When the ABQ FREE PRESS arrived on the scene on April 24, 2014, it was SUCH a welcome addition to the staid and sycophantic news media in this city and failed state. The paper was founded by Dan Vukelich and attorney Will Ferguson, to help fill the void left by the afternoon daily, Albuquerque Tribune! In March Vukelich left the ABQ Free Press after getting burned out. His replacement Jyllian Roach was also let go, and was replaced by another ABQ Tribune Veteran, Dennis Domrzalski. Last week the Free Press put out a call for Letters to the Editor, so I submitted a letter.
I had written a letter about cronyism at UNM, that had been rejected by the Daily (Bi-Weekly) Lobo and the ABQ Journal, so I submitted it to the ABQ Free Press, and they posted it.
A few hours later, I got a nasty email from Domrzalski that they deleted it, and to never send them anything again.
He objected to one sentence in my letter that I've redacted. I naively figured when you submit a letter to an editor, that the editor actually reads the letter, and reviews it for accuracy, reserving the right to edit for clarity and length.
Editor, The two worst Governors in this failed state's history, Republican Susana Martinez and Democrat Bill Richardson, left a corrupt and vile stain on the University of New Mexico! UNM needs to drain the swamp of all appointees of these shady crooked Governors. Cronyism is defined as the practice of awarding jobs to friends or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations. This also includes appointing "cronies" to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications!
The guiding principles of the University of New Mexico include building trust through transparency, truthfulness, responsibility, including the highest standard of ethics!
Last September, The UNM Executive Vice President for Administration David Harris angrily stormed out of an KOB interview after being asked about a $1,330.12 tax payer funded dinner at Wing Lei at the Wynn Hotel, with a group of donors, including Governor Martinez, former UNM President Bob Frank, UNM Regent President Rob Doughty, and former UNM’s VP for Athletics Paul Krebs. Does Harris represent UNM’s principles?
On August 2, 2011 – UNM Executive Vice President David Harris – who used to be chief of staff for Gov. Bill Richardson, announced the appointment of Carla Domenici as the interim director of UNM Safety and Risk Services, even though Domenici possessed no qualifications in management or safety. The SRS Dept lost over ¾ of its staff. In 2014 an audit showed UNM was not in compliance regarding the CLERY Act. In 2015 UNM became only the second University in the nation to be investigated by the DOJ. UNM is spending $1.5 million dollars (it clearly doesn’t have) on Sexual Assault Training. In 2016 the Daily Lobo reported that UNM had over 30 violations when it comes to the handling, labeling, and disposal of hazardous materials. UNM simply can’t afford this cronyism!
In 2007 Harris also authorized a 50% pay raise of $45,000 for Marc Saavedra, the fortunate son of former NM Rep. Kiki Saavedra, XXX XX XXXX XXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXX XXXXX. When asked about the raise Harris stated, "I don't believe that ...," he said when first informed of the numbers. “I don't think he received a $35,000 increase." Saavedra's salaries/raises were signed by David Harris, even after Saavedra’s 2006 arrest for DUI. In 2008, David Harris was investigated for cronyism in the hiring/promotions of 21 UNM Employees, including Billy Sparks who once served as Richardson’s Dept. Chief of Staff. Sparks makes $145,000 a year, but was hired without meeting the written requirements. When the Vice President of Human Resources refused to sign off, Harris overruled her. Carlos Romero who worked with Harris at the New Mexico Finance Authority received a 14.3 raise, no documentation provided. Harris who worked with Jeremy LaFaver’s father hired Jeremy without a competitive search, and no documentation, stating “I recommended Jeremy not because I know him, but because he’s got good DNA,”
When a free and fair press confronts the Government that means the system is working. For the past several years, local journalists at the Daily Lobo and ABQ Journal have acted more like sycophants then skeptics, and more like stenographers then journalists. It’s tragic that the local news media, including the independent student voice of UNM since 1895, the Daily Lobo, (and the ABQ Free Press) is so cowed by the leaders of this broken down institution. B Fejer
The Constitution specifically selected the press, which includes not only newspapers, books, and magazines, but also humble leaflets and circulars, to play an important role in the discussion of public affairs. Thus the press serves and was designed to serve as a powerful antidote to any abuses of power by governmental officials and as a constitutionally chosen means for keeping officials elected by the people responsible to all the people whom they were selected to serve. Suppression of the right of the press to praise or criticize governmental agents and to clamor and contend for or against change, which is all that this editorial did, muzzles one of the very agencies the Framers of our Constitution thoughtfully and deliberately selected to improve our society and keep it free. The Alabama Corrupt Practices Act by providing criminal penalties for publishing editorials such as the one here silences the press at a time when it can be most effective. It is difficult to conceive of a more obvious and flagrant abridgment of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press.