Based on the last six years of blunders. Eden has become 'Whiner in Chief'
Crime began to shoot up when Berry became mayor, and through his austerity measures, officers began fleeing APD
BY DAN KLEIN
If you ask any police officer what really pisses them off, they’ll tell you: liars. Cops hate lying and liars, and politicians spewing spin is just like lying. I’ve had a lot to hate recently.
Every time I see the City of Albuquerque video graphic showing the ART buses easily zooming up and down Central Avenue, with no passenger cars in the right-hand lane, I get mad. Do you want to know what Central is going to look like once ART is complete? Take a look at the traffic congestion currently on west Central. It’s down to one lane in each direction, and traffic is a congested mess. Mayor Richard Berry’s office doesn’t show you those videos.
Once ART is in place, the ART bus, probably empty most times, will fly up Central, while you and I sit in passenger cars in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Cars barely crawling along and then diverting into the adjoining neighborhoods, that’s the future of ART.
ART opponents should create their own graphics and present them to the mainstream media to use on their nightly news reports. The next time Berry and the City Council show you graphics that reflect no cars in the right-hand lane, call them out as liars.
Let’s not forget District Attorney Kari Brandenburg. The running joke now is that if you ask Brandenburg any question about her office’s failings, her response will be, “It’s the fault of the Case Management Order” (CMO) – a court rule that requires cases to be prosecuted quickly or charges dropped. It’s never Brandenburg’s fault.
When asked why her office has dozens of police shooting cases that have not been reviewed, Brandenburg’s excuses ran the gamut. Her office is overworked, she has limited resources, some attorneys are ill and one attorney has died. Nothing but excuses. She refuses to own anything. APD is making fewer arrests, so how is the office overworked? And having employees who are ill or who pass away, is that a reasonable excuse? I don’t think so.
Ask any successful business person and they will tell you that sick employees will happen, and if you are going to be successful you figure out how to work around that. That is, unless you’re an elected district attorney, then you use it as an excuse. When this excuse doesn’t work, you blame it on the CMO.
The next spinner is APD Chief Gorden Eden. When a TV station confronted Eden on out-of-control crime, Eden responded that APD was doing a good job. When that excuse quickly fell apart, Eden shifted gears to blame the courts, changes in bond rules and the Legislature.
Except Eden’s excuses don’t make sense. Crime began to shoot up when Berry became mayor, and through his austerity measures, officers began fleeing APD. APOA President Shawn Willoughby said, “prove me wrong, but you can’t.” He’s right, crime went up when Berry began driving off officers. But Eden won’t say that, Berry pays him $170,000 to spin instead.
This is where two rivals, Brandenburg and Eden, grasp at the same branch of blame – it’s the CMO’s fault. They ignore that the CMO was forced upon them by the New Mexico Supreme Court because of years of mismanagement in the local criminal justice system. Some of this occurred before Eden was chief, but all of it happened under Brandenburg’s tenure.
The CMO guarantees the citizen’s constitutional rights. Without the CMO, innocent citizens – our neighbors – were sitting for months, and sometimes years, in jail, losing everything. Eden and Brandenburg helped to cause the CMO, so for them to blame all their current issues on it, is a sick, laughable, liar’s spin.
At the end of the TV report Eden insulted every person who has worn a badge. He played the pity card. When it became clear that crime is up and that Berry and Eden are partly to blame, Eden stated, “Our officers, right now feel, we are by ourselves.” Oh, poor baby, but that’s also a lie.
Albuquerque citizens support APD like no other town would, yet based on the last six years of blunders. Eden has become “Whiner in Chief.” Instead of accepting blame he plays the pity card.
Until these public officials own the mess they have created nothing will be fixed. I have yet to hear one of them say that it’s their fault.
And remember, if you don’t like this column, blame it on the CMO.
Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque police sergeant. Reach him on Facebook.