Thursday, May 31, 2007


I mean I almost had one this morning when I read the Albuquerque Journal's candidate endorsements for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District election. They were the same ones I suggested two days ago. I am worried about this and will have to think a lot about it.

Well, you know what they say about an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters. Eventually, one of them will type out one of Shakespere's plays.
Actually, I am really happy about this endorsement fromt he Journal. Maybe things can change at the District for the better.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wired Not

The City of Albuquerque is planning on constructing a wireless Internet system for the city. That is nice but it should only be considered as one small part of a larger effort at making this a connected city. Wireless systems are somewhat limited and basic and will probably not meet future requirements for telecommuting, security services, home medical services and video.

Most large planned community builders right now are doing technology master plans. Most of them will end up with high speed (speed of light) fiber optic systems that connect right to the home. Many subdivisions that are now being built however have no such plans and that will hurt this community in the future. Although I am getting pretty good service from Comcast right now I don't believe they will upgrade their systems for us in a timely manner. They are too busy raising our rates so they can buy up other systems around the country.

This city and all others in New Mexico should be adopting Technology Master Plans that set basic service levels for Internet services being provided to homes. There should be no homes built with out fiber optics at the curb. I don't understand why the city and county have not done this. There are plenty of consultants out there that could set them on their way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Election

A lot of folks don't remember, but I was once manager of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, for a whole 12 months. I went into the job hoping to modernize and bring efficiency to this agency that I always knew would be important to New Mexico's water future. I held that job in 1988-89. About the only thing we accomplished was adopting the logo you see here and originating the motto "Keeping the Valley Green." I was fired, along with the District's full time attorney, for attempting to bring disciplinary action against the District Engineer for unethical behavior.

Here we are 20 years later and things haven't changed. The district is still mired in questionable ethics and inefficiency. But, we can take a stride towards changing that by voting out all of the incumbents on the Board. I am talking about Hector Gonzales, Augusta Meyers, and Jose Otero. With the exception of Hector Gonzales, they are all tools of the the District Engineer Shubas Shah and his attorney Chuck Dumars. You will remember Shah as the guy who retired for 90 days after taking close to $200,000 in leave pay, and then came back and was given a salary of 150,000 to start all over again. This was made possible by his control over the Board for favors granted. Not long after that Agusta Meyers, an employee of the District was elevated to a board position when a vacancy occurred. I actually like Augusta a lot but she has been unable to show much independence. Strangely, Augusta now holds the at large seat but was convinced to run against Hector Gonzales who holds the Bernalillo County Seat. Hector has been opposing Shah recently and this is his pay back from Shah and Dumars.

I would suggest votes be given to Isleta Pueblo resident Eugene Abeita for the at large position, farmer Jannet Jarrett in Valencia County, and Adrian Ogelsby for Bernalillo County. They are the best hope for bringing common sense to the management of this crucial water agency.

This is a stealth election that disenfranchises the property owners in the District by holding the election in an off year with little publicity. The Board convinced the legislature a few years ago to remove their election day from General election day in November. Voter participation plummeted to 3%, guaranteeing low turnout. That's why the same old people keep their seats.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Weekend

This will be a fun weekend for us. We are just going to putter around the yard and get it in shape for outside dining. As the weather gets warm I like to start the day with coffee in the back yard and then try to eat dinner out there every evening. We have a really nice shaded back yard and even on the hottest of summer days it is pleasant. We are going to friends for dinner on Sunday and will go to a movie sometime today or tomorrow.

My little friend from last year is back. I assume the same Hummingbird has taken us residence in last year's nest that sits right over our hot tub. He was scoping me out pretty good this morning. But, every time he sees me with my camera he bugs out. He or she built up the nest pretty nicely.

Behind all of this nice weekend in front of us however, I have a sense of rage over the continuing killing in Iraq. bush tells us that we should expect serious casualties over the summer as his 'surge' continues. Will he remember those who died for his folly next Memorial Day? I seriously doubt it since, to my knowledge, he has never been to a slain soldiers funeral yet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Double Standards

I am somewhat of a great believer in double standards. For example, I owned a motorcycle when my kids were young. I really liked it and I didn't get killed. So, upon our arrival back in the States from our trip I was informed by my daughter Noelle in Phoenix that, 1. She took motorcycle driving lessons, 2. She bought a motorcycle, 3. She is dating a guy(a Mechanical Engineer) she met in motorcycle class who is 7 years older than her.

Here is my double standard at work. I don't want her on a motorcycle even though I had one, and I am not so sure about this dating an older guy, although I am seven years older than my beautiful wife Bobbi.

What is a parent to do? I just had lunch with a good friend whose daughter will be starting medical school in the fall. Right now she is touring South America by bus. She just emailed him that they can't get into La Paz, Bolivia because the roads are blocked. She didn't say why they were blocked so you can imagine what is going through his mind.

Kids may get emancipated but parents never do.

Environment Dept. Votes for Sanity

Another ill advised State Land Office deal has been given a dagger in the heart by the Environment department. Thanks go to Secretary Ron Curry and the residents of Torrance County who objected to the harebrained idea. Hopefully, it will be fatal. State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons gave out a no bid lease to a company that wants to build an electrical generating plant near Estancia. The fuel for the plant would have been hundreds of square miles of Pinon-Juniper forests on State Land. This was done with no scientific review by the Land Office. No water studies, no wildlife studies, no ecosystem studies. The reason the land office did this deal was to increase the amount of grazing land for Lyon's ranching buddies. Ironically, the forests sprang up as thick as they did because of overgrazing in the first place.

I think there probably could be some thinning done in some of the areas, especially with the Juniper trees. But what was being planned was putting forest health in the closet and basing all decisions on how much fuel would be needed at the plant. It just doesn't make sense to me that we would put Pinon trees, which bear food, into an incinerator.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


So, jet lag is lagging and I realize that when we were gone that gasoline prices here went up 10%. And still there is no windfall profits tax imposed on these oil companies. Where is our delegation and the Congress on this travesty? High gas prices may help us develop alternative energy sources, but the windfall profits tax would fund it. Why give all this money to these Oil CEOs?

The Las Cruces City Commission went ahead and approved a large annexation that was engendered by State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons doing a sweetheart deal with developer Phil Phillipou. My question is how can that deal be approved when Lyons contractually dismantled his own Request for Proposal process by giving the deal to Phillipou before the deadline for the RFPs was reached. If the Attorney General doesn't force this whole process back to step one, then a great loss will be had for the people of Las Cruces and the State Permanent Fund for the schools. National and other local firms that might have done a much better job on a master plan have been cut out and the people of Las Cruces will pay for it with increased taxes. The Schools will in the end receive less money since a full bid process was never completed. I suggest letters be written to Attorney General Gary King about this.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Vacation Slide Show

Here is a link to captioned pictures from our 2007 Sojourn. Back to work tomorrow. Sleep, must sleep. Jeg Lag bad.

Home Again

The French may never be able to beat the Germans in a war, but they sure kick their butts in the airline business. While traveling to our vacation on Lufthansa a couple of weeks ago we had the feeling we were part of a crew in an old Roman galley. It was that bad. Today we flew back on Air France and it was positively civilized.

Memo to All U.S. Airlines Board of Directors. Make your CEO take a transatlantic flight on Air France. Tell them to taste the food, drink the wine, marvel at the crews constant attention. Tell the CEOs to aspire to the inflight service levels of Air France. Also, tell them to teach the French Airline how to run a ticket counter, because our airlines do that a lot better.

So we arrived back late last night from Venice after 10 days of port calls, excursions and relaxation. I think it is the best vacation we ever had. The weather was perfect, the people of those countries like Americans, but not our government, and we are ready to go back to work.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Koper, Slovenia

We were at sea all day yesterday. Eating.

We hit Slovenia today and I was totally impressed with this new country. We docked in Koper and sped off into the countryside. It is covered with vineyards, olive trees and beautiful homes and farms. This country at the northern edge of the Adriatic is now part of the European union. After the break up of Yugoslavia and a ten day war they started rebuilding their country. They are doing a great job.

We stopped for a wine tasting at Koper Vineyards. The wine was excellent and I will look for it when I get home. If you want to buy their wine in bulk you go into a special room that is equipped with sterile gas pumps. My calculations were that it is priced at the same amount as gasoline here. About $2.60 a liter, and it is really good wine.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


We visted the site of the original Olympics near the port of Katakalon. The site was impressive as is the country side which is totally different than the other parts of Greece we have been to. We are now on the west coast of the islands which get lots of rain. It is a little more humid here but the temperature is still only around 75 degrees. Perfect weather every day since we arrived in Venice 11 days ago. We have really lucked out.

Yes, we are eating our way through this trip. Probably have gained a few pounds that I had lost but we are getting lots of exercise and fun in hiking around. Tomorrow I will hit the Gym and Bobbi will do Jazzercise on board since we are at sea all day tomorrow before our final stop in Slovenia at the port of Koper. Then to Venice for a night and off to Albuquerque.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


We just got done touring Santorini. A couple of thousand years ago the biggest volcanic eruption ever, probably, vaporised the Minoan civilization. It left a large caldera which filled with ocean water. The small part of this island that remained is this circular rim around a vast ocean filled crater 1000 feet deep. Three thousand feet of the islands elevation disappeared. This is a really pretty place that survives on cruise ship visits. Today there are three ships here which disgorged about 4000 people into tenders. We visited black sand beaches and small villages. A laid back place.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rhodes Acropolis

I give up on posting photos. I don't know why they are disappearing into the nether world of zeros and ones. But they are. I will link a photo album when I get home.

We were in Rhodes and Lindos today for an 8 hour excursion. The one thing I am learning about this part of the world is that every few hundred years everything is turned to rubble by earthquakes. Then everyone just takes the rubble and builds something new.

It is beautiful here, but scary knowing that all ends in a few generations just to be rebuilt.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I wasn’t entirely ready for the sheer size and magnificence of Ephesus, Turkey. These ruins cover a large area that at one time had a quarter of a million people living there. And this all started almost 3,000 years ago. The ruins we saw were about 2,000 years old. The ocean used to run right up to city but has since been filled in by sediment.

Ephesus had running water to every home, public baths, a theater that held 24,000 people and an incredibly beautiful library.

Strangely enough some marauding army did not destroy this great city. It succumbed to massive earthquakes, drought, sedimentation and a malaria outbreak that killed 200,000 people.

The Turkish Government is doing a great job of restoring this global treasure. Lets hope that Turkey remains a secular country where there is nor radical Islamist government. The last Islamist secular government that is on the rocks is Iraq.

Late today, Sunday, we sail for Rhodes Greece and a long day of excursions there.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Yesterday we spent at sea all day. I was fighting the onset of a cold and so it was good to be relaxing all day. I feel much better today.

My life long wish to see the Parthenon was fulfilled today. Although there is a decades long restoration taking place you could still see the majestic beauty of this place. Of course it has been built and destroyed many times and you can see the multiple foundations.

We have been fortunate with the weather. It was sunny and 72 degrees in Athens today. The forecast for the next few days is good too. We will be in Kudasi, Turkey tomorrow.

It was funny hearing some of our shipmates comments after seeing policemen carrying machine guns in Athens. We all thought that it looked a little scary but made a lot more sense than making us Americans take our shoes off in American airports. Does that make anyone feel safe?

We bought this great looking Greek cookbook today in the Plaka, an old shopping area in downtown Athens. Were not buying a whole lot after the glass we bought in Venice.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


If there is a place full of contradictions it is the Dalmatian coast and Croatia. It is a stunningly beautiful place where the populace went mad and tried to destroy each other. But that has ended and you can see the rebuilding has gone well.

The Serb and Montenegran forces shelled the people of Dubrovnik just because their town was beautiful and that they had voted for secession. How dumb is that? There is still some shrapnel damage.

Things are going much better now and the region and the old town are being heavily invested in by the tourist industry.

We did a seven hour tour of the region followed by two hours in Dubrovnik’s historic area. Our tour guide Sanja was incredible. She spoke almost perfect English. And French. And the native tongue. Consider this, all Croatian children are given mandatory foreign language instruction from 1st through 12th grade. Every one of the natives we met spoke English.

These two Croat musicians even did mariachi music in Spanish. Remarkable. I think Governor Richardson should put a plank in his presidential platform that mandates the same thing for American children. If we don’t start doing that we will be left in the dust by other countries who do so.

Tomorrow we are at sea all day on the way to Athens. We need the rest.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

At Sea

We left Venice at 5pm after the life boat drill. Now to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is nice to be here on this beautiful ship, the Veendam of Holland America Lines. We are sitting for dinner with a nice couple from Florida. Liberals thank God! The big news in Europe revolves around global warming and Iraq.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gondola at Dusk

Okay, here is the obligatory picture of Bobbi and me on a Gondola to end a glorius day in Venice. That is Alberto doing the heavy lifting. He speaks four languages and is a fourth generation Gondoleer. He was very interested in Santa Fe.
This is Marco Polo's house. He left there as you will recall to explore the world.
The White House in the middle is the home of the first woman to recieve a college degree in Venice. We have come a long way. Lets see, Bobbi has three degrees. I have one.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Hitchcock Lives/Hemingway is Dead

Apparently it is the 'in thing' to let pigeons eat unpopped pop corn our of your hand in Piazza San Marco. Hitchcock would be proud of Bobbi. Only one clump of Pigeon poop could be found. This was all going well until a sea gull came and killed a pigeon and ate it in front of us. Oh well.

This is the entrance from the inside of Harry's Bar where Hemingway hung out and drank. It was a really interesting bar with all the bartenders in white Tuxedos. 12 euros feach or a gin and tonic for me and the local famous peach drink for Bobbi. Now we have been there and done that.
Posted by Picasa


This is Bobbi in Murano. It is the big glassmaking area in Venice. We bought that nice piece of glass for the living room
This is perfect weather. It had been raining a lot and the Venitians are eally glad to see the sun out.
These are glass makers at work. They perform beautiful coreography in making a piece of art. The master glass maker and his assistants are really efficient and work as a team. Government should do half as well.
This is our Hotel. It is a really classy place on the Grand Canal
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 06, 2007


We did the ten hour flight from Denver to Frankfurt. We were late getting out of Denver due to bad weather. So what else is new? Warning, Lufthansa is for hard asses. They have the hardest seats I have ever flown on. We were on an Air Bus 340 with about 350 other people and they were all squirming too. Plus Lufthansa lost Bobbi's luggage. Hopefully, we will see it tomorrow.
Bobbi snapped this of me in my jet lag stupor in Venice. We walked around for a while and will go to a nice dinner tonight.This is the view from our hotel room.

Friday, May 04, 2007

What Am I Forgetting?

I have gotten pretty good at packing for trips. The less you have to take along the better. I can cram two weeks worth of stuff into one small suitcase and my backpack for the Airplane. Of course I always forget some vital item, but you can always buy it on the ship.

Our cruise will take us out into the Eastern Mediterranean for 10 days. First we spend three nights in Venice. Bobbi has always wanted to go there and now is a good time in case the rising waters take it over.

I will attempt to blog during the trip and will send photos too if the uplink on the ship is capable.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Money for What?

I am getting a lot of calls for money from prospective candidates. Yesterday County Commissioner Bill McCamley in Dona Ana County called from Las Cruces. He will be running aginst Republican Congressman Steve Pearce in 2008. I will gladly send him some money. I am currently sending money every month to Bill Richardson, (on the budget plan.) And I plan on heavily supporting Martin Heinrich for his run against Heather Wilson for Congress in this Albuquerque District. I will also be helping Lt. Governor Diane Denish and her run for Governor.

Yesterday, I got a chuckle from a fund raising letter I recieved from Mayor Marty Chavez. It was a typical fundraising letter in which he said he needed money and that politicians needed to be honest about the issues with the voters. The two page letter went on and on but it never did mention what Marty was running for, just that he needed money. This morning, in the Albuquerque Journal, Mayor Chavez said he wanted to make Albuquerque City Government more open. That is good. I also think it would be good if he were more open about what he was running for before asking me to send money. I actually might send him some too, but I need to know what he is wants it for.

Marty may not actually know yet which office he will shoot for. In some ways he is just a victim of our money driven campaign system where you have to start raising money as early as possible. Twenty month campaigns will stress us all out. It will fatigue the voters, but probably not as much as the war in Iraq and our poor standing in the eyes of the world.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lifting Blogs

I am pretty busy today so I thought you all should see this rather succinct paragraph from the American Progress Report. My sister Carlota, who returned from a month in France sent it along this morning. This comes from a great web site and newsletter that we get every day.

FOUR YEARS LATER: In the four years since Bush declared "Mission Accomplished," the war in Iraq has cost America and its allies dearly in both lives lost and resources spent. When Bush made his speech, 139 members of the military had lost their lives. As of April 26, there have been 3,337 military fatalities in Iraq. Five hundred twenty-four Americans had been wounded in Iraq by this date in 2003, while today, 26,188 Americans have been injured in the war zone, many of whom have in turn received sub-par treatment in over-taxed military hospitals. In 2003, there was an average of eight insurgent attacks a day. Today, American soldiers face a daily toll of 148.9 attacks. At the time of the speech, America had spent $53 billion on the war. Currently, $448 billion has been spent, with another $124 billion set to be spent in the war funding supplemental passed by Congress. The public's attitude toward Iraq has shifted dramatically over the past four years as well. In 2003, 75 percent of the public approved of Bush's handling of the war while today only 24 percent of Americans support his leadership on the issue. In 2003, 70 percent of Americans believed the Iraq war was "worth fighting." Now a minority of Americans -- only 34 percent -- believe that war has been worthwhile.

Also, for a good laugh on the goings on at the state land office, read this.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The American auto industry is surely suicidal. After it was announced that Toyota is now the largest seller of cars, now out pacing General Motors, should we be glad that the Chrysler Corporation is putting a hemi hybrid engine in their monster pick up trucks and SUV cars? The mileage will soar from 13 miles per gallon to 18 miles per gallon. Why do I feel this is not a great victory for American ingenuity? Of course that question also should be translated over to the consumer. Why buy one of these? Yes, I know they are fun and some times useful and I actually would probably like to have one.

Meanwhile, Bobbi's large Toyota Camry Hybrid is living up to its guarantee of 38 miles to the gallon in city driving.