Mayor Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales have said they are running for mayor. Both are seeking public financing and will likely make the ballot. Voters need at least four more viable candidates for mayor, and time still remains for others.
Keller is the front runner because of incumbency. His accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina – who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes – permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.
Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms. When Gonzales says, “I answer to the people who voted me into office,” he is saying he answers only to those who support him.
The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little economic development.
The city cannot afford another mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed is a mayor who actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election. A highly contested race for mayor will reveal solutions to our problems. With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or not voting.