Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sheriff Interviewed on Los Angeles Public Radio Station

The Kid Nation Story continues with interviews on CNN, TV-Guide, and People Magazine. The Latest was an Interview on Southern California Public Radio Station KPCC. You can hear the Interview here. (Real Player required)

Along with many media interviews on Kid Nation the New Mexican had an interesting article on Commissioner Harry Montoya's stance and press conference over the Medical Marijuana issue. The article garnered many comments which were interesting to read, at least when the comments did not go off topic. I received phone calls today from Medical Marijuana groups applauding my comments in the article. I described my stance on this issue in a blog post on July 2, 2007. One thing I was asked to consider by one of the national proponents who called today was a program where rather than the state being the distributor and grower the State would license and strictly regulate private companies to grow and distribute the drug. I asked them to email me more information and they said they would.

Besides the calls from organized proponents I spoke to or received calls from individuals who told me stories about their loved ones who suffered and whose symptoms were relieved by the drug. They told me about the embarrassment and fear of getting arrested as they asked around for someone who might know someone who could sell them the drug. Normally law abiding citizens were forced to choose between comforting a loved one and breaking the law.

Somewhere among all the hype and controversy is an answer that will work for most people. Notice I did not say everyone, one thing I have learned is you can't please everyone. I am still committed to keeping drugs, marijuana and other drugs, illegal for all but the very few ill people who have been certified by a competent physician as in need of the drug. I spoke at length about my view on legalizing drugs in this blog post. Also by clicking here you can see all my blog posts related to drug legalization and medical marijuana.

One final note, Eye on Albuquerque, the anonymous blogger from Albuquerque ponders whether my run for Lieutenant Governor will cause me to cease blogging.

He or she notes: "It will be very interesting to see if Sheriff Solano continues to blog during his campaign for Lt. Governor. Blogs are great for expressing opinions and while opinions can garner support they can also create enemies who will use his posts against him."

Not only will I continue to blog, I have even started a new blog which will detail the run for Lieutenant Governor in a personal and honest way that I believe has never been done in New Mexico politics. One thing I vowed when I first ran for office was that "politics will not change me, I will change politics".

I truly believe this and this is not some made up campaign slogan. I will not formulate an opinion based on what polls say or based on what might be best for the campaign. I had a job before politics and should the voters decide I am not right for the position I am running I will have a job and continue to serve my community in other ways. So come here and read my ramblings and yes I am sure my opponents will try and use these writings against me, the good thing is that "you never have to remember what you said if you always say the truth".

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Efforts to Recall Sheriff Lee Baca a Bust.

Sheriff Lee Baca who released Paris Hilton from jail faced a recall effort which has gone nowhere after two months of gathering signatures.

Andrew Ahlering, a former county employee accused the Los Angeles sheriff of giving Hilton preferential treatment by allowing her to return home after serving less than four days of a 23-day jail sentence. The effort gathered a dismal 40 of the nearly 400,000 signatures needed by December to get a recall measure on the ballot. Ahlering, also said he had raised less than $100 for the campaign.

In the immense population of Los Angeles County either Sheriff Baca has amazing support or Andrew Ahlering is doing a horrible job of gathering signatures. The whole Paris Hilton case was way over publicized and the Judge in the case used Paris Hilton to make an example of celebrity's who get in trouble. It is highly debatable whether Paris served a fair amount of time in jail. One thing appears for sure, Sheriff Lee Baca is going nowhere.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sheriff interviewed on CNN

Early this morning I was at the roundhouse taping an interview for CNN. The subject was the Kid Nation Reality Show and its continuing criticism from parents and others. The criticism is bieng covered by everyone from People Magazine to the New York Times and L.A. Times and now CNN. The show is to air at 6 pm New Mexico time on CNN's show "Out in the Open" .

Hitting the dusty trail again.

On Thursday afternoon I was off on my yearly ride in the Chama area, this time we were at the Quinlan Ranch for our three day trip. My friends and I arrived on Thursday night and I was greeted at the campfire by none other than former County Commissioner Javier Gonzales, Former Attorney General Candidate Geno Zamora, and Mayor Marty Chavez. For more on the political side of this trip see my other blog "The Road to Lieutenant Governor".

Upon our arrival at the ranch we unloaded the horses and gear and settled into our tents. We actually had pretty good cell service at the base camp and It was funny during the trip to read this story in the New Mexican on my blackberry while having my morning coffee. The story in the New Mexican was about people paying big bucks for luxury camping trips. As you can see by this photo our tent was not as luxurious.

The first night was spent settling in and saying hello to old friends and some new ones. After a great dinner there was campfire music and conversation until about 1am.
One of our hosts "Don" really likes to build a campfire and soon our campfire became a bonfire. As it grew and grew I swear I could hear Zozobra groaning in the background.

In my next post I will detail the first day of riding, Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lessons learned from the John Hyde Case?

The recent developments in the John Hyde case highlight a major problem with mental health care in New Mexico. A lack of in patient facilities to treat those in need of mental health care. Las Vegas Medical Center is the primary facility for mentally ill patients from all over New Mexico. The waiting list is long and most individuals court ordered to the facility spend months in jail before getting a bed in the facility.

Let's think about that for a second, people with mental health issues who need in patient treatment are awaiting that treatment in a jail. Those who do not mess up bad enough to get arrested and then have the courts send them to jail prior to getting a bed, roam our streets as members of our homeless population. Or they live semi normal lives until the day they snap. Take a look at the recent cases of John Hyde and Cho Seung-Hui the Virginia Tech Killer. Both had brushes with the mental health systems in their states and both states failed them and their eventual solution was mass murder.

New Mexico needs to expand our mental health system and provide expanded in patient care. The waiting lists are too long and continued outpatient care is lacking in resources and funding. those in need of constant care and monitoring need a system that provides that care as well as funds the care. Many mentally ill individuals are unable to hold down jobs especially with out assistance and monitoring to ensure they are taking their medications. Going back to the Johnson administration we have cut and underfunded mental health facilities and programs. New Mexico needs to invest in these programs and begin to be proactive in preventing these kinds of deaths.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A new blog!

I have started a new blog in which I intend to chronicle my race for Lt. Governor. Yes, I did announce today that I am running in the Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor. I intend to keep this blog going for local and Sheriff issues and use the new blog as a journal of what it is like to run for Lt. Governor. I really want the new blog to be more than your normal political advertising. I really want to give an honest accounting of what it is like to run for a state wide office. I will have a web site for all the political stuff. So I hope you will add the new blog to your blog roll or keep up with it in some way. In my next Sheriff Blog I would like to talk about the John Hyde case but for now I am going to hop over to my other blog and get the first post up.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

News Conference Scheduled for August 21

I am getting a lot of phone calls especially since last nights 10 pm broadcast of KOB TV news in which they reported on a News Conference I have scheduled for Tuesday August 21, at 2:00pm in the State Capitol Rotunda. The rumor going around and reported on KOB TV is that I am announcing a run for Lieutenant Governor. I can neither confirm nor deny. The news media does not like it when one station or paper gets the jump on the other. Therefor it is good to announce things to all news outlets at once, keeps everyone on an even keel and no one gets hurt with you.

They still want to get the jump on each other so they are still willing to report first as long as they can get some kind of news story with some checks and balances. Thus they are now reporting on the rumor that my news conference is about the Lieutenant Governors race. Look for this in Monday morning's New Mexican. All I can say is you are all invited to the news conference. At that time I will announce my future political ambitions. I hope you all will support me as you have in the past.

In other news 770KKOB AM Radio will interview me at 7am ( I don't like interviews that early) to discuss the Kid Nation Story as reported in the New York Times. This blog is still receiving three times the number of hits per day than what is normally seen. Most is for the Kid Nation blog posts, the rest are for the memorial post for my friend Jeff Lane.

I also attended the Democratic Party Meeting in Santa Fe on Saturday morning which was a question and answer session for Democratic Party Chair Brian Colon. The meeting was well attended with about 75 attendees and many candidates and elected officials. It was a good rally for Democrats and Brian Colon is an excellent speaker. He was very candid with his answers even when it something someone did not want to hear. A lot of talk centered around the February Caucus and what Democrats need to do to defeat Pete Domenici. Democratic faithful seem very united around Pete's defeat. Perhaps the days of Pete getting elected with the help of Democrats is over. I certainly hope so.

Well see you all at the News Conference!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kid Nation complaints make National News.

Last week Edward Wyatt of The New York Times called me and said he read about Kid Nation on my Blog. He requested copies of the complaints received by our office. I knew the story would be coming soon but AOL picked it up and have featured the New York Times Story on their web site and News Feeds. This has generated a lot of traffic to this blog as well as many emails. AOL has over 1100 comments and a Poll which showed the following results at the time of this post.

As I said in my last blog post on this subject, Should the show decide to try and film in Santa Fe County again the Sheriff's office will be on site and closely monitor the show, although my preference is that the producers go else where.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In Rememberance of a good friend, Jeff Lane.

I learned today that a great friend Jeff Lane passed away. Jeff was owner of Bell Ranch which is located East of Santa Fe in Harding and San Miguel Counties. It borders Conchas Lake and includes 290,000 Acres, 250,000 of which was for sale for 115, Million Dollars. The ranch includes over 3,000 herd of cattle and over 50 ranch horses, an airstrip, several homes and campgrounds as well as a corporate headquarters.

Those of you who read my blog in May of this year read about the trail ride and camp out I had after Jeff invited me to his yearly event. It was described in a two part post.

Riding the Bell Ranch

Riding the Bell Ranch Part 2

I took a few pictures and I went back and looked through them and found that other than his back I had neglected to take any of Jeff. I do have pics from other rides that he attended and I may go through those but in the meantime I borrowed the one above from In the picture above Jeff had just taken his horse through the hole in the canyon and was taking a bow. Jeff truly loved the ranch and was a great steward of the land. He enjoyed flying his own plane and had an airstrip on the ranch. Unfortunately his love of flying led to his untimely death. 57-year-old Jeff Lane, and 34-year-old Ryan Hartley died when Jeff's small plane went down on State Road 419 between the towns of Mosquero and Trementina.

I was looking forward to next years trip to Bell Ranch and I will never forget the few days I spent there in Jeff's hospitality. I met Jeff a couple of years ago on a trail ride at Gerald Peters Ranch and he instantly treated me like we had been friends for years. He played the wash Bucket Bass which was always fun to hear after a long day of trail riding. Its hard to imagine going on a trail ride and not hearing him picking on it at the end of the day.

That's Jeff playing the wash bucket bass cut off on the left hand side of the picture.

I am going to miss Jeff and I wish his family and ranch hands find solitude knowing that such a great man is bound to be riding into heavens sunset on a horse with wings.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Santa Fe Muzik Fest is Over!

Everything went great but Thank God the Santa Fe Muzik Fest is over! being the first year and taking into account the high expectations of the promoters we really did not know what to expect and we prepared for the worst and prayed for the best. Every thing went great and those who attended (about 25,000) over the whole weekend had a great time. Kudo's to the private security, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputies, all the other Law Enforcement, Dispatchers, EMS and Fire and everyone elso who worked long hours and did a great job making sure everyone was safe.

The State Democratic Party is hosting a Breakfast in Santa Fe with Chairman Brian Colón who is on a 33 county Listening Tour. The breakfast is on Saturday, August 18th, 2007, from 9 am to 11 am at the Lodge at Santa Fe. It is your chance to meet the new Chairman and share your views and ask questions on the direction of the Democratic Party in New Mexico. If you attend I will see you there!

For those of you in Espanola the next stop is at Angelina's Resturaunt from 11:30 - 1:00 also on August 18, 2007. "I hope Brian doesn't speed to make the second stop" my guess is he will either have to leave early from Santa Fe or be a little late to Espanola.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I forgot Don Wiviott !

In my last post describing the Santa Fe County Democratic Party Meeting I left out Don Wiviott who spoke to the crowd about his campaign to unseat U.S. Senator Pete Domenici. I apologize Don and good luck! Since I forgot you, you now get your own post and a photo.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Santa Fe County Democratic Party meets.

My wife Antoinette and I attended the Santa Fe County Democratic Party meeting tonight at the NEA building in Santa Fe. It was good to see all my democrat friends again and the meeting made me itchy for the campaign season as several democrats running for office addressed the crowd. First to speak was Joe Campbell an Assistant District Attorney who is running for District Attorney in the First Judicial District. His prospective opponent A.J. Salazar was missing as he is serving in Iraq at the moment as well as expected opponent Doug Couleur who was also absent.

Next to speak was Brian Egolf who is running against Senator John Grubesic for the New Mexico State Senate seat. He was followed up by Senator Grubesic. Rounding out the candidates was State Representative Lucky Varela running unopposed so far for re-election to his seat. Deputy Cabinet Secretary Patsy Trujillo was collecting endorsements for Presidential Candidate Governor Bill Richardson while many democratic faithful approached me to ask me about rumors circulating around my next run for office. With a smile all I could say was wait about three weeks then everyone will know. I was surprised with at least one of the rumors. Most of the rest I had heard before and a few were even correct.

County Chair Minnie Gallegos next made her nominations for members of the Executive board. Connie Maki was nominated for Secretary, Andrew Perkins for Treasurer, Ernie Baca Parliamentarian and Kurt Young for Finance Committee Chair, Numerous other committee chairs were named as well.

Next up to speak was Joseph Casados the Regional Field Director from the State Democratic Party. He spoke of preparations under way for the February 5, 2008 Democratic Presidential Caucus. Casados also spoke about the possibility of obtaining corporate sponsors to help cover the costs of the Caucus which is expected to run about $350,000. He rounded out his portion of the agenda by inviting everyone to a question and answer get together with Democratic Chair Brian Colon on August 18, 2007 , 9:00 am the The Lodge at Santa Fe. The meeting is part of a 33 county tour the chairman is undertaking in order to develop a 33 county strategy for the New Mexico Democratic Party.

Finally Tom Chepucavage President of Eldorado Media Solutions announced that a new and improved Santa Fe Democratic Party web site will be up soon. It sounds like it will be a real improvement. I will place a link on this blog as soon as it is up and running. If anyone is in need of a real expert to design a web site look no further than Tom. (end of commercial, lol).

It was great to get together with all my friends who share a fondness for the Democratic party. I really see some great races coming up and see a democratic tidal wave over the next few years.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hillary takes on Bush for police cuts during his administration

I last talked about President Bush's attacks on the law enforcement budgets of America in Feb of this year. Year after year the President and the formerly Republican controlled Congress cut and cut all law enforcement grants and funding until it was almost non-existent. Hillary Clinton hit on this fact when she recently spoke to a meeting of the National Association of Police Organizations. Hillary promised more funding for police programs, including an anti-drug initiative and bulletproof vest program. Santa Fe used to receive funding to purchase 8 to 10 vests a year, the cost of which is about $600 a piece. For the last few years we received zero. There used to be federal grants for putting officers in schools and hiring and training new officers. Now for most agencies there is no money for these programs.

Year after year the cuts continued until the recent take over of Congress by the Democratic Party. This year the funding finally began to be restored as funding was increased for the JAG and HIDTA law enforcement programs. The Democrats pushed to increase funding and were successful in doing so since taking back congress from the Republicans. I have never understood how the Republicans are often seen as stronger on crime issues in national polls yet the strongest president on crime funding and issues in recent years was none other than President Bill Clinton. The recent Republican Congress decimated funding for law enforcement and things only got better when Democrats returned to power. I am looking forward to the next president who is bound to be a Democrat. I truly believe the tide will shift to real homeland security and true protection of citizens from the real threats in their own neighborhoods and on their own streets. So don't forget, Hug a Democrat next time you see one, or better yet, vote for him or her.

Friday, August 03, 2007

C.C.A. Loses federal inmates again.

Cornell Corrections runs the old Bernalillo County Detention Center in Downtown Albuquerque. It is a 900 bed facility now called the Regional Correctional Center. After the new Detention Center was built the county leased the old one to Cornell who reopened it as a private facility. The bread and butter of the deal was the fact that Cornell would lease the majority of the beds to ICE, the Federal Immigration arm of homeland security. over a third of the beds are often taken up by these federal immigration prisoners. Cornell has messed up and the Feds are pulling the prisoners out of the facility. (subscription required for link)

Cornell used to run the Santa Fe County Detention Center in the late 90's and up to around 2001. Things got so bad at the time that all Federal Prisoners were pulled from that facility as well. The Santa Fe County Detention Center was over built at the time of construction with the promise that all the extra beds would be used by the Feds who pay a premium price for housing of their prisoners. When the Santa Fe County Detention Center was full of Federal Prisoners it made profits that have never been seen again.

I was very surprised when Cornell made the deal to take over the old B.C.D.C. and made the deal to house federal prisoners there. When Cornell left Santa Fe they left us with a Federal investigation into civil rights violations and an order that barred any federal prisoners from being housed in Santa Fe. Santa Fe taxpayers are still paying the bills for their mismanagement today.

I don't know if Cornell can break the lease with the county but if they can, watch out they will be on the run, if they can not then look out, until more paying customers can be brought in they will cut staffing and medical and anything else they can because the bottom line, profits will be the only thing that matters. Profits cannot be derived from the old B.C.D.C. with only 300 prisoners.
My guess is that Cornell will be looking at Bernalillo County to save them by sending more overflow and prisoners from the new facility which is often overcrowded. It will be a deal with the devil if that happens.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

More news on the dancing inmates of Cebu !

In my last Funny Friday I showed a video of The Dancing Inmates of Cebu Philippine's dancing to Michael Jacksons Thriller. Turns out the Philippine Government is now heaping praise on the jail and staff and nominating it for an award for its outstanding programs implemented by local government units. The inmates version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance has been viewed over 3.2 million times on Youtube as of Wednesday. The media is really running with the story, even Al Jazeera is reporting on the program.

I thought dancing to Michael Jackson to be cruel and unusual punishment. Turns out they dance to several other musical selections and they had less degrading dance numbers like this one:

I don't know its seems a little less degrading? Maybe this will start an international trend with dance offs between jails. I see the Santa Fe County Jail in the finals vs Bernalillo County Detention Center. Santa Fe bieng more liberal, the inmates would dance to Edwin Starr's "War", you know the tune:

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y'all

Bernalillo County Detention Center would probably go rap with Akon and "Locked up":

Im steady tryna find a motive,
Why do what I do?,
Freedom aint gettin no closer,
No matter how far I go,
My car is stolen, no registration,
Cops patrolin, and now they done stop me,
And I get locked up,

They won't let me out, they won't let me out, (im locked up)
They won't let me out no, they wont let me out, (im locked up)
They won't let me out, they won't let me out, (im locked up)
They won't let me out no, they won't let me out

I say Santa would win, of course I'm biased. We could sell tickets and use the money raised to help pay the costs of incarceration. Video's, T-shirts and program guides would add to the revenue. The winning inmates would get a pizza party.

Ok, its one in the morning and I am really daydreaming, or awake at night dreaming. I'm not sure, can you daydream at night?