Friday, July 08, 2005

My George Bush Story

Believe it or not I have shaken the hand of every President of the United States since John Kennedy came to Albuquerque back in 1962, except for the first George Bush. I shook President Johnson's hand in Albuquerque, President Nixon's when I was a newsman at Channel 7, President Ford's in Santa Fe, President Carter's in Albuquerque, President Reagan's in Sacramento, and of course President Bill Clinton's on numerous occasions when I worked for his first administration. And, yes, I shook W's hand too and it was a very disheartening experience. Here is what happened. Several months after he was appointed President by the Supreme Court he visited Albuquerque and gave a speech at the Hispano Chamber of Commerce on South 4th street near Bridge Blvd. I was Mayor and was to officially greet him when he arrived at the site. It was a very hot day and the crowd was patiently baking in the sun. When President Bush arrived he was escorted over to me and I welcomed him to Albuquerque. His response was, "Thank you, but you environmentalists are really holding up progress." He then turned around and walked away. I was stupified. I went to my seat and quietly listened to him give his speech. I left shortly there after wondering why he would do such a thing and who had put him up to it. Is this the way a President should greet a city Mayor, even one that is a Democrat? I told many close friends about this but had never gone public with it before. I was reminded about it today after reading stories about the lack of any movement on Bush's part on global warming at the G-8 meeting, which is now a shambles as all issues now take second billing to terrorism. What happens now? Thomas Friedman has some interesting thoughts on that in the New York Times today.

This is Arturo Sandoval, a very good friend who I deal with on many environmental and Hispanic issues. Arturo is becoming a nationwide leader in organizing and educating Hispanic leaders and young people on environmental issues. This has been sorely lacking in this country. Arturo is a long time activist and a former reporter for the Albuqueque Journal. He is a really funny guy who is extremely knowledgeable about New Mexico, its families and history.

This is another old acquaintance who I bumped into on the way to have coffee with Arturo. Mike
Gallagher is the well respected long time investigative reporter for the Albuquerque Journal. I known him since my newsman days and have always thought he was one of the best. He looks like a newsman doesn't he?

No comments: