Wednesday, March 28, 2007

100th Blog

What's wrong with this picture?

This is the 100th posting on this blogspot. It also happens to be one year old.

A celebration? No.

I thought I might review and look back at what the experiences have been writing a blogspot.

Francisco Roque “Rocky” Nogales has been my friend for over 25-years and my editor for 22-years.

He joined the police department in 1980 and we worked along side each other for several years.

We had similar political philosophies, especially about law enforcement, the Albuquerque Police Department and in particular, officers’ issues of hours, wages, working conditions and safety. He became my campaign manager when I ran for president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association in 1985. Nogales served on the executive board of the APOA and in 1989, he became president for a one-year term.

He was promoted to sergeant and lieutenant before retiring in 2002.

Here he is editing a posting of mine a few months ago while he took a break from work as a GEICO fraud investigator.

I give much of the success of this site, thus far to Nogales. He places commas for me, is my sounding board, grammarian and the one who says, “this is a little confusing.” He keeps me from going too far astray.

This blog started as a requirement for an electronic publishing class I took in the 2006 spring semester through the Communications and Journalism track at the University of New Mexico, taught by Zac Van Note.

I developed a formula for my postings based on how I photograph. I look for the unusual or what is out of place. That which stands in contrast to what is projected or meant to be perceived.

I do not use all of the technology available through the blogosphere. To the contrary, I approach this as a blank sheet of paper that allows me to be an electronic pamphleteer.

I do not use hot links and try to maintain some degree of journalistic professionalism. Though I follow many of the standards of news papering, I am more of a columnist and you will get a face full of opinion after I give you the news or history of an event.

I attempt to give you a perspective beyond just the facts and try to avoid allowing spin masters to distort the meat of an issue. I avoid being constrained by the journalistic rules under the guise of fairness that calls for offering an opportunity to respond to a particular issue. Such rules can actually allow for manipulation by public information officers, politicians and those pushing their agendas against facts and realities.

Yes, I have my own agendas, but I try to let you know what they are. They are: the First Amendment, fairness, open government, and due process.

I would like to get both sides of an issue but when confronted by a lack of access or met with spin that avoids the question, I forego the unresponsive answer. I believe, as Linda Elerbee, journalist and author of “And So It Goes: Adventures in television,” who thinks the audience is smart enough to know or figure it out.

By way of example: the City of Albuquerque’s PIO will not return a phone call, the city refuses to respond to requests for inspection of public records. Those city officials who do make comments, sometimes are instructed by department directors not to answer particular questions. There are a number of governmental and political officials at the state and federal levels who also refuse to recognize citizens who are involved in journalistic efforts because they are not the big commercial mainstream media.

Paul Livingston, a lawyer, has had some major influence on this site.

I have known him for about 15 years and we have teamed up on a number of political and social issues in the community.

We approach topics in slightly different ways, but in the collaborative effort, we make a pretty good team.

I met him when he was representing individual city employees and the bus drivers union in labor and personnel issues. We teamed up to oppose the steamroller mentality of the assistant city attorneys and department representatives at labor and personnel board meetings. With my background and experience, Livingston has often used me as a consultant and expert witness on the history of city labor relations.

We have on occasion, recognized events and issues at the same instant, which cried out for public opposition.

Some of the bigger issues have been:
Opposing the closing of public meetings in violation of the state’s open meetings act, involving the police oversight commission.
Seeking to make records public, when the mayor refused to identify the names of applicants for chief of police.
Fighting the lack of due process and jurisdiction in the city’s automated enforcement for red light and photo radar program.
Pursuing the ethical violations of Mayor Martin Chávez’ ABQPAC.
And representing Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap, when the attorney general and county commissioners sought a unilateral injunction to bar her from the continued issuance of gender neutral marriage licenses.

We’ve had some successes and some failures, but we have always been able to bring a different look at public issues.

We occasionally have our differences, but we get past them.

This is City Attorney Bob White, the highest-ranking city official who will openly deal with me, seen here with Livingston at the recent town hall meeting on red light cameras.

Livingston thinks I should chop up my analysis pieces into smaller bytes because I will run out of material to post. However, as long as a person like the mayor is within earshot of an open microphone, I will have an abundant supply of blogging material. The City Council, Albuquerque Public School board and other governmental entities also provide an inexhaustible source of fodder.

Chávez really dislikes me. It goes back a long ways, into his first term when I, along with some other union leaders, mounted a successful effort to defeat a quarter cent “Public Safety” tax. Chávez will not answer my questions.

Chávez is seen here with his PIO Deborah James and Detective Vince Harrison, Mayor's Detail, a plain-clothed police officer, who is assigned as part of his personal security team. Chávez sicced Harrison on me, telling him that I was a “trouble maker.” I got a wink from my former peer.

James, right, consciously turned her back to me at the end of this January 12, 2006, special meeting of the Mid-Region Transit District’s Metropolitan Transportation Board, on widening the Montano bridge. She will not put my name on the list of journalists to be contacted for press conferences or photo opportunities and does not return phone calls or e-mails. They may wonder why I give them no good press coverage. Could it be that they won’t let me cover any?


For the time being, I’ll continue to write and photograph.

I know I have a dedicated audience that doesn’t generate a great deal of comment. I do post commentary, except multi-page missives from political activist pushing their own agendas’ web site.

I want to thank my small, but loyal following. I am always looking for information, leads or problems that might be the spark to another story.

1 comment:

buggs said...

Congrats on the 100th post, I enjoy reading your material. Agree or not agree, it is good to read the issues that go beyond the sanitized news brought to us by the main stream media.

Keep up the keyboard and shutter button clicking away!