Mayoral Candidates Dump On Berry’s Award

Mayoral Candidates Dump On Berry’s Award

Has the time come for Cole, who has led the Chamber for decades, to step down? It is a question the mayoral candidates and the Chamber's board of directors should address.

Albuquerque is in the midst of a crime apocalypse that coincides with Mayor Richard Berry’s time in office.

In a move that either baffles logic, or was a shrewd attempt to give Berry political cover for an upcoming campaign run, Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce CEO Terri Cole awarded Berry with a new public safety award!

The award sparked outrage from Albuquerque residents and police. Protesters complained that the Chamber and Berry are out of touch, or as KOB TV reporter Caleb James said, “In an almost Marie Antoinette moment.”

In a few months, Albuquerque will be picking a new mayor to lead our city. What do the candidates for the mayor of Albuquerque have to say about the public safety award that the Greater Chamber of Commerce gave Richard Berry?

The ABQ Free Press thought you should know their reactions, or lack of. Here are their responses:

Susan Wheeler-Deichsel

“I find the award puzzling, at best. I would like the Chamber to explain better what their reasoning was in picking Mayor Berry for this award.”

Tim Keller

“How can a mayor whose city is number one in car thefts, has the highest crime rates in a decade, and is near the top for violent crime nationwide, accept an award for leadership in public safety? It’s absurd.”

Dan Lewis

“In a city defined by crime, the mayor should be calling for a state of emergency instead of receiving public safety awards. The mayor should immediately convene a public safety summit to declare a state of emergency and bring every resource we have to put an end to the thugs and thieves running rampant in our city.”

Brian Colón

“I don’t care what programs the mayor has rolled out, now is not the time to be accepting awards on public safety. A better use of the mayor’s time on a Thursday night would have been to stand with the women and men patrolling Central Avenue, meeting with businesses about the issues they feel are being ignored and providing real solutions to rampant crime on the Central Corridor. I was embarrassed to receive a text that read, ‘this is proof positive that in Albuquerque even last place gets a trophy.’  Sad.”

Michelle Garcia Holmes

“We are at epidemic levels for crime, and Terry Cole, CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, decided to give Mayor Richard Berry a public safety award. Mayor Berry, shame on you for accepting it! Albuquerque is number one in auto theft, number five in violent crime, and homes, businesses and vehicles are being broken into on a constant basis. Public safety has not been a priority for this administration and Terry Cole’s leadership should be in question.”

Gus Pedrotty

“I believe it’s a shame that the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce would show itself to be so disconnected with the City as to give such an award at this time. More than ever, the representative bodies of the business community and the City should be in step towards solving problems not just producing tokens of affection for an outgoing administration. This award goes against the experience of many communities, businesses, and industries in Albuquerque. Communities need proactive solutions, not participation trophies.”

Wayne Johnson, Ricardo Chaves did not respond.

It’s important to know what the future leader of Albuquerque thinks of this ridiculous award. The future mayor will be working with the Chamber of Commerce on economic issues that will hopefully bring Albuquerque into better economic shape, but to get there Albuquerque must change.

This award was an embarrassment to the Chamber and the city. It was created and directed by Cole and she should be held to task for it. Has the time come for Cole, who has led the Chamber for decades, to step down? It is a question the mayoral candidates and the Chamber’s board of directors should address.

Colón also wrote an op-ed wherein he makes a startling allegation:

“In an attempt to balance the city’s budget, Mayor Richard Berry has mandated a 10 percent vacancy rate in the police department.”

Colón offers no proof that Berry has purposely kept APD staffing at below budgeted numbers, but if this is true it would clearly be the end of Berry’s political future. Will the other mayoral candidates pile on? How will Berry respond?

If Albuquerque residents, many of whom have been crime victims, believe that Berry purposely put them and their property at risk, his legacy will look like the ART construction on Central Ave  a wreck.

Terri Cole and Richard Berry are now the number one issue of this mayoral campaign. Albuquerque’s own version of out-of-touch King Louis and Marie Antoinette, and we know what happened to them.

Vive la Albuquerque!

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Dan Klein

Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque police sergeant. Reach him via Facebook and Twitter via @dankleinabq.
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  • dinah vargas
    July 5, 2017, 3:30 pm

    Dan Lewis sits on the GOVERNING BOARD OF THE CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE, Convening a ‘public safety summit’ is his job, at a minimum. Dan’s job is to inquire with the administration on these and other matters but he just stares off into space daydreaming about being Mayor someday. If this is his best, his best won’t do. There is not an administrative executive among the 9 inept city council.

    YET, not a single elected representative on city council has moved to vote NO Confidence in Richard Berry or his bullshit factory.

    Dan’s big move for the day is talk and talk is cheap. -"In a city defined by crime, the mayor should be calling for a state of emergency instead of receiving public safety awards. The mayor should immediately convene a public safety summit to declare a state of emergency and bring every resource we have to put an end to the thugs and thieves running rampant in our city.”

    REPLY
  • Stephen
    July 6, 2017, 6:10 pm

    The Chaves for Mayor campaign released a statement about the mayor getting this award and a release was sent to the ABQ Free Press and the Journal on the 29th. His facebook page included the full statement at 8 am.

    https://www.facebook.com/ChavesForMayor/posts/1856843164642792

    Statement from #ABQMayor candidate Ricardo Chaves: Public Safety Award For Mayor Is Laughable

    "The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce is set to present Mayor RJ Berry with an “Award for Excellence in Public Safety.” It’s hard for me to express how silly this is.

    Our city is facing a massive crime wave, with 300 to 500 burglaries each and every month. Albuquerque is now ranked as the number one car theft capital of the United States. I’ve even had MY car stolen!

    A major tech company, Lavu, has threatened to move out of Albuquerque because of the high rate of crime downtown. While reporting on this threat, a TV crew had their vehicle stolen. You can’t make this stuff up.
    The police department is facing a crisis of leadership and training. The department is grossly understaffed, and cannot police the city effectively.

    This is unacceptable.

    Neither the mayor nor any of the city councilors deserve an award for their efforts to solve the crime problem. Public safety has been endangered by their inaction.

    Those who have helped cause the problems cannot be trusted to fix them.

    We need a fresh common sense approach to crime, just as we need for our other problems.

    We must have new leadership in the police department, and must put new police on the beat, where they can fight crime effectively.

    The new chief that I appoint will be an outsider who is beholden to no one, and who will inspire the confidence of both the citizens and Albuquerque’s finest."

    ###

    REPLY
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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.