The chamber will give a public safety award to the worst mayor in the city's history, a mayor whose city is literally on fire when it comes to crime. That's why Albuquerque has always been, and will always be, an economic and social backwater, a place of self-and-rigidly-imposed mediocrity.
Would you give a humanitarian of the year award to an ax murderer, a fire safety award to an arsonist, or a good neighbor award to a guy who comes over and drinks your cold beer and never brings any of his own?
I doubt it.
What would you think about someone who gave that ax murderer a humanitarian award?
If you’re halfway normal you’d think they’re crazy, incompetent, delusional and devoid of even a nano-ounce of common sense and good judgement.
Now what would you think of a group that gives a public safety award to a mayor who has presided over the destruction of the city’s police department and an unprecedented crime wave that has residents cowering and afraid to even own a car for fear that it’ll be stolen?
Insane, arrogant and stunningly out of touch would be the correct words and phrases.
Well, we have that insanity going on right now in Albuquerque.
The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce says it will give its Excellence in Public Safety award on Thursday to Mayor Richard Berry.
That’s not a joke, and it’s not satire.
The chamber will give a public safety award to the worst mayor in the city’s history, a mayor whose city is literally on fire when it comes to crime, a mayor who hides from the public and the media and sends subordinates out to answer questions.
Think of it. Albuquerque is now the auto theft capital of the nation. The city’s Downtown area, especially around the big bus station, is a crime hellhole. People who work Downtown are seeing their car windows smashed, their valuables stolen and their personal safety threatened by glaring thugs.
One of the city’s business gems, Lavu, a home-grown high-tech firm, says the crime by its Downtown office is so bad that it’s thinking of leaving New Mexico altogether. Lavu demanded action against the thugs in a recent letter to Berry and Gov. Susana Martinez.
He had none. He sent a subordinate out to say the city was working on the problem and that Lavu apparently wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things the city had done for Downtown in respect to fighting crime in the past seven years.
And for that, the chamber and its CEO Terri Cole are giving Berry an award.
When it comes to public safety, Berry has been a total failure. And for being a failure, Cole is giving him an award.
Under Berry’s watch, the Albuquerque Police Department has been decimated, we’ve become one of the most dangerous cities in the nation, criminals are laughing and residents are fleeing to other states.
For that, Cole and the chamber she has run for 35 years are giving Berry an award.
Only in Albuquerque are public officials who are total incompetents and failures feted with dinners and awards.
And that’s why Albuquerque has always been, and will always be, an economic and social backwater, a place of self-and-rigidly-imposed mediocrity.
It’s no coincidence that Cole is giving a failed mayor an award. Cole and her organization, and pretty much every other business and political group, are part of a small clique of people who have run this town for decades. Their faces and names never change.
In the 40 years that this clique has run things, nothing has changed. Albuquerque is still the backwater that it was 40 years ago. Clique members have had no new ideas in decades and they have presided over a colossal effort in mediocrity. And they have always given each other awards.
Years ago, Cole’s organization gave then U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici an award. A few months later, Domenici’s office gave Cole an award.
That’s how the system works. Members of the clique, no matter how awful and mediocre they are, give each other awards. The media sheepishly report on these awards as if they’re legitimate and never ask why the same people keep giving and getting awards from each other.
Who’s in the clique?
Big developers, construction company CEO’s, architects, engineers, bankers, consultants and everyone else who lives off city and government contracts. They are, in short, the NAIOP crowd, and their world is, in many ways, light years away from the rest of ours.
They live in gated communities and hire private security firms to patrol their neighborhoods. And if they have Police Chief Gorden Eden’s private cell phone number, they’ll get a cop to immediately show up when their car is burglarized, all while more serious calls from the rest of us are backing up because there aren’t enough cops to get to them.
Like Albuquerque, the clique is small. Its members depend on one another for jobs and government contracts. That’s why you never hear any of these people criticizing each other, or city councilors or mayors. If they do, they’ll lose their contracts and won’t get any more.
So they keep their mouths shut and gleefully go along with the mediocrity and failure in the hopes that they too will get some dumb and worthless award.
The clique has been in control for more than 40 years and they have failed, and failed completely. They will stay in control and keep giving each other awards unless the rest of us change things.
It’s up to all of us. Stop rewarding failure and mediocrity and get involved. Here’s a way to start.
Every Albuquerque resident who has been the victim of crime during the last eight years that Berry has been mayor should show up at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at the award ceremony at the Albuquerque Museum and tell Berry and Cole exactly what they think of the job Berry has done making Albuquerque the crime capital of America and whether he deserves the award.
Then we can demolish the clique and chase its members away.
We can still give Berry an award, though. But the title is so vile I can’t print it.
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