Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Friday Night Rapist

I ran across a post from fellow Blogger and Writer Paul Huebl in which he chronicles his movie script about rookie Chicago police woman Ann Leybourne.

Officer Leybourne was a rookie police officer who found herself face to face with Robert Ellis dubbed the Friday Night Rapist in 1972. Paul shows his writing skills as he tells the story in short version on his blog. The story will make a great movie and I look forward to seeing it someday. I was definitely in awe of his writing skills as I read this story.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Politicians and the Media

I thought I would write today about the relationship between politicians and the media from an insiders point of view. I believe in the media, it plays an important role in our democracy. Nosey reporters have made the difference between a thoroughly corrupt America and one that for all its faults works, in fact it works well. So what am I getting at? Sometimes the media crosses the line. Its at these times that those who deal with the media on a daily basis get sour. Its at these times that the attitude of making them (the media) fight for anything becomes an option for some in government. This is how some of those in government look at the media as the enemy. I still don't feel that way, only because deep in my heart I know that the system America has is integral with the freedom of the press.

Where am I getting with this? Well my life has always been an open book. It becomes an open book when you decide to run for political office. But when is something personal and not news? Last year my family had some financial trouble based on unexpected expenses and some hard times. I am not a rich man, not with dollars anyway. I am blessed and rich with a loving wife of 23 years and two children whom I love very much. Some legal papers were filed on a bill I was behind on. I got caught up and the legal proceedings have been dropped. Happens to millions of people in our nation every day. The two local papers were notified. One of them by running across the legal action during their normal digging for news, the other was probably called by someone who found out and decided to call the papers.

One of the papers decided it was not news. The sheriff was behind on a bill and it was eventually paid, not a part of his official duties and no evidence that official duties were affected in any way. No attempt to not take responsibility and to pay the bill when arrangements could be made. The other paper decided it was news, why I don't know and no excuse I was given made any sense. As I weighed the embarrassment of having my bills discussed in public with my knowing that when I ran for office this is what I signed up for I was more disgusted than angry. Reporters often blame their editors when a story is edited in such a way that skews a story, they also blame editors when a decision is made to make news out of something that isn't or shouldn't be news. It's probably usually true, editors probably do make the decision on what to cover.

When government officials make a mistake the press makes them answer to it. Who makes the press answer to mistakes they make? If newspapers decide to cover things that are personal and not news would advertisers not advertise to make them pay? Probably not, many times the media hurts people when they recklessly report items or try to sensationalize items. It's what gives them the reputation they have when it comes to people truly trusting the media. We should all strive to do our jobs the best way we can and should do whats right. When we don't people can get hurt.

I ran for Sheriff because I wanted to make a difference not to get rich. I am a public servant and my $65,000 salary is not enough to ever get rich. I once met Burt Reynolds when he was in Santa Fe filming the movie The Longest Yard. His father was once a Sheriff and we had a long conversation about being Sheriff. He asked me " do you know how you can spot an honest Sheriff ?" I did not know how to answer that question so I just shrugged my shoulder and said "no." He smiled at me and said "he's a broke Sheriff". Well sometimes I am broke but we are happy and my wife sticks with me through thick and thin. Don't get me wrong, alot of people get by with much less than my salary and I am not complaining.

Maybe I am talking from the heart and not the head but that is what I have always tried to make this blog about. Not giving readers what I think they want to hear but rather saying it like it is and giving me an outlet for my writing and my sanity.

Monday, March 05, 2007

More on the Albuquerque Red Light Camera Saga

There is much more on the Albuquerque Red Light Camera Saga. Numerous bills are flying through the legislature aimed at changing if not killing the Red Light Camera's in New Mexico. The first was a bill to force the installation of flashing warning beacons at intersections with Red Light Camera's. This morphed into a bill which would lower fines cities could charge to equal State Fines for a red light violation. This would kill programs as we know them because in Albuquerque's case the fines which are now $100 for a first time offense, would drop to $15. This would definitely take any profits out of the programs and would cause ticket revenues to be much less than the cost of the program. The third bill being considered would force Cities with red light camera's to fork over a majority of the fines collected to the state. All of these bills are flying though the legislature with uncanny speed. They are also going through committee and floor votes on unanimous or near unanimous votes.

The pressure from complaints at Albuquerque City Hall have caused the city to have a Town Hall Meeting tomorrow to allow those for or against the Red Light Camera's to have their say. I can't imagine the ratio of those against the program as it is now being implemented to be less that 10 to one against the camera's.

At the same time Las Cruces has decided to be a glutton for punishment by beginning to look at the program for its city. The town council will have a presentation from RedFlex, (the company making millions from Albuquerque running its program), and a representative from the Albuquerque Police Department.

As my regular readers know I began keeping track of the red light camera issues when Santa Fe City Police began looking at placing the cameras in the city. This seems to have been put on the back burner in Santa Fe. I posted a few entries about this in my blog and since that time it is the number one reason visitors come to my blog. A minimum of 20-30 visitors per day come here after searching for information on Red Light Camera's on popular search engines. Still I don't want to make this just a blog about red light camera's so I am going to try and balance this issue with other posts on my blog.