Friday, September 19, 2014

There is Life After APD!

Just north of Travis County and the city of Austin, Texas, is Williamson County, where the city of Round Rock is located.
In March 2014, Round Rock Police department hired a new chief, Allen Banks.
Banks, as deputy chief, had been interim chief here in Albuquerque following Chief Raymond Schultz’ retirement.
On a recent road trip with my buddy Rocky Nogales, to attend a wedding of his sister, we ran into Banks as he filled his SUV at a local gas station.

Click on badge and see the center showing a cowboy, cattle, and the round rock.
Nogales and I had planned on tracking down Banks to see how his new world was treating him, but instead, he rolled up on where we were.
Banks is doing fine. He commands a 155-officer department. 
While talking with us, the wife of an officer came over to shake the chief’s hand and to introduce herself to him, commenting, she and her husband were very pleased at how he was directing the department.
Motorcycle Officer Jesse Rodriguez, whom we had seen running radar earlier, pulled in to get gas. I noticed his name was on the lower fairing and asked Banks about it.
The name of every officer is on their marked take-home vehicles, Banks said. It is part of his community policing effort, and he says it has been well received.
I approached Rodriguez, introducing myself as having worked with Banks in Albuquerque.
Rodriguez approached Banks, shook his hand, and joined our conversation.
These two contacts seemed truly sincere.
Later in the day I went to the font of all truth in a community – the barbershop to get a shave.
The barber, sporting tattoos, admitted to knowing members of the Banditos motorcycle club. He also said he had several clients who were Round Rock police officers.
The man slinging the razor reported, every officer told him they were impressed with Banks and believed they were on the right path.
Banks may have wanted to lead APD, but it is apparent that he has found a new, welcoming home, with good workers, and community support.
Banks said his family was pleased with the move, his in-laws having moved into the area a few years back. He was wearing his long-sleeved dress uniform as he was on his way to watch his sister present her dissertation for a PhD.. in nursing management from the University of Texas at Austin's School of Nursing Doctoral program.
My Take

Banks made a very good move, for several reasons:
He is unburdened by the problems of the Albuquerque Police Department, some of which he had occurred under his watch.
APD’s problems are bigger than a single change in rank from the inside could overcome. This is evidenced by the continued and increasing issues since Bank’s departure.

Financially, he is pulling down a very good retirement through the State of New Mexico’s system and is now receiving a good salary in a healthy economy,

What he could not accomplish at Albuquerque Police Department, the community of Round Rock is now going to enjoy.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The War is Over

One hundred years ago yesterday the Colorado Coalfield War ended.
Where the war ended, another prickly battle began for workers rights.

Some sixty-six people were killed.
Coal miners in southern Colorado along the Rocky Mountains Front Range between Trinidad and Pueblo, struck against several John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s, Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. coalmines, in September 1913, in an effort to join the United Mine Workers
of America.

Several tent colonies were set up, because strikers were thrown out of the company town.
On April 20, 1914, Easter Sunday. 20 people were killed at Ludlow, Colo. by the Colorado National Guard and embedded private detectives hired by Rockefeller to break the strike. Of the 20 killed, 11 were children and two were women; family members’ of strikers died in a pit dug under a tent, to protect them from gunfire, when the tent was torched.
The site has been enshrined and is known as the “Death Pit.’”

The numbers killed that day vary, even within the United Mine Workers of America.

One by-passer was killed.

Three National Guard and private detectives were also killed.

When word spread to other tent colonies and gun battles raged for ten days.

Federal troops were sent to separate the warring factions.
The strike was broken, but the deadly events became the catalyst for unionism to take hold in America.

It was the practice of the day, of large corporations in providing everything for the workers from: housing, schools, to groceries, to libraries, (containing censored books), to everything they might need through a company store, and even ministers.

However, everything provided was just slightly overpriced, requiring the workers to establish credit, which hooked and trapped the workers in an indebted servitude. Workers were prohibited from acquiring goods from any other source.

An economic concept that some argue continues to exist to this day.

Coal mining was dangerous work and nearly 200 miners through out the country were killed each year.

The number one issue for workers was safety.

The strike failed but a number of things changed with numerous after-effects that have had an impact on our society in many ways, some subtle and others more obvious:

John D. Rockefeller Jr. was called before congress and hit hard in the day’s media.

Rockefeller set up company unions. They could not bargain, but workers were able to meet and talk to mine operator to express their concerns and grievances.

The damaging publicity was so bad Rockefeller hired a public relations firm, Ivy Lee, and created a new field of industrial public relations, which is with us today.

Note the advertising on network newscasts and in particular, Sunday morning talk shows where such industrial giants as Exxon/Mobile, a direct spinoff of Rockefeller Sr's Standard Oil and the third largest company by revenue in the world, MonsantoArcher Midland Daniels, and others.

Lee would claim an overturned stove, not the fires started by the National Guard, caused the deaths in the pit.

Upton Sinclair would call Lee, “Poison Ivy.”

In the early 1930s Lee consulted with a German company, I.G. Farben Industrie and would be accused of having Nazi sympathies, he was brought before Congress, but he died before the question was resolved.

Union activist Mother Jones gained more notoriety
The Colorado miners would join the UMWA, which put up this monument.
Ludlow, Colorado Cola Miners Strikers’ Massacre Centennial was Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014.
Today there are only two coalmines in Colorado and none on the front range, yet there is a manufacturing of other competing sources of energy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Shirley Temple-Black 1928-2014

Child movie star Shirley Temple died of natural causes February 10, 2014, at home in Woodside, Calif., near San Francisco.
She was 85.
Shirley Temple-Black, the United States Protocol Officer to the Social, Humanitarian and Political Committees at the U.N., arrives prior to President Richard Nixon's arrival to speak before the General Assembly in New York City, on September 18, 1969.

She would later serve as U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

If You Don’t Like the Weather in New Mexico; Just Wait, It’ll Change!

What’s Wrong With This Picture?
In a matter of a few days one couldn’t tell what season it is.
Saturday, December 21, 2013, began the Northern Hemisphere’s astronomical winter.
Is it winter? It seemed to be a couple of weeks ago,
Then it looked and felt like fall again.
And this weekend, eight weeks into winter, with a record high temperature of 71°, for the date, green is sprouting on the bush in my front yard. It is green a month earlier than last year.
Surely winter has not gone away, it has just relinquished its hold here and given the East-coast the honor of a good blast.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Don’t Pay the Ransom, I’ve Escaped!


What’s Wrong With This Picture?
It’s the punch-line of an old joke about the bar flies wondering aloud what excuse they’ll use for being out late and drunk; one says, I’ll just call my wife and tell her....
I haven’t been hanging around bars, but I have been working on a number of large time-consuming projects, which are coming to a head and I can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
The projects are not going away, but there might be a little break where I can get a post or two up.
So, to my readers and followers who have been patiently waited and for those who have not been so patient, don't give up or pay the ransom, I do have several stories in various stages of completion that I should be able to get up.
I’ve also been out in the wilderness staring down wild beasts to bring you hair-raising tales.
OK! It’s a coyote in the high regions of Yosemite National Park scrounging for food from any passing motorist who would slow down to take a look.
Yogi Bear over in Jellystone Park with Ranger Smith has nothing on this critter, but it didn’t score anything from a “picanic basket” either.
I have a road trip story, from whence this picture came.
A short planned seven-day trip to California, to see a nephew-godson get married and to visit my mother in the Sacramento area.
Follow my misadventures as a broken differential and a nationwide search for the right part extends my stay.
I have a photographic review of former Governor David Cargo upon his recent passing.
Those big projects have stories behind them also and we still have things to talk about over what is happening with government and how they don’t deal with aspects of the press they refuse to even acknowledge.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Fourth of July and Remember the 150th Anniversary of the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg


As I have done before, don’t’ forget in the midst of the: hotdogs, beer, flag flying, baseball playing or watching, ice cream, and apple pie, to take a few moments to read the master essay of the Committee of Five, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Sherman, and Robert Livingston – The Declaration of Independence – wrote such a fine love letter to King George III.
The third and decisive day in the Battle of Gettysburg happened 150 years ago today.
It was arguably the turning point against the Confederacy; as not only was General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia repulsed, but Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee completed the siege and battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi on the same day, which gave control of the Mississippi river to the Union and effectively ended the war in the west.
Though it wasn’t delivered until November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, considered to be some of the best prose ever delivered is worth also reading today.
I will spare you having to link to it and let you read it here:
Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled her have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.
That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.
That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.
And that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln
Pause and reflect on these documents and please consider what they mean as a reflection of our country today.
Now go take in one of the local fireworks displays.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Blank Space is Not a Memorial!



What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Better yet, what is this picture?

This is the north wall of a room in the Albuquerque Publishing Company headquarters.
 

It is the Ray Cary Auditorium.
Who was Ray Cary and why was the auditorium named for him?
Cary was an Albuquerque Journal photographer for many years.

You have met him here, and on the Blue Flyer; here Cary, center, is at a June 5, 1969, impromptu press conference with land grant activist Reies Lopez Tijerina, left during a convention that would end with the burning of U.S. Forest Service signs. Tijerina and his wife were arrested and convicted. He was sentenced to ten-years along with another conviction, yet spent a little over two-years in custody.

So What’s Wrong With This Picture?
I had heard about the room, but had never seen it. I had the opportunity to attend a day-long event in the auditorium last week. I was greatly disappointed. Though it is a state of the art presentation hall, with all the electronic bells and whistles, it was lacking.

The walls are bare. How could a room named in honor of a Journal photographer not have a single picture taken by him or of him to demonstrate why he is recognized?
Cary and I were not the best of buddies, but we were peers, contemporaries, and fierce competitors when it came news photography contests.
What may have been his most famous pictures were taken after the courthouse raid and appeared in a book by Peter Nabokov, “Tijerina and the Courthouse Raid.” 

The Smithsonian Institution has photographs in their museum of his coverage following the June 5, 1967, Rio Arriba County courthouse raid at Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico.

It is unfortunate that Journal Editor Kent Walz and Albuquerque Publishing Company Owner and Journal Publisher, Tom Lang, purportedly his friend, don’t go through the morgue and select eight or ten of Cary’s best work, print them, frame them, and hang them in the room.

It’s the least they could do as a real honor.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

How to Win a Baseball Game


What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Take a beautiful Albuquerque evening, at Isotopes Park, let the winds calm down, play back and forth ball, get to the end the ninth inning tied 4-4 with the Memphis Redbirds.
After enjoying the between innings promotional events 
and the antics of the huggable Orbit, winner of best mascot in all of Minor League baseball contest.
Hang out in the dugout with Tony Gwynn eating sunflower seeds and analyzing the game on an off night.
Get the Birds out in the top of the tenth inning on the relief pitching of Australian native Peter Moylan, who pitched two no-hit innings.
Bring to bat Isotopes First Baseman Scott Van Slyke, let him get on base, this time by way of a walk.
Earlier in the game Van Slyke was face down in the mud, hit in the left hand by a pitched ball.
Catcher Tim Federowicz, who had already hit two doubles, scoring two runs, takes a pitch and with a mighty swing places it in the Redbirds bullpen.
The Isotopes bench gathers around Home Plate to greet Van Slyke and Federowicz.
Final score 6-4.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It’s Green!


Here are some sure signs of Spring.
The foliage is showing early signs of the changing season, (don’t worry, this is New Mexico, there is cold still left in the calendar).
With a reported high temperature of 73 degrees, Saturday March 15, these men got out the motorcycles to go to lunch and a shirtsleeve ride.
It also must be March as 15th ranked University of New Mexico Lobos won the Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament, in Las Vegas, Nv, by  defeating University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rebels 63 – 56, clinching a spot in the NCAA first round of 68.
This picture, taken February 2, 2013, at the only game I attended, shows the Lobos on a breakaway after a steal against the University of Nevada Wolf Pack; UNM 75 – Nevada 62.
The 2013 New Mexico Legislature (Senate) slogged through another 60-day session which ended at noon, March 16, without any earth-shattering results.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Face-Off


What’s Wrong With This Picture?
In the most anticipated Senate confirmation hearing of Governor Susana Martinez’s administration, that of Secretary of Public Education, will take place today in what is expected to be a contentious political battle.
Senate Rules Committee Chair Sen, Linda M. Lopez – D Bernalillo County, left, has delayed a conformation hearing into the third Legislative session.
New Mexico Department of Public Education Secretary Designate Hanna Skandera, right, has been serving in the position since January 1, 2011. She is paid the same as if she were the confirmed Secretary and acts with full authority.

What seems at issue is based on the Constitutional requirements that the secretary of public education, “is a qualified, experienced educator.”
New Mexico Constitution
Sec. 6. [Public education department; public education commission.]
A.        There is hereby created a “public education department” and a “public education commission” that shall have such powers and duties as provided by law.  The department shall be a cabinet department headed by a secretary of public education who is a qualified, experienced educator who shall be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.
What seems at issue is based on the Constitutional requirements that the secretary of public education, “is a qualified, experienced educator.”
According to her resume she has a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Sonoma State University and a Master’s of Public Policy, specializing in American Politics and International Relations from Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy.
The Martinez administration citing Skandara's resume, takes the position her vast experience as a high level as a senior policy advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Education, as Florida’s Deputy Commissioner of Education, California’s Undersecretary for Education, and having taught Education Policy at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy substitutes for “qualified, experienced educator”.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Sen. Stuart Ingle – R Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Lea, and Roosevelt Counties, right, and as senior Republican member of the Rules Committee will introduce Skandera. The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. – Room 321, State Capitol.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fabian Chavez, Jr. 1924 – 2013


Former State Senator Fabian Chavez, Jr. died Sunday January 20, 2013.
He was 88.
He served in the legislature from 1951 into the late 60s. He left the State Senate as Majority Leader in 1968.
Chavez was the 1968 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, but lost to David Cargo by a narrow margin.
I first photographed him while I was in High School and he gave his stump speech, Cargo also spoke a different day.
I covered Democratic Party Candidate for Vice President, Maine Senator Ed Muskie’s airport campaign stop at the Albuquerque International Sunport, October 5, 1968. Muskie sat on the platform with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fabian Chavez.
Chavez ran for Congress against first-term Rep. Manuel Lujan Jr. in 1970.
In the top photo, Chavez is giving his stump speech during his run for the U.S. House of Representatives to the Albuquerque Press Club.
He lost to Lujan 59 – 41.
I’ll leave the political details to the Capitol Reporters in Santa Fe, the New Mexican’s Steve Terrell, Tom Sharpe, New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan, and Capitol Report New Mexico’s Rob Nikolewski.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Apologies to Only One



What's Wrong With This Picture?

I don't make endorsements, however, I will call out those candidates who have histories of questionable or outright bad governmental conduct or improper ethical behavior. Those who claim to be above their actual performance on issues critical to this blog's purpose.
My regular readers are well aware of my association with the Saturday morning discussion group.
On January 5, 2013, Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Member, District 6 David Robbins, below left, attended as a candidate for reelection.
A member of the group, David Walker, above far right, had the floor and was speaking about the behavior of the school board towards citizens who want to communicate with the board.
Walker, a retired Federal Magistrate in Alaska and a former aid for the Virginia legislature in Richmond is acutely aware of the manner that the school board goes about, not only ignoring their constituents, but also suppressing public comments, and any coverage that they determine to be against their self interest.
Walker was recounting how the board had gone about ejecting people for the offense of attempting to speak or petition the board to be heard.
He pointed out that the board and administration were using "banning letters" to keep those deemed nuisances from, not only attending school board functions, but also from entering school property in a manner that he says is unconstitutional because of its lack of any due process.
Walker further went on to say that board members had stood by silently while the supernatant had ordered his police officers to physically eject people, including several in the room, who had stood silently holding signs asking for recognition of their request to communicate.
Walker pointed out that he had been one of those thrown out of a communities goals meeting while at least three board members stood by silently.
He spoke about how the school system was holding public meetings on how to deal with bullying in schools, yet the leadership was practicing, just such unacceptable behavior themselves.
Robbins was shaking his head in agreement with Walker's condemnation.
James Madison's admonition on the market place of ideas screamed in my head, "more speech, not less speech!"
 Though Robbins had not said a word, he sat demonstrating through his head shaking to those participants of the group that he agreed with Walker's comments of board conduct or lack of denunciation as being a bad thing.
"How dare you, how dare you sir," I called Robbins out for trying to give the impression that he was not one of those board members who remained quiet, during the administrations actions.
Robbins is one of the most flagrant violators in the practice of abusing citizens attending meetings.

It was Robbins who expelled Ched MacQuigg and myself from an August 25, 2010, APS Audit committee of the whole meeting, for my photographing and video recording during a momentary recess while they were going into an executive session and those not privy to the closed session were vacating the room.


My loud verbal comments took the room by surprise.
"So who is the bully now," Robbins stammered.
"Not I," was my reply, " I'm speaking a truth."
The head of the table, co-moderators Frank Ruvilo, Kim Hillard, and former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, called out my name.
I was through.
Some might think I owe an apology for breaking in.
I believe I might owe an apology, but to only one person.
Judge Walker.
I was not trying to be contemptuous, of the man I refer to as "you Honor," for I know he has deserved that respect and has it from me.
I apologize for having interrupted his fine indictment of Robbins.
Robbins would leave the meeting before availing himself of the five-minutes given specifically to any candidate for public office.
This is not the first time Robbins and Walker have crossed wits.
During a regularly scheduled school board meeting's public comment session, on August 10, 2011, Arnold-Jones presented a petition with more than 100 signature requesting a citizens advisory council on communications the administration meet with members of the petitioning group.
Mac Quigg was physically barred from entering by an APS Police officer.
On November 10, 2011, Robbins was a guest speaker at a District 28 Republican Ward meeting of Representative Jimmy Hall, Bernalillo County.
A question was asked as to why the petition request was answered with only a "thank you" note from then Board President Paula Maes, but no effort was made on behalf of the board to acknowledge receipt of the documents or to take up the issue.
Robbins pleaded ignorant of knowing anything about the petition, though he was present when Janice Arnold-Jones delivered it to the board.
Walker cross-examined Robbins so skillfully that Robbins seemed not to have noticed that his throat was slit so cleanly his head would fall off only if he were asked if he was feeling OK and shook it in agreement.
Robbins unknowingly admitted to totally failing to know or follow the board's own policies.
With further pressure being applied to APS, the board agreed to hear from the petitioners on the request to establish a citizens advisory council on communications.

 

Several petitioners gathered on March 23, 2011, to plan on how to best make the case for the board to accept and meet with the committee.
On March 24, 2011,during the Saturday morning meeting a break-out group gathered to discuss final preparations for the upcoming APS committee meeting.
 

Walker, second from left above, was one of four petitioners, along with Galen Smith, far left, Kim Hillard, far right, and Charlie Countee were scheduled to speak at the upcoming committee meeting
On the March 27, 2011 agenda of the District and Community Relations Committee, where the entire board participated as a committee of the whole, was an item, a petition submitted by the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications seeking recognition in establishing two-way communication with the APS administration and board.
Walker, Smith, Hillard, and Countee were the presenters to the committee; Janice Arnold-Jones was invited to join them.
Korte made a statement about why she would oppose the request:
I'm sorry to say, I know that one of your leaders is Ched MacQuigg. I read his blog every now and then. It is the most negative thing I have ever read. So I don't read it, actually. To be honest with you, I don't read it. So I'm suspect of your intentions because I know Ched MacQuigg plays a big Role in this, and he's the most negative person I've ever met in my life.
According to the minutes of the meeting:
Board members felt that APS already has many of these requests in place (Student Service Center, PEAPS, open audit committee meetings, APS website, etc.). Board members felt many people do not utilize the services APS has and does to help engage families and communities.

By November 17, 2011, the board had not taken any action on the request.
APS had held a series of meeting; one in each school board district to gather "Community Input for Goals."
The last of the community input sessions was scheduled at Manzano High School. In addition to Robbins, whose district encompasses Manzano, other board members present were: Kathy Korte, district 2, and David Peercy, district 7.
Fourteen petitioners appeared at the session and six silently raised signs as Robbins began to speak.
APS Superintendent Winston Brooks, below left, told petitioners they would not be allowed to disrupt the meeting with their protest.
It wasn't until Brooks' loud comment, interrupting Robbins, below right, that there was any disruption.
When the petitioners did not lower the placards, Brooks ordered APS Police Chief Steve Tellez to remove them.

Tellez approached Ched MacQuigg and physically removed him by applying an "arm pinch" to induce pain, where there was no resistance.
Tellez returned and removed Walker, above center, who also offered no resistance, but had the pain compliance hold applied beyond the minimum necessary force needed to accomplish the goal.
Other officers removed: Ron Peterson, Charlie Tipton, and Frank Ruvilo, one protester put down her sign and was not removed.
The protestors were allowed to return without their signs.


On January 15, 2013, the Albuquerque Tea Party held its monthly meeting.
The program was an Albuquerque School Board Candidate forum for APS Districts: 3, 5, 6, and 7. The election is February 5, 2013.


Walker, right, was the moderator. There were no sparks, as Robbins, left, was given the same five-minutes each candidate received and was asked the same questions.

At the end of the session, I approached Robbins and invited him to return to the Saturday meeting and he would be given the five-minutes we give every person seeking political office in any race.

He indicated he would not be able to attend this Saturday January 19, but thought he could make the 26th.