millstones firmly tied around his political neck; millstones that have the potential to sink his Senatorial campaign. Marty needs a political life vest - a nine person dingy would be even better.

We're always skeptical of task forces and blue ribbon commissions. Their most common function is to provide political cover or to sell an unpopular program. They're always an indication of a lack of political leadership and fortitude.

This task force is no different. It will be stacked to produce a predetermined outcome and will take just enough time to keep the scam-eras off the table during next year's election.
The good news for Marty is that he won't need the task force for the full election year as The Journal is no reporting that Tom Udall is in the race for the Democratic nomination for Senate (Subscription); which is both good news and bad news for Ds. They will get their progressive and a top tier opponent for the Amighty Alcalde, but lose an almost sure thing.
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There's another angle to this task force move by Marty; one that's not immediately apparent. You see... The Legislature has been uncomfortable with a red light scam-era system that fills city coffers at the expense of the State of New Mexico. Legislators are concerned that other cities in New Mexico will steal the idea in order to fill their own municipal war chests.

Our Eyes tell us that this task force is also intended to short circuit the Legislature whose next session is a short 30 day session. Marty and his Minions will be busy selling the idea that there's a task force looking at the problem and they may get rid of the system anyway, so the Legislature doesn't need to waste time during a short session on legislation designed to kill or redirect the proceeds from a program that will probably be substantially changed anyway.

The reasons behind the task force don't really matter. The whole thing is a sham designed to fool the voters and freeze legislators. It's all part of the blame game; a game that we've seen played far too often.

Nov 9, 2007

Veterans Day

Did you know today was Veterans Day? Much to our chagrin we forgot. Perhaps that's what happens when federal holidays don't align themselves with Hallmark holidays. In any case, we received a link to the following thank you video that's posted on YouTube and produced by the NRSC.

If you have a moment today, thank a veteran for their service, their sacrifice, and their willingness to protect our freedoms - freedoms that all too many take for granted.

Whew! Today is NOT Veterans Day - that would be Sunday the 11th! Since we've already screwed up twice today we'll just add a couple of days to the holiday. God knows that the veterans that have served and are serving this country deserve it.

Nov 8, 2007

More Toe Dipping

State Senator Joe Carraro has decided to join the Republicans Janice Arnold-Jones and Mark Boitano in the very shallow end of the First Congressional District pool by forming an exploratory committee. Currently, Sheriff Darren White is the only Republican to take the plunge and announce his candidacy for the seat being vacated by Congresswoman Heather Wilson.

Early polling has Sheriff White well ahead of his toe dipping Republican competition leading the closest (Carraro) by 55 percentage points among Rs. In all fairness, the poll was released by the White campaign; who probably wouldn't have released the poll if the numbers were not heavily in their favor. However, our Eyes tell us that Public Opinion Strategies has a very good reputation and generally manages to hit the mark within a point or so (read the poll here).

Look, the opportunity to run for an open seat doesn't come around very often and we understand why there are so many toe dippers circling the shallow end of the pool. Our problem is that we understand that Arnold-Jones is circulating both her state house petition and a U.S. House petition, and Carraro certainly isn't mentioning that he'll be giving up his state senate seat to run for Congress.

We don't believe that this is a time for trial balloons or testing the water. Either get in or get out; sink or swim. You can't have it both ways and be taken seriously even if there's a real danger of ending up in over your head.

Representative Arnold-Jones contacted us today to let us know that she has not started circulating petitions for either office (State Rep. or Congress) and that she has only formed an exploratory committee. She writes that once she makes her decision, she will be running for only one of the two seats and for the very reason that we listed above.

Suspicions Continue

Last week we told you about APD officer Levi Chavez whose wife had apparently committed suicide after finding out that husband Levi was having an affair (read it here). KRQE News 13 reported a few days later that investigators told them that the case wasn't "clear-cut" and that they were taking an "extra look" (KRQE News 13).

Today we got word from our Eyes that the "extra look" has resulted in increasing suspicion that Mrs. Chavez's death was not caused by a self-inflicted gun shot wound. In addition, the Eyes have it that there are questions about officer Chavez's statement and his actions prior to and following the incident. Investigators are currently waiting (along with the 5th floor) for the results of forensic tests on evidence taken from the scene.

APD's top brass is said to be nervously awaiting information that could further shake the confidence in the leadership of a department that is already suffering from one too many black eyes.

Nov 7, 2007

Eye on the Grapevine: Marty for Congress?

We all know how the grapevine works - put something in one end and something totally different comes out the other. With that little acknowledgement out of the way here it is... the grapevine is abuzz with a rumor that the Almighty One of the 11th floor after announcing he's going to run for U.S. Senate, which was after "exploring" the idea of running for Governor, has decided instead to run for Congress.

Yeah, that was our reaction too. We couldn't believe that anyone would try to run for more than two different offices before either election and before his current term was over. Seems crazy no? This has got to be another goofy rumor cooked up by some crackpot prankster.

Then we started to think about it... Marty's Senate bid thus far can only be characterized as a disaster.
  • His announcement at Eclipse Aviation is followed almost immediately by Eclipse's own announcement of layoffs (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
  • Marty announces his finance committee members only to have two of them deny all or part of his the announcement (read it here).
  • Marty attends Big Bill's presidential rally to collect signatures and hang out with progressive Ds, only to be dissed by His Largeness who introduces the first top tier Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate as the MAYOR of Albuquerque.
  • Marty's attempt to woo progressive bloggers over the phone falls decidedly flat (read it here and here).
  • Tom Udall starts teasing Democrats with a Senate run (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
  • Big Bill tells donors to "keep their powder dry" (read it here).
  • Progressives start a draft Udall campaign complete with a website.
The only good news was that a new SurveyUSA poll had Marty beating both Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce. The problem... the same company had Marty trailing both Wilson and Pearce just two weeks earlier. The wild swing in numbers had most observers discounting its accuracy before they even announced the results (read it here).

Needless to say the Marty for Senate folks already have a HUGE problem on their hands; the most obvious being Marty seems to be the candidate that even his own party doesn't want (read our take here). In our opinion, if any other well known Democrat decided to take on the Almighty Mayor the Ds would embrace them with something akin to a religious fervor.

So... What's an ambitious mayor to do? The answer and the thing that makes this rumor seem at least somewhat plausible, is to run for the House of Representatives. Right now, there are no top tier Ds running; the closest is City Councilor Martin Heinrich. The 1st Congressional District is dominated by Albuquerque; a city that has elected His Honor not once, not twice, but three times. And like the Senate, the House seat is being vacated and is therefore an "open seat" with only a Republican to beat (at least for now - Marty does seem to draw a crowd of Democratic opponents).

If the Almighty One does decide to jump ship again we see nothing but troubled waters ahead. Even though the prospect of facing only second tier Democrats may make the waters seem inviting, the very fact that his Senate bid has run into nothing but trouble with Ds coupled with the jump to yet a third prospective office won't do anything to help Marty's credibility (or fundraising efforts). He might even end up being considered a second or third tier candidate by the time the whole affair's over - especially if he loses in the primary to a single-term City Councilor.

Our advice to the Napoleon of the 11th floor (not that he'd listen to us) is to keep this rumor a rumor and if it's a trial balloon... pop it. For good or ill, the race for Senate is your last stop on this political merry-go-round and would certainly spell the end of your political future if you try to make the jump to the House race and fail.

Nov 6, 2007

If You Can't Block'em - Track'em

Last month we told you about the city's attempt to block and (read it here). Now our Eyes tell us that the city is taking another approach. Apparently, too much of the city's behind the scenes dirty laundry is showing up on our lovable little website in the form of anonymous posts. So, the city has decided to install tracking software that will allow them to determine who's posting what using city owned computers and gateways.

First of all, we don't see anything illegal about the city installing and using tracking software on computers owned by the city in order to track what employees are doing using city equipment and presumably on city time. In our opinion, it's really no different than placing tracking devices on city vehicles; it may be creepy and Orwellian, but not illegal.

However, (you knew this was coming) since the city is essentially recording the content being generated by their computers and subsequently being posted on, they are creating an electronic record of that employee's activities; that record would be no different than any other electronic correspondence.

Emails the most popular type of computer generated correspondence, are considered part of the public record and can be the target of a Freedom of Information Request. Therefore, if the city is recording data that indicates what Internet sites an employee is visiting and the comments being posted by that employee on a specific Internet site, those records should be public and subject to a FOIR.

We'd love to get our Eyes on where the boys on the 5th and 11th floors are spending their time and our money. But, we'd wager that those computers would be conveniently left off the list of computers to be tracked; similar to the recent email system "crash" that wiped out a number of emails shortly after Marty's Minions Barry Bitzer and Greg Payne got caught with their hand in the electronic cookie jar (Heath Haussamen - read it here). These yahoos ought to learn that getting rid of computer records is really not an easy thing to do and creating even more just to try and ferret out dissenters is probably an unwise course of action.

Nov 4, 2007

Eye Poll: White Washed

Sheriff Darren White cleaned up in this week's Eye Poll garnering 53% of the vote in a four person field consisting of 3 Democrats and just one Republican (White). Second in our unscientific poll was Councilor Martin Heinrich with 37%, followed by Michelle Grisham with 8%, and rounding out the field Jon Adams with 1% (view the results here).

It's not surprising that the popular White easily carried the poll. However, it was interesting to see Councilor Heinrich do so well against his Democratic opponents.

This week's Eye Poll delves into the morale over at APD. Last week wasn't exactly a good week for the fifth floor. Let's see... Albuquerque ends up the FBI's 2nd in the country for assaults on police officers, two arrest warrants were issued for APD K-9 officers in Arkansas, and a suspicious death investigation nets pot and an APD lateral officer. The response from the 5th floor brain trust - it's time to start testing for steroids. Huh?

In any case, if you spent much time here you've noticed that there are a lot of APD's finest commenting (often graphically) about issues relating to APD. This week we'd like to get your opinion of APD's morale. Don't forget to vote!

Nov 1, 2007

The Judicial Zone

Consider if you will the story of a police officer who while patrolling on a typical Wednesday night is forced to suddenly swerve to avoid another vehicle entering the roadway from a popular local bar. The officer follows the company car thankful that no one was injured or killed and in light of the near accident decides that the best course of action would be to pull the vehicle over and determine the driver's status.

Initially, the driver fails to respond to emergency lights and eventually weaves his way east in the west bound lanes of an adjacent street before coming to a stop. The officer observes a strong odor of alcohol and administers a series of field sobriety tests that result in failure. The driver is arrested and tested using a breath alcohol analyzer scoring a .15 - nearly double the legal limit. The officer considers the driver and his passengers lucky to be alive; the driver most like considers himself unlucky to be caught. The driver's intoxicated passengers find their own way home.

The stage is set as everyone heads to court. The case is heard but only the defense is allowed to present their case. The driver and one passenger take a polygraph that indicates they're telling the truth when they claim that they never saw the police vehicle behind him. The passengers testify that they never saw or almost hit a police vehicle. The judge finds for the defendant because the driver and his passengers couldn't have possibly almost hit a police vehicle that they never saw.

Sounds like the Twilight Zone but unfortunately it's the Judicial Zone at Metrocourt right here in Albuquerque. The case is a real one, the Judge is Judge Victor Valdez, and the case number DW62407.

According to our Eyes Judge Valdez found for the defendant Scott Lawrence based on a polygraph that only confirmed Mr. Lawrence never saw the police vehicle he almost hit and the testimony of his passengers who were admittedly intoxicated at the time. Never mind the fact that Mr. Lawrence blew a .15 and by all legal standards was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.
Look we're not an attorney and we're certainly not a judge, but wouldn't the fact that the defendant and his passenger's testimony that they didn't observe the police vehicle even after almost hitting it support the officer's probable cause? It sounds to us like Judge Valdez used a theory similar to the judge in the movie Tombstone who dismissed a murder case on the theory that "you can't have a murder if you don't have a witness."

Our Eyes tell us that the DA's office has filed a motion for the judge to reconsider his decision in the case based at least partially on the fact that the state never got the opportunity to present its case. We're not experts in jurisprudence, but we're pretty sure that judicial theory includes the idea that both the defense and the prosecution are given the opportunity to present their case.

We understand that Linda Atkinson has heard about this case and is well... pretty MADD about it. Frankly, we're a bit miffed as well. The system may be boring and there's got to be a temptation to short circuit the process especially where friends are involved however, the judicial system can only function if the public has faith in its impartiality and its efficacy.

Unfortunately stories like this are more common than we'd like to believe, but because they affect only a very few people judges are rarely held accountable. According to our Eyes, Judge Valdez has aspirations to higher office specifically District Court. In our opinion, he's already in over his judicial head. It's also time that we keep a more careful Eye on Metrocourt and the judges whose everyday decisions all too often go unnoticed.

You can reach Judge Valdez by dialing 841-8263 or 841-8264. Perhaps it would do the judge some good to hear from someone residing outside of The Judicial Zone.

All right, we got a little too creative in this post, for that we apologize. We shall now attempt to put the story in a nut shell.

According to our Eyes, Judge Valdez admitted evidence from a polygraph without the proper hearing. It seemd that the polygraph "evidence" was used to attack the probable cause used to justify the traffic stop. We assume the court's logic was that the officer couldn't have almost been hit by the defendant if the defendant and his passengers never saw the police vehicle. Consequently, the officer had no justification for pulling the defendant over in the first place. Since the stop lacked the necessary probable cause, the fact that the defendant blew a .15 and smelled of alcohol is irrelevant.

What is more troubling to us is that our Eyes tell us that Judge Valdez never allowed the state to present its case; which would make it somewhat difficult to convince a judge of it's validity. Who knows Mr. Lawrence may still have been found not guilty, but it's incumbent upon the judge to follow procedure and to hear the complete case.