Monday, April 30, 2007

More on New Mexico Republican Division

Not more than ten minutes after I posted "New Mexico Republican Spinmiester is back" I ran across this blog post from Heath Haussamen which gave an excellent overview of the problems the Republican Party is really having in New Mexico. The contrast between Heath Haussamen's, and Joe Monahan's posts as compared to Whitney Cheshire's posts which I describe in my last blog post show the real difference between truthful blogging and towing the party line.

New Mexico's Own Republican Spinmiester Back !

Whitney Cheshire, New Mexico's Republican Spinmiester is back blogging again at her slightly Republican slanted blog. She was AWOL for nearly a month returning today for one of the most laughable posts in her blogs history. Today's post (April 30, 2007) was really interesting after a weekend in which the Republican Party was divided not only over their candidates for party chair but also over whether a good chunk of the Bernallilo County delegates including Whitney could even vote. I often find it most amusing when she attempts to put a spin on bad news for the Republican Party. Her recent posts trying to pull U.S. Senator Pete Dominici out of the hole he has dug for himself over the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias were laughable at a minimum and ridiculous for the most part.

Her spin factory was in high gear as she tried to play down the divisiveness that prevailed at the Republican Convention. She bashes fellow blogger Joe Monahan whom many (myself included) consider to be one of the premier political bloggers in New Mexico. Yes Joe may not walk on water but Whitney's constant bashing of his blog and her constant spinning of the truth whenever a Republican is involved leaves her with little credibility in the political blog world. I think of her as the Fox Network of the Blogging world. Instead of "we report, you decide" it actually is "we distort, you comply".

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Friday Funny- My Cubicle

Since it is the last day of Administrative Professionals Week here is a video in honor of all those hard workers stuck in that insidious invention known as a Cubicle.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Week of Misinformation

This is supposed to be Secretary's week or as it has been renamed "Administrative Professional week or day". I will always remember this week as the week of misinformation. First on Sunday Commissioner Campos writes a letter full of misinformation, see my last blog post. Next I was shocked today at just before 3pm when I received calls from members of the media asking for my response to comments made by Commissioner Harry Montoya during the public Board of County Commissioners Meeting.

Commissioner Montoya apparently received entirely erroneous information on the incident which occurred last Thursday where two 18 year old males drove on to Pojoaque High School Campus with a shotgun behind the seat of their pickup. Instead of calling to check on the information he complained about actions of the Sheriff's Office which did not happen at the meeting. The commissioners comments were described to me as a Sheriff bashing tirade by some who were present at the meeting. When I learned of the tirade I sent my Under Sheriff and Major to address the comments at the meeting which was still underway. I was due in Magistrate Court and could not head right over. The good thing is court went quick and I headed to the commission meeting.

When I arrived "as quick as I could go and not speed or run red lights" I found the Under Sheriff and Major still waiting to speak. I waited and took the podium when the time came.

Commissioner Montoya had claimed the Sheriff's Office took 45 minutes to respond. Our first Deputy arrived on scene in 45 seconds. I had deputies posted at all mid and high schools in Santa Fe County due to rumors over the anniversary of the Columbine Shootings. The Deputy who arrived in 45 seconds had driven over to the nearby mid high as he was going back and forth checking on both schools.

Commissioner Montoya claimed that we refused to take the case and refused to let Tribal Police Officers handle the case under their cross commission issued by me. The truth is I wanted to make sure that who ever handled the case had jurisdiction to do so in order to ensure that the case could be properly prosecuted. Sheriff's Detectives had contacted the District Attorneys Office who decided at the time that we could not handle the case. The deciding factor was the fact that the two 18 year old boys were Native Americans and it was believed that the incident occurred on tribal lands. The crux of the debate was whether or not the school is or is not considered on tribal land. My office and me personally contacted the U.S. Attorneys Office, the F.B.I. , B.I.A., and A.T.F. in order to determine the best agency to successfully handle the case. It was finally decided that the Sheriff's Office would handle the case and this was after agreement was reached by District Attorney Henry Valdez whom I called on his cell phone as he was out of town and the Tribal Attorney Mr. Demolla. This process took nearly an hour but the two 18 year old boys were detained the whole time and the school and public were safe. These types of tribal jurisdiction issues plague New Mexico and other states and are often debated all the way to the Supreme Court.

Commissioner Montoya claimed I had revoked the Sheriff Cross Commissions of two Tribal Officers over this incident. I don't know where this came from but it is absolutely, positively, unequivocally and without any doubt what so ever untrue. This was never discussed, threatened, or even considered for one second. Where Commissioner Montoya got this from I have no idea. As I stated earlier Pojoaque Tribal Police did request that I let them handle the case utilizing our offices cross commission. This was denied based entirely on the decision by the District Attorney's Office and not for any personal or other reason.

Commissioner Montoya really should have just called me and asked questions about this incident. He would have found out that his information was inaccurate to say the least and we could have avoided a public spectacle caused when he went on a tirade over this issue in a public meeting. I have tried to convince the Commissioners that we need to get past our differences on the jail and work together. We are all elected officials and have to work with each other for the next two to four years depending on when each of our terms end. These kind of public fights especially over untrue issues only hurts our abilities to do the public business. I believe this whole public spectacle was a result of bad feelings remaining over the jail debate. Once again I offer an olive branch to the County Commissioners and ask them to put aside our philosophical differences over the jail and have a working relationship which allows us to get things done.

I am writing this on Tuesday evening, I will add links to Wednesdays news stories in the morning to the end of this blog.

New Mexican story on the dispute


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Misinformation over the Jail Continues

In the April 22, 2007 Sunday New Mexican (visible on line only on the subscription e-edition) Commissioner Paul Campos takes issue with an editorial the New Mexican published last week. I do give Commissioner Campos credit in that he has been willing to listen to my side of this debate . However, he has been given a lot of misinformation that he has either taken at face value or he refuses to see the truth. I have added Commissioner Campos letter to this blog post and after the letter I will address some points I think need to be addressed.

Leave jail to corrections professionals
By Commissioner Paul Campos

The way to make the Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facil­ity a better and safer place is to employ corrections professionals, not law-enforcement professionals. That’s what the debate with Sheriff Greg Solano is all about. What was offered on the question of whether corrections professionals or members of law enforcement should run jails? Not much.

Instead of weighing in on this impor­tant question, in its April 12 editorial, “Sheriff should be part of county jail reform,” The New Mexican instead slan­dered dedicated public servants with suggestions that “cronyism” is rampant and somehow suggest improper rela­tionships are behind the recent debate. It was argued that the sheriff should continue to have input on jail opera­tions, despite the fact that state law clearly places responsibility to operate the jail on the jail administrator, not the sheriff.

It was suggested that Santa Fe County should accept every seriously intoxi­cated person brought to the jail by law enforcement, regardless of whether the county’s medical professionals think that they can be managed medically.It was suggested to the public that prisoners are now being released willy­nilly into the community by mistake and ignored the fact that the reason we now know about a very small number of improper releases is because the new administration of corrections profes­sionals cared enough to find out and conducted an audit.

It was suggested that the facility is “crime-ridden,” based only on a dispute between county administration and the sheriff over which incidents should be reported and when.
How do the two incidents com­plained of by the sheriff justify a con­clusion that “crime” is “rampant?” And how can it be concluded that “crimes” had taken place when the county’s professional investigators at the jail couldn’t even determine whether any­thing had happened? Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Is that what’s being advocated?

Has The New Mexican forgotten the strip-searches that cost the county, the former operator and their insurers $8.5 million? Has The New Mexican forgotten the suicides? The deaths? And the untold amounts of public money that will be spent because the prior operator and the previous jail admin­­istration couldn’t get a handle on these things? Since the new management team has taken over, these types of incidents have thankfully become a thing of the past. We feel that opinions laced with insinuation and presenting only one side of an argument should be beneath a newspaper that is concerned with the important details that construct the whole picture and accurately depict the full story.

Sure, there are substantial differences with Sheriff Solano about the opera­tion of the jail, and the friction that was observed this week may continue. We are certain that the sheriff’s sense of duty will compel him to tell us, and the community, in the clearest possible way, if he believes anything is wrong. We are confident that the facility will be better because the Board of County Commissioners has made a public commitment to make it better. The jail will be a better place because the county administration has secured the assistance of corrections experts. The jail will be a better place because the Board of County Commissioners and the county manager have decided to address the pay issue, recruit and retain experienced corrections professionals, once and for all. It is our hope that in this important discussion, the public will not be deprived of a critical miss­ing partner — this newspaper and the public they aim to inform.

Paul Campos is a Santa Fe County Commissioner who represents District 4.

Commissioner Campos states that "state law clearly places responsibility to operate the jail on the jail administrator, not the sheriff."

The State Statutes clearly allows for either the Sheriff or a Jail Administrator. For Commissioner Campos to misstate that fact he is either misinformed by County Legal or skewing the facts for his letter.

Commissioner Campos asserts the jail is not currently Crime Ridden and states "And how can it be concluded that “crimes” had taken place when the county’s professional investigators at the jail couldn't even determine whether any­thing had happened?" At the crux of this is two rape cases. Rape Cases are often one persons word against another and failure by jail officials to report the crimes for up to two weeks only made a hard investigation worse. There is however documented cases where there is no doubt what so ever that over $30,000 in cash and jewelry has been stolen from those arrested and taken to jail in just the last 5-6 months. The thefts continue even as recent as days ago. How many thefts of cash go unreported every day by immigrants or others who "don't want to make waves"?

A $4,000 ring was reported on 4-20-07, $500 in cash stolen in the last week, clothing watch and ring valued at $20,000 on 4-6-07. In many of these cases and others there is verification by others that the items existed when the victims were taken to jail. In one case a few months ago a city police officer verified $5,000 in cash that an inmate had when booked into jail. When he was released he had no cash at all. Simple steps could be taken to alleviate this problem but instead jail officials and county commissioners just keep saying crime is not happening at the jail.

Commissioner Campos tries to make a case that jail officials discovered that "we now know about a very small number of improper releases is because the new administration of corrections profes­sionals cared enough to find out and conducted an audit." The audit began and was completed about one month after employees of the State Probation and Parole and myself complained about such releases which were not even being reported to the Sheriff's Office and were being kept quiet. On this I know Commissioner Campos is not misinformed because I have made this very clear to all the commissioners.

Commissioner Campos talks about having corrections professionals run the jail and I agree we need to hire the best people for the jobs. I don't agree that has always been the case. One of the problems that the private companies had when they ran our jail was they kept bringing in prison people to run a jail. It was identified as one of the biggest problems that caused issues such as the illegal strip searches. In prison inmates can be strip searched at any time, in jails there is strict rules as to who can me strip searched and who cannot. That is not to say that prison employees can not adjust to running jails only that intense training and education is required to learn the differences. That type of education unfortunately is currently being conducted through trial and error resulting in many problems.

Commissioner Campos states the commission has made a commitment to make the jail better. I hope it happens, I want to be proven wrong and for a year from now for someone to say "see how well the jail is going now". I never wanted to run day to day operations and I never have done so. I just always believed that I could be a part of the solution.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nothing Funny this Week, Virginia Tech Shootings

Sometimes, I try to post a Friday Funny just to end the week on a fun note. Not in the mood this week. I wanted to talk about the Virginia Tech shootings but purposely waited until the first days media frenzy ended and we knew more about the who, what, where, when, why, and how. That way I could talk about it with less guessing and assumptions.

From a law enforcement perspective I often look at these tragedy's with an eye on what we can learn from this. Within a year or so after a major tragedy leaders in law enforcement usually have national seminars geared towards "lessons learned". I have attended, "lessons learned from Columbine", "lessons learned from 9-11", "lessons learned from the Mathew Shepard Case", and one of the most eye opening seminars I have ever attended "Tools for Tolerance which included lessons learned from the Holocaust".

As I watched the Virgina Tech news footage the first thing I saw was the fact that when officers arrived at Norris Hall they immediately breached the locked door and entered, as they did so the shooter took his own life on the second floor. In the past it was standard protocol for initial officers on the scene to surround and secure a building with an active shooter and have swat teams arrive and plan the assault. Columbine taught us that while that was considered the best plan for officer safety and reducing possible unarmed victims being shot by police, it was not the best plan for saving children's lives from a mass murderer. Lesson learned.

At such a large campus an initial crime scene as what was found in the first two deaths in the dorm at Virginia Tech it is understandable why the isolated incident theory was first developed and was the basis for the time period between the first shootings and the first warnings sent out to students. Also why not commit the mass shootings in the dorm? The fact that mass school shootings had primarily occurred at grade schools and not colleges meant that lock downs and other security measures quickly adopted by grade schools had not been fully implemented in large campus colleges as well as private schools etc. Lesson learned. You will see lockdowns, better ways of notifications bieng developed for large campuses and more use of text message, email, and mass telephone dialers bieng used in all school settings.

More training that once was reserved for SWAT team members will now be taught to patrol officers so quick response and immediate assaults on active shooters will be another tool in an officers box. I am sure many more lessons will be learned as this tragedy is studied. I only hope some better ways to deal with mental health issues will come out of this. It is so frustrating for law enforcement to pick up those with mental health issues both with and without criminal charges, take them to the hospital and then be forced to either let them go or place someone with mental health problems in jail. Beds at treatment centers are always full and waiting list are long. That is why some who could really use inpatient treatment are often released and referred to outpatient treatment with the hopes that the mentally ill will follow up on their appointments and their medications. Too often that is not the case.

As a parent of a college age son and a high school age daughter I grieve for the parents of all the young adults lost at Virginia Tech. We could only imagine what they are going through. I think back to my biggest loss when my mother died while I was only 21 and my siblings were all children. It changed our lives forever. The faculty who died on that fateful day left behind family who's lives have also been forever changed. May god bless you all and comfort you in this time of need. My family's prayers are with you.


One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along
the beach with the Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed
two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life there is
only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me."

The Lord replied "My precious, precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand,
it was then that I carried you."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Eye on Albuquerque Treads Dangerous Water

A few months back I ran across the blog, Eye on Albuquerque. I found it while reading Albuquerque Red Light Camera posts on different blogs. It was interesting so I added it to my bloglines list which keeps track of different blogs and lets me see new posts all on one convenient web page. I keep track of 35 different blogs and seem to add to the list often. If you don't use it or a similar feed reader you should try it. Anyway, back to my topic. Eye on Albuquerque is written by an anonymous blogger who has so much information in Albuquerque City Hall that he or she either works there or knows many who do. I think lately he or she is either paranoid or has gone too far and now according to the blog some in city hall want to know who he or she is.

The blog is increasingly treading dangerous water as the blogger and those who comment are making public personnel issues that are protected if true and libel if not, as well as making allegations of a sexual nature against employees and political higher ups. The blogger need not worry about city hall as much as those mentioned in the blog filing civil lawsuits. I am for freedom of speech as much as anyone and I have found the blogger posts interesting if not much like a soap opera. But you must beware, no one is really anonymous on the Internet. It is relatively easy to be tracked and identified. I first found your blog interesting but now even I with all my beliefs of free speech and the power and necessity of blogs and the new electronic media have begun to worry about just how far the blog is going. The comments are even more libel if they are not true or cannot be proved to a preponderance of the law. I am all for open government and having transparency but there is a line, be careful and at least know where that line is and make a conscious decision when you cross it.

By the way I have my own little theory on who the blogger is but I will keep that one to myself, at least until the blogger is outed then I might say "I knew that". LOL

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Poor Politician.

A while back I saw a photo of a framed certificate on Steve Terrell's Legislature Blog. I could not believe what it said. I hope Steve does not mind my borrowing his photo.

I was shocked and dismayed by what I read. A phone call I received today reminded me of this photo and reminded me that I always wanted to comment on this.

This statement is exactly what is wrong with the public perception of politics today. There are many politicians who do not make a lot of money and who do not use their position to further their financial situation. In Santa Fe, the Mayor, City Councilors, Commissioners and State Legislators make little money for their positions. Unfortunately this often means that only the independently wealthy and retired persons can run for office. Your everyday man can hardly afford the time and money required to run for office and attend all the meetings, fundraisers, non-profit functions and other functions you must attend to obtain and keep office. That's not to say that we don't have some "everyday men and women" who successfully run for and keep themselves in office. It is just not easy for those.

When I ran for Sheriff I spent in excess of $40,000 to do so. It was only due to the generosity of many and people who really believed in me who raised money through raffles, garage sales, dances etc. Now I am considering a run for a Statewide office. Some have told me I must raise $250,000 to run for this office. Wow, a quarter of a million dollars to run for an office that does not pay half of that per year. The only way to raise that money is to accept donations from people who you don't know personally. You have to believe that their intentions are honest and they only want to help a good person do good in a political office. You have to make sure they understand they are not buying influence and that you will treat all citizens equally and that you will be accessible to all equally. Yet you know that the media, your opponents and their political party will try to tell the public otherwise. You must have a thick skin but even alligators get cut.

I am assuming that Steve Terrell snapped the above listed photo in a politicians office. I hope I am wrong because I would never display such a plaque in my office. I have always believed that a politician should not have to be rich or take a vow of poverty to be in office. Unfortunately our current system promotes those factors. Locally our Mayor, Councilors and County Commissioners really are working full time to do the peoples work, unfortunately they get paid at a less than full time rate. Someday as part of campaign finance reforms and other reforms we must seriously look at paying at least market rates for the politicians and the work that they do. I am sure someday some other politician or party is going to throw that statement back at me but the truth is the truth, and we as citizens must realize that sometimes you get what you pay for. Of course as I stated earlier their are a lot of really good politicians making do and running on heart and a desire to do good.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Funniest thing I have seen in a long time.

I did not do a Friday Funny this week but thanks to NewMexiKen for this.

Answers to a readers questions.

In the last post a reader posed some excellent questions. Here is the post and then I will answer the questions.

Anonymous said...

The view is now that the jails are money maker's there was a grab to take control...all the warning signs were there and fielded. The set-up was unavoidable.

We'd like to know who hired the standing facility director, who has so much support, and who is this person? We realize that you wish to continue to work with the facilities, so we're acknowledging this is a reach for a disclosure.

It's also not clear where the main issues lay, at both jails? Is the Administrator in charge of both jails? Do the employees have all the necessary tools to prepare the proper papers required when doing intakes or releases? Isn't there a computer program required and do both jails have that program and are the employees trained on how to use it?

One or two final questions, are there only certain designated persons who report to you when there may be a problem at the jails and why is that? Why can't anyone report who may be involved in an incident or do they? That's not clear because of claims that you received reports too late to investigate and it boils down to a he said, he said.

Someone put it best, 'by standing back and watching you may be able to assess the situation much clearer as to remainders and details.'

Wonder who the new Sheriff will be in three years, that won't want the responsibility of handling the jails?

Saturday, April 14, 2007 9:26:00 AM
There are some very good questions in this comment, looks like you spent some time thinking about this. The Corrections Director, was hired by the County Manager at the direction of at least some of the Commissioners.There was no national or local search and no one knows who else or even if anyone else was considered. Doubts exist that any background check or references were checked.Rumors persist the choice was a political one. As to jails being money maker's, in many places they are. Santa Fe's high cost of living, and the lack of people to work at the jail causing high wages to be paid to obtain workers makes our jail non-profitable for private companies and government run facilities in Santa Fe. Not to mention that the County is so far behind on even billing other government entities that we could never make a profit the way it is run now. Santa Fe County has not billed the city of Espanola for their inmates housed in our jail since October of last year. Espanola is concerned because it hurts their ability to plan and budget when Santa Fe County does this.

The Corrections Director oversees the Administrators of both the Juvenile and the Adult Facilities. Those Administrators oversee the bulk of almost 500 employee positions.

Any employee should be able to call the Sheriff's office to report a crime. Currently the Corrections Director put in place a policy that all alleged crimes are to be investigated by her staff and a report made to her, she will then decide if and when to call law enforcement. In the meantime valuable evidence, suspects and witnesses could be lost. I have issued a written order that this cease immediately however I have little faith at this time that the order will be carried out. The Resolution passed by the county allows for the practice of waiting to call law enforcement to continue.

A system to stop or at least greatly reduce bad releases was put in place by the former Corrections Director and myself which included the courts, probation and parole, jail officials and law enforcement. The new Corrections Director cut ties with those partners and has allowed employees to not follow procedures previously put into place. This has allowed inmates who should be in jail to be accidentally let free. Law enforcement is not being notified when these inmates are set free which would allow us to find them and return them to jail.

Finally the voters decide who the next Sheriff will be, New Mexico is one of only a handful of states which limit Sheriff's to two terms. I will go on to other things. It is my hope and in all likelihood the current Under-Sheriff Robert Garcia will run for Sheriff. He would be an excellent choice but it is early and he needs to make that announcement, He is as committed as I am to having safe well run correctional facilities.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thanks to supporters on Jail Issues.

I want to thank all those who have called, emailed, written letters, and editorials of support for my stance on the jail issues. It really makes a difference in my family's life and in my life and spirit to get these words of encouragement. Almost a hundred different people have let me know that they support me and thanked me for my efforts. To top all that off was the editorial in todays New Mexican which was the icing on the cake for me, Thank you New Mexican. Sometimes you wonder if charging the windmill is worth it but this time I have no doubt. It was for a good cause and it was worth it. On the other hand I have begun to reach out to the Commissioners and the County Manager and will continue to do so as far as getting the rest of the county business done. We still have to work together for 2-4 years depending on when each of our terms of office end.

By the way, had to look up the word putsch that was used in the New Mexican Editorial if any of you need it here is the definition:

putsch \PUCH ('u' as in 'push')\, noun:
(Sometimes capitalized) A secretly planned and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Resolution to remove sheriff from jail chain of command passes

It was a done deal days ago and today the Santa Fe County Commissioners only had to give some semblance of listening to the public before taking a vote to remove the Sheriff from jail operations. The 5 page resolution filled with legalize will take a team of attorneys to go through and understand but it is summed up at the end with a few basic sentences that say the Sheriff will not do anything at the jail but investigate crimes and even then the document says the jail will decide whats a crime and what is not and then make the decision on whether to call the Sheriff's Office.

I will probably have an attorney review this and then decide where to go from there. I have received many calls of support and several jail employees have called thanking me for trying to fight for them. One lady was near tears as she said she was afraid to speak out about how bad things are for fear of losing her job. She vowed that once she found a new job she would speak out. I felt for her but the truth is the county is not at a place right now where they would listen.

I will continue to try and advocate for a safe and well run jail and hope that I can make a difference from the outside. The resolution passed today is so far reaching and encompassing that the county commissioners may have overstepped their bounds. Some say I should just stand aside and let the house of cards fall, that is an option. The truth is I do care and don't want to see failure even if the County Commission has absolved me from blame should failure occur.

In recent weeks one thing I wanted was to stop all the back door shenanigans and just get this out in the public. At least now everything is out, I have had my say and reported the problems I was seeing at the jail. The County Manager and Commission were still in denial today and maybe they will always see things differently than I do. I do want to thank Commissioner Mike Anaya for his courageous support. Being the lone voice against your peers can be difficult and it took a lot of guts. Chief Eric Johnson and Deputy Chief Benjie Montano both showed up to voice support and without my calling them or asking. I really appreciate their taking the initiative and the time. I am reading this blog post and it kind seems like I have given up, I have not and hopefully that is not the impression you get when you read it.

This quote has hung in my office for about three years now, it is one of my favorite quotes.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Why I have been preoccupied-Or the Jail, the Commission and the Sheriff

As you read tomorrows newspapers you will see why I have been so preoccupied that I have blogged very little in the last two weeks. The County Manager, the County Commission and myself have been in a battle behind closed doors the last few weeks. Tomorrow that battle becomes a public spectacle. I may be just as much to blame that things got to this point. On the other hand I tried, tried and tried again to deal with these issues in a sane and rational manner. Each time I tried I only found myself facing a brick wall. Most of the time I found my back against that wall.

In the papers and on T.V. you will find all the rhetoric and allegations so I wont go much into them here. Here I will talk about the not so sensational things that got us into this mess. Years ago after dealing with private corporations running the jail and not doing a great job I pushed for the county to take over the jail. The time was right, private companies losing so much money in Santa Fe that companies either did not want to come here any longer or they wanted to charge so much money that the county finally had not only the fact that taking over was the right thing to do but they now had a financial reason. It was no longer cheaper to have a private company run the jail. I knew all along we needed to take over because the out of state prison companies could not run a local jail. They just did not care. So I pushed for the county to take over, the first six months showed remarkable improvements at the jail. Only medical was a constant problem. We were unable to hire and keep medical staff which stymied growth and meaningful change.

Then I first got an inkling things were going awry when around March of 2006 the County Attorney and then County Manager Gerald Gonzales asked for a meeting. They said the County wanted the Sheriff out of the chain of command in the Jail. When the county agreed to take over the jail the Corrections Director was placed under the Sheriff and the County Manager. This allowed the Sheriff to have the ability to have some input in issues at the jail. I did not agree to change this and I did not hear much else about this for a while.

In about May Annabelle Romero was brought in as a highly paid consultant to the jail. She was later moved up to Corrections Director. All without my input, prior to this I took part in hiring decisions on high level positions in corrections. When she was hired as a consultant a committee to review the applicants (at that time it was to be a contracted position and not a hired employee) which included the Under Sheriff, placed Annabelle Romero last of those interviewed as possible consultants. None the less she was hired as a full time highly paid employee. Once she was moved up to corrections director all cooperation and communication with the Sheriff's office ended. When I got calls from people with concerns or complaints about the jail I used to call then Corrections Director Greg Parish relay those concerns and they were always handled.

Now with Annabelle Romero as Corrections Director my phone calls were not returned, issues were not handled and it was not just me. Many of the calls I got were from community members, government entities and non-profits asking for help in getting calls returned and issues handled at the jail. Their calls were not getting returned either. I later learned that thousands of dollars were being stolen from inmates at the jail. Simple procedures devised by former Corrections Director Greg Parish and myself were no longer being followed. Crimes were going unreported at the jail for weeks. By the time my investigators were called the victims, witnesses and suspects were long gone from jail. Inmates were being releases that were not due to get out of jail yet.

I had meetings with the Corrections Director, the County Manager and County Attorney over these months that did no good. When prisoners were being released by mistake, and crimes went unreported I had to take more serious action. I began putting things in writing, recording conversations for evidence and pushing for the county to take action. The County Manager told me that Commissioners wanted me out of the loop at the jail. In a public vote at the time the county took over the jail the Corrections Director was put under myself and the County Manager. I told the County Manager that I felt that was still in effect. It was then that the County Commission decided to have a new vote which takes place tomorrow, to remove me from the chain of command at corrections. In other words kill the messenger.

Rather than deal with the problems at the jail they choose to deny the problems and get rid of the one who says there are problems. Some have told me I am better off and I should just let them remove me from oversight of the jail and then it will all be their headache. My thing is I pushed to have the county take over the jail and now I should just walk away and leave the taxpayers with this mess? Things were getting better before politics got involved and now the jail has never been this bad. If I am to be pushed out of Santa Fe County Corrections I need to go with a clear conscious. If I go quietly into the night I have no doubt nothing will change. The current Corrections Director is making very bad decisions and continuing the same types of public service that resulted in the loss of her law license years ago. Tomorrow is just day one in what I am sure will be a long few weeks if not months. One quote sticks in my mind.

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

I have decided, I will not be that man....

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a very Happy Easter.
May God bless all your families.

The Solano Family

Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Funny- New Policing Techniques

New Policing Techniques are introduced all the time. Here is a police training video on the newest fad in policing.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Washington Newspaper Roll Call mentions Sheriff Solano for Congress

I ran across my good friend Javier Gonzales the former County Commissioner in the Smiths Grocery Store and he let me know about a story in the Washington Based Newspaper Roll Call. Apparently the paper was reviewing possible scenarios for the different congressional districts and I was mentioned along with Javier and others as possible candidates for Congressional District 3 race should Pete Dominici retire and Rep. Tom Udall run for Pete's Senate seat.It was flattering and interesting to see my name come up in a Washington based Newspaper. While I am considering a Statewide Race I had not even considered a Congressional Seat.

Here is a link to the Roll Call story although a very expensive subscription is required in order to read it.

I did receive a copy of the story and here is the excerpt that mentions me as a possible candidate.

Politics in Northern New Mexico a Family Affair
March 20, 2007
By Josh Kurtz,
Roll Call Staff

The first name mentioned when a vacancy in the 3rd district is discussed is former Santa Fe County Commissioner Javier Gonzales (D). Gonzales was a political wunderkind who was elected to the county commission in 1994 at the age of 27. He is now the president of the Board of Regents at New Mexico Highlands University, works for a national lobbying firm and also runs a popular bilingual radio station. He father is a former mayor of Santa Fe.

But Gonzales is unlikely to have the Democratic field to himself. Two other ambitious young Hispanic politicians in northern New Mexico are Public Utilities Commission Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, son of state Speaker Ben Lujan (D), and attorney Geno Zamora, a former aide to both Udall and Richardson who lost a Democratic primary for attorney general last year.

Political observers also would not be surprised to see the media-savvy Santa Fe County Sheriff, Greg Solano (he has his own blog), run for Congress. And ex-state Sen. Roman Maes (D) always has expressed an interest in the 3rd district seat.

As I said it was interesting and flattering but the scenario had a lot of if's, If Dominici Retires, if Udall runs, etc. etc. and 2008 is still a ways off. State races in 2010 are even longer off and my committment to Sheriff does not end until 2010.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Return to Blogging

I am back after a short break from blogging. First off my condolences to Julia Goldberg on the loss of her dog Kita. My wife and I have 4 dogs, (yes that is four). We really enjoy them all though I was happy with just two but my kids keep bringing more. We absolutely have to stop at four. Dogs quickly become part of your family and when you lose one it can be devastating. My wife and I will pray for you and Kita.

I am dismayed to learn the Governor vetoed the Red Light Camera Bill. The good thing is that all this attention has brought some light on the downfalls of Albuquerque's Red Light Camera Program and may bring about needed change. Marty Chavez has hung his hat on this program and the amount of discontent it is brewing in Albuquerque could affect his poll numbers in his own district when the Democratic Primary for Governor comes around.

Deaths involving Alcohol continued to mount in the Santa Fe Area in the last few weeks. This even as all the publicity over the Pabst case, and as we have just increased the number of D.W.I. officers at Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office from two up to six. I am at a loss for why all of this does not scare anyone into not driving drunk.