Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Misled allegigator! misled!!

It has been ten days since the story that Diane Denish had
reconvened her transition team, first surfaced. For almost
two weeks, no one, apparently, has been willing to attach
their own name to a denial.

Now, according to Jay Miller, Inside the Capital, link,
someone has finally attached their name and reputation to a
denial;

"... according to press secretary Josh Rosen there is
absolutely no truth to the rumor."

And with that, the rumor is finally laid to rest, along with the
hope that Bill Richardson was about to pay for pay for play;
at least for now.

Mayor Marty Appleseed wants to plant a few trees

According to the Journal, link,

"Mayor Martin Chávez wants to boost
the number of trees in Albuquerque by
30 percent over the next two years.

He said Monday the city has set a goal
of planting 75,000 new trees within
two years.

About 6.5 percent of the city is
covered by trees, the mayor said.

They help improve air quality by
holding 289,000 tons of carbon dioxide and removing 454,000 pounds of air pollutants, he said.

The city will sponsor tree giveaways and require more
trees in new developments, Chávez said.

The city parks department will also plant more trees on
city properties, he said"
Like the unrestrained city growth that Chavez also supports,
there is no mention of where we will get the water to support
his plan, or even the money to pay for the city sponsored tree
"giveaways".

Chavez' last plan, if I remember correctly, was to rip out our
lawns, in the interests of saving precious water, followed by
another plan to plant lawns on our roofs.

This guy is just chock full of good ideas.

Johnny Appleseed wikilink

Monday, June 29, 2009

If Bruce Malott's accounting firm, Meyners + Co. audits state spending,

why does Bruce Malott have a seat anywhere in state government?

Monahan breathes new life into Denish rumor.

Blogger Monahan link, published another denial of the
rumor that Lt. Governor Denish had reconvened her
transition team in the face of some imminent calamity in
Bill Richardson's governorship, without anyone's name
and reputation attached.

He then went on to characterize Denish's unloading of the
campaign contributions that she had accepted from a number
recently indicted players in the housing authority ripoff
of millions of tax dollars, as a "mini" brush fire.

For Monahan, maybe these associations are inconsequential,
they may not be so much so, for scandal weary voters link,

The same unnamed source also offered Monahan;

"Diane Denish is focused on serving the people of
New Mexico as Lieutenant Governor, continuing to make
state government more open and transparent."
Monahan did not object to that claim, even in the face of the fact
that Denish's "open and transparent" promise, so far,
has not included being open and transparent about her plan
to end the culture of corruption in state government.

(Anonymous) talk is cheap. So are promises of an end to the
culture of corruption with no plan of how to get it done.

If Denish has a plan, why won't she show it to voters?

Neither Denish nor the other candidate and fellow
entrenched politician, Michael Sanchez have showed voters
any plan to end the culture of corruption. link

If they no plans
to end the culture
of corruption,
perhaps it is because
they have no plans
to end the culture
of corruption.


In fairness,

no gubernatorial candidate of any party, is willing to prove that they plan to end the culture of corruption, by submitting for voter approval, their plan, to end it.






photos Mark Bralley

Character transcends political philosophy.

Be honest, if your choice was between;

  • the other party candidate, a person of character, and

  • your party candidate, a person short on character
for which, would you cast your vote?

There is no fundamental difference between a culture of
democrat flavored corruption and a culture of republican
flavored corruption.

First, let's end the culture of corruption.
Then let's worry about a particular flavor or another.

APS School Board Meeting cancelled.

The school board meeting scheduled for July 1st, has been
canceled; without explanation or defense, as is their custom.

An explanation; if circumstances beyond their control, forced
the cancellation.

A defense; if it was solely by their choice, that the public
forum, our only opportunity to exercise our constitutionally
protected human right to petition our government,
was denied to stakeholders.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Senator Linda Lopez, or Sheriff Greg Solano, hmmm.

On the subject of webcasting;


Sheriff Greg Solano

would have "... as many
government meetings and
press conferences broadcast
on the web as possible."

link


In stark contrast,
Senator Linda Lopez,

would not. She is so afraid
that webcasting will make
her look bad, that she argued
that there needs to be a narrator
for webcasts, to provide an
ongoing explanation about
why Senators may not be on
the Senate Floor when they
are supposed to be.

She was less than cooperative, when Mark Bralley and I tried
to webcast her Senate Rules Committee Meetings. link

For good reason; we were webcasting her ongoing failure to get
Ethics Commission legislation on the agenda for open and
honest discussion. She chairs the committee. She could have
put the subject on the agenda. She did not.


If you click over to Peter St. Cyr's blog, link, he's got some
video of her explaining how she was just "too busy" to get
around to the Ethics Commission.

And wait till you hear how she feels about the possibility that
the people (an Ethics Commission) might end up with too much power. link

No wonder she finds webcasting so threatening.

In contrast, Sheriff Solano's ethics reform package specifically
includes the;

Creation of an independent ethics commission.
The commission should be bipartisan and include citizens
and members of all three branches of State Government.

Clearly New Mexico, link,
has links to everything you might
want to know about Linda Lopez and her position on ethics reform.

They concluded that; Senator Lopez' Rules Committee is
the place "... where ethics bills go to die."

Mark and I argue often argue about the efficacy of election as
a tool to reform government.

He argues that, if people are really sick of the culture of
corruption, they would vote for candidates who would end it.

I argued that, voters have never been, and will never be,
offered that choice.

Apparently I was wrong.

Voters could not possibly have a clearer choice;

Sheriff Solano
is for ethics reform, and
Senator Linda Lopez is against it.

For voters with no strong feelings one way
or the other, their candidate would be
Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, who
apparently, also has no strong feelings
about ethics reform, either one way or
the other.

When I asked him what his plan was to end
the culture of corruption in Santa Fe, all he
could come up with was; lukewarm support
for an Ethics Commission, and maybe some
more campaign finance reform.




photos Mark Bralley

Richard Romero/Richard Berry townhall meeting.

Both Richard Berry and
Richard Romero
have promised us,
transparency and
accountability in
city government.






Is it too much to ask, to see these two gentlemen sit together
and talk about their plans for transparency and accountability,
and then take questions from the community?

Mayor Marty Chavez will likely not want to participate
for two reasons;




first;

he isn't "really" running for mayor,

and second;




it's hard to get around the fact that his plan for transparency
and accountability,
a plan which hasn't worked for the last 16 years,
can be expected to work in the next four.




photos Mark Bralley

cc Romero and Berry upon posting

A quote from Don Quixote

There is a report in the Journal this morning, link, about homeless men being beaten up by a gang of young thugs. I can't imagine how horrible an existence it is, to be homeless, and then to have that compounded by being beaten up for no reason at all, except that a gang of assholes got bored.

It reminded me of this passage from Don Quixote; and in it
a sentence that has haunted me since junior high.

Miguel de Cervantes:

I've been a soldier and a slave. I've seen my comrades fall
in battle or die more slowly under the lash in Africa.

I've held them in my arms at the final moment. These
were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing.
No glory, no brave last words, only their eyes,
filled with confusion, questioning "Why?"

I don't think they were wondering why they were dying,
but why they had ever lived.

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? To surrender dreams - -this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness!

But maddest of all - -
to see life as it is and not as it should be.

Whose head will roll?

When public money is spent, records are created;
who spent what, for what, and when.

We, the public, have a right to see those records.
It is our money.

Before public records are surrendered to public knowledge,
our government has a responsibility to redact those records.

We expect our government to keep some things secret, even
from us, because the public best interests are served by the secrecy.

And for that reason only.

Rules have been written that separate the truth into two stacks; the truth that should be made public, and the truth which should remain hidden, according to due process (including, but not limited to, the law).

Redaction according to due process, and by that process only.

Two subpoenas were served on the Educational Retirement Board. They will serve as the examples for this post; they are by no means the only examples which could be cited.

If you read the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, and
especially the Compliance Guide link, that accompanies it,
it is clear that redaction has limits.

One cannot redact an entire document, if drawing a short black
line through a very few agreed upon exceptions, would suffice.
The only agreed upon exceptions are those that are subject to due process.

There are no legitimate exceptions except those that are
subject to due process.

Someone whom we pay well, decided to pay lawyers whom we pay well, to redact the entire subpoena, in violation of the spirit of the law, and against the public interest.

Now that the subpoenas have been surrendered, we find
no need in either for even one short black line, not one.
(link and link, courtesy Heath Haussamen.)

The truth was kept from us by legal weaselry for no good reason.

Public servants used public money to secret public records
from public knowledge against the public interests.


Whose head is going to roll?

If you guessed nobody's, you have guessed correctly.

If you guessed some good ol' boys name instead,
you need to pay closer attention.

"We have the greatest opportunity the world has ever seen,

wrote Thomas Jefferson,


...as long as we remain honest -- which will be as long as
we can keep the attention of our people alive.

If they once become inattentive to public affairs,
you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and
governors would all become wolves."


Shortly thereafter, we stopped paying attention.

And now our government is so secret from us, that we could
not pay attention even if, we wanted to.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mayoral Candidate Richard Berry steps up; sort of.

Candidate Richard Berry
has made a commitment to voters;
transparent accountability in
city government.

If you follow the link, to his
campaign website, you can click
on "issues" and then on,
"Government Transparency",
link.

There to find;

"As Mayor of Albuquerque, a top priority for Richard Berry
will be to bring fiscal responsibility, transparency and
accountability to City Hall.

“Good government is accountable to the people and an open and transparent City Hall is imperative if the city government is to earn the trust of its citizens. Under the current administration, this city does not have an adequate level of transparency, especially in the area of searchable on-line data pertaining to financial and contractual matters. My goal is to allow each Albuquerque citizen the ability to track his or her tax dollars with the click of a mouse,” said Berry.

A Berry Administration will work with the City Council and other community leaders to create a user-friendly, searchable website at City Hall that will allow citizens and advocate groups to track government spending. Searchable information to be targeted will include:

The City’s “Checkbook” and General Ledger Accounts
Contract Amounts and Vendors;
Government Salaries; and
Study/Program Data.

“The reason for open government is simple: Government should not be afraid to shed light on how they spend taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers deserve to know how government allocates their money and they deserve to know the results achieved through government spending. Implementation of a system to make government more transparent will be a priority of my administration,” said Berry."
In essence; the candidate promises, the truth about
government spending at "the click of a mouse".
His platform on transparent accountability has only that one
plank.

No mention is made of the availability of public records, or of
webcasting our business being done in city hall.

Although "accountability" is listed as a "top priority",
no mention is made of the mechanism he will provide,
under which "accountability" can be had. There is not
accountability to any standard, if the least powerful person
cannot lodge a legitimate complaint against the most powerful,
and the complaint will see due process.


Berry's competitor,
Senator Richard Romero
has offered voters a better deal.

Romero has pledged to hold
himself accountable to a nationally
recognized, accepted and respected
code of ethical conduct. link

He has promised to hold himself
accountable as a role model of the
same higher standard of conduct
as 90,000 of his constituents who are students in the APS.

In the bidding war for voters, Berry's commitment to ethical
reform falls short of Romero's.

Marty Chavez of course, will be a
no show at any discussion of ethical
reform.

He has little choice as, the actual
record
of this supposed
"Founding Father of
Character
Counts!
will betray any claim
he might be inclined to make,
to the contrary.

Marty Chavez is simply out of the
picture, when ethical reform is on the table, because he has a
record from which he cannot hide, and the record is not one of
ethical reform in city hall.

The good news for voters is that ethical reform is on the table
in the Mayoral election, and a bidding war is going on.

The hands down winner in this war, will be transparently
accountable government and, the good citizens of the city of Albuquerque.

Rock on!




photos Mark Bralley

Ending the embezzlement of public funds is a "no-brainer".

The Journal reports this morning, link, that a bookkeeper
in a very small school district, managed to steal $300K in
eleven months from two of eleven accounts she has managed.
State Auditor Hector Balderas says he has his best auditor
on the case. The auditor will be looking at nine other accounts,
and 10 other years.

Balderas' guy will find a lot more missing money.
He will probably find all of the missing money.
(Apparently, the embezzlement was not all that clever;
checks were deposited directly into accounts under her own name.)


You have to ask yourself;
if this bookkeeper knew that at the end of every fiscal year,
forensic accountants would look at her books very carefully,
looking specifically her embezzlement,
would she have embezzled the money anyway?

The logical answer is, no.

So all we have to do, to end the embezzlement of public funds,
is to have the books forensically audited every year.

We can make it impossibly difficult to hide embezzlement.

So why don't we?



In a recent interview, State Auditor Balderas said flat out,
his office underfunded and understaffed. The legislature's
failure to support the Auditor's Office, has made it impossibly
difficult for him to make it impossibly difficult to embezzle public money.

If he had the support he needs, he could save taxpayers
hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Do the math;
Balderas + adequate funding = no more embezzlement.





Worth noting;

There is only one candidate
for statewide office, who
is on the record, in support of
giving the Auditors Office
the independence and
financial support it needs
to stop the rip off.

Sheriff Greg Solano, link.




photos Mark Bralley

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lt. Governor Candidate Greg Solano steps up on ethics reform.

Sheriff Greg Solano is the first
statewide candidate to step up with
a comprehensive plan to end the
culture of corruption at once and
for all.

The plan of course, is simple;

  • an ethics commission,
  • strategic enhancements of the State Auditors Office and the Office of the Attorney General,
  • robust web casting of government,
  • and real transparency.
This is the candidate we have been waiting for.

Voters finally have a straight up choice; real reform or,
the same old, same old.

Read about it on his website; link




photo Mark Bralley

All we need is a simple audit.

At the end of every fiscal year, forensic auditors will be paid
whatever it costs, to ferret out corruption, incompetence,
and the practices that enable them, in the leadership of the APS.

They will look for inescapable accountability to unequivocal
standards of conduct and competence.

And then, they will report to the public record.
They will tell us the truth.

It would cost a few tens of thousands of dollars and
could save millions.

Not only that, but we would be doing a far better job of
protecting taxpayers' investment in their public schools and
in the education of 98,000 of their sons and daughters
in the APS.

There is no down side, except for the corrupt and the
incompetent in the leadership of the APS,
those whose records cannot stand scrutiny.

I propose that the Superintendent's contract contain a clause
that ties his continued employment to a clean audit every year.



If Winston Brooks
can't get that done,
then we need to find for us
a Superintendent who can.

Our power, our resources,
our call.



photo Mark Bralley

"I for one will vote no ..."

It is as essential as it can be, that in the $650M school bond
issue election next February, the issue pass.

Our generation owes the next generation,
the best schools and education that we can provide.

That said, we need to vote no. We have no other choice.

The level of incompetence and corruption has risen to a
level that simply cannot be tolerated; even if it means
voting down a bond issue.

This is a comment recently posted on this blog;

"I for one will vote no on each and every bond issue that
they throw at us until they have an annual forensic audit.
This means that I will go to the polls and vote no.
Staying home and not voting doesn't count.
You need to go out to the polls and vote no!"


President John Kennedy observed that;
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
make violent revolution inevitable.

What other choice do we have, in order to compel
a full scale forensic audit of the entire leadership of the APS?

In the absence of that audit and the appropriate measures
taken, it is so stupid to give them even one more dime, that
we have no choice but to, vote no.

APS School Board Member, David Robbins promised voters an audit.

When David Robbins was running
for the school board,
he ran on one issue in particular,
the need for an impartial audit of
the leadership of the APS.

Since he was elected; not one word.

His other campaign pledge, to restore
administrative and executive role modeling
of the Student Standards of Conduct,
is another as yet, unmet campaign promise.


School Board President Marty Esquivel
is another who spoke up unequivocally
on the need for an audit, link and then
slipped quietly over to the dark side, link.

He never raised the issue again.

What happens to decent people during
their first meeting behind closed doors?

Are they threatened with violence?
Are they promised a share of the booty?

What gets said,
that makes principled men abandon their principles?




photos Mark Bralley

How do you screw up laying sod? !!

Taxpayers are out about $40K, because they are having to pay
to resod the field at Double Eagle Elementary School.

According to the Journal, link

"The sod that was put down was put down incorrectly, and the soil was not properly prepared. So, although it looked nice, once the kids walked on it, it came up, which was causing a safety hazard because they couldn't run on it without pulling it all up," (APS Director of Communications, Rigo) Chavez said.
Reporter Juan Carlos Rodriguez wrote;
Albuquerque Public Schools, like many property owners,
probably wishes someone else would take care of the lawn.
Somebody needs to take care of our lawn. Taxpayers look
to the leadership of the APS to handle that responsibility.
If they're not up to it, perhaps we need new leadership.

If we can't trust them to take care of $20K worth of sod, how
can we trust them with $650M worth of bonds?

An impartial standards and accountability audit, of the entire
leadership of the APS, would give taxpayers a real good idea of
whether the leadership of the APS can be trusted to take better
care of the next $650M, than they took of the last $20K.

APS Superintendent Winston Brooks is yet to explain to the community why he will not commence an impartial standards and accountability audit, before the bond issue election.

If Brooks really wants the bond issue to pass, what better argument could he offer to wary voters, than to be able to point to an impartial audit of the leadership of the APS, which finds standards and accountability enough to protect the public interests, and $650M dollars, from incompetence and corruption.

The only reason not to audit is that, that is not the conclusion which auditors will draw.

According to former APS Chief of Police, Gil Lovato, any audit that revealed the truth about the leadership of the APS,
"would not leave a single senior administrator left standing."

What other reason is there, not to discuss an audit openly and
honestly, except that he has no intention of commissioning an
audit, he knows that his position is indefensible, and he knows
that the only defense of an indefensible position is to hide it.

What other reason could the Journal have for not investigating
and reporting upon the need for an audit, except that they
agree with the leadership of the APS;
The outcome of the bond issue election is just
too important to risk telling voters the truth, and
then letting them make up their own minds.




photo Mark Bralley

Green side up! Green side up!

A group of dignitaries were touring Double Eagle Elementary
School
in the Northeast Heights. As they went from room to
room, Winston Brooks would go to the window,
stick his head out, and yell;

Green side up!, green side up!.

When asked why he was doing this, he explained;
"APS M&O is on the playground laying sod."

They managed to lay the sod incorrectly anyway, link,
and now taxpayers are out another $39K, more than enough
money to hire two, maybe three EAs for an entire year.

OK, so M&O workers are not on top of the rocket science
involved in laying sod. But what about their supervisor, and his,
the APS Executive Director of Sod for Elementary Schools,
who makes at least $105K per year, probably more.

Another $39K wasted by the leadership of the APS and their
steadfast refusal to provide honest accountability to meaningful
standards of competence, for any APS senior administrator, ever.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden says New Mexico is among the first in the nation, to spend stimulus money.

If the New Mexico Independent has it right. link

Since, according to the State Auditor Hector Balderas,
at least part of those funds are going to be lost or stolen
according to our culture of corruption, it would also make us
among the first in the nation, to start lining the pockets of
corruption and incompetence.

yea

Peelian Principles

Peelian Principles link, were developed by
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet
link, more than a century ago,
to define an ethical police force.

They still resonate today.


We had a right to know.

The armed takeover of the Denny's restaurant was the 9th in
a series of armed robberies.

The Albuquerque Police Department, by their own admission, was well aware of the robberies; in fact,
they had mounted a coordinated defense.

The community, however, was not aware at all.
They were kept in the dark.

When we decide whether or not to go out to breakfast,
we make that decision based on the facts that we are aware of.

Nervous Nellie, who would not have gone to Denny's that day,
because of an outbreak of armed takeovers of restaurants
in her neighborhood,

had a right to know the truth.

Ray Schultz had an obligation
to tell the truth to the community.

And now he needs to explain to us
why he did not.

Uninformed Community Policing
is oxymoronic.

How can there be community policing
if the community is kept in the dark?






Mayor Marty Chavez
had
an obligation to tell the truth
to his constituents.

And now he needs to
explain to us

why he did not.






The Journal had a responsibility to tell us the truth as well.


There is something called a police blotter.
In it, there is a record of any incident
involving action by police.

The Journal, our newspaper of record,
in the person of TJ Wilham, is
supposed to pay attention to that blotter,
and then tell us about anything
we might need to know.


Some papers publish the blotters, as a matter of course.


And now they need to explain to us why they did not.

What else that we should know about,
are they not telling the truth about?


Mayoral Candidate Richard Romero
has promised to hold himself honestly
accountable to a standard of conduct
that requires him to tell the truth. link

So far, he is the only one.

The rest remain accountable
only to the lowest acceptable
standard of conduct; the law.

The law does not require a mayor to tell the truth;
it prohibits him only from telling a lie.


The difference is not insignificant and, can not be ignored.

Romero said that if he is elected, he will tell the truth.
He will tell the truth about the number of police officers actually
on the street. He will tell the truth about data on the red light cameras.

You cannot trust people who will not tell you the truth;
nor should you.

If the question is;

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth?
and they won't answer, it means, no.

And that answer should end their candidacy for ever.

What difference does their stated position on any issue make,
if at the same time, they won't promise to tell you the truth?


It is time to elect people who will promise to tell us the truth.


From; every candidate who seriously expects anyone to vote
for them;
1. Do you promise to tell the truth?

2. What, exactly, did you mean by that?
else; no vote for Mayor, or for any other public office that is
filled by election.





photos Mark Bralley

New record set for one person embezzlement of public money in New Mexico.

The bar has been raised for anyone seeking to hold the record
in New Mexico, for embezzlement of public money by one
person. According to KRQE, link, the business manager for
the Jemez Mountain School has been looting the district
accounts, perhaps for as long as a decade. (She set the new record
in a single year; audits of previous years are apparently underway.)

NM State Auditor Hector Balderas was asked to investigate
the case, by the school's superintendent.

Balderas, in the KRQE report, said;

"I put the top auditor on this case; he's never seen
anything like this in his 25 year career."
Balderas said his investigator found that business manager
Kathy Borrego took $292,399 from two district bank accounts
in the last 11 months.

UPDATE: the final tally was over $3M, stolen over ten years.

So how did she get away with it for so long without being found out?

Balderas has stated on a number of occasions, that his office is
underfunded and understaffed. link


In an interview for Diogenes,
Balderas
said;
when the stimulus money
finally gets to New Mexico,
he does not have resources
enough to protect it.

It is possible to make it impossibly difficult to hide corruption.

If all government spending was forensically audited every year,
Balderas estimates that it would save New Mexico taxpayers
between $120M and $240M every year.

If the Office of the State Auditor were adequately funded,
it would be impossibly difficult to hide embezzlements such
as these, and no one would try.



If the Bernalillo County Courthouse
project had ended with a forensic audit,
and everyone knew that it was going
to end with an audit,
Manny Aragon and his cronies
would not have even tried to steal tax
dollars, much less have nearly gotten away with it.



So why is the Auditor's Office, the watchdog over the spending
of 6 billion tax dollars every year, underfunded and understaffed?

Why is his office underfunded? except that those responsible for
establishing the funding for the Office of the State Auditor,
do not want it to be made impossibly difficult to embezzle
hundreds of thousands of dollars, without getting caught.

Are we going to listen to him? Are our representatives in
Santa Fe going to give him the resources that he needs
to protect our investment in our government, before
hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars are subject to plunder?

My Magic 8-ball wikilink, sez;
Don't count on it





photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Richardson resignation rumor growing legs.

It started with a rumor that Diane Denish's transition team
had reconvened. That rumor has gained some traction. link.

Now another rumor that
Governor Bill Richardson

has been meeting with the
US Attorney, Gregory Fouratt

on the QT.

Stir the two together and you
arrive at an interesting surmise;
Richardson is cutting a deal
to resign rather than be indicted
in some pay to play scam.

No lie.




photo Mark Bralley

Good Allegigator! Good!!

It would appear that my confidence in my allegigator, who
had alleged that Diane Denish's transition team is up and
running again, is warranted. link

Congressional candidate, Jon Barela and, standards and accountability.


When Jon Barela was serving on the APS School Board, he was asked to put standards and accountability on the table for a candid, forthright, and honest discussion.

He would not. link

Will he now?




photo Mark Bralley

The future of divergent thinking in the NMRP; no Weh.

If the Republican Party of New Mexico needs anything more
than it needs young Republicans, I can't imagine what it would
be.

Young Republican, Patrick Marron was thrown of the
Republican Party Convention, by Allen Weh, for
divergent thinking.

According to photo journalist and blogger, Mark Bralley, link,
when it was suggested that Weh's actions were
"heavy handed", Weh disagreed;





“It’s my bat, my ball,
and he [Marron]
struck out.”






To my knowledge, Weh has never apologized to Marron,
in private or in public. He is apparently unrepentant.

"My bat, my ball, he struck out"

Is this any way to attract young Republicans?

Were that not bad enough, the meeting had already been
closed to the press,
by Weh.

What are we doing, that we need to hide from the press?

Enough, already. It's time for some divergent thinking.

No Weh.




photo Mark Bralley

Diane Denish gives back the money. So what? ??

Lt. Governor Diane Denish
has donated to charity, link,
campaign contributions from those
who have been indicted in the
housing authority scandal.

So what?

There is some conventional wisdom
on guilt by association at play here;

Birds of a feather flock together, and

We are known by the company we keep.

A shoplifter who returns stolen goods is still a shoplifter.

And Diane Denish is still more than casually associated with
the people who have been indicted in criminal conspiracies to
defraud taxpayers, even if she did donate their contributions
to charity.

Coincidentally, still nothing from the Denish camp, on their
plan to end the culture of corruption in Santa Fe.
Hopefully, she will come up with something a little deeper than
severing ties with seamy people only after they are indicted.

In fairness, no Republican candidate for governor, has laid their
plan to end the culture of corruption in Santa Fe on the table either.

Someone is going to be the first.
Everyone else is going to be among the last.




photo Mark Bralley

The best part of Richard Romero's plan goes unsung.

Mayoral Candidate Richard Romero
held a news conference on the steps of
the police department, to present his
plan to address rising crime rates in
Albuquerque.


In my opinion, Romero left out the best
part; his promise, link, to bring a new
level of transparency to city government,
including the development of budget
priorities for the Albuquerque Police
Department.


There is a consensus in Albuquerque, that Mayor Marty Chavez is not being honest with the public over the actual numbers of police boots on the ground. In start contrast, Senator Romero has pledged to be honest with voters about those issues. He said that, voters will also finally learn the truth about the statistics regarding the red light cameras, another source of mistrust between the current Mayor and his constituents.

According to an old Japanese proverb;

No one of us, is as smart as all of us.

Part of the transparency accountability that he has promised
to bring to city government, is the intention to make the
development of city budgets, an open process; subject to
public scrutiny.

For the first time, stakeholders will be at the table when the
decisions are made that divvy up and allocate resources.

Line items, such as the squad of thugs that Mayor Chavez
has following him around to protect him from the press, link,
won't survive in a budget process that is subject to public scrutiny.

It has been argued that, a rising tide lifts all boats.
The rising tide of transparent accountability to the public, will
bring new efficiency and effectiveness to the Police
Department,
and to the Fire Department, and to Solid Waste,
and Parks and Recreation, and to every other department in
city government.

There is a reason that Mayor Marty Chavez doesn't talk about
transparent accountability in city government. And no reason,
that Richard Romero cannot.




photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

APS' Administrative Processes Audit

The leadership of the APS recently audited themselves on
their administrative processes. There is the immediate issue
of the appearance of a conflict of interest, anytime that someone audits them self.

Never the less; the findings; (emphasis added)

Finding 1;

The Board Office and Instruction & Accountability departments did not respond to multiple requests for information on this audit.

It is apparently still possible for senior
APS administrators to ignore requests
from the Director of Internal Audit,
Margret Koshmider
without consequence. link

This despite an APS Procedural
Directive
which reads in significant
part;
"All ... employees of the district shall furnish the Internal Auditor with requested information and records ...

If such officials or employees fail to produce the aforementioned information, the Internal Auditor shall notify the APS Audit Committee ..."
The senior administrators involved have failed to obey an APS Procedural Directive.

You have to ask yourself why they would do that? except that there is something to hide, and except that there is no consequence for good ol' boys who ignore APS Procedural Directives.

The audit recommends that these senior administrators,
"... familiarize themselves with policies and procedural directives ..."
There is no recommendation that would compel them to actually obey the directive. There is no recommendation to examine the oligarchy that allows good ol' boys to ignore procedural directives without consequence in the first place.

Finding 2;
Minutes of Board Meetings and Committee Meetings are not consistently posted.

The spirit of the NM Open Meetings Act, requires that stakeholders know what is going on in meetings in which their interests are being decided upon.

According to the Journal, link;

The auditor said APS was violating the state Open Meetings Act by failing to post updated board and committee meeting minutes on the Web site.

School board president Marty Esquivel said APS is in compliance with open records laws, which do not require postings on the Internet.

Esquivel said state law requires only that minutes be made available upon request.

"This is probably a case where open government laws have not caught up with the technology of today," said Esquivel, an attorney who works with the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.


APS School Board President, Marty Esquivel claims to be on the side of open government. He is a heavy hitter in the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

Yet;

here he is using legal weaselry,
loopholes and technicalities to
except himself from accountability
to the spirit of the law.

Esquivel believes that since they
removed the role modeling clause
from their own code of conduct,
they are no longer accountable to the
APS Student Standards of Conduct,
under which, legal weaselry is prohibited.

Frankly, I am not so sure that he is even right on the law.
Since APS has a "tradition", however spotty, of publishing
the minutes on the Internet, they have established "past practice" which I think is currently binding under the law.

If pushed, APS/Modrall lawyers will litigate that there really
is no such thing as past practice. They will argue that point,
against the public interest and, on the taxpayer dime.

Finding 3;
Policies and procedural directives are not posted in a timely manner after approval by or presentation to the Board of Education.
Finding 4;
The APS Directory has not been properly updated ...
Finding 5;
Public records requests are not handled in a consistent manner. The District does not have a written policy or procedural directive related to requests for the inspection of public records.
Finding 6;
Two versions ...of the APS Employee Handbook are currently posted on the APS Intranet and the APS Internet.
Finding 7;
The APS Policies and Procedures link on the Risk Management Department website is incorrect.

Two policies and eleven procedural directives are not contained in the Risk Management link to the APS policies and Procedures.


These findings together beg at least one question;
How is it that a hundred years into this effort, the leadership of the APS still isn't getting even the simplest things done correctly or on time?

The answer is that the leadership of the APS has not written or enforced meaningful standards of conduct and competence, on each other.

The leadership of the APS is an oligarchy where administrative
evaluations are "subjective and unrelated to promotion ..."

It is the Peter Principle on steroids and a complete lack of
accountability to anyone other than each other.



Per the intention previously
expressed by Paula Maes,
this audit, like every other audit
did not name the names
of the corrupt and
incompetent senior
administrators whose
corruption and/or
incompetence are the
proximal cause of the various problems cited in the audit. Nor did the audit name the "executive directors" who then failed to respond to repeated requests from the auditor for information related to the audit.




photos Mark Bralley

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is the Republican Party of New Mexico still being run by thugs?

Has the New Mexico Republican Party changed one iota?

I'm still steaming over the piece on Democracy for New Mexico, link

Allen Weh and Darren White are still players in the NMRP.

How much can it have changed?

"threats made by NM GOP bigwigs, including State Chair Allen Weh ..."

I stumbled across a post on Democracy for New Mexico, link
which reminds me that Allen Weh has some explaining to do.

He needs to explain how he was party to threatening good and
decent fellow Republicans who would run against Darren White
in CD1.

He needs to explain why he threw Patrick Marron out of the
State Party Convention, link, for asking why he could not
videotape the proceedings. And he needs to apologize,
as an example of what he means when he says;

" “The chief executive has to be the role model for
integrity,” " Weh said." Haussamen writes, link,
And, since he brought it up, he needs to explain how he
plans to end the culture of corruption in Santa Fe.

The man is a warrior.

He knows you don't go into battle
without a plan.

There has to be more of a plan to
end the culture of corruption,

than a plan to plan the plan.




photo Mark Bralley

Bad allegigator! Bad!! or not.

I reported that my allegigator had told me that Diane Denish
had reconvened her transition team. link

Two heavier hitters than I, have let me know that the people
that they know, say it's not true. Gwyneth Doland, whom I
respect, apparently tweeted a denial according to a "spokesperson".

I know the name of my allegigator, I don't know the name of
anyone who is denying the rumor.

Beware the non-denial denial.

APS and the appearance of impropriety.

APS recently put two administrators on leave, for reasons
which the leadership of the APS chose not to share because
it is a "personnel issue".

By releasing their names and nothing else, they have started
the grinding of a rumor mill, link, that will destroy these men's
reputations, no matter what it is that they really did.

Destroying their reputations works the advantage of
APS/Modrall, should either of these gentlemen want to
litigate against the leadership of the APS,
as a result of what is being done to them.

It's the way they roll.

I've seen it.

I've experienced it.



UPDATE: The link no longer functions. It was to the KOB Topix Forum.
On it, the men were accused of everything under the sun, including child
molestation. I suspect that the thread was taken down by forum
administrators, because it had finally gotten so outrageous.

APS' poorest schools have the poorest teachers.

The Journal reports, link, that the poorest APS schools have
the poorest teachers; poorest in the sense of lowest paid.

And if you believe that education and experience are generally
good measures of good teaching, they have the poorest
teachers in the sense of least qualified, as well.

This isn't OK.

Poor children have a right to an "average" teacher,
the same kind of teacher that rich kids have a right to.

The situation is the result of natural selection.

Which does not justify allowing it to come to be in the first
place, and does not justify having allowed it to continue.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I pledge allegiance, ...

Santa Fe bureaucrats are about deciding whether to continue
to insist that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance,
in two languages, at the beginning of every school day,
every athletic competition, and at the beginning of every
meeting on school property, of more than two dozen people.
Journal link.




A typical student will recite the pledge about 2,500 times
between kindergarten and graduation.

S/he will invest the equivalent of 12 full school days in the
13 year long endeavor.

There are those who believe that in so doing, we are creating
bilingual patriots.

Having witnessed 137,250 individual pledges, in two
languages, I honestly don't believe that we have created
patriots at all.

How can you be a patriot, how can you pledge allegiance to,
something you know nothing about?

We would be far better off spending a couple of minutes each
day, talking about current events. And about the fact that there
really is not liberty and justice for all; not in this country, and
not in the world.

If we decide in the end to continue to pledge, I suggest an
addendum;

I pledge allegiance to the Pillars of Character Counts!.

Not only will we be turning out 100,000 patriots every year,
but they will be patriots who are also good citizens, who are
caring and fair, respectful and responsible, and worthy of trust.





photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What part of the next generation shall we save?

To save a child;

To have them grow into adults who are happy and
productive members of their communities.

To have them grow into good citizens, caring and fair,
respectful and responsible, and trustworthy.
Communities once saved children. Schools taught them how
to perform on Standards Based Assessments, and the
community rounded them out; parents, extended families,
churches, scouting, sports, ..., all played a part in creating an
ethic in children that would serve them as adults.

Today there is left, only the schools.

More kids than ever have no engaged parents, no church,
no sports, ... The acculturation of an entire generation of
children has been turned over to music, movies and other
children.

One could argue that schools have no business raising kids.

It could be argued that communities should step up to their
responsibilities in raising the next generation of children into
the next generation of adults. But there is no reason to believe
that they will.

The simple truth is that, you cannot make parents who do not
care, into parents who do. You cannot make parents who are
disengaged for whatever reason, into parents who are. You
can not make them willing to make the substantial sacrifices
that must be made in order to ensure their children's success.


The simple truth is that, if schools don't pick up the slack,
no one will. Only part of the next generation will be equipped
with the skill set and knowledge, to be happy and productive adults.


Theodore Roosevelt wrote;
"To educate in the mind, and not in the morals,
is to create a menace to society."
And those are the ones who graduate. The ones who don't,
stand a very real chance of amounting to nothing more than
a drain on society, at best.

By all means, let's try to get the community to reengage in
raising their children. Let's give them all of the direction and
assistance that we can.

Let's just not put all of our eggs in that one basket.

Lt Gov Diane Denish's transition team back in business.

One of my allegigators reports that;

Diane Denish has reconvened her transition team.

My take; you don't need your transition team up and working
unless there is a transition in the offing, and we're not talking
about after the next election.

Perhaps some pay to play chickens are coming home to roost
in the Governor's Office after all.

"... when the waves turn the minutes to hours."

It's a line from a Gordon Lightfoot song about the sinking
of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and refers to the apparent slowing
of time while you're waiting for something bad or scary to end.

The minutes seem like hours to me, as I watch the glacial
pace of the criminal justice system as it tries to get a handle
on the corruption in state government.

It has been years, literally, since we found out about the
Housing Authority scam, link, and now, years later, finally
the indictments. The court process will probably add more years
before justice is done.

I suspect that I am not the only one, who watches the endless
foot dragging, wondering if it really takes this long to process
the paperwork, or if political cronyism is at play.

How will we ever know?


Who looks over the Attorney General's
shoulder, and then reports back to us?



I am long past the point where
I can just take this all on faith.




photo Mark Bralley

Sheriff Greg Solano, candidate for Lt Governor.

I had never seen, nor heard
Sheriff Greg Solano before the
Bernalillo County Democratic
Party meeting the other night.

Very much not a politico, of the
New Mexico variety, Solano
comes across as the guy who
lives in your neighborhood,
who wants to see if he can
do something to help his
community.

He did one thing, at the meeting Thursday, which I found quite
remarkable. He was asked a campaign financing question by
radio reporter and blogger, Peter St Cyr, link.

With very little hesitation, he replied that he wasn't able to
answer St Cyr's question on the spot, but that he would think
about it, and then post the answer on his blog, link.

And then he did, within hours.

We have been electing people based on traditional credentials
for ages, and look where we are.

Maybe it's time to elect some people who are just straight up
decent, honest people (albeit with little "political" experience)
and see what they can do for awhile.




photo Mark Bralley

Friday, June 19, 2009

I have a follow up question for Lady Overcast.

Senator Linda Lopez is running for Lt Governor.

She is afraid of
an Ethics Commission that
has "too much power". link

I will ask her at the very next
opportunity, to cite an example,
hypothetical or otherwise, of
how government oversight
with "too much power",
might run amok, and against
the public interest.



Personally I can't think of one.

Neither, I would bet, can she.




photo Mark Bralley

There is no such thing as incremental ethics reform.

First and foremost, ethical reform means truth telling.

If it is alright for politicians and public servants to tell the truth
incrementally, then it is alright for you and I to tell the truth
incrementally.

So, if you ever find yourself in a court of law, and you are asked;

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
you may respond;
"I do, incrementally."

What is your plan to end the culture of corruption in state government?

That was the question I asked several times last night at a
Democratic Party of Bernalillo County meeting.

The meeting featured some speechifying by one candidate
for Governor, and three for Lt. Governor. All answered questions
after they introduced themselves.



Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino,

running for the second slot,
was the first to field the question.
He offered nothing new;
campaign finance reform and an
ethics commission.






Next up to bat; was Senate Majority
Leader Michael Sanchez,

who is running for governor.

It is always interesting when
Sanchez responds to ethics
reform questions, because he
seems always, to take them
as a personal insult.



Instead of offering a plan to end the culture of corruption at
once and for all, he pointed to the number of good and hard
working democrats serving the state. Apparently, there are no
good and hard working republicans serving us in Santa Fe.

The bottom line; Sanchez has nothing new to bring to the table,
he is still an obstructionist when it comes to ethics reform.

Next up, Senator Linda
Lopez.
Her eyes met mine,
but she didn't call on me,
apparently unwilling to
answer the question she
knew I was going to ask.
She called on someone else,
who asked basically the same
question; so it ended with
her having to answer it anyway.

Lopez is the chair of the Senate Rules Committee, which was
the jumping off point for ethics reform bills in the legislature.
I think that it is fair to say that, she is personally responsible for
the fact that ethics commission legislation didn't make it out
of Senate Rules. She claimed that there was just too much to
do to get around to considering an ethics commission.

She is deathly afraid of an Ethics Commission which might
have "too much power". You can watch and listen to her beat
around the bush in a video on Peter St. Cyr's site, link.

Lopez is in favor of "incremental" ethics reform. The word
incremental could be replaced by "begrudging", like pulling
teeth. She is clearly not a big fan of ethics reform.

The gaping hole in her position on ethics reform, is an argument
posited by a number of anti-ethics reform politicians;

"You can't make people be ethical".
The argument is specious; it sounds good, but isn't sound.

The object is not be make people be ethical, it is to hold them
accountable when they are not.

You can't make people be law abiding either. But you can hold
them accountable when they are not. Enforcing a higher
standard of conduct than the law, is no different than enforcing
the law; you write rules, you hold people accountable to them.

Sheriff Solano, ran out of time
before I could ask him the same
question. I spoke to him later
about the obvious end to the
culture of corruption;
transparency enough, to make it
impossibly difficult to hide
corruption.

The argument seemed to resonate
with him, but no commitment
to promising it.




So far, Mayoral Candidate
Richard Romero
is still the only
candidate who has answered the
question by promising to shine
the light of day on the spending of
the public power, trust and treasure.



Richard Romero is still the only candidate who has expressed
willingness to be held honestly accountable to "telling the truth"
as opposed to the going standard, "don't tell lies". Romero said
that he is willing to step up as a role model for the 90,000
constituents, students in the APS, who are told that their
character counts, and rides on their willingness to tell the truth.

Telling the truth, will end the culture of corruption.
Telling no lies, will perpetuate it, for ever.

It is fascinating to discuss truth telling with these people.
You can see that most of them would get on board with truth
telling, but are unwilling to burn the bridge back to the place
where they can be held accountable only for telling lies;

just in case.