Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who Gets to Decide Whom the Media Is? Part Three: August 19. 2010, APS 2010 Gubernatorial Education Debate

What’s Wrong With This Picture?
My blogging colleague, Ched MacQuigg for whom I provide access to my archive, contributed to this post.

Photographic images in this post were taken or generated by MacQuigg up to; the picture of him at the radio station just before, "So What's Wrong With This Picture?".

He used a small video camera, worn around his neck, from which frame grabs were taken and from a still camera for the picture of Monica Armenta with her thumb raised.

The time – date code displayed from this video is not correct.
August 19. 2010

Ched MacQuigg, who blogs as Diogenes' Six, took a different track for attending the APS 2010 Gubernatorial Education Debate.

After being denied his request for credentials on the grounds there was no more room at the Eldorado High School’s performing arts center, MacQuigg sought out an unused ticket. He found one from State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, who got her ticket from APS Director of Government Affairs Joseph Escobedo. Escobedo was a News Reporter and Producer at KOAT-TV Action 7 News before joining APS.

Arnold-Jones gave her ticket to MacQuigg with the specific intent of having him represent her.
As MacQuigg approached the Performing Arts Center at Eldorado he was greeted in the parking lot by Interim APS Police Chief Tellez and APS Police West Side Schools Lt. Karl Overmyer; he started a video recording.
MacQuigg has known Overmyer for years and says they get along fine.

“He has an invite,” Overmyer said.

“Pass,” Tellez asked?

“Pass,” Overmyer said.

“So who told you I wasn’t going to be able to get in,” MacQuigg asked?

“They say you won’t have a press pass,” Overmyer said.

“Who’s they though,” MacQuigg asked? “I’m curious, who’s out doing this shit to me?”

“No, we just want to make sure,” Overmyer said.

“ I understand, I’m not holding you personally responsible,” MacQuigg said. “I want to know who it was? Was it Monica? Or John? Or Rigo?”

“I’m trying to think who it actually walked into the…”, Overmyer said.

“It’s bullshit,” MacQuigg said.

“I don’t think it was Monica,” Overmyer said.

Overmyer spoke but was drowned out by MacQuigg.

“…I can’t remember who was giving the orders,” Overmyer said.

“It’s absolute fucking bullshit,” MacQuigg said.

I haven’t been on your blog in a long time,” Overmyer said.

“You should drop by man, we’re making some progress,” MacQuigg said.

“I used to be on there well, when those guy’s were saying that there was stuff to read on there,” Overmyer said. “I’ve been on vacation for a while.”

“Oh ya, well come on back,” MacQuigg said.

Inaudible by Overmyer.

“Do you have your pass,” an unidentified uniformed APS officer asked?

“Can I see it,” the officer asked? “Can I see it?”

“Well I’d rather hold, keep it in my possession,” MacQuigg said.

“Isn’t it supposed to be different like this one, sir,” the officer asked?

“Excuse me,” MacQuigg asked?

“It’s not a press pass,” Overmyer said.
“No, these are the tickets,” a woman said. “These are the tickets.”

“Well I hadn’t seen one,” the officer said.

“Well OK,” MacQuigg said.

“Well, can I see it,” the officer asked?

“Show him the ticket,” a woman said.

“Yeah, I’m just not letting it out of my hand,” MacQuigg said. “Because I think it’s going to be taken away from me at some point.”

“OK,” a woman said.

“Thank you,” MacQuigg said. “How are you doing?”

MacQuigg was escorted through the building.

“You’re not allowed to come this far,” another unidentified woman said. “No one is, unless they have a staff pass.”

“Well maybe I’m going in the wrong direction,” MacQuigg said. “Where‘s the debate?”

“It starts over there, right,” the woman asked Overmyer? “Where they enter…”

“The auditorium is going to be here, so I think  you’re  going over there,” Overmyer said.

“Ya, you’re going to enter over there,” the woman said.

“Oh, I went the wrong way,” MacQuigg said. “I’m sorry.”

He returned to the lobby with Overmyer where he was met by not less than four more APS police officers: Interim Deputy Chief Steve Gallegos, Officer Jeremy Rohlfs, the unidentified officer and APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.
“Do you have a pass to be in here,” Armenta asked?

“Ya, hang on just one second, let me get this on,” MacQuigg said. “Can you identify yourself, please,” MacQuigg asked Armenta?

She then turned around and walked away, entering the theater. MacQuigg followed.

“Why are you walking away, you’re the one who asked me for a pass,” MacQuigg asked?

He returned to the lobby and Armenta followed him.

“He has a pass,” a man said.

“He has a ticket,” a woman said.
“He has a pass,” an unidentified male voice told Armenta.
“He’s not allowed in yet, general media…,” she told the APS officers.

“Come on out,” Rohlfs said confronting MacQuigg before Armenta finished speaking

Several of the APS officers moved towards MacQuigg, including Steve Gallegos, left, in white shirt, as he backed up towards the doors.

“I’m not the media,” MacQuigg said.

“She said she don’t what you in,” Rohlfs said. ”You got to leave.”

“Look, wait a minute, just a second, hold it,” MacQuigg said. “You don’t take orders from Monica Armenta, she has no authority to give you orders.”

“You know what, the general public is not allowed in yet,” Rohlfs said.

“Nobody told me that,” MacQuigg said. “I showed my pass to everybody on the way; I showed my pass to everybody that asked for it. OK.”

“Well, all right come on outside,” an unidentified male voice said, most likely Lt. Allen Rider.

“Well I showed my pass to everybody that asked for it,” MacQuigg said.

“OK. Well the general public is not allowed in yet,” Rider said.

”Everybody I walked by passed me; I didn’t sneak by anybody,” MacQuigg said.

“OK. Well there are a few things, you know, takes a while to get things straightened out…” Rider said.

“Well, that’s fine, but don’t act like I’m doing something wrong here, OK,” MacQuigg said.

“Well you see your reputation has preceded you,” Rider said.

You pronounce it,” MacQuigg asked?
“Rohlfs; it’s Jeremy,” Rohlfs said.

OK, all right, you want to be on camera; cause your on camera.” MacQuigg said. “I don’t know why you want to be a wise ass about it.“

“Have a nice day sir,” Rohlfs said as he and Rider reentered the building, smiling and laughing.

In a later interview, Rep. Arnold-Jones said, Armenta called her to confirm that she had given her ticket to MacQuigg; which Arnold-Jones told Armenta she had.

Armenta told Arnold-Jones that MacQuigg was dangerous and was stalking her, placing her in fear for her life, and that he was in her office every day. Armneta said she had spent four months preparing for the debate and it was going to be ruined by Ched MacQuigg.

Outside, MacQuigg waited in line; some 20-minutes later Rohlfs came out and told him something.

“One more time for the record,” MacQuigg asked, after he stared his video.
“Per Superintendent Winston Brooks, you will not be allowed into this function,…” Rohlfs said.

“And why is that,” MacQuigg asked?

“Regardless, regardless whether you have a ticket or not,” Rohlfs said.

“And why is that,” MacQuigg asked?

“Simple,” Rohlfs said.

“Well you’re violating my civil rights,” MacQuigg said. “Does that bother you at all?

“No, I’m not violating anybody’s civil rights,” Rohlfs said.

“Oh, yes you are,” MacQuigg said.

“OK, well plain and simple sir,” Rohlfs said. “You’re going to have to leave the property as well. He doesn’t want you on APS property.”

“Oh really, and you’re pretty sure this came from the superintendent,” MacQuigg asked? “There’s no doubt about it,”

“I’m absolutely positive,” Rohlfs said. “No doubt about it,”

“Did you hear it from him yourself,” MacQuigg asked?

“No I didn‘t, I didn‘t have to,” Rohlfs said.

“Who did you hear it from,” MacQuigg asked? “I’d like to speak to Steve Tellez please, would you ask him to come out here,” MacQuigg asked?
"He wants to talk to Chief Tellez,” Rohlfs said to Lt. Overmyer, who was following Rohlfs and APS officer Ray Ruiz.

“I’d like to speak to Steve Tellez please,” MacQuigg asked Overmyer?

“What’s that,” Overmyer asked?

“I’d like to speak to Steve Tellez please,” MacQuigg asked? “I don’t think he’s going to be comfortable with what’s going on here; what his troops are being used to do.”

“OK, I’m telling you…” Overmyer said.

“OK, I’m asking if I can see Steve Tellez,” MacQuigg said?

“No,” Rohlfs said.

“That doesn’t seem like any kind of unreasonable request at all,” MacQuigg said.

“No,” Rohlfs said.

“You’re refusing to let me see your Chief,” MacQuigg asked?

“That’s his point…” Overmyer said. “He’s busy.”

“And why is that,” MacQuigg asked?
“He’s busy,” Overmyer said.

“Can I wait till he’s not busy,” MacQuigg asked?

“Yeah, if you wait in your vehicle,” Overmyer said. “Where are you parked?”

“He needs to leave the property as well,” Rohlfs said.

“Is that according to Superintendent Brooks as well,” MacQuigg asked?

“You need to leave the property as well,” Rohlfs said.

“Well, is that according to Superintendent Brooks as well,” MacQuigg asked?

“No, that’s my order to you,” Rohlfs said. “You need to leave APS property.”

“OK, and who did you get the order from,” MacQuigg asked? “Who told you that Brooks told me I had to go?”

“Sir, you need to go,” Rohlfs said.

“No, now wait a minute, that’s a fair question,” MacQuigg said. “Who told you to tell me that Brooks told me I couldn’t be here?”

“That’s irrelevant at this point,” Rohlfs said.

“No, it is not irrelevant,” MacQuigg said.
“I was given an order and I’m following that order,” Rohlfs said.
During the video, Democratic Party of New Mexico’s Communications Director James Hallinan, escorts New Mexico Independent Editor Gwyneth Doland towards the event.

“By whom,” MacQuigg asked? “Whom were you given the order; are you afraid to tell the truth? Are you ashamed of the truth,” MacQuigg asked? Am I supposed to be following you because you’re walking the wrong direction?”

“Where’s your vehicle,” Overmyer asked?

“Where’s your vehicle,” Rohlfs asked?

“It’s this way,” MacQuigg said. “So, you refuse to tell me who gave you the order?

“I don’t have to tell you that, sir,” Rohlfs said.

“Who are you protecting,” MacQuigg asked? “What do you mean you don’t have to tell me?”

“I don’t have to tell you,” Rohlfs said.

“Ethically,” MacQuigg asked? “Do you have any ethics at all?”

MacQuigg’s video turned off.

MacQuigg called Arnold-Jones to give her an update on what happened at Eldorado High School. He then called me; I suggested he go on the radio and tell what happened.

He went to the studios of 1550 KIVA-AM radio station and sat in on the conversation broadcast of “New Mexico Now with Janice Arnold-Jones,” a two and a half hour (4 pm – 6:30 pm Monday to Friday) afternoon show on a then new statewide radio affiliate network. The program was on air until the end of the year.
MacQuigg, seen here at an earlier broadcast, related his encounter at Eldorado to Arnold-Jones’ radio audience.

When Arnold-Jones received her ticket from APS’ then Government Affairs Liaison Joseph Escobedo, who told her she needed to arrive at 5:45 to enter, which was 45 minutes before her radio show gets off the air.
After Arnold-Jones concluded her show, she went to the debate, arriving late, and heard the last couple of questions. She said there were a number of empty seats in the back right side of the auditorium, maybe up to a dozen. She couldn’t make out how many other seats were vacant towards the front or left side of the room. However, the Denish campaign website posted pictures of the event and it shows several empty seats near the front left side of the room.

Arnold-Jones also noticed there was plenty of room at empty tables along press row for at least six to ten more media locations.

A media attendee told me that a television reporter, by name, was not being credentialed by APS. I don’t have the name of the TV reporter, but I do trust my source.

A columnist for Heath Haussamen’s NMPolitics.net, Michael L. Hays, traveled from Las Cruces claiming he did not know he needed a ticket.

He got into the event and posted a piece, “Denish and Martinez debate education: Both fail.”

After the event, MacQuigg contacted Hays through Haussamen and they communicated. Hays related that, when an APS police officer confronted him at the door he was initially refused entry. He asked to use the restroom and upon returning the officer directed him to the ticket window where he signed for a ticket that had been reserved for someone else who was not coming. Hays said he thought he “had the advantages of being a ‘senior citizen’ and having a ‘sob story.’" Hays promised the officer a letter of commendation for his courtesy and consideration, which he wrote that he sent.

So, What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Lt. Overmyer seemed to follow MacQuigg from his arrival on campus throughout this event; he was always nearby.

There seemed to be some confusion about what form of entry MacQuigg held; Overmyer didn’t help matters from the beginning when he said, “He has an invite.” Tellez asked if it was a pass and Overmyer answered, “pass” rather than a ticket.

It seems that the APS police were on the lookout for MacQuigg and on several occasions they attempted to get their hands on his ticket.

They seemed confused by the fact he had a ticket; it appears they expected him to have somehow scored a media credential. Though he requested a ticket through the Martinez campaign before APS had delivered them, he abandoned any hope of them delivering one to him.

The first e-mail indication to Oren Shur mentioning the APS debate was May 25, 2010. On June 2, after the Republican primary chose Martinez as the GOP nominee, Rigo Chavez invited both candidates to their debate.

Arnold-Jones said in an interview and on her radio show that she would never have given her ticket to someone she didn’t know or thought might embarrass her. She’s known MacQuigg for a couple of years and he was instrumental in getting her into web casting at the legislature and she trusts him to be a gentleman.

Arnold-Jones was surprised by what Armenta was telling her because it did not fit the description of the man she knows.

Arnold-Jones is concerned by the characterizations, Armenta made about MacQuigg, might be used against him.

Her concerns were not unfounded as this e-mail exchange reveals.

E-mail addresses redacted:
From: Monica Armenta
To: Janice Arnold-Jones
Cc: Winston Brooks Joe Escobedo; Steve Tellez; Art Melendres; Marty Esquivel
Sent: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 11:53 am
Subject: FW: FYI: MacQuigg Blog Today
Hello Ms. Arnold-Jones,
Thank you again for listening to my concerns last night. Almost all of my professional life has been public so I’ve had to learn when to be truly concerned with safety threats and when to let some things go. I’ve also learned to trust my gut.

I thought I’d share this e-mail with you since you suggested I start documenting my concerns.

Thank you.
Monica Armenta

------ Forwarded Message ------
From: James J Hallinan
Reply-To: James J Hallinan
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 11:24:28 -0600
To: Monica Armenta
Subject: Re: FYI: MacQuigg Blog Today

Thank you for everything and for being so accommodating. You and your team did an amazing job! I know Diane will be getting in touch with you all as well to express her gratitude. Ched is something else. He has blogged about me several times too and even called me Diane's evil henchman! I agree with everything you said about him, he is certainly irrational and dangerous. Sorry he caused problems, but last night was a huge success! Thanks, James

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

From: Monica Armenta
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 11:18:44 -0600
To: James Hallinan
Subject: Re: FYI: MacQuigg Blog Today

Thanks James – this is mild compared to the ramblings usually entered in this blog. I let Janice Arnold-Jones know last night that I am personally fearful of Mr. MacQuigg as I believe him to be obsessed and extremely irrational. Members of my staff and several people in this building are also afraid that Mr. MacQuigg may someday act on his anger and frustration.
Armenta approached a number of video camera operators and said she wanted to know if they let a guy (presumably Mac Quigg) in here and he caused a disruption or a scene, would they cover it.

She got a two-part answer, they probably wouldn’t shoot a minor incident, but they weren’t promising that if the event was large enough and constituted news, then they would shoot it.

A person, who wishes to remain anonymous, whom I’ve known for years and has been in the news business for longer than I’ve known him, overheard the conversation and found Armenta’s request improper and flat wrong. The person said they knew that if she were in her old position as anchor at KOB, she would never have allowed a news photographer to agree to such a request.

The person was left with the distinct impression that if the media agreed not to cover a disruption, then Armenta was going to allow MacQuigg in.
MacQuigg and I encountered Armenta, middle, with Communications Specialist John Miller. left, and Superintendent Winston Brooks. right,  more than a year before, when then Mayor Martin Chávez, or a member of his entourage, sicced APS police on us after a joint City/APS news conference.

MacQuigg was caught up because of my presence and Chávez’ vitriol towards me, not for anything MacQuigg did.
MacQuigg is not just stonewalled by APS, but he is castigated and his reputation smeared, much like what Armenta did in telling Arnold-Jones, seen here with her husband, John Jones, middle, thinking the Representative didn’t truly know his personality.

Police Lt. Allen Rider’s comment, “Well you see your reputation has preceded you,” is further example of the level to which APS administration and their police force will go to impinge upon MacQuigg’s rights.

Through an inspection of public records request for documents held by APS on arranging the debate, several things came to light; this is are not a complete list.

Denish’s campaign manager, Orin Shur, wrote an August 16 e-mail asking several questions:
4. If a television station were able – in terms of space and technology – carry a live broadcast, why would we limit video only to the web? I thought our agreement was to work with all media outlets interested in carrying the debate live.
Armenta responded addressing questions from Shur. Shur asked the question in more than one e-mail and they were listed both as #3 and #4.
Question #3 After talking with both camps we let KNME know they may stream video of the debate on their website, but everyone agrees the video is for web purposes and not live TV broadcast. If other stations decide to carry coverage on their websites it will have to be permitted. We can’t allow one and limit the others. (Emphasis Armenta’s.)
APS agrees to:
Work with media on any request for live coverage.
Work with NM Broadcaster’s Assoc. to stream event live to radio stations across the state.
Credential media for debate attendance.
Arrange to have debate streamed live on aps.edu and KANW 89.1 FM.”

“Notes from the walk-through
The media will be in the back of the PAC on both sides. We will set up tables with seating for 10 on both sides. We will also provide power strips for laptops.
Doors to media open 5, no recording until debate begins at 6.
If we receive criticism for limited seating, simply say it’s due to the venue.
Security has permission to toss out hecklers.
No photography, cell phones.
Give still photographers access at the beginning of debate (intros?), then they have to return to media section in back.
In another August 16 e-mail from Armenta addressed to Shur, she wrote:
…Finally, the campaigns requested and intimate venue for this debate so we are in a high school auditorium, not a gym or TV studio. Aside from those attending with tickets we have to accommodate staff, media and security. …We simply can’t accommodate any more bodies or equipment in the PAC. I’d also concluded based on your concerns about the table and where the candidates are sitting for camera angles that you wanted some quality control guarantees.
Shur responded:
…I agree it will certainly be a tight room. I’m speaking purely in terms of allowing media already credentialed to broadcast as the wish with the equipment they’re already bringing, not providing any additional space or special accommodations.
In a letter from APS Communications Specialist John Miller, “Final Guide to the 2010 Gubernatorial Education Debate”,
Please note:
Please also note that photographers have been informed about when and where video and still photos may be shot.
… Remember, media must have as APS-issued credential to enter the school.

In an August 17 letter from APS Communications Specialist John Miller, “Photo Shooting Instructions for APS Gubernatorial Debate”,
Remember that all media must have APS-issued ID to enter debate at Eldorado HS
Please note that there are several guidelines we are asking you to follow when shooting video or still photos before and during Thursday’s gubernatorial debate.
Shooting at the front of the Eldorado Performing Arts Center, near the stage and along the side aisles, is permitted from the introductions, through the presentation of colors and Pledge of Allegiance, until Supt. Winston Brooks begins to review the ground rules for the debate
Any shots of the audience must be taken before the candidates’ opening statements
When the candidates begin opening statements, all photographers must move to the back of the auditorium along press row
Photography may continue throughout the debate from press row
When the student presentation begins, approximately 7:15 p.m. photographers may return to the area near the stage
    Please make sure too have your APS-issued media credentials with you at all times. Credentials are non-transferable.
    It seems that the Denish campaign favored live and or streaming broadcast of the debate, according to e-mails with Armenta.

    Maybe the most important aspect of the records turned over in response to the request, were those records not made available. I know by the e-mail and attachment, which Armenta sent to Rep. Janice Jones that Armenta’s cell phone and others were not released in response to the inspection of public records request for any and all documents pertaining to the event within the APS system, including top to bottom: superintendent, Board of Education members, administrators, teachers, and staff.

    APS not producing Armenta’s e-mail has generated a notice of failure to comply in providing requested documents.

    There were seven Internet based journalists who requested entry and four were denied. The three allowed in were: Gwyneth Doland, and Tripp Jennings, of the New Mexico Independent, and Michael Hays of NM Politics. Hays was allowed in without going through the credentialing process at all.
    The late Barbara Wold and Mary Ellen Broderick, left, of Democracy for New Mexico, Ched MacQuigg, middle, of Diogenes Six, Rob Nikolewski, right, of New Mexico Watchdog and Capitol Report New Mexico, and I were not granted credentials.

    From what journalistic peers and Representative Arnold-Jones reported, there was adequate room to accommodate those and more.

    Here is MacQuigg's post of the events leading up to the debate. He also posted this. and this 

    APS was not open, honest, nor ethical in their dealing with issuing credentials to all members of the media.

    The day before the event, when I knew for sure that none of my efforts to obtain credentials would succeed, I wrote to MacQuigg my thoughts and observations on the APS communications and the campaigns colluded efforts to control the press coverage.

    These are the points I made:
    APS is selective in whom they will allow to cover their events based on earlier coverage of the schools that they did not like.
    The rules imposed by APS and blamed on the campaigns are untenable in a free society. It is a duty and obligation of governmental employees to protect the constitutional rights, especially those which prohibit government from repressing those rights in favor of some political candidate(s), both of whom, at the time of the debates, were themselves under oath as State Constitutionally elected officials.
    The worst, from my perspective, is that still photographs may not be taken after a certain specific period of time because it might be perceived as a distraction.

    You have scored a seat and I am still up in the air; though "we" know they are screwing with us, I don't think pointing a sharp stick in that hole before every possibility of having something happen that gains me entrance, we should go there.

    I have no problem with you reporting from having scored a ticket; however, I don't want to take that route.

    I actually get caught in a bit of an ethical dilemma here.

    Though this is not an event requiring a payment for a ticket, I am willing to pay the going rate for a ticket to cover entertainment with a press pass or credentials.

    Some of the high end New York papers insisted on paying the full price for theater critics and sports writer so that they are free to remain neutral to comment.

    Few, if any media outlets still practice this high standard, I don't partake of the food or refreshments at press events.

    In this case, the issue is being acknowledged as media and provided appropriate space to set up equipment without interfering with the participants.

    No matter what excuse APS makes for limiting coverage, they have violated the First Amendment's, "Congress shall make no law... or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..."

    They don't get to make rules that are arbitrary and capricious, or are selective in assuring favorable coverage, or maybe avoiding a critical review.

    I'm not taking them on in print until it's done.

    I doubt that I make it through the doors...

    And that's just fine by me; for it allows me to make a stronger case against all of them.

    No comments: