Kids at school called Nicholas Bevins “Rain Man.” The unwanted nickname sprang from the title character of a movie about an autistic man who was kidnapped by his greedy younger brother.

Neither Bevins, now 25, nor his schoolmates were born when Rain Man hit theaters in 1988. The other students knew Bevins is autistic. They used “Rain Man” as a slur.

It was an early lesson for him on how roughly someone who’s different can be treated.

Bevins is still an outsider, this time in big-city politics. He is running for mayor of Albuquerque against impossible odds.

It would be a difficult race for any youthful newcomer to win. Bevins says he has trouble attracting notice while publicity is lavished on Mayor Tim Keller and one of his challengers, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales.

“News outlets have almost entirely ignored our campaign while at the same time writing large articles about the incumbent and the sheriff who is running,” Bevins said.

The mayor’s race is nonpartisan, but Keller and Gonzales are registered Democrats. Bevins is an independent, though only because there’s no state party encompassing his political preference.

Bevins calls himself a “libertarian socialist,” and he has a platform he believes appeals to many in Albuquerque.

“There is a hunger in this city for leftist politics,” he said.

Perhaps Bevins’ most radical plank is to legalize drugs in Albuquerque.

He says his administration would do this by directing police to ignore drug crimes. Money would be spent instead on housing and treatment programs aimed at turning addicts into sober citizens.

Allowing drug deals to occur with impunity is an idea straight from The Wire, an old television series set in drug-infested Baltimore. Bevins says reducing demand instead of trying to control supply is the right approach on fighting drugs.

“I subscribe to the idea that people closest to the problems are closest to the solutions,” he said. “I see the problems every day. They’re not going to be solved by spending more money on the promise of hiring more police officers — an approach that has failed repeatedly in Albuquerque.”

A renter who lives with two roommates, Bevins travels the city by skateboard, bus and the Sun Van system. Sun Van provides transportation for people whose impairment can make it difficult to use fixed-route services.

He says his circumstances give him a view of Albuquerque that Keller and Gonzales don’t see.

Keller proposes increasing the budget for police. Gonzales uses “tough on crime” as a centerpiece of his campaign pitch. Bevins says both out are out of step.

“People are terrified to call police in this city,” Bevins says.

The Albuquerque Police Department has a documented history of using excessive force, including deadly force. It is under a federal court order to make reforms in training and practices, but Bevins says little has changed.

One of his first moves as mayor, Bevins says, would be to fire Police Chief Harold Medina, who was appointed by Keller in March.

While working a beat in 2002, Medina shot and killed a 14-year-old boy. Medina said the teen pointed a gun at him and another police officer. The boy’s weapon turned out to be a BB gun.

Bevins says Keller’s selection of Medina was another setback for a department that doesn’t have the public’s trust.

As for Gonzales, he was radical in his own way in resisting a proven method of police accountability.

Gonzales became Bernalillo County sheriff in 2015, and for years he refused to equip his deputies with body cameras.

Good cops don’t mind cameras. An accurate recording of their work can demolish frivolous claims of misconduct.

Gonzales yielded last year after the state Legislature approved a law requiring all law enforcement officers to use body cameras.

Keller began his political career as a liberal state senator. Gonzales’ crime-fighting ideas once won him a laudatory tweet from then-President Donald Trump.

Still, Bevins doesn’t see any practical difference between Keller and Gonzales. They’re talking a lot about policing in a year when Albuquerque’s murder rate has escalated. But, Bevins says, the high-profile candidates haven’t done anything innovative to reduce crime or to improve relations between cops and residents.

Bevins’ hero in politics is Sen. Bernie Sanders. At age 19, Bevins volunteered for Sanders’ first presidential campaign.

Bevins helped Sanders again last year. As one of the senator’s “victory captains,” Bevins advocated for Sanders throughout Albuquerque.

In addition, Bevins has campaigned for liberal candidates for the Legislature and the Albuquerque City Council.

Bevins has taken courses at a community college and the University of New Mexico. He didn’t graduate.

He has worked in the dialysis unit of a hospital and in quality control for private companies, but he’s not currently employed.

Still, he says, he’s working each day. He sees his job as shaking up a mayor’s race that otherwise would be what Bevins detests — politics as usual.

Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at msimonich@sfnewmexican.com or 505-986-3080.

(10) comments

Khal Spencer

Elect an unemployed college dropout? Well, I suppose nothing else is working.

Carolyn DM

Anything/anyone is better than Manny Ortiz, the supposed Democrat, Trumpf loving butt licker!

Prince Michael Jauregui

A self-described "Libertarian Socialist " is quoted as saying "...news outlets have almost entirely ignored our campaign...", in the self-proclaimed "West's Oldest Newspaper"?

In 2008, journalists, editors and publishers were provided hard-copies or given Internet access to one of the most -confirmedly- powerful, prophetic documents in World History, the epic and nation-altering "Declaration of 2008". The sheer, Divinely-anointed Truth of the composition has only resounded more powerfully -and verifiably-

with time. The shameless, willful and unconscionable suppression of -both- "The Declaration of 2008" and "The Final Declaration" by the U.S. Press has not been without consequence for the withered American newspaper industry and the daily demising U.S. "Government"alike - yet again, confirmedly.

Manufactured "Democracy", as usual. Only now, on the cusp of total collapse. !Dios lo ve TODO!

rodney carswell

I googled "Declaration of 2008" and did not come up with anything that seemed like what you referenced; perhaps you can provide a link?

Prince Michael Jauregui

Mr. Carswell, after receiving thousands of views -both- "The Declaration of 2008" and "The Final Declaration" (2009) were -Federally- suppressed from public view in November 2018. Again, despite hard-copies distributed among numerous "newspapers", the compositions would be cowardly withheld by "American news-providers".

Equal-parts Revolution and Revelation, both Divinely-inspired documents foretold and forewarned of the inevitable, impending and indefensible consequences facing a once-prosperous and Godly-blessed nation. Immediately verified, by The Great Recession of 2008 and a -literal- plague of death and destruction that increases to this very day.

rodney carswell

Mr. MJ, so this was so suppressed that there are not even any newspaper stories about its very disappearance? No evidence anywhere?

Prince Michael Jauregui

Again Mr. Carswell, hard-copies were provided to journalists, columnists, editors and publishers of various newspapers (L.A. Times, O.C. Register, Colorado Springs Gazette, Colorado Springs Independent, The Oregonian, Salem News-Leader, and The Santa Fe New Mexican - to name a a few). I actually gave a signed copy to a journalist in 2011 at the NM State Capitol Building, he said he worked for eight newspaper. You would know his name, guaranteed. Anyway I appreciate your interest, RC. Never forget, TRUTH always prevails.

Moses Townsend

Seems convenient that there is no documentation of it anywhere online. The internet has so much information so that seems nearly impossible.

I know our world, country, and state have a plethora of issues, but keep your vague conspiracies to yourself lol. If you’re gonna mention some prophetic conspiracy, at least reference one other people rant about online.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Mr. Townsend, suffice for it to say, for now? In the words of President Thomas Jefferson, "One man with Courage makes a majority", and in the words of my blessed forefather King David: "The wicked shall be turned into Sheol; and all the nations that forgot GOD".

Erich Kuerschner

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---cabinet/documents/genericdocument/wcms_371208.pdf

The number one link when I googled “Declaration of 2008”??

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