Saturday, June 28, 2008

Divine Justice

You just gotta laugh sometimes. About ten years ago as Mayor I was working my self to death in trying to pass a transportation tax that would fund street improvements in older parts of the city and expand the bus system. My biggest opponents were the right wing city councilors, like Greg Payne and Mike McEntee. They and the republican party did everything could to defeat the proposition at the polls by saying putting any money into bus infrastructure was a waste. We passed the 1/4 cent tax by 750 votes and I took a political beating. The tax, thanks to Greg Payne, was to sunset in 10 years.

Flash forward ten years. Bad Boy Greg Payne was hired by Marty Chavez to run the transit system. Now he is out seeking support to continue the tax because of the great things it has done for transit in this city. (He and Marty take all the credit for that.) I have thought Payne has done an okay job, much to my surprise.

In the meantime, Marty dropped a 1/8 cent tax in times of trouble for city finances so he could look good to the right wingers prior to running for Senate. We all know it didn't do him any good as he was humiliated in the first opinion polls on the race and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee told him to get lost in favor of Tom Udall.

I do feel this tax needs to be extended and a larger portion of it put into transit services. Currently only 20% of the tax goes for transit. We had wanted that share to increase every year until in reached 50%. The republican councilors back then, think Payne again, put 80% of it into roads, much of it siphoned off I suspect to new construction for developers. No one in the media seems willing to look into how the money was really spent. Still, the tax has had a positive effect on our city's transportation infrastructure needs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Gun Ruling and My Face

Every elected official or candidate in the country seems to be issuing statements saying one thing or another about the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling on the DC handgun ban. First off, before the NRA armed lobbyists come looking for me, I was really not that disappointed on the ruling. I would have been if it had allowed everyone a constitutional right to carry concealed weapons or assault rifles. I own firearms and don't think any ruling by a Supreme Court would be effective in lessening the amount of handguns or sporting guns. There are a gazillion of them out there and we can see how ineffective any controls would be by just looking at Iraq. That place has a hell of a lot more guns since bus\cheney went in there to make the place peaceful.

I am still trying to figure out why the NRA thinks it is a good idea to let people carry loaded weapons under their coats into movies and churches. I still marvel how the New Mexico Legislature, under the guidance of now vanquished State Senator Shannon Robinson, passed a concealed weapon law but made it illegal to carry them into the Capitol building. I guess they wanted protection from someone who might go postal, but it was okay if weapons went into the showing of a kid's movie.

I am starting a treatment to essentially dissolve my face so precancerous thingies will disappear. Apparently in about two weeks I will be the color of a lobster, but not as good looking as one. All those years of golf induced sunburns have caught up to me. Things could be worse.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Matt

This guy has gotten more done in International relations than bush/cheney have done in eight years. Of course, bush/cheney did lots of bad things. Governor Richardson, you should appoint him ambassador at large if you take over the State Department. Thanks to my daughter Noelle for sending it to me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stop It with the Casinos!

I did not attend the big event last night to honor all of the living Democratic Governors which raised money for the Democratic Party. I have made it a policy not to attend any fund raiser that is held at a Casino. The reasons are simple, I don't want to be gassed by cigarette smoke. I don't think it is generally good policy for so many Democrats and party officials to be in Casinos because it looks like they condone gambling. I don't like fighting the parking lots and crowds of soon to be poverty stricken 'players'.

I am not a prude and I have been known to feed the slots once in a while. Overall, however it is just a bad image for the politicians to hang out in these places. Sooner or later someone will start asking if favors have been done.

And besides, the party bosses should realize that if I do go to a casino for a fund raiser some of my political donation budget might disappear into the maws of the slots.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

County Commissions

All over the western U.S. County Commissions seem to be amongst the biggest obstacles to public land reform. I am talking about Wilderness designations, watershed protections and landscape conservation. Many rural commissions are run by exploiters of public lands, like livestock operators, oil and gas businessmen and mining interests.

A case in point in obstruction is wolf protection. By a large margin a recent poll showed most people really want those critters in the wild. The reaction of the Catron County Commission was that essentially, "people are stupid" and it is only an opinion anyway. Well opinions are what people believe and they do believe by a large majority that the wolf introduction program is worthy of continuance.

Now, switch over to the Commissioners in Lincoln county. These folks, many who are involved in one way or another with the economic well being of Ruidoso and its beautiful surroundings, just voted to support reform of the 1872 mining law. That law was passed when Grant was President and he may have rolled over a little in his grave when this Republican Commission opted to reform this outrageous law. These Commissioners have seen the future of the west and know protection of their landscapes and the good economies they engender are the right thing to do.

Most rural counties depend on public lands for their resources of forage and minerals. Currently they are losing population and their economies are hurting because they are still in a boom and bust mode. Their big hope is to cash in on the beauty of the land and its watersheds for tourism. That takes some protections. Let's hope the Commissioners see the light!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Uniformed Politics

I don't watch much local TV News anymore since I don't need to hear about grown women having sex with 13 year old boys, nor do I need to see anything with flames in it unless it is threatening lives, nor do I need to see a uniformed law enforcement officer running for congress and using his position to get free publicity. I am talking about Darren White, the george bush pick for a congressional seat in this district.

While serious crimes are being committed it could be argued that the Sheriff is pursuing crimes not for their importance but for their P.R. value and the chance it will make the 6PM news. Case in point is the Sheriff doing a news conference about finding 60 fighting roosters. Of course the local media obliged him even though much more serious crime occurred on the same day.

Apparently the Sheriff's handlers, think Karl Rove types, have gotten him to start wearing suits at his news conferences, but that doesn't lessen the fact that he is the chief law enforcement officer for Bernalillo County and that his job is more important than getting 40 seconds on the news.

I think the Sheriff needs to step down from his position, or at least let the under sheriff run the show until this campaign is over. We don't want real criminals skating while the Sheriff goes after more chickens..

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bad Acts

A Federal District Judge has said that prior 'bad acts' can be considered in the trial of Senator Manny Aragon etal. in the Metro Court Scandal. One of the key players in that affair was Mayor Martin Chavez' friend, Architect Marc Schiff. If those bad acts are considered, one of them should be the whole process around the design and execution of the construction of the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. I got a rather long letter from a long time employee of the city who laid out some incredible actions that were taken on that project. Here is an excerpt.

"When Marty came back after Jim Baca’s term, it was open humor around City Hall that “Marc(Schiff) got back his key to City Hall.
Here’s how it works, if you have an unethical architect.
It’s best to start with an architecturally na├»ve client.
(This describes the majority of clients and the Balloon
Museum board was certainly that in spades.) Pay little
attention to program. This, many experienced clients and
good architects will argue, is perhaps the most important
part of any successful project. (The Balloon Museum board
had no experience here, and largely rejected or ignored
things I and others suggested. They were ripe for the
pickings."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Good Analysis

I like to read this blog from an ex-pat living in England. Today she had a great analysis.

Domenici Screws New Mexico and the World

I have had it with our departing U.S. Senator.  He once again voted against us to protect his oil and gas buddies.  He voted no on extending tax credits for the renewable energy industry.  This hurts New Mexico and it hurts the efforts at cooling our climate.  Domenici tries to explain it away as saying it would increase taxes on other industries.   What he really means is the profit gouging oil companies who are receiving tax subsidies right now!

Call Domenici's office and give them hell for endangering New Mexico's emerging renewable energy industry.   It is time to be angry with him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Real Issues

It is like a breath of fresh air. Our presidential candidates are talking about foreign policy! The media is covering it tonight. It is not covering who you would rather have a beer with or who looks good in Spandex. This is really a hopeful sign that, just maybe, the broadcast journalists may redeem them selves. I have had a glass of wine. Maybe everything just looks better. How will it all sort out in the morning?

Sacrifices

I see that the Albuquerque City Council folded to a few neighborhood representatives last night and said no to a high density condo project in a near downtown area. It is a shame. Now the people that could have lived close to work and public transportation will stay commuting in their cars adding to global warming. I am sure the project could be tweaked a little or scaled back, but once again the good of all takes second to a few.

Yes, it would have required some form of sacrifice for the people in the neighborhood to allow this development. Maybe, that sacrifice wouldn't be needed if this country were not in an unparalleled energy meltdown and global warming situation. But we are in a mess and all of us have to give a little for the good of everyone. This is one small example of where that hasn't happened. The city council is supposed provide leadership on this kind of thing, and they fell far short of doing so. Tsk Tsk.

This is the same city council that hasn't provided much leadership on waste at city hall. One thing you probably have noticed is the giant SUVs that our police officers are now driving around town. Was this a decision that was made by Marty Chavez or the Chief? How much will fuel costs soar because of placing these behemoths (think macho man) into service instead of backing down a little to smaller and more traditional cruisers? Some one in the media ought to look at that one!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Erik in Hawaii

Many people involved in Albuquerque Municipal Government will remember Erik Pfeiffer who served as City Economic Development director for many years. Erik has been a friend of mine ever since he first showed up to help in my Land Commissioner race in 1982. He was a numbers guy who could always let you know where your votes could be obtained.

Erik retired from City Government at the end of my Mayoral term. Some of the biggest employers in Albuquerque were assisted in locating here by Erik and his hard work. He labored tirelessly to get Eclipse Aviation here and I think that is a feather in his hat. Anyway, Erik and his French Wife Canoe went to live in Mexico for a few years. They bought a big boat and lived well. Then they up and moved to Hawaii, the big Island.

Erik is funny because he just can't totally leave New Mexico and Albuquerque politics behind. He always finds time to call me about the latest news. This weekend it was about Marty Chavez firing his Chief Administrative Officer, Bruce Perleman. Erik wanted to talk details but I knew very little about what happened. I am surprised anyone could last as long as Perleman did with Marty. They Mayor is going through a lot of CAO's. What is that all about, really?

The new CAO is Ed Adams. He was they guy I picked to build the Albuquerque Isotopes Stadium project before I left as Mayor. He oversaw the whole process for the city and brought it in on time and on budget. He then put Marty Chavez' name on it even though Marty had nothing to do with it. It showed me he was learning how to please Chavez early. It still upsets me, but he is a good administrator. That makes me wonder how long he can survive in the CAO position. I give him 10 months max.

Meanwhile, Erik swims a mile every day and throws coconuts into the Pacific for his dog to chase. Sounds like a good life to me!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Funny Card & True


Noelle is visiting for the weekend.  She came in from a 7 mile run and presented me with my Father's Day Card.  It is funny and true!  Click to read it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cactus




We have a cactus that I planted two years ago in the front yard. It had three petals on it. Now it has over a hundred and this year it decided to bloom. I whipped out the Nikon and racked it for a macro shot of a bloom. A honey bee came by to swim in its nectar. Click on it for a closeup!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hooray for PNM--So Far

Public Service Company of New Mexico has told the knuckleheads who want to burn our Pinon trees to generate electricity that they are no longer interested in purchasing that power. That company, Western Water and Power Production Inc., had not been able to get financing so far for their tree burning generating plant in Torrance County. This scheme was enabled by State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons giving out a no bid contract to harvest the trees from state land. Let's hope PNM sticks with this decision. I pay an extra $10 a month for their wind generated electricity. It would seem to be counterproductive to their efforts at being green to start negotiations up again with the knuckleheads to buy from them.

Just like the Desert Rock Coal Fired plant near Farmington, this concept is a bad idea all the way around. The Governor is standing firm on fighting Desert Rock. If constructed it would negate this state's ambitious efforts at reducing green house gases.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mayoral Election in ABQ

I am starting to hear lots of names being bandied about on who is running for Mayor next year. Of course Mayor Marty's name is one of them since we all know he has no where else to go, just yet anyway. I can't help think that Marty is pretty much burnt out on what I think is the hardest job next to being a President of the United States. (although bush never thought it was hard because he is an imbecile.)

Most Mayors leave their jobs after one or two terms. They usually get defeated after one term if the do the right thing and after the second term if they don't do the right thing. I think that makes sense.

We all know that Councilor Mike Cadigan wants to run, as does Councilor O'Malley. The one name that I have heard that might be a real challenger is County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta. I have been especially impressed with her even handedness and cool head. Although she rarely agrees with many developers they seem to like her since she will always listen to them and at least try to reach a consensus.

These three people all have about zero name I.D. with the general public. One of them will certainly rise to the top and I would put my money on Deanna. She is smart, fair, and personable.

Before it is over, I think there will be at least 10 people in the race.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Domenici and the Republican Staff

I can only assume that Pete Domenici's vote to continue tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and then tax increases for the Solar industry was manipulated by his staff and others close to him. Surely, if Pete was 100% mentally capable he wouldn't have done this. Right?

We should keep a close eye on where Pete's staff ends up working after the Senator leaves office in January 2009. Shame on them! That will tell the tale. I bet Pete's staff wont be working for the Solar industry which can be a really big part of New Mexico's economy in the future......if Pete would just vote for his constituents instead of the fat cats.

What about the other Republicans in the Senate who voted the same way? At the end of the day we can only assume one thing. They are corrupt----morally and fiscally. The country is on the rocks and they vote for oil and gas once again. Where is the outrage on the part of the public? Why cant we put people in the streets like the Koreans did yesterday who were protesting problems in their government?

Meanwhile the bush administration is hell bent on leasing to oil and gas companies a lot of public land treasures like the Roan Plateau in Colorado. All of this is kind of hard to soak in!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

City Hall Fighting

The Teflon is falling off of Mayor Chavez. Now, he is being seen for what he really is. A typical Mayor like the rest of us that have served in that position with a hostile and ambitious City Council. I have always marveled at how Marty has escaped the scrutiny that the rest of us had from the media and pundits. Mainly, he would just hold an adoption news conference for dogs and diffuse any criticism because he liked warm and fuzzy critters.

Now things are more normal where he has to defend himself from the council's slings and arrows. He shouldn't be upset, nor should anyone, because this is the way the system is supposed to work. It means that compromise must be reached. However, we all know Marty likes things done his way completely.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Much Ado

There seems to be a media frenzy over the fact that a lot of extra paper ballots were printed and then discarded by the Bernalillo County Clerk last week. I really don't care if so many extra ballots were printed as long as people got to vote and the votes were counted in an efficient, timely and honest way. County Clerk Maggie Toulouse did just that. The absentee ballots were counted by 8PM and the whole process was finished by 11PM. A record that will be hard to beat.

She was following guidelines set by the Secretary of State for printing of ballots. Some in the media thought it was a big waste and perhaps the SOS did a poor job of projecting what was needed, but this really was a good vote counting process, the first in many years, and Toulouse and her staff deserve a pat on the back.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Veterans for Udall

Military Veterans from WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq 1, Iraq 2 and Afghanistan rallied around Congressman Tom Udall Saturday in his bid to win the U.S. Senate. They pretty much had a central theme. See the Movie shot at Bataan Park in Albuquerque.

. video

Time Marches On


I have been finding lots of old photos as I document family albums and make movies out of them. I went into my old Air Force foot locker and found a picture of my heartthrob girl friend from 1966. Her name was Gladys Monnerau. She is Dutch/Indonesian and I was gaga over her. I would often ask her to let me take her picture. I still didn't get to first base!

I had been carrying around a bunch of her photos and slides in the trunk of my car because I occasionally see her around Old Town where she sells jewelry. Today while a friend and I were having coffee at Starbucks she wandered in for a cup. I got her to pose one more time with one of the original photos I took of her. She still looks great after 42 years.

I gave her the photos and slides.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Retribution

We need a witch hunt. Lets find the oil speculators and chop off their heads. Yes. I mean it. They are absolutely hurting a lot of people because of their greed.

Other Election Day Losers

Besides the veteran New Mexico Legislators who bit the dust in Tuesday's Primary Election, there are other losers.

They are lobbyists. Quite often lobbyists in Santa Fe will latch on to one veteran legislator who Chairs a committee. This is their main contact for getting things done to their satisfaction. It shows they have clout and that leads to more and more clients. Then when their guy is defeated, retires or passes away their gravy train goes with it at the same time. There was one lobbyist in the recent past who had a plethora of clients and when his guy passed away the lobbyist practically disappeared from the Capitol.

Don't get me wrong, lobbyists are not necessarily evil and they can often be quite helpful in providing information, but in Santa Fe some of them who work for oil and gas, mining, real estate interests and the like have way to much power in swaying their committee chairs. Especially when those legislators have no other visible means of support other than being a legislator.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Big Winners

One of the biggest winners in Tuesday's Primary election was the Conservation Voters of New Mexico (CVNM) group. This political group which operates under a 501C-4 status with the IRS endorsed 16 candidates. Twelve of them won, including Eric Griego over James Taylor for the Senate seat in the South Valley, Tim Keller over Shannon Robinson for the Senate seat in the Southeast Heights, and Eleanor Chavez over Westside Representative Dan Silva. All of these candidates who lost had decades of seniority. They all had also turned to the dark side by accepting huge amounts of money from the NRA, oil and gas, mining, real estate interests to the detriment of their constituents.

CVNM is ably run by Sandy Buffet and they are now going to be recognized as a savvy and effective group. Their mission statement says, "Our mission is to make sensible conservation policies a top priority for elected officials, political candidates, and voters across the state."

Good for them. Send them a check to keep up the good work.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hillary's request

Lastnight Hillary requested that her supporters write to her about what to do next. This is what our good friends in Austin wrote to her.

" You asked to hear what we think. I hope you meant it.
I urge you NOT to make the Republican mistake of listening ONLY to those who support you. When George W Bush took office, one of the immediately egregious things he did was insist that his version of bi-partisanship meant that "if there are democrats that agree with us, we'll listen to them." That's not the way to move the country forward.

Instead, please consider listening to those who have, over the years, dealt with you honestly. People who you respect, but who don't have any ulterior motives. Many of these people may be superdelegates -- those are the people whose task it is to safeguard the country to forward the Democratic agenda. Please pay attention. For all of us."

As Expected

The returns came in last night pretty much as expected. The only surprise for me was that some veteran legislators actually went down the tubes. Eric Griego's win over James Taylor was complete and stronger than I could have imagined. Senator Shannon Robinson, who brought us concealed weapons, went down to a new comer. Representative Dan Silva bit the dust too.

This may be more a victory for the Progressive wing of the Democratic party of the party than anything else. I think it is great.

Senator Domenici and his staff must be feeling pretty silly right now for holding back an endorsement for Heather Wilson for so long. It cost her the race and makes it easier for Tom Udall to win a second seat for the Democrats in the Senate.

Martin Heinrich now needs to order up some two headed dolls to distribute to voters in his race against the County Sheriff. The doll would have the head of george bush and Darren White. They are the same thing and White, who was bush's campaign chair in this county, cant run away from his idol. This is the race to watch. Send money to Martin Heinrich asap.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Election Day

I have always thought one of the most useless persons around is a candidate on election day. If you haven't won it by the time the people go to the polls then you are out of luck. About all I ever did on election day when I was running was ride around in a car all day long visiting polling places.

After watching the local news last night for the first time in a long time I felt bad about what the voters have endured in the way of nasty negative TV ads. But they work even if people decry them. The TV stations don't care what is aired as long as the campaigns pay their bills. Truth is second to revenues. As I have said before, campaign accounts are merely pass through accounts that move money from special interests(especially oil and gas corporations) to TV and other media outlets.

We must gird ourselves for the next five months now as the oil and gas industry and the NRA funds character assassinations of any candidate that doesn't agree with them on every single issue. It will be brutal.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Think About This


Today, two F-22 Raptor fighter jets will arrive at Holloman Air Force Base where they and others like them will be stationed. These fighters cost $361 million each. Yes, that is a correct number when you average the total costs of development and number of aircraft to be produced. Astounding, especially when one can easily argue that these fighters will face no competitors from other countries. Also consider the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management budgets for resource protection and law enforcement on Public Lands are being reduced this year by about the same amount it takes to buy one of these capable but unneeded air craft.

This is simply a program that enriches the defense industry. It is a lot like the $110 million V-22 Osprey aircraft that is being manufactured despite its dubious ability to do anything meaningful, except look weird. You have probably seen them flying around Albuquerque.

I remember when President Carter wisely cut the procurement of the B-1 Bomber because it was already obsolete and compromised. We probably ought to do the same thing with the two planes I described above. I say this as an Air Force Veteran and big fan of all things that fly.

We just shouldn't invest this kind of money on these manned aircraft any longer when robotic drones can do just about everything we need to do at great savings. Of course, the real answer to all of this is to just stop bombing countries in unnecessary wars.

This blog will not go down well with the Defense Industry employers and employees. I know they can find other great work to do in the area of renewable energy and manufacturing. They are all smart people. Yes, we still need a defense industry capability, but it should be geared up only as a last resort.