BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
“Tim, get busy and be the mayor that we need. Please.”
That anguished plea to Mayor Tim Keller was posted Wednesday on our Facebook page in response to Dan Klein's columns about how an Albuquerque police detective screwed up a murder investigation and jailed an innocent 17-year-old girl for six days. It's also a plea for Keller to get really tough on crime and on the criminals who are ravaging this city and ruining life for law-abiding taxpayers who pay Keller's salary.
Can Keller be the mayor we need right now? Can he be a mayor who will say that he and his police department won't tolerate crime and the fiends, creeps, lowlifes and scum who are ruining this once nice city? Can he be the mayor who prods and inspires the District Attorney's office and the judiciary to work feverishly on our behalf to lock criminals up and keep the rest of us safe?
I doubt it. And two years into his term, we can say that Keller has been a failure as a mayor when it comes to battling crime and keeping us safe. And we don't think he's going to get any better and grow into the job.
Keller just doesn't seem capable of declaring for all to see and hear that his administration will do everything possible in its power to lock criminals up. He can't seem to get out there and say something like, “We're declaring war on criminals and we will show them no mercy. We will not tolerate scumbags breaking into our homes, stealing our cars, assaulting us, raping us and killing our neighbors. And if you're one of those scumbags who preys on law-abiding people, we're coming after you with a vengeance.”
In fact, Keller seems lost. In a recent TV interview when a reporter asked him what he was going to do about the record number of homicides this year, Keller was sad and pathetic. He babbled on about domestic violence and guns, and who knows what else. And it was just babbling that said nothing. He had a chance to declare war on crime, but he couldn't, or wouldn't, do it.
Instead, he flashed his handsome smile and, well, babbled. If his smile was meant to reassure us that he was on the job and working furiously to make our streets safer, it didn't work. Keller looked lost. And the smile was one of those uneasy, pathetic things that try to mask fear, incompetence and a total lack of understanding of the situation. It was the sad smile of someone who is in over his head. It was the smile of someone pretending to know the answers, when at heart he knows he didn't study for the test.
I don't know why Keller can't declare war on criminals, draw a line in the sand, or say and do whatever it takes to start the war on criminals. Maybe he's one of those pathetic souls who is paralyzed by the need to be liked by everyone. Maybe he thinks that being a hard-ass will make his liberal and progressive cult-like followers think he's a bad and insensitive man.
Maybe Keller truly believes that murderers, rapists, muggers, robbers, burglars and carjackers are misunderstood and that they're really nice people and that it's the fault of law-abiding citizens and the evil capitalist society that have driven these oppressed people to crime.
Maybe Keller doesn't believe that people who steal our stuff and money are criminals. Maybe he thinks that they are redistributing wealth and money to their oppressed and misunderstood selves.
I don't know. But what I do know is that two years into his term, Keller is a failure as a mayor and as a leader. He goes for the fluff stuff like weeping at the border and creating a department of inclusion, while dodging the hard stuff like people getting assaulted and robbed and raped. He can't bring himself to fire incompetent people, and he smiles when he's lied to. So far, no one has been fired over crime statistics fiasco in which Keller and his police department lied about falling crime rates.
Another Facebook user put it this way:
“The mayor is is not going to change; he is a good-hearted liberal who has no idea how to combat crime and no desire to move against the consent decree. As for Chief Geier, he is going to do what Mayor Keller dictates. My money says unless Mayor Keller takes the cuffs off his officers and uses his bully pulpit to go after the DA and the judiciary he will be a one-term mayor.”
Great leaders—even moderately good ones—often have to be hard-asses and take control. Keller seems incapable of that, and we're the ones who are suffering the consequences of that failure.
So the sickening status quo will continue. While Albuquerque bleeds, Mayor Tim Keller smiles.