Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Money Grubbing

Ok, Ok, you all knew this was coming. I need to ask you for money for my campaign for State Land Commissioner. Since my opponent is using state money intended for the schools for his campaign, I will just have to be merciless in getting money the old fashion way. begging for it! So, PLEASE send money. You can mail a check to Jim Baca for Land Commissioner, P.O. Box 7514, Albuquerque, NM 87194. I will need your address and occupation. If you do send a check just let me know if you did so because you saw it in this blog. I am just curious to see if this pathetic appeal did any good!

I can spend a lot of time doing this now because we are doing well on our petitions. If you have any for me, just mail them to that same address.

I Just Wont Watch him

Last night I fired up my DVR and recorded a high definition documentary on the Nuremberg Trials. I thought that was good to watch tonight while bush was on.

There are worse crimes than burning books.
One of them is not reading them.

Ray Bradbury

Monday, January 30, 2006

Last Cabinet Meeting and Lyons Screws the Pooch

I attended my last meeting as a Cabinet member of Governor Richardson's administration today. I thought there might be one more before I retire on March 1st to make my full time campaign run at unseating Pat Lyons as Land Commissioner. (More later) Alas, there won't be another Cabinet confab until March 6th. So, I made my thank yous today. Really, Richardson's Cabinet is one of the best I have ever seen in New Mexico. I have been involved in state government off and on for almost 30 years now and have seen lots of Governors and their top folks in action, and this really is a stellar crowd. I am going to miss them all and the Governor's top notch staff too.

I am still impressed with Richardson's detailed knowledge of issues and legislation. He always knew what Cabinet members were talking about when they made their reports and his questions were always on target. Thanks to Conroy Chino for taking this quick picture with my Nikon before I departed.

My Opponent Messes Up

Patrick Lyons was the subject of an Albuquerque Journal story on using state land office funds to air commercials that suspiciously look like campaign commercials. He has spent over $100,000 of money that would otherwise go to buy school supplies for our kids. He said the commercials were for education of the public since they knew little about the Land Office. He didn't explain why he waited almost four years to do this education, but it is just possible waiting until an election year was the important thing. When he was told last week by a local TV station that he had to remove himself from the commercials in order for them to air, he said no thanks! That sort of proves the point that they were nothing more that name i.d. commercial for him. I have called on Lyons to return this money to the State Land Office from his campaign fund. If he doesn't the school teachers of this state should send him a bill for pencils, paper, kleenex, and art supplies they might otherwise have enjoyed.

I had taken a course in Ethics. I read a thick textbook, heard the class discussions and came out of it saying I hadn't learned a thing I didn't know before about morals and what is right or wrong in human conduct.
Carl Sandburg

Sunday, January 29, 2006

bush is Big Brother

After reading this frontpage story in the New York Times I can barely contain myself this morning. It is essentially about muzzling a much respected scientist at NASA and his concerns about global warming. We keep hearing that bush and cheney are anti science, and this pretty much is a smoking gun that proves it. bush really is "Big Brother" as I had always feared. He now has his hacks running interference against the news media at NASA.

You sometimes wonder if anyone cares about this kind of thing. I am ever hopeful that the public is waking up. I see a metaphor where the public is in bed and the alarm goes off. They stir and then hit the snooze button, and then twenty minutes later the alarm sounds again and once again the snooze button is used. Eventually, they will wake up and become aware. Hope Springs Eternal!

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
George Orwell

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Best Bumper Sticker

Here it is. The best bumper sticker I have seen this year. It was spotted outside Vivace restaurant on Central. It says it all.

Frodo Failed
Bush got the Ring

Matanza in Valencia County

Let the campaign season begin! The annual Matanza in Valencia County was well underway when I got there about 11:00AM on Saturday. This is a huge event every year with all sorts of folks showing up, including political candidates. Chicharrones, red chile, beans and tortillas rule over this event with the diners voting on the best food.

Surprisingly, there seemed to be only two of us statewide candidates there getting signatures. Geno Zamora, candidate for Attorney General and me were there with our volunteers getting signatures on our petitions. There were a lot of local candidates there too.

This is the kind of thing that is a lot of fun during a campaign. Although it was cold and windy, people made the most of it.

Fascinating Data on Newspapers

While I was surfing the internet looking for a phone number for a New Mexico Newspaper I came across this fascinating website. It is an annual report by the Knight Foundation on the make up of 1410 newspapers staff diversity in comparison with their readership diversity. It is a real eyeopener and I hope you all will look at it on this link. It is useful to make a comparison between the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal. You can see all of the New Mexico newspapers on the left side of the web site.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Republican and I Agree on Something and a Note About Manhole Covers

Republican Minority Whip Lee Rawson and I agree on something. It is not often I would agree with him but I think his call for a small salary for legislators is the right thing to do. He is suggesting that state lawmakers be paid about $25,000 a year. That makes a lot of sense to me because about the only people who will run for these seats are retired state employees, special interest reps and the like. If there were a little salary to go with the per diem payments, which barely cover expenses, then maybe more mainstrean citizens would realise they could take the time to do this. Volunteer legislatures are good, but they may be a thing of the past.

I have a good friend who wants to buy some City of Albuquerque manhole covers. They city came out with some special ones that are based on a design I had done when I was Mayor. They depict the city's tricentennial. Mayor Chavez turned the design into a manhole cover. That was a nice touch. The more I think about it, I would like to buy one for a memento for the back yard. I bet the city could make some money selling these things and I hope they will do it. Yeah, I know, this is weird but I want one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

bush's BLM Leaders Put it to New Mexicans

The battle for Otero Mesa's pristine Chihuahaun ecosystem continues in court. Governor Richardson and Attorney General Patsy Madrid are fighting bush's Bureau of Land Management in trying to protect that wilderness quality area from destructive oil and gas drilling. Current State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons has sided with bush and his oil industry supporters.

It must be somewhat confusing to observers who are trying to sort out why the state is fighting itself on this issue. Primarily, the reason is that Lyons is beholding to Oil and Gas for his campaign contributions. The company that is one of Lyon's biggest contributors is also the main lessee looking to develop Otero Mesa. The land office has kind of turned into a mini White House when it comes to oil issues.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ugly American vs. Good Americans

My son Justin is attending intensive Spanish language classes in Xela, Guatemala. He has been there several weeks now and seems to be enjoying himself. He lives with a family in the city of 200,000 and attends classes five hours a day.
Justin and his group of international friends are helping in their off time as volunteers with various groups in the countryside. Justin wants to assemble rock climbing gear for a local rock gym at a school in Xela that desperately needs better equipment. This last weekend they travelled to Pacutama Dos to help the survivors of the horrendous mud slides that followed last years hurricaines. Some of those villages were declared graveyards. These young folks had carried prescription drugs there and were helping to translate the labels and doses for the locals.

The picture above is of temporary housing the survivors in the region have erected out of USAID tarps.

Wouldn't it be nice if America, as a nation, could be seen as the great bringer of help instead of warfare in many parts of the world? We have always been seen as a generous people and as a nation we have always helped out in times of need. But, all of that seems to be lost now since bush took office. This country responded fairly well to last years earthquakes in Pakistan, but then we bomb that soverign nation without warning in order to get some suspected terrorrists. A whole family was blown to bits along with America's image in that country. As Justin commented today while online with me, "Everytime the U.S. drops a bomb there is less we can do here."

Fat Cats and bush Put It to New Mexico

Read this story from the New York Times.

This story really shows how bush still has the country and the taxpayer bend over for the oil and gas industry. Sadly, it doesn't just affect the Federal Taxpayer it also affect payments to the states that have natural gas production. Mark New Mexico as a big time looser in this give away to an industry that has record breaking profits. I know that Governor Richardson and his financial people will be asking a lot of questions today and rightly so. That lost money would buy a lot of school supplies.

In my first term as Land Commissioner I created an oil and gas royalty audit department in the State Land Office. Prior to that the Land Commissioners just 'trusted' the oil and gas industry. We immediately started finding millions of dollars in underpaid royalties and those audit teams under following administrations have continued this work.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Good Site

This is a good site to keep up with if you want to see polls that are done around the nation. It is called RealClearPolitics.com

I recommend you book mark this site and look at it weekly. One interesting thing is that bush's numbers are down, but not near as much as Congress and republicans chances in the next election. While bush's ratings are 9% negative, Congress is almost 30%. People think the nation is headed in the wrong direction by a 58-32% margin. I have always been astonished this doesn't leak over to bush in a bigger way. Probably, people just will not admit to a pollster that they made a bad mistake in voting for this turkey. As my friend Brian says, they will always defend their decisions even if all evidence to them proves they erred.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Movie Elite

Why do all the really good movies start in L.A. and New York before they start anywhere else? It must have something to do with money.

Lubbock and Downtown

I just finished serving on a panel that addressed civic and city leaders from Lubbock, Texas who came into Albuquerque to look at our much heralded downtown revitalization. The effort here in Albuquerque has been held up nationwide as how to get it done! I was proud to have been a part of it.

This visit comes on a day that my favorite local columnist, Jim Belshaw, stuck it to Downtown by describing a bad situation that happened to a friend of his downtown near the movie theaters. Of course the headline writer helped in making downtown look even worse. The problem I have with this column is that if the same thing happens at Cottonwood Mall or Uptown Albuquerque it won't make the front page. Jim Belshaw is a big fan of downtown and wants it to succeed but it seems once again that downtown is singled out for negative coverage. I think the real story here and one that Belshaw might be trying to get across is that the city owned parking structure outside the movie theaters is not being properly run or cared for under the Chavez administration. The parking division I believe will now come under the purview of former city council bad boy, now mostly reformed, Greg Payne. He would do all of us downtowners a big favor if he will put meaningful security around the transit center where these panhandlers and drug addicts hang out. And, these type of unfortunate souls are all over the city, up and down Central Avenue, but the press is always negative on Downtown! If something isn't working then let's fix it all over the city.

So, while many people around the country come to see that we did a good thing here, maybe we should realize it ourselves.

Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mistaken Identity-Have Pity

I have an identical twin brother. His name is Tom and he is two minutes older than me. He was appointed the Director of State Aviation by Governor Richardson last year. He is a highly decorated retired Army Aviation and Corporate Pilot. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and also flew fixed wing spy planes over the DMZ. He still doesn't say what that consisted of.

He has a lot of work to do in the State Capitol over the duration of the legislative session. We are so identical that many people think he is me. That is understandable. Sometimes he doesn't know the people that I do and might seem unfamiliar towards someone who knows me. Please don't think I am snubbing you. It is really my brother because he really doesn't know you.

He was always catching hell when I was Mayor in Albuquerque. People would insult him over potholes in the street when he wasn't the Mayor. Have pity on him.

He has a full beard and I have a goatee. That probably doesn't help things so maybe I can get him to shave his off. I had mine first. He is always copying me. Mom always loved him more!

The whole campaign was a tragic case of mistaken identity.
George McGovern

Read this Link

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Good News for the Campaign

Some days are great in a campaign. Some are not. But, today is a good day as one of my opponents in the Land Office race has bowed out of the race. San Miguel County Commission Chairman Leroy H. Garcia has bowed out of the race and has endorsed me. Below is a copy of the news release that went out today. Click on it to make it larger.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hard Work Ahead

I spent all day Tuesday in Santa Fe as the Legislature convened and the Governor charged them with a heavy work load in his State of the State address. Opening day is always a rush. I have been to about 25 of them and they are always a lot of fun. But, these festivities belie the endurance race that is the New Mexico Legislature. These part time law makers will work very, very hard over the next thirty days. Stale air, bad food, endless meetings, lack of exercise, absence from family, partisan warfare and countless receptions will wear down these men and women until they feel like they are in the seventh level of hell. And, this is just a thirty day session. Sixty day sessions get into a whole new plane of existence.

Of course, the lobbyists and Governor's legislative team will experience the same kind of exhaustion. And then they have to stick around after the session mercifully ends.

So, why do these people all do this year after year. Well, they actually love it because no matter your political philosophy they feel as if they can positively direct the future of the state and its people. It also helps them to cope with this if they are a little nuts.

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
~Thomas Jefferson

Monday, January 16, 2006


I invested in a satellite radio for the car so I can listen to news or Jazz all day long. No commercials....It is heaven.

There was a very moving feature story on NPR the other day. It was about a family who is caring for their son who is paralyzed below the neck after being wounded in the first few days of bush's war in Iraq. I was reminded of the story yesterday at breakfast with my good friend Steve Cobble who was in town. As we sat over coffee a young man who was horribly disfigured walked into the cafe with him family. I don't know what happened to him but he was of military age and it is possible he may have been a wounded American Soldier from that war.

The NPR story was recounting the changes that have occurred to the entire family of that other wounded soldier. Rather than put him in an underfunded Veterans Administration nursing home the family is taking care of him and paying for full time nursing care. The family was recently celebrating the young man learning how to swallow again.

After almost three years the family is about bankrupt. You really have to stop and wonder if bush, cheney, rice, rumsfeld and wolfowitz ever stop and think of the long range consequences of what they have done to these veterans and their families. I don't think they really care or think about it. I have a growing rage within me every time I see or hear about these situations. You really have to wonder if we as a country can ever atone to the families and the international community for what we have done here.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Team

My campaign team is coming together quickly and I think I have scored well on getting people with experience and enthusiasm.

This is Jessie Lane Keefe of Movida Company. She will be managing the day to day activities of my campaign. I first met Jessie about five years ago when she volunteered to work on my Mayor's campaign. Since then she has worked with various candidates and elected officials in the state. She is tenacious and detailed in her approach to her work. I am lucky to have found her willing to work with me.

This is Mark Fleischer of the Victory Group. He is a long time political organizer in the west. He served for many years as the Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party. He has relocated to Albuquerque after having been gone for a while. He most recently ran Mayor Chavez's reelection effort and is handling a number of statewide races in New Mexico this year. He will be the fundraising apparatus of this campaign and I know him to be very professional. I think we will raise a lot of money.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Public Servant

I have gained a lot of respect for Ed Lopez, Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico's General Services Department. I first got to know Ed when I was Mayor of Albuquerque and he was heading up the Qwest operation in New Mexico. We had regular meetings where we would hash things out and I felt he was always a guy who did his job in a professional way for the good of Qwest and his home state of New Mexico. After the bad guys did a takeover of Qwest, Ed left with his reputation and dignity intact and most importantly, his ethics. He could see where those corporate raiders were headed and he didn't like it. I believe they are all under indictment now.

Governor Richardson asked Ed, a Republican, to take over the GSD department for him and Ed brought all of his good qualities to that position. He did a great job there and the Governor asked him a few weeks ago to take over the Licensing and Regulation Department. That is one of the most difficult jobs in the state dealing with every thing from liquor licenses to barber schools.

Some folks in the media have tried to make something else out of this move and it is unfair. My fellow bloggers see some sinister motive here, but frankly there is none. Ed will go into another difficult job and do well at it. I happen to know that Ed has turned down some great offers from the private sector to stay on with the Governor. That is a sacrifice in the every sense of the word and it proves his worth as a real public servant.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Young Activists-YDs

This is Nat Chakeres and Terri Nikole Baca of the Young Democrats. I met them tonight at a YD meeting at Boston Pizza on North I-25. Nat just graduated from Harvard and Terri from UNM. They are both first year law students at UNM and they are both active in the Young democrat's organization. One of them will be President one day I decided. The other a Senator maybe. It was great meeting them and somewhat of a tonic to a veteran like me. I actually know Terri's father, Matthew. He has been working hard on environmental causes for many years.

This is Marissa Gonzales of the YD's. She is also a great person to know in the Governor's Office where she slaves away everyday for the big guy. She ran the meeting.

This is Marissa, Angela Chavez of the State Democratic Party, and Karen Montoya, candidate for Bernalillo County assessor. There were a lot of other bright young folks there and they give me hope that young people can still be activists in moving things to a better future in the country. Hopefully, we will start by taking Congress away from bush.

School Children Ripped Off

My opponent in the State Land Commissioner race, Republican Pat Lyons, is using state land office money to pay for television ads for his political campaign. Read about it here.

If I were a school teacher or class room assistant I would be a little miffed that Lyons has used over $150,000 that would otherwise go to the schools and beneficiary institutions. Lyons is using this money on network and cable TV to show him self walking around being the land commissioner. He says that it is to educate people about the land office. Where has he been the last four years and why do it just before election time? Also, his campaign is already expending money on billboards in Albuquerque so he can't say this is not coinciding with his political effort. I would think the NEA might want to write Lyons a letter to explain himself.

What makes this abnormal is that Lyons is using state money for this ad campaign. Usually, elected officials are given free time by the stations for Public Service Announcements and those station will usually cut political candidates off in the year of their election. So, to get around that Lyons is just plain stealing money from the school fund to pay for his campaign ads.

I have called on Lyons to have his campaign reimburse the State Land Office for every penny it has spent on these political ads. I am not holding my breath at this point but I bet if a few school teachers show up and start complaining we might get somewhere. I also wonder if the Legislative Finance Committee might want to take a look at this.

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.
Albert Camus

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tipping Point?

This is not good news.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
Isaac Asimov

bush Attack and a Note About My Cat

Here is what bush said today in front of a friendly crowd about Democrats who disagree with his policies on Iraq. He said that the debate should be handled in a way, "that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries." I wonder what this really means. I think it means if you debate the issue at all and don't agree with bush then you are bringing comfort to the enemy.

How much longer can this go on? Dozens have died in the last three or four days in Iraq including a family of twelve who were killed in an American "smart" bomb attack. This war is approaching the three year mark after bush said combat had ended.

I think our only hope to end this madness is to give bush a democratic congress in November.


I got an email from Joe Monahan, the political blogger, who said he got a copy of a letter from my cat to me. The letter said,

Dear Jim,

If you do not consider my company on an equal level with other members of the family, please feel free to let me go any time. I am sure there is another home that would be glad to have me.

Jerry-your loyal Cat.

Well, it looks like the political season has started. When rumors about your cat start making it to the political bloggers then you know the knives are really coming out. Just so you will know that my cat is treated equally with the humans and beagles in our house I offer this miscellaneous tidbit. Jerry gets canned food once a day. So there. He also drinks out of my cupped hands when I am in the shower. (Try not to think of that image.) I just want to say that the pets in our house should be off limits to the over reaching political hacks that are employed by my opponents.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Signature Hell

I have talked before about the process for getting signatures to be placed on the ballot for statewide elections. It is a cumbersome and difficult process. although it is not as hard as it used to be in the number needed. Since I announced I would run for Land Commissioner I have done nothing but worry about getting five thousand valid signatures to place me on the ballot. I go to bed worrying about it and I get up worrying about it. I have noticed a little panic in all of the candidates as the deadline nears for declaring candidacy in February.

The first time I ran for Land Commissioner you needed over 10,000 signatures with at least ten counties in the state having sent signatures. The number needed now is only about three thousand with no county quota, but I contend they are harder to get. The reason is that given what is going on in this country people are loathe to do any thing remotely identified with the election process. Fewer people are voting and fewer people are willing to do anything active. Of course there are the really committed folks who will always help, but all in all this is a difficult process. It is hard to find volunteers to do this work because they can be badly treated and verbally abused by people they approach. I have always felt gathering signatures is the hardest thing to do in a campaign. These days you also have to rely on paid signature gatherers to help take up the slack.

We have five weeks to go before filing date and if some bedraggled volunteer or paid signature gatherer comes your way, please just smile at them and say thanks for being involved.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Gone and Empty

Noelle and Justin left town at 5:30am. They are headed to Houston where Noelle starts her final semester at Rice University. Justin is driving out there with her and then will leave for Guatemala tomorrow. He saves $700 on the trip by flying out of Houston rather than Albuquerque. Continental Airlines is ripping off New Mexicans with that fare structure I think. Justin will be staying for three months in Quesaltenangol where he will live with a family while taking an intensive immersion course in Spanish. When not in class he will do volunteer work. So every one is gone from the house and it is just me and the Beagles and Jerry the Cat. Bobbi will be back from DC a couple of times this month and hopefully she will transfer back to a new job here in a few months.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Climate Change

My first exposures to the subject of Climate Change came in the early 1990's. I had just been reelected as State Land commissioner and the first murmuring about greenhouse gases and climate change were occurring. I invited some scientists for Los Alamos to come to one of the Land Office brown-bag lunch seminars that I had started. I can't remember the man's name but he put forth a model of what would happen to New Mexico if the Earth's temperature started rising. So far, he seems to have been clairvoyant. I remember at the time that these theories were greeted with downright insults from the energy industry and many political leaders, especially in Washington and the first President Bush administration.

The Albuquerque Journal ran a story this morning that is alarming. It pretty much shows that an analysis by State government officials is pessimistic when it comes to climate change. New Mexico will and maybe already is changing. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that we are suffering from severe drought and that our ski industry is on its knees.

I hope this political season will see a lot of debate on this issue. I plan on talking about it a lot in my campaign and if I am painted as radical for it then I accept the label.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First Observations

I went to a meeting at the Unitarian Church tonight. Bobbi is a member of that church but we haven't been there since Bobbi started commuting to DC. I went there often for a while and really enjoyed the people there. It was primarily a liberal and progressive congregation. One of the members there described many of the flock as people who weren't really believers but just wanted to "cover their ass." I thought that was pretty funny.

Anyway, the meeting tonight was made up of die hard progressive Democrats and others. It was a great group of people but they are pretty angry. They don't like the way campaigns are financed and they say they have trouble telling people what the Democratic party stands for. I actually hear a lot of this but I am optomistic that the party will find a solid and blunt voice over the next few months. I am also thinking that some campaign reform will come as soon as Jack Abramoff starts spilling his guts. It will be as riveting at Watergate (my sister Carlota was a bonafide Watergate junkie), Enron's demise, and bush's meltdown.

The mightier man, the mightier is the thing That makes him honored or begets him hate; For greatest scandal waits on greatest state.
Author: William Shakespeare

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I-25 Truisms

I started commuting many years ago to Santa Fe from Albuquerque. I first started in 1974 when I went to work as Governor Bruce King's news secretary. In 1974 the road to Santa Fe was not yet a designated and complete interstate highway. I believe it was called highway 422. There was only one exit and that was Cerrillos Road. You could drive that commute and be alone on the road sometimes.

I have commuted thousands of times to Santa Fe since then and as I was driving up there to attend the Governor's Cabinet meeting today I started thinking about the patterns that emerge on those rides. Here they are in no particular order.

1. It gets more crowded and dangerous everyday.
2. Pick up trucks drive really fast.
3. Pick up trucks with ladders on them drive even faster.
4. Trucks from stucco and insulation companies drive slow.
5. If you look down at your speedometer and it says 85mph, you are being passed by everyone else.
6. Well, everyone else except senior citizens in Crown Victorias and old minivans.
7. When traveling up La Bajada all three lanes will be occupied by slow trucks.
8. The gasoline at the reservation gas stations is not cheaper than other places.
9. You will average three 'stars' on your windshield a year.
10. You will average 10 middle fingers waved at you a year for going to slow. See item 5.
11. You will dodge one exploding retread from an 18 wheeler every year.
12. There isn't as much roadkill as there used to be because we are eradicating wildlife.
13. You get the bejeesus scared out of you twice a year.
14. Once a year the guy who passed doing 100mph will be seen down the road chatting with a state police officer.
15. The sun always comes through the space between the mirror and the visor for half the trip.
16. People with cellphones held to their ear should be given space.
17. Your Starbuck's will dribble on your shirt once a week.
18. Crumbs from breakfast coffee cake end up everywhere in the car.
19. As soon as you switch on you cruise control you have to step on the brake for traffic.
20. It is still a pretty drive outside the cities.

Please God, I hope the Rail Runner to Santa Fe is in operation before I die.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Noelle celebrated her 21st birthday today. This evening we took her to dinner and as her brother looked on she had her first legal glass of wine at a Macaroni's Grill in Albuquerque. She got carded and showed her new driver's license. Actually, Noelle has been allowed wine with her meals at home for some time since it is a civilized thing to do.

Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.
William Shakespeare
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Public Lands in the Next Two Years

If we are going to save the last great places on public lands in the next two years we will need some strong politicians willing to stand up and take positions. Fundamentally, that is why I opted to run for State Land Commissioner again because I am not afraid to do it. For the last 14 years we have had Commssioners who have that 'go along to get along' attitude. That makes it hard to make decisions.

Despite the impending meltdown of the bush administration and their congressional allies there is still a capacity to do great harm to Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management Lands, and National Parks by this administration. The Oil and Gas Industry still holds immense power in the scheme of things on the Potomac. Some of this could change if we can retake either the House or Senate in Washington. Additionally, state level politicians can have a great effect on this by standing up to bad land management practices that have done so much harm over the last five years. Governor Bill Richardson's support for Otero Mesa and the Valle Vidal protections are extremely helpful. Also, County Commissioners, City councilors, Mayors and others can be effective in weighing in on these issues. That has been proven right here in New Mexico where my good friend Arturo Sandoval has been working with those folks in getting support for wilderness and land protection. There are a lot of good things going on in New Mexico right now because the Wilderness Society and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, the Valle Vidal Coalition have recognized the importance of this inclusiveness in working with local leaders. It also helps convince our delegation that there is some real support for these land protections.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Murder Meter

At one time there was a newsman in the 1970's on KOB Radio by the name of Peter Wellish. He had a daily much listened too newscast and he came up with the idea of a "Murder Meter" for our city. Everytime someone got bumped off he would ring a bell and notify us of where the number on the Murder Meter now stood. It was funny and sad at the same time.

The Albuquerque Journal did their annual compilation of murders in our city this morning. The big message here is that the story makes many media outlets look unfair because it appears that the North East Heights and Westside have many more murders than the downtown/university area. And yet most people are still led to believe and do believe that downtown in unsafe. I think that is because when the media reports a murder case they will always say, "Another murder in downtown Albuquerque on the News at 10PM!" I never see them say, "Another murder in the far north east heights on the News at 10pm!" Simply, this is just stereotyping certain parts of the city. Too bad!

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I couldn't think of a better way starting 2006 than driving over to Pena Blanca and looking around. I took this rustic looking picture that says a lot to me about northern New Mexico. These are incredible landscapes we have here in the Land of Enchantment. We would be fools not to save this enchantment.

We went to a nice party last night and stayed for about an hour. I ran into a former state senator who was complaining about the state of New Mexico partnering with Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic to build a commercial spaceport in southern New Mexico. I am so glad this senator is no longer in office. The ex politico could only whine about the state wasting money. That kind of attitude is why we are where we are in economic development in the state. Governor Richardson is the first visionary hard charging Governor we have had in my recollection and this kind of project is exactly what we should be doing. Movie making, venture investing, environmental protection, tourism, and many other things have been doing very well here thanks to Richardson's different style and promotion of the state and, yes, himself. I think it is great, espcially since his critics can only whine about his traveling too much and buying a jet for the state. That is about all they can do to puff themselves up. Hilarious really!

Here is a website you must bookmark and sign into for few weeks to read about great thinker's dangerous ideas. I read the first two and have to admit I didn't quite get them, but later on some of these are really mind boggling. I will try and read all of them over the next month. Here is a great excerpt from one entry.

In everyday experience, time flows, and we flow with it. In classical physics, time is frozen as part of a frozen spacetime picture. And there is, as yet, no agreed-upon interpretation of time in quantum mechanics.

What if a future scientific understanding of time would show all previous pictures to be wrong, and demonstrate that past and future and even the present do not exist? That stories woven around our individual personal history and future are all just wrong? Now that would be a dangerous idea.

Piet Hut-Professor of Astrophysics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

Finally, here are Athena and Beagle who were inside when the automatic weapons fire started at midnight. It sounded like Bagdad in the valley with thousands of pistol, rifle and automatic assault weapon's bullets being launched into the air over thousands of residents. How can people be so stupid! Hopefully, no one was hurt this year.