Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bad Economic Times and Law Enforcement

The recent economic news had primarily centered on businesses in America and has moved away from the individuals. What I mean by this is that the first signs of the economy failing and the big news 6 months ago was the residential foreclosures sweeping the country. The media and the government focus has now moved to business failures. I am going to put my Conan Obrian collar and point the flashlight at my face and make some predictions.

Cities and counties across the state look to cut budgets as taxes coming in to pay for services are dropping. It is a necessary evil as government must live with in their means. The problem with Law Enforcement is crime increases as the economy drops. Yet police agencies across the nation are held to flat budgets at best and cuts at the worst.

It is the way the cookie crumbles and there is not a lot that can be done. If crime rates raise to the point of crisis then and only then will government leaders bite the bullet and divert funds from other projects to law enforcement. The good side, if there is one, is that public safety is usually the last government function that is usually cut and is the easiest function in which to make a case for holding back cuts or even getting additional resources in tough economic times, if the crime rate is increasing enough.

In Santa Fe, the majority of the general fund for county government is property tax related. The huge swings seen in the city funds where the taxes are generated primarily through gross receipts are some what moderate in the county where property taxes are more stable. Leaders in law enforcement recognize crime trends and how economic factors, socioeconomic factors, seasons, weather, holidays and other factors that affect crime rates and respond accordingly. We need to prepare for the short and long term effects of tough economic times and ensure that our officers understand and are prepared to deal with these times. The upside to tough economic times is that careers in law enforcement become more desirabled. The benefits, retirement, job stability and pay make law enforcement a much more viable option to those who may not consider the career otherwise.

The important thing is that we understand and prepare for these times both as public officials and as individuals. Individuals need to understand what these times mean for crime trends and take extra precautions to prevent crime. The truth is we all should take these precautions all the time but there is never a better time than now to pay attention. I am adding these crime tips for burglaries because that is the most prevalent crime that will increase with tough economic times.

  • Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break into.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day. Use motion detector lights outside.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or fliers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the post office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
  • Know who belongs or does not belong in your neighborhood. If someone looks suspicious, call the police to have them checked out.
  • Keep your yard clean and bushes and trees trimmed. You don't want to give burglars a place to hide or remain concealed as they come in and out of your yard.
  • If you have an alarm system, use it, even if you are only leaving for a short time. While they may not prevent burglary's they do reduce the amount of items taken and many times when the alarm goes off the burglar will leave with out taking anything. Whether you have an alarm system or not buy signs that say you have an alarm and place them around your home.
The thing about burglaries is that one or two people can do 5 or 6 burglaries in a day. A few days of doing this and the crime rate can rise dramatically in just a short time. When we catch these persons the crime rate drops just as dramatically. We will catch these people and things will return to normal. The most effective way to catch these burglars is through help from the public. Deputies can not be everywhere and most burglars are caught when someone calls in a suspicious person or vehicle or when a burglar is caught in the act. I ask everyone to be extra vigilant and be our eyes and ears, it is a cliche but its also very true that crime prevention begins at home.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Democrats Sweep New Mexico!

I have never been more proud to be a Democrat. Congratulations to our next President Barack Obama, Ben Ray Lujan, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Harry Teague who will all go to Washington to represent us. Congratulations to all the other candidates who won their races across the state and Thank You to those who lost. It is a very hard thing to put your self out to the public and say vote for me. Even those whom I don't agree with their political views, still have my greatest respect. Thank you for putting your self out there to be judged and to be a part of the political process which makes America the greatest nation in the world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One More Day!

How many of you remember Jan 20, 2007? That was the day Hillary Clinton announced her run for the Presidency of the United States of America. How about Jan 21, 2007? That was the day Bill Richardson announced. Better late than never, Senator Barack Obama announced on February 10, 2007. I have to admit I don't know and decided not to look up when John McCain announced. My point is it has been a long 23 months.

Wow, two years of presidential campaigning. Is anyone really undecided? Tomorrow is election day. I am not sure that means much anymore, There is no longer an election day as early and absentee voting has surpassed election day voting accross America. In 2000 and 2004 we had long lines on election day as each 4 year cycle brought new records in those who show up at the polls. Now in 2008 more people will have probably voted early and absentee than on election day. This trend is bound to continue to the point where eventually I have no doubt that we will just have an election month and election day will only become the final day of voting.

How many of you are ready for the negative ads to end? ( my hand is in the air, harder to type with one hand). I have grown increasingly weary of the increasingly negative ads, why do they work? Those who are supposedly in the know say they work and thats why they are used. I am ready for real change in the way campaigns are advertised. What will you do, what are your ideas and why do you want our vote? Thats what I long for. I feel like sticking my head out the window and yelling I am sick of it and I am not going to take it anymore. Wish I lived in a highrise for proper effect. Oh well, I would stick my head out my kitchen window and yell to my dogs who would probably look at me like I was an idiot if I thought it would help.

I think this decade will be known in politics as the swiftboat decade, when non issues ruled the day. Hopefully the next decade people will look back and say, what were they thinking? All that aside if you have not voted yet then by all means get out and do so tomorrow! And if by chance I am wrong and you are undecided then let me sway you.


Let me be the last to say, Thank you I am Greg Solano and I approved this message.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Zombie Death

If you are not sure what you are reading, click here, then come back and finish.

Son of a B****, I have been bitten. How could I be so stupid? I liked Vasquez too. He would of made a good cop. I grabbed my laptop with my trusty Alltel aircard and walked through the new rail yard park and locked myself in the freezer behind Tomasitas Restaurant. what a place to die. My mind is running a hundred miles an hour. I keep wondering about the chicken and the egg. Which came first? If I shoot myself in the head before I become a zombie, will I still become a zombie?

Suicide is against the catholic church teachings. They say you will go to hell. Jesus also says he will forgive you if you ask for forgiveness when you sin. I wonder, can you ask for forgiveness and get it before you commit the sin? I have always liked Evel Knievel. I remember he used to say he did not believe in god, that he only believed in himself. Then weeks before his death I saw him on Hour of Power with Rev. Robert H. Schuller, he was getting baptized and proclaiming his belief in god and Jesus Christ. Do we all look to god in our last minutes?

I only hope we have not failed in stopping this plague from taking over Santa Fe and who knows how far it could go. I hope my family is safe. Antoinette, Next year would have been 25 years married. I am sorry I didn't make it. I love you. Take care of our kids and our lovely grandchild. Aaron take care of mom and your sister, you need to be there for your mom and always make sure you are able to be there for them. Its cold, is it the freezer or is it the virus?

To my brother and sisters and the rest of our families, I will miss you and I love you all. I remember I once told Antoinette my wife that I had done everything I have always wanted to do. I really don't have a bucket list. OK, one thing, I never got to jump a couple trucks with a motorcycle. That reminds me of Undersheriff Robert Garcia and the rest of my staff and friends at work. Be safe all. One time I asked Robert If I could borrow his two pickup trucks. He laughed and said, just leave the tailgate down on the second one, your gonna hit it. He's going to make a damn good Sheriff.

I can hear scratching at the door, Damn zombies can't I die in peace? I open the freezer and start shooting. That takes care of another eight of them. The warm air from outside feels good. I need to lock myself back in though, can't afford to turn and be free.

I have been to quite a few suicides, I always wondered what was so bad that someone had to take that route. I guess turning into a zombie should qualify. My joints arrrrrrre stiffining, I donnt know how much lonnger I can type. I sometimes have this reoccurring dream. In the dream I confront the bad guy who is about to shoot me. I pull my gun and try to fire but no matter how hard I pull the trigger it wont move. My joints are reallly getting stiff, can I pull the trigger now?

I guess itss time. God forgive me for this sin. My Glock 357 is cold. It has frost on it. These things ar e suppossed to work in all cnditions. I hope its true. Every one has to die.....

One last thing......


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sheriff to Receive 56% Raise....LOL

First off I have been remiss in my blogging the last few weeks. No excuses just haven't gotten to it lately. I have to admit I am even getting tired of reading the blogs which are full of political stuff. Don't get me wrong this is an important election and we all need to vote and if you don't know the issues or who to vote for yet then you need to get informed. On the other hand I really feel that most people have made up their minds by now. The fact that such a high amount of voters have early voted (30% as of today) points to the fact that they have made up their minds.

Now to the main topic, I was surprised to wake up this morning and do my usual quick look over the major papers online editions and see that the New Mexican had a story which reported I was getting a 56% raise. The story states that I currently receive $45,141 a year and will get $68, 308 with a raise set to go before the county commission today. I did call the reporter and let her know that I currently earn $68,308 and that the last sheriff to earn $45,141 was former Sheriff Benjie Montano who earned that in 1997. Current state law does not allow a politician such as myself to get a raise midterm. Therefor county officials who were in mid term two years ago when the last raise was put into place did not get the last raise. It is my belief that what the county commissioners were voting on today was a raise to bring reelected and newly elected officials up to par with the rest of the elected officials who got the raise two years ago when they are sworn in on January 1, 2008.

I spoke to the reporter and the incorrect wages she reported were supplied to her by the county public information officer so I can see how if she was provided the erroneous current pay and then she looked at the pay set in the county resolution to be voted on then she would assume huge raises for county officials. There is a constitutional amendment currently on the ballot, Amendment #2 which would allow for midterm salary increases for elected officials. The benefit to this amendment is that we would not have county commissioners or others who make less than their counterparts because a raise is enacted midterm. Currently newly elected officials get the raise while those already serving would not get the raise.

I am surprised the story did not get much attention, you would think that in today's economy %50 raises for elected officials would get a lot of attention. My office received no phone calls, emails, or complaints over the erroneous story. As for me, I am content with my current pay.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Trip to the Birth Place of Rock and Roll.

I visited Memphis Tennessee last week. It was the second time I visited the Birth Place of Rock and Roll. about 8 years ago my whole family made the trip to visit Graceland the home of Elvis Presley. I often joke with my co-workers that Elvis was my father. The joke continues on that I became estranged from the family after Lisa Marie and I split ways when she married Michael Jackson. All that aside I was in town with out the family this time. Our Computer Forensic Examiner and myself went on business.

We attended the National White Collar Crime Summit. The summit was actually really good and primarily focused on high tech crimes and the use of cell phones, computers, and pda's for crime and how to gather evidence from them. Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office is one of only five police agencies to have in house computer forensic labs and two of those five others are state agencies. One of my goals when I first became sheriff was to bring the future of law enforcement into our local sheriff's office. This included computers in the cars, digital photography for gathering evidence, computerized report system, a computer forensics lab, use of cell and pda's to enhance law enforcement and soon to come Global Positioning Systems in the Sheriff's Cars. Believe it or not only 6 years ago all reports at the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office were done with pen and paper.

The Key note speaker was former C.H.I.P.S. star Erik Estrada. Erik Estrada serves as a deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia and a reserve police officer for the Muncie, Indiana PD. I was able to meet him earlier in the day before his key note speech. He immediately began speaking to me in Spanish. Me habla muy poquito espanol ( I speak only a little Spanish), and Erik was extremely fluent. I made my way through the conversation, got a photo and autograph, (which he also signed in Spanish, calling me his primo and telling me to be safe.

An interesting part of the conference was a look into virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life. These virtual worlds have economy's of their own and people are coming into police departments and reporting thefts of their virtual money. Many are actually earning real money working in these virtual worlds. Companies are advertising in these virtual worlds and even identity theft is occurring. Viruses are being transmitted within these worlds and virtual people called avatars are actually being killed off by these viruses.

Although this may be years away from affecting local agencies it was still interesting and a good seminar to keep on top of emerging trends. Of course these worlds are being used by sexual predators as well as those just seeking interaction.

Other topics included presentations by Microsoft, working and gathering evidence from Windows Vista, and of course Internet based crimes including Identity Theft, Sexual Predators, and locating criminals using online databases such as facebook and others. Besides Microsoft, one of the big sponsors of the conference was Philip Morris. This was the first time I had seen this sponsor at a police conference however they were there with a booth in the exhibition hall asking for law enforcement help in catching those who distribute counterfeit name brand cigarettes. Apparently this is a growing crime with cigarettes being brought in from China, Europe, Asia and Latin America. According to Philip Morris “in China, 190 billion counterfeit cigarettes are produced each year, making it a major source country for European-destined fakes”.

Of course being a big 50's rock and roll fan while in Memphis I had to visit Graceland, Sun Records, Jerry Lee Lewis Ranch, and Beale Street. Over the next few days I will blog about those trips. I am by no way a singer but I enjoy singing Elvis Karaoke so I even cut a track at Sun Records. It was like a dream singing (although I wont be discovered any time soon) at the same studio where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and many others cut their most famous records.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Someone to Blame.

Cops make million dollar decisions every day.

I attended a Street Survival Seminar put on for officers and paid for by the family of fallen Deputy James McGraine last year. The class was presented by a national company known for its effective training of officers on tactics and survival skills. One of the presenters made the statement I listed above. Cops make million dollar decisions every day.....

Just what does that mean? In a split second cops have to make a decision which can and will be Monday morning quarterbacked for years. If that decision is wrong and sometimes even if it is right but a good lawyer can make a case that it should have been handled differently then it becomes a million dollar decision. Now there are many, many, many (emphasis on many) lawsuits filed that cost taxpayers and insurance companies nothing or less than a million dollars. In my career I have only seen one million dollar lawsuit affecting an agency I have worked with.

However what are the costs beyond the money? When someone dies before their time or of causes other than natural, people need someone or something to blame. Sometimes blame is necessary to prevent future occurrences. Sometimes its just convenient to point a finger. When the person to blame dies in the incident then the company they work for, or the person who sold them the beer, or the police who should have arrested him before he committed his crime, is to blame.

I was reminded of the whole "cops make million dollar decisions" quote by the story of Iman Morales and Lieutenant Michael W. Pigott whose death came on his 46th birthday.

On Sept. 24, 2008 Mr. Morales mother called police because her mentally ill son was naked and ranting on top of a ledge atop a storefront security gate. When police arrived after trying to coax him down and as he was swinging an eight-foot-long fluorescent light bulb at officers, Lt. Pigott authorized officer Nicholas Marchesona to use a Taser. After the Taser immobilized Mr Morales he fell from the ledge which was approximately 10 feet above the sidewalk. Mr Morales fell on his head and died. Officers had called for an inflatable cushion, but it did not arrive in time.

In a move not usually seen in these days of litigation and not accepting blame, Lt. Pigott accepted responsibility for the fatal decision. He apologized for the decision and expressed his condolences to the family. The department sent Lt. Pigott and Officer Marchesona to counseling and placed the Lt. in a desk job. Lt. Pigott was stripped of his gun and badge. On Thursday October 2, 2008 Lt. Pigott broke into a fellow officers locker, he left a note and pictures of his wife and kids and shot him self in the head. It is believed by fellow officers that he could not face disgracing his family with charges and disciplinary actions he believed would be pressed against him.

I believe that Lt. Pigott made a bad decision but criminal charges in our nation are based on intent. Does anyone believe that it was Lt. Pigott's intent to harm Mr. Morales? Was it reasonable to believe that Mr. Morales would survive a 10 foot fall? Should he have predicted that the fall would be on his head which could be and was fatal? Should officers have been placed to break his fall since the inflatable cushion had not arrived? These are all questions we can ask and debate. A judge or jury will never debate these questions since these matters are settled by attorneys in a room who only debate the money this is worth.

How many realize that when attorneys debate settlements lives are not in the equation? I have been in these discussions and what is debated is what would that person have earned? What is their life worth? Since someone is mentally ill and unable to earn much money are they worth less than someone who earns $90,000 a year for their family? It is stomach turning to see in person. The really sickening thing is that the attorneys make most of the money. The families get what is left.

One other quick note. Approximately 6 officers per year commit suicide in Lt. Pigott's department. According to a study by the National Association of Police Chiefs twice as many cops - about 300 annually - commit suicide as are killed in the line of duty in the United States of America .

Lt. Pigott died in the line of duty.....

No he did not get shot at the scene of a crime, He did not die in a car chase, and he did not take a bullet for a fellow officer. But he gave his life to the badge. Now that he is gone people will have to look elsewhere for someone to blame, and they will.

Here is the video of the Taser incident. Warning, watching this video could be unsettling to some people.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Funny Friday- On a Monday.

Normally I would save this video for Funny Friday but by then everyone on the internet will have seen it else where. If you missed this on Saturday Night Live then you have got to see it now. If you did not see the real interview with Katie Couric then believe it or not this spoof is really not that much different! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Would THIS make you quit smoking?

Let me start this post with my condolences for Evelyn Romero. I have met and talked to her on several occasions over the years and I understand the pain she must be going through. Losing two children and a husband since the year 2000 must be very hard. She also lost her mother in law the day after the death of her son Ronnie. I have a 23 year old son and a 16 year old daughter they along with my wife are my life. I can't imagine a day without them.

As most of you are aware Evelyn's son Ronnie died in jail on Sunday September 21, 2008. Her youngest son Robbie Romero, age 7, disappeared from the family's Bellamah Drive neighborhood in June 2000. Ronnie was always described as a "person of interest" in the disappearance in the City Police case.

Ronnie's autopsy was held on Monday September 22 and during the autopsy a balloon with suspected heroin was located in his rectum (is there a better way to describe this?). This brought about many questions as to how it gets there, why jail officials cannot stop this, along with many other questions.

The sheriff's office, the jail, the county government and others get sued by family members of both those who overdose in jail and those who die in jail in drug related deaths. The same firm (
Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu LLP) has had the gall to sue the county for failing to do enough to stop drugs coming into the jail and in the same breath and a different case, file a separate lawsuit for doing too much to stop drugs from coming into the jail. In the end the only one who wins in these lawsuits is the attorneys who have gotten filthy rich over these lawsuits. These attorneys file wide sweeping lawsuits suing anyone and everyone knowing that its cheaper to settle than litigate many of these cases. The earlier mentioned firm even knows full well that the Sheriff's Office is not allowed by the county to have anything to do running the jail yet they still name the Sheriff in all lawsuits having to do with the jail. Typical slash and burn tactics to ensure they can rake in as much money from as many people as possible.

These lawsuits have medical personnel, jail personnel and others scared to do anything. Inmates know that jail officials and others cannot perform any type of invasive body cavity searches so they swallow drugs in balloons in order to excrete them later or vomit the drugs back out later. They also simply insert the balloons into the rectum in order to remove them later. I am really going to gross you out now but I have seen where an inmate was suspected of bring drugs into the jail. The inmate was placed into what is called a dry cell, one without a toilet. The inmate admitted to excreting the drugs on the floor, digging them out of the excrement, and swallowing them again so they would not be found by jail personnel. Cigarettes and tobacco are brought in in the same manner.

Even when police and sheriff's get a court ordered search warrant allowing for a body cavity search, medical personnel refuse to do so stating they will not jeopardize their malpractice insurance costs by doing so. The doctors and hospitals would rather say no to a judge than face the lawsuits by the newest form of ambulance chasers. Of course jail personnel cannot do invasive searches. Hospitals have even refused to do a simple x-ray to determine if drugs were in the body. Do I seem harsh with my words? I have actually had detectives arrive at the jail to investigate a case and have private investigators and representatives of civil attorneys waiting at the front door trying to see the inmates before our investigators even begin the case.

I know there will be a lawsuit in the Romero case, I would not doubt if the above mentioned law firm did not send their business card with flowers to the funeral home. Everyone wants to blame someone when a loved one dies. When someone smuggles drugs into a jail, distributes them to inmates, and then someone dies from those drugs who is to blame? Lawsuits are usually based on proving that a person, company, or government was negligent in its duties to prevent or stop an incident. The same lawyers who sue for these cases are the same ones who tie jails hands and create ways for inmates to bring in drugs, cigarettes, and other contraband.

Which reminds me, would you quit smoking or smoke a cigarette that came from the rear end of your cell mate! I don't smoke but I think it would be enough to make me quit. I guess I have ended up using this post to rant but when I see these attorneys deposit another half a million or more taxpayer dollars in their bank account it sticks in my craw. Want an example?

In the Santa Fe Strip Search lawsuit the inmates got an average of $2,500 the attorneys, (same ones I mentioned above) got 2 million dollars.
Think about that, the Firm Donatelli and Rothstien collected two million dollars for 6 months work in the Strip Search lawsuit. Even if they worked all day every day 40 hours a week this comes out to a ridicules hourly wage. I have said it before, if these attorneys at least used some of the money to help inmates receive things like drug rehabilitation or job training then I could give them some credit. Imagine what counties could do with money given to these firms or our insurance carriers which charge high premiums due to these attorneys.

We lack adequate mental health inpatient treatment facilities, inpatient drug rehabilitation facilities and even enough outpatient treatment for inmates and those who need help before they become inmates. All this money could go to these and other worthy programs. I am one who believes we need tort and other reforms which will reign in these class action and other lawsuits. How many times do citizens get a coupon worth $20 or less in these class action lawsuits while the attorneys get millions. How is this fair? Sometimes I feel like sticking my head out a window and yelling "enough is enough!"


Friday, September 19, 2008

Toby Keith Concert and Filming of Crazy Heart

My wife and I were the guest of Toby Keith at his concert at the Journal Pavilion in Albuquerque last night. It was a great concert and we very much enjoyed it. We were lucky to be seated center stage 4th row which made for the best seats I have ever had at a concert. Looking very relaxed and without his usual contingent of entourage and security was Governor Richardson seated to the left of me one row up. Toby Keith is a good friend of Former Dallas Cowboys Coach Barry Switzer who has helped me with my campaigns for Sheriff in the past. For my re-election Toby gave me a signed guitar which we raffled off along with two Dallas Cowboy game tickets that Coach Switzer gave me. Coach Switzer attended the dance/raffle and was generous with photos and autographs for my supporters in attendance.

My wife Antoinette, Toby Keith and I backstage.
(Toby is the tall one, LOL)

Some of my readers may recall that I visited the movie set when Toby was filming his new movie "Beer for My Horses" in Santa Fe. Last night at the concert they were filming another movie "Crazy Heart", starring Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell, and Robert Duvall. Those in attendance were treated to be a part of the film as they filmed concert footage for the film. The film is about a down-on-his-luck alcoholic country music singer who, through his relationship and experiences with a female reporter, is able to get his life and career back on track. During the filming at the Toby Keith Concert Colin Farrell and Jeff Bridges got on stage and sang to the audience while scenes were shot. I must say they were not half bad as country singers. I was allowed to bring in a small digital camera and I took pictures and some small videos of the filming.

Below is some pics and video of the concert and filming. Also in the pics is the backup band Montgomery Gentry . I took over 90 pictures and the full album is available here.

Toby Keith and Robert Duvall provided by Toby's Photographer.

An Actor I don't know, Robert Duvall Colin Farrell, and Jeff Bridges.

Colin Farrell, and Jeff Bridges belt out a tune.

Video of Colin Farrell and Jeff Bridges Singing during filming of Crazy Heart. Double Click on video and choose high quality to see a better version.

Montgomery Gentry in Concert.

Toby Keith in front of his Ford Truck Stage.

Toby Keith singing my favorite song of his, How do you like me now. (looks much better if you double click video and select play in high quality)


Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency- Funny Friday

I decided to put this video on my blogs Funny Friday segment even though in reality since it is the truth, it is not that funny after all. The Onion News Network takes a satirical look at President George Bush's tour of America in which he surveys the damage his presidency does to the nation.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama Brings Excitement to Espanola

It has been a long busy day and my wife Antoinette and I are headed to the Toby Keith concert so I quickly put up a few pics from the Obama rally in Espanola. It was a full crowd of about 10,000 and very exciting. I will try to post more on it later.

Who would have guessed that right across the street is the Espanola Republican Headquarters!

Lots of News Trucks including CNN.

Larry Behrens From KOAT filming a shot of Ben Ray Lujan pressing the flesh.

Ben Ray Lujan worked the crowd and spoke to this lady who lived accross the street from the rally.

New Mexican Reporter Steve Terrell at his post in the press area.

Governor Richardson Introduces Barak Obama.

My favorite line of Obama's was " McCain said the economy is fundamentally sound, he was fundamentally wrong!"


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sarah Palin The Victim of Identity Theft, McCain Admits Lying

Sarah Palin has become the victim of Identity Theft. A fellow blogger has assumed her identity and created a blog which on first appearance seems to be an actual blog of Republican Candidate Sarah Palin. Only when you actually read the posts do you begin to realize this could not be real. The blog includes posts from Sarah, guest posts, a bridal registry for her daughter Bristols upcoming wedding, and an email Sarah link. If you look really hard, halfway down the blog page on the left hand side panel in really, really small letters is the sentence

"This site is a work of satire and is not affiliated with Sarah Palin in any way."

This is an interesting way of attacking a candidate and while I am sure it would be legal and classified as free speech it takes politics and political attacks to a new low. Not that the McCain and Palin campaign have not personally taken their campaign to a new low. McCain has even admitted lying in his ads. Remember the day when even if candidates lied they would never admit it? Now lying is tolerated or at least ignored by the public even when a candidate admits they are lying and continue to do so.

I have always felt honored to be in public service and I can only hope that local and state politics do not reach the level that presidential politics have reached. However, the Pierce campaign ads seem to be just below the level of McCains and I have seen other attack ads at the state level as well. Why, oh, why do negative ads work? When will the public teach candidates lessons by saying enough is enough. I hope soon, I know I have had enough. Maybe ads which tell who you are and what you will do are not as exciting but it is what I want to see. I want to know who is the candidate and what are their values and do they understand what American life is really about. Remember George H.W. Bush in 1992, when he was so amazed at the bar code reader in a grocery store? Do our candidates know what it is like to pay their utility bills, buy car insurance, house payments, car payments, buy gasoline, keep their kids in clothes for school and still buy food? Or do they have no idea even how many houses they own?

I know how many houses I own, NONE. Country Wide Mortgage owns my house and each month I pay them for the privilege of letting them do so. At least until the day comes when I might pay them off and then maybe it will be mine. Don't get me wrong, its the American Dream and many other citizens of many other countries wish they had the opportunity I do. But, if you do not know what it is like to try and pay for medical insurance or try and go with out it and gamble on the chance you won't need it for the next year how can you understand why we must fix the health care system in America.

These are the issues we should be talking about, not pigs with lipstick, or lies about teaching kindergarten children sex education. (does anyone even believe for a second that any politician would vote for that!) I would admonish candidates even more but the truth is this will continue and continue to get worse until the public says enough is enough.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Funny Friday - Cops and Donuts

Ok, I know some cop is going to get his or her feathers in a ruffle but I can laugh at myself. After yesterdays somber day, a Funny Friday is welcome. I have featured one of my favorite comics getting pulled over by a cop on a Funny Friday in the past and here he is again, Gabriel Iglesias tells of another time he was pulled over by a cop on the show Last Comic Standing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Cries of 3251 Children Echo Today.....

Every year I present a small tribute to the victims of 9-11 on this blog. On September 11, 2001 2948 Victims died when America was attacked.

3251 Children lost a parent on that day. I want to show you a video tribute to the children of those who died. I last posted this video in 2006, it brought tears to my eyes then and it still does today. 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.

This video reminds me of the pain when my family lost my mother 23 years ago. I can imagine this same pain multiplied by 3251. September 11 has become everything from a day of national mourning to a rally cry for security and finally a political football to be thrown when ever a politician hopes a Hail Mary pass can be completed. On this actual day all uses of this memory should be set aside and we should do nothing more than honor the victims and remember the sacrifice of 333 Firefighters, 60 Law Enforcement Officers, and 125 members of our Armed Forces who died that day.

I always mention one retired law enforcement officer and victim who died that day, He was the one New Mexican who lost his life in the attacks.

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.

Below is a link where you can view all the victims names.

Names of those Killed in the September 11 Attacks.

To all the victims, their families, friends and loved ones. We remember, we honor, we ask for gods blessings for each of you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm a Winner, I Think?

In the words of our own Governor Bill Richardson when receiving the Santa Fe Reporter's "Best Local Politician Award for a second year in a row", “I’m a very fond and avid reader of the Reporter, even when you guys poke fun at me.”

I was reading the Winners and Losers section for this week when low and behold, There I was. After reading the part pertaining to me, this blog and some honorary deputies I had to glance back up the page to see whether I was in the winners or losers column. Whew! I was in the winners column. Although when you read the section.................

Country singers

Perhaps it was a bit of a political risk for Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano to issue the oath of office to three country-rock musicians (Tobey Keith, Rodney Carrington and Ted Nugent) to lend more credibility to their roles as sheriff’s deputies in the film Beer for My Horses. After all, the quickest way to SFR’s “Losers” column is the use of public office to promote ridiculousness. On his blog ( Solano defends his decision after seeing the local preview screening of the film, which made him LOL several times over.

OK, in all seriousness I look at these types of things as no different then when the mayor or governor issues a proclamation doing things like...."making it Santa Fe Reporter Day" when celebrating an anniversary? Also a small correction, I actually did not know until I saw the movie months later that they were playing deputies in the movie. Other wise things like the honorary deputy, or giving a celebrity or sports star the key to the city is just a fun way of building community pride and promoting our community or state. A lot of what a political figure does is to promote the community, attend meetings, set policy, and be a sounding board for the community as well as be a voice for the citizens. Some of this involves pomp and circumstance while most of it involves rolling up your sleeves and getting things done.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Santa Fe Fiesta Parade and Our Next Sheriff

I attended the Santa Fe Fiesta Historical/Hysterical parade on Sunday Sept 7, 2008 with my wife Antoinette, many family members and my kids. It was a lot of fun and this was the first time in years I got to watch from the sidelines rather than be on a float or stagecoach. There were political entries, schools, sports, Fiesta royalties from Santa Fe and surrounding communities, nice cars and trucks, business and non profits and just some community members who wanted to have fun. I was surprised to also see two entries from a couple of gentlemen who seek to replace me in a little over two years. I received a lot of calls and comments from people who let me know they are sad to see me go. Many thought the candidates were running this November to replace me this year.

I still have over half my second term left and god willing I will still be Sheriff until January 1, 2011. While I am purposely not mentioning the names of those who were in the fiesta parade seeking to get name recognition and try to be my replacement, I am going to come out really early and tell you who I am endorsing. Current Undersheriff Robert Garcia is running for Sheriff in the 2010 June Primary and I will not only be endorsing him, I will whole heartily give him any support I can. Robert is a former Union President, former Santa Fe City Police Sergeant, Former member of the armed forces, and was my mentor in both union and police disciplines throughout my early police years. He also saved my butt if not my life during several bouts with criminals.

Robert has been an integral part of my administration and been responsible for many of our successes in the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office. Even though I still intend to be around over two more years I have complete confidence that when the time comes Santa Fe County voters can do no better than to elect Robert Garcia as my replacement.

So now back to the parade, Here are a few pictures I took of the parade.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thumbs Up, Beer For My Horses

My wife Antoinette and I attended the local screening of the movie Beer For My Horses on Sunday Night. The movie was filmed in Santa Fe and Las Vegas New Mexico and starred Toby Keith, Rodney Carrington, and Ted Nugent. There were many cameo appearances by many music personality's and others. Readers of this Blog might remember my post made during filming where I visited the set and deputized the three stars as Special Deputies.

Interestingly enough, in the movie written by Toby Keith and Rodney Carrington the two play Deputies in Jackson County Oklahoma. I actually did not know that fact when I first went to the set and deputized the three. The two play best friends, Rack (Toby Keith) and Lonnie (Rodney Carrington), that work together as deputies in a small town along with an eccentric deputy named Skunk (Ted Nugent). The three defy the Sheriff and head off on an outrageous road trip to save Rack's girlfriend from drug lord kidnappers.

Toby Keith receiving the Oath of Office from Sheriff Greg Solano

The movie definitely has a Country Movie Television feel to it and I was not sure I would like it. But, I did, the movie had just the right amount of comedic relief thrown in with Toby's characters more serious role. I have to say that Rodney stole the movie in several scenes and had me laughing out loud. For those who don't know me I don't do that too often. My wife says I am always too serious. However, Laugh out loud I did on several occasions.

The movie is only in limited release and it is my understanding that the one night screening in Santa Fe was the only chance to see it in Santa Fe prior to it being released on DVD. Too bad it was better than many movies I have paid to see in a theater and I think if it had a wider release and some advertising money it would do well. It won't win an Oscar but its fun entertainment. I can see this doing well on DVD and later on T.V. as well. Maybe one of the trivia questions on CMT TV when this is shown is the fact the three stars actually became honorary deputies while filming in Santa Fe. I give this movie thumbs up (hope I don't get sued for using that) and recommend you catch it where ever you find it.

By the way Toby and Rodney, here is a toast to your screenwriting abilities, Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.......

You can watch the movie trailer here.


Monday, September 01, 2008

FBI Hop asks for Donations to Benefit Hurricane Gustov Victims

Matthew at New Mexico FBI HOP is asking his readers to donate to charities which benefit Hurricane Gustov victims. I think it is a great idea and I will be making my donation to Red Cross and I urge you to do the same.

Friday, August 29, 2008

FBI Conducted Simular Probe in other Cities

In today's Albuquerque Journal North there was a story about a tape (subscription required) which the F.B.I. released to the Santa Fe Police Department approximately two years ago. In the tape Chief Eric Johnson and his brother, Capt. Gary Johnson are searching a hotel room during a 2003 drug investigation. According to the story written by Vic Vela and Kiera Hay City Councilor Patti Bushee wants the tape released now that the internal investigation is complete. Rumors have been swirling in regards to bad blood between City Police and City Councilor Patti Bushee.
The disagreements came to a head weeks ago during an incident in which Bushee criticized Santa Fe Police for disciplinary action to be taken against an officer who refused to remove beads given to her during a gay pride parade by Councilor Bushee.

According to leaked information which has been coming out little by little over the last year, the tape reportedly shows money was planted in the room by the FBI. The Johnson's entered the room after being let in by hotel personnel, saw the cash and left. I have heard that the room was under surveillance for some time by city police and that the room was only entered after it was believed that it had been vacated by who ever was believed to be in the room and was reportedly using the room for drug sales. The article in the Albuquerque Journal quotes two lawyers who state that the search could have been in violation of the supposed occupants civil rights. If as I have heard, the room was believed to have been vacated then the rights to privacy by the previous occupants may not be valid.

The real interesting thing is that in 2004 the F.B.I. did the exact same thing in Ramsey County MN. The F.B.I. in what they called an "integrity test" placed $13,500 in a hotel room wired with a video camera. The FBI had a drug dealer call a Deputy and tell him a drug dealer named "Vinnie" had left drugs and money in a room at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Paul. Three deputies went into the room and two of them with out the knowledge of the third removed half the money and placed it into the trunk of their car. Later when the began to suspect the whole deal was a set up they returned the money claiming they took it as part of a joke they were playing on the third deputy.

Unlike the Santa Fe case the U.S. Attorney prosecuted the two deputies and on Wednesday August 27, 2008 the two were found guilty and face 20 years in prison for the incident. The important contrast to the Santa Fe Case is the fact that the U.S. Attorney prosecuted the deputies. The fact that no prosecution occurred in the Santa Fe case is clue number one that nothing illegal occurred. The F.B.I. has the ability and in fact is charged with prosecuting civil rights violations by police. If a civil rights violation or a criminal theft had occurred then the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney had a responsibility to prosecute.

I have been critical of the F.B.I. and the recent investigations of the City Police in the past and I still feel there was mishandling of this case as well. The F.B.I. had the tape and information on this case for years and only turned over the tape and began leaking information about the tapes existence during their botched investigation of City Officers in an apparent case of drug money theft. The leaks in my opinion were designed to put increased pressure on the City Police and its Chief. In May of 2007 The F.B.I. filed charges and searched the homes of two of Santa Fe City Police Detectives. There was a number of leaks of information in the weeks leading up to the charges as well as afterwards regarding the case. The F.B.I. seemed to have no trouble leaking information to the press yet would not release information to the agency heads at the City Police Department. The Police Department not knowing how far reaching the cases were put a halt to all narcotics investigations.

This created an increase in narcotics and burglary cases that plagued the city and stretched out into the county and even surrounding counties. We all had to deal with the repercussions of these cases. So the federal government came in, spread around huge allegations. They filed 24 felony counts against two city detectives, and refused to cooperate with agency heads allowing them to make informed decisions regarding the agency they head. Then a year later they drop all but one count against one detective and work out a deal with the other in which he agrees to not be a cop in New Mexico and they just walk away.

I hope that the release of the tape regarding Chief Eric Johnson and his brother, Capt. Gary Johnson will finally put an end to all of this era of the F.B.I. tearing down the City Police and that the City Police will continue to move forward. I have confidence in the current administration at the City Police and until I am shown evidence to believe otherwise I will continue to support them. I also have supported Councilor Patti Bushee for many years going all the way back to her initial appointment by then Mayor Debbie Jaramillo to fill her council seat. I consider her a friend and for the most part an excellent city councilor. I do feel that she and other city councilors are getting too involved in personnel issues of late and need to allow city staff to do their job. The interference of City Councilors in personnel issues is creating more problems than can ever be solved by their involvement.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gun Toting Teachers Hit Texas Town

Since most other bloggers are covering the Democratic Convention I have stuck to other issues. Today I thought I would talk about a small Texas town who has decided to allow its teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus. Harrold Texas is a town with only 320 people listed in the 2000 census. The School has about 100 students and the town reportedly has a zero crime rate. Depending on the news story you read the local sheriffs office is 17 miles away or 30 minutes away, which with lights and sirens means a deputy is about five to 12 minutes away.

Despite all of this the local school board has not only allowed teachers to carry concealed firearms they have provided training, 40 hours worth, to the teachers who have decided to carry firearms to school. The school board has declined to release just how many teachers are carrying firearms and have also declined to name who the teachers are. This decision is supposedly based on the school boards contention it would release security details to possible attackers. According to many parents the school board made this decision with out proper notification and discussion with the parents.

Superintendent David Thweatt of the Harrold Independent School District says he studied the issue for two years while he filled his school with more than 100,000 dollars in state-of-the-art security systems. According to Superintendent Thweatt even with the new keyless entry, camera system, lock-down buttons and classroom telephones, Thweatt said he still could not have prevented a mass murder like the one in an Amish one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania in 2006 that left five girls dead.

The move by the school district is attracting attention not only across the nation but in other countries as well. The Republican governor of the state Rick Perry, has endorsed the idea. The governor is a staunch advocate of right-to-carry provisions and has advocated allowing licensed gun owners to carry them into places where they can currently be banned, such as college campuses, churches, bars and private businesses. Some in Texas do oppose the gun toting teachers including Texans for Gun Safety board member Linda Siemers who said teachers or students carrying guns around school "is a terrifying idea." The Houston Teachers Union has voiced opposition to the program and the Dallas Morning News has issued an editorial against the program as well.

I support concealed carry for properly trained citizens. I fully agreed with Barack Obama's quote in his acceptance speech just a few hours ago.

"The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."

While I can see some good in having armed personnel in schools, I believe arming teachers is not the answer. The odd thing is that when you combine the claimed security costs of $100,000 of equipment that has been installed in this particular school and the costs of training and liability insurance costs the school must incur then you could put an armed trained officer in the school for at least two years if not three. The liabilities don't end with the fact that a teacher could shoot someone or have their weapon taken away and used against them. What happens when a teacher feels threatened or uses bad judgment in when to draw and point a weapon at someone? Money that could have gone to education or to a certified, trained, and armed officer in school will go to the parents of the students who sue the teacher and school involved in the incident.

Law enforcement officers who attend 22 weeks of training and an additional 40 hours of training every two years get sued regularly for alleged excessive force complaints. I can see a lawsuit if not several as this program continues. Police officers go through psychological testing and extensive background checks in addition to all the training they receive. How many teachers would carry weapons if they had to go through psychological testing? How many would pass the tests? If someone fails a psychological test would you want that person teaching your kids with or without a concealed weapon?

I have spoken in this blog in the past about the cuts from the Bush administration which have all but removed federal funding for cops in the schools programs. President Clinton understood the need and included the program as part of the COPS programs which put 100,000 more cops on the streets and in the schools. We all want our children safe in schools however we must be reasonable and think through ideas before taking extreme measures which could backfire and create more problems than they are designed to solve.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dear Mario, Keep up with the Blogs!

Apparently a fellow blogger is a little behind on reading my blog, shame on you. You need to keep up if your going to have blog posts that are not behind the times. Way back on June 16, 2008 I endorsed Martin Heinrich in his race against Darren White. A full month later Mario Burgos decides to take issue with that endorsement. Mario Burgos decided to accuse me of being of all things, A DEMOCRAT! Ok, Mario , I admit it, as the Elected Democratic Sheriff in Santa Fe County I am a registered Democrat. I also have to admit that I read your blog, along with 58 others on a daily basis, thank god for Bloglines. For those who don't know what bloglines is, it is a FREE online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content. It allows me to easily keep up with peoples blogs that I am either interested in or want to keep track of what they are saying.

A photo of myself speaking about my endorsement of Martin Heinrich with Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Martin Heinrich, and members of the I.A.F.L. Firefighters Union behind me.

Now I'm not talking about spying but in order to be well informed you need to listen to not only those who share your political philosophy but also those who do not. That is why I read Mario's blog along with many other right wing blogs and websites. Another thing Mario accuses me of is wanting to federalize local police forces. Apparently he is not a regular reader of this blog. Why only last Wednesday August 20th I posted this blog post in which I spoke about my distrust and disapproval of a justice department proposal of a new domestic spying measure designed to allow state and local police to collect intelligence about citizens and share the data with federal agencies.

Apparently Mario just has a hard time believing that I can make a decision based on anything else but partisan politics. Well Mario, I don't expect you to admit it and I don't even want you to admit it, but you are wrong. Darren White has not received my endorsement because he and I have political and philosophical differences that are so far apart I could not endorse him.

The fact remains that successful law enforcement efforts require a nationwide approach and federal grants and funds allow that type of approach to take place. Never was the success of national crime policy more successful than during the Clinton Administration when the COPS programs helped reduce crime and introduce community policing to a nation of police who had no idea what community policing was before these programs were introduced to them. At a time when there are more school shootings, there are less police in the schools as funding for them has been cut to the bone.

These are not just Republican or Democrat issues and I hope readers will take note, what I most fault Darren White for is not using his position and influence in the Bush Administration to address the law enforcement issues we have faced in recent years. On the other hand I have spoken to Martin Heinrich and I fully believe he understands the issues and will go to bat for the safety of our homes, our families and our children.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Best Day Fishing.

If you subscribe to the saying "the worst day fishing is better than the best day working" then I was in fishing heaven this weekend. The Under Sheriff Robert Garcia, his wife Christine, my wife Antoinette and I spent the weekend at Tall Pine Resort in Red River New Mexico. If you ever want to Camp and fish in style, you have to stay at Tall Pine Resort. The owners Richard and Linda Green own piece of heaven with 23 cabins, beautiful land with Red River running through it and a small private lake that is stocked weekly with trout. The resort is a great place to stay and yet it is affordable costing less than a decent hotel room.

According to their website the cabins run between $60 and $170. We stayed in a two bedroom with a living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom which costs $130-$150. The cabin includes electricity, propane, a stove, refrigerator, and running water. There is no microwave, or TV, however there is small appliances such as toaster and coffee maker. There is also no internet which is the only thing I really missed. I did take my laptop which was good for watching a dvd. Fishing at the lake is an additional $20 but well worth it.

According to the published history of Tall Pine Resort, Tall Pine Camp was established in 1920 by Reed, Richard, and George Oldham, brothers and prospectors who settled in Red River during the gold rush in 1895. They staked the Golden Treasure, Golden Calf, Bunker Hill, and Raton group of claims located beginning 5 miles up Placer Road (the current road to Goose Lake). The camp was originally intended to be headquarters for their mines.

In 1935, the prospector's niece Winifred Oldham Hamilton and her husband Walter moved to Red River from Boulder City, NV, where Walter worked building the Hoover Dam and Winifred taught school to the construction worker's children. Their dream was to help the uncles develop Tall Pine Camp. Travelers seeing the beautiful valley setting frequently stopped and asked to pitch their tents. The family began building cabins to rent, and what is now known as Tall Pine Resort was born.

In 1990, in her 89th year, Winifred had a dream in which Walter, who had passed away in 1977, told her to "sell, sell, sell." The remaining Oldham family agreed, and the cabins were placed on the market. Winnie would retain her house and the buildings on six acres until her death in January, 1998.

Linda and Richard Green were longtime guests of Tall Pine Resort who, like many others, had dreamed of owning it someday. Linda grew up vacationing here with her family, and brought Richard here after their marriage. Linda's mother's family, the A. B. Clouthiers of Springer, NM, were some of the original tent campers in the twenties and thirties.

The Green's convinced Winnie and the family to sell to them with the promise to keep Tall Pine Resort the special place so many families loved, and began operating the resort in the summer of 1991.

We arrived late on Friday and settled into our cabin, named Riverside. By the time my wife and I arrived about 7:30 pm the Under Sheriff Robert Garcia had caught his daily limit of 5 trout and was cooking dinner on the grill for all of us.

A pic of Riverside Cabin, our home for the weekend.

We had a great dinner and played some cards and chatted before hitting the bedrooms. On Saturday morning we had a great breakfast and heading into the town of Red River where we hit some yard sales before heading back to hit the Tall Pine Lake. Antoinette my wife does not usually fish with me but I convinced her to join me and she quickly caught a couple of trout only to lose them at the bank reeling them in. On her third catch she brought the fish ashore and was all smiles. She really got into the fishing and quickly caught two more. Not doing well where I was fishing initially I moved closer to her spot and my luck changed. Within a few hours we all had our limits and packed up as the rain began to lightly fall.

Antoinette and the stringer with both our fish.

With all the fun I was having I sure look serious.

Robert and Christine waiting for the next bite.

The ducks hung around us waiting to snap up any food or bait that was dropped.

As we took the short drive back to our cabin we drove up on a small herd of Deer. I had to stop and take about a dozen pictures. It was great getting close enough to grab these pictures.

Saturday night we had some great steaks off the outdoor grill and hit some of the tourist shops back in the town of Red River. On Sunday morning I got up surprisingly early, a little after 6 am. I brewed a pot of coffee and after a couple of cups I headed back to the lake where I caught another 4 trout before heading back to the cabin for breakfast. I sure hated to leave but none the less we packed up and got ready to leave. After taking a few more pics of some chipmunks and Antoinette and I by the river we headed home. I will definitely be returning to Tall Pines Resort as it made for a great weekend. The resort closes for the winter on September 30th so if you can't make it this year keep the place in mind for next year.

One of the many chipmunks we saw. Not sure if this was Alvin or Theodore.

One last picture of Antoinette and I by the river.