What the State's Elite Have Given
By Dan Klein
Here in the land of misfit politicians, Christmas presents are already under the tree. Let’s peek at what’s there.
Democratic state Sen. Michael Sanchez gave the gift of martyrdom to his fellow Democrats. Not to be outdone, with the help of voter backlash, Gov. Susana Martinez gave the gift of a House majority to the Democrats.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan gave Albuquerque Rapid Transit foes a gift by refusing to approve President Obama’s budget. That budget has ART’s money in it. We’ll see if it’s still there in 2017.
The gift of “crow” goes to Albuquerque Chief Operating Officer Michael Riordan. On Nov. 7, Riordan told city councilors, “It [a federal refusal to fund a project like ART] has never happened. This would be an historical event if we were not to receive this grant agreement.”
And then, an historical event happened. Donald Trump was elected president the next day.
Mayor Richard Berry is hoping for that ART present in Trump’s budget, but then, Trump has a long memory. Berry, known to friends as R.J., left town when Trump held a rally in May, a sign that he didn’t support “The Donald.”
Albuquerque police officers have given Berry the gift of flight – their own – as veteran cops flee APD in record numbers. If only Berry had given them the same $12,000 retention bonus he gave APD brass! But that present’s nowhere to be found. Maybe the mayor left it in plain sight inside a car parked at the mall.
For the citizens, Berry has the gift of high crime. Lucky us.
Berry gave Peter Winograd $68,000 to blame someone else for his crime problem. It must be nice to be a friend of R.J. OK if I call you R.J., R.J.?
Berry, City Councilors Brad Winter and Pat Davis tried to wrap a $3.9 million gift – the partial privatization of APD – for Winter’s campaign treasurer. That gift got returned. Thank goodness they kept the receipt.
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg re-gifted a political “thank you” to Attorney General Hector Balderas. Last year, Balderas gave Brandenburg the gift of no prosecution for her activities involving her sons’ crimes. This year, Brandenburg gave Balderas the prosecution of APD Officer Dan Webster’s alleged killer. It’ll be an easy conviction that will get Balderas good PR just in time for the 2018 election cycle.
Why doesn’t Brandenburg give Balderas the 30-plus police shooting cases she hasn’t reviewed? Some are now more than three years old! That’s a gift that Balderas doesn’t want. “Aw, you really shouldn’t,” he must have told Brandenburg.
Then there’s the missing gift to Albuquerque from Balderas – the alleged pay-to-play Taser/Ray Schultz case. Hey, Hector, it’s been three years. Seriously. How long does it take?
Judge Alicia Hadfield gave Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn the gift of not having to decide. The same week prosecutors dropped charges in a mistrial of a jail guard rape case, Hadfield let McGinn off the hook on a retrial of the James Boyd murder.
Billionaire George Soros gave DA-elect Raul Torrez the gift of more than $100,000 to win what ultimately was an uncontested election. Maybe Torrez can gift some of that to R.J. for ART.
The last gifts are from Berry to his staff. He gave Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry a $44,000 pay raise to get Perry to $191,000 a year. Berry gave APD Chief Gorden Eden a $10,000 raise to get Eden to $168,000 a year. Nice gestures, R.J., considering how bad a job Perry and Eden are doing running the city and APD.
I have an idea! KOAT-TV says APD’s “Cops for Kids” Christmas program is short $8,000. How about Perry and Eden donate $4,000 each? Come on, guys. That would be some real Christmas spirit!
Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque police sergeant. Reach him through Facebook.