Friday, August 14, 2009

Honoring APD's Fallen Heroes

Photos from Friday's Memorial Tribute

Nearly 100 Albuquerque Police Officers honored two of their former colleagues at an annual memorial tribute on Friday morning. APD Chief Ray Schultz says the site is used as a classroom for each Police Academy class just before their graduation.

Officer Richard Smith

The City of Albuquerque will be naming it's 6th area command after police officers Michael King and Richard Smith. The beloved officers, the last two killed in the line of duty in the Duke City, were tragically gunned down on August 18th, 2005 by mental patient John Hyde.

Mayor Martin Chavez says construction on the new $7 million dollar facility, which will be located near Cibola High School, is scheduled to begin early next year and be completed by 2011.

Mayor Chavez tells us the Smith and King made the ultimate sacrafice:
They are heroes of Albuquerque.
Officer Michael King
Officers King and Smith were shot and killed while attempting to take Hyde into custody for a mental health evaluation. They were fired upon immediately upon arriving at the scene. Both officers were transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital where they succumbed to their wounds.

Hyde fled the scene on a motorcycle but was located approximately two hours later. He was injured when the motorcycle crashed as officers attempted to stop him.

Hyde was also charged with two murders that had been committed earlier in the evening at a local motorcycle store at a fifth murder of a New Mexico Department of Transportation worker that had occurred that morning.

Officer Smith had served with the Albuquerque Police Department for 22 years. He is survived by his wife and daughter. Officer King had served with the Albuquerque Police Department for 22 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Hyde is now at a state mental hospital in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Audio Post: Iglesias Says Wilson's Email Proves He Was Fired For Not Playing Ball.

Photo Credit: MG Bralley -- Audio Credit: Pat Allen On Tuesday in Washington, DC, the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by John Coneyrs, released thousands of pages of interview transcripts around the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico and eight others.

But, Wilson is blasting the committee's report. She says her email simply dealt with media leaks from an FBI investigation centered around Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon.

The documents suggest an email from then Congresswoman Heather Wilson began a chain of emails in which, according to the committee, Iglesias was criticized for not bringing forward public corruption and voter fraud cases in the run up to the whisker close 2006 Election between Rep. Wilson and then New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid.

But Wilson's email never mentions Iglesias.

UPDATED: Wilson released a statement and notes, including the entire email, on her Facebook page.

Wilson, who has been considering running for governor in New Mexico next year, responded to the committee's report. She told 770KKOB News Director Pat Allen the committee deliberately mis-characterized her October 2006 email.

While the email does not mention then U.S. Attorney David Iglesias directly, the committee's report says Jennings forward Wilson's email to Rove with a note complaining that Iglesias had been "shy about doing his job on Madrid," who appears to have been under investigation for work she did with a political action committee, Justice for America

A day after the Wilson's email was released she told us:

The documents released yesterday confirm that I had no contact with the Administration about Mr. Iglesias until after the decision was made to fire him.
Wilson said at the time she believed it was possible "we would see a similar leak from law enforcement concerning Mrs. Madrid and that we could be asked by the media to comment on it:

My staff had contingency press guidance that, if asked, we would confirm that we had received an inquiry from the FBI about Attorney General Madrid and we were cooperating with law enforcement. The recipients of my email knew about the FBI inquiry and the contingency press guidance.

Wilson said the email to her staff, and Sen. Domenici's Chief of Staff Steve Bell, was intended to be "a heads up" to them. Wilson said because the investigation was not leaked, and did not become public, she didn't commented on her email until September 2008.

Iglesias Claims Reports Totally Vindicates Him

David Iglesias, has long contented he was a victim of a political witch hunt by state Republican leaders.

Iglesias tells 770KKOB that there was never any performance issues. He says they wanted to politicize U.S. Attorneys which the law can not allow. He says he wishes the White House would have shot straight with the American people.

Iglesias says he wanted to remain politically independent once he was in the office, and was punished for not playing ball.

Iglesias called from Washington, D.C. He's back on active duty in the Navy, working as a JAG on the Guantanamo Bay detainee cases and says it's the most challenging work of his career.

The Judiciary Committee's report also criticized former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici who allegedly asked Bush's Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to have Iglesias replaced. The report says, in October 2006 Domenici stepped up his campaign to have Iglesias replaced. And, according to White House phone logs and emails, as well as Rove's own testimony, Domenici spoke with Bolten about Iglesias as late as October 5th and four other times the same month.

Blogger Heath Haussamen reports Conyers, D-Mich., said the documents, which include e-mails and transcripts of testimony from Rove and Harriet Miers, prove that “Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons.”

“When Mr. Iglesias said his firing was a ‘political fragging,’ he was right,” Conyers said in a news release.

The committee's reports are available online for the public's review.

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NM Voices For Children Wants Balanced Approach to State's Budget Woes During Special Session

Balanced approach to budget shortfall would do more economic good

From a news release

ALBUQUERQUE—In reaction to Governor Bill Richardson's press release on the special session, child advocacy organization New Mexico Voices for Children released this response:

A more balanced approach to the state's budget shortfall should include raising new revenue to avert deeper cuts. Closing tax loopholes that benefit only profitable out-of-state corporations and rolling back some of the personal income tax cuts for the highest wage earners would have little effect on average New Mexicans. The state and federal income and capital gains tax cuts of 2003, which went disproportionately to the very wealthy, did little to help the economy.
Prominent economists, including Nobel-prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, say that the worst thing to do in a recession is to cut spending. The way out of a recession is to sustain current levels of funding because that money goes directly into the local economy. Budget cuts also mean fewer services for struggling families at a time when those services are most needed. Additional cuts to New Mexico's education, health care, and public safety services will mean more sacrifice for children and working families.

The group said:

Without the option of raising revenue, lawmakers will most certainly have to make deep budget cuts. Unless the Governor and Legislature take a more balanced approach to the budget gap and consider raising revenue along with cutting spending, they will likely do more harm than good in both the short and long term.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

"Drowning In Red Ink," Domenici Urges Reform

Calling the size of the federal debt unsustainable and a critical economic threat to America, Former U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici and the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) today released a special report entitled, “Drowning In Red Ink” that offers five recommendations for a path forward to fixing the nation’s daunting federal deficit and debt crisis.

The recommendations are based on remarks by a prominent bipartisan group of budget experts during a BPC symposium on May 6, 2009, “Unprecedented Federal Debt: Putting Our Fiscal House in Order” that focused on various dimensions of the problem.

Senator Domenici, a Senior Fellow at the BPC and former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, spearheaded the organization’s first major federal debt event and report in an effort to inform the American public about the nation’s fiscal state of affairs.

Domenici said its time to take action.
The fiscal health of our nation is at stake. We can no longer continue on the present path of unprecedented deficits and debt. Without dramatic changes in fiscal policy, America will find itself far weaker in the world, economically and strategically.”

“Drowning in Red Ink” calls for creating a commission, outside Congress, empowered to make recommendations on a global solution to deficits, including tax reforms, entitlement changes, and new ways of measuring and controlling government finances, and compel Congressional Action on such recommendations.

The new report urges immediate reform to Medicare and Social Security in order to bring solvency to those systems long-term. The report embraces comprehensive tax reform to make the system more streamlined, understandable, equitable and competitive while also generating adequate revenues. And, it promotes re-enacting true statutory budget control (like a firm PAYGO regime) that addresses discretionary and mandatory spending as well as tax preferences. The report also encourages leaders to recognize the international dangers America faces as it transfers more and more of its wealth to other countries that own and, hopefully, continue to buy U.S. sovereign debt issuance.

“Drowning In Red Ink” has been distributed to members of Congress with a letter of support from U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Jim Cooper (D-Nashville). Urging their colleagues to take action on the issue of the national debt, representatives Ryan and Cooper highlighted the BPC report saying:
While we may not agree on all the proposed solutions or ideas, there is a clear consensus that current projections of debt levels are unsustainable. Without action, the United States faces dramatic increases in borrowing costs that pose a grave risk to our economy and will place an enormous burden on our children’s backs.
Under Senator Domenici’s leadership , Congress produced three consecutive federal balanced budgets – the first time such a balance had been achieved in four decades.

To read the full report, go to

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New Mexico's First Swine Flu Death Reported

(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that it has confirmed the state's first death caused by H1N1 influenza. The 45-year-old female from Sierra County had end-stage liver disease and had been hospitalized since July 25. She died over the weekend.

Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD offered condolences to the woman's family and friends:
She was in the high-risk category for developing complications from H1N1, and we are investigating how she may have contracted the virus.
The Department of Health is planning mass vaccination clinics for H1N1 influenza when vaccine becomes available. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects to begin shipping vaccine as early as mid-October. This year, people need to get vaccinated against H1N1 flu and seasonal flu.

Dr. Vigil says the best way to protect your family from influenza is to get vaccinated. He said it's especially important for people at high risk for developing complications:
We are carefully monitoring H1N1 disease in New Mexico and will keep you informed of new developments with the spread of disease, availability of vaccine and health officials' recommendations.
CDC's Advisory Committee recently issued recommendations about priority groups for H1N1 vaccination. The recommendations target people who are the most likely to develop complications from H1N1 flu and or spread the disease to vulnerable individuals. They are:
  • Pregnant women
  • People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old
  • Children and young adults age 6 months through 24 years
  • Healthcare workers and emergency services personnel
  • People age 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.

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