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.