Weekly Update: Tragedy in Aztec and Sharp Ax at APD
Locally, it was Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier who dominated the the news, but it was the fatal shootings in Aztec that rocked the state.
Here's an update on the Aztec shootings
The exploding sexual abuse situation hit the state headlines Friday night when longtime New Mexico lobbyist Vanessa Alarid told the New York Times that on the eve of a high-profile vote on a controversial bill eight years ago, a state legislator from Northern New Mexico offered to vote for the measure in exchange for sex.In an account first reported Friday in The New York Times, Vanessa Alarid said that in 2009 then-Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocate, not only offered her his vote in exchange for sex, but forced a kiss on her and touched her breasts at a downtown Santa Fe hotel.
In Albuquerque, the big news was Keller and Geier and APD. During a news conference on Wednesday, Keller apologized to the city for the skyrocketing crime rates and for prior uses of force against citizens by APD officers.
And Geier said APD's command staff would no longer receive controversial retention bonuses of between $6,000 to $12,000 a year. He also revealed that former APD Chief Gorden Eden never filed paperwork to revoke the law enforcement license of an APD lieutenant who shot and nearly killed his own officer in a $60 undercover drug bust in January o 2015. Geier said he was going to file the revocation paperwork against now-retired Lt. Greg Brachle.
That story raised questions of why New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas decided to write a letter about the case to Geier on the new chief's first day on the job. Here's my take on the situation.
And on Friday, Geier and Keller made good on their vows to turn APD around by starting the process of dismantling APD's current command staff.
More bad news for Albuquerque: the city is the most dangerous in the nation for bicyclists.
There was some good news in the year that ended June 30 for the Albuquerque area's economy. The average weekly wage increased by 1.3 percent to $865, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bad news is that that growth rate was the lowest among cities in the region.