Monday, December 25, 2006

A Bill Richardson Christmas

I ran across "Bill's Gift From Santa" at Jay Miller's Inside the Capitol Blog. It was hilarious so I wanted to pass it on to my readers as well. Great job Jay !

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you and may you have wonderfull holidays full of friends, family, laughter and good times.

Sheriff Greg Solano

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Police Rank in the Middle of Most Honest and Ethical Professions

A Gallup poll revealed that the most honest and ethical profession according to respondents of the poll is Nurses. Interesting to me was that Police were in the middle of the pack, right between Clergy and Psychiatrists. My friends the Journalists were about 4 spots down the list but don't despair, you all came in one step above State Governors. Governor Bill Richardson might take issue with that. However, Governor take heart, your profession rated above Lawyers, Congressman and Senators.

The ratings for police dropped this year from 61 percent down to 54 percent of respondents found that police were the most honest profession. This was still well above its low point in 1977 which was a paltry 37 percent. The highest year was 2001 with 68 percent. Of course this was the year of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America.

There is a noticeable difference between Whites and Non-Whites and their feelings towards the honesty and ethics of police.

Another interesting note: Republicans think Police are more honest and ethical than my fellow Democrats .

So who do you think were the least Ethical and Honest according to those who responded to the Gallup Poll?

Who else? Used Car Salesman.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Comes Early in Santa Fe County.

Yesterday Christmas came early for Santa Fe County. Santa wore a Bolo Tie as Governor Bill Richardson's staff called me a couple of days ago and asked me if I would like $300,000 to hire 4 more deputies and assign them to work strictly on the D.W.I. problem in Santa Fe County. I was really excited as I said "absolutely"! This came just days after one of my deputies stopped another wrong way D.W.I. driver on a major highway. Our current D.W.I. unit consists of 2 deputies and one supervisor. The four additional deputies will more than double the D.W.I. unit.

We work very hard on the D.W.I. problem and are among the highest county in the state for number of arrests and convictions. I know we can even do better with more deputies devoted full time to the problem. Part of this money will also go to education and outreach. The deputies will be used for more checkpoints, saturation patrols and regular D.W.I. patrols. Rachael O' Conner the D.W.I. Czar called me herself with the news and I must say she is one of many people working very, very hard, and long hours on this problem. I know every police agency in the state could use extra officers and I feel especially honored to have been given this opportunity.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Red Light Running Prevention Web Site tied to Camera Industry

The Free New Mexican has posted a link on its Red Light Camera Story to a web site called The web site purports to be part of The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running . Some cursory checking shows the site and the National Campaign is sponsored by the Red Light Camera Industry. Among the sponsors is Redflex Traffic Systems. This company has contracts in 106 cities* world-wide and, with 90 USA cities under contract, is the largest provider of digital red light and speed enforcement services in North America. It is also the same company who supplies the cameras to Albuquerque and is proposing to supply them to Santa Fe.

The Executive Director of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running is Leslie Blakey. She is a hired gun from the firm Blakey & Agnew, LLC. This is a public affairs and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC. The web site is an advertisement for the Red Light Camera industry. All the news listed in its news section pertains to Red Light Camera's. The only solution listed to preventing red light running accidents is the camera's. Nothing about proper light timing, enforcement by officers, or education of the driving public. Why do I bring all this up? This highlights one of the big concerns I have about this industry.

The movement for these camera's is being developed by private company's with an intense profit motive. The company's charge up to 40% of the fine to provide equipment, technical support and administer the program. Cities cannot install the cameras without contracting with these companies to provide the complete package with a percentage of ticket fines going to the company. Because of the high cost of administering the program the fines are set extremely high usually with entities using the excuse that the fines need to be high in order to be an effective deterrent.

These companies gloss over safety concerns brought about involving rear end collisions when drivers stop suddenly to avoid a red light camera ticket. That message would reduce sales. Since most states require citations to be issued by an officer who witnesses the violation (New Mexico included), these companies promote a civil violation program which skirts the state law.

As I stated in an earlier blog post that goes into more detail about the safety concerns, don't get me wrong there are a lot of good reasons to have red light cameras and I would not be as opposed to them if they were put in such a manner as to not be a revenue generating scheme. Proper procedures must be put in place to protest the citation, and the driver is photographed also to prove who was driving. We must also look at the amount of time the yellow light is on, Many cities have reduced accident just by adjusting the timing of the yellow lights. We should also look at educational programs to educate the motoring public.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Friday Funny - Richardson and Bill Maher

Here is an October interview of Governor Bill Richardson on Bill Maher's T.V. Show. While the Governor would crack a few smiles, he tried to remain serious as Bill Maher made fun of Korea's leader and our own President.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Red Light Camera's Tested in Santa Fe

The City of Santa Fe moves closer to installing red light camera's after a test done on November 17, 2006 at several Cerrillos Road intersections. As reported in our local daily papers a test was done in order to test the camera's effectiveness. As those who regularly read my blog know I have reservations about bringing the camera's to Santa Fe. Some of those reservations include:

National highway safety experts concur that the cameras cut crashes but the number of rear end accidents are going up in some areas as motorists slam on their brakes to avoid a crash, only to be struck from behind. In some cases a 50% increase in the number of accidents at a particular intersection have occurred where camera's have been installed. On the other hand the severity of the rear end collisions and injures are usually less then the side impact collisions which show a decrease when camera's are installed.

Here are three studies which shows that accidents increase at intersections with red light camera's due to motorists making abrupt stops in order to avoid the citation.

Maryland county's red light cameras net $2.85 million, increase accidents

Georgia: Accidents Increased with Red Light Cameras

Washington study

Some studies show increases in injuries from the rear end collisions verses the red light running collisions.

The movement for these camera's is being developed by private company's with an intense profit motive. These company's have even been ensnared in bribery investigations in order to get cities to enact ordinances which allow the camera's. The company's charge up to 40% of the fine to provide equiptment, technical support and administer the program. Because of the high cost of administering the program the fines are set extremely high usually with entities using the excuse that the fines need to be high in order to be an effective deterrent. This leads to resentment from the citizens when they see the government entity (the City) raising large sums of money from the red light camera's. In Albuquerque the city has raised millions with the camera's and Speeding camera's and slowly there is resentment building from the community. On 770 KKOB Radio a few days ago the host Jim Villanucci was bragging about his photo blocker license plate cover while callers were complaining about "Mayor Marty Chavez's Money Making Scheme".

Up to 80% of the tickets issued from red light camera's can involve split second violations where the violator just missed the light and would not have been cited by a police officer who witnessed the violation as opposed to the camera which makes no distinction. There have even been reports of entities adjusting light timing in order to encourage citations. Because the citations do not go on your driving record and do not cause points on your license or cost you increased insurance rates there is not as much pressure to ensure accuracy.

Don't get me wrong there are a lot of good reasons to have red light cameras and I would not be as opposed to them if they were put in such a manner as to not be a revenue generating scheme and proper procedures were put in place to protest the citation, and the driver is photographed also to prove who was driving. I hope the City of Santa Fe considers these factors as they move ahead with this plan. Many cites and even one state has removed the camera's after using them for a year or two when they found they did not work, were not safe, or were not well received by the public.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blog hits 10,000 hits.

I don't usually blog on Saturdays but my wife noticed that this blog hit 10,000 views sometime last night. I started this blog on January 7, 2006 wondering if anyone besides myself and my wife would read it. Actually there was no guarantee she would read it! So, I am humbled and pleasantly surprised that there has been 10,000 views in the last 11 months. I hope there has been some enjoyment in reading my ramblings in the last year.

Here are some other stats that came from my counter service:

* The most used search terms to find my blog are:

Red Light Cameras

How to be a politician

legalize drugs

Sheriff Solano and Greg Solano

Joe Arpaio and Sheriff Joe Arpaio

* The busiest day is Wednesday

* The busiest hour is 8:00 am

* The average page views per day is 38

* Google Page Rank for this page: 5

* Yahoo! has found 17 links to this site. Who links to me?

* MSN Search has found 1,408 links to this site.

So next month this blog will be a year old, I thank all of you who regularly check in and hope you will continue.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Free Speech or Bad Reflection on Department?

I ran across this story in the Santa Fe New Mexican about a New Mexico State Police Officer who was allegedly posting inappropriate comments in a chat forum dedicated to the Denver Broncos. This was a double whammy to me since I am a Bronco Fan as well as the Sheriff. All kidding aside however this did bring up an interesting dilemma. Many employers would frown on this type of activity however they will not fire someone or discipline them for fear of a free speech type lawsuit. Officers are in the public eye and public servants. Those of us in management tell them this from the day they are hired. We have Standard Operating Procedures which outline acts which bring the department in a bad light as punishable offenses. Therefore chat rooms, blogs, letters to the editor and other forms of free speech need to be balanced against what the public expects from their men and women who wear badges.

What? Those who protect the rights of others must give up some of those rights to be an officer? Yes, and you sign on the dotted line to do so. The case referred to above is a perfect example of why. A state police officer was not only allegedly posting inappropriate comments but he was posting comments in which even though he has a Hispanic sur name he ripped into Hispanics and illegal Mexican nationals, threatened to frame people for drug possession and discussed the effectiveness of stun guns. Maybe he was just venting but the problem lies in that defense attorneys will use these comments against him on each and every case he is involved in. Remember Mark Furman in the O.J. Case? Any time he uses a Tazer in the line of duty it will be alleged it was excessive force and lawsuits will be filed. His effectiveness as an officer is shot and his credibility in court is zero. So when we have officers sign on the dotted line that their personal and professional life must remain unsullied it is really about their credibility in the courts and in the public eye, not about just whether or not we want the department to look good in the public.

On another note I was really miffed when he brought up the Tazer as a fun thing. The Tazer saves lives every day. When I first became sheriff, deputies had a firearm and a baton, the choices were hit them or shoot them if you could not talk them or wrestle them into complying. I brought in Pepper Spray and Tazers. This allowed options when dealing with uncooperative subjects. Tazers are in my opinion one of the greatest additions to law enforcement since bullet resistant vests. They not only save suspects lives every day they save officers lives and prevent untold numbers of injuries to both suspects and officers. They are not a toy and their use should always be serious and necessary. Tazers are still relatively new and I would hate to lose them as a tool because we allowed stupid comments to turn the publics opinion against them.

So, what do you think? Does the officers rights to free speech out weigh the responsibility to the public as a public official?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Long, Long Weekend

Its been a long weekend. Saturday night I was with some friends who had come over to my house for dinner. I received a phone call that we had a fatal motor vehicle accident on I-25. The first call made it seem as though one person had died. The call had just come in so we did not have many details at that point. Usually I get one call when we know we have a fatality or homicide and then I will get a follow up call from someone on the scene once things have calmed down and there is more details. The next call I got was within a minute or two and I was informed we now may have two dead. I got my hand held radio and turned it on and soon it looked like this was more than just your normal highway accident. I called one of the commanders on scene. I usually try not to call them on the scene in the first 20 or 30 minutes because they are so busy trying to take care of victims, direct traffic, and such that they don't need to be bothered. In this case I wanted to see just how bad this accident was. The commander was busy coordinating traffic control but advised me that we may have three dead. We had gone from 1 dead to three in a few minutes so I excused myself from our dinner guests and put on my uniform and headed to the scene.

When I got to the scene on I-25 the first deputy I approached told me the count was now five dead with a sixth flown to University of New Mexico Hospital with life threatening injures. I could not believe how the death count kept rising. As I approached the two vehicles I could see a white dodge pickup facing me with the front end completely obliterated. A van was in front of me with the drivers side facing me. The front end of that was completely gone also. I could see the first victim at the drivers side passenger door. The driver and front seat passengers were also pinned between the seat and the steering console and dash. As I continued to approach the van I knew this was no ordinary accident scene ( to a cop who has seen many of these I guess there is such a thing as an ordinary scene). I could see a small brown stuffed animal on the roadway at the rear of the van. Boxes of Peanut M&M's like you buy at Sams Club were on the ground near the drivers door. I walked around the rear of the mini van where I saw soccer shin guards and a soccer ball. Then came a young child lying in the rear seat still wearing her soccer clothing. She reminded me of my daughter who is age 14. The first victim I saw earlier was her older sister. The youngest girl was in an ambulance at the scene, she had not made it either.

I could not believe what I was seeing. I have been to too many accidents, homicides, and assaults to count but I could not ever recall feeling as I did just then. While I know we can never show the public what I saw that night I keep thinking that if the public did see what I saw, who would ever drink and drive again? The truth is that some probably still will continue to drink and drive.

I knew this was going to be a long night. I also knew this story would have legs as they say in the news business. I always try to let my people do their jobs, they are the best in the business and they know what they are doing. I usually handle the press, so we can keep them informed and out of the investigating deputies way. I also try to make sure they have every thing they need to do their jobs and take care of the little details that can bog them down. The press and their ability to learn of these things is amazing. In no time all major newspapers and TV stations were calling and arriving on the scene.

It was a long night that still has not ended. Yes, its now Tuesday night and It still seems like one really long day that has not ended. This story will continue to be a daily news story until the funerals are over and then probably through the weekend. The horror and publicity these stories provide are probably good in the sense that it brings a reminder and new light to the problems we still have with D.W.I. . The hard thing is for the news crews to keep coming up with new and different angles for the next days stories. As we go into the fourth day of three major TV stations, two major papers, several radio stations and the calls coming in from Colorado news crews and the Associated Press all calling for the latest details and looking for help with the latest angle on the story its getting to the point where I have no more information to give.

Some police agencies give very little information and therefore the news crews can drag out little tidbits at a time and dig for their own information which can drag the stories on much longer. I try to have a model Open Government and eliminate the need for any Freedom of Information requests by giving all information that we can without harming a case or releasing information that is not legal to release. This means a flood of information initially and then we have very little left afterwards, especially in this case where filing of criminal charges will not happen. Many news agencies are awaiting the completion and release of the official report. The truth is there will be very little if any information in that report that is not already available by reading any newspaper or watching any TV station that has covered this case.

The death of the alleged drunk driver in this case means we have no villain left to go after. Or do we? News media is frantically struggling to find someone to blame. Really I can not just pin this on just the media, the truth is the public wants someone to blame, someone to point their finger at and say "its your fault". It is not as easy to do that to a deceased person. So we look to who sold him the liquor? Is the airline at fault? Can we find some liquor establishment in New Mexico to blame? Can we reach the finger of blame out to Reno Nevada? Perhaps it's New Mexico's Laws and Courts, maybe they are to blame. Just months ago the state was touting that D.W.I. deaths are down in New Mexico. It made some feel warm and fuzzy and yes it gave politicians a chance to point at the stats and take credit. Then this happens, wow so much for our progress.

Once again we look to pass new laws, put up barricades on medians to prevent wrong way drivers and look to ways to prevent the next one. This is all good and with each new circumstance we learn of new problems we have to take care of to prevent the next tragedy. I don't think we will ever completely stop drunk driving but we can hope and keep working towards that goal. This is a sobering reminder of the fact that yes, we have made progress but we are not done yet. As a completion to today's blog I would like to ask for gods blessing on all the families involved. Both the Papst family and the Gonzales, and Collins family are suffering and will suffer for the rest of their lives. I only hope that with all our prayers we will ease their pain somewhat and allow them to go on.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Union Brothers Unite?

As a former Public Safety Union President I am embarrassed by the City Firefighters Union and what they are doing to a fellow union and Fire Department. As reported in the Santa Fe New Mexican and elsewhere the City Fire Fighters Union is not only verbally opposing the County Fire Fighters quest to expand its Fire Department through a county wide gross receipts tax, they are actually going door to door to try and convince voters to turn it down.

Union solidarity has always meant something in America. In fact unions strength through out the years have come from the fact that fellow unions always supported each other. It is through the solidarity of many that victories have been won since the times of sweatshops and indecent working conditions. Today's City Fire Fighters Union seems to have forgotten the struggles of the past and have also lost sight of the fact that in the future someday, perhaps in March when the city's public safety property tax is voted on, they will need the support of fellow unions and the other politically involved people to support them. When the city police and fire unions went to the City Council to ask for raises only a few months ago they fully had the support of county unions and officials, how soon we forget. I in this blog, and on the New Mexican web site urged the city council to give the full raises being asked for instead of half the amount that ended up being passed.

The City Fire Fighters union is really way off on this one. On the one hand they complain that the county should shoulder more of the burden to cover county areas the city is now covering. On the other hand they oppose the tax which would allow the County to expand its Fire Department. The County Fire Department is badly in need of beginning the transition from almost all volunteer, to staffed fire stations with the ability to handle the ever increasing growth in the county. The City cannot have it both ways they cannot complain about the city fire serving county properties out of one side of their mouth and then out of the other side complain about the counties attempts to raise money to remedy the situation. Both of the fire departments are trying to downplay the animosity and lack of cooperation that is developing out of this situation. Those of us in the trenches know different, It will be very unfortunate if a life is lost or a firefighters is hurt because of this lack of leadership and those in public safety forgetting about why they took these jobs in the first place.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sheriff Andy Griffith is running again.

Normally I might save this for funny Friday but I ran across this and couldn't resist blogging it.

A man who is a co-owner of a music store in Platteville Wisconsin is running for sheriff. No big news there, except William Fenrick has legally changed his name to Andy Griffith. And why not? Who wouldn't vote for Andy Griffith for Sheriff? What also caught my eye was that in this area, according to Andy, the Sheriff's race garners little attention in Grant County Wisconsin.

In New Mexico usually the Sheriff's race is a very heated race which often draws voters to the polls in non-presidential years. The primary races where the party's battle their own to find a General Election candidate is especially heated with the General Elections usually being very benign. One difference between New Mexico and most other states is that Sheriff's are Term Limited. The incumbent in Grant County Wisconsin has been in office ten years. Other infamous sheriffs such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is completing 13 years this year and despite his detractors will probably be sheriff as long as he wants to be don't have term limits. On the one hand we lose valuable experience and maybe the ability to keep someone who is doing a good job. On the other hand sometimes too many years in office can allow some offices to stagnate and halt change and innovation. My feeling is it depends on the candidate and the voters can always elect for change so why force the voters hand with term limits.

According to Andy Griffith the Sheriff candidate he changed his name in order to draw attention to the Sheriff's Race. He is running as an independent in a race which features a Democrat and the Republican incumbent. Watch video news footage here. Only in America.........

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Funny - Top Ten Reasons to Vote Republican

The Top Ten Reasons to Vote Republican This November
By Jackson Thoreau

Oct. 22, 2002 (Jackson/Thoreau/APJP)

No. 10: So schoolchildren can pledge allegiance everyday to "one nation under God and Enron."

No. 9: So super-wealthy Americans can afford to hire some more special guards to keep the increasing number of protesters and homeless population out of their sight when they venture into public places.

No. 8: So more far-right judges who stop our elections to tell us who really won can be appointed to the Supreme Court.

No. 7: So HMOs can replace your doctor with "customer service representatives," and so universities can teach courses on the proper way to say, "Do you want fries with that?"

No. 6: So Wall Street interns can learn the ropes by gambling with Social Security funds in the stock market.

No. 5: So Republicans can control all branches of our government and bring about a real dictatorship.
(too late for this one.....Greg)

No. 4: So your children and grandchildren can view some "nice, clean oil wells," instead of the scenery, when they visit our national parks.

No. 3: So we can continue to blame everything that goes wrong on Clinton.

No. 2: So the poor and minorities can fight and die disproportionately in perpetual wars to make the world safe for democracy and keeping Republicans in office.

And the No. 1 reason to vote Republican

So Ann Coulter can be appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs and either put up or shut up!!!!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Free New Mexican Comments

The Free New Mexican Web Site recently stopped allowing comments on its news story's at their web site. I have to admit that I read the comments daily and sometimes on selective story's I would comment myself. In fact it was the Free New Mexican web site which led me to Steve Terrell's Blog which then led me to Julia Goldberg's blog and eventually led me to begin a blog of my own.

According to the Free New Mexican web editor there were many inappropriate comments about the recent violent assault and battery of Paige McKenzie, John Dendahl's spokeswoman. The upper management decided to stop all commenting until changes were made. The comments often resulted in what I would call very zealous free speech and while sometimes hateful and untruthful comments were made, for the most part a free thinking reasonable person could pick there way through the motivations for mean spirited comments. During the June Primary Elections many candidates, myself included were the recipient of mean spirited and untruthful comments. You would think that I would be opposed to the comments because of this but I actually blew off the extreme comments or responded to them with the truth. The good thing about the comment section is that it allowed me to see what citizens both normal citizens and the extremists thought about news stories that involved the Sheriff's Office or me personally. It was like taking a poll on each news story that involved me without having to pay for it.

The New Mexican is going to retool the comment rules and should be restarting the comments again soon. The one thing I did not like about the new rules is that the New Mexican will only choose certain news stories to allow comments on and only those stories during certain hours will have comments. It should be fairly easy for web editors to figure out which stories people will want to comment on, but will it become censorship? Will certain stories not be chosen because they are likely to attract more heated debate? Or will stories that are likely to attract comments which differ from the Editors or Newspapers point of view not be chosen as stories which comments are allowed in order to tow the papers editorial line? Only time will tell.

I have no doubt that the comments will be a lot more tame and maybe not as amusing to read. On the other hand I do know that some people who were not as used to the negative comments being said about them as I am were hurt by the comments. I remember during certain deaths that very hurtful things were said about the deceased and I know this had to be very hurtful to the family members. Things often get extreme before the pendulum swings back to somewhere in the middle. While I am very opposed to limiting free speech I do have a part of me that believes that things probably were getting out of hand on certain stories. The New Mexican is after all a business and cannot afford to allow things to get too far out of hand on their website. Steve Terrell had a good comment on his blog. If you want completely unrestricted free speech you can always start your own blog.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Another Issue with Legalizing Drugs.

I have commented often in my blog about legalizing drugs and my opposition to legalization. Whenever we are in the same room with each other an attorney friend of mine and I have spirited discussions about drug legalization and we often send each other news clippings and research to back up our stances. I came across this article this morning in the Santa Fe New Mexican. It discusses the shortage of employees at the Oil Fields in the Lea County Area. I recently met with the Chief of Police in Questa New Mexico at a Region wide Drug Enforcement Meeting. He was looking for help in his area because of the same problem. The Questa Mines which are operated by Molycorp and are used to mine Molybdenum. Molybdenum is used to make alloy metals. The Chief of Questa says the mines are asking for help because of the high rate of employee applicants and current employees who are failing random drug tests.

I have not talked to my attorney friend about this but I suspect even she would be against having users working in mines, oilfields, as bus drivers, train engineers, pilots etc. So what would happen if we legalize even small amounts of marijuana? Alcohol can be out of your system in 8 to 12 hours depending on how small the amounts are. Marijuana on the other hand can remain detectable in your system for up to 45 days. The most common period of time is anywhere from 3-30 days, depending on your metabolism and the amount of marijuana that youÂ’ve smoked. This is unfortunate, since it means that while most drug tests can only turn up evidence of other drugs if youÂ’ve been taking the drug within a few days of the drug test, marijuana could still be detected in a urine test up to a month after the last time it is used. If you smoke it occasionally it will remain in your system for up to 10 days. If you smoke marijuana on a regular basis it will stay in your system for as long as 45 days, and if you smoke marijuana at a constant pace, it can stay in the body for 90 days, Marijuana is fat soluble. It stores in the fat cells of the body, the brain, the liver, the kidneys, in other words the major organs.

So, what do we do with those jobs which we deem unacceptable to have drug use show up in tests? Or do we come up with an acceptable amount that will be allowed in these types of jobs? How do we determine that acceptable amount knowing that different peoplabsorbbe and get rid of amounts at a different pace than others? In Alcohol we have determined as a society at least in New Mexico that .08 blood alcohol level is the most we will allow the average citizen to have in their system and still be able to drive. However, most companies, taxis, police, government workers, etc. still have a .00 requirement for work.

If drugs are legalized even if only small amounts of marijuana are allowed employers will have a whole new predicament to deal with. I know at the jail and in law enforcement roughly half of all prospective applicants fail either the background check or the pre-employment drug test. Drug and alcohol is the predominant factor among all the inmates in jail. Whether the underlying charge is domestic violence or rape and murder the one common thread you will see is substance abuse whether its drugs or alcohol.

I am still adamantly opposed to drug legalization but I have to admit that my attorney friend makes a good argument. I do know people who have used, or not to my personal knowledge but I at least have a feeling that they recreationaly use marijuana and they are functioning members of society. I also know many, many more who used marijuana and now are hopelessly addicted to worse drugs. I also know many who still only use marijuana but are still not functioning members of society, at least not to the level I feel should be considered functional.
My feelings in this situation go back to high school. I had several friends who were considered "pot heads" in high school. My mind goes back to a particular two friends from high school. One started with marijuana went to cocaine, killed a man, raped a woman, and is back in prison for drug dealing after at least two previous stints in prison. The other friend,...... He is dead.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm Baack.

I apologize to my readers for the two week absence. It wasn't planned, I just kept not getting to it. It has been two weeks made up of animals. First we have the cougar in the back yard of a county resident. That generated much controversy and criticism. Next we had the Scrimshaw family struck by a drunk driver while horseriding near their home on County Road 45. Both of these incidents happened in ajoining neighborhoods off highway 14 and in my old stomping grounds. My family and I lived in the area and once owned a Video Store and Mail Center in the area. I know the family whose yard the cougar was put down in and I know many of the neighbors in the area of the horse incident. Both incidents caused me much stress and sorrow.

The night of the cougar incident I received a call from my Sergeant who advised me that a cougar was in the backyard of an old friend of mine. The cougar was eating a housecat and we felt the cougar was probably the same one who had been eating housecats in the city also. We had called N.M. State Game and Fish who usually are prompt and handle these situations by tranquilizing the animals for us. The Sergeant advised me that the local Game and Fish officers were out of town on training and we were attempting to find someone else with a tranquilizer rifle. I advised him to put the animal down if it tried to leave. I could not take the chance that the animal would leave and then return another day to find a small child in a yard. This animal had shown that it was not afraid of populated neighborhoods and could attack if given the chance.

My wife was lying in bed next to me and heard me give the order. She immediately began expressing her disapproval with my order. After I got off the phone with the Sergeant we discussed the issue and why I told the Sergeant to put the animal down if it tried to leave. She expressed her disappointment that we could not find a tranquilizer gun but understood why I gave the order which I did. A few minutes later I received a call from the Sergeant that we located a Game and Fish Officer in Edgewood. He was probably 40 minutes away. I hoped and prayed he got there before we had to take action. 45 minutes after I received the first call I got a call back that the animal tried to leave and was put down by my deputies. The Game and Fish Officer arrived about 10 minutes after we put it down. I still know that we did what we had to do and I will take the criticisms that I have received and chalk it up to " that's why the buck stops here".

I feel bad for my wife who was forced to defend me to animal loving co-workers and friends. Especially since no one cares more about animals than she does. She pulls over and chases prairie dogs off the street so they don't get run over. Her and my son bring home dogs much to my annoyance every year. I will never forget the time she was driving on Fifth Street near Saint Michaels Drive when she saw a large prairie dog in the road. She wanted to scare it off the road so she threw a 16 ounce plastic Pepsi bottle at it just trying to scare it. She hit it on the head with the bottle by accident and after it looked at her with a dazed but pissed off look before it ran off the road to live another day. I am literally laughing right now as I type this story. Its one of the many reasons I love her. (she makes me laugh).

The Horse Rider DWI incident was next and was horrifing yet you can't help but thank god that the children and father lived. Once again the animals died. The highway 14 area was once very rural and did not have the problems that more populated areas had. Now it like all areas have grown and the once rural area is very heavily populated. Growth in the area is exploding as the city and county push growth purposly into this area which has been targeted as almost the only planned (if you can call it that) growth area in the county. It reminds me of a quote by Robert C. Gallagher "Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Would Sheriff Joe Arpaio last a day in Santa Fe?

Almost every Month since the day I won my first election in June 2002 someone from somewhere in America forwards me this email. They "if from New Mexico are usually recent transplants to our area" want me to be like Joe. Most of you have probably read this but if you have not, read ahead and afterwards we will discuss if Sheriff Joe Arpaio would last a day in Santa Fe.

Subject: Fw: Sheriff Joe - Re-elected

sheriff Joe - Re-elected



Sheriff Joe Arpaio (in Arizona) who created the "tent city jail":

He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights. Cut off all but "G" movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again only let in the Disney channel and the weather channel.

When asked why the weather channel he replied, so they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs.

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value.

When the inmates complained, he told them, "This isn't the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."

He bought Newt Gingrich' lecture series on videotape that he pipes into the jails.

When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series might explain why a lot of the inmates were in his jails in the first place.

More on the Arizona Sheriff:

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record), the Associated Press reports: About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts.

On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 degrees inside the week before.

Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their pink socks.

"It feels like we are in a furnace," said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the tents for 1 ½ years. "It's inhumane."

Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat Bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!"

Way to go, Sheriff! Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

If you agree, pass this on. If not, delete it.

So there you have it. As I stated earlier the email is sent to me often and usually with a suggestion that I implement these ideas here. Here, the land of Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu LLP. In case you don't know of this law firm they are the local Santa Fe Attorneys who made millions of Taxpayer dollars in the Duran Consent Decree case which came out of the 1980 Prison Riot. In between then and now, millions more taxpayer dollars were made suing practically every city and county in the state as well as numerous other state and federal cases. They specialize in suing government and taking taxpayer dollars that if not given to them could actually be used to make jail, prison, and law enforcement better.

The firm recently made 2 million in the Santa Fe Strip Search Case in which allegations were made that the private company which ran the jail at the time took part in illegal strip searches. This case amazed me since the firm did about 6 months of work on the case which amounts to about 1,600 a day assuming someone worked 8 hours a day Monday through Friday for the approximately six months this case was worked on. So How much would Rothstein, Donatelli and company get if we operated a tent city and fed prisoners 40 cents a day worth of food?

Some have tried unsuccessfully to recall Sheriff Arpaio however his election numbers continue to be very high and with no term limits he will probably be Sheriff as long as he wants to be.

The big question I have is why has the Department of Justice has allowed Joe Arpaio to continue to these conditions while we work hard to provide a safe secure facility in Santa Fe? The truth is that we have people here who continue and probably always will complain while in Arizona Joe Arpaio is considered a hero. Don't get me wrong, this is not a case of Sheriff envy. I would never want to be known for the things Sheriff Arpaio is known for. In Santa Fe the worst thing I could do would be to subject prisoners to hours of watching Newt Gingrich, that would be cruel and unusual punishment if I ever saw it. In the land of the city different, living wage, immigrant free zones, and what is arguably among the most liberal counties in America, would Joe Arpaio ever even be elected? (he is a Republican which explains a lot) I usually respond to these emails, when I do respond, with a polite but firm statement. I would be hung on the plaza at high noon from the new bandstand if I even considered 10% of what Sheriff Arpaio does in Arizona, and rightfully so.

Would you elect Joe Arpaio Sheriff in Santa Fe County? Click comments below and talk about it. You can do so Anonymously.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My 2006 Memorial to the Victims of September 11, 2001

Today we honor those who died in the September 11, 2001 Attacks on America.

2948 Victims died on that day.

3251 Children lost a parent on that day. The youngest victim was 2 year old Christie Hanson, the oldest was 85 year old Robert Grant Norton.

333 Firefighters and 60 Law Enforcement Officers, and 125 members of our Armed Forces died that day.

How do we honor those heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice on that day? We raise a new generation of heroes. Ready to take thier place. Years ago we had hundreds of applicants for Police and Firefighter jobs. Today accross New Mexico we have hundreds of vacancys for these positions. Parents, talk to your children about the honor and pride of serving your country and your commmunity. Lets raise a new generation of heroes.

Below is my tribue to the victims of 9-11.

Alfred Gilles Padre Joseph Marchand- The only New Mexican to die in the September 11, Attacks. He was a retired Alamogordo Police Officer who wanted to be a pilot someday. He was working as a flight attendant on United Flight 175 which was crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower.

Names of those Killed in the September 11 Attacks.

Death, destruction, charity, salvation, war, money, real estate, spouses, babies, and other September 11 statistics.

Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes.

Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

* Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

* Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

* Number of NYPD officers: 23

* Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

* Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

* Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

* Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

* Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658

* Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22

* Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

* Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1

* Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39

* Bodies found "intact": 289

* Body parts found: 19,858

* Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

* Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000

* Total units of donated blood actually used: 258

* Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609

* Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051

* Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

* FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274

* FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661

* Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300

* Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200

* Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98

* Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124

* Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

* Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100

* Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6

* Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81

* Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26

* Total number of hate crimes reported to the Council on
American-Islamic Relations nationwide since 9/11: 1,714

* Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion

* Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million

* Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million

* Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion

* Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion

* Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul
lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion

* Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to
overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion

* Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to
NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million

* Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25

* Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million

* Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9

* Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40

* Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50

* Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered "inappropriate" to play after 9/11: 150

* Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26

* Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000

* Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110

* Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans
from plane to train or car: 1.4 million

* Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress
disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Knife verses Gun, Police Shootings

In a recent police shooting in the City of Santa Fe involving a suicidal subject who had attacked his girlfriend the usual Monday Morning quarterback in the comments section of the Free New Mexican has begun. I know this will always happen and since the investigation is still pending and usually this things are presented to either a Grand Jury or a Judge in a Preliminary Hearing I am going to reserve judgment on the shooting pending the case receiving a fair investigation and hearing. I do however want to part from this weeks tribute to September 11 to attempt to educate the public on the facts about weapons such as tazers and firearms versus knifes. I was President of the City Police Union during the Pancho Ortega Shooting which raised questions about police handling and resulted in political, racial and other very divisive issues to come into Santa Fe.

As President one of the things we attempted to do was educate the public as to why you cannot shoot a knife out of someone's hand or shoot them in the leg to stop them. Many people who watch Kung Foo or their favorite Hollywood Action Flick want to know why police can not kick the knife out of their hands or disarm them with some kind super cop move. In the below video you can see a demonstration of a police training video in which it shows the reaction time for an officer to react to a knife attack from as little as 2 feet to as much as 12 feet.

What the instructor is trying to show is the amount of time it takes to react with your gun in your holster. Watch the video for a few other things also. Take a look at the suspect rushing the officer. Imagine that you are trying to aim a gun at a small moving object like an arm or leg while the split second you have from the time the suspect begins rushing at you from even as far away as 12 feet. Imagine you have to decide between some hokey karate move that may or may not work or using your sidearm in this split second or seconds. Keep in mind that even when a person is shot they do not just drop dead like in the movies. Many people can continue to rush and get a stab wound in place even if they have been shot.

Take a look at the now infamous FBI Miami Shootout involving two men by the names of William Matix and Michael Platt. William was shot 6 times and Platt 12, these were not all wound received at once. The Shootout lasted over 4 minutes and even after the suspects were shot several times they continued to shoot back and kill two agents and would an additional five. There have been many cases where a knife welding suspect has continued to attack after being shot. Getting back to aiming for arms, legs, or hands this is only done in the movies or in the best case scenario I have seen it done by a sniper on sitting subject who was holding a gun and the sniper had plenty of time to take aim and take the shot with the subject relatively still.

So that is why we cannot train or even suggest to officers that they can take out a knife welding subject with some kind of super cop or kung foo moves. We are fully responsible for the lives of officers and yes someone will always sue, even the officers family when we fail to use realistic training or fail to teach them proven techniques to keep themselves or others safe. If the officer allows him or herself to be overwhelmed or injured by the knife welding subject then the officers weapons are now available to be used against the next citizen or the family members who called for help. Back to the video, Please watch it carefully and try to imagine you are the officer trying to react in the short amount of time it takes for a subject to attack you with a knife. Finally please allow the investigations of which there will be many, to take place before you make judgment.

Note: Thanks to my brother for finding the video without the background music.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Effects of 9-11 on Local Law Enforcement

The effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks on local law enforcement in Santa Fe is much different than the effects in cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. When the Bush administration took over from the Clinton administration it was the beginning of massive changes to the relationship between the Federal Government and local law enforcement. The Clinton Community Oriented Policing Program nicknamed C.O.P.S. was a successful grassroots policing program. It had a goal of expanding the numbers of police on the street throughout America as well as training local police about the new age of community policing.

C.O.P.S. was a cornerstone of Clintons Political Agenda and as such the Bush administration began dismantling the program as soon as it took office. Then comes September 11, 2001, Rightly so, the Bush Administration began a new era of Homeland Security. America needed to change its attitude and preparedness for these types of attacks. What the Bush administration did wrong was to use September 11, as the excuse to drive the final nails into the coffin of the C.O.P.S. Program. No longer did local agency's have federal dollars to buy bullet resistant vests for police, No longer did local agency's have the training, and ability to hire additional police with Federal dollars. Some local agency's like Torrance County lost half their deputies to these cuts. They went from a Sheriff's Office of 14 deputies to 7 deputies overnight. Where Santa Fe County once got 15 to $20,000 per year to buy expensive bullet resistant vests we now get 3 to $5,000 per year. When I took office in 2003 there were 5 less deputies in the Santa Fe County Sheriffs Office than two years before. Three of these were directly attributed to the loss of the C.O.P.S. Funding.

The Homeland Security Dollars now are distributed by a complicated formula based on so much dollars per each state which are funneled through the state government and how they are used and disseminated is decided by the state, and another allocation goes to some states based on population. Local law enforcement and fire then must work together to apply for and spend the dollars which finally filter down to the local agencies.

What the Bush administration has always fail to realize is that by the time these dollars reach the local agencies they are greatly diminished and the restrictions and politics involved in spending these dollars are such that their effectiveness is greatly diminished.

Much discussion in the community surrounded the City Police Departments receiving an Armored Swat Vehicle recently. Many said those dollars could have been better used at the local level. The truth of the matter is that those dollars were set aside by someone way above the local city police and if they did not accept the vehicle it would have been just given to someone else. There was no discretion on what would be best to use that money for. The money could have been used to help buy much needed police cars or other equiptment but the city police did not have that option. It was either accept the armored vehicle or not.

These types of decisions are made for us with most of the Homeland Security Dollars. The local agencies are the first and sometimes the only agency's to respond at the time attacks like September 11, happen. Take a look at who responded to the World Trade Center attacks. Local Fire and Police. When lives needed to be saved and during that short window of opportunity before the buildings collapsed it was primarily local agencies coming to the rescue. By the time federal and other assistance arrived it was the next day. The same lesson is learned from the hurricanes that ravaged New Orleans and the coast. Your first responders must have adequate personnel and equiptment to deal with a major event until the secondary outside assistance can arrive.

There are less police on the streets today than five years ago. Let me repeat that, There are less police on the streets today than five years ago. Some of this is attributed to the fact that the 100,000 new cops program C.O.P.S. is dead. Some of this is attributed to the fact that vacancies in police agencies can not be filled. The Santa Fe City Police has approximately 19 vacancies, the State Police has approximately 70 vacancies, Albuquerque Police has over 100 vacancies, the list goes on and on across this nation.

Homeland Security is not the only place all the C.O.P.S. money has gone. The war in Iraq has taken more than its fair share of Federal Dollars. The Spend like there is no tomorrow Bush Administration and Republican Congress has foolishly misspent billions of dollars while allowing true homeland security issues such as local police and fire to languish. As I think of the 343 firefighters, 40 EMT's and Paramedics, 23 Police Officers, 37 Port Authority Officers, and 1 K-9 Officer who died just at the World Trade Center Attacks I realize that the tribute our Federal Government has paid to them and their peers is to reduce their numbers so when the next attack comes their will be less of them to respond.

Things don't look any better in the next budget. The Bush administration asked Congress for an 8 percent decrease in discretionary spending for the Justice Department for fiscal 2007, cutting grants to state and local law enforcement programs by $1.1 billion. I can only think to myself, As Santa Fe County's Federal dollars for police and fire continue to diminish will there be any left next year at all?

Below is my next tribute Video for the victims of 9-11. This video was made by an eighth grade student. Its a little long but very well done for his age. Along with the Numbers of Police and Fire I just named as killed on September 11 were a grand total of 2997 persons killed. We must never forget those who died in these vicious attacks and we must honor them by making America better prepared to both prevent and respond to these attacks should they occur.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Week of Memorial to the Victims of 9-11

Today marks one week to the five year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. During this week I want to honor the Police, Firefighters, and Americans who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks. To begin this week I want to show you a video tribute to the children of those who died. This originally was an animated video posted on the internet. Someone changed the scenes to photos however they kept the original soundtrack. It brought tears to my eyes and I bet it will to yours also.

The first thing that comes to my mind is where I was when the attacks first were announced on the news. It comes to my mind because I was driving my daughter to school. She was nine years old and I was driving down San Mateo Street near the intersection of St Francis Drive when I heard about the first plane striking the World Trade Center on 77 KKOB Radio station. I thought it was odd and a horrible accident. I dropped my daughter off at elementary school and headed home.

At the time my wife and I worked out of our home. I called my wife and told her to turn on the TV as I headed home. I got home and a short time later we watched horrified as the second plane struck the second tower. My wife cries at movies and I remember the look on her face as the tears fell from her eyes. My son was in high school at the time and she wanted me to go get both kids from school. I argued against it and we decided, (maybe I decided) to leave them at school.

After the attack on the pentagon I remember thinking this was the beginning of World War 3. It seemed a lot like the kamikaze pilots at Pearl Harbor. I really thought the missiles or other military strikes were coming next. I remember this day vividly and it must be like the day President Kennedy was shot, or Pearl Harbor to our generation. I always remember my mother talking about the day President Kennedy was shot and what she was doing. She was driving me home from the hospital one week after my birth. She heard of Kennedy's assassination on the radio just like I first heard of the September 11 attacks. Where were you when the planes struck? Use the comment section to talk about it. In my next post I will talk about the effect that September 11, 2001 had on local law enforcement.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Friday Funny- The Election Ballot of Tomorrow, Today

Another General Election is coming this November. In this Friday Funny, Stephen Colbert teaches Jon Stewart about 2002 election reforms. Includes the now famous Ta-Da ballot. I understand that New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron is considering the Ta-Da Ballot and is looking into cloning Joe Monahan to be placed in Ta-Da ballots in all 33 counties throughout New Mexico. I suggest that if Joe is unavailable or unwilling perhaps our own Steve Terrell would donate his DNA to the cause.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Armijo Resigns

Right after I posted my last blog post I received a phone call that Jeff Armijo has dropped out of the race. I received the call from one of his disappointed campaign workers. The only word of advice I could give them was "it's not about right or wrong, it's about politics." Jeff had to make a political decision and this will give him time to deal with the charges that may still come in the future. I am really sure that this hurt his core supporters as much as it did Jeff. I hope that they will not give up on politics and will work for another candidate someday with as much hope and heart as they did Jeff Armijo's race.

The Saga of Jeff Armijo

Today as I write this State Auditor Candidate Jeff Armijo is meeting with the Governor to discuss his political future. As a politician things like this bring chills to all who have run for office. What do you do when an allegation is made with no charges being yet brought? Or may never be brought for that matter. Jeff is adamant about his innocence. I have know Jeff and have met the alleged most recent victim and the unfortunate thing about this kind of case is that they are hard to prove without physical evidence. Not to say that there may not be some as I am not privy nor would I want to be to the Albuquerque Police Departments case. Witnesses in these kinds of cases are usually non existent and unless physical evidence is present it becomes ones word against another's.

A mutual friend of Jeff and mine asked me "what if the D.A. announces she will not press charges or that Jeff is innocent? Shouldn't he wait to drop out in case that happens ?" The truth is because of the politics involved expect no decision on charges to come before Novembers election. Even after November normally these cases if they are not prosecuted just fade away without any announcement. Because I expect the press to continue to ask for an answer, sometime after November the D.A. will either prosecute or announce that there was insufficient evidence to do so.

So what do you do as a politician when this kind of charge is leveled against you and you are innocent? You can not prove your innocence in most cases and your guilt goes unproven as well. You might be the nicest and most honorable guy or gal but how do you escape the cloud that this kind of allegation may bring? In smaller local races you may decide to march ahead and let the voters decide. However, in State wide races your election or loss and the surrounding turmoil can affect the party you belong to as well as other candidates aligned with your party. Do you give up your aspirations for the benefit of the greater good of your party? What must be going through Jeff's mind is what if I drop out and I would have won anyway? And if I run and lose isn't it my race to win or lose? Should I be responsible for other candidates races or just my own? A whole lot of questions that a candidate in this situation must ask his or herself. If you are innocent how does one set that fact aside and resign the race anyway?

I know some campaign workers and true believers in Jeff Armijo. This is becoming very hard for them. They know him or have come to know him personally and they are very distraught over the fate of their candidate. I watch their angst and can't help but admire their loyalty. They truly and with all their heart believe in their candidate. I have seen tears well up in their eyes as they discuss the situation and it put a lump in my throat as I spoke to them. There are those who really put their heart and soul into their candidate and as they work the campaign they truly become personally involved in the fight to get their candidate elected. It becomes a passion and the ups and downs of a campaign affect them as much as the ups and downs of loving relationships affect all of us. It reminds me of the movie primary colors which was not really about the candidate " Jack Stanton" and his run for office but about those around him and how the ups and downs of the campaign effect them. They will do almost anything for their candidate and if their candidate lets them down its not unlike a son or daughter who lets their parents down.

The proverbial "between a rock and a hard place" doesn't give justice to the predicament that Jeff Armijo and the Democratic Party is in right now. I shudder to think if some kind of accusation was leveled against me. In my case not so much for my political career which is secondary to my family. I would hate for my wife and kids to face such a private matter in the public eye. That is really the hardest thing about being in politics. The fact that if and allegation such as this is leveled against the average citizen only the victim and suspect and very few others would ever know about it. For those who chose public service you give up the right to have a private life and that is just something that goes with the territory. Parts of my private life and my families lives have made the front pages or the ten o-clock news and it is just something my family has had to deal with. I do always tell my wife and myself that I had a job and a life before public life and I will have one afterwards. I knock on wood as I thank God I am not in the position Jeff Armijo is in right now. I say a prayer for both Jeff and his alleged victim and hope that however this works out that they will find some kind of peace when this is all done.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Off to the Opera

It was a real busy week as you can tell by my week of no blogging. This week was sandwiched between some play time as well. Last weekend I hit the trails, horseback riding in the Chama area, we went from New Mexico, across into Colorado and back. I really enjoyed this and it was the perfect getaway after the prior weeks distressing news stories. It was kind of a City Slickers weekend and I was pretty sore after two days of riding as I don't get to ride to often.

Sheriff Greg Solano on "Apache"

Break time on the Trail Ride

One of Twenty lakes in the area we traveled.

After a week of one busy day after another in which we interviewed candidates for the jail administrator my wife Antoinette and I were off to the Opera to see Jules Massenet's "Cendrillon (Cinderella). I got into trouble with my wife for calling it "hokey" during intermission. The Santa Fe Opera puts on some great shows and even this one had some great costumes, props and scenery. This was probably a woman's opera since it seemed to appeal to my wife and a female friend of ours. My male companion and I thought it was kind of like a Hee Haw Opera. The two ladies seated behind us really enjoyed it since they were laughing as though Rodney Dangerfield was on the stage. Are you really supposed to laugh that hard at an Opera? I found myself nodding off during the third act however the fourth act was a bit more interesting and woke me up. This is not the Disney version of Cinderella, there was no mice, and this version has a father who's role is very prominent in the storyline. There was a Fairy godmother who sang very well and played a good role. Over all it was ok, and I can't ask for too much, we knew going in that it was Cinderella.

A scene from Santa Fe Opera's Cinderella

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I have received this same question from a lot of people today so I thought I would answer it here.

NewMexiKen said...

While I understand you are doing as other officials, including Gov. Richardson, have done, I do not understand your motives. Mr. Epstein has been accused of a victim-less crime. He did not earn the money he donated to you or others from this crime. He has not, so far as I know, been convicted. And even if convicted, can a "bad" man do no good?

I for one would be interested in your thinking on this.

I could give you the politically correct answer but I don't work that way. The truth is that Republicans and other political attack dogs are criticizing me heavily on this issue. I know that this is something they will try and use against me and something that could haunt me for a long time to come. I decided it was better to just put this behind me and move on. The best way was to go ahead and make this symbolic donation and move on. I call it symbolic because of course the election is over and the campaign has ended, the money is all spent. So there is no way to give back or donate the actual money instead we will just have to come up with money and donate it so as to put the issue to rest and take it away from the attack dogs as an issue. Such is life when you go into public service.

It is true that these moneys are not alleged to be the fruits of any crime. If Mr. Epstein is guilty of what he is accused then even though the current charge is solicitation of a prostitute, the actual allegations are that the young girls he paid for sex and massages were actually as young as 14 and usually in the 16 to 17 year age. I have read the police affidavit for the arrest and was pretty disgusted by what I read. He also donated millions to charity and I hope the charities will not be pressured into returning the money. Thank you for the question and Thank you to all who have called, written and even sent in donations to assist me.

P.S. (if you sent a donation please don't get arrested !)

Sheriff Solano to donate funds to Charity

Sheriff Solano to donate funds to Charity
August 17, 2006
Sheriff Greg Solano will be donating $1000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and $1000 to Challenge New Mexico both local charities doing important work for citizens of New Mexico. The money represents money donated by Jeffrey Epstein to Sheriff Solano’s Campaign in 2005. Although the money had been spent and the election over in June of 2006 Sheriff Solano felt it was the right thing to do in this circumstance. Sheriff Solano will make the donations using a combination of new donations and his own money.

Republican Hack at it again.

Republican hack Whitney Cheshire, AKA The Wednesday Morning Quarterback is at it again not only criticizing my political life but taking digs at my personal life including calling me a wannabe blogger. That hurts, LOL. Whitney has to understand that I have thicker skin than to succumb to childlike name calling.

In a November 2005 Press Release Whitney Republican Hack Cheshire stated the following:

“I've found that liberal bloggers - with a liberal agenda - hit local candidates the hardest,” said Cheshire. Those candidates don‚’t have thousands of dollars to spend on radio and TV to counter the punches being landed on the Internet,” said Cheshire. Bloggers don’t have to be correct, and they don'’t have to be fair. And sometimes, it takes too much money to set the record straight, she said.

“Blog postings land in the press and have an effect on campaigns” said Cheshire. “That’s why it is irresponsible when bloggers refuse to seek comment from the candidates and people about whom they are writing. With The Wednesday Morning Quarterback, we’ll work to report fairly and present more than one side of the story,” she said.

As I read that press release and read her blog I realize, and I wonder if she realizes she has become that which she once criticized. She does nothing but bash Democrats in her blog whether deserving or not. The truth is unimportant to her. Even those whom she as a resident of Albuquerque are not even part of her voting districts are not safe from her pit bull attacks. I don't remember her asking me for comment before writing (or bashing) me on any of the occasions which she has done so. I give her the Fumble of the year award for her unabashed Democrat bashing and childlike behavior on the field.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Political Campaign Financing

Jay Miller has a thought provoking blog post which discusses campaign financing and the governor candidates views on the subject on his blog Inside the Capitol.

While I think voter participation in the process is important and many voters and supporters feel good about helping their candidates whether it is $10 or $1000 or by holding a sign or selling a raffle ticket. There is still a lot to be said about public campaign financing. It would allow candidates a chance to just get out and speak to the people instead of spending so much time fundraising. It would also remove any allegations of favoritism or special access for donors. But as advertising and media expenses rise and rise can the costs get too high for taxpayers to bear? Are they already too high? What do you think?

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Billionaire Donor In Palm Beach Sex Scandal

Jeffrey Epstein a Billionaire with a 27,000-square-foot hilltop mansion on a 10,000-acre ranch outside Santa Fe has been indicted for felony solicitation of prostitution by a grand jury following accusations by teen girls. Many believed his home in Stanley to be the largest home in the state. Beginning in mid-March 2005, Epstein became the target of a sexual battery probe conducted by the Palm Beach Police Department, according to the affidavit, which alleges that Epstein, 53, paid a series of underage girls to engage in sexual activity with him.

Mr. Epstein is a donor to many democratic candidates across the nation and was considered an upstanding citizen. He has helped such candidates as John Kerry's presidential bid, the Senate bids of Joe Lieberman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christopher Dodd and Charles Schumer, and Bill Clinton. In New Mexico he has donated money to many statewide candidates such as Gary King, the reelection campaign of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and many other local politicians, Including my 2006 Primary Election Campaign. Most of these donations were in the $100,000 dollar range.

I am not sure if I ever met Mr. Epstein, I may have met him at one of many political or charitable functions I attend. I had heard of him and his large home in Stanley New Mexico. In August of 2005 I received a $2000 check in the mail from Mr. Epstein. I knew he lived in Stanley, one of the rural areas of the county where we provide almost exclusive police protection, with some occasional assistance from the state Police. So when I received the check I thought it was just a nice donation from someone who appreciated our services. I received several such checks in the mail although most were in the $100 to $500 range. In 2005 there was no such allegations and Mr. Epstein was still well respected. I learned of the indictment in late July of 2006 when I read about it on The Smoking Gun Website. I was very disappointed and it bothered me greatly that even though someone is innocent until proven guilty, I would never have accepted the donation if I had known the allegations.

Steve Terrell, political reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican called me tonight to get my comments on the indictment. He asked me whether I would be returning the money he donated to my campaign. I received the $2000 donation in August of 2005 and used it for the June 2006 Primary Campaign. I completed the June Primary having spent all donations and actually ending the campaign over $2000 in debt. That debt means that the remaining money was paid out of my pocket. So the short answer is there is nothing left to return. It is now nearly a year since I recieved the donation and the campaign for Sheriff is over and done. As I have no Republican opponent I will not have to wage a General Election Campaign. I did not plan on any further fundraising although some who read in my campaign reports that I had ended with a debt offered to raise some additional money to clear the debt. If I did have the money I probably would return it or give it to a charity as the $2000, returned to Mr. Epstein who is a billionaire would probably not mean much to him.

Running for office and gathering donations to run a campaign is one of the hardest parts of public service. My opponent and myself each spent about $30,000 on the primary Sheriff's campaign. Other offices easily spend a million dollars or more in today's day and age. Publicly financed campaigns would remove this burden and perhaps remove the accusations that this money buys influence. In my case that would be a lot of money to just try and get out of a speeding ticket or buy influence in the few areas where I could really do anything. Of course I would never let donations influence my decisions.

So all I can do now is trust that the public will believe in me still and understand that there is no way when a donation like Mr. Epstein is received that you could ever know that something like this indictment could come a year or two later.

Senator John Edwards- The Road to the White House

I was watching "The Road to the White House 2008" on C-Span Sunday night and it featured Senator and former Vice-Presidential Candidate John Edwards recent event in Cornish, NH. I first met John Edwards when he was introduced to me by Attorney General Patricia Madrid who was heading up his New Mexico Campaign for President prior to John Kerry winning the nomination. He impressed me and seemed to have the ideals and energy of a John F. Kennedy. Even though John F. Kennedy died as my mother was bringing me home from a week in the hospital after my birth, my family worshiped him. I remember growing up there was a Saint Jude Statue right next to the statue of John F. Kennedy in my home. There for I was often told, read about and watched with my family the TV specials on John F. Kennedy as I grew up.

Back to C-Span, Senator Edwards spoke about raising minimum wages, about the Bush administrations support of the big Oil interests while inadequately supporting the efforts to rebuild hurricane ravaged areas. He spoke about poverty in America and the failures of our educational system. I still have not made up my mind about the Democratic nominee of my choice in the primary's to come but Senator Edwards impressed me again as he did the first time I met him.

It would be nice to see our own Governor Bill Richardson in the White House and that would do a lot for New Mexico. I still remember the days when the Clinton White House had economic stability and growth combined with a balanced budget plan. A time when the C.O.P.S. programs helped small departments like Santa Fe County's to hire personnel and buy much needed equipment. Perhaps Hillary Clinton could lead the country in that direction again? Any of these candidates would be better than another Republican Administration. Combine that with the Democrats re-taking congress this November and I believe our country will be back on the path to prosperity. After watching Senator Edwards speak again I think he will be one to watch in the 2008 race. He continues to impress me and seems to get better and better in delivering his message. Finally, for those of you in Rep. Heather Wilsons District, Please elect Patricia Madrid and take one giant step towards a democratically controlled Congress.

"Note: the opinions expressed on this blog are mine and only mine however, keep reading and maybe they will be yours too, if they are not already." :-)