You can tell a lot about a politician by what they say and don't say, by what news releases they choose to issue and by which ones they don't put out.
When pols spread the official word about cheesy photo-ops and meaningless legislation, you can bet that they're in it for the PR. And when they fail to mention something of huge importance to a city and its residents, you can bet that they're merely hacks who don't want you to know that they've picked your pockets.
And by that standard, Mayor Tim Keller is just another typical, run-of-the-mill politician, not a trailblazer for public integrity and honest and decent public service.
On March 15, Keller signed two pieces of legislation. One he shouted publicly about by issuing a news release so that the news media and the rest of the world would know, and the other, well, he kept his mouth shut about it.
The two pieces of legislation were a resolution banning coyote-killing contests in the city of Albuquerque, and the other was a $55 million-a-year gross receipts tax increase on city residents.
Guess which one Keller wanted the world to know about. Hint: it wasn't the tax hike.
That's right, Keller issued a news release about banning coyote hunts in the city, and failed to say a single word about the tax increase.
Here's the headline from Keller's coyote-killing contest ban news release:
Mayor Tim Keller Signs Bill Condemning Coyote-Killing Contests
Mayor Tim Keller signed a bill condemning animal abuse in the form of coyote-killing contests within the city of Albuquerque and its immediate vicinity.
And here's the headline from the $55-million-a-year tax hike:
Well, there is no headline because there was no news release.
So Keller wants you all to know that he totally condemns coyote hunts in Albuquerque. But he didn't want you to know that he raised our collective taxes by $55 million a year.
Exactly how many coyote hunts have there been in Albuquerque in the last 50 years? The answer: none.
So Keller issued a big release about a meaningless piece of legislation and refused to issue one about a really big financial matter and a huge campaign promise he broke.
I don't know if sleazy is the right word to describe Keller's actions. What I do know is that failing to tell the public about the signing of the tax hike – a tax hike that Keller promised during the campaign that he would put to city voters – is at the least cowardly, and at the most, deceitful and characteristic of the hackiest of political hacks.
Keller's campaign message was that he was a new type of candidate – honest, moral, open, and willing to make hard decisions, do the right thing and take the heat for boldly standing up for all the citizens.
Instead, at least so far, Keller isn't what he promised.
The way Keller is going, he'll probzably issue a news release about banning whale hunting in the Rio Grande.
Shit. I think he just put that one out.