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

Feb 19, 2008

Upside Down and Backwards

Tuesday's Albuquerque Journal featured an editorial penned by the Journal’s editorial board that chastised the Governor, the Legislature, and the Almighty Alcalde himself for their actions regarding Albuquerque’s red light scam-era program. Their apparent position is that the Legislature is trying to grab the money, the mayor has pulled the plug too quickly and Governor Richardson is simply playing politics because he vetoed a similar measure last year (ABQ Journal – Subscription).

The whole editorial is based on the assumption that the program is fair and working to reduce accidents at scam-era enforced intersections. Despite numerous attempts to cook the books, countless news conferences, and even a Task Farce report, the city has not provided one shred of evidence that the scam-eras have been working in the interests of public safety. The only thing that the scam-eras have demonstrated is an unblinking ability to fill the city's coffers with "excess revenue."

To be fair, The Journal’s editorial board has long been supportive of Marty and his scam. They have repeatedly (and we believe intentionally) overlooked some of the very real problems with mercenary style law enforcement as a replacement for live police officers whose only motivation is enforcing the laws that they have sworn to uphold. To make matters worse the STOP program based on nuisance abatement ,deprives defendants of their right to a fair and impartial hearing.

We have never been able to understand why many in our society are so quick to defend the rights of convicted murderers and terrorists yet fail to fight for the common everyday rights of their fellow citizens. The scam-era program is a perfect example of how we’ve got everything upside down and backwards.

It’s the everyday rights of ordinary people that are being relentlessly stripped away not the rights of murderers and terrorists. The STOP program is a perfect illustration of how the Constitution is being shredded for the claimed benefit of “public safety.” Even if claims of accident reductions are true (which there has been no conclusive evidence to support), the system of “justice” created by the STOP ordinance strips the accused of their rights as fast as a scam-era can snap a photo.

It all starts with that first flash. More often than not, drivers are unaware of a "violation." The first clue that a motorist may have violated the administrative law created by the city is the “citation” they receive in the mail some ten days after the fact. Ask yourself, can you remember where you drove ten days ago and if you can the specifics of any particular intersection?

It’s our contention that most drivers cannot remember the alleged offense and as a result are not only deprived of the ability to gather evidence in their defense but are even deprived of the ability to accurately and truthfully testify in their own defense.

To further aggravate the problem, Redflex receives a bounty for each citation issued. That’s little different than hiring someone off the street to write down license plate numbers at intersections and paying them per vehicle. There’s a direct incentive to deprive the accused of their right to a fair trial by delaying notification and forcing the accused to rely on the accuser’s evidence for their defense.

When the citation is contested, the recipient is forced to go before an administrative hearing officer whose primary objective is the same as the accuser’s – to find the accused guilty. If you have any doubt about the veracity of that statement, why does the city continue to prosecute “violations” even when they know that there is a high probability that many of the citations issued over a particular time period, were in fact issued in error. The drivers who failed to contest their citations were simply "convicted" and their money taken illegally.

Unlike criminal allegations, if you wish to appeal an administrative decision the burden of appeal rests with the accused who is in essence, required to sue the city in District Court in order to get their money back. When you study the process, it doesn’t take long to realize that the burden of proof lies squarely with the accused.

Tuesday's Journal editorial continually disregards the most offensive components of the scam-era system consistently defending the indefensible.

Governor Richardson needs to sign SB442 not to pay for courts, but to make sure that criminal violations of New Mexico’s traffic law end up there. Marty needs to leave the program’s suspension in place not because he’s trying to out-maneuver the governor, but because his golden goose has been revealed to the pig it really is.

More importantly, it’s long past the time to right our concept of justice by placing the emphasis on everyday rights and freedoms. If we are courageous enough to protect our everyday rights and those of our fellow citizens, then we will be protecting the rights of those who are accused of far more serious crimes while simultaneously protecting the rights of their victims. Otherwise we will remain upside down and backwards, frittering away our daily liberty for the promise of security while letting murderers and terrorists walk freely among us.

----- Update -----
We originally identified the Legislature's raid on Albuquerque's traffic scam as SB422. The correct bill is SB 442. Thanks to a reader with a sharp "eye" we have corrected the error above.


ched macquigg said...

Sooner or later, we will have to do something to fix this.

"Something" does not include continuing to talk about it. Talking about it won't fix it.

The people who benefit from it won't fix it.

The people in the newspapers will write just enough to sell papers but not enough to incite a riot;

which is unfortunately the only thing in human history which ever deposed a tyrant.

Name a single tyrant, who conducted an election in which they were deposed.

This situation will change when enough of the great unwashed show up at a meeting to demand subservience from our servants.

Torches and pitchforks are the tools of political change in the land of tyrants.

Anonymous said...

Right F__king On !!!!

Anonymous said...

The Journal won't ever completly expose Marty. That's because Marty feeds them information about other corupt slime balls.

I canceled my subscription. It's the most boring paper I've ever read. What a waste of paper.

Anonymous said...

Deposed, as in they had their deposition taken??? And who are the "great unwashed" you speak of.. I hope not us city employees/public servants!! So what's your point? Your analogies are skewed.....torches and pitchforks? I think you're getting this confused with a Frankenstein movie..Talking about it is all we can do, butt-head, without losing our jobs!

Anonymous said...

In the grandiose scheme of things—pitchforks and such—this is small potatoes, but what of the Administrative Hearing Officer position that was posted last year, had a great salary, and probably went to somebody’s friend? The position was specifically designed for mediation of red light disputes. No cameras, no disputes and the taxpayers (who all city employees are suppose to work for) now have someone’s friend on the payroll doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

"Without losing our jobs"
Understandable to a point, but is that all that matters? Is that what matters the most? I had the oportunity to take a high paying job, that I wasn't qualified for as well, but that would have meant turning my back on my friends and having to sell my soul to the devil. No Thanks, I can hold my head high , work two jobs, look myself in ther mirror and sleep at night. I could no sooner work for this administration in any capacity, as I could going out and killing innocent animals. Same thing.

Not problem with my conscience.

Anonymous said...

Not only possibly losing our jobs, but the covert retaliation is unbearable.

When many of us are vested we can't just walk away. I never thought I'd wish Mayor Baca was back, but he was cake compared to the Mighty One. At least with Baca you knew where he was coming from.

Mayor Marty has made it very difficult on every city employee and more so the past couple of years.

If I was young and could start a new career, you bet, I'd be gone in a NY second.

ched macquigg said...

I'm not sure why I am a "butthead" for pointing out that talking will do nothing.

You needn't be offended that I speak of the great unwashed. It is that name give by the privileged, to common decent people.

I am proud of my membership in the great unwashed; considering the alternative.

I'm sorry that my historical/movie reference threw you.

I wasn't suggesting that you actually care a torch or a pitchfork, either of which would probably considered a deadly weapon at a council meeting. Perhaps flashlights and dinner forks.

And calling me a butt head doesn't change the fact that you can talk about this until the cows come home, and it still isn't going to do any good.

Don't talk to me about being afraid to stand up against powerful public servants;

I expect that I am more familiar with the retaliation that comes with standing up to powerful public servants, than you will ever comprehend, "butt head".

Where a XXXXing hood if you have to;
but you have to be willing to show up somewhere, sometime,to do something.

If for no other reason than to stand behind the people who will step up to the microphone and tell these pricks how the cow ate the cabbage.

Don't tell me that a few hundred cops showing up at a city council meeting wouldn't call come attention to the problem.

even if they are all wearing masks.

Anonymous said...

Dictatorial bastards that rule like this, are just that, bastards. What a legacy. "I ruled the city employees by fear"
He is such a small, insecure, prick rat bastard.
It sucks that 10,000 city employess have to be bullied in such a way, and yes it is understandable that you can't loose your job.
If I were the mayor of this city or any other, I couldn't feel very good about being despised by so many.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if the mayor feels good or not? I am not APD - just a concerned citizen, but I will join you in an organized effort to protest the loss of our rights. So will my neighbors, friends, and family. You know why? Because you guys are supposed to be civic leaders and we are all sick of the loss of freedoms and autocratic control!! Well-written article, Eye. Not many really understand how important these current events are to our future, our country, and all the freedoms we enjoy. If you did, you'd risk your jobs. What are you going to say to your grandchildren one day when their freedoms are gone? "I wanted to keep my job and that was more important than the legacy I would leave for you"??? Think about it and get involved. Take action. Organize. Get in the streets. It's the only way anything is going to change. Mighty Mouse is counting on the fact that we're all going to be chickens and he will get away with this.