Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Say it ain't so, Phil."

the Shoeless Joe Jackson story Wikilink,(derived)

Attorney General Gary King is tight lipped about the names of those who are working on his campaign staff. Twice, at least, they have flatly refused to identify even one.

King penned a post of his own on Heath Haussamen's site; link, where on, I asked him to identify his campaign staff.
No response; either King doesn't know the question is there (he "doesn't read blogs" and knows no one who does, and who will tell him he has been called out) or, he doesn't want to answer. He doesn't want to tell the truth, or tell a lie; any answer would have to be one or the other - assuming of course that he knows the answer.

I finally have confirmation that Phil "the bean" Sisneros is in fact on King's re-election team. According to an email sent out September 10, 2010, Sisneros lists himself as "media relations". No other members of the re-election team are identified.

People, cynics perhaps, will immediately wonder about the separation of Sisneros campaign duties and the work he does during the day for taxpayers whose servant he is.

I have a history with Sisneros; I have found him generally less than co-operative in his responses to "inconvenient" questions.

At least two people have alleged that Sisneros is in deed, working on the campaign on the taxpayers' dime. Both allegations were anonymous and carry that caveat; they should be taken with a grain of salt, wikilink.

Never the less, the appearance of a conflict of interest and impropriety exists, and a question or two is legitimate.

On King's Haussamen post, more than a week ago, I asked the legitimate question straight out;
Would you give us your word that, none of those who work in your State Office have worked on your campaign on the taxpayer’s dime?
Still no response.

So yesterday, I asked Sisneros straight out, to confirm or deny rumors that he has been working on King's campaign from his office desk;
Mr Sisneros,

I am looking for a candid, forthright and honest answer to following question;
Have you worked on AG King's re-election campaign during any time you were also being paid as his Public Information Officer?
He has apparently, chosen to not respond.

I say, apparently, because I cannot prove he reads his email. Just like I can't prove either of them reads comments on a post they wrote.

So the doubt remains.

And the cynics have more reason than before to believe that Sisneros has not respected the boundaries between his service to King and his service to the people of New Mexico, and that
a cover up is underway.




photo Mark Bralley

The truth; we can't handle the truth.

Either that, or we can handle the truth, and it is those who control it, who can't handle the telling of it.

It is unclear, and more than mildly disappointing, that this story link, on the New Mexico Independent, isn't causing more outrage.

PRC Commissioner Sandy Jones wants to punish the person who leaked the truth about problems in the Insurance Division of the PRC. He argued;

“I don’t think the press (read; the people) (have) free and open access to everything done in government,” Jones said during the meeting. “There are certain practices that shouldn’t be released to the public until they’ve been thought out and worked over and massaged within the agency...” (emphasis added)
I beg to differ. I think a lot of people would beg to differ.

The power belongs to the people.
The resources belong to the people.
The truth, the whole (ethically redacted) truth about how our power and resources are being spent, belongs to the people.

Yet there are those who would first "spin" the truth;
and spin it, and spin it.

It is time for a show down; time to decide at once and for all,
where the line is, between the truth we have a right to know,
and the truth they have a right to suppress?

Journal ignores APS PD no confidence vote.

Nothing in the Journal this morning, on the no confidence vote taken in the APS Police Department or on any of the allegations made of ongoing corruption and incompetence.

The Journal seems reticent to cover any of the corruption there.

After reporting upon the corruption and incompetence that cost APS Chief of Police Gil Lovato his job, link; the Journal stopped covering the story; not one word on the cover up that has the APS PD investigating its own corruption, allowing statutes of limitation to expire on felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators, and the ongoing withholding of evidence from the District Attorney.

Not one iota of the evidence that Lovato claimed "would not leave a single senior APS administrator left standing" has been investigated and reported upon by the Journal.

Not one.

It's almost like the Journal is part of the cover up.

The Journal, Editor Kent Walz, is yet to deny it, or to respond to any questions regarding the ongoing betrayal of their readers' trust.

Denish; complicit or complacent, or hiding something too?

The question arises again in the light of efforts to block a survey of state employees, link. Among other things, the survey would have allowed state government employees, nearly 20K of them, to point to waste of time and resources in their agencies.

The survey was quashed by Governor Bill Richardson on the flimsiest of excuses;

"Richardson's office said that's because the survey's format is flawed -- it guarantees anonymity to respondents without any way of ensuring the intended recipient is actually the one responding."
That is of course, nonsense.

If corruption, incompetence, or a practice that enables them, is exposed, what difference does it make who pointed to it?

Any allegation stands independent of the person who makes it. It is about the message, not about the messenger. Any right to confront one's accuser comes later in the process.

In a culture of fear of retribution and retaliation, anonymity is absolutely critical. Any attempt to identify those who lodge complaints is a thinly veiled effort to keep complaints from being made. Whether or not the complaint even comes from a state employee is of no import. The allegation is either credible or it is not; it merits further investigation or it does not.

This appears to be nothing more than damage control in one of the most corrupt administrations in modern times.

So why is Lt Gov Diane Denish not hopping mad?
Is she afraid she might get burned by the whole truth?

DA Susana Martinez' silence on the issue is troubling.
Is she afraid of the precedent; allowing state workers to
expose corruption and incompetence without fear of
retribution and retaliation?

Denish's silence is a chink in her armor; in her facade of
cracking down on corruption and incompetence.

That Martinez has not stuck her spear into that chink is confounding.




photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Richardson blocks Restructuring Task Force, Denish needs to step up.

The Restructuring Task Force wants to email every state employee, giving them an opportunity to expose corruption, incompetence and the practices in state government that enable them.

Governor Bill Richardson says, no swingin' way, link.
At least, not until his heir apparent gets elected.

Since Lt Gov Diane Denish has been accused of being
"complicit or complacent" about the sea of corruption and
incompetence, she cannot afford to be viewed as going along
with Richardson's obfuscation of efforts to expose the
results of his poor stewardship of the public's trust and treasure.

It would behoove the candidate to stand up and demand that the email survey not only be conducted, but that it be conducted immediately, in order that the results can become part of the political discourse in her run to replace him.

"No confidence" vote rocks APS Police Dept

APS' new Chief of Police Steve Tellez was the subject of a "no confidence" vote by the members of the APS Police Dept.

Details are sketchy, of course; nothing at all in the Journal, but both KOB TV and KRQE have aired reports. Only KOB provides a link.

The charges are familiar to those who pay any attention to APS Praetorian Guard; favoritism of female subordinates and threats of retribution and retaliation against anyone who complains.

This in addition to my allegations that Tellez is sitting on evidence of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators during the last scandal in the APS Police Dept, link, and party to APS School Board President Marty Esquivel's effort to cover up his denial of due process to more than 200 whistleblowers.

Also named, Lieutenant Steve Gallegos, who has participated on a number of occasions in APS' efforts to deny my civil rights; both as a member of the press, and as a citizen.
I snapped this photo of him, the day he, and the rest of the Praetorian Guard, assembled to block my legitimate efforts to attend the Gubernatorial Debate at Eldorado High School.

The union that represents the officers in the department has called for an independent and impartial investigation.

Right, like that is ever going to happen.

Expect Supt Winston Brooks and Esquivel to do everything in their power to limit the scope of any investigation, and of any distribution of its report. That, assuming that they are not able to obstruct the investigation all together.

There are only two kinds of people in the leadership of the APS, the corrupt and/or incompetent, and those with guilty knowledge of that corruption and incompetence.

The leadership of the APS is rotten to the core folks, and the cover up includes the media; in particular Kent Walz and the Journal, and Sue Stephens at KOAT TV.




photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Esquivel's thuggery to prevail

Marty Esquivel is a thug,
a thug with secrets to hide.

He cannot summon the
character and the courage
to hold himself accountable
for the corruption in the APS
Police Department,
or for
the denial of due process
to more than 200 whistle
blower complainants, or
for his personal abdication as the senior most role model of the APS Student Standards of Conduct.

He has betrayed the trust of his constituents, 14,000 employees, and 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.

He enjoys the aid and abet of APS'
new Chief of Police Steve Tellez,
who cannot summon the character
or the courage to just say no to
Esquivel's plan to use Tellez'
officers, who once, individually
swore an oath to defend the
constitution, and who are now
being used by Esquivel to deny
its protection to legitimate dissent.

Tellez now owns the cover up of corruption in the APS Police Department. He owns the fact that they have been investigating corruption in their own department for 3 1/2 years, and still have not concluded the "investigation". They have yet to turn over to the District Attorney, even one piece of evidence of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.

Esquivel enjoys also, the aid and abet of the media, who steadfastly refuse to investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Media like KOAT TV's News Director Sue Stephens who knows about the denial of due process to hundreds of whistleblowers, and who refuses to investigate or report upon what could very well be, criminal misconduct of the APS School Board.

Media like the Journal's Editor Kent Walz who once reported on the corruption, link, and who now steadfastly refuses to report upon the cover up of the lack of consequences for the administrators who were intimately involved.

Yes, Esquivel is going to prevail, apparently. His cowardice and his corruption will be kept secret from stakeholders, even through another school board election.

He will be re-elected and permitted to continue to betray the trust of an entire community for another four years, hiding behind his own cowardice and corruption, and behind the media who will continue offer him their cover.




photos Mark Bralley

First Amendment doesn't recognize "journalists"

Blogger Monahan made mention this morning of "bloggers who call themselves journalists" and in so doing, joins those who would create or enjoy special exceptions for "journalists" (I assume he includes himself) at the expense of "non-journalists" including "bloggers".

The First Amendment reads pretty straightforwardly;
Congress shall make no law ... abridging (the rights of) ... the press ... Not "journalists", "the press".

Congress (read; Mayor Richard Berry, DA Susana Martinez, and Lt Gov Diane Denish) shall make no policy, rule or regulation abridging the rights of the press. (forget for the purposes of this discussion "candidate" Martinez is not "the government").

Yet each of them has denied equal access to members of "the press" based on an indefensible distinction they are drawing between "the press" and "journalists".

The term "journalist" has become a tool of naked discrimination. Folks who can justify calling themselves "journalists" by whatever means, think they deserve more respect than other legitimate members of "the press" who don't meet their standards for being called a" journalist".

Berry's standard, according to his spokesman, Chris Huffman-Ramirez, is; one is not "a journalist" and therefore not "the press", and entitled to equal access under the law, unless they "own a printing press or a broadcasting license".

What utter nonsense!

Berry's position is philosophically indefensible. Yet, might makes right. And with the aid and abet a bunch of snobs with "credentials", he, and the other politicians with the need and desire to hide from "the press, will have their way; they will abridge the rights of the free press, and suffer no consequences at all.

And those who play by their "rules" remain in line for the high paying government jobs spinning the truth rather than telling it, that were the subject of Monahan's post.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why am I standing alone?

There is reader posting endless ad hominem comments;
never a question of fact or logic, just "kill the messenger".

Amid all the chaff, a single grain of wheat; anonymous argues;

If I am right about transparent accountability in government, including the obligation of politicians and public servants to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to any/all legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service, there would be other people standing up beside me.

If I am right about bloggers being entitled to the protection of the First Amendment, there would be others standing up beside me.

If I am right about the cover up of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, and the UNM, and city, county, state and federal government, there would be others standing up beside me.

If I am right about the need for the leadership of the APS to stand up as role models of the same standard of conduct that they establish and enforce upon students, there would be others standing up beside me.

If I am right about the cover up of corruption in the APS Police Department, including the involvement of senior APS administrators in felony criminal misconduct, there would be others standing up beside me.

If I am right that more than 200 APS whistleblowers deserve due process on their complaints, there would be others standing beside me.

If I am right about the Journal, KOAT TV, and the media covering for the leadership of the APS, there would be others standing beside me.

If I am right that candidates Martinez and Denish should stand and deliver candid, forthright and honest answers to any legitimate question, there would be others standing up beside me.

And there are not . (relatively speaking)

Anonymous concludes therefore that because I am standing alone, I am wrong , and worse. Yet she cannot, or will not, offer one single argument against any of those expressed beliefs.

Anonymous wonders; why, am I wasting my time?

I have written on a number of occasions that, the hardest
part of standing alone is, the wondering why.

Apparently, I am not the first to so wonder;

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Martin Luther King Jr.
Yeah, I wonder sometimes about the standing (relatively) alone.

Why do I do it? because once, as a teacher, I looked into the eyes of a whole bunch of children while they were handed tee-shirts that on their front and back, read;
Stand up for what
you believe in ...

... even if you're
standing alone.

Tee shirts are all well and good, but, in the end,
someone has to actually show them what it looks like.

APS Supt Winston Brooks
isn't going to do it.










APS School Board President
Marty Esquivel
isn't going to
do it.










Mayor Richard Berry
isn't going to do it.










Lt Gov Diane Denish
isn't going to do it.










And DA Susana Martinez
isn't going to do it.


Unless and until one of
them, or someone else
steps up, I guess
I'm stuck with it, and
anonymous is stuck
with me.


photos Mark Bralley

Let's stop beating around the bush; who decides, who is "the press"?

There are those who regard the press as the fourth estate, link, integral and essential to the success of Democracy.

There are those, Mayor Richard Berry, DA Susana Martinez, and Lt Gov Diane Denish who apparently regard the press as a tool they can manipulate to their own interests, claiming for example, the right to determine who is, and who is not, a member of the press, and therefore entitled to investigate and report upon them.

It is time to stop playing games.

It is time for these folks to step up and tell the truth.
It is time for some candid, forthright and honest answers to questions about their intentions with respect to the press.

  1. To whom are they giving the authority to decide who and who is not a member of the press?
  2. Upon what standards will that determination be made?
Berry's Chris Huffman-Ramirez will not answer those questions.
Denish's
James Hallinan will not answer those questions.
Martinez's Ryan Cangiolosi will not answer those questions.

Which leads one to the conclusion, that each intends to manipulate the process to their own ends, in blatant disregard for the spirit of the First Amendment to the Constitution which states quite clearly; they will create no law (policy or regulation) abridging the rights of a free press.

“First they came for the blogger least liked and I did not speak out because I was not him.
Then they came for the blogger next least liked and I did not speak out because I was not him.
Then they came for all the bloggers and I did not speak out because I was not them.
Then they came for all journalists and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Martin Niemöller
(derived)

The Journal's Sean Olsen stood and watched as Denish's Hallinan denied "credentials" to the bloggers.

He said nothing; he reported nothing.

And, if he reports something they don't want reported,
they will come for him.

KOAT covering up APS Whistleblower scandal, why?

I recorded an interview with a reporter from KOAT TV.

I pointed to two facts;

  1. APS School Board Policy requires their Audit Committee to "review and approve" all whistleblower complaints, and
  2. they have not reviewed or approved even one. More than 200 whistleblower complaints are being denied due process.
Their failure to provide due process to whistle blower complaints may well be criminal.

I also pointed to the only two excuses that the board has offered to explain their failure. Both come from the mouth of School Board Member David Robbins;
  1. we are breaking no federal laws; and
  2. federal privacy laws preclude public review and approval of complaints.
The first excuse is specious; the board has a responsibility to follow its own published policy regardless of whether the failure to do so violates federal law.

The second is simply deceitful. No one, to my knowledge, has demanded public hearings. The Audit Committee routinely adjoins to executive session to discuss matters that are reasonably kept secret from the public.

I emailed KOAT News Director Sue Stephens and invited her to offer any good and ethical reason for KOAT's failure to follow up on the story. I wrote that I could think of only one reason; to cover up the Board's misconduct; either out of deference to board members, like NM Broadcasters Assoc President Paula Maes, or as an exercise of a personal vendetta against me, as I have often written about her (KOAT's) failure to investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

If she responds; I doubt she will, I will publish her reply.

In the absence of a good and ethical reason to not cover the scandal, the only remaining explanation is that Stephens and KOAT have in fact, joined Kent Walz and the Journal in a cover up of the scandal.

Denish needs to elaborate on Pre-K claim

During the debate yesterday, Lt Gov Diane Denish said she planned to continue her push for Pre-K programs; programs which some call "government daycare".

Denish claimed 24% improvements in children who went to Pre-K.

A quick internet search on the effectiveness of Pre-K points to some disagreement on the overall efficacy. In a nutshell, the data seems to indicate short term gains that disappear by the second or third grade, link.

Since the programs are expensive, it behooves us to dig a little deeper; beginning with expecting Denish to offer some elaboration and corroboration of her claim.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hallinan will neither confirm nor deny



I asked Denish Spokesman James Hallinan to either confirm or deny that he had sent a slanderous email to APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta claiming that I called him one of Denish's "evil henchmen", or words to that effect.

He said that he was going to neither confirm nor deny that he had made the groundless allegation.

"Neither confirm nor deny" is a mechanism used by people caught between a rock and a hard place; he doesn't want to tell the truth and admit what he has done, and he doesn't want to lie by denying it (just in case it shows up as a public record somewhere).

So he neither confirms nor denies.

That Denish gives tacit approval to this kind of weaselry,
doesn't bode well in terms of the weaselry that she will
approve of, either tacitly or overtly, as Governor.

If this young man treats the press like this when his candidate
needs the press, how will he behave when as the Governor's
pio, he will think she no longer does?

How much worse can it get?




photo
Mark Bralley

"Man is free at the instant he wants to be." Voltaire

The same can be said for being a member of the press.

A (wo)man becomes a member of the press at the instant
they regard them self to be.

At what point does one become a member of the press, and
therefore deserving of the First Amendment protection of
the human right to be "the press".

I would argue that any (wo)man who argues that they are the press, is.

At most, "publishing", by any means, even so little as one word to as few as one other person, guarantees the protection afforded by the First Amendment which reads in significant part;

Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom ... of the press ...
Yet there are those in government who claim the right to the most ignominious abridgment of the rights of members of a free press, to deny their existence. There are those, like Mayor Berry's Communications Director Chris Huffman-Ramirez who claim they have the authority to decide who and who is not, the press. Huffman-Ramirez avers that in order for him to extend his "credentials" to a member of the press, that person must demonstrate to his satisfaction, that they "own a printing press" or "a broadcast license"; never mind that broadcasting licenses have nothing to do with credentialing the press, nor does owning a printing press. Apparently, he is graciously willing to extend his prerogative to credential the press to those who can prove to his satisfaction that they work for someone who owns a printing press or broadcast license.

The outrage over credentialing reared its ugly head again today at the Temple Albert Gubernatorial Debate where campaigns were granted the authority to decide who and who was not, a member of the press. Those who did not receive their blessing, were denied entrance in their capacity as members of the press.

There was still room at the inn; empty seats, but not for anyone identifying themselves as a "blogger".

Now I know, and am braced for, the deluge of ad hominem attacks that this post will provoke; anonymous agreement that I am not entitled to recognition as a member of the press. Which brings us to another quote attributed to Voltaire, though possibly, not accurately;
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
and its logical extension;
"I disapprove of the manner in which you exercise your rights as a member of the press, but I will defend to the death your right to exercise them."
It is not up to the Chris Huffman-Ramirezs of the world to determine who and who is not the press. It is not even up to the Susana Martinezs and Diane Denishs of the world to decide. And it is especially not up to the ilk of James Hallinan, a Denish spokesperson who took it upon himself to block the doorway to anyone that he decided was not "the press".

It reflects badly on Denish, that she gave him that much authority to abuse. He does her no service with his abysmal ignorance of the First Amendment, or with his equally egregious arrogance in ignoring the protection it guarantees.

I'll take that bet!

Some sniveling piss ant wrote a lengthy ad hominem attack as a comment on my post; "Anonymous" couldn't sleep last night. I chose to not publish the comment because it failed to include even one specific challenge of any fact or logic in the post. And, I am under no obligation, legally, ethically, or morally, to publish ad hominem attacks.

S/he did offer to make a bet, albeit anonymously and therefore meaninglessly. S/he claimed a willingness to bet that

School Board
Member Paula Maes

never said;

"I will never agree to any
audit that individually identifies
any ..." corrupt or incompetent
APS administrator or board member.





So "anonymous", put your money where your mouth is;
any amount (I would suggest a minimum of $100.00
to make it worth my while to pry the public record loose
from the leadership of the APS) and name an independent
third party to hold the wagers and to adjudicate the bet.

S/he is free to "respect" your cowardly need to hide your identity through out the process.

I look forward to you putting your money where your
mouth is and honoring the bet you proposed.

Right, and a pint of Häagen-Dazs serves four.

Update; "Anonymous" has responded; she will not be putting her
money where her mouth is; no mention of the bet she proposed.
According to the tracking software, she has read
32 posts
on this blog in the last two days and is still unable to point
to a single error in my facts or flaw in my logic. Her relentless
ad hominem attacks provide her vindication of all that I have
written in at least, the last
32 posts.





photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Esquivel's plan

School Board President, open government lawyer, and thug, Marty Esquivel has "revoked" my First Amendment rights to attend and participate in School Board meetings. He did so by means of a letter that is being enforced by a new compliant and corruptible Chief of Police Steven Tellez who is backed up by a whole bunch of police officers that at some point swore to defend the Constitution of the United States

and who now find themselves facing the wrong way on the steps leading to a school board meeting.

It is becoming apparent that Esquivel never intended to offer "due process" at a meeting to "restore" my Constitutional rights. Instead he will illegally order sworn police officers to deny the exercise of the rights of dissidence, until hell freezes over.

APS Police Officer Rohlf in a video grab I took of him "defending the constitution" by telling me that not only was I not going to be able to use my ticket to the Eldorado HS Gubernatorial Forum, but that if I didn't leave campus entirely and immediately, he was going to take me to jail. (the date stamp on the photo is incorrect)

The Constitution in the hands of the leadership of the APS;
in good hands, or what?

"Anonymous" couldn't sleep last night.

So s/he went to my blog, read post after post after post, and then posted an ad hominem attack on each of them. Not one of them contained a challenge of my facts or logic.

Normally, unless they are completely beyond the pale, and in the interests of full disclosure, I go ahead and publish them. Then I post my appreciation for their ad hominem attack.

For what ever reason these cowardly (they always post anonymously) pathetic piss ants have taken to disliking me, the clearest path to discrediting me would be to point to an error that I have made. They can't, so they attack me instead.

Lately, at least one of them is very worked up over my objection to School Board President Marty Esquivel's use of the APS Praetorian Guard to stifle my dissent. S/he writes that it is an appropriate use of government resources to deny me the opportunity to exercise my rights to free speech and to petition my government.

Anonymous is ignorant. If s/he had even a basic understanding of civil liberties, s/he would understand that First Amendment protection was written to protect people exactly like me, from the abuse of people exactly like them.

As offensive as they can sometimes be, the ad hominem attacks are like manna to me; their inability to point to errors in fact or logic sustain me in my belief that indeed, I have it right;
Esquivel
is wrong to hide the truth about;

  • obstructing an independent audit of internal controls in the APS, and
  • denying due process rights to hundreds of whistle blowers, and
  • the leadership of the APS abdicating as role models of the APS Student Standards of Conduct, and
  • covering up of corruption in the APS Police Department of the involvement of senior APS administrators in felony criminal misconduct.
And further that, I have it right;
Mayor Berry is wrong on not requiring PIOs to tell the truth as opposed to spinning the truth to the advantage of their bosses.
  • Public Information Officers have an obligation to answer any legitimate question about the public interests, candidly, forthrightly and honestly.
In addition to his or her ignorance, s/he is mind numbingly naive. S/he wrote last night, that if what I was arguing was actually true, the media would be covering the story. The Journal, for example, is covering up the cover up of corruption they reported, link. Neither KOAT, nor KRQE, nor KOB will investigate or report upon any of the four credible allegations listed above.

S/he can assign neither meaning nor importance to the fact that neither Esquivel nor Mayor Berry has denied the substance of either argument.

When the question is;
will you tell us the truth,
the whole (ethically redacted) truth and
nothing but the truth?
any answer except yes, means no.

It's a "personnel" issue

When public servants are dismissed or reprimanded, little information about the dismissal or reprimand is made available to tax payers.

Certainly, politicians and public servants enjoy the same rights to privacy as citizens; I have argued that premise many times.

It can also be argued, the people have a right to know what is being done with their power and their resources. Indeed, at some point, citizens have the right and ultimate responsibility to hold politicians and public servants accountable for their conduct and competence within their public service.

For example; we hold hold the County Manager accountable for his conduct and competence indirectly. If we think he is doing a bad job, we fire (at election) the County Commissioners who appointed him. If the County Manager keeps secret, the details of his conduct and competence (claiming; it's a personnel matter,) how are we to hold him accountable through the County Commissioners who appointed him and continue to support him.

The line between privacy and the right to know is unclear.
More importantly, it is unexamined.

Consider the recent dismissal of our Inspector General, Janet McHard, link.

If ever there was a position of "champion of the people" the position of Inspector General would be in the running. According to the city's website, link;

Accountability is key to maintaining public trust in our democracy. Inspectors general at all levels of government are entrusted with fostering and promoting accountability and integrity in government.
Our champion apparently enjoyed the support of the City Council and Mayor Berry.

Never the less, she was dismissed this week by the Office of Internal Audit and Investigations.

The Office Director, Carmen Kavelman offered that she was dismissed because she could be; she was in a probationary period and "... had no protection against termination." Beyond that, it is all a big mystery; "Kavelman said she couldn't provide details on why McHard no longer worked for the city. "

As far as we know, McHard may have been terminated for investigating one of Kavelman's friends. I am not suggesting that this is the case, only that we have no idea what the truth is, and therefore conjecture is a reasonable remaining alternative.

It is time for a public discussion of the boundary between "right to know" and "right to privacy". The line needs to be drawn clearly and unequivocally, and reflect the interests of those whose servants are being hired and fired without their input.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rushing to a degree

If the Journal is to be believed, link, the Republican Candidate for State Land Commissioner Matt Rush has told folks he has an Associates Degree.

The stink of it is; though he is only one course away from his Bachelors Degree, he doesn't actually have his Associates Degree.

Lubbock Christian University Registrar Janice Stone said, "Most likely he has all of the qualifications for the Associates Degree ..." but never asked for it.

Rush maintains that he was certain that he did have the degree.

We should take his word for it.

Unless we have a reason to believe that he intended to deliberately deceive voters (by making a claim that was so easy to disprove, an astoundingly stupid act,) we should take his word for it.

Which begs another question; how many "honest mistakes"
can a person make, before his credibility suffers?

One is probably OK, though that will be up to individual voters.

Many more than one, and his credibility becomes "fair game"
for anyone who cares to take a shot.

Why did Barela call 911?

In the Journal this morning, link, we read that Congressional Candidate Jon Barela called 911 because he was being followed (by a Democratic Party employee). I put the employee part in parenthesis because there is no indication that he knew who was following him.

There is indication that he did not feel physically threatened. In fact, if the Journal is to be believed, Barela was "calm" when he called 911 and "... said he did not feel physically threatened" and "the attempts to "fluster and intimidate" him ... "failed miserably."

One cool cucumber, he.

Now all he has to explain, is why he called 911,
a number normally reserved for the exclusive use of people
who do feel intimidated and physically threatened.

Questions? We ain't answerin' no stinkin' questions!

The Journal reports this morning, link, that the leadership of the UNM is not going to answer any more questions about the latest Locksley dust up.

UNM Athletics Vice President denied that UNM Head Football Coach Michael Locksley ever told Journal reporter Greg Archuleta that he would be the only member of the media who would be allowed to watch a videotape of the incident between Locksley and a Daily Lobo reporter.

"We are emphatic that we didn't say that," UNM Athletics Vice President Paul Krebs said ..."
Except that, Archuleta has a digital recording of the interview with Locksley confirming that is exactly what Locksley said.

The recording reveals that Locksley also boasted that his friend, the own of the bar where the incident took place, "... ain't givin' it to nobody else."

Now the UNM, backed into a corner, has taken the same position it took to end Locksleygate Part 1, they refuse to answer any more questions.

UNM President David Schmidly has managed to stay out of the affray so far; conspicuously absent at a time when in a "the buck stops here" kind of a way, he should be stepping up to make sure the truth is told. He still has not responded to requests for an impartial investigation of his handling of Locksleygate 1, which included a referendum by the Graduate and Professional Students Association demanding same.

UNM has disposed of the videotape; a public record. Despite the contrary opinion offered by NM Foundation for Open Government Director Sarah Welsh there may well be a violation of the law concerning the retention of public records.

We will never know, I suppose, because these particular public servants think they can get away with refusing to answer legitimate questions about their
public service and about the spending of the people's power and resource.

The sick truth is; they can.

Independent review slams Insurance Division

"Auditors for a national accrediting organization reviewing the New Mexico Division of Insurance this spring found an inexperienced, marginally trained staff often incapable of performing in-depth analysis of insurance filings, according to a June 24 draft report obtained by The Independent", link.
I am supposing that before the review, few outsiders, i.e., the people, had any idea how bad things were/are. I further suppose, independent reviews of other Divisions in state government would reveal similar problems.

The conclusions we can draw are;
  • there are problems in state government which will not be revealed by existing mechanisms in state government; there is no meaningful self-examination, and
  • there needs to be outside examination on a regular basis.

Gubernatorial Candidate Susana Martinez told members of Rep Janice Arnold-Jones' Saturday morning group, she would support independent audits of every agency of state government.

Lt Gov Diane Denish has offered no such commitment,
nor as part of the culture in Santa Fe; an insider,
is she likely to.

This is precisely the "reform" the feckless Governmental Restructuring Task Force should be creating, but is not.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

APS; "practicing" waste

One wouldn't think the APS has to "practice" wasting money,
but they do.

Blogger and photojournalist Mark Bralley and I filed with the APS, a couple of requests for public records. We are investigating irregularities surrounding the gubernatorial debate ranging from needlessly empty seats to civil rights violations.

APS Custodian of Public Records Rigo Chavez surrendered about 400 pages of records today.

According to the Compliance Guide, link, published by the Office of the NM Attorney General,

B. COPY FEES
A records custodian may charge reasonable fees for copying public records. ... Unless otherwise allowed by law, any fee charged by a public body may reflect only the actual cost of copying, ..." (emphasis added)
If Chavez is to be believed, the charge he levies, 50 cents per page, represents APS' "actual cost".

Therefore, the stack of paperwork in front of us today, cost taxpayers $200.00. APS could have bought maybe four textbooks for the money he spent making needless copies.

Rather allow ourselves to be ripped off by paying almost ten times the going rate for copies, we ran them through a scanner instead.

We have no further need for the $200.00 worth of copies he made. The APS will now pay to dispose of the paper, raising the cost to taxpayers even further.

We asked Chavez to surrender the records in electronic format; send them to us directly in electronic format, rather than sending them, needlessly, to a copier instead.

He refused.

When asked why, he explained; "It is not our practice."

It is also not his practice to use the return receipt function on emails to acknowledge that he has received them.

It is also not his practice to respond to any request by email, preferring instead to spend more tax dollars and time using snail mail.

There is no rule, no regulation, no policy which requires him to print copies of public records, or refuse to acknowledge email requests, or to use email instead of snail mail. He does so, simply because that is his "practice."

His "practices" serve no good and ethical purpose. In fact, they serve only one purpose; to harass people who file requests for public records from the leadership of the APS, by making the process as cumbersome as it can be made.

He brings a whole new meaning to the term; "public servant."

Speaking of wasting resources, Bralley and I were greeted within moments of our arrival at Chavez' office by the leadership of the APS Praetorian Guard; a Deputy Chief, a Lieutenant, and a Sergeant who demanded;
"Weren't you given a letter telling you to stay out of this building?
I informed him;
"No, as a matter of fact I was not. I have been banned from school board meetings, and this is not a school board meeting."
"Oh", he acknowledged, and they left; looking, I would suppose, for donuts, or perhaps for other dissidents to harass.

More money wasted, as is their "practice".




photo Mark Bralley

Policical operatives; running, and ruining, the campaigns

The interests of the people could not be more clear; they want the candidates to sit down and talk about the issues. I can't imagine there is a single voter who wants more negative ads.

Yet the candidates seem to not hear the people.

Instead they hear only their political operatives whose only
advice seems to be; you can win if you continue to deluge voters with wall to wall negative campaign ads.

Any voter, of any political party, who is at all tuned in, realizes that a candidate who cares nothing about what the people want during the campaign season, will care nothing about what constituents want after the election.

Susana Martinez and Diane Denish are like two prize fighters afraid to come out of their corners because the might get hit. So there they sit, waiting for the other to stand up and trip over something, so they can then run out and claim a victory.

No matter how you look at it, it is pathetic.
We deserve better, much better.

Their blatant disregard of the people's interests should count against them. It would, if only there were a forum where that subject will ever come up.

There isn't, so brace yourselves for a deluge of attack ads and a continued disregard for your needs; and then in November, vote for the lesser of the two evils.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Of what, is Esquivel afraid?

APS School Board President Marty Esquivel has it all;

  • lawyers, the Modrall Law Firm,
  • guns, his very own Praetorian Guard,the APS PD
  • and money; unlimited, unwitting support from taxpayers who are think their taxes are being used to educate their kids, when instead, they are being used to litigate exception to the law, for the leadership of the APS.

If he also has right on his side,
why will he not argue his case;
why will he not defend his illegal
restraining order?

Why won't he tell us from where,
he gets the authority to issue a
restraining order?

School Board Policy states
very specifically that school board
members have no authority except when acting as a board.

The board didn't issue this
restraining order, Esquivel did.

Why won't he defend his use
of a publicly funded private
police force, unaccredited,
uncertificated, and un-
accountable to anyone
but
the leadership of the APS,
to illegally deny me the free
exercise of my First Amendment rights?

If I had actually done anything wrong, why didn't he get a legal restraining order?

Why won't he defend his position?

Why, except that his position is indefensible?
Why, except that he cannot find the character and the courage to hold himself honestly accountable for his conduct and competence within his public service?




photos Mark Bralley

Still no meeting with Esquivel and Tellez

Still, I have heard nothing from APS School Board President Marty Esquivel regarding the setting of a meeting that he insists must precede "reinstatement" of my right to attend board meetings and to petition my government.

Accordingly, I have written to him yet again;

Mr. Esquivel,

I am at a loss to imagine a reason you cannot set up a meeting with Chief Tellez in a timely manner, beyond your own lack of character and/or courage. Is there another good and ethical reason about which I might write?

I remind you of the words of William Gladstone who wrote;
"Justice delayed is justice denied."
But then you already knew that, right?

macq

PS Still waiting also, for your reply on the appearance of a conflict of interest regarding;
  1. your public service as a school board member, and
  2. your defense of Bruce Malott, and
  3. your connections to Malott's accounting firm, Meyners + Co, and
  4. their various accounting contracts with the APS
A reader offers a fifth; (I am unaware of the circumstances related to this issue, I merely pass it along as a "reader service")
5. and your deal to sell your land to aps for their soccer field. You know, the one that cost 1 million to build then 800,000 to fix.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

" “She is a Texan,” Denish said."

“She is a Texan,” Lt Gov Diane Denish said, in an interview with the Rio Grande Sun, link.

She offers that as a good reason to vote against DA Susana Martinez for Governor.

And I find myself wondering how prejudice and bigotry like that, is any better or different, than arguing that people should vote for against Martinez because she is Hispanic, or a woman, or short, or any one of a number of other descriptors that buoy prejudice and bigotry, but don't speak at all to legitimate political issues.

Is Susana a Tejana?

Who cares?

Shame on anyone who would cast their vote on so pathetic a basis.

And shame on Diane Denish for feeding that kind of prejudice and bigotry.

Berry's credibility seriously undermined

At the risk of iterating the abundantly obvious, Mayor Richard Berry is the face of his administration. When the discourse surrounds transparency in his administration, it is he who will be held accountable.

His credibility is being undermined, seriously.

It began with a simple and legitimate question asked of the Alb Fire Department pio Melissa Romero;

Who are the gentlemen in this photograph?

Rather than answer that simple and legitimate question, Romero demanded that the question be justified.



The situation was then
brought to the attention
of pio T J Wilhelm,

who is yet to respond.








The next desk upon which the issue landed belongs to Mayor's Office pio Chris Huffman-Ramirez, who, rather that admit that the Fire Department's pio had made a mistake, argued that the question had not been asked by a "real journalist" and began an utterly incredible discourse on who is, and who is not, the "press" and the differential treatment that that premise justified, link.

The issue was then laid, simultaneously on the table of two more pios, Tito Madrid and Ellen Tenenbaum.

Neither of them has chosen to respond.

We are left with Mayor Berry standing up at a news conference and saying;

"... our track record is pretty darn good. People ask us a question and we're pretty good at giving them a straight answer.

We're really making an effort towards that."
I call "bullshit". Five pios were handed a legitimate question, and not one of them chose to respond candidly, forthrightly, and honestly. We are five out of five.

Romero, still, has not identified the two public servants photographed within their public service.

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive”.
Sir Walter Scott




photos Mark Bralley

More PIO disappointment

Mayor Richard Berry's pio Chris Huffman-Ramirez maintains that there are people in the Berry administration who have the authority to decide who is, and who is not, a member of the free press according to the First Amendment.

He has implied, but will not come right out and state, that he is one such.

His standards, in order to "qualify" for First Amendment protection; one has to "own a printing press" (or work for someone who does) or a "broadcast license" (or work for someone who does).

In fairness, Huffman-Ramirez has graciously given his permission for me to

"freely express my opinions on my blogspot" though he'll "... leave news reporting to the professionals who have been trained and educated to do so."
My follow up questions regarding training and education prerequisites , remain unanswered.

Because, according to him, I am not entitled to the "extremely responsive treatment" afforded to "real" journalists; he referred me to the pios who serve the great unwashed - "constituents".

So I wrote the following email to Director of Constituent Services Tito Madrid and Citizen Contact Center Division Director Esther Tenenbaum;
Esther Tenenbaum, Division Director, 311 Citizen Contact Center,
Tito Madrid, Director of Constituent Services, Office of the Mayor,

Ma'am, Sir,

I have been in contact with Chris T Ramirez, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor.

He has informed me that "the city" claims the right to "credential" members the press, over and above the credentials provided under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

I have asked him to identify the person(s) who claims the authority to decide who gets "credentials" and who does not; in order to sort out who gets ""extremely responsive treatment" from Public Information Officers and who has to contact one or the other of you instead."

If you can then;
1) who in city government claims the authority to decide which of the press is "credentialed" and which is not? and
2) by what standards is that decision made?

I am grateful for your time and attention,

ched macquigg
Neither has extended the courtesy of even acknowledging the receipt of my request.

Add two more names to Berry's list of pios who are doing a great job of "telling the truth" as opposed to "spinning" the truth.

Were this not so deeply disturbing on so many levels, and
were it not so philosophically indefensible on any level,
it would be funny.

Instead, it is simple scary, very scary.




photo Mark Bralley

T or C rejects e-mail records requests

Truth or Consequences City Commissioners voted to reject requests for public records which were submitted via email.

That's all good, except that a state law was passed last year, specifically addressing the issue of email requests, and makes them good as gold.

The guy that taxpayers pay to advise the Commission on legal matters, T or C's City Attorney Jay Rubin, was "unaware" of the new law.

The Commission apparently intends to "revisit" "inconsistencies" Tuesday next.

The Journal Reporter Rene Romo,wrote link;

"Rubin said he believed the rule change was adopted out of concern that some e-mailed requests might be lost in transmission. (He apparently offered no scientific explanation for the wayward electrons.)

But TorC resident Brad Grower, who, like several other local gadflies, has filed a variety of public records requests with the city in recent years, said he believed the measure was aimed at making it more difficult for residents to obtain public records ... (and) was "guaranteed to discourage the pursuit of information regarding actions taken by local city government." (emphasis added)

I have written to Romo and asked for an explanation of the use of a pejorative term like "gadflies" to describe folks who have filed a "variety of public records in recent years".

Update; Rene Romo has responded to the email in which I asked about the use of a pejorative term; "gadflies", of which, I am one.
"Ched: Not at all. I say, sincerely, that I consider gadflies to be a critical part of any well-functioning community or society, since they are usually the ones asking pointed questions, taking a closer look at otherwise seemingly mundane issues that could reveal serious problems ..."
I feel better now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Berry points to two bad apples.

A little more on the question; "Who do the PIOs work for?

The question was asked of Mayor Berry;

Can PIOs be expected to tell the truth as opposed to spinning it?
Berry did a little spinning of his own in his response.

Here's a little sound bite that Mark Bralley captured; link.

What is interesting here, is that Mayor Berry, in his response points to Chris Huffman-Ramirez and T.J. Wilhelm as PIOs who will tell the truth.

TJ Wilhelm was emailed the details of the incident with Fire Department PIO, Melissa Romero refusing to identify from this photograph, two senior fire department officials on the job.



Wilhelm hasn't responded either.

And these two guys are examples of the "good" PIOs?

OMG!




photos Mark Bralley

"Senior Gator" all wet

Blogger Monahan often quotes people who don't want to be quoted personally. For reasons of their own, they chose to not attach their names and reputations to their comments.

In some cases, maybe many, considering the retribution and retaliation that are part and parcel to public service in New Mexico State Government, their anonymity is fundamental to their very survival. In the rest of cases, anonymity serves only to protect the "gators" from having to defend the nonsense they write.

Monahan ranks his "gators" between "senior" and "wall leaner". If I have not grasped the scale accurately; I will bow to controverting fact.

It was a "senior gator" then, who argued on Monahan's blog this morning;

"Denish can and should take credit for being part of (everything good that happened in the Richardson/Denish administration)."
Señor Gator then goes on to tout
"Denish's" accomplishments including pre-kindergarten, improved teachers' salaries, tougher DWI laws, the spaceport, the defeat of the Tortilla Tax ... etc, etc."
What the senior gator has not noticed is;
Lt Diane Denish
cannot have it both ways; either she gets a bye on her crime fighting and corruption busting because she (her Office) is feckless and largely ceremonial,
or
she is a mover and shaker in state government, in which case she has to explain why the corrupt and incompetent in state government are not moving (in their pants) and shaking (in their boots) in fear of being exposed and held accountable for their corruption and their incompetence.

So, no, senior gator, whomever you are, Denish cannot point to any of the good done in the last eight years, just like she can't point to the bad; it's all in her "rear view mirror".

btw; If there is any empirical evidence at all, that pre-K is anything more than government daycare, with only temporary benefit to graduates, (the advantage disappears entirely by the third grade), no one has pointed to it; not even Denish, without whom "it would not exist."

Mr Esquivel

I have heard from School Board President and open government lawyer Marty Esquivel.

He has indicated that "(we) will be in touch" regarding the meeting he insists must take place before he will call off his Praetorian Guard and their efforts to deny me access to board meetings and to my right to petition my government.

To which I responded;

Mr. Esquivel,

I am disappointed that you are not willing to actually schedule the meeting that you insist must precede the "reinstatement" of my right to petition my government.

macq

PS. On another issue, I am wondering if you are willing to make a candid, forthright and honest statement for the record on the subject of the apparent conflict of interest regarding;
  1. your public service as a school board member, and
  2. your defense of Bruce Malott, and
  3. your connections to Malott's accounting firm, Meyners + Co, and
  4. their various accounting contracts with the APS

Berry's integrity stained by aide

Integrity is the correlation
between one's words and
one's actions.

Mayor Richard Berry
would have stakeholders
believe that he is all about
transparency.

Pursuant to that end,
he held a news conference
awhile back to celebrate
the birth of River City's
own Sunshine Portal.

His words would have
listeners believe he wants
stakeholders to know the truth about the spending of their power and their resources.

I readily concede that the Sunshine Portal is a huge step forward.

Yet, it does nothing about the most sinister aspect of transparency in government; public information officers (lower case). More people will go to a pio to get a specific question answered, than will visit the city website, no matter how easy it is to surf.

The question is; when a stakeholder goes to a pio for the truth, will s/he get it?

Let's face it, pios are not hired to serve the public; they are hired to serve their bosses.

I will offer an example for no purpose except as a single illustration. I do not intend to argue, nor would I ever argue, there is no such thing as a pio who will respond to any legitimate question, candidly, forthrightly, and honestly.

I will aver, I have not yet met that particular public servant.

A local blogger and photojournalist was writing a tribute piece to firefighters and youngsters who would be firefighters, link. For color in the piece; a photograph of two senior firefighters sitting in a car.

This is not about what they were doing, sitting in the car.

Bralley asked the Fire Department PIO to identify the men in the photo. She refused; unless and until he justified the "goodness" of his interest.

The question was a legitimate one, and the response should have been candid, forthright, and honest. It was not.

That was the question I was trying to articulate to Mayor Berry during the Sunshine Portal news conference. He did not answer the question well, in no small part because I did not ask the question well.

So, I went back to the Mayor to see if I could rephrase the question in order to fine tune the answer. I found out that you can't just ask the Mayor a question; you must first make your way through a line of defense manned by pios.

I get it. If the mayor is doing his job, he doesn't have time to respond to every question being asked, even the legitimate ones.

But if he is going to hire people to answer in his stead; he is reasonably responsible for their (lack of) candor, forthrightness, and honesty.

Enter one; Chris T. Huffman-Ramirez, Berry's Director of Communications and a pio.

It was through him that I was compelled to ask my questions(s). They were legitimate questions and he did not respond to them candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Which means Mayor Richard Berry did not respond to them candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

One such question;

Will he (Berry) provide for a venue where a complaint can be filed against a PIO who is obfuscating the telling of the truth?
... pios like the Fire Department PIO and like the mayor's
own pio; Chris T. Huffman-Ramirez?

Huffman-Ramirez ignored question completely.

Another such question;
Who should command the loyalty of a Public Information Officer; the public or the public servant?
Huffman-Ramirez' answer to that question;
"... this Administration has a great track record with our local media. In fact, this Administration could argue that we are one of the most transparent municipalities in the nation. Mayor Berry has a very clear philosophy that City employees working in any capacity, PIO's included, understand that ultimately taxpayers are our boss and we work for them.
Candid? Forthright? Honest?

Not!

And now to the really disturbing part. Huffman-Ramirez revealed that in the eyes of the Berry administration; the press (despite a constitutionally protected human right tor be "a free press" with or without the government's consent, approval, or recognition) can be divided into to groups;
"credentialed local and national media", and
"constituents"
The First Amendment, quoted in significant part reads;
The Berry Administration "... shall make no law ...
abridging the freedom of ... the press."
Mayor Richard Berry does not have the authority to credential the press any further than they are already credentialed by the First Amendment. And Chris T. Huffman-Ramirez does not have the right to decide who and who is not a member of the press.

Who is he to say
"... our team of public information officers are extremely responsive to our credentialed local and national media." (emphasis added)
and everyone else can go suck eggs?

When I asked Huffman-Ramirez;
"... who (he) thinks has the authority to credential anyone beyond the credentialing provided by the first amendment, and further what standards s/he applies?"
he would not respond.

He would answer the question neither candidly, nor forthrightly,
nor honestly.

And neither will, apparently, his boss Mayor Richard Berry.

By means of a side/endbar; I once asked Richard Berry if, in the absence of any of the leadership of the APS willing to do so, was he willing to step up as a role model for the 90,000 students in the APS, of the APS Student Standards of Conduct?

He was not.




photos Mark Bralley

cc Huffman-Ramirez
upon posting;
should he care to respond, refute, or rebut.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nothing from Esquivel

APS School Board President Marty Esquivel wrote a letter
suspending my right to petition my government, until I meet with him and the Chief of his Praetorian Guard, Steve Tellez.

Yesterday, at approximately 2 pm, I emailed him, asking for information on how to set up that meeting.

So far, he has not responded.

The showdown will come before the next Audit Committee meeting; where he and others, are trying to keep their denial of due process to whistleblowers, off the table and secret from public knowledge.




photo Mark Bralley

Alb Journal feigns outrage.

To read them tell it, the Journal is outraged at the handling of public records at the UNM, link, and NM Tech, link.

They have expressed no outrage, feigned or otherwise, over
the mishandling of public records in the APS.

How is this story not newsworthy? ??

APS Supt Winston Brooks is scheduled to accept a
Dixon Award
for his efforts to use legal loopholes,
technicalities and legal weaselry, to hide public records
of a 3 1/2 year long cover up of an investigation of
felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS
and in their Police Department, link.
The only way it makes sense, is that the Journal is
in on the cover up.

The records which are being hidden, are the tip of the iceberg
that if thawed, according to former

APS Police Chief Gil Lovato,

"... would not leave a single
senior APS administrator
left standing ..."





photo Mark Bralley