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

May 27, 2008

You'll Get Over It

We've seen the above phrase over and over again in the comment section of this blog. We didn't really care that someone has the lack of originality to post such an apathetic sentiment - at least at first.

Unfortunately, we're concerned that the poster or posters that are repeatedly inserting their apathy into sometimes thoughtful and sometimes nonsensical discussions really do represent a danger that is far more significant than we first believed. The attitude revealed in those four little words could describe what's really wrong with our city, our state, and even our country.

We all expect to "get over it." No matter how many laws are broken or how many freedoms are usurped, we'll "get over it." That's what those who would steal our freedoms count upon - our apathy and our basic unwillingness to do anything about it.

That simple sentiment shows a willingness to accept mediocrity and to eschew achievement. For those who strive to achieve, the acceptance of the mediocre or the resignation to a fate that is not within their control is unacceptable. Those who believe in accomplishment cannot and will not simply "get over it." Those who can "get over it" are condemned to a fate far worse than failure - a fate of never having set a goal, a fate of never reaching that goal, and a fate of never having truly lived to achieve their dreams.

So go ahead and continue to post your apathy and your acceptance of the mundane. You will never rise above your current position of your own accord and by your own merit. You may get bigger more powerful titles and you may even make more money... But you will never truly be in charge of your own destiny because there will always be someone else to which you are in debt - not a debt of honor but a debt of servitude. The good news is that despite the shackles that bind you and the acceptance of your own servitude... you'll get over it.

May 26, 2008

Eye Poll: Heinrich

Former City Councilor Martin Heinrich ran away with last week's Eye Poll. Our unscientific poll found 60% preferred the former councilor, 17% Michelle Lujan Grisham, 13% Robert Pidcock, and just 10% Rebecca Vigil-Giron Rebecca Vigil-Giron (read it here).

The results of our Eye Poll agreed with Saturday's Journal poll - at least as far as the front runner is concerned (Subscription). Interestingly, Vigil-Giron Vigil-Giron, was in second place in the Journal poll while she rounded out the bottom of a group of contenders that trailed Heinrich by over 40 points.

The Journal's poll found a large group of undecideds - 29%. Our Eye Poll didn't have an undecided choice. Could this be an indication of a huge Heinrich Democratic landslide? We'll know June 3rd.

This week we're looking at the Republican side of the 1st Congressional race. Don't forget to vote!

Thank You

Memorial Day is the day that we thank our veterans for their service to our county. Our country's soldiers have spent their time and sometimes lost their lives in defense of our country and our freedoms. Through their suffering, through their sacrifice they serve and have served with honor and with dignity.

For those who have not served it is impossible to relate to or properly thank those who have given their lives to the defense of liberty. So for those of you who serve, for those of you who have served, and for those who gave their lives we simply say thank you. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your dedication to freedom and liberty. Thank you for your sacrifices in war and in peace.

May 22, 2008

Poetic Justice

Scam Van Gets a Citation

They say that revenge is a dish best served coooold and just over a year after a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy got busted with a scam-era protector protecting his, uh ... unit, the deputies got even. (OK... so revenge probably didn't have anything to do with it. But it made a more interesting first sentence.) Our Eyes tell us that one of Marty's Mobile Money Maker scam vans was out taking traffic taxes on the West Side when an off duty sheriff's deputy was approached by a citizen with a complaint.

Apparently, a Sergeant Walton from APD had parked his Civil Citation Mobile on the sidewalk and was issuing traffic demand notices on behalf of the City of Albuquerque. The citizen complaint was that since the scam-van was parked on the sidewalk so citizens and children were having to walk in the street to get around the Redflex Roadster.

When confronted by his fellow law enforcement officer and asked to move the non-emergency vehicle from the sidewalk of all places, Sergeant Walton... refused. In order to resolve the conflict between a public complaint and an APD sergeant's refusal, the off-duty deputy called in SO's on-duty sergeant for the area, Sergeant Paul Jacobs.

Sergeant Jacobs repeated the request for Sergeant Walton to remove his non-emergency vehicle from the sidewalk and was promptly refused. Thankfully the result was as predictable as it would have been if any of us had decided that the sidewalk looked like a parking space - a citation.

Marty's Redflex Roadsters are not emergency vehicles - they do not enforce the law, or perform any police function. They simply hand out invitations to pay the City of Albuquerque (and now the State of New Mexico) protection money or face the jokes of jurisprudence in one of Marty's Kangaroo Courts. Therefore, the keepers of these scam-vans should be cited whenever and where ever they break the law.

Kudos to the deputies over at SO for meting out a form of poetic justice even if it was to a fellow officer. Besides, Sergeant Walton at least gets to go to a real court rather than a trumped up tribunal.

May 20, 2008


As you know by now we spend most of our time watching our local government and elected officials. Just like everyone else we've been watching the Democratic primary with interest. If nothing else it's great entertainment for political junkies.

Barack Obama in particular has used his natural charisma to attract an almost fanatical following with his message of change and ability to inspire. Despite a few screw-ups and poor choices of association, Obama has been able to preach his message of change without really letting anyone know what he had in mind. In fact, our criticism was that he hadn't given any details on the "change" he was speaking of - kind of an empty suit.

Saturday Obama gave everyone a glimpse behind the charm and charisma curtain and what we saw is an abomination. Now we're wishing he was just an empty suit because the reality is truly terrifying.
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
These are the words of one Barack Hussein Obama at a campaign rally in Oregon designed to celebrate his status as the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee. If you've spent any time at all on this blog you know that we are always concerned about the effects of legislation on liberty. You can imagine our reaction to Obama's willingness to make the future of our country and its freedoms subject to world opinion.

This country was founded on the concept of freedom. We threw off the shackles of an oppressive English king whose taxes became too onerous. We created a constitution not to enumerate our freedoms but to prevent government from taking those freedoms away. It's a document crafted to empower we the people by restraining government. So, it's more than a little concerning that a candidate for President of the United States would so blithely give our liberty away.

Obama does not seem to understand the concept of freedom. His rhetoric implies that government not only has the right but the responsibility to steal our liberty simply because other countries demand it. We're quite sure that King George wasn't all that happy about the colonies decision to leave his little empire. Hitler probably didn't think that we should stick our noses into his affairs either. Both tyrants demanded our liberty - both were defeated.

Our point is that despite recent court rulings that inexplicably cite court decisions from other countries, the United States is a sovereign nation built on liberty and only answerable to its citizens and not to foreign powers - at least it has been for the last 200 plus years. Should we really place our liberty in the hands of a man who would give it away even before he takes office?

We don't know about you, but we're not going to allow government officials from any nation including our own to tell us what we can drive, how warm or cold our home should be, and especially how much we can eat. These are basic freedoms that are the result of our personal achievement and the rewards that come from our hard work. No one has a right to have them and no one has the right to them. To believe otherwise is an abomination or more precisely an Obamination.

May 19, 2008

Torpedoing a Sinking Ship

State Senator Joe Carraro's campaign has been bailing water since it set sail last year. The vocal Carraro started the race with a sizable hole in his campaign ship when he failed to get the necessary 20% of the votes at the Republican State Convention. Undaunted by the water around his knees Carraro pressed on qualifying for the ballot by submitting additional petition signatures.
For any of you aspiring candidates, it's not a good sign when less than 20% of party activists vote for you in a two-way race. That coupled with relatively low name ID should have been an indication that it was time to look for a life raft not additional petition signatures. Determination can only carry so far... unless you can write million dollar checks to patch the holes in your campaign hull.
(End Sidebar)
Today, the Albuquerque Journal fired what could only be called a devastating torpedo at an already sinking ship. The story (ABQ Journal - Subscription) linked Senator Carraro to a company called Real Turf. Apparently, Carraro was hired as a "business consultant" for a business that did work for state governments and relied upon state appropriations.

According to the story, Carraro had the sense to include contract language making it clear that there could never be a "real or perceived conflict of interest."
"There can never be a real or perceived conflict of interest regarding my positions as a state senator and president of Public Perceptions," he said, adding:

"Specifically, it should be noted that recommendations of your product to governmental entities given prior to this contract ... in no way bound you to the employment of Public Perceptions."
We really don't know whether or not Senator Carraro used his position as a state senator to benefit Real Turf. In fact, we'd be hesitant to hire Carraro's company Public Perceptions, because Real Turf went bankrupt after using his consulting services. Our problem is that the senator knew that there could be a perceived conflict of interest as evidenced by the inclusion of the language in his company's contract but he went ahead anyway earning some $40,000 over an eight month period until Real Turf stopped paying him.

For a candidate running on a platform of "experience" this major screw-up shows an astonishing lack of understanding of politics and the media.
After twenty years serving as your State Senator, I bring experience and knowledge of issues to represent The People, not the special interests of political parties, government or big business.
Regardless of whether the senator actually did anything wrong or not, the public perception is that he did because he was in a position to do so. By working for Real Turf Carraro managed to create the perception that he works for the very special interests that he claims not to represent and that he's for hire.

Folks, that's a very large political torpedo. For $40,000 he created a public perception that will take a million dollars and weeks of spending it to dispel - neither of which he has. After 20 years in office, Carraro should have known that and never signed a contract that created a perceived or real conflict of interest. Ironically, it was Carraro himself that created the torpedo that will finally sink his congressional ship.

May 18, 2008

Eye Poll: Smoke'em If You Got'em

Last week's Eye Poll sent Councilor Cadigan's dream of a smoke free world up in smoke. Of course it doesn't surprise us that people resist government intrusion into their lives. Our only concern is that we let it happen so frequently anyway.

Eye On Albuquerque readers believed by over a two to one margin that the state statute already goes too far. In our unscientific poll 65% of readers said that statute goes too far, 31% said the statute doesn't go far enough, while 4% don't care (read the complete results here).

It's encouraging to see that at least our readers are beginning to see the steady but persistent growth of government power - power that is increasing stealing our liberty in the name of some "greater good." Of course politicians and government bureaucrats are the ones that not only decide what constitutes "greater good" but directly benefit from those decisions.

Since the primaries are just around the corner, it's time to take a look at the biggest race here in Eyeland - the race to replace Heather Wilson in the First Congressional District. This week we're looking at the Dems. It's really the only race in play with no less than four candidates vying for the right to challenge either Republican State Senator Joe Carraro or Sheriff Darren White for the open Congressional seat.

Democrats will be choosing from former City Councilor Martin Heinrich the early favorite and first of the four in the race, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Robert Pidcock, and Rebeca Vigil-Giron, Rebecca Vigil-Giron (since her famous spot you always have to say her name at least twice. Don't worry you can only vote for her once. Don't forget to vote!

----- Correction -----
Our apologies to Rebecca Vigil-Giron - Rebecca Vigil-Giron. We misspelled her name of all things, spelling it Rebecca Vigil-Jiron - which since it's incorrect you only have to say or type once. Thanks to an Eye reader we have corrected our error above.

May 16, 2008

Oversight or Disrespect?

APD held a graduation ceremony today for its latest recruitment class. The good news is that we just added 31 new officers to our police department. When these latest rookies learn what it's like to actually be in the field, we'll all be just a little bit safer.

The ceremony included almost 1,000 people and dignitaries with one conspicuous absence - Mayor Martin Chavez. One would think that if adding officers to the Albuquerque Police Department were one of the Almighty's priorities, that he would have damn well been there himself. Instead the mayor sent Chief Administrative Officer and ABQPAC alum Bruce Perlman (read it here) to the event.

Our Eyes at the event noticed a very interesting omission. During the pledge of allegiance while everyone stood either saluting the flag or covering their heart with their right hand, the Almighty Alcalde's representative did neither. Was it an oversight or a sign of disrespect? We don't really know. But we do know that a public official tapped to represent an elected official at an official function ought to know better. Mister Perlman would do well to remember that at any future events where he is representing the city, the mayor, and the people of Albuquerque.

May 15, 2008

Binding or Not?

Contracts are considered to be binding instruments of an agreement between two parties. The two sides involved agree to provide goods, services, or employment based upon specific compensation. The City of Albuquerque regularly enters into contracts with private companies and with its employees. We're beginning to wonder whether or not those contracts are worth the paper they're written on.

Last week we told you about Deputy Chief Michael Callaway's email instructing supervisors to ignore the black letter stipulations of both the current and the new APD/APOA contract (read it here). This week our Eyes have told us about another provision of the contract that is and has been blatantly disregarded by the command staff occupying the offices on APD's 5th floor.

It won't come as a shock to many of our readers that retired APD Captain Rob Debuck is returning to the APD ranks. Back in 2006 Captain Debuck hung up his cuffs to pursue an acting career (ABQ Tribune). Now Debuck is stopping back at APD as an SRO - School Resource Officer.

An SRO is a sought after position for officers who are looking for a stable Monday through Friday schedule without a lot of overtime. It'd be particularly attractive to an officer whose double dippin' - receiving both their PERA retirement and an officer's salary.

The rehire program was instituted to bolster the Field Services Bureau. Both the old and the new contracts place limitations on how and where these officers can be used. The primary assignment is FSB. Further, our Eyes tell us that under the current contract only two PERA retiree officers can be SROs and under the new contract starting July 1, no PERA retirees can be an SRO. Currently, the Eyes have it that there are around 17 PERA retirees serving as APD SROs.

According to our Eyes, the 5th floor has taken the position that we know we're in violation of the contracts... sue us.

All of this makes us wonder whether or not the city intends to abide by any of the contracts that it signs. A lawsuit is certainly one way to force the city and APD to abide by the agreements that they are contractually bound to follow. It seems that there's a pattern developing where APD is willfully disregarding the terms and conditions of not one but two employment contracts.

Meanwhile, we've got a mayor talking ethics reform. We might humbly suggest that The Almighty Alcalde worry more about living up to the city's contractual agreements than creating unenforceable and ineffective ethics legislation. We'd think that ethics would start with living up to the terms and conditions of the binding contracts you've signed... But that doesn't make a very good press conference does it?

May 13, 2008

Campaign Clichés

As the never ending Democratic primary enters its 7,435th day and the local races begin to heat up for June's primary, two catch phrases have grabbed our attention - on the right "conservative values" and on the left "change." We can't tell how often we've heard or read either one of these campaign clichés and felt that the candidate involved has no idea what either means.

Ronald Regan was a champion of conservative values - he was able to articulate what it meant to be a conservative and why it was important for government and society to embrace the concepts of liberty, freedom, and limited government. Too many of today's Republican candidates rely solely on the cliché without a working understanding of the underlying meaning. The result is a whole slate of candidates relying on empty rhetoric devoid of meaning or inspiration. When these bumper sticker candidates become elected officials their lack of understanding makes them poor examples of the very values they ran on.

Meanwhile over on the left, we've got a whole group of bobble-head dolls chanting "change, change, change" without explaining to what - as if change in and of itself is a good thing. Before advocating change it would be a good idea to have a clear vision and preferably some idea of how to get there. Democrats are busy talking change, but the change they describe is the change they promised in the last election cycle - change which they have utterly failed to deliver despite controlling both houses of Congress.
Changing to a system where government is boundless and freedom is limited should give anyone pause. We refuse to believe that anyone - liberal or conservative - wants a group of government officials telling them how to live their lives.
(End Sidebar)
In a hotly contested national election we count ourselves lucky to get a 25% voter turnout. Of those 25% we'd bet that less than 5% have taken the time to research the candidates and even less than that have taken the time to meet a candidate. Unfortunately, voters pick their candidate by their favorite cliché. Or perhaps they pick their favorite cliché by their favorite candidate. It really doesn't matter because all too often both are meaningless.

May 11, 2008

Eye Poll is Back with a Burning Question

As you have probably noticed by now, we've taken a bit of an Eye Poll hiatus... Well this week the Eye Poll is back and we're taking on the issue of Councilor Cadigan's most recent foray into private businesses O-08-29 (read about it here).

Apparently the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act that bans smoking (a legal activity) just about everywhere humans can go except outside, isn't enough for the fiery councilor who has tried no less than five times to remove any kind of designated smoking areas in "public" places. We have a problem with this concept of a "public place" being anywhere the public is invited to do business in a private establishment. In our opinion the definition is just another way for government to regulate private property and transactions, but I digress.

Since Councilor Cadigan is attempting to insert his legislative nose in private businesses yet again, it's time to let everyone know what your thoughts on the issue are. Don't forget to vote!

May 9, 2008


After over 10 years in office The Almighty Alcalde has determined it's time for ethics reform. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Mayor Chavez says "he wants to transform the ethical culture at City Hall" (Subscription).

We haven't seen the legislation that the mayor is proposing but according to today's article one of the positions targeted is the city clerk. The Almighty One seems to believe that the clerk needs more autonomy from the mayor and believe it or not we'd agree. (Brief pause for you to recover from shock...)

The only problem is that from what we've read, Albuquerque's city clerk would be as protected as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. The clerk should not be a lifetime appointment subject to removal only for cause. To do so would only benefit one person - the person who currently holds the throne on the 11th floor and the person who would choose our next city clerk.

When you get right down to it, making the city clerk more autonomous does very little despite their role in handing out taxpayer cash to unelected candidates for city office. (Hell, that money is already being misused.) There is however one position that needs to be more independent - one that's vital to our safety and security and one that politics should have no influence over. That position is Chief of Police.

As we've said before, the Chief is an at will employee of the mayor. He gets his orders from and owes his allegiance to the man who sits astride the mayoral throne. If the chief was an elected position or protected in the way that The Almighty One proposes to protect the clerk, the chief's main concern would be enforcing the law not protecting his or the mayor's uh... postierior.
We know that law enforcement is a novel concept for those of you occupying offices on the 5th floor, but believe us - that is what you are being paid to do.
(End Sidebar)
May must be the month when Mayor Chavez holds his good government press conferences. Last May the topic was "Open Government" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). This May we're talking about "Ethics in Government" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). So, exactly how much more open is city government anyway? Do you really see any difference between this year and last?

Since his last press conference on government, the Chavez administration has been caught inflating the success of the red light scam-era program (read it here), lying about the number of police officers over at APD (read it here), gassing us with his "overstated" greenhouse gas emissions (ABQ Journal - Subscription), and fibbing about the improvements over at Animal Control (read it here). All of which is unethical and in just the past year!

The Almighty Alcalde doesn't seem to have even a passing familiarity with the truth much less the more elusive concept of ethics. And remember, this is the same mayor that used a political action committee called ABQPAC as his own personal $60,000 slush fund (read it here and here).

It's quite frankly laughable that Mayor Chavez - of all people - should propose any kind of ethics reform or open government for that matter. His track record shows a repeated willingness to ignore the truth or hide it when it suits him and seek retribution when someone crosses him. Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. The Almighty Alcalde has proved time and again that he'll do whatever he pleases unless someone has an Eye on him.

----- Update -----
Our keyboard hadn't cooled from the above post before we found more evidence of Marty's ethically challenged behavior on the blog [hat tip: Heath Haussamen]. Clearly New Mexico is surely a blog that is shall we say... left of center but they've hired a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist in
Eileen Welsome who does a bang-up job exposing the "special relationship" between The Almighty One and convicted DCSW architect Marc Schiff.

If you remember, Schiff plead guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud in connection with the Manny Aragon courthouse scandal. As it turns out, Schiff was also involved in the drawn out Balloon Fiesta Museum project that spanned from Marty's first term through his second.

Was Schiff skimming the Balloon Fiesta project before getting his hands caught in the Metro Court honey jar? Who knows... but the Mayor's special friend is now incarcerated for fraud while the mayor plays at ethics reform. Now THAT's funny!

(Read the Haussamen post here and the Clearly New Mexico post here.)

----- Correction -----
The first sentence pf this post originally read "after 11 years in office..." While it may seem like 13 years or longer the Almighty Alcalde has served two full terms and is actually in the last year and a half of his 3rd term. That makes this year his 11th year in office. Our error has been corrected above.

May 6, 2008

Decriminalized and Dismissed

We've all complained about an abundance of handicapped spaces standing empty when faced with a packed parking lot. We're also pretty sure that anyone who relies on handicapped parking would gladly trade places with those in the far reaches of the parking lot if they could just have their mobility back.

Last September the council created a new ordinance that among other things, increased fines for those who decided to take the short walk away from those who really need it. The ordinance (O-07-65) requested by the mayor and sponsored by The Mayer, took the nuisance abatement route. If that sounds familiar it should - it's the same flawed premise that Marty's scam-eras are based upon.

In fact, the procedural mechanism seems to match the scam-era process almost exactly. The only substantive difference between the two is that the handicapped program didn't come with expensive cameras and a billing infrastructure - which as it turns out is the problem.

According to our Eyes down at Metro Court Chief Judge Judy Nakamura sent out a memo instructing Metro Court judges to dismiss tickets issued to handicapped parking violators. The Eyes have it that Judge Nakamura's memo claims that since the new ordinance passed Metro Court doesn't have jurisdiction over the citations which are directed to be heard by one of the city's tax collectors... uh, hearing officers.

It seems that while the ordinance specifies a procedure it didn't create the infrastructure necessary to issue the civil citations. What's more interesting is that apparently the civil process has supplanted the criminal one.

Decriminalizing handicapped parking violations was an attempt to increase the fines violators paid with the added benefit that the city and by extension the mayor and council got to keep the money. The result of Marty and Councilor Mayer's tinkering in misdemeanor criminal law is that no one is paying anything - decriminalized and dismissed.

May 5, 2008


You've probably heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences which basically states that for every intended outcome there are a number of unintended consequences and generally at least one of them is unpleasant. That's what our friends on the 5th floor are finding out after switching to 5/8s.

Last Friday marked the first week of APD's new 5 day a week, 8 hour a shift schedule and it didn't take long for a couple of unpleasant consequences to pop up. The first one (fatigue - read it here) we told you about last week. The second hits the department right where it hurts - in the budget.
Our Eyes insist that this move to 5/8s is really about staffing a 6th area command. The problem is and has been that APD doesn't have enough officers to properly staff another command. So instead of waiting to open another area command the 5th floor has gone to the 5/8 scheme that spreads the existing 450 or so field officers over more area commands.

This has nothing to do with response times and it certainly doesn't improve coverage. The move was accompanied by a bid that reduced the number of officers in each squad and since everyone is working an 8 hour shift there's no scheduled overlap of coverage like there was with the 4/10 schedule. Between the gaps in coverage, officer fatigue, and reduced squad strength our streets could become significantly more dangerous.
(End Sidebar)
We've been chuckling about this all weekend. In the 5th Floor's blind drive to add another area command they forgot to check the APOA/APD contract. The first question that Ray and Company should have been asking is how the move to 5/8s would affect that contract both old and new. More specifically, does the move have a fiscal impact?

Maybe it was the brouhaha over the new contract (although we doubt it since the plan to go to 5/8s was in the works before the contract was rammed through), but no one on the 5th floor or on the contract negotiation team bothered to check and sure enough that unintended consequence is there in black and white.
F. court Allowance: The city will pay a minimum of two (2) hours court time at time-and-one-half, unless the officer appears in court within one (1) hour of his/her tour of duty, starting or ending. In the event that court appearance is within one (1) hour of the tour of duty, starting or ending, the officer will be paid a sum of one (1) hour. This section does not apply to officers appearing in court during their tour of duty.

Officers assigned to graveyard shift who have worked the previous shift will be paid a minimum of two (2) hours at time-and-one-half beginning thirty (30) minutes after shift ends plus actual time spent in court following two-and-one-half (2-1/2) hours after close of shift. [emphasis added]
-APD/APOA Contract
What this all means is that since the graveyard shift ends at 6:00am, every graveyard officer that has court following their shift will automatically get 2 hours of overtime because court doesn't start until 8:30am. When APD was running 10 hour shifts the graveyard shift didn't end until 8:00am so paragraph 1 of section F applied whenever an officer had an 8:30 am court appearance.

Under the 5/8 scheme, officers get 2 hours of overtime if they have court at any time after their shift plus the actual time spent in court - all of it at time-and-a-half. It's possible under the new schedule for a graveyard officer to rack up as much as 12 hours of overtime without spending an hour in court.

Of course this revelation sent the brass into a panic because this little section of the contract is not only in the expiring contract it's in the new contract as well. (Oops!)

The contractual unintended consequence was given to Deputy Chief Michael Callaway to untangle. His solution was... we'll ignore the contract.

In a May 1st email Deputy Chief Michael Callaway instructed supervisors not to approve time sheets that include the additional 2 hours of overtime. DC Callaway created his own guidelines for court time compensation that he claims "are consistent with department policy, the collective bargaining agreement and past practices" - none of which matter in the slightest.

The City/APD and the APOA have negotiated a contract in good faith and despite a bumpy approval process; a new contract has been ratified by the APOA membership. That contract and the previous one contain the same language regarding court compensation for graveyard officers. DC Callaway, Chief Schultz, and even the Almighty Alcalde himself don't have the option of creating new rules when the contract specifically addresses the issue.

Should APD follow DC Callaway's directives, APD and the City of Albuquerque would be in breach of contract. We're talking unfair labor practices claims and litigation that would ultimately cost the city (that's all of us folks) more than simply paying the officers.

Exhibit A - DC Michael Callaway's email dated 5/1/2008 instructing Commanders and supervisors to ignore the provisions of not one but two contracts. We'd love to be an attorney getting 30% of the punitive damages imposed on the city because of this one.

Of course, they could fix the problem without renegotiating the contract and without costing the taxpayers a dime... go back to 4/10s. How much do you want to bet they choose breach?

May 4, 2008

How Far is Too Far?

Since anti-smoking groups have changed their tactics and made smoking a matter of public safety they've been able to make incredible gains in reducing the amount of smoking in "public" places. Of course "public" now includes private businesses.

Regardless of whether or not you prefer smoke free bars and restaurants, the anti-smoking movement and their relentless pursuit of "public safety" should concern you. No one has ever been forced to frequent a smoke-filled establishment and no one has ever been forced to work in a smoke-filled environment.

Anti-smoking groups have created an excuse for government to quite literally stick their legislative noses into the private affairs of businesses who are abiding by the law. That's where Councilor Cadigan comes into this little post. According to Saturday's Albuquerque Journal, Councilor Cadigan has decided to take up for an unnamed business that has taken exception to Monte's cigar club (Subscription).
A little disclaimer here... we are not a smoker per se. We have been known to indulge in an occasional cigar from time to time but the number of cigars put to the fire in any given year could be counted on the fingers of one hand. We also weren't too thrilled with the Dee Johnson Indoor Air Act - not because it required restaurants and bars to prohibit smoking, but because it set a dangerous precedent for government interference in private establishments.
(End Sidebar)
The Journal reports that despite being cleared by the fire marshall, other businesses have complained about being able to smell (presumably) cigar smoke from the adjacent cigar club. Councilor Cadigan has proposed a city ordinance that would prohibit smoking in cigar shops. Currently cigar shops are exempt from the smoking regulations.

Despite the exemption, Monte's has been fitted with a specialized ventilation system to minimize aromatic invasion. That doesn't seem to be enough for the adjacent business so Cyrano Cadigan is extending his prodigious governmental nose into the dispute.

Our question is how far is this thing going to go? It's now illegal for businesses to allow smoking in their private establishments. What the intrepid councilor would like to do is prevent shops that sell cigars from allowing patrons to smoke them there. That would be like prohibiting patrons of bars from consuming their purchases on site.

More importantly, government is now inserting itself in almost every facet of our lives. They're not only protecting us from external threats and criminals, they've taken it upon themselves to protect us from ourselves.

Like it or not, smoking is a legal activity. Just because you can smell a cigar doesn't mean that you are being exposed to hazardous carcinogens or that your health is in any jeopardy. Besides, we don't believe that politicians should be the arbiters of science and health related safety.

We ask ourselves how far is too far? Our answer is that we've gone too far a long time ago. Government should stay out of our lives and businesses. The Monte's case shouldn't involve the Albuquerque City Council in the first place and it's terrifying that councilors believe that they should insert themselves into a olfactory offense. What's next, bad cologne?

May 2, 2008

Fatigue: A Step in the Wrong Direction

One week ago today APD went to its new 5/8 shift formula. As of April 25th at 10pm all APD officers (except DWI) will be working 5 days a week for 8 hours each shift. This is what most people think of as a standard work week. 5/8s work fine for most jobs - the problem is law enforcement is not your ordinary vocation.

Law enforcement is a round the clock activity. Officers work all hours of the day and night just patrolling the city. There's also required training, hearings, pre-trial interviews, and court appearances to contend with. Fatigue is an officer's constant companion.
Sleepiness/fatigue in the work place can lead to poor concentration, absenteeism, accidents, errors, injuries, and fatalities. In the USA, shift work sleep disorder results in the loss of thousands of lives and approximately $18 billion annually.
There's little doubt that fatigue affects one's cognitive ability. Interestingly "the tragedies of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Space Shuttle Columbia, and the Exxon Valdez all occurred during the night shift and were attributed to human fatigue"( A 2006 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin compared an officer's ability to drive a vehicle to that of someone who has over indulged.
• After 20 hours of wakefulness, neurobehavioral functions are impaired equivalent to that of a drunk with a BAC of 0.10. Noticeable impairment sets in well before that;

• Even moderate levels of sleepiness “can substantially impair the ability to drive safely,” even before you actually fall asleep at the wheel;

• The ability to maintain speed and road position on a driving simulator is significantly reduced when the normal awake period is prolonged by just 3 hours;

• “After 24 hours of sustained wakefulness, the brain’s metabolic activity can decrease by up to 65 percent in total and by up to 11 percent in specific areas of the brain, particularly those that play a role in judgment, attention, and visual functions;”

• As people, including officers, “try to fight through periods of fatigue, the human body, in an effort to rest, goes into microsleeps” where you literally fall asleep “anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds at a time. It is difficult to predict when a person, once fatigued, might slip into a microsleep.”

• As little as 2 hours of sleep loss on just one occasion “can result in degraded reaction time, cognitive functioning, memory, mood, and alertness;”

• “Fatigue is 4 times more likely to cause workplace impairment than alcohol and other drugs.” Ironically, chemical abuse normally is “addressed immediately by management. However, the lack of sleep, probably the most common condition adversely affecting personnel performance, often is ignored.”
Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) is a real and common problem in law enforcement and a 2007 Harvard sleep study placed the incidence of sleep disorder in the law enforcement community at 38.4%(

APD made the switch to the new 5/8 system claiming that they were trying to improve response times.
Spurred by poor response times, Schultz said this week that he will change the shifts next month of all uniformed officers and detectives from four 10-hour days a week to five eight-hour days.
You'll never guess what one of the first suggestions for combating fatigue among officers is... Yep, longer shifts with longer blocks of time off.
Consider alternative forms of organizing work schedules. Extended workdays of 10 or 12 hours have the advantage of fewer consecutive night shifts and longer blocks of time off.
Providing 3 days off a week doesn't mean that officers will be lounging around the house driving their families crazy for 72 hours, particularly for junior officers whose lack of seniority results in having those days off during the work week. As we've told you (read it here), an officer's off-duty responsibilities are significant - 4/10s typically result in perhaps one day off and at least 3 days where the officer can get the crucial 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Our Eyes tell us that fatigue has already become a problem in just one short week. Officers aren't responding to radio calls promptly and are showing up to pre-shift briefings visibly fatigued.

The 5th Floor has decided to send out officers whose abilities to "comprehend complex situations," "manage events," "perform risk assessment," "control [their] mood," "recollect the timing of events," "monitor [their] personal performance," and "communicate effectively" (read it here) in order to improve response time?! Looks to us like the Boys on the 5th Floor have taken a step in the wrong direction and more importantly, increased the danger to the public.

May 1, 2008

Troubling Times

You’ve probably figured out by now that we really have never met a tax cut that we didn’t like. Over taxation doesn’t result in more efficient government with more services – it results in government attempting to do too many things for too many specific groups and generally making a mess of the whole damn thing.

That being said, we happened to catch one of Hillary’s new ads that just scared the bejeezus out of us. In this spot aimed at attacking The One named “O”, Hill proclaims her desire to save us all gas money by giving us all a tax holiday from federal gasoline taxes. So far it sounds pretty good to us even though it is a bit gimmicky and doesn’t solve the problem we have with high gas prices - which is primarily a supply problem.

What is terrifying is that the Hill ad goes on to explain that they’re going to pay for the tax holiday with the eeeeevil windfall profits of oil companies. We’re not in bed with big oil and the only connection we have with any oil company comes when we’re filling the Eyemobile with their product. We’re also not overly enthused about paying four dollars a gallon for gas. However, threatening to steal a business’ profits in order to get elected is morally and ethically reprehensible.

Hillary's not proposing a tax holiday where the government is burdened to help its citizens; it's a scheme where private companies will be shouldering the burden. Our taxes will be replaced by massive taxes on a few companies in one sector of the economy.

Like it or not oil companies are businesses. They remain in business not by giving away their product but by making a profit. Folks, profit is not a bad thing. In fact, without profit there's no product to supply. It's a simple fact that we all have responsibilities, obligations, and dreams that require compensation and that compensation comes from profit. Ask yourself would you work for free?

Ultimately, what schemes like Hill's do is make an already scarce resource even more scarce. People don't work for free and neither do companies. If anyone were to impose this kind of retroactive taxation the companies affected would leave - maybe not today but eventually.

What's most troubling is that this type of political posturing has gone relatively unremarked. At a time when our supply of energy is being taxed by increased global competition we ignore or miss a very real threat to our economy and our freedom that has more dangerous consequences than four dollar a gallon gas.

Eye Told You: Suspicious

Valencia County officials finally got around to telling you what we told you back in November (read it here). The Journal is reporting that suicide has been ruled out as the cause of death of Tera Chavez, wife of suspended APD officer Levi Chavez (Subscription).

Officials told the Journal that Officer Chavez has officially become an unofficial suspect - in other words "person of interest." We don't really have any new information and since this is an ongoing investigation, we wouldn't publish it even if we had it. However, we told you that there was more to this story than was initially reported. Right now, officials are treating the case as a homicide.