Saturday, August 27, 2005


In the last few days, Governor Bill Richardson has struck blows at crime on the Mexico border and here in Albuquerque. Some of these blows make us uneasy.

Take the proposal to raze the small town in Northern Mexico, across the border from Columbus. Our Governor, the governor of a province of the United States, has suggested that President Vicente Fox of Mexico bulldoze the little town, because the town is a gathering place for Mexicans who are planning to cross into New Mexico illegally, or for bandits who use the town to gather before coming across to steal or transport illegal drugs to supply the habits of willing buyers North of the border.

This is reminiscent of the Albuquerque Police Department initiative of cutting down trees near a Northeast heights apartment complex. The police thought drug pushers would stand behind the trees and make illegal drug sales; and that cutting the trees down would help. Razing the Mexican town is also like the Albuquerque initiative of closing the business of poor boy bars on East Central, on the basis that the police get a lot of calls for assistance at such bars. Why not provide the police protection and the property need not be destroyed, the bars and the trees could remain.

This is also reminiscent of the APD practice of taking workable, useable firearms and blowing them up or melting them down. Whose idea is that? Someone worked to produce those weapons. Why destroy them, unless we are to say that all firearms are to be considered contraband, and should be destroyed because there is no lawful manner in which they may be possessed.

The other blow against crime that leaves us uneasy, is the action of the Governor in sending his crime czar, Robert Schwartz, to Judge James Blackmer's court for a hearing on the Judge's sua sponte motion for reduction of a felony sentence the Judge had imposed in a vehicular homicide case. Mr. Schwartz carried a letter from the Governor, and read it to the Judge, according to a report in the Albuquerque Journal.

Is the Governor going to write letters to Judges now, advising the Judges of the Governor's opinions as to the appropriate sentence in criminal cases? The Mayor is reported to have done the same thing. Is he going to make this a practice? In order to be qualified to make a recommendation on a felony sentence, one has to investigate the case. Do the Governor and Mayor have this kind of time?

Are we wrong to feel some unease over these developments in the war on crime? The Governor could put a stop to the illegal immigration to New Mexico (not through, but to). Tell the State Police to investigate employers who are suspected of violating federal law by hiring illegals. The illegals come here to work, to try to improve their lives and the lives of their families below the border.

Dry up those jobs in New Mexico by assisting in the federal prosecution. It seems like grandstanding to declare an emergency at the border, criticize the United States government, and call for the President of another country to bulldoze one of his hamlets.

Yes, some of us are uneasy. What is next?

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