Thursday, December 31, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I try and respond to requests for records with open arms. I am even criticized by my peers for being too open to the press. Not mildly criticized mind you but heavily criticized and accused of damaging the ability for law enforcement to function in the state and creating roadblocks for the ability to successfully investigate and prosecute cases by releasing too much to the media. While my reasons for doing it in my mind are clear, open and honest government, I have been accused of being too accommodating to the media only for political reasons, or because I am "a media hog".
I bring all this up because I truly believe in open government, however the recent fight over the Governor releasing names of 59 employees who are being laid off in a few weeks has me questioning motives and what is right and decent. The media and bloggers have been trying to force the governor to release the names of the employees. Two of the names have already been released. Those two were released either by the employee themselves or through leaks.
Many of these 59 employees are widely regarded at least by the media, but probably by the public as well to be undeserving political flaks who only got their jobs by serving Governor Richardson in some point in his political career. Some may be, and who knows maybe all of them are. You know what? They are also people. People with families, kids, mortgage payments, college tuition etc. Yes these may all be high paying jobs, but the more you make the more you spend. And who says high paid workers hurt any more or less when they lose their jobs? Now lets combine the suffering of being told you will lose your job weeks before Christmas with the media dying to have the "BREAKING NEWS" banner listing your name as one of the poor slobs who lost their jobs.
Reporters often say the public "has a right to know" or "needs to know", "this is taxpayer money" but does the public even want to know who has been laid off? Is outing peoples identity who have lost their jobs necessary? There are no taxpayer dollars being spent in the move to cut these jobs, in the contrary taxpayer dollars are being saved. If the names are released what will the media do with them?
Lets take a look at the two names which have been released. Bruce Kohl, head of the Securities Division at the Regulation and Licensing Department and former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron with the state Department of Workforce Solutions. The media portrayed Bruce Kohl as a victim who really was not the type of employee who should lose their job and was in a needed position while Rebecca who is facing federal charges for misspending money in her former elected position of Secretary of State is portrayed as someone who either should have lost their job months ago or someone who should have never gotten the job to begin with.
Now that's exactly what will happen if all the names are released. First there will be a big headline listing all the names. Then the rush will be on to see who gets the in depth story. Each news agency will try to interview the employees who are losing their jobs and exploit their situation for all its worth. Some of the employees will be portrayed as deserving in losing their jobs while others will be portrayed as human beings who will suffer due to the job loses.
All T.V. Stations, Newspapers, and even radio have had cutbacks in the last year. When the Santa Fe New Mexican laid off employees in two separate cuts in the last year, no one interviewed the employees and decided who was deserving of losing their jobs and who was not. No one went to their homes and workplaces like stalkers and shoved microphones and cameras in their faces trying to get that emotional story that makes up the tabloid style journalism that has permeated the media today. But wait! There is a difference, the reporters and news staff are private employees, the laid off state workers are government employees. Since they are government employees they are not worthy of dignity. By becoming public servants they give up all rights to a private life and deserve to have the entire state aware that they are now unemployed.
In the past editors weighed the story against good old fashioned morals and right and wrong as well as whether the story was really newsworthy. Today news media want to be first with the big story. Emotions and tragedy sell or so they think. Yet as the media go's for the jugular and becomes more and more tabloid like, people are buying and watching less and less. Is this just a coincidence?
One of the reasons reporters often ask for police reports is not just to relay the facts of the case. Public information officers, Chiefs, and Sheriff's provide that information. The real reasons they ask for the reports is to hunt down witnesses, suspects, and victims like dog the bounty hunter looking for his criminal. Once they find them they bring their cameras and show up at their front doors. Even when the person exercises their constitutional if not god given right to decline to talk to the media then the story just becomes the reporter knocking on the door and the person refusing to talk. Heck I have seen reporters chase people into bathrooms and then make that the story when the person refuses to talk. I look forward with disdain to some poor state employee who is probably already depressed over losing his or her job at Christmas being chased down a hallway or into a bathroom by the reporter trying to get his or her story online or on TV first.
In the case of these laid off employees I really don't believe the public wants to know. Its the reporters who want to know, the Governor has had the audacity to deny them their story! So like any good reporter or blogger would do, they can still write a story, the headline instead is "Governor Releases No Info on Outgoing State Employees". There is many a reporter in this state who are mumbling "as god is my witness we will fight the governor on this"! I have no doubt that the press will get the names one day. To those employees who will be subject to undignified embarrassment and harassment I am sorry. It is no wonder it is so hard to find good public servants. I often warn new deputies, this is not a regular job, you are subjected to public scrutiny unlike any job you ever had and you must recognize it and be ready to deal with it. The truth is you can not get ready to deal with it. If you get involved in a major case or make a mistake, only then will you receive a baptism by fire, only then will you truly understand what it is like to be a public servant.
Final Notes: After I wrote this I had my wife read it over. We had a lively discussion about how hard I was on the media. Many times she reads my posts before I post them and she convinces me to change things. I have debated in my mind changing certain things like the reference to Dog the Bounty Hunter. My wife says this post gives the impression that I am painting all media with the same brush. She says it is exactly what the media is doing to these state employees and actually to all exempt state employees. She is right. I have been very harsh to the media in this post.
Many times members of the media proudly proclaim that they are the watchdogs of the government and only when they expose governments downfalls will changes occur. But who is the media's watchdog? I say it is the public, when the public stops reading, stops buying or expresses their disappointment with the media only then will they change. When the media goes after perceived wrong doing in the public they often do it with tenacity and extreme criticism. Editors don't often mince words and the editorial pages and news stories often mix. Well first off I apologize to any reporter or editor who would not take advantage of employees losing their jobs. If I have painted you with the same brush, then take this note to heart, you are not the one I am talking about. To the rest I chose to leave the post just as I initially wrote it, full of strong language and passion.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Eufemia Solano (Grandma)
During the summers we could not afford any type of daycare so I would go to work with either my uncle who was a jockey at the Santa Fe Downs Racetrack or I would go to the State Capitol Building with my Grandmother. I was pretty much allowed free rein though out the capitol from the nursery which used to be above the rotunda and was used to grow plants for the building, to the parking garage underground. I remember Governor King catching me in the hallways or in the lobby to his office and telling me lets go! We would go to the lunchroom or the nearest vending machines where I would have my pick of treats on his dime. Sometimes I was invited into his office to hang out for a few minutes or to get the latest giveaway stuff. These gifts ranged from Smokey the Bear coloring books and crayons to little Highway Department toy cars.
Up until graduation from High School I was a page or just hung around the roundhouse every year usually during summer or winter school breaks. I went through the administrations of Dave Cargo, Bruce King, Jerry Apodoca, and Toney Anaya. While all treated me good, I have especially fond memory's of Governor King who always went out of his way to pay attention to me or find something to give me. As everyone who met him knows he was down home folksy and the kind of man who made you feel like you knew him all your life even if you just met him.
I have told a few people these stories and I am often asked if this is where I got the bug for politics. I don't really think so because I never thought I would get involved in politics until the early ninety's when my stints as Union President and Vice President of the City Police Union forced me to get involved. Yet I do think I learned a lot from those days hanging around the Roundhouse. I actually saw the back slapping, making deals in the hallways, and learned that by the time things got to the floor of the House or Senate the outcome was usually a done deal. One thing I did learn from Governor King was to keep grounded in your cowboy boots and remember that you are one of New Mexico's people not one who is elevated by the people. I also learned that you are always campaigning even when you are not running and you never leave a room until everyone has met you and received a hand shake. For those aspiring to a political office who have never seen Governor King in action you will never realize what lessons you have missed.
Eli Senna ( My Brotha)
I first met Eli Senna on my second run for office in 2002. I first ran for Sheriff in 1998 and lost to Sheriff Raymond Sisneros. When I ran the first time I had no idea what I was doing and ran a very limited campaign with little money and only close friends and family helping. I came back in 2002 to run again and by this time I had broadened my base and become more involved in the Democratic Party. One of the people I credit with my win, Charlene Rodriquez, made sure I met every politician and every person who was involved in the Democratic Party in Northern New Mexico. One of those people she introduced me too was Eli Senna. Eli was easy going and extremely knowledgeable in Northern New Mexico Politics.
He made sure he got to know you and everything about you. He got your phone number and called to check up on you from time to time. There was two reasons he called you, one to just say hi and see how you were, and two, to get what ever information he could glean from you on the latest political happenings. By the same token if you needed to know something political in New Mexico, Eli had the answer or could get it in a few minutes. He ran for Magistrate Judge in 2006 and I supported him and to this day I think he would have made an excellent Judge. Eli was one of the first people I met who made a living getting people elected. I never hired him because he was already working for another politician in every election I was involved in.
My wife and I enjoyed having dinner with him after a many a Democratic meeting or during some function and I learned more about current politics in five minutes from him than any newscast, newspaper or blog. When he made his periodic check on me phone calls he always started the conversation with " hey Brotha how are you doing?" As soon as I heard this phrase I knew it was Eli. Brotha, Antoinette and I will miss you but I will always remember your insight and your political teachings. In your memory I will try and pass them on to the next generation who unfortunately will not have you around to guide them.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Check Raising the Devil
By Greg Solano
Ivan carefully peeked down at the two playing cards, carefully lifting one corner at a time. You had to protect your cards, make sure no one could see them. The first was an eight of clubs, the second an eight of spades. Pocket snowman as the poker players called them. Ivan was down to his last two hundred dollars, he had been running bad for weeks. His normal bankroll of ten thousand dollars was all but gone. He was getting desperate and had dropped down from the big game of ten and twenty dollar blind no limit game to the much smaller one and two dollar no limit game. Everyone so far had folded to him and with only three players yet to act he raised to ten dollars. The man to the left of him folded and the next two called the ten dollars.
The flop was four of clubs, six of hearts, and seven of spades. Not a bad flop for his eights. He had a chance of a straight if a five came and he still had top pair. There was no chance of a flush and anyone who stayed with high cards could not have liked the cards that were dealt. With thirty dollars in the pot he decided to bet the pot, throwing thirty dollars worth of chips into the middle of the table, he kept his face stoic showing no emotion as the chips made that familiar sound as the clay chips hit the felt.
One more player folded and the last pushed all his chips in without any hesitation whatsoever. Ivan was not expecting that. His mind raced, what could he have? Two pair is unlikely, did he have a pair of fours, sixes, or sevens? If he did then he now had three of a kind. If Ivan called the all in bet and lost he would be broke, if he won his two hundred would become four hundred. He had seen this player show a bluff just a few hands earlier, could this be another bluff? Did this man sense that Ivan was on his last dimes and decide to scare him off? Ivan had always played aggressively and felt the man was just being a bully; Ivan pushed his remaining one hundred and sixty into the middle. He flipped over his snowman and said a familiar prayer to the poker gods, “ONE TIME BABY!”
The man who had been stone faced until now, cracked a smile and turned over the three of hearts and the five of clubs. He flopped a straight. Ivan’s hope turned to anger, “HOW COULD YOU CALL ME WITH THAT! I RAISED PRE FLOP!” Ivan still had a chance a five would give him a higher straight. The next two cards revealed no five, only a king and an ace.
Ivan got up and walked away, dejected, broke and cursing the day he began playing poker for a living. It was the most depressing walk, often compared to walking the plank on the pirate ship of old. He headed out to his car put the key in the ignition and began the hour long drive to his home from the casino. Halfway home and the dash began beeping. Damn Ivan thought, low on gas. Come on car make it home. Ivan slowed down to the speed limit and hit the cruise control hoping enough gas would be saved to make it home. As the Chevy headed up a long steep hill on the highway the car began choking for gas and then stalled completely. He coasted to the side of the road and parked the car. Just my luck Ivan said out loud as he pounded the steering wheel.
It was a continuation of the bad luck that had plagued him for weeks. Ivan got out of the car and began thumbing for a ride. Many cars blew by him and the wind was cold and pushed him back against his dead car. Semi trucks were worse. The wind and cold from the semi’s chilled him to the bone. Finally a large RV bus pulled to the side just past his car. Ivan began walking to the RV when the side door popped open and a well dressed man poked his head out. “Car Trouble?” “Nope, just ran out of gas, you don’t have any do you?” Ivan asked as he continued to walk to the bus. “Nope, come on in we will give you a ride.” Ivan stepped on the bus and for a second thought he had stepped into the Bellagio Casino. The bus was opulent and right in the middle was poker table with gold cup holders and gold inlayed chips. It was odd though, only two chairs were at the large table. The bus drove off and Ivan sat at the poker table as it was the closest chair. The chair was unbelievably comfortable and swiveled on its permanent mounts in the floor.
The man was well dressed, could be an Armani suit, deep dark black hair and black metal framed glasses. “Want a drink?” the man asked as he lifted up a gold metal flask. “Sure” Ivan said “I could use one.” “I’m Grigori but my friends just call me Greg” as he handed Ivan a shot. “Do you play?” Greg said as he picked up some chips. “a little” Ivan replied. Ivan was in no mood to discuss poker as he headed home broke from a poker game. “What do you do for a living?” Ivan asked. “I make deals, help people make their dreams come true or rid them of their problems” Ivan’s curiosity was piqued, what exactly did that answer mean? As he thought about that very question the words also came out of his mouth, He didn’t mean them too but they did.
“You want to be a big shot TV poker player right?” How could Greg have known that? Ivan thought. “I make my living at poker, I don’t care about fame just the money” Ivan said as he tried to hide the fact he was lying. “I can make it happen for you, but like any good poker game there is a risk for the reward.” “you can be the next winner of the world series of poker, you can be the next poker superstar” I just need one thing, your soul” Ivan laughed, “ok, yeah whatever, my soul, sure.” The hair of the back of his neck stood up and somehow Ivan knew it was real, or was it? “I told you I make deals, make peoples dreams come true, but every dream comes at a cost.”
Ivan had always been a gambler; he looked down at the gold inlay chips and decided he could outplay the devil. “Heads up, my success against my soul, I win you make my dream happen, you win I am yours” The bus ride was smooth and quiet almost as though it was not barreling down the highway. The tinted windows let very little light in yet the full moon was visible. It seemed to turn orange as the devil himself contemplated the deal. He picked up the cards, smiled and said “shuffle up and deal.” The two sat down at the table and took turns dealing the cards. Each started with ten thousand in chips and Ivan played conservatively at first trying to gauge his opponent. The two traded wins back and forth and the pots were small keeping each essentially even in chips.
Then Ivan looked down at ace of spades, eight of spades. He was on the button which meant he was last to act after the flop. Ivan raised three times the blind which was now at five hundred and one thousand. His raise was to three thousand, Greg just called and the flop was eight, eight, ace. Ivan had flopped a full house. Ivan checked hoping that the devil would bet. The devil obliged and went all in. Ivan had him now he thought. He had beaten the devil. Ivan pushed his chips to the middle as he stood up.
Grigori stood up and began a speech, “in the Hebrew religion, the 2nd Book of Enoch, contains references to a Grigori, a fallen angel. I am that fallen angel, I am Satanael or Satan. Many have tried to defeat me for thousands of years, who do you think you are to defeat me? Ever heard of Wild Bill Hickox? He tried to defeat me with the very same hand you are holding. For a hundred years that very hand has been called dead mans hand. Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Satan smiled and turned over a pair of aces. Satan held a bigger full house than Ivan's eights full of aces. Ivan sat down knowing he had lost.
The RV drove away into the darkness. A lone police car headed down the highway towards Ivan’s Chevy parked on the side of the road. As the police car approached the Chevy you could see a body laying in the middle of the road. A semi was overturned a few hundred feet past the Chevy. Ivan’s cold dead body lay in the road. Blowing in a gust of wind to the side of the road were two playing cards, The Ace of Spades and the Eight of Spades.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Sunday October 11, 2009 2pm to 5pm
39 West Chili Line Road, Santa Fe New Mexico
I hope you can attend. There is no minimum donation and heck if you can’t donate but want to come out and show your support I would love to see you.
More info and a map can be found here.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
The jury consisted of 8 women and 8 men accounting for alternates. They all seemed attentive and I saw at least 3 of them taking notes. Trial was due to start at 8:30 am however Attorney's and the Judge stayed in chambers until 10:40 am. When the trial began the Judge, Michael Vigil gave jury instructions. The primary instructions were to keep an open mind until the trial ends. No reading, listening or watching news on the Internet in regards to the trial. Jurors are not allowed to discuss the trial with anyone including other jurors until the trial ends and jurors are sent to deliberate.
Then Attorneys gave their opening statements. Prosecutor Juan Valencia gave the opening statement while District Attorney Angela Spence Pacheco sat at the prosecution table and watched. The Defense was expected to claim that the victim was wearing dark clothing, some street lights were out, and that an argument occurred in the bar causing Carlos Fierro to believe he had been somehow attacked and that something was thrown at his car and that caused him to flee when he stuck Fierro. Prosecutor Juan Valencia addressed each of the defense arguments during the opening statement. He went through the events of the evening and stated "if Carlos Fierro had been sober this accident would have never occurred" as he pointed at Carlos. He often described the victim William Tenorio as a "Big Gentle Bear of a man". Repeating this description several times.
Mr. Valencia stated Carlos Fierro was with then State Police Sergeant Alfred Lovato drinking at the Rio Chama then at WilLee's bar where the accident occurred. The two left the bar and went to an Allsups convenience store where they realized they had left Carlo's credit card at the bar. They were driving back to WilLee's bar when they struck a curb blew out a tire and then continued accelerating through a red light, almost struck a person, then continued accelerating up in front of the bar where they struck Mr. Tenorio. Carlos did not stop and continued driving away as he struck another median or curb and blew out another tire. He was stopped blocks away by a city police officer. He failed field sobriety tests and took a blood alcohol test. According to Mr. Valencia the blood test was .21 over two times the legal limit.
Juan Valencia was clear and concise as he spoke to the jury. He had his opening memorized and barely glanced at notes. I thought Spence would give the opening and I had seen her in trials past and expected she would do well however, Juan whom I have never met did an excellent job. The jurors watched every word leave his mouth with interest. He never really raised his voice and kept it at an even matter of fact tone which I think worked well with the jury.
Defense Attorney Jason Bowles was up next. He opened with a few paragraphs about how "two families lives were intertwined forever" He described the pain both families (Tenorio's and Fierro's) are feeling. He described Carlos as a family man who works hard. Bowles stated that "this was a horrible tragic accident but not a crime." He said Carlos would take the stand and admit he was drunk driving. He went on to say that the issue in this case is the Vehicular Homicide and Leaving the Scene Charges. He gave numerous reasons why as he stated "a sober person driving down that road at that time would have also struck William Tenorio." He brought up street lights that were out, and the fact that Mr. Tenorio wore dark clothing, he claimed that Mr. Tenorio was jay walking and brought up state laws on jaywalking and pedestrian right of way laws. He claimed that since all the witnesses heard Mr. Fierro's vehicle strike the curb and blow out a tire prior to coming down the street and striking Mr. Tenorio, then Mr. Tenorio should have heard it also. Attorney Bowles stated Mr. Tenorio did not hear the car because he was walking backwards into the street paying attention to his phone and people he was leaving outside the bar and not paying attention to what was happening in the street. He also mentioned that this was one of the darkest nights of the year.
Bowles also claimed that Mr. Fierro fled because he heard a loud crash and saw glass flying in his car. He claimed that Fierro thought someone had thown something at the car and he was in panic and flight mode fleeing a perceived threat. Bowles said he would present testimony from an independent traffic expert which would show that Tenorio was not in the cross walk. He questioned the city police officers traffic expert since he worked for the police department and was not independent. He went on to allege that the police department never considered this just a tragic accident and treated it as a crime from the beginning.
Defense attorney Jason Bowles kept his tone matter of fact like and I thought did a fair job of presenting a defense that at its base tries to convince the jury that William Tenorio was at least at much at fault as Mr. Fierro with out outright saying it. This type of defense must be handled with kid gloves. You do not want the jury to be disgusted with blaming the victim. Especially when you are admitting that your client was drinking and driving and even struck a curb and blew out a tire, and then drove with that blown out tire before striking Mr. Tenorio.
Before lunch art teacher Oceanna Holton testified and described the accident just as prosecution described it. She stated in her testimony that Mr. Tenorio did use the crosswalk when he was hit. She stated that the headlights on Mr. Fierros car were off at the time he struck Mr. Tenorio. I had to leave and did not see the rest of her testimony and cross examination in the afternoon.
I cannot attend all the trial and even missed all the afternoon witnesses however I do want to try and attend when Carlos Fierro testifies. It was a full house and people were denied entry after the 30 seats in the courthouse were filled. Family members from both Fierro and Tenorio filled the courtroom. There is a lot in this case for the jury to consider and it only takes one juror to have a doubt. There will be different stories and testimony which will require the jurors to sort though it all and decide, was the accident caused by Carlos Fierro drinking and driving or was it caused by Mr. Tenorio, his dark clothes, and low lighting.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
I am getting a lot of inquires as to where I have been lately. I apologize for my recent absence online and at some events. My wife Antoinette's mother passed away Sunday after a battle with cancer. We will miss her. The services are Friday and I will try and get back into the swing of things (blogging, twitter, FB, and campaign as well as doing my full time job of Sheriff) This weekend.
On another note,
Heath Haussamen has a poll on his website for the Lieutenant Governors Race. Please take a minute and vote for Greg Solano for Lieutenant Governor. Thank You!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 8:30-9:30 am KRSN AM 1490, Los Alamos
Sheriff Solano will be in the studio speaking with Miro about public safety issues in Santa Fe County, and his campaign and platform as a Democrat for the 2010 Lt. Governor’s Race.
Hear web cast at http://www.krsnam1490.com/venusinterview
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Last night was National Night out and Santa Fe had its party in style at the plaza. There were representatives from all public safety agencys and the plaza was packed with families enjoying the night out. For more pics from the event click here.
Monday, August 03, 2009
She commented back inviting me to be on her show. The show is taped live from the Santa Fe Baking Company on Cordova Road. The show is also posted on the web as a podcast so If you want to download it and listen to burglary tips while jogging around your neighborhood here is the link. Of course you can just listen to it online at the same link.
Friday, July 31, 2009
She commented back inviting me to be on her show. The show is taped live from the Santa Fe Baking Company on Cordova Road.
Santa Fe Radio Cafe is described as "a daily talk show featuring people you know and others you'd like to. Community-spirited, smart talk: From Presidential candidates and nationally known experts to local Santa Fe artists, authors, healers, and minor miscreants. It's where all of Santa Fe has time to talk"
The show is slated to air on Monday August 3, 2009 at 8:00 am. If you miss hearing it, it will be posted as a podcast at this location on the web. The show focused on Burglary's and how to prevent them. I originally was slated for a half hour show however I can talk, so before we knew it the show lasted an hour. Actually I am sure that before editing it was almost an hour and a half. The host was really good and I enjoyed the interview. Hope you will also!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The Solano for Lieutenant Governor Campaign has been given two tickets to the Toby Keith Concert in Albuquerque on August 20, 2009. Along with the tickets comes two meet and greet backstage passes which will allow the lucky couple to go backstage just before the concert and meet Toby Keith. You will get a professional photo taken of you with Toby and you will each leave with an autograph picture of Toby.
This is a drawing and all you need to be entered is to make a $20 donation to Gregs Campaign at:
You can donate any amount and you will receive one drawing entry for every $20 donated. So for example if you donate $100 you will get 5 entries. The donation for drawing tickets is valid only for donations made from July 24, 2009 to 5 pm August 18, 2009. The winning ticket will be drawn on August 18th, 2009 and the winner will then be notified and must meet me at the concert on August 20th, 2009 to get your tickets and passes.
Thanks for you support and Good Luck!
P.S. Here is a video from his last concert in September 2008 in Albuquerque. I took it while I was his special guest. This also included back stage passes and a great time! The winner will have the time of his or her life!
Friday, July 24, 2009
We will be raffling them off soon for donations to my Campaign for Lieutenant Governor!
Keep an Eye on this blog for more information to be posted by Monday!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Happy Birthday USA! Happy 4th everyone. Be Safe and Have fun! Look for me in the Rio Rancho July 4th Parade! The Undersheriff , Robert Garcia will be at Santa Fe's Pancake Breakfast on the Plaza.
Monday, June 29, 2009
New Mexico has been battling D.W.I. for a long, long time now. As a state we have made huge strides. In 2008, there were 143 alcohol-involved fatalities in New Mexico, down 34 from 2007 and a huge drop from 221 in 2002. Since 2003, New Mexico has seen a 35 percent decline in drunken-driving related deaths and has implemented some of the toughest laws and most innovative programs in the country to stop drunken driving in New Mexico.
So why are our children still dying? What more can we do? As I looked at the teenagers mourning at the memorials one thing came to mind. How many of these kids will drink and drive? Statistics say over half will drink and drive at some time. Most people who drink and drive and get arrested say when taking surveys during mandatory treatment that they have driven while intoxicated up to 100 times before getting caught. Driving home after drinking is ingrained in the culture of New Mexicans. Not drinking and driving is something we will have to teach a whole new generation of New Mexicans so that it is considered a true moral and subconscious "you do not do this, type thing". Now we all have that little subconscious thing in the back of our head that says "you do not kill someone". Unfortunately for many that does not kick in where drinking and driving is concerned.
So here are a few hundred teens who have witnessed first hand and directly in their own lives just what the consequences are for drinking and driving. How many now will go out and fulfill the prophecy of the statistics that say over half of them will drink and drive? Will they go out and teach their children about the friends they lost on June 28, 2009 ? I hope so, I hope the memory of the four teens who lost their lives and the young man arrested for their deaths, will live on in the minds of these hundreds of teens mourning today. Not as a haunting memory of death, but as a reminder of life. What a life is worth and what is lost when you choose to drink and drive. I have sat down with my children and discussed just what I wanted them to get out of this tragedy. My family is not without sin and has been touched repeatedly over the years by drinking and driving. However, I still have hope, hope for my family and for yours. Talk to your kids about this tragedy and what can come out of it. Tell them that the way to honor the lives of these teens is by pledging to never, ever, ever, drink and drive.
My families prayers go out to all those touched by this tragedy.
Sheriff Greg Solano
Friday, June 26, 2009
On my Road to the Lieutenant Governor Blog I have a copy of a News Release issued today which outlines my ethics proposals for the State of New Mexico.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I want to reissue this post on how to prevent home burglaries. Property crimes throughout the nation are on the rise. One of the interesting notes in many of these burglaries is the fact that many of these homes had alarm systems which the owners did not activate before they left the home. This brings to mind the fact that this is a good time to remind everyone on some simple steps you can take to prevent burglaries at your home.
- Make your home look occupied, leaving TV or radio on works, 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. Plant Cactus or yucca around vulnerable windows.
- 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.
- Call the sheriff's office to get involved in or start a nieghborhood watch program in your area. 505-986-2402
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 24
Bishops Lodge, Santa Fe
RSVP to (505) 992-1396 or email: PSFeventRSVP@cybermesa.com
A contribution of $75 to the Democratic Party of Santa Fe is suggested
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Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Photo of me speaking at the BCDP Meeting in Albuquerque Thur, June 18, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Most New Mexicans know how he passed away. Unfortunately he like many Law Enforcement Officers across the nation died in an accident. Although his was an helicopter accident during a rescue mission. The truth is that most Law Enforcement Officers do not die at the hand of a criminal or a gun but in accidents, usually automobile accidents. We will miss Sgt. Tingwall and his dedication and loyalty to New Mexicans is one which we will be hard pressed to match with a new recruit.
We often look to ways to prevent deaths in law enforcement and much of the focus is on assault weapons, "cop killer bullets", bullet resistant vests, training, and tactics. This is all important and we need to continue to push these issues. However, as police agencies we need to look for new and innovative ways to prevent the biggest killer of our officers, accidents. Perhaps Sgt. Tingwall's accident is not a good example of a preventable one, that question may or may not be answered in some future date. However, at least once a year I take the black band I keep in a jewelry box on my dresser and place it on my badge. It is the saddest thing I do each year. It would be nice to skip a year or two.
Below is the obituary and photo posted by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety,
Sgt. Andrew F. "Andy" Tingwall served with the New Mexico State Police since 1995 and graduated with the 56th New Mexico State Police Recruit School. His first post was District 6 in Gallup, NM. In 1998 he was moved to the Training and Recruiting Division at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Acadamy. Sgt. Tingwall spent five years at the Academy where he was the lead instructor for the Recruit School. During his time at the Academy, Sgt. Tingwall was part of the NMSP Tactical Team for five years as an entry man. Sgt. Tingwall was transferred to the New Mexico State Police Aircraft Section in 2003, where he logged 1,300 hours flying time as a pilot. In 2008 he was named the Chief Pilot of this Section.
Sgt. Tingwall was named 2008 Officer of the Year in March 2009 by the New Mexico Sheriffs and Police Association for his lifesaving efforts in an August 2008 arroyo rescue of an Albuquerque man. He was to be honored by his fellow state police officers this month with a Medal of Valor for the same incident.
Sgt. Tingwall is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Donations are being accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank, nationwide under Tingwall Memorial Fund.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Chief Aric Wheeler
Congratulations to Chief Wheeler, I look forward to continuing to work with you in your new capacity. Your family must learn to ignore or accept the criticism which will come. Each person deals with it differently. I like to read the criticism whether it is in letters, emails, comments on the Santa Fe New Mexican Website or sometimes through the rumor mill behind my back. I look at all of it constructively which can be hard when some of it is personal and hatred based. When you are the leader criticism comes easily. Remember what Theodore Roosevelt once said.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Monday, May 11, 2009
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones
Rep John Boehner has not faced serious opposition since he was elected in 1990 and Sheriff Jones would be the toughest opponent he has ever had. Sheriff Jones is considered strong in name recognition and well liked in his county who's population encompasses half the congressional district. However, the Sheriff is getting serious opposition from leaders in his own party who feel the Sheriff is premature in challenging Rep. Boehner. They feel the Sheriff should wait it out and run for the position when Rep. Boehner is ready to retire. Party leaders feel a primary battle can only hurt the Sheriff's Standing in the party. The Sheriff is not afraid to challenge conventional Republican Politicos, He once took out an ad in the Cincinnati Enquirer accusing Republican presidential nominee John McCain of being weak on immigration.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)
This will be an interesting race to watch however the race may never materialize. The Sheriff at this point says he is looking into whether he can raise enough money and support to take on the congressional seat. I think the Ohio Republican party will do all it can to assure the support and money is not found.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The service will include up to date alerts on traffic delays, missing persons, disasters, crime information such as suspect vehicles, warnings on crime sprees, public safety alerts, and News Releases. The service will also include up to date information on the swine flu epidemic as it pertains to Santa Fe County.
Citizens will be able to enter addresses of particular concern to them such as their home address, work address, family members etc. Once you log in with your home address you can add multiple address’s by going to (Locations) and click to Add New. When the Sheriffs office sends out alerts they are categorized as county wide alerts or area specific. If we are trying to warn of a particular crime prevalent in a specific area of the county then the alert may only be sent to those living or working in that area. Broader alerts would be directed towards the entire county. The citizens who sign up will not be subjected to spam or advertisements and strict confidentiality of their information will be adhered to. The service is completely free of charge.
Sheriff Greg Solano states “We were working on launching this system in the next few weeks however due to the swine flu epidemic we have rushed to launch the system sooner. I encourage all citizens in the county to sign up for the alerts and take advantage of this great system. Sheriff Solano has been in contact with the State Health Department and together with our Santa Fe County Office of Emergency Management we are monitoring the one possible but unconfirmed case of swine flu in Santa Fe County and will monitor for any other possible cases in Santa Fe County. Alerts will be sent out via the Sheriffs Emergency Alert System described above.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The next morning we were on our way to the Kiva Room at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The three of us passed out business size cards with information on the Lieutenant Governor Race and my run for it in 2010. For the first time I had a potential opponent out handing out stickers with an announcement she would be running for Lieutenant Governor as well. I took some pictures in between shaking hands and talking to old and new friends. Below I have some of the pictures.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Next to take the chiefs position was Chief Bobby Lucero who lasted by my memory a little under 4 years. Debbie Jaramillo was elected Mayor in 1994 and Chief Lucero learned his fate after Newly elected Mayor Jaramillo announced on a morning radio talk show that he was fired. An outsider was then brought in as Chief. Chief Donald Grady was brought in during the summer of 1994. Chief Grady was Santa Fe's first black Chief of Police and quickly became controversial not for his race but for his inability to relate to the officers who served under him. It was during this controversial period that I lost the presidency of the police union to an anti Grady faction who used racial overtones to create divisions in the police force. Now I was not pro Grady but I did not agree with my opponents tactics to get rid of Chief Grady. Chief Grady lasted less than 2 years resigning in February of 1996. I left the city police in 1995 and went into private business. The Grady years and my departure from the city police could fill a couple of other blog posts.
Chief Donald Grady
Mayor Jaramillo was not happy with her Chief being driven from the Police Department. The City Police Officers and the Mayor were always at odds and the line officers truly felt the Mayor hated cops and Chief Grady was sent to punish them. Mayor Jaramillo then appointed her brother in law Carlos Jaramillo to the Chiefs Position. Now the initial appointment only served to enrage officers even more and led the media and others to dub Santa Fe Jaramillo Ville. The mayors brother was city manager and now her brother in law was chief. A local radio station started the name by playing a rendition of the song Margarita Ville in which the lyrics were changed to read, "Wastin away again in Jaramillo Ville". I wish I had a copy of the song which was one of the most hilarious parody's I have ever heard. I made a little money during this time selling buttons which had a picture of the sign outside city hall with the "Santa Fe" removed and "Jaramillo Ville" in its place.
Chief John Denko
Chief Jaramillo actually was a laid back get along with the officers kind of guy and he faired much better as chief than anyone initially thought he would. When Mayor Jaramillo lost her re-election bid in 1998 Chief Jaramillo left soon after. The new Mayor Larry Delgado replaced Chief Jaramillo with Chief John Denko in 1999. Former Chief Denko is now the Governors Cabinet Secretary for D.P.S. . He left in 2003 with a little less than four years as Chief.
Chief Beverly Lennen
Beverly Lennen was the next chief to take the helm at the City of Santa Fe Police, becoming the first woman chief in the history of the City of Santa Fe Police Department in 2003. Unmentioned in my previous paragraphs was the fact that Beverly Lennen served as interim chief on several occasions in between many of the chiefs appointments which I described above. Chief Lennen lasted until February of 2006 lasting a few months over 3 years. Finally we get to Chief Eric Johnson, Appointed in 2006 by newly elected Mayor David Coss. Chief Johnson has just announced his retirement which will come on May 29th 2009.
Chief Eric Johnson
I just went through all that to get you to this point. Do you see a pattern here? No chief has lasted a day beyond 4 years during my institutional memory which goes back twenty one years (man I am old ). Now a mayors term lasts 4 years and many are re-elected meaning a possibility of up to eight years serving as chief. Santa Fe Chiefs however do not last. Why is that?
As I look back on the chiefs over the last 20 years there is one very common factor. They are all retired or near retirement. Most candidates will not accept the job of chief unless they are within a year or two of minimum retirement years. This ensures that if they are fired they can just retire. Even with that as a fallback most chiefs in recent years also enter into a contract which says that they can revert to their previous rank should the mayor wish to remove them for any reason except out right malfeasance in office.
Next we must look at the stresses of a City Police Chief. The police chief is clearly a political appointee hired by the Mayor. This ties their job to that of the Mayor. As long as the Mayor remains and supports the Chief, the Chief should stay. However the Chief still has many more supervisors. There is the City Manager, Eight City Councilors, and the Mayor. The Chief must answer to all of them while still answering directly to the public. Imagine answering to ten bosses all wanting attention for the needs of their district. Some of them maybe don't like you just because you are the mayors pick and maybe they are not happy with the mayor or the city manager. Maybe they ran for mayor and lost, or maybe they want to run for mayor and their success may depend upon your failure. Seems like a tough job?
Now lets compare this to the Sheriff. A Sheriff is elected to a four year term by the citizens and the Sheriff ultimately answers only to them. This places the Sheriff on equal footing with the County Commission in that they need the Sheriff to help with concerns in their district just as much as the Sheriff needs the Commissioners for his or her needs such as budgetary and passing ordinances and other needs. The County Manager also needs the Sheriff just as much as the Sheriff needs him. They are all on pretty much equal footing and the need for each other creates a mutual respect whether real or political. I throw that in because regardless of the actual respect the individuals may or may not have for each other, for political reasons their is a need to display to the public the semblance of getting along and respect for the citizens sake.
I also believe that because the Sheriff is elected he or she is more responsive to the media and public relations concerns than a Chief may be because he needs to be sure what he or she is says to the media will meet the approval of the Mayor, City Manager, and eight councilors.
So, what if the Chief of Police was elected? Would we retain chiefs longer, I believe the answer to that is yes. What does that accomplish? It would accomplish more continuity in the chiefs position and less controversy in appointments. I also believe it could allow a chief to spend more time being responsive to the public concerns and less time dealing with city hall. An elected chief would have to be more responsive to the public and during election time lay out a plan for law enforcement in the city. In between elections citizens would decide how well the chief lived up to the campaign promises and the plans laid out during the campaign. Whether percieved or real the meddling accusations against councilors and mayors should be eliminated or greatly decreased. Now this is just an idea thrown out there by a Sheriff who stays up to late at night thinking about things like this and the likelihood of this ever occurring is next to zero. Yet I think it is an interesting concept that deserves some attention.
There are those who say that the Mayor would never give up control of law enforcement because it is one of the basic functions of government. Yet there are even benefits to mayors and city councilors. Having a separate elected police chief would allow the fellow elected councilors and mayor to just point their finger at another elected official when crime issues arise. A quick google search led me to one campaign site where the chief is elected in San Angelo Texas. I also found an editorial in Los Angeles which discusses electing the Los Angeles Police Chief.
A good example of how the public might feel about this issue occurred several years ago when Bernalillo County and The City of Albuquerque presented a proposal to voters to merge the two governments into one metro government. The issue that was most debated and was credited with the defeat of the proposal was that the elected sheriff would be done away with and a police chief would rule over all the new metro government law enforcement. Of course the sheriff spoke out in opposition and the public voted the proposal down. The idea of re-hashing the proposal with an elected sheriff overseeing all law enforcement never quite gained ground and the proposal was never brought up again. Maybe that is a solution to discuss in another blog post, the combining of city and county government in Santa Fe. Of course with an elected sheriff for law enforcement :-) .
So there is an idea thrown out there for debate, criticism, or laughter, I am not sure I even fully agree with the idea as I have not spent enough time hashing out the true details. And as it has often been said the devil is in the details.
What do you think? Vote below.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Take the poll below.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
I ran into Steve Terrell our political reporter with the Santa Fe New Mexican (sorry Steve the picture I took of you was too blurry to post). Lt. Governor Diane Denish joined the group and gave a campaign speech for her race for Governor. Many local and statewide elected officials gave welcoming speeches including myself. The candidates for chair welcomed delegates with tables of refreshments, buttons, bumper stickers and copies of their platforms.
GANAMOS! (we win).
I am a County Delegate and I also threw my name in the mix for State Central Committee. The voting for State Central Committee lasted until 10 pm. and the college then threw the democrats out for the night. The elections committee took the ballots for State Central to Denny's to have breakfast and count the votes. A group of us went to Late Night Burger for a late dinner. I checked in on the vote counting at midnight and it was still ongoing. At this point (1:48 am) I still don't know if I was elected to State Central or not.
Just as the make up of the National Democratic party has changed with the election of President Obama, the Santa Fe Democratic party has taken a dramatic shift tonight. I over heard one disappointed democrat joke that a whole group of them should go to the Republican Party take it over by having a hundred dems join the Republicans in Santa Fe County, then vote to endorse democrats. It was a joke but within the joke there was some sense of the division now in the Santa Fe Party. Hispanics are really worried that our current Hispanic democrats in office may not enjoy the same support from the democratic party they have for years. I really don't believe that to be the case however Chair Richard Ellenberg will have to really reach out to heal divisions which came about during this election.
Santa Fe County has long been a democratic stronghold and divisions in the party could change that. The demographics have been changing in Santa Fe and recent elections have begun to show the shifts. The democratic party must adjust to meet the needs of a changing Santa Fe County while not leaving the old guard behind. Only then will the party remain the dominating party in Santa Fe County.