Thursday, August 31, 2006

Points North

I have been up in Northern New Mexico the last couple of days. I am attending the Municipal League annual conference in Taos and doing a round of media interviews and meetings in Taos and Rio Arriba Counties.

The northern part of the state looks beautiful after the recent downpours. Last June Taos looked so dry that one thought it might just blow away. Now everything is green and large fields of sunflowers have burst forth. You all need to come up this way and take a look. I will be back into Albuquerque late tonight and then prepare for a hard Labor Day weekend of campaigning all over the state.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I think Jeff Armijo has done the right thing by dropping out of his race for State Auditor. The way politics works these days the 'Rovian" spin masters would have painted every Democrat running for office as being part of the alleged crime committed by Armijo. That won't happen now much to the credit of the Governor. Armijo was a hard worker and it was probably against his nature to drop out, but these charges could ruin him if he doesn't devote time to defending himself.

We are now entering the home stretch on this midterm campaign. Labor day activities will start a very intense two months for all of the candidates. I am feeling good about the race. My polls show me widening the lead against my opponent but he has amassed a small fortune from the oil and gas industry and others who do business with the land office. I am certain their donations will fund a nasty and negative campaign to keep their 'own' land commissioner in office. It should be an interesting fall season.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Summer Cold

God, I hate summer colds. I started feeling the tingle in Salt Lake City on Thursday and it erupted forth Friday after arriving back in Albuquerque. At first I thought it was an allergy but those medications you take for hay fever had zero effect.

My head feels like it will explode. I am coughing and ......well you know how it is. A bunch of the other folks I was with last week in Montana are also sick so we figure one of our board members who travelled in from Indonesia brought the little virus with him.

Trying to work while on antihistamines is dumb. You hear what people are saying but nothing really registers. I do however remember that I have a lot of appointments over the week. I just hope I can retain some of the discussions.

I am sure glad we did a run to Costco a couple of weeks ago. We have a lot of Kleenex available.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pretty Pictures-Centennial Valley, Montana

Natural Springs Feed this Stream

A Hike was Organized

Brightly Colored Boulders

Red Lichens

Old Wagon Wheel

Great Places

I am back in the Land of Enchantment. I was at a meeting of the Wyss Foundation in Centennial Valley in Montana and then the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in Salt Lake City. The Wyss Foundation funds regional environmental groups that protect great western landscapes. The picture above is from the ranch house we were staying at in the sparsely populated valley outside of Yellowstone. We will attempt to save it from the developers with the help of others, many of them long time ranchers. It is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide and looks as it did 100 years ago. It is breathtaking.

This is the Wyss Board and Staff. Everyone of them deserves mention. Top Row left to right are David Bonderman, John Leshy, Matt Hollenbach, Ed Norton, Marcey Olajos, Bob Bland, Molly Mcusic, Me, and on the bottom row are Bert Fingerhut, Francesca Di Silva, Amy Wyss, Anya Schoolman, Hansjoerg Wyss, Chris Killingsworth and Christina McAlpin. This group works to send grants totaling in the millions every year to protect our great western landscapes and watersheds. I am proud to be a part of this group.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Same News-Different City

I have a whole morning to myself before my Wilderness Alliance meetings start in Salt Lake City. I spent a leisurely breakfast reading the local newspapers. It is surreal how much the local news in Salt Lake City, or any other western city, really center on the same things. Water, sprawl, transportation, open space and growth stories are always one of the front page stories. I have done a lot of traveling to western cities over the last few years and this is always true.

These growth issues gain media attention, I believe, because people are really worried about there quality of life. Sadly, many don't realize that these issues are usually connected to the health of their watersheds and the biodiverstiy inside those watersheds. The developers, drillers and special interests usually trump smart growth policies. But, not always, as we can see in places like Ruidoso and Las Cruces where local people are trying to protect important places.

I often point back to the big battle in the 1970s when the City Commission on a close vote decided to keep the developers off the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque. Those were visionary elected officials. Today, we have a protected landscape on the eastern edge of Albuquerque that presents no mansions and slashed roads zig zagging halfway up the mountain.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back in Civilization

Just a quick note from Salt Lake City. We arrived back from the Centennial Valley in Montana after two glorious days in the most unpopulated place I have been to in a long time. This valley is sixty miles long and is not far from Yellowstone. It is populated by wildlife and wetlands and just a few people. I will post a few pictures when I return to Albuquerque. I have two more days of meetings here and will be back in NM Friday.

It was weird not having cell phone or blackberry coverage for two days. One thing I noticed is that the amount of email drops when you aren't able to generate your own outgoing stuff. The stress stops too. Hmmmm.

Monday, August 21, 2006

On the Road

I will be on the road until Friday afternoon. I will blog if I can. I am in the Centennial Valley of Montana at a Wyss Foundation meeting. It will be nice to be away for just a few days before the last push to return the land office to Democratic leadership.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Interesting Reading

The Santa Fe New Mexican and an interesting story this morning that speaks for it self. Read it here.

There is one gross mistatement by Mr. Mechenbier in the story. He says when I was Director of the Bureau of Land Managment that I raised grazing fees. That never happened. I was attempting to enact rangeland reform measures aimed at stopping overgrazing and protecting watersheds and riparian areas. When Secretary Babbitt pulled the rug out from under us us on this effort I resigned as BLM Director.

I will say the Mr. Mechenbier's company, Sundance Construction, did a great job on the heating and cooling system on our house. We had a hotwater baseboard system installed when we built the house. We have had no problems with it.

This story only reinforces the need to make the Land Commissioners campaigns publicly financed. My opponent has now raised close to $700,000 from those who do business with the Land Office.

Common sense often makes good law.
William O. Douglas

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Silence of the Goatheads

The Silence of the Goatheads will soon be drowned out by the yelps of puppies and flatulence of bicycle tires. The little yellow flowers will all become self contained implements of torture. It is just a matter of time. The rains are to blame and the lack of enough weed and litter crews. I figure by October 1st the bikepaths along the Rio Grande will be impenetrable by paw or innertube. Period.

I even called the city to see if some attention could be paid to this horrible weed before the carnage begins. Spray them, burn them, dig them up, do something. Or, I could open a tire repair shop at Campbell Road and the bike trail. We could also hire high school student to pick the pesky stickers out of the hundreds of canines who will be limping along in agony. says weevils will kill the plants. And it asks the question "Stepped on a Goathead Lately?" This website tells you pretty much everything you would want to know about 'puncturevine'. If puncturevines had the same effect as marijuana you could be pretty sure you wouldn't see it on the right of way.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Future

Now this is funny. Turn up your sound and Click here.

Buzz Off

Mayor Martin Chavez and I aren't the best of friends although we are cordial when we meet. I have always really respected his political sense. However, his blast against Lt. Governor Diane Denish is unusually far off the mark. Last time I checked, our Lt. Governor was a citizen of the City of Albuquerque and Marty's comment that she "should keep her nose out of our business" is over the top. Lt. Governor Denish knows the issues around the so called 'Kendra's Law' and she certainly has a right both as a city resident and statewide elected official to make her views known and lobby the city council for cautious consideration. I don't think Marty's butting into the operation of the Albuquerque Public School System was ever given this kind of treatment by the School Board. At least not in public. I suspect that Marty will eventually apologize for this because he is a good pol. Or maybe he will just worry over facing Denish in a Governor's election more than four years away.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


We let the media know early yesterday that we would be donating to charity the funds we received from Jeffrey Epstein of New York who allegedly paid underage girls for sex. We will be giving this money to the rape crisis center and various environmental groups. The money will be doled out over the course of the campaign since we have not taken huge donations from those who do business with the State Land Office. My opponent has raked in over $700,000.00 from those who have oil and gas, agricultural and real estate leases with the Office. It is time for Public Financing of this office and I will work for it when elected.

On another note, UNM has forced my opponent to back down on his refusal to negotiate in good faith on land for them in Rio Rancho for a new campus. Since he got in hot water over what UNM Regents called a "sweet heart deal" that he gave to a land developer while in negotiations with UNM, he has been trying to explain away his no-bid lease to special interests. That is the real problem here, not so much the land values but the fact that Pat Lyons has given out a half dozen or so 'over the counter' deals to real estate developers without making them bid against each other. This costs the land office lost revenues which should be going to the classrooms for our kids.

The Lobos scored one against the Land Commissioner.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


This picture is of the entrance to the Bingo room at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Silver City. It was just one of many places we visited today. In the last two days we traveled 720 miles and visited Socorro, T or C, Las Cruces, El Paso, Las Cruces for two radio interviews this morning, a newspaper interview in Deming, a speech in Silver City and lunch with the publisher and editor of the Silver City Daily Press.

We started back at about 1:45PM and came over Emory Pass after a huge storm. The runoff was impressive on the creeks on the mountain.

Rodger Beimer who made the trip with me is pointing out towards Caballo lake along I-25 about fifty miles away. This same scene last June looked like the other side of the moon because of the drought.

Then we drove back to a Democratic rally in Albuquerque at the West Side Ladera Golf Course.

But first we had to stop and have Rodger snap a picture of our Beagles, Bobbi and I for a flyer for a group that is doing a fund raiser for us. I look a little windblown and tired, but after the last two days....well, off to the jacuzzi.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


We spent the day cruising down I-25 from Albuquerque to El Paso. We stopped in Socorro for lunch and then got on down Truth or Consequences in Sierra County.

We had coffee with County Democratic Party Chairman David Ferrell and Vice Chair Jan Thetford. Dave is an artist who lives in Hillsboro and Jan in a therapist in T or C. They are really nice people who are deeply concerned about the direction of the country and environmental issues.

On the way down today we saw massive thunderstorms. We passed by Arrey Derrey where we met up with Sandy Jones and part of his flood control crew. There was severe flooding, especially in the Hatch area where traffic was prohibited from exiting the freeway. I had hoped to get pictures of the chile harvest, but that was not occuring today. Please God, protect the chile.

Sandy is the Democratic candidate for the Public Regulatory Commission in the Southern District. He will win. He also serves as Chair of the State Fair Commission.

Green Chile Wins

My little poll shows by almost a 2-1 margin that green chile is preferred by my readers who took the poll. Green chile really is new in that it is available year round with refrigeration. It used to be that red chile was the staple until electricity and refrigeratiors came along. I personally favor red chile. Only one person said they didn't like chile. Poor soul.

As we travel down to Las Cruces today I will probably see semi trucks full of green chile again. We saw a lot of them last week.

Monday, August 14, 2006

United World College of the West

I had some people ask me to put up a little more on Montezuma Castle and the United World College of the West. They are located in the beautiful mountains just outside Las Vegas, NM.

I will be on the road for the next two days and will blog as much as possible. This trip includes El Paso, Socorro, Las Cruces, Deming, Silver City and T or C. Have I mentioned you can donate to my campaign at

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Springer and Vegas on a Beautiful Day

The Colfax County Fair was a great place to be on a Saturday morning. We arrived their after drinking Starbucks all way from Albuquerque.
Ed Olona introduced me to everyone in town.

The Parade was fun.

There were lots of friendly people.

They Mayor's son was getting a haircut

Bobbi drove the Hybrid and I walked.

The cheerleaders sold us cotton candy.

The tatoo guy was there.

So were the goats!

We went to see the Armand Hammer World College at the old Montezuma Hotel on the way to Las Vegas. People know about this institution all over the world, but many in New Mexico don't know it exists.

We got a special tour from Mr. Sena who gave us an oral history of the place.

Then we enjoyed the pink pigs at the San Miguel County fair in Las Vegas.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Cicero said "We learn nothing from History except, we learn nothing from History"

I just had this incredible flashback to the last time I ran for Land Commissioner in 1990. I remember the day Sadaam Hussein invaded Kuwait. I was on my way to visit Yogi Bahjan at the Sihk enclave near Espanola. We sat and watched CNN and lamented the situation. Yogi Bahjan was very upset and there was an air of sadness at his home.

Flash forward 16 years. I am running for Land Commissioner once again and the newscasts are about the same. Chaos in the middle east, no end in sight, people dying because of oil and a bush in the White House. If this continues, just like after the Gulf War, there is a strong possibility there will be a sea change in politics in Washington. We may actually win back the Congress and Senate as people's pent up frustration is vented on federal elected majority party incumbents. Let's hope so, our country's future depends on it.

Right now so many of us state and local politicians who are running for office are mostly consumed with our own little races. When you look at them from the outside you can understand why they don't get much attention. It will probably remain that way right up until voting starts.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Nothing is more likely to set people's emotions off than threats to their water supply. Today my opponent let it be known that he would be claiming water rights for state land in San Juan County. That would be a huge amount of water. He will attempt to put the land office in the front of the line for water that has never been considered by the State Engineer to be owned by the land office. Nor was it ever thought to be a right conferred by the congress when these lands were given to the state upon entry to the Union in 1912. I studied this issue in the 1980's when El Paso took a run at our New Mexico water supplies. We felt there was no legal case for us to pursue. I don't think that has changed over the last 25 years.

How many folks might be a little upset with this water grab? Well, the Navajo tribe for starters, and then the farmers, ranchers, city and county governments, anglers and hunters......well you get the picture.

All of this over water that is already overappropriated and might not even exist, except on paper. I think there is little chance this will go anywhere, except to the court house. Lots of attorneys making a few bucks and some real estate developers waiting in the wings to see what happens.

Why I Love New Mexico

I had to go meet some supporters in Pena Blanca today. As I came down the hill from I-25 this was the view of the Jemez.


There are always a multitude of details to be attended to in a campaign. Since images are so important you have to have good photos of the candidate. In my case that is hard because I am short and plump, not exactly a way to win votes but the brain still works.

My direct mail guy, Phil Muller, insisted on my visiting Kyle Zimmerman's photo studio at Carlisle and Central last week. We went to pick the new photos today. I really like her work because she uses all natural light for illumination. It is the best kind of light for portraits in my experience.

This photo works miracles I guess, but you can be the judge.

My opponent is in more hot water in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Read it here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sweet Heart Deal

State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons' ethical sense was exposesd by the Albuquerque Journal this morning in a fascinating story regarding land in Rio Rancho. Read it here.

The victim here was UNM who had wanted to buy this land for the last two years. While in negotiations on this transaction, Lyons secretly made a deal with a west side land developer that will give that developer a five year lease on the property and a three million dollar gift if the land gets sold to UNM or anyone else for that matter. Well, now that it has been exposed they say UNM wont have to pay. This lease was not put up for open bid. These five year leases are usually done for less than five acres. This 439 acre lease in a rapidly growing area should not have been issued at all, or at the very least it should have been put up for open bid by to interested parties. As UNM Regents said, this is a 'sweet heart deal.' I feel it should be investigated by the Attorney General's Office or at least be given an approval by the AG.

Stop and do the math here, 439(acres) times $32,000. That is what Lyons says the land is worth...that comes to over $14,000,000. He will turn over $3,000,000 to the developers for 'master planning' it. He leased it for $5,000 a year and will turn over 20% of the total value to the business lease owner when the land is sold. Sweet Heart deal. The lesee says he has expended $140,000 on the master plan and engineering studies. Is there proof of that? Maybe there is but, Sweet Heart Deal!

I have been saying we need some Constitutional Amendments that would allow the Commissioner to work with local govenrments and the beneficiaries on providing land to them free of charge for their facilities. This is a case in point. Lyons said last month there should not be any changes. We can see why here.

One last note, rumor has it that Pat Lyons, in fear of losing votes in Lincoln County, will offer a municipal lease to the the Ruidoso Village Council on Moon Mountain. He had never offered that lease before or informed the good people of Ruidoso that it was available until I told them they should ask for such a lease. Lyons and a land developer were trying another end run around the locals on this piece of open space and watershed.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Truth Squad or Foot in Mouth Squad & Domenici was a Teacher

In 2004 Pete Domenici, Heather Wilson, and Pat Lyons announced they would be members of a 'truth squad' as we approached the 2004 November elections. They need to reconstitute themselves after John Dendahl's unbelieveable defamation of school teachers on a radio talk show Friday. While they are at it maybe they should also form a subcommittee on foot in mouth incidents. Actually, I hope they don't. Dendahl will help defeat the republican ticket by the middle of September with his talk show appearances. Keep up the good work John.

Also, wasn't Pete Domenici once a school teacher at Garfield Middle School in Albuquerque? Our kids went there and Valley High School and went on to Cornell University and Rice University. They had great teachers at those schools and also at Griegos elementary school. Some of of their stand out teachers were Richard Balling and Eddie Lucero at Griegos, Principal Nancy Romero at Garfield and Mr. Pako and Mr. Chertoff at Valley High School. I don't ever remember the kids coming home to complain about classes being over run by sexuality, self esteem and socialism.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Noelle Gets Her First New Car

Phoenix is red hot. This picture of Noelle standing in front of the Intel Facilities in Chandler, Arizona may not quite get that message across, but I swear you could bake a potato on the sidewalk in about 10 minutes.

We then zeroed in on buying a car. It was really no contest as the Honda Civic really is a perfect car for her. She had driven a Honda CRV that she bought before leaving for Rice University in her sophomore year. It was a very good car. Civics are in really big demand because of their price and gas mileage. 30MPG in town and 40MPG on the road. We had just stepped into one model to test drive it and they came out and put a sold sticker on it. So, we ended up with another model that also pleased Noelle because of the color.

Noelle negotiated her first deal like a pro and got a fair price.

She loves her first new car. Don't you all remember your first one? I do, it was a Volvo 240 and it cost $3000 total brand new in 1970.

It was a fun day.

Off to Hell & Dendahl

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, August 03, 2006

All in the Family

I have always felt that New Mexico is like a small town. Everyone seems to know just about everyone. Well, maybe not so much anymore, but still in the world of politics it is true.

For example, today I found out that state Republican Party governor candidate John Dendahl's wife is the administrative assistant for State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons. And that the best man at Dendahl's wedding in 1996 was none other that George Yates, who singlehandedly almost funds the State Republican Party. And that Yates Petroleum is one of the biggest donors to Pat Lyons. Yates is the company that wants to drill Otero Mesa, including lots of state land, our last great piece of unroaded Chihuahuan grass lands in the southern part of the state, which is not to far from Yates home office in Artesia, New Mexico.

It is one of those full circle things that makes politics interesting.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Told You So

You will recall that Bobbi and I bought this new Toyota Camry Hybrid about a month ago. Its mileage really is fantastic, averaging 37-40 MPG in city driving so far. And this is not a small car.

This weekend my daughter has ordered me to Phoenix (Thank Heavens for Southwest Airlines) to assist her in buying a new small Honda Civic or Toyota Scion. She wants good mileage. First and foremost and wise for a 21 year old. I will go armed with all of the Consumer Report stuff and pricing reports.

Today it was announced that Toyota has surpassed Ford and is now the #2 car maker in America. Read it here.

Now switch over to an excellent editorial out of the Santa Fe New Mexican about our nation's leader's bait and switch game on new oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico. Senator Domenici wants this done so bad he will give all the revenues from the federally owned resources to just four states so their Senators and Congressmen will vote for this drilling program. Maybe, at the same time, he could even the playing field by giving all of New Mexico's federally owned oil and gas revenues to our state. We get about half right now, which is traditional.

Now, think about the Middle East and all the oil that may never get here in the not to distant future. At the same time think about the national leadership's refusal to up mileage standards in cars because of a few special interests in Michigan who think they should be able to sell gas hogs forever, or at least until they are run out of business by Toyota and Honda.