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

Oct 27, 2009


The state calls them "exempt." The city calls them "unclassified." No matter what they're called they're employees who are beholden to the elected executive official that hired them. These employees can be hired and fired by the governor or mayor for just about any reason.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Governor Richardson has 760 "exempt" employees - over 500 in the executive branch alone. Richardson's exempts became one of the popular targets of legislators in the recent emergency session.
There are 760 exempt employees in New Mexico government — about 500 in executive branch agencies — and the number has risen sharply during Richardson's two terms in office.

“The growth in exempt positions has been significant,” Cote said.

A similar proposal has also been introduced by Sen. John Ryan, R-Albuquerque.

Some legislators have criticized the growth in government spending under the Richardson administration — about 40 percent in the past six years — and the growth in exempt employee numbers in particular.
One of the fun things about a transition of power is the transition shakes things up and tends to expose a few things that have been heretofore almost impossible find out. Once such thing is a complete list of all of the city's unclassified employees and how much they make - a list that fell smack dab into the lap of one of our Eyes.

The city of Albuquerque has 1427 "exempt" - or as the city calls them - "unclassified" employees. Understand that a large number of these unclassified positions are part-time or seasonal and pay between $7.50 and $19 per hour. But there are 124 full-time positions in Marty's unclassified world that earn more than $50,000 a year that's over $15,000 more than the state's median income for a single wage earner (view it here).

Combined those top 124 unclassified positions cost us $5,098.21 an hour, $203,928.40 a week, and $10,604, 276 a year. If you thought the mayor was the top dog, you'd be wrong. The top three unclassified wage earners are CAO Ed Adams, Fire Chief Robert Ortega, and Chief of Police Ray Schultz at $147,742, $140,733 and $140, 733 respectively.

The mayor's pay - previously set by the council and soon by some "independent" committee - makes a paltry $109,325 and only ranks 14th on the unclassified pay scale. Councilors by contrast, are at the bottom of the 1400 plus list earning a meager $5.26 an hour (based on a 40 hour week).

There are currently 6 director's positions that are either vacant (like Jay Evans who skedaddled back to Open Space and reportedly took his director's pay with him) or have "acting" directors whose pay won't show up on the unclassified list. Included in the list is soon to be former Transit Director Greg Payne whose salary and job will continue until November 30th.

You may be wondering why all of this matters. It's not really surprising that Marty's Minions were making shall we say... healthy salaries. They certainly were and in some cases the job justifies their pay. In other cases such as a position like say... director of senior affairs (a job Marty's paying $107,910 for) is really hard to justify. Do you really want your senior affairs person making more than your economic development person, your HR manager, or the director of finances?

The more one analyzes the list of unclassified employees, the more you begin to see Marty's pattern of rewards for loyalty. Pay and responsibility often have nothing to do with one another.

Let's face it - there are some positions that will simply go unfilled if the pay isn't adequate. Take the city attorney's office for example. A good attorney can make upwards of $150 an hour. You can't just pay $35k a year and expect to fill the position - at least not with a competent attorney.

The point here is that Mayor-Elect Berry has an opportunity to save the city money by removing unnecessary positions and adjusting pay of necessary positions to more accurately reflect the position's responsibility.

A new mayor should have the opportunity to surround himself with people they trust and people that they feel are best qualified for needed city positions. After all, the mayor should and will be judged not only by his performance but the performance of those he surrounds himself with .

Mayor Berry has the opportunity to make some real structural changes to his unclassified list that will make government more transparent, more efficient, and save all of us money at a time when money is hard to come by.

Climate Change is Obama’s Iraq

by Marita Noon

This year, amidst reports of cooling temperature, the climate change debate had apparently cooled as well. Then the Waxman/Markey Bill, pushing cap and trade as the solution for global warming, was introduced. Now, with President Obama addressing the UN and calling for extreme measures to prevent catastrophic consequences, suddenly it’s front page news again.

On the same day that Obama was presenting his dramatic message to the UN, the New York Times published an article acknowledging “global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may drop in the next few years.” Clearly the debate is not as one-sided as our leadership wants us to believe.

While Obama and his “alarmist” science czar, John Holdren, are moving forward, the polls repeatedly show lack of public and scientific support. Aggressive climate change measures rank last on almost any list of current crises; people do not think the issue is one on which our government should be focused.

I predict climate change will be Obama’s Iraq.

Bush, it is widely accepted, went into Iraq based on his advisors’ belief that weapons of mass destruction awaited them. There seemed to be consensus. Even Democrats voted in favor of war. Once there, no WMDs were found. But Bush did not pull out. Instead we spent billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives with minimal results—all based on bad advice. The public did not like the war. They did not want it. He had great plans for overthrowing Saddam, but the Iraqi military was no where near ready to take over—leaving us foundering between being occupiers and advisors. The failure in Iraq defined the Bush presidency, turning even his own party against him.

Obama’s advisors are telling him that climate change legislation is imperative. They believe there is consensus. But the temperatures have stabilized and dropped—despite increased CO2 emissions. Even the NYT admits that the declining temperatures will make legislation a hard sell to the public. But Obama is not backing down. He is willing to kill off the American economy based on bad advice. The people do not want it now and they will hate it later. We’ll spend billions of borrowed dollars for minimal results. He is focused on overthrowing hydrocarbons, but renewable energy is many years away from being ready to take over—leaving us floundering between the light and freezing in the dark. The folly of climate change legislation will define his presidency and turn citizens against him.

Both Presidents succumbed to a type of herd mentality. When people pursue the same avenue all together, they tend to shut out all other ideas and those avenues are not always the right ones. The “facts” become propaganda—forced into a pattern that is preordained, making them look firmly established.

You can see this in the Iraq war decision. But how does it apply to climate change?

Twenty years ago, in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Dr. Thomas Gold of Cornell University presented the hypothesis that science was reaching the place where new ideas were not being accepted. He stated, “A critical attitude is clearly required of every scientist. Whenever the established ideas are accepted uncritically, but conflicting new evidence is brushed aside and not reported because it does not fit, then that particular science is in deep trouble.” He postulates that, “there are long periods when uncritical acceptance of established ideas was a real hindrance to the pursuit of the new.”

Appling his ideas to today’s situation, I suggest that we are there now.

From a scientific viewpoint, when other motivations come into the act, judgment becomes cloudy, and decisions are not based on the ideal of evidence-based reasoning. This is where the problem lies. If support from peers and moral and financial consequences are at stake, then staying with the herd is the successful policy for the individual who is depending on them, but not the successful policy for the pursuit of pure science. If a large portion of the scientific community in one field is guided by the herd instinct they cannot adopt another viewpoint. The justification becomes, “I believe that because everyone else does.” About the herd, Gold commented, “The sheep in the interior of the herd are well-protected from the bite in the ankle by the sheep dog.”

This has happened with climate change. The man-caused warming model has become the established fact—new evidence is “brushed aside.” Those scientists and others questioning the validity of the models are vilified as skeptics and deniers.
Hence bad science is “established.” Public policy is based on it.

Just like the herd agreed that there were WMDs—when there were not—the herd has decided that climate change is caused by man’s use of CO2 when, in fact, it is likely just the normal cycle of nature. We are attempting to battle climate change based on bad advice.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit, membership-based organization advocating for citizens rights to energy freedom. She can be reached at or Note: Several concepts featured here are culled from the Australian Institute of Geoscientists Spring Newsletter.

Oct 26, 2009

Eye Poll: Corruption

Corruption comes in all sizes. Sometimes it's big (see the State Investment Council and Manny Aragon). Sometimes it's small. Eye readers overwhelmingly said that corruption was the major issue in the city's October 6th election. An overwhelming 49% of readers said corruption was the major election issue, 21% said crime, 13% the economy, 8% each said term limits or change, and 1% didn't know.

Crime was certainly an issue - one that the Berry administration would do well to remember - but the Eye readers are more worried about the criminals in government than those on the streets.

The new mayor will have his opportunity to clean house and restore trust in government. He'll have to do it despite his predecessors attempts had hiding a few nasty newly classified surprises. It's important that the new administration clean house and do so publicly.

In politics, public perception is reality. The way to change perception is to get rid of those who've created the reality.

Oct 22, 2009

Marty's Freebie Firearm Deal

The Albuquerque Police Department under Chief Ray Schultz and soon-to-be former Mayor Martin Chavez has decided change the department issued weapon from the Glock 9mm to a Smith and Wesson 9mm. The move has upset a number of officers who view the Smith and Wesson as an inferior weapon.

In fact, a number of line officers complained about the move citing the Glock's reliability and historic performance. Anyone who complained was summarily shut down and cadets will begin training on the Smith and Wesson next week.

It's not unusual for Chief Schultz his 5th Floor to ignore officers, but this time Smith and Wesson gave the Chief, Deputy Chief Castro, and The Once Almighty Alcalde a little extra incentive. According to our Eyes, Schultz, Castro, and Mayor Chavez all received complimentary weapons a couple of months ago courtesy of Smith and Wesson. 30 days after the "gifts" were given, APD decided to drop the favored Glock.

Officers have been carrying the Glock for years. The double action pin-fire weapon has a track record of firing under almost any circumstance and when your life is on the line you want your weapon to go boom when you pull the trigger.

Look, we're not against APD evaluating their side arms from time to time. And we're not against the department making a change. But this time, it looks as if the decision was at least partially based on the freebie firearm given to the decision makers.

We've got serious reservations about Marty packin' heat - that's just all kinds of scary. But more importantly, elected officials and their cronies shouldn't be accepting gifts from contractors. If Smith and Wesson popped for a few pistols, what else did they do to sweeten the deal?

It really doesn't matter what the value of the "gift" was - though most 9mm handguns cost over $1,000 - accepting a gift from a vendor prior to awarding a contract looks dirty and is dirty. It may be petty corruption, but it's corruption none the less.

This is just one more example of why all of the current occupants of APD's 5th Floor need to be shown the elevator. First and foremost, effective policing requires the trust of the public. Taking a goody gun from a vendor and handing them a contract undermines that trust and puts both officers and the public in danger.

Oct 21, 2009


It's a favorite trick of outgoing politicians - give one last payoff to those who have supported your administration. The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday that the Chavez payoffs have begun as the Once Almighty Alcalde takes a stab at paying off his people and a shot at the man who will replace him.
Scott Forrester, an assistant to Mayor Martin Chávez, whose term ends Nov. 30, saw an increase in his annual salary from roughly $48,000 a year to a little under $80,000, officials said.

Greg Smith, an attorney, received an 8 percent increase in pay — to about $111,000 a year — and was transferred into a different job. He used to work as an attorney for the city and is now a contract manager in the Department of Municipal Development.

Danny Nevarez, an information technology official in the Environmental Health Department, saw his pay boosted about 48 percent, to around $102,900.
Frankly, no matter what excuse is given these raises are appalling. Our Eyes tell us that since the Once Almighty Alcalde lost the election earlier in the month, Hizz Honor has been busy squirreling away his minions and busily trying to reclassify his unclassified friends. One such reclassification was Director of Parks and Recreation, Jay Evans who was recently moved from his unclassified directors position in Parks and Rec to an over $80,000 a year classified position running Open Space.

The intent of the Chavez administration is to protect their minions while leaving them behind as land mines ready to explode on an unsuspecting Berry administration.

Moving Marty's Minions doesn't exactly protect them from termination. Moving someone from an unclassified position to a classified position doesn't remove the probationary period where the city can let the "newly acquired" classified employee go for pretty much any reason in the first 90 days. Marty's moves only make it more difficult, not impossible.

In light of the current economic situation, the Berry transition team needs to take a hard look not only at Marty's many minions but at the positions that were created to reward them. Now's the time for many of these positions to disappear along with their occupants - which would save all of us a boat load of money.

More importantly, Mayor-elect Berry would be setting a good example for the rest of the city by trimming his at-will staff before he even takes office despite Marty's attempt to trap him into keeping Marty's Minions.

The Sheriff Shuffle

The pending resignation of Sheriff Darren White in order to take the Public Safety post with the city has created a bit of a diemma for the Bernalillo County Commission - which is charged with appointing someone to fill out the term. According to our Eyes, state law requires an appointment before White's departure in order to prevent a sheriff's gap.

What's complicating things is that next year is an election year and no fewer than 9 Democrats have thrown their badges into the appointment and election rings. The Bernalillo County Commission is controlled by Democrats, so there shouldn't be a problem... right?

Wrong. Commissioners - particularly Commissioners Armijo, De La Cruz, and Hart-Stebbins - are reluctant to choose any Democrat who's actually planning a run for Sheriff. At the very least, appointing one of the 9 would give that candidate a decisive edge in the Democratic primary. And since there isn't a single Republican that has asked for the appointment (perhaps an opportunity there), the Democrats on the commission are looking elsewhere for potential candidates.

According to our Eyes, commissioners are looking at the old old sheriff to replace the soon-to-be new old sheriff. Former Sheriff Joe Bowdich is currently serving as the "civilian chief" over at APD - it's a job without a job description, responsibilities, or duties but it pays well. Commissioners have hit on the idea that Bowdich would be the perfect interim-Sheriff and frankly we don't disagree. It might even save the city over $100,000 by vacating a position that has outlived its usefulness.
Nothing against Bowdich but, he was in fact brought in to provide cover for the evidence room scandal. The former sheriff was certainly a respected former law enforcement officer but his purpose as a "civilian chief" was to lend needed credibility and restore confidence in APD. Bowdich's position was created for political reasons - to provide cover for the Chavez administration - not functional reasons.

Like most government positions created for political purposes, their usefulness is short lived except as a position to reward supporters.
[End Sidebar]
More importantly for the Democrats on the commission, it allows them not to be seen as choosing the next sheriff. Of course there's nothing to guarantee that any of the 9 Democrats who have asked for the appointment will win the job next year or even that the next elected sheriff will be a Democrat, but at least the Armijo, De La Cruz, and Hart-Stebbins, won't be accused of favoritism or blamed for a November loss.

No matter how it pans out, it looks like the sheriff shuffle will result in a sheriff who really doesn't want the job - at least not long-term. After all, county commissioners are politicians and they're not going to willingly hurt their political future.

Oct 20, 2009

Partying Like it's 1999

Budget shortfalls are everywhere. Unless you've been out of the country or in a coma for the past year, you know that every level of government is scrambling to find a way conserve resources as tax revenue dwindles. Sometimes our elected officials talk about reducing spending - meanwhile others are talking about increasing taxes.
Bills that would cut spending all over the state government map and eliminate some political hires were among proposals continuing to stream in as lawmakers remained divided over how to solve the state's worst budget crunch since the 1980s.

Some Democratic members, so far overruled by senior leaders, are pushing consideration of tax increases or repeal of tax cuts as ways to raise revenue and avoid cuts to education and health care programs. Educator unions strongly back the tax hike moves, wanting to avert any reductions in school spending.
The fact is we find ourselves in a crisis. It's a crisis created by uncontrolled spending during a time of relative plenty. Like the Roaring 20's, there were abundant indications that the largess of economic prosperity would not last forever. But like their early 20th century counterparts, they partied like it was 1999 (Sorry, couldn't help the Prince reference) and spent as if there would always be plentiful sources of tax revenue - there wasn't and there isn't.

Most governmental agencies have been forced to recognize the fact that it's imperative that they get a handle on their spending. Apparently, the Bernalillo County Commission didn't get the memo. A little over a week ago at their October 13th meeting, the Bernalillo County Commission was presented with a plan to freeze hiring.
In an effort to proactively deal with declining revenues while avoiding more drastic measures such as layoffs, mandatory furloughs or reduced work hours for its employees, Bernalillo County is proposing a strategic freeze on hiring non public safety related personnel.

Along with a freeze in hiring of new employees, Bernalillo County will focus on reducing nonessential expenditures and careful monitoring of expenditures. Finance Division staff will carefully monitor economic trends and notify the County Manager when revenues appear to be stabilizing and the hiring freeze may be re-evaluated.
The resolution was defeated 3-2 with Commissioners Armijo, De La Cruz, and Hart-Stebbins voting to party like it's 1999 - while Commissioners Wiener and Brasher voted to institute the hiring freeze.

Not to make this a partisan issue but just guess which party the 3 nay votes belonged to. If you said Democrat, you'd be spot on.

It's not like Republicans haven't been guilty of spending like a collective group of drunken sailors - they have. But in case you haven't been paying attention, Democrats on the national level have spent more in the first six months of this year than all of the preceding U.S. governments combined. In fact, Democrats on the national level have made their Republican predecessors
look like Congressional Scrooges when it comes to spending.

New Mexico has been under single party rule for over 70 years. They've dominated almost every elected body, every state department at almost every level for almost all of those 70 plus years. The Bernalillo County Commission is no exception.

When presented with a resolution to freeze spending at a time where tax revenues are on the decline, what do the Democrats on the commission do? They vote to continue to hire non-public safety personnel as if there were no tax revenue problems.

Yeah... It's delusional and totally ignored by the local press. Every level of government should be working to find ways to reduce its spending. The County Commission - at least 3 of the 5 members - clearly haven't figured it out and clearly don't get it. They're partying like it's 1999 and can print money in the basement. Unfortunately, we're the ones who will have to clean up their mess and pay the tab.

Oct 14, 2009

1Out Of 2

Tuesday, Mayor-elect Berry filled two of his top positions - Darren White, Public Safety Director and David Campbell, Chief Administrative Officer.

Sheriff White is a solid pick for Public Safety Director. He was one of APD's own, headed up the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, and is currently in his second and - because of term limits - last term as Sheriff of Bernalillo County.

Currently the position of public safety director is held by Pete Dinelli - a lawyer. It's probably a good idea to have someone who has been a first responder in a position dealing with first response. However, we're not real sure that having a Chief of Chief's position is absolutely necessary - but that's a discussion for another day.

Berry's other pick could be somewhat more problematic. David Campbell - a Democrat - has been a city attorney under the Missing Mayor (Saavedra) and was an assistant to Mayor Kinney. He's worked for both Rs and Ds and therein may lie his problem.

Campbell's back and forth political relationships and mercenary nature may work for a lobbyist or lawyer, but the result is a bunch of folks on both sides of the isle that are none too fond of the CAO to be.

The Chief Administrative Officer requires council confirmation. Right now, the council isn't exactly falling all over itself to endorse Campbell as the new CAO.
Councilor Brad Winter, a Northeast Heights Republican, said he isn't sure Campbell will win enough votes for confirmation. He said he's concerned about Campbell's background as a land-use attorney who's contested city zoning decisions.
Land use issues often end up in front of the council. The council has a history of deciding these cases based on politics (they are a political body after all) and subsequently being overturned by the District Court because they failed to make a decision based on the law. Councilor Cadigan has firsthand experience in these matters.

The point is... attorneys like Campbell don't make a lot of political friends in the process. So, lets take a look at a possible vote with the assumption that the new guys Lewis and Cook will give the mayor what he wants.

For years, Campbell has represented eeeevil developers. Forget about O'Malley, Benton, and Garduno and our Eyes tell us that Councilor Sanchez is no fan. That leaves Harris and Jones. Jones appointed Campbell to the Charter Review Task Force, so we have our first definite yes. Harris could go either way. But let's assume that since he's worked with Representative Berry for the last few years, he gives the new mayor what he wants.

That's a 4 to 4 tie with Winter in the middle and Winter has already indicated that he is "concerned" about Campbell. Frankly, there's an even chance that Harris won't vote in favor of Campbell. There are simply more scenarios where Campbell ends up not becoming Ed Adam's replacement than there are scenarios where he does.

Mayor-elect Berry will get his public safety director. It's far less likely that he will get his first choice for CAO. In fact, Campbell better get back on the line with Obama and see if that Foreign Service gig is still available.

Oct 12, 2009

Berry Resigns House Seat

Mayor-elect R.J. Berry has decided that a divided official cannot function. The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that Berry had made the decision to step down from his District 20 seat in the New Mexico Legislature.
"It has been my great honor and privilege to represent my district in the Legislature during these past two terms. With the transition of my administration just getting underway, it is imperative that I give it my full attention. The citizens of my district deserve a full-time legislator representing their needs in Santa Fe and the people of Albuquerque deserve a mayor-elect who is working full-time to facilitate a smooth transition at City Hall," Berry said in the release.
We really couldn't agree more... The fact of the matter is that setting up a new city government is not an insignificant task. And with the current $700 MILLION state budget crisis, serving in the state legislature is going to require the full attention of every elected official. Mayor-elect Berry is wise to realize the limitations and the requirements of his new job and act to make sure that his District 20 constituents are properly represented.

Now the question of who will represent District 20 falls to the Bernalillo County Commission. The only question is whether or not the Commission will be able to fill the seat before Saturday's special session start.

Oct 11, 2009

Back to IA

Common sense - or what passes as common sense - seems to have broken out on The 5th Floor. Our Eyes tell us that Chief Schultz has sent the Reserve-Gate "investigation" back to IA for investigation.

Seems that the finding that no one involved at anytime did anything wrong just didn't look so good when a few moments on Google would reveal any number of violations that make exonerating Young, Hudson, and Smith next to impossible to believe.

Originally, the plan was to slide Hudson and Smith back into SID quietly and under the cover of the transition. Of course once their plan was revealed, they couldn't very well go through with it - particularly based on what can only be considered questionable findings.

This is just one more indication that The 5th Floor is incapable of policing itself. The Chief and his DCs work first to hide problems rather than fixing them. Of course the cover-up needs to be hidden too. Before long you spend all of your time hiding screw-ups, petty corruption, and even criminal behavior all because politics has become the number one priority of your police force.

Oct 9, 2009

It's All a Mistake!

The Internal Affairs investigation into Reserve-gate was finished yesterday and - you guessed it - no one anywhere did anything at anytime that could be considered in any way wrong. We know that it comes as a shock that the Internal Affairs Division - that reports directly to Chief Schultz - found that this whole fraudulent time sheet thing was just a clerical error.

Our Eyes tell us that IA's "investigation" concluded that since it's common practice for SID to take a tech along on sting operations to operate the equipment, David Young was being paid overtime as a civilian tech not for police work. Our immediate question was... exactly what "equipment" was Young supposed to be working on?
During one arrest, a woman stripped naked in a hotel room and gave Young a back massage before she was arrested on criminal solicitation charges, court records show.

In four other arrests, Young touched women's breasts at their requests to convince them he was not a police officer, according to Metropolitan Court records.

And twice he allowed women to touch his "crotch" to prove he was not an officer.
Now we're somewhat familiar with communications equipment and we're pretty sure that - while not required - operators generally keep their clothes on when performing technical functions. We're also sure that techs are behind the scenes types not on camera types - if you know what I mean and I think you do.

When Civilian Young became the star of his own surveillance recordings he became something more than a technician. When Young started arresting suspects and signing criminal complaints, he was no longer a technician working on the equipment he was acting in a law enforcement capacity - a capacity in which he had no authority despite being a reserve officer.

More importantly, all of Young's supervisors knew what Young was doing, gave Young a detective's badge to help him do it, and even nominated him for an award for doing it.

In typical 5th Floor fashion, Chief Schultz and crew have thrown Young and the entire reserve program under the bus when the parties responsible can be traced through the chain of command directly to the chief's office.

Now... right after an election and during a transition the IA report shockingly finds that no one did anything wrong. Our Eyes tell us that Commander, Joe Hudson and Lieutenant, Rob Smith are to be quietly transferred back to SID in the next few days under the cover of the transition and the excuse of the IA "investigation" findings.

Remember, fraud and illegal arrests couldn't possibly have anything to do with improper conduct, poor training, and a willingness to shall we say... fib. It's all a mistake because the "independent" investigation was performed by a department that reports to the chief. It's all a mistake because we said so. How much you wanna bet Mary Han won't see it that way?

Oct 7, 2009


The dust had barely settled before the first rumors about the new Berry administration began flying. The first one - spread by none other than Joey Sigala, Segalla, Sagala - is that Ray Schultz is staying.

First of all, the sun is barely up the day after the Berry victory and our Eyes tell us that not a lot of thought has gone into the transition. The campaign's focus was on reaching and exceeding 40% - which they did last night. There simply hasn't been time to address the transition. That changes today.

Second, Ray Schultz intervened on behalf of The Almighty Alcalde in the final two weeks of the campaign using APD as a political tool. Our Eyes tell us that there was no shortage of outrage over at the Berry campaign and that Ray's neck is on the chopping block.

Look... Mayor-Elect Berry (that sure has a nice ring to it) won't meet with The Almighty Alcalde until noon today. No doubt internal discussions are underway and we'd bet that a "Thank You for your Service But it's Time to Go" list is under development. Very few people will be privy to those discussions and we're quite sure that Joey Sigala, Segalla, Sagala isn't one of them.

Oct 6, 2009

The Outcome

The unofficial results are in and like many of you we're pleased with the results. R.J. Berry will make a good mayor for our fair city and what's more, he earned our trust during his campaign. Richard Romero should also be proud of the campaign he ran. He's an honorable man - a commodity that is in too short a supply these days.

Our predictions weren't too bad overall (see them here). Our major miscalculation was getting carried away with the under vote. It seems we underestimated voters as they were engaged in almost every race.

On the bond issues we nailed it - all of them passed. The quarter cent tax passed as predicted and all of the charter amendments pass. The only one we thought wouldn't pass... did. Prop 2 - the salary commission amendment passed by a healthy margin.

Our biggest miscalculation was over in District 5 where Dan Lewis showed Councilor Cadigan the door with a surprising 12 point trouncing. We knew that Mr. Lewis was working hard but we didn't believe that he'd been able to move the needle as far as it turns out he had.

Congratulations Councilor-Elect Lewis. If you work half as hard at your new job as you did during your campaign, you will be an excellent councilor.

Our best pick of the night was undoubtedly the mayor's race. However, we still got our order wrong. Our predictions were R.J. Berry 41%, Richard Romero 33%, and Martin Chavez 22%. As it turns out Berry ended the night with 43.82%, Chavez with 35.02%, and Romero with 20.98%.

Apparently, Marty's last minute decision to rip into Romero paid some dividends with Democrats. However, the real story is that independents broke hard for Berry and Republicans overwhelmingly withdrew their past support for Chavez and came home to Berry.

There were hints that Marty was in trouble as far back as two years ago, when every candidate backed by or associated with Chavez... lost. The current political environment coupled with the growing Marty-fatigue hinted at in the last city election probably made tonight's result inevitable.

Marty reached 35% immediately and never budged the rest of the night. Voters seemed to flow back and forth between Berry and Romero, with Berry finding surprising strength in precincts where Romero was considered the odds on favorite. What's clear is that there's a solid 35% block of voters citywide. But what's also clear is that a solid 65% of voters wanted someone other than Martin Chavez to be mayor.

Click here to see the unofficial results.

Eye Predicts

It's been a crazy month for Albuquerque political junkies. Now that the polls are closed we'll put our prognostication skills to the test.

Bond Issues, Quarter Cent and Propositions
As usual all of the bond issues will pass with ease. There simply wasn't any organized opposition to any of them and we'd be shocked if any of them even came close to defeat.

The 1/4 Cent Transportation Tax will pass - but it'll be closer than any of the bond questions (63% For, 37% Against). This thing as been on the books for 10 years and was sold to the public as necessity if the city wants to have roads, bike paths, and buses. In truth this is supplantation tax that shifts the burden to provide these transportation infrastructure needs from the existing general fund to a dedicated tax. The funds originally used for transportation infrastructure purposes become available for other non-transportation uses. Like the public safety tax, it's a tax increase wrapped in a desirable lie.

All of the charter amendment propositions will pass with the exception of Proposition 2. The general theme of the propositions is to reduce mayoral authority. Prop 2, makes it possible for an "independent" commission to set salaries for the mayor and councilors without asking for voter approval. This ain't gonna happen.

Voters have consistently rebuffed any attempt to pay councilors more. As a result, they'll reject Prop 2 for no other reason than it'll take voters out of the loop.

Proposition 8 probably shouldn't pass but it will. Prop 8 sets up the governmental equivalent of a mayor/council mediation board. This really won't work because historically fights between the mayor (and by mayor we mean The Almighty Alcalde) have involved gray areas in the city charter. Arbitration boards simply cannot make legal decisions. So... We'll have a committee that can't arbitrate because they don't have the authority to interpret the charter - which means the case will end up in court where it ought to be anyway.

District 1
Ken Sanchez - 87%

Councilor Sanchez is the only person on the ballot in District 1 - there's not even a write-in. He'll lose few points due to under votes, jokers who write-in Mickey Mouse, and a few folks who are still mad at him for helping The Almighty Alcalde.

District 3
Isaac Benton - 48%
Alan Armijo - 38%

Admittedly we haven't been watching this race all that closely, but given name ID alone Armijo should be able to make it a close race. We just don't think that there's been enough of a case made to fire the incumbent and District 3 has changed significantly since Alan Armijo last graced the council chambers as a council member.

District 5
Dan Lewis - 45%
Michael Cadigan - 48%

This is one of those that could be considered too close to call. But despite running a very good campaign, working hard and making a very good case to the voters that Cadigan should be removed - it's hard to dump an incumbent in just a few months time. Dan Lewis may not win this one, but he's shown himself to be a hard working, talented candidate. He'll be hard to beat in his next campaign.

District 7
Michael Cook - 69%
David Green (Write-in) - 5%

Green failed to turn in the required Declaration of Candidacy August, 11th. Frankly, it's almost impossible to wage a successful write-in campaign without significant funding - funding that Green didn't have.

District 9
David Barbour - 23%
Don Harris - 65%

Harris will cruise to victory in this one. Being on the ballot won't help Barbour primarily because his simply doesn't fit the district. We wouldn't at all be surprised if Councilor Harris wins by an even greater margin.

The Race for Mayor
R.J. Berry - 41%
Richard Romero - 33%
Martin J. Chavez - 22%

You won't see a large under vote in this one. This is the reason that most people are headed to the polls. Ultimately, we think Berry will reach the magic 40% and avoid a runoff. Marty will have ended up taking votes from Romero rather than the other way around - ultimately denying his fellow Romero a chance at a runoff.

So there they are... We'll see how close we got in the next few hours.

Promises, Packing and Dancing with the Devil

The mood on the 11th and 5th floors has been a cross between desperation and depression. The Almighty Alcalde has been busy promising the Chief's job to any commander who will drag their officers to the polls and vote for him. Yes... that means that Marty is repaying Chief Schultz for his undying allegiance - an allegiance that extended to politicizing a police investigation - with a pink slip.

Apparently, the current holder of the 11th Floor throne is promising to fire Ray Schultz if he manages to stay in office. Our Eyes tell us that Marty blames the current state of affairs on Chief Schultz and APD.

We would take issue with that assertion and humbly suggest that the man most directly responsible for Marty's mayoral desperation is none other than The Almighty Alcalde himself. Not to say that Ray and his merry band of sycophant DCs haven't royally screwed the pooch on multiple occasions, but the Mayor of Albuquerque has direct responsibility for the actions and job performance of the Chief of Police and those the chief surrounds himself with.

Further, Marty has annexed APD as a part of his political machine - a despicable act by any mayor. The Albuquerque Police Department depends on the trust and faith placed in it by the public in order to function effectively. Martin J. Chavez has abused that trust and shaken the faith of the public by repeatedly using APD for his own personal gains.

If you happen to be one of the Commanders who have been promised the chief's job, consider for a moment how The Almighty Alcalde repays loyalty... one of his loyalists is busy packing up his office. And should Marty somehow win this contest consider this - "when you dance with the devil you don't change him, he changes you."

Final Election Thoughts

To say that this year's city election has been a surprise is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Fresh off a huge November victory, Democrats rushed to run for one of the most powerful positions in the state. Michael Cadigan, Debbie O'Malley, Richard Romero, and Donna Rowe all announced their candidacies by early February. The donkey in the room was The Almighty Alcalde who had sued the city (in a sham of a proceeding) and had his own term limit overturned.

By mid-March both councilors had dropped out of the race. Albuquerque's public financing system had barred two of its most ardent supporters. O'Malley returned to her seat on the council and Cadigan - after vowing to leave city politics - decided to try to hold the seat that he'd decided to vacate in order to run for mayor which he was unable to do because of the public financing system that he'd supported (whew!).

Marty in the Middle (of everything) wouldn't announce until well into the July - a move that's still a bit baffling. The Almighty Alcalde was either incredibly arrogant or was waiting to see if there were some other opportunities to "make some money" as he indicated he would like to do on 770 KKOB's morning show with Bob Clark last Friday morning.

After Marty lowered himself to actually enter the race, the early polls were showing that Marty's numbers were in the mid 40's - meaning that if the race were held then, the Almighty Alcalde would retain his throne on the 11th floor. The flip side was that if an incumbent starts at 46%, the only direction for them to go is down.

A little over a week ago, we all found out that down is exactly where he went falling to 26% in the most recent Journal poll (Subscription). Richard Romero trailed Chavez by a razor thin margin of 2 percentage points and R.J. Berry lead by 5 points.

Prior to Labor Day, one would be hard pressed to notice that there was a mayor's race. Sure... the three major candidates were out at forums but no one who wasn't a political junkie had any idea there was a mayor's race underway.
Ok, Ok... R.J. Berry and Richard Romero were out at community forums. In most cases, The Almighty Alcalde was being kept in a secure location.
[End Sidebar]
September saw the mayor's race jump out of the shadows. The mail began, radio and TV hit the air, and the dreaded autodialers started pestering anyone with a phone. All of the candidates began to make their various cases - both positive and negative - the two challengers understandably tried to make the case that Marty wasn't the man for the mayor's office.

Marty aimed his vitriol on R.J. Berry until late in the campaign when he belatedly targeted Romero. The Almighty Alcalde realized that there's a real chance that he may not even be part of a runoff unless he could pull some liberal Ds away from Romero.

That's where we stand today... election day. By now you've heard and read more than you probably want to have heard and read. We would hope that you would have formed an opinion of who you support for mayor.

Both R.J. Berry and Richard Romero have run honorable campaigns. Marty has run his campaign the way he has increasingly run the city - with half-truths, spin, and outright lies. He even blatantly used his police department for political gain.

Martin Chavez's three terms in office have been a study in the creation of a tyrant. Each year spent occupying the city's mayoral throne has made The Almighty Alcalde more arrogant, more vindictive, and more tyrannical.

We have long believed that the mayoral race will be decided by Republicans. Republicans have been responsible for each of The Almighty Alcalde's elections and so they will be responsible for the outcome of this election.

Richard Romero has been an honorable candidate but his ties to the far left Eli Lee wing of the Democratic party is more than just a little concerning and means that should he end up in a runoff with Chavez many Republicans would vote as they have in the past.

R.J. Berry is an honest man. He has run his campaign with honor and dignity - even in the face of blistering personal attacks from The Almighty Alcalde. In our opinion, Berry is the best candidate to replace the Tyrant of the 11th Floor and once again make city government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Oct 3, 2009

Election Predictions

Politics is one of the great American spectator sports. Not unlike other sports, everyone has an opinion and everyone has a prediction.

We've been busy polling issues, Marty's scandals, and candidates for months now. But with the election speeding our way, we thought it'd be fun to get your opinion - your prediction - of just who's gonna win our little city contest.

We'll be giving you our predictions - which are currently sealed in a Mayonnaise jar on Funkenwagnals porch - Tuesday night at 7:00pm. Use the polls below to tell us what you think.

We're not bothering with council districts 1, 7, or 9 because Ken "I love Marty" Sanchez doesn't have an opponent, Mike Cook in District 7 only faces write-in David Green, and Councilor Harris faces left of Mao socialist David Barbour whose position on the ballot is the only thing that gives him a better shot at winning than David Green has over in District 7.

Have fun with your predictions!

Who do you think will win the mayoral race?
Richard "RJ" Berry
Martin Chavez
Richard Romero
Don't Know free polls

Who do you think will win the District 3 Council Race?
Isaac Benton
Alan Armijo
Don't Know free polls

Who do you think will win the District 5 Council Race
Michael Cadigan
Dan Lewis
Don't Know free polls

Oct 1, 2009

Cozy Relationship Canceled

Dealer-gate seems to be getting somewhat more intriguing. It turns out that the 4th Street used car and illegal recreational pharmaceuticals dealer and APD have a history. According to our Eyes, the dealership was contracted by the department to provide vehicles to the SID and IMPACT units. Yesterday, that cozy little contract was canceled after news of the burned investigation broke.

It's not unusual for APD to purchase vehicles from used car dealers particularly for units like SID and IMPACT where driving around in Ford Crown Victorias wouldn't exactly be low profile. In the past, the department would purchase their vehicles from Budget. The vehicles usually had some kind of warranty, were only a few years old, and had been maintained by the company. It was a good deal for the city and for Budget.

We don't know when the still unnamed dealer was extended the contract, but it does explain the ties of two APD officers to the dealership. According to our Eyes, the allegations against Ron Olivas and Brad Ahrensfield claim that Olivas tipped off Ahrensfield who relayed the information to a relative that worked at the dealership. Our Eyes tell us that the relative in question was allegedly Ahrensfield's son.

All of this makes a lot more sense now that there seems to have been a two way relationship between APD and the used car dealer. Otherwise, why would Olivas feel compelled to burn an FBI investigation knowing that if caught he could end up in a set of handcuffs.

It looks like there's more to this than a couple of officers tipping off an alleged drug dealer and burning an FBI investigation. For one thing it never looks good when a law enforcement agency has a cozy little relationship with the criminals they are supposed to be chasing.