Updated: Gov. Martinez's War Against Public Information
It took four hours for me to get public information – information from state government, meaning your information and your government – that should have, and in the past, has taken a phone call and mere seconds to get.
(Update: I emailed the DPS spokesperson at 1:36 p.m and didn't get a response until 5:30 p.m. This should have been accomplished in seconds.)
And it's sickening and disgusting and revolting, and I hope that all of you are as disgusted and angered by it as I am.
I will start with the the reality that most of you have forgotten: all government employees work for you, and me – we the taxpayers. We pay their salaries. This is supposed to be government of the people, by the people and for the people.
It is not supposed to be government of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats and for the bureaucrats. Nor is it government for government workers and by government public information officers.
But that's what it's turning into under this governor and her flunkies.
Yesterday I made a routine phone call to Monica Medrano at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy to see if new APD Chief Michael Geier had filed an LEA90 – the paperwork to start the revocation process of a police officer's state-sanction license – against former APD Lt. Greg Brachle.
Brachle is the guy who shot his own officer eight times during a $60 undercover drug bust in January of 2015 and nearly killed him. He violated numerous APD policies during the operation, and shot his own officer eight times at point-blank range.
Former APD Chief Gorden Eden never filed to yank Brachle's license because he was probably trying to protect him. That was sickening.
But last week, Geier said an LEA90 should have been filed against Brachle, but never was, and that he would file one that day.
So I called Monica Medrano at the NMLEA to ask about it. In the past, she's punched data into her computer and answered questions about LEA90s being filed against officers, within seconds of taking my phone calls.
But not this time.
She didn't return my phone call yesterday. And when I finally got her on the phone today, she said she couldn't give me the public information – your information, our information – because some guy named Herman Lovato at the Department of Public Safety had sent her an email saying that all media requests for information had to go through him.
I wasn't happy about that, but, hell, Monica was following orders. So I phoned Herman and left him a message detailing the information I wanted. Then I emailed him, just to make sure.
Well how about this? I got one of those automated emails back saying Herman was out of the office.
So the only guy who can release public information is out of the office.
It's bullshit, and it's an insult and an affront to anyone who believes in open government, transparency and easy and quick access to public information.
I called the office of the DPS secretary – a guy whose name I can't remember and that nobody knows – and asked if Herman was in because I needed the information now. I did get a call back saying that Herman had gotten my email and was working on getting me the information that normally should have taken seconds to get.
Then I phoned Gov. Susana Martinez's press person and left an angry message about Herman and his insistence that all media requests for public information go through him.
As of right now [3:55 p.m.] I haven't gotten a call back.
I've now waited hours for public information that I should have gotten – that anyone of you should have gotten – within seconds.
Here's another sickening thing about this. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas argued before the NMLEA board for total transparency and openness when it comes to police decertification files. He said there should be a public database on the cases that is easily searchable by anyone.
I don't think Kassetas was lying and putting on a show. I think he meant what he said. But apparently, others in the governor's administration don't believe in openness and the idea that it is the people who control government.
I've never been one of the “I hate Susana Martinez forever” bandwagoners. Those people are despicable, vile and very mentally challenged.
But I am now at war – as all of you now should be – with an administration that says “Fuck you” to citizens when they request public information that is theirs.
So here's a message to Herman Lovato, the governor, everyone else in her administration - and any would-be governor and their political consultants - that hides and restricts the release of public information and that has contempt for their bosses, we the public:
You will all be gone, and we, the public, will trample you into the dust and dirt and sand, and your vileness and slime will be buried forever.