There's only one issue in the 2017 mayoral race — the lawlessness that has beset the city, and the continuing destruction of its police force.
BY JOE MONAHAN
Forget about the economy. Forget about that sick leave ordinance. Forget about ART.
There is only one issue in the 2017 race for mayor of Albuquerque — the lawlessness that has beset the city and the continuing destruction of its police force. The crime wave here is jarring, relentless and long ago scotched any hopes for major economic development in the foreseeable future. The latest:
“More than 27 vehicles a day. More than 10,000 for the year. That’s how many vehicles were reported stolen from Albuquerque and neighboring counties in 2016, according to a recent report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The bureau reported the Albuquerque area had the highest per-capita rate of auto thefts in the country.”
Worst in the nation for auto theft and the city in second place isn’t even close! The shock is that the citizenry is still not yelling from their rooftops over the colossal failure and incompetence of the city’s leadership. Not to mention their failure to reign in the thieves, murderers, drag racers and meth heads that have made the city something akin to a dusty border town, with a corrupt police department and a puppet mayor and city council.
The soaring murder rate, the auto theft epidemic, the freeways run amok, the constant break-ins at area businesses and homes, and the widespread vandalism have given this city a damnable reputation.
The blame is everywhere but still there is no accountability for:
— The mayoral administration of Richard Berry and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry presiding over the mayhem while evading responsibility for the disintegration of law and order.
— The police department led by the ineffectual Gorden Eden and cordoned off by an upper command staff at war with its own citizenry and stifling accountability to the bitter end.
— The flaccid, fearful and forlorn nine-member city council where no one has stepped forward to lead the way out of this jungle, even as the mayor has abdicated.
— The see-no-evil business community represented by the Economic Forum, the ABQ Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP and the like, which join with the agenda-driven newspaper to prop up the Republican mayor — no matter the cost to the welfare of this once on-the-go metropolis.
News reporter Dan Rather recently opined over the bizarre politics in DC: “We are failing to be outraged by the outrageous.” That could be the bumper sticker for the current state of politics in our state’s largest city. It’s as if everyone is overdosing on Xanax.
In about 90 days early voting will get underway in the ABQ mayoral election. It will be our last, best chance to turn this city around, but only if the candidates are subjected to the accountability that we have so maddeningly allowed to elude those currently in power.
WHERE ARE THEY GOING?
In the wake of the news that we are the stolen car capital of the U.S., a Facebook comment by James Uberman scolding the media stood out:
“This is reporting?? Where are all these cars going. This is not a few individuals, this is an industrial operation. Are the Mexican Cartels involved? Notice the #2 city is just up I-25. There is a major organized crime ring behind this but no reporting on that.”
Good question, James. Maybe the media, along with the district attorney, mayor and police chief might want to start asking the same?
The relationship between APD and the oversight panels watching over the agency continues to plummet to new lows with police stonewalling the order of the day. And APD’s war room mentality now extends to the media. Take a look:
“An important editor’s note: Ordinarily, KOB would reach out to APD for comment on this sort of story prior to a newscast, or prior to publishing on KOB.com. However, in recent months, that courtesy has resulted in KOB content being distributed to other news outlets by the Albuquerque Police Department. To maintain the integrity of our content, our management has decided to reach out to APD for comment at the first opportunity on Saturday. We will share the department’s response with you then.”
What in the name of Harry Kinney is going on in this town? If any of the eight mayoral candidates refuse to oust the current chief and APD command staff, they ought to be taken to Old Town Plaza so spectators can throw leftover enchiladas at them.