Headlines: "ABQ Stuck With Bad Officers", Struggle Over Pot Measure...

Sep 11, 2014

Credit Sergio Jiménez / The Daily Lobo

APD Chief Says City Stuck With Bad OfficersUSA Today

Albuquerque’s Chief of Police Gorden Eden told the national newspaper USA Today that it will be difficult to reform the Albuquerque Police Department because it is stuck with officers who shouldn't be on the force.

Chief Eden told the newspaper that due to a union contract the city may not be able to remove problem officers.   The comments were published yesterday in USA Today in an article titled “Before Ferguson, there was Albuquerque”.

Marijuana Questions Won't Be Placed On BallotThe Associated Press

Secretary of State Dianna Duran says she will not place nonbinding questions about marijuana penalties on the November general election ballot.

She says state law doesn't authorize ballot questions that only ask voters their opinions.

Santa Fe and Bernalillo county commissioners have approved proposals to poll voters about their support for making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil infraction.

Bernalillo County Commission chairwoman Debbie O'Malley, a Democrat, says she expects a lawsuit will be filed to have the marijuana question added to the ballot.

Company To Add 425 New Jobs In Rio Rancho - The Associated Press

Officials say Rio Rancho will get hundreds of new jobs with the arrival of S&P Data LLC.

The company says it will hire 100 workers upfront and add another 325 over the next few years.

The company's website says it provides customer support for Fortune 500 customers such as American Express, Apple and McDonalds.

Med School Dean: Financial Aid Limited At Start - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

The dean of a new medical school being established in Las Cruces says its students won't be eligible for an array of federal financial aid for at least the school's first two years.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean George Mychaskiw says that's because for-profit schools are ineligible for Title IV aid during the beginning of the schools' existence.

Mychaskiw says students needing financial aid to help pay for the annual tuition of about $48,000 will have to look to private loans, scholarships and grants or to military and public health scholarships.

However, he says the college is launching a foundation to provide scholarships to promising low-income students.

The private college is being established on the campus of New Mexico State University.

Governor's Ex-Campaign Manager Seeks Probation - The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign manager is asking a federal court to sentence him to probation rather than imprisonment for stealing the governor's email and lying about it.

Jamie Estrada pleaded guilty in June to charges of unlawful interception of electronic communication and lying to FBI agents. He provided the hijacked email to the governor's political opponents.

Estrada faces up to a year and one day in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for next month.

In a court document filed Wednesday, Estrada's lawyers said probation is a sufficient sentence because of Estrada's "extraordinarily good character and distinguished history of public service."

The lawyers also said if Estrada goes to prison he could no longer care for his elderly father and a brother with a life-threatening liver disease.

Gun, Other Equipment Stolen From Officer's Vehicle - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A handgun, ammunition and other equipment have been stolen from a law enforcement officer's vehicle in northern New Mexico.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says the gun and two boxes of ammunition were stolen along with a baton, handcuffs, a bulletproof vest and a stun gun from the vehicle of a state probation and parole officer.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the theft occurred last weekend in the Eldorado area of Santa Fe County.

The Sheriff's Office says it has no suspects so far.

Language Factors Into Race For Navajo President - The Associated Press

A candidate for the top elected post on the country's largest American Indian reservation has come under fire because critics contend he isn't fluent in the Navajo language.

Tribal law requires anyone seeking the Navajo Nation presidency to speak the language fluently. Critics say that includes Chris Deschene (des-CHEE'-knee), who faces Joe Shirley Jr. in the November election.

Deschene says fluency is a matter of opinion. He says he's communicated with voters in Navajo and his language skills are improving every day.

The issue came to a head when several Navajo citizens and presidential candidates filed grievances against him. The challenges have been dismissed but can be appealed.

The language is a vital part of the tribe's culture, most commonly spoken among elderly Navajo people as their first language and less so among younger generations.

Groups To Sue Over Lack Of Wolf Recovery Plan - The Associated Press

A coalition of environmental groups is planning to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's failure to craft and implement a valid recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf.

The groups say it has been nearly four decades since the Mexican wolves were listed and the agency has yet to develop a plan that spells outs measurable goals for recovering the population in the American Southwest.

Without the guidance of such a plan, the groups allege that federal wildlife managers have at times impeded the recovery of wolves in New Mexico and Arizona.

An agency spokeswoman declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The agency is working on revisions to the species' designation as an experimental population. That process is expected to be complete in January.

$12.5M To Repair Amtrak Route In Colorado, Kansas - The Associated Press

A $12.5 million federal grant will pay for urgent repairs on the route of Amtrak's Southwest Chief in western Kansas and eastern Colorado, but funding for upgrades in southern Colorado and New Mexico remains uncertain.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado announced Tuesday the Transportation Department approved the grant after Kansas and Colorado communities committed $9.3 million.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the money will pay for repairs allowing passenger trains to maintain 60- and 70-mph speeds.

Magliari says BNSF Railway, which owns the tracks, runs only slower-speed freight trains and doesn't need to keep the track up to high-speed standards.

Magliari says Amtrak is discussing funding for repairs in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico with state officials and BNSF.

A BNSF spokesman had no immediate comment.

Auction For Atari Games From New Mexico Landfill - The Associated Press and KRQE TV

Some 800 Atari video games buried more than 30 years ago at a southeastern New Mexico landfill and dug up in April will be auctioned off soon.

Atari Event Organizer Joe Lewandowski tells KRQE-TV the market's going to determine the price.

He says the Smithsonian and state and local museums have already expressed interest about acquiring some of the vintage games.

A group of archaeologists dug up thousands of unsold and returned ET game cartridges in an Alamogordo landfill. Atari reportedly buried its 1982 game after it was dubbed the worst video game ever made.

Alamogordo owns the games because they came from the city's landfill.

City officials hope to start auctioning off the games in the next two weeks.

The games will come with a certificate of authenticity.