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

Jan 31, 2010

Justice Delayed

Tera Chavez died in October of 2007. By May of 2008, the Valencia County Coroner had determined that Chavez's death was not a suicide. Last week the Tera Chavez estate had their first hearing in their wrongful death suit against Officer and Pound Cage-mucker Levi Chavez.

The wrongful death suit makes a number of allegations against Chavez chief among them that he's responsible for the death of his wife. The Albuquerque Police Department is also named in the suit for condoning extra marital affairs and for allowing officers to wreck a crime scene.

Office fraternization is never a good idea and managers in both the public and private sectors struggle to minimize it in the workplace. We'll defer to the judge when it comes to APD's responsibility, but affairs, adultery, and accusations of more serious sexual misconduct are yet another one of the problems that The 5th Floor refuses to deal with or acknowledge.

The most concerning aspect of this whole affair as far as APD's involvement is concerned is the inability of trained APD officers to recognize a potential crime scene and know not to screw it up. Valencia County isn't known for its investigative prowess and we all know that the DA down there has more than a issues, but Chief Schultz and everyone at APD would be screaming if 9 officers from another agency trampled around in a potential crime scene in their jurisdiction. Was the activity simply stupid or perhaps intentional?

For now, the Chavez estate is exercising the only option that it has in their quest to finally see justice done. So far, the criminal system has failed them starting with the first officers on the scene - officers who should have never been there.

Jan 29, 2010


Furloughs are fashionable these days. Back in November, Big Bill ordered 20,000 state employees to take 5 days off - without pay. All of this sounds good and perhaps for your average administrative assistant, clerk, janitor, mid-level manager (or top-level manager for that matter) or political appointee it's a hell of a lot better than having to look for a new job.

Unfortunately, there are a number of positions affected by Big Bill's unpaid vacations that are important and involve public safety even though they're not employed by police or fire departments. One such position is MVD Hearing Officer.

These MVD judges review the case against the accused drunk driver and determine whether or not they will be allowed to keep their driver's license. Hearings must be held within 90 days or the driver gets to keep their license. Of course if the drive is found guilty, the criminal court may revoke their license regardless of the determination (or lack thereof) of the MVD hearing officer.

The problem is that MVD hearing officers are overworked (and our Eyes tell us underpaid) as it is. There are 11 of them for the entire state and they struggle to keep up with the caseload in the best of times. Now they will be forced to take unpaid leave 5 times before the end of the state's fiscal year at the end of June.

The move makes about as much sense as furloughing firemen or police officers. If MVD hearing officers cannot hear an accused driver's case in the allotted time, they could be sending a driver with a serious problem back out on the street to be picked up again or much worse.

Richardson and his merry band of Democrats are using every trick in the book to attempt to cover a deficit created by their own out-of-control spending. They're even looking at borrowing the money!

The truth is the Governor and the Legislature need a 12 step program for themselves. The first step is to admit you've got a problem. The second step is to identify the root cause and change the behavior. Richardson and his cohorts won't admit they've got a problem much less make an effort to fix the problem and in the case of the MVD hearing office - they're actually putting the public in danger.

Jan 21, 2010


No... It's not the result of some particularly spicy food - it's an accurate description of APD's attempt to go paperless. Copperfire is a computer based report generation system acquired by APD as a companion to their Computer Aided Dispatch system Tiburon implemented almost two years ago. If you'll remember, Tiburon's implementation went shall we say... less than smoothly mainly because APD's IT geniuses failed to read the specs.

In any case, Copperfire is designed to streamline police reports by allowing officers to create electronic reports in the field, no pens, no paper, no problem. Not quite.

Since its implementation last year the system has been nothing but trouble for officers and supervisors. Report approval has become cumbersome, both reports and evidence are being lost in the system and the records department is some 22,000 entries behind.

The problem is that if APD can't match reports with evidence like DWI breath cards and witness statements cases are simply dismissed.

Paperless reporting isn't a bad idea but like implementing any new technology it's important for the implementers to fully understand the requirements of the new technology. Tiburon's CAD system's implementation was a disaster because APD didn't have the required bandwidth. With Copperfire our Eyes tell us that the records department doesn't have the necessary staff and data entry takes 10 times as long as the previous system. In addition to all the other problems, our Eyes tell us that 229 reports have simply disappeared.

Look... Technology is a wonderful thing, but if poorly implemented it can cause more problems than it solves. It appears that is the case with Copperfire, a system our Eyes tell us is no longer sold by Tiburon and has apparently earned its new nickname - Crapperfire.

Jan 20, 2010

Secret Election

Do you have your calendars circled, marked, highlighted, or penciled in for February 2, 2010? No, I am not talking about American Idol (plus, who cares now Simon is leaving and Paula is gone) or your favorite television program. On Feb. 2, APS is asking you to vote yes on $617 million dollars for construction, improvement and maintenance projects at APS facilities. Wonder why they picked a date in the middle of winter, when no one is watching and while the legislature is still in session. Could it be they don’t want you to know?

APS really wants this money. They want it so bad that they have made sure the deck comes up with a winning hand. Early voting started Jan. 8 and runs through Jan. 30. Election day is Feb. 2, 2010. If you're going to vote early you'll be voting at one of only four locations in the entire county.

1. Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex, 620 Lomas
2. Alamosa Community Center, 6900 Gonzales Rd SW
3. Don Newton Community Center, 4900 Kachina St NW
4. APS City Centre, 6400 Uptown Blvd NE

Did you ever play the game “one of these things is not like the other?” Why did the County Clerk put one of four early sites in the very building whose occupants directly benefit from the passage of the bonds? The might as well have setup early voting locations in every classroom, Union Hall, and PTA meeting? Heck, with the date of the election, consolidated voting locations, and with a convenient location that makes sure that every beneficiary has an opportunity to vote, APS might want to go ahead and start spending our money.

The Scott Heard Around the World

Massachusetts has a new Senator. Republican Scott Brown - as recently as 9 days ago left for dead by the media and the Democratic party - has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes to claim the U.S. Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. So what does that mean to people like us who live in the desert?

First and perhaps most importantly, it means that the Tea Party movement has become a real political force in American politics. Without the burden of party politics, Tea Party Patrons have embraced the concepts of freedom and the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution and set it above petty desires and assumed entitlements. Their fundamental belief in the original role of government motivated independents to vote not for the big government, big spending, big borrowing, big promising ultra-liberals that have usurped the Democratic party. But rather, a candidate who drove a truck and promised not to vote for the healthcare entitlement designed to make slaves of individuals while promising them eternal life... or at least eternal health.

For Democrats, it means that if they are to retain power they must move away from the uber-liberals who would drum conservative Democrats out of the party. It means that there's a distinct difference between classic liberalism and the socialism that the party has embraced. Most importantly, it means that Democrats need to understand that those who pay the bills have awakened to the reality that they're the ones paying for the out-of-control spending that has become the hallmark of the Democratic party.

For Republicans, the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts means that this country is fundamentally a center-right nation with a core that demands fiscal responsibility. It's a truth that Republicans had somehow forgotten since Regan and one that took Tea Party intervention to recall.

Like that fateful day in April of 1775, January 19th, 2010 marks a turning point in American history. It very well may be the day that marks the beginning of a return to individualism and self-responsibility outside of the demands and the burdens of big government. It very well may be the Scott heard around the world... or at least loud and clear in Washington.

Jan 19, 2010

About Today...

Do you know what today is? The first day all state legislators get together to find a way to cover a five hundred million dollar budget shortfall. Let’s be honest we don’t need the newspapers or the television to tell us how bad things are for a lot of people, we can see with our own eyes and by talking with our family and friends that things are real bad.

At home when the money is not coming in what do most people do? Cut out the items we could do without. What do our elected officials do in Santa Fe? They do the opposite and raise taxes on everything they can think of.

Elected officials, always say the same things when I point this out to them.
  1. No one ever contacts me and tells me not to raise taxes.
  2. What is a few more cents on the dollar?
  3. We can’t cut anything because I want to get re-elected.
Do any of those reasons make sense to you or would you run your household like this?

The major problem the Republican Party has in Santa Fe is they all do their own thing. If ONE Republican votes for ANY tax or fee increase Democrats put out a press release claiming that their effort to raise taxes was bi-partisan.

We cannot allow this to happen again. Republican legislators need to stick together and pledge not to make our lives more expensive at a time when our incomes are already threatened. Contact your elected officials and tell them if they vote for any TAX or FEE increase we will find their replacement this year. Things will never change if you don’t or won’t make a stand for what you believe.

----- Republican Legislators -----

House of Representatives

RepresentativeThomas A. Anderson - (R) e-mail
Representative Donald E. Bratton - (R) e-mail
Representative Janice E. Arnold-Jones - (R) e-mail
Representative Paul C. Bandy - (R) e-mail
Representative Zachary J. Cook - (R) e-mail
Representative Anna M. Crook - (R) e-mail
Representative Nora Espinoza - (R) e-mail
Representative Candy Spence Ezzell - (R) e-mail
Representative Keith J. Gardner - (R) e-mail
Representative William J. Gray - (R) e-mail
Representative Jimmie C. Hall - (R) e-mail
Representative Dianne Miller Hamilton - (R) e-mail
Representative Dennis J. Kintigh - (R) e-mail
Representative Larry A. Larrañaga - (R) e-mail
Representative Kathy A. McCoy - (R) e-mail
Representative Jane E. Powdrell-Culbert - (R) e-mail
Representative William "Bill" R. Rehm - (R) e-mail
Representative Dennis J. Roch - (R) e-mail
Representative James R.J. Strickler - (R) e-mail
Representative Thomas C. Taylor - (R) e-mail
Representative Don L. Tripp - (R) e-mail
Representative Shirley A. Tyler - (R) e-mail
Representative Gloria C. Vaughn - (R) e-mail NONE
Representative Jeannette O. Wallace - (R) e-mail
Representative James P. White - (R) e-mail

State Senate
Senator Rod Adair - (R) e-mail
Senator Vernon D. Asbill - (R) e-mail
Senator Sue Wilson Beffort - (R) e-mail
Senator Mark Boitano - (R) e-mail
Senator Kent L. Cravens - (R) e-mail
Senator Dianna J. Duran - (R) e-mail
Senator Clinton D. Harden - (R) e-mail
Senator Stuart Ingle - (R) e-mail
Senator Gay G. Kernan - (R) e-mail
Senator Carroll H. Leavell - (R) e-mail
Senator Steven P. Neville - (R) e-mail
Senator William H. Payne - (R) e-mail
Senator Sander Rue - (R) e-mail
Senator John C. Ryan - (R) e-mail
Senator William E. Sharer - (R) e-mail

Welcome Hawthorne

In our never ending quest to bring you more information from behind the veil, one of our Eyes is going to become one of our contributors. We're excited about our new contributor and it should allow us to ferret out even more of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ridiculous.

Welcome Hawthorne!

A Vote for Freedom

Massachusetts has become the front line in a battle being waged for liberty. As few as nine days ago the Boston Globe had Republican Scott Brown trailing Democrat Martha Coakley by 15 points. Many believed that the battle had been lost and that Obama's tyrannical agenda would be confirmed.

Since the 10th of January the tide has turned and the polls have followed as Massachusetts patriots once again defend freedom and liberty. Will it be in time? Will it be enough? We find out today.

Jan 18, 2010

Coattails Count

If the politics of 2009 taught us anything, it should be that the people with whom a candidate associates are important. On a national level, we have a tax cheat in charge of the treasury and Green Jobs Czar Van Jones was forced to resign over a bevy of radical revelations. A candidate's coattails give authority to a variety of non-elected officials whose decisions have direct impact on our lives—people we may not have elected if we had the choice. We typically vote on the candidate's charisma and qualifications without thinking about the impact of his or her "friends."

In New Mexico, in 2003 Governor Richardson appointed Joanna Prukop as the Secretary over the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. With a bachelor's and master's degree in wildlife biology and 26 years in the Department of Game and Fish, she was given the authority over New Mexico's oil, gas, and mining industry—our primary economic engine. As her detrimental policies have been implemented, the oil and gas industry has nearly stalled out. Many companies have pulled out and the locals are now drilling out of state—with one specifically telling me that it is easier for them to drill in California than here at home.

As New Mexico's budget is running on empty, despite the fact that it formerly had a surplus when other states were in trouble, our citizens are taking a closer look at the policies that got us into this predicament. The poking around points back to Prukop and her personal project "the Pit Rule." Recently, in the Albuquerque Journal, she tried to deflect the blame for the state's economic woes toward declining global oil and gas prices—which in fact deserves some blame. However, the fact that companies find California a friendlier environment for business cannot be due just to temporarily lower prices.

I don't blame her for wanting to defend herself. We all want to end life with a favorable legacy. No, her life is not over, but her life in New Mexico government is. With the end of 2009 came the end of her tenure in Richardson's cabinet. Those frightened by proposed cuts in services or afraid of cuts to school budgets plus everyone in New Mexico who wishes for our state to climb up from the ladder's bottom rung, may cheer with the thought of new leadership. Not!

The new Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources is again appointed by our Governor. The pick is no better, and may be worse. At least Prukop has a science background, albeit wildlife biology.

The new Secretary is Ron Goldstein. I hear he is a pleasant fellow and I don't intend to personally denigrate him, but he has no business being in charge of the state's extractive industries. He has no science or energy background. His education is in history. Prior to coming to New Mexico, he has been in journalism. Appropriately, there are many quotes from him in New Mexico's newspapers. Sadly, many of them are anti-energy—specifically anti-nuclear energy. (This, in a state that has an abundance of uranium, a uranium enrichment facility and a world-class nuclear waste site. We are only missing a nuclear power plant.)

Again, this is not to fault Goldstein. He has had a nice climb up the ranks of government employment—especially for someone so young. But the person in charge of our energy development should be someone who understands energy—or at least economics. Not a journalist with a degree in history! Before Goldstein can fully take charge, he must be nominated and confirmed by the senate in the upcoming legislative session. Contact the State Senators and tell them that you want someone in charge of the state's economic engine who understands energy, its role in the state’s budget, and its overall importance to the citizens New Mexico. Ask him that they vote against Goldstein’s confirmation.

Better yet, insist on a restructuring of the department—back to its pre 1987 state. Does it make sense to have the same person in charge of the parks and oil wells? We need someone in charge of energy who can focus on energy, not someone whose achievement after 7 years of service is "protecting critical wildlife habitats" and "conserving natural lands!" While the change is unlikely to take place in the waning days of the Richardson leadership, we can plant the idea and expect it from the new governor—whoever he or she may be.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit organization that offers facts on America’s energy options so citizens are educated on the energy reality and can make decisions accordingly. She can be reached at or

Jan 13, 2010

Gone are the Days of Diego

The Days of special treatment are over for Firefighter 1st Class Diego Arencón. Tuesday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Arencón - the IAFF Local 244 Union President - was instructed to report to Fire Chief Breen for assignment. Until Monday, Arencón was pulling down the tidy sum of around $90,000 (read our take here). Not too surprisingly, the suddenly poorer Arencón wasn't happy about the new arrangement.
The union negotiated for the president's salary when it reached a contract agreement with the city in 2008, and the city should honor it, Arencón said. The salary agreement is separate from the main union contract.

Arencón said firefighters "absolutely" will consider going to court to enforce the salary agreement. Refusing to honor it will cost the city legal fees, even though mayoral executives know "full well that their accusations aren't justified."
But don't worry, back in December the members of IAFF 244 re-elected Diego to another term which means so he's still got access to the union credit card to pay for his coffee and trips to the local watering holes (read it here). What will be more interesting is whether or not the union membership will agree to pay for a lawsuit for the express purpose of getting Diego Commander's pay and out of having to do fight any fires.

The side agreement entered into by former Mayor and Not-So-Might Alcalde Martin Chavez was determined to be illegal by attorney and current CAO David Campbell.
In a memo to Arencón, Campbell said the salary agreement:

• Violates the anti-donation clause of the state constitution, which bars the city from providing a gift or aid to someone.

• Might violate state law making it a felony to use or accept public money for "services not rendered."

• Wasn't properly ratified.

• Violates the city's "Merit System Ordinance," which calls for employees to be paid according to a classification plan.

What we're wondering is how Campbell - an attorney - can determine that Arencón's little side deal with Marty is illegal when he's got an even bigger fish - Ed Adams - making a lot more over in Municipal Development.
An agreement signed in 2006, when Martin Chávez was mayor, says Adams can keep his $147,000 annual salary even if he's moved into a lower-level job.

That's where the 2006 memo comes in. Bruce Perlman, Chávez's chief administrative officer at the time, signed a memorandum telling Adams his "rate of pay will be maintained" if he ever returned to a regular city job.
The legal arguments used by CAO David Campbell in the Arencón case look strikingly similar to the ones made by policy analyst and attorney Bruce Thompson on behalf of city council despite the opinion of one of Marty's Minions - City Attorney Bob White - that the Adams' deal "does contain the essential elements of an enforceable employment contract" (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
Thompson's eight-page opinion outlines some potential problems with [former CAO under Marty] Perlman's action:

• It probably violates the city's Merit System Ordinance for employees, which says regular "classified" employees should be paid according to a plan based on their rank and classification. It's not clear that a CAO can "ignore the MSO by issuing an administrative instruction" on someone's salary.

•An administrative instruction that apparently gave Perlman the right to determine Adams' salary came from Perlman himself and may not be valid. In any case, it's not clear whether Perlman complied with it.

• The Adams' salary agreement could be considered a "professional services" contract that requires City Council approval.

• The Adams' salary agreement may violate the anti-donation clause of the state constitution, which prohibits the city government from making gifts. Adams' salary guarantee could violate that clause if it's intended to reward him for past work, and not compensation for future services.

Then there's Lawrence Torres who slipped in and out of APD and like a thief in the night stole a 20 year retirement and two months worth of an $80,000 a year salary from the department aided abetted by Ed Adams who signed a similar "agreement" with Torres.

Look... If Arencóns dirty deal with Marty is illegal then so too is Adams' deal signed by Perlman. If Adams' deal with Perlman is illegal then so is Torres' deal with Adams and for all of the same reasons.

Paying Firefighter Diego Arenón the same as other firefighters and requiring him to well, fight fires is a good start. But while the Days of Diego may be over, those benefiting from dirty side deals with the devil, uh... Marty are still in play and we're paying for them.

Jan 11, 2010

Looking in the Wrong Places

The Berry Administration has decided to study whether or not the Redflex Scam-eras are having a positive impact (forgive the pun) on public safety.
[T]he city is asking the University of New Mexico's Institute for Social Research to study whether Albuquerque's streets have become safer in the five-plus years since cameras began snapping pictures of speeders and red light runners.

That's the key to the program's future, according to the mayor's office.

The revenue "is something the study will look at, but the mayor has always said the red light camera program has to be about public safety," said T.J. Wilham, Albuquerque's public safety spokesman.
We've been told repeatedly by the Chavez Administration and their Chief of Police Ray Schultz that the Scam-eras are for public safety and more importantly that they change behavior. If Albuquerque Scam-eras really changed driver behavior, wouldn't the revenue generated by the program decrease?

During the first 18 months of the program the city's cash cameras clicked off 80,000 $100 citations (USA Today) that's roughly $5.3 MILLION a year. According to the Journal, last year the Albuquerque program took in some $8.6 MILLION despite the state's cap on fines ($75) - an increase of roughly $3.3 MILLION. The only difference between then and now is who gets the money.

If program revenues are increasing then it follows that driver behavior isn't changing at all. If drivers continue to behave as they always have, no one is safer no matter what the crash statistics are.
APD has claimed a 30 percent to 40 percent decrease in crashes at red-light camera intersections in 2006.

But according to data obtained from APD by the state Public Regulation Commission, accidents near some of these intersections have actually increased.
So... to sum up. Back in 2007 Scam-eras were raking in roughly $5.3 MILLION a year and the PRC found that APD had lie... uh, exaggerated the effectiveness of the system when in fact some of the accident data indicated an increase in the number of accidents. Fast forward to 2009 when the scam bagged $8.6 MILLION (sending half to the state and half to Redflex) roughly $3.3 MILLION a year more than it did initially. Safer? Hardly.

But all of these statistics miss the most important point. The Scam-era program deprives the accused with the ability to present even the most basic defense. In other words, the accused are denied their due process rights.

The accused are not immediately notified of the alleged infraction, they are deprived of the ability to gather their own evidence, and are forced to rely on the state's evidence for their defense. In other words, guilty until proven innocent and the proof comes from the state.

In the final analysis, it doesn't matter what the UNM study says because they're looking in the wrong place. Citizens are guaranteed due process rights by the U.S. Constitution. Redflex and their partner governments including the City of Albuquerque are blatantly denying citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. No study will change that fact. No study can change that fact.