Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009

I am glad 2009 is gone. Pretty much I believe it will go down as the 'Angst' year. I am hopeful that 2010 will be much better for all of those Americans in dire economic straits.

Today I retire from public service after taking my first government job in 1974 with Governor Bruce King. (I miss him and Alice.) It is a good time for me to go. I am 64. I need to spend time in getting fit and playing golf. I will also busy my self with volunteer work.


I look forward to cooking for Bobbi as she still has a few years left to work. (She was younger than my daughter is now when I met her in an elevator at City Hall in Albuquerque.) She is 7 years younger than me and I hope she can endure my retirement until she leaves her career behind. This is one of the first pictures I ever took of her.

We went an watched that movie "Up in the Air" last night. We decided it was good we had each other after seeing it.

Happy New Year to all!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fixation

A good friend and I were talking about how the American Public and Media are fixated on Airport Security. It is like a loss leader at a department store. It gets your attention and then you get directed to somewhere else.

We have decided that the reason airline security is so important to folks, including the religious terrorist wacko crazies, is that it gets all the attention. There actually are a lot of easier targets for bombers in the name of god. Think municipal water supplies, train tracks, public gatherings, and about a zillion other things that have no security on them whatsoever.

It also makes you think that the terrorists are on their last legs since they have not been successful at killing and maiming in this country after 9-11.
Meanwhile down in Alamogordo the right wing Tea Party wacko crazies are holding a rally on Saturday to rail against health care reform, government stimulus spending, and the Obama administration.

The kicker here is that they are encouraging everyone to bring guns. What is next? Underwear Bombs!? These guys are more dangerous to our democratically elected government than the terrorists are.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Misc.

I am taking my son Justin and his wife Karly to the airport this morning. They are the last of our holiday guests to leave. We all had a really good time. So now I get to deposit them into airport hell for a trip back to Washington DC. Who knows what weird stuff they will have to endure in security measures. I am still of the opinion that just about anyone can skirt safety measures no matter how stringent they are.

Speaking of opinions, the Journal this morning dumped on the Obama administration for the security lapse. When 3000+ people were killed at the World Trade Center they seemed to give George Bush a pass. They thought it was cool he stood next to a fireman on the rubble.

Last night KRQE TV News opened their newscast with a 30 second story on some 21 year old kid getting shot to death. Then they did a 90 second story on a puppy getting shot to death. Ah....journalism today.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Great Christmas Day

We had a relaxed Christmas day at my brother Tom's House. This is a picture of our family all together for the first time in two years. Left to right, Sue Orth, Lucas and Noelle, Bobbi, a beached whale, Karly and Justin.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

4th Circle of Hell


The 5th level of hell is where you do double folds on luminaria bags. Last night we decided to apportion the job to everyone.

Little did our visitors know after grueling trips from all over the country, through snow storms, jam packed airports, and oxygen deprivation in airliners, that their holiday cheer was to take another hit. Yes, everyone had to fold 15 luminaria bags.


And then, my daughter Noelle insisted on the dreaded 'double fold' to 'make them stronger' so as to guide the Christ child who never manages to find us anyway.

Well, it was family togetherness amongst the rattling and cracking of lunch bags.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Found Money

Bank of America called. They found my money and credited my mortgage. They were apologetic but could offer no explanations of what had happened. I wonder what did happen. Where was that money used over the last ten days? Hmmm. One of life's mysteries.

The Bank Thing and Arrivals

I spoke yesterday with a person in the office of the CEO of Bank of America. They are trying to help find my money and said they would call me back. They were very nice and concerned. They still haven't credited my mortgage however. My funds have been in limbo for almost two weeks now. I am incredulous.

I will worry about this some more after Christmas. Today I need to go to the airport twice to pick up my son Justin and his wife Karly. Also to pick up my daughter's boyfriend's mother Sue. Noelle and Luke are traveling snowbound highways from Phoenix to Albuquerque via Payson and Holbrook. I also look forward to having their dog Lola here. Our beagle Athena will have someone to run away from for four days.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bank of America Catch 22

Bank of America still has not found my huge payment to them, although they took it out of my account to pay off my mortgage. Today they told me everything they supposedly did yesterday to fix things never really happened. Their rep said they didn't know where the money was, although they admit it is no longer in my savings account. And they admit I did send it to the mortgage account, although it apparently entered the twilight zone or an alternative universe.

While at the bank I was heard to say that I hoped none of the executives got any bonuses for christmas. I heard a voice in the back ground say, 'me too.'

I will give them until christmas eve to clear all of this up. Then I have no idea what I will do about my huge amount of missing money except maybe go visit the New Mexico CEO for the bank. I know there is one but there is no possible way to see or talk to him on the phone or email. Silly me, why would he want to talk to a lowly customer. I keep trying to call him at the main bank but no one answers during business hours. Sounds like something out of "Catch 22."

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Banks

I volunteer for any firing squads dealing with bankers on Wall Street. Well, not really. But I would like to see them all out shoveling snow for a living from now on. I have a couple of reasons for feeling this way. One is on general principles. They screwed their banks and this country big time and now they are giving themselves huge bonuses again after the taxpayers saved them. Secondly, they make life difficult for their customers like me.

Consider Bank of America. My bank. But maybe not for long. You see, ten days ago Bobbi and me decided it might be a good idea to finally pay off our mortgage since I am retiring. So, we sent them a huge on line payment direct to the mortgage just as their web site instructed. As of today they still have not credited it to our mortgage account. Remember, this is ten days!

Last Thursday I called Bank of America to ask what was going on. All I got were electronic voices saying I could find out what my balances were and they all indicated no credits to my mortgage. Every time I pushed the button to talk to a human being, I was immediately disconnected.

Today Bobbi went by a branch bank and found a helpful branch manager who said she had never seen service like this before. She says the only way to get our money out of some dead zone where it ended up is to put it back in our savings account and then try again.

I know there must be a reason for all of this. I think it is all part of Bank of America's philosophy of making life difficult for its little customers when they do something, like paying off their mortgage which results in less interest payments to them. Or it is just sheer incompetence on their part which means their CEOs should be fired instead of pigging out on bonuses.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No More Money for the DSCC

I am cutting off all funds to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. I want to make sure that not one penny will go to reelect Senator Ben Nelson, who is holding up healthcare reform because of his religious beliefs. I gave the DSCC a lot of money last year at the request of Senators Bingaman and Udall. Now, if I can afford such largess as I enter retirement I will just give to individual Senators.

Stop and think about what is going on here. The likes of Lieberman and Nelson with a noose around the neck affordable health care in this country. Lieberman is doing because he is a sociopath and Nelson because he is a fundamentalist wacko. Life is too short.

The Gang

We are getting ready for lots of holiday house guests. My son Justin and his wife Karly are coming in. Noelle and her significant other, Lucas are coming in. So is Lucas' mom Sue. She is from Minnesota and enjoyed the balloon fiesta here in October so much she is returning. My brother's kids are coming in too. My sister will be here. It should be a lot of fun.

Things around the blog will remain quiet for the holidays, although I will post pics once in a while. Our first order of business now is to go see the movie "Avatar". I have been waiting for it for some time and the reviews look really good. I am just a sci fi geek and this movie does double duty with its anti war and pro environment messages.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Torn Down




Rodger Beimer called me yesterday to let me know that the old KOAT television station building at 1377 University NE had been torn down. I met Rodger there on my first day of work as a new photographer back in 1968 or so. I had been offered the position (my dream job) by Dick Knipfing when he was news director. I went on to become a reporter and anchorman. Rodger did too and we have remained friends ever since. This photo shows former APD policeman Mark Bralley in front of the station.

The News Room consisted of about 800 square feet or so. It had 8 desks all crammed together. Off in one small closet were the UPI and AP teletypes and faxphoto machines. They constantly clattered and sizzled. On one wall was the two film editing stations. On another wall was the equipment bays and shelves. Also on a small table was the two way Motorola radio. Then about a dozen phones and typewriters with paper, carbon paper, white out and paperclips everywhere. And also about 25 stuffed to overflowing ashtrays. I mean everyone smoked, except Rodger.

As Rodger and I were talking we wondered if the hazardous waste people had to come in before demolition. You had to be there to appreciate the chemical soup we worked in. The smoke was constant. Add in the film cement for editing, residue film development chemicals, film cleaner, battery acid from the old light packs, food that fell behind desks and stayed there for a decade, body odor from poor ventilation, and the smell and dust from the cosmetic makeup we piled on before going on camera, and you had an environment that might have equaled Love Canal. We loved being there every second.


Mark Bralley sent this picture of me filming a lull in the 1972 riots in the UNM area. I am behind the 'hippie' with the flowers.

Bralley said, "The picture of you followed the mining of North Vietnamese harbors and Operation Linebacker. In Albuquerque the protest started with the blockading of I-25 at Central. The crowd trapped an 18 wheeler that later was identified as actually carrying war munitions. No none knew at the moment. Later in the day Officer Phil Herrera accidentally discharged his shotgun striking a UNM Daily Lobo writer and the wife of an Air Policeman stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base. This picture of you was shot on one of the subsequent days when the protest moved up Central to in front of UNM."

It is always surprising to see things like the old KOAT station disappear. I will miss going by there and thinking of some of the best friends and times I ever had in my life.

Public Input?

Before Picture



After Picture
For over thirty years I have been walking my dogs in the Bosque. You see a lot of senior citizens down there doing that. So, imagine our surprise this morning when we show up and find our trail obliterated by the State Parks Department. No public input. No hearings. No information or dissent allowed. All thanks to the Rio Grande Nature Center. Now they are pointing fingers at the City's Open Space and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District as being complicit. You can see from this photo how debris and downfall have been spread over the trail. When I called about this mess all I got were conflicting statements.
One of the state employees told me the trail was only a few years old. Even though I explained to her I had been using it since the late 70's. I am just stupid I guess. This is a picture of my son and I in the Bosque when he was about five years old. (He was hunting for Ewoks) He is now nearing thirty.

Many neighborhoods along the Bosque work hard to keep it nice. We should have been consulted. The trail needs to be cleared now, otherwise people will start breaking new ones all over the place making things worse.

My good friend State Parks Director Dave Simon said he would look into the lack of public input.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Compliment to the Journal

The Journal actually did an important story Sunday morning on New Mexico High School Graduation rates and proficiency in math and reading. It seems the schools with the highest graduation rates had students with the lowest proficiency. How in the hell can that be? It is nothing but administrative corruption. Those school superintendents and school boards need to stay after school for detention. Or be held back a grade.

What upsets me the most is the lack of proficiency in reading. Of course that statistic is really set in the first through third grades. So blame goes on those elementary schools too. If a person can not read properly then they are really screwed in life. I frankly was never much of a math whiz, but the nuns at Our Lady of Fatima sure taught me how to read and spell. I have been able to function in life without knowing squat about differential equations, (the wife and kids were great at those and spoke in strange phrases when practicing them), but I sure would not have done anything in life with our being able to read.

Although, when reading the Journal editorial page I wonder if it is wise to read sat all. They took the cue on Sunday from their oil and gas industry friends to belittle climate warming. Of course they are right and several hundred thousand scientists who can do differential equations are wrong. The Journal is beginning to remind me of the Wall Street Journal. Great news and information and imbecilic editorials. I have always wondered who really writes that stuff with a straight face.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Must Reads

Other than going to the dentist today after breaking a tooth with my dental floss, the only other thing of worth I am doing is reading some great research from the Pew Foundation. Every politico, blogger and newspaper publisher and editor should read these.

P.S. I thought flossing was good for your teeth. Now I get another thousand dollar crown!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Egad!

So the latest numbers I am hearing from Albuquerque's City Hall are that the deficit for this year will be somewhere between 26 and 40 million dollars. Gasp! And next year the gap will be at least $50 million.

This is not pocket change and some draconian measures seem to be in order. The only advice I can give to the new Mayor is that he do the hard work in the first hundred days of his tenure. This will mean whacking larges amounts of money from the funds that the city gives to the Albuquerque School System, non profit groups and the labor unions. That last item will require some real deft negotiating. Those fat contracts Marty Chavez gave out in hopes of getting support from the police and firemen's unions are really going to cause problems.


Meanwhile, the legislature is considering suing the Governor over the budget battles that have taken place as the state's revenues continue to meltdown. I can think of about a hundred things that are more important to do than that. This reminds me of a description of human behavior I read last night in a sci fi novel. It is one of the Frankenstein monster who was created with all good intentions. Except he ends up throwing little girls in the river. He wants to be better, but it is just not in him. Sounds like the legislature. Yuk!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Misc.

I was opining last week that a legislative committee treated my staff viciously in an interim meeting. Apparently they are doing the same to themselves, only violently. The news that one female legislator punched out another one last week indicates that some lessons in manners are due for our lawmakers.

The Albuquerque Journal, whose readership continues to fall, managed to put my name in a story this morning aimed at embarassing the Governor, and former cabinet members who have received contracts after leaving office. I gave a contract over ten years ago to one of them when I was Mayor and that seems to be newsworthy today. There is nothing illegal or immoral about giving people contracts but the Journal's specialty of insinuation seems to say so.

I notice that Darren White, the city's new public safety czar in the Mayor's office, is already out hamming for the cameras. He is criticizing the Judiciary. That could affect his boss greatly and someone will have to coach him on his publicity seeking ways.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The New Mayor

I was glad to see David Campbell's confirmation by the City Council as Mayor Berry's Chief Administrative Officer. Three republican councillors voted against the confirmation of the republican Mayor's choice for the job.

Mayor Berry, welcome to city politics. You will have to put up with that kind of behavior in varying degrees for the next four years. It is just part of the job but I have to say it is very peculiar that members of your party are doing this to you. It says nothing about you or Dave Campbell , just about the condition of the GOP. Amazing!

Now comes the really hard part of keeping this city glued together in the midst of what might be the biggest financial meltdown in its history. (You might want to read this.) Your CAO and Department heads will really need to use some even headed thinking on where to cut. And know that where ever you choose to do it that you will not be appreciated. Every dollar you cut is a minus for some special interest group. Be it an after school program, a union, or economic development incentives.

Ignore what the editorial pages of the Journal say and do what you think is best. Because of the position that Mayor Chavez and his city council left you in you are going to have to accept the fact that you may not be the most popular guy in office.

I am pulling for you because I know the challenges you face. We have a great city here and we should all want you to succeed.

Uhhh...I was wondering if you could call me about a pothole.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Countdown

I suddenly realize after coming off the Caribbean cruise that I need to start the countdown to retirement in just 24 days.

While I was gone my staff went to an interim committee of the Legislature and was treated with such vitriol and disrespect that I can honestly say I am not going to miss that part of the job at all. Dealing with the legislature that is!

When I retire I plan on doing some serious blogging on the demeanor of the legislature during the next session. Not many people have the opportunity to see just how badly some legislators treat state professional employees. Not all legislators act this way of course, but the ones who do will certainly get my attention. Pictures, movies and soundtracks coming your way soon.

I have posted a movie of our cruise. If you have absolutely nothing else to do click here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Back in the USA

We are back. I got off the plane Thursday night with a tropical shirt on. Well, I do like the seasons. We had a very good time.

We already have another cruise booked for South America in March. 14 days from Rio to Buenos Aires and back. Lots of heavy duty excursions on that one.

So I get back and am able to say "I told you so." City Hall is in the crapper from Marty Chavez and his big spending ways. I feel sorry for Mayor Berry and the challenges in front of him. I inherited the same mess from Marty and had to put into place budgets that grew less than inflation for four years. He has an even harder job because of the labor contracts Chavez signed.

I was halfway expecting to find an invitation to Mayor Berry's inauguration. I was disappointed his staff was so clueless on protocol. Of course, I could not have attended since I was in a rain forest in Costa Rica. But the thought would have been nice.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Green Chile



Green Chile. How do we love you? Let us count the ways. Well, one is on cheese burgers. If you were to ask the chefs on the Zuiderdam for a green chile cheese burger they might go rummaging around the kitchen and bring you out a bell pepper.

Not to fear. Rodger Beimer is here. We celebrated today with the canned green chile he brought along to ease us back into New Mexican food. We had a ceremony in the Lido pool dining area to decorate out burgers. MMMMM!

Ed Mahr explained green chile mysticism to Cia and Uming of the Lido Staff.

Tonight we pass Havanna but since Obama hasn’t done change we believe in yet we can not stop there.

Home on Thursday. We hear that it will only be 33 degrees on Thursday. Arghh!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Costa Rica




We spent Monday exploring Costa Rica. We sailed into Puerto Limon, Banana capitol of the world and set off for the rain forest. The rest of the gang went to a banana plantation. They day started with out a cloud in the sky. It was beautiful at the rain forest preserve we visited. It went from full sunshine to hard rain in a matter of minutes. I got the feeling that walking ten feet into that rain forest would be lethal. All sorts of toxic things in there. Snakes, frogs that kill, beetles the size of a Pontiac.

Tuesday and Wednesday we will spend at sea as we race across the Caribbean to dock the ship in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday morning. Then back into cold weather. I would take dry climates to wet any day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Panama




We spent the day at sea on Saturday and arose at 6am to watch our ship enter the Gatun Locks in Panama Canal. It really is a marvel and now we have been here. This is a pic of the gang of six, minus part of Connie. We took a cruise on the Chagres River and a walk in the rain forest. It rained there. Tomorrow we are on to the rain forests in Costa Rica.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Curacao

Bobbi and I crossed to the main shopping area on a pontoon bridge.



Curacao is interesting because as you get off the ship you are in an area of markets and local stores intermingled with a lot of tourist traps. It is a pretty place that has humidity in spades. But it was endurable. Fresh Fish from the Caribbean and fruits and veggies from Venezuela which is just miles away. No sign of Hugo Chavez though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gang of Six


Here is the Gang of Six, Rodger and Connie Beimer, Ed and Jolene Mahr, Bobbi and me after we demolished Thanksgiving Day Dinner onboard Zuiderdam. We toured Aruba all day and came back for dinner on the ship. Tomorrow we go to Willemstad for a day of walking the old city. Then on to Panama.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Half Moon Cay



We had a great beach stay at Half Moon Cay. It might be the nicest beach we have ever been on….anywhere.

Rodger and Connie thought about pedaling back to the Zuiderdam but they might have been identified as pirates and had the fire hoses turned on them.

I have to say I am disappointed in seeing Obama thinking of sending more troops to Afghanistan. How does the military industrial complex get to a buy like Obama? Maybe they all know something we don’t, but no one has ever brought order to that country and we won’t either. Like a leopard that cant change its spots.

Speaking of spotty….Martin Chavez showed his in his signing agreements on arbitration. I often wonder if it is even constitutional to give a way power to a faceless arbitrator in cutting contract deals with labor unions. That person is not elected. Shame on Marty.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cruisin




They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Rodger and Connie Beimer are at the Crow's Nest Bar along with Ed and Jolene Mahr. We plan on having fun but will all go our own ways when we hit ports.

Delta Frown

Delta is my airline. They had a bad day yesterday with broken planes and misplaced luggage. That stuff happens occasionally and is just unavoidable.

However, the strain of reduced salaries and increased work loads is showing on Delta employees. We spent a good ten hours dealing with Delta on Sunday and I can honestly say I never saw one employee actually smile. They look stressed to the max. It might be time for Delta management to wake up.

We will be leaving to board the ship soon. This morning I took a long walk in Fort Lauderdale on my quest for a Starbucks. One thing I noticed was help wanted signs in many windows. That is a good sign....right?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Outta Here

We will all be at the airport Sunday morning for our flight to Fort Lauderdale to board our ship. Here is hoping Delta Airlines and the FAA can manage to get us there. Then overnight before embarking on the Zuiderdam. We have been on four of Holland America's Dam ships now.

Ten days of snorkeling, sitting on the beaches, excursions in Panama and Costa Rica and then back again. I will post pictures if the internet on the ship is up to it.

It would be nice to get back in ten days and find that the Senate has passed some healthcare reform. Who knows? I think we are close to something happening. Let us hope the abortion issue proponents or opponents don't sink the greater bill. This issue can always be handled later if need be. I say this at great risk to my progressive credentials, but I think the greater good is passage of a bill.

We will return after Mayor Berry takes office. So far his appointments seem okay. It is apparent to me that the wing nut republicans are not offering up any qualified candidates to run city agencies. I think the only thing they can do is criticize government. They don't actually have anyone who can participate in it because they have no real world experience. Except for whining.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Bobbi and Me Cruising

Bobbi has laid out all of her clothes for our upcoming cruise to the Caribbean next week. We will be joined by friends this time and it will be a more relaxing cruise than we usually embark on. Lots of beaches and lazy days. Panama and Costa Rica are included along with all of the tropical isles. As usual our home is protected by gun toting guards and alarms.

We were thinking today how great it would be when cruises can start off loading in Cuba. A visit there by Americans dropping dollars would do a lot of good. I guess Fidel has to croak first so the right wing Cubans in Miami can't complain.

We will sail on Holland America's Zuiderdam. It is a bigger ship that we are used to being on so it might be different. However, I will never get on those new behemoths that carry 7000 passengers and crew. If I want to stay in a city I could just choose not to cruise.

Our next cruise is in March. Rio de Janiero to Buenos Aires and back. Lots of heavy duty excursions on that one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Misc.


Bobbi and I went to see that disaster movie last night. 2012 seemed to be a satire on the republican party. Yuk.

The Associated Press has laid off many veteran reporters including Deborah Baker in Santa Fe. They now have one staffer left in Santa Fe. This is really bad. The AP could always be depended upon for reporting not dictated by publishers of local newspapers. This is really bad.

Mayor Berry is still filling out his team. He is taking many long time city employees and putting them in charge. That will result in a mixed bag of results. Some good and some bad. Like I said in my blog yesterday about the federal Bureau of Land Management, will folks like this serve the well being of the bureaucracy or the new policy initiatives of the Mayor elect? It may not come to that since the financial mess Mayor Berry is inheriting will trump everything.

This is a picture I found from my Land Commissioner campaign in 1991. We all won that year. This was Bruce King at his best. What ever happened to Casey Luna? I wonder if he will visit the Capitol tomorrow as Governor King lies in state. I certainly plan on going.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Bureau of Land Management

I need to understand something. Why is it that after 10 months in office that the Obama administration has allowed all of the bush appointed Bureau of Land Management state directors to remain in their jobs? Some of them should be transferred out for their complicity in ignoring environmental laws and allowing destructive practices on the lands they manage. Some of the Directors are nothing but political operatives of the republican party. One example is the state director in Utah who has no land management experience but did work for the GOP in New Mexico and Washington.

I was worried that the new BLM Director, Bob Abbey, would not take action. He is a former career employee of the BLM and a favorite of Senator Harry Reid. I felt if he was appointed that he would not want to rock the boat with the BLM bureacracy. So far, I have been right. For the sake of our western public lands Abbey(a generally good guy) needs to take action on some of these directors. Not all of them, but certainly a few of them to send a message that there is a new ethic in the Interior Department.

It is all to often that Democrats in power help their enemies more than their friends. Can you imagine the bush administration or any GOP management team doing that? Right now the Obama administration needs to put the health of western landscapes and watersheds in front of the politics. A lot of folks worked for them to do so last year.

No, this is not the most important agenda item for Obama. He has his hands full. But the Interior department needs to cover him on this and do the right thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Payment in Advance?

I see where Mayor Marty Chavez is getting a workman's compensation settlement for injuring his back jumping a fence. One might consider this compensation for the pending storm of criticism he will have to endure on the budget he is leaving the Mayor elect. I heard yesterday from a pretty good source that the outlook is very grim and that furloughs or layoffs for city employees are likely. I have been harping that the budget shortfalls at city hall are a lot more than what the outgoing administration have said they were. We will find out in just a few weeks.

I offered to go in and chat with incoming Mayor Berry a couple of times. So far his staff hasn't even called me back. They must think however that my administration could not have been too bad since they are hiring people who were involved in my four years at city hall. They are good people. Dave Campbell, the incoming CAO, was always willing to take on issues for me during my term in office. Bruce Rizzeri will now take up the post as head of transportation replacing Greg Payne.

I had to chuckle when I read the story yesterday about all the new riders on Albuquerque's transportation system. They would not be riding if it were not for my initiative on passing a transportation tax back in 1999. That has made possible all the new infrastructure over the last ten years. All I got out of it was the hatred of the right wingers in town who thought I was just a taxing SOB. They just didn't think it was worth the money to have a modern transportation system in Albuquerque. Well, they were wrong. Ask one million people in the last year who have used it.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Never a Finer Man



I heard of Bruce King's passing on the way from Phoenix to Albuquerque this morning. I had a nice long drive to think about him. This is a picture of Bruce King and me in 1975. I was working as his news secretary during his first term in office. I had left journalism suddenly and was out of work. For a whole four hours. I was at home trying to figure out what I was going to do and Bruce King called on the phone to say he heard I might be available. He said he had ten or so people to interview for the news secretary position and that I should come by and be first in line. He called me on a Friday afternoon. Monday morning I was in his reception area in Santa Fe along with all the other folks looking for the position. He called me in first and asked when could I start. I said immediately and then asked him what he was going to say to the other applicants still in the lobby. He said he would make them all feel good and thank them for coming by. I know he did make them feel good because Bruce King had a gift for doing that. I never knew a finer man. He was one of the most influential people in my life. He hooked me on politics and I never looked back. He once told me, "You and me are a lot alike Jim. Were too dumb to be dishonest." He was an honest politician and I tried to emulate him. I just never could conjure up his great personality.

He was so decent to everyone and he liked everyone. He often quoted Will Rogers and said he never met a man or woman that he didn't like. I think that is true, although he did not suffer fools he always treated them well. As he always said to me, "Life is too short."

This is a picture of Bruce, Bobbi and me in 1978 when I worked his campaign for his second term as Governor. He always greeted Bobbi jubilantly and wondered aloud how I ever managed to get her to marry me.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the Road

I will be traveling for the next couple of days to a board meeting in Tucson. As I write this on Tuesday evening I haven't decided whether to fly or drive. I will decide in the morning when I leave the house.

Pariahs

I often bemoan the art of scapegoating. So in the spirit of the art I will now scapegoat bankers. Yesterday I received a notice from CITI Bank that my credit card interest rate would be more than doubling to almost 20%. The letter just might as well have said, "Bend over your jerk."

I don't charge much on credit cards anymore unless there is a large amount we want to get travel miles for. And that is on our Delta Cards. But once in a while you come across a place that doesn't take American Express so you whip out the old Master Charge.

Here is my message to Citi Bank. You can bend over too while I deftly insert my credit card into the receptacle. Screw twenty years of being a customer with never a late payment. You bankers are a despicable lot in most peoples eyes right now and will be for some time.

"Because bankers measure their self-worth in money, and pay themselves a lot of it, they think they're fine fellows and don't need to explain themselves."
James Buchan

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bloggers

I got a note from a friend the other day wondering why news organizations like CNN and others are now relying on bloggers and so called eyewitnesses to send in news stories. The nation's news organizations are literally on the skids financially so they might think that citizen journalists can fill in the gap. However, that only works if the news groups that takes this stuff in makes sure that it is accurate. How do they do that? It beats me.

Now I look at the Albuquerque Journal. It is turning more and more into nothing more than a republican rag....or worse. They take a highly discredited report by a right wingnut blogger, Jim Scarantino, and they turn it into an anti Diane Denish editorial in today's paper.

Then the editorial against health care reform and you begin to wonder where the publisher's head is really at these days. Who is really in charge at the Journal? Certainly not the day to day reporters who have seen no raises recently, but have seen their retirement program trashed by the publisher. What is next? Their healthcare insurance?

It might turn out that all we have to rely on soon for anything other than movie star news are bloggers. As a blogger myself I can tell you I get somethings totally wrong and that an editor is a crucial part of getting good information out. So if I need to be edited....just write a comment.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tar and Feathers

Lt. Governor Diane Denish has succumbed to mob rule and is now on the bandwagon of scapegoating so called 'double dippers' in state government. I have been one of those since I was called back from retirement about two years ago to serve as State Natural Resource Trustee. I had been gone from the position for 18 months. Now, I am just an evil person. Double dippers are being held up as a cause of the wracked up state and municipal budgets.

I wonder if Diane's jumping on this bandwagon with a large scythe will extend further? I mean, what is a double dipper? Is it a retired military person going to work for the state? Is it a retired career police officer going back to work on cold cases? (Cops are always given a break in the debate) Is it a retired federal highway engineer putting his expertise to work for the Highway Department? Is it a retired state judge filling in when the calendars get jammed?

Does double dipping include retired federal and military employees from working with the state? Really, is there a difference? Well, maybe just a little, but not much.

This whole thing is just a political scapegoating manipulation. It cuts a large swath with out looking at the real consequences of throwing experience overboard.

I don't think that employees should be able to walk out of the office one day and back in the next day as a double dipper. That is a manipulation of the system. Fix that manipulation and keep options open for calling on expertise when necessary.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Misc.

Albuquerque Mayor elect Berry's transition is a big yawner so far and it may well be indicating his style as a leader. He is not issuing hourly news releases nor is he getting his face on the evening news. One can't even be sure that there is any concerted message being conveyed on the type of administration he will be leading. It certainly won't be a fast paced one even if he wanted it to be. The city budget will not allow it.

The libertarians over at the Rio Grande Foundation have really showed their hand by coming after Lt. Governor Diane Denish. They are accusing her of improperly using federal funds that flowed to the state. This wingnut foundation also sent their mascot, James Scarentino, over to our office at the Natural Resource Trustee to do investigations into how money was spent during the administration of Congressman Martin Heinrich. Martin held this job for about two years before I returned to it. We got a request for public documents from the Foundation. After spending a lot of time and money in assembling them, Scarentino came over and spent 90 minutes looking over them before leaving with no copies. Just a big shoulder shrug. (Scarentino had been fired as executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance when Heinrich was on the board there.)

We can look forward to State Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry sticking around New Mexico for a while. The Obama administration sadly picked another Texan to run Region 6 of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ron was a very strong contender for this position. This administration is falling into the trap of bending over backwards to keep red states happy when in fact those folks will never ever vote for Obama. I plan on saying a lot about this kind of thing in the next few weeks and it won't be pretty.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Message?

As suspected the media is trying to say there is a great message in the defeat of two democrats in their races for Governor back east. (These were extremely low turnout elections.) They say all dems nationwide should heed the message. I still have trouble figuring out what the message is. Perhaps it is one of not in 10 months time solving all the eight years of problems left by the bush administration. Perhaps it is one of getting rid of local unpopular pols. Perhaps it is one of wanting bi partisanship!(probably not.)

It might be one of looking at local issues and figuring out who might best solve immediate problems. That is what I think it is. I don't think everyone is blindly trying to send an unknown message to Washington, DC. Although losing a republican congressional seat in New York to a Democrat might send a message to the GOP to get their merde together.

Right now I am seeing a lot of people who I never thought would be in economic trouble suffering horribly. These are people I have known for may years. Getting this economy in better shape is the most important thing we can do and that is a message for all political persuasions.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Legislative Branch

It doesn't matter whether it is a city council or a state legislature. These bodies will always blame the executive branch for all budget problems when in fact they are just as complicit in disregarding discipline.(They vote for these budgets.)

Let me give you some examples. Every city councilor wants a police substation in addition to area commands in their district. Every state legislator wants a state park or branch college in their sphere of influence. Believe me, it all adds up to whopping operational costs and jobs for local residents. These are recurring costs that only grow and never disappear. Understandably, these are job centers for these areas, but in this modern era of fast communications and transportation networks these are just drains on the budgets. Really, do we need as many public institutions of higher learning that we have for being such a small state? I know, this is scared cow stuff but it does point out the complicity of the legislative branch.

So, I just don't always appreciate the 'tuning up' of the executive by the legislative. Half the time it is not warranted.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The New City Council

The new Albuquerque City Council will be a interesting group to work with and I don't envy Mayor elect Berry's upcoming battles. One of the new guys, Councillor Michael Cook, is demanding to know how much money CAO designee David Campbell was paid by me when I asked him to file a suit to keep concealed weapons legislation passed by the state from taking effect in Albuquerque. As Mayor I saw no value in having a guy pack a concealed Glock 9mm while sitting next to your kid in the movie theater. The city council at the time led by republicans Mike McEntee, Brad Winter, and Greg Payne and some democrats blocked the City Attorney from taking the case to the Supreme Court based on Albuquerque's Home Rule status.

That is when I asked David Campbell to do it. He did so and he did it for no compensation. He thought it was worth doing for the safety of Albuquerque's children. We lost the case on the grounds that the Supreme Court, an elected body, was afraid of the NRA. Yuk!

So, Councillor Cook, I can tell you that your question has been answered. I also will be following your tenure with great interest. Anyone who obviously will kowtow to the gun lobby will bear observation. P.S. I am not against having firearms (I own many) but I am against concealed weapons being carried by neurotic people. I would like to see those weapons so I can steer clear.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

GOP and Big Oil

You can almost see the incest. The republican party and the oil and gas industry are skipping down the road hand in hand. They are denying reality and what is in both their long term interests. (Here in New Mexico the republican party is run by Yates Petroleum.)

The GOP is out with their bayonets trying to defeat their own candidates who are not deemed conservative enough for the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn and Rush. Does defeating republicans now trump electing them with this party? Even as a strong Democrat I think the two party system is important to our nation. The GOP is trying to kill itself off. How weird is that?

Then there is the oil and gas industry impaling themselves on the climate change issue by denying there is anything to worry about. Their TV and newspaper ads are threatening the American consumer with $4 a gallon gasoline if a climate change bill is passed. ($4 gas may be the thing that ultimately saves us.)

Oh, and they are saying they should not be the victim of any new taxes after making windfall profits off consumers backs for over a decade. Instead of going down this path why in the world don't they invest in clean and alternative energies? Their longevity is already doomed by climate change anyway so why not do the right thing and invest in a new era? Not doing so is akin to the Dutch and Spanish Navies who refused to see steam powered ships as being viable. They stuck with wind in their sails and then fell as world powers.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retirement!

After the Governor's cabinet meeting today I had a chat with the Governor to let him know I would be retiring on December 31st. He was very gracious and said he wanted to make sure a strong conservationist would be there to take my place. I have to say as New Mexico's Natural Resource Trustee that every time we needed support from Governor Richardson that he was there for us. I know he has also been supportive of all of the environmentally responsible departments. I think he may be the best ever Governor for protecting our resources and public lands in New Mexico. I will continue to help him on issues after I end my public service career of 24 years.

I am ready to retire and devote myself to some non profit work I do with environmental groups and foundations. I also want to spend some time every week helping out at the Road Runner food bank. I also enjoy mouthing off on my blog every day. I might try returning to some good old fashion reporting on issues that I care about.

Oh! and I bought some new Ping G-15 golf clubs. Hopefully I can get in about 100 games a year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Juxtaposition

Yesterday one of the Albuquerque Journal's front page bloggers went on a frontal assault against KRQE investigative reporter Larry Barker for calling a former state official out on falsifying documents and pay slips. This official was the former head of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Journal story made it look like this official had been unfairly victimized by Barker. I happened to speak with Barker yesterday on a solar array he is putting up on top of his house. He told me that the reporter from the Journal admitted to him she had never seen the broadcast story that Barker did. This particular front page columnist loves to do stories on victimhood.

Today there is a front page story on a Doctor from UNM who is being sued by a woman who claimed he demanded sex for drugs. The story was fairly done I guess. Read it for the details. However, I got the feeling that because litigation is involved that the Doctor could not really defend himself in the story on order of the lawyers. There were hints in the article that there are strong defenses. It seemed like a 'sensational' story at best and it was right up there big time on the front page.

These two day juxtaposed stories are just interesting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week for State Executives

Here is the life of a cabinet member and other high ranking executives in state government this week. On Monday morning they will get to work and head into their offices as all eyes follow them. They will sit in their offices for a few moments trying to figure out how to manage something that they have never had to deal with before. Layoffs of employees or at least furloughs. Then they will call in their budget directors and deputies in for a meeting to try and get their arms around what else might be cut from the budget before putting the paring knife into peoples wages. There is not much else than can be cut unless the power, phones and heat are turned off. The rest of the week will be more of the same.

In the meantime the rank and file employees will be sitting at their desks and cubicles or driving out to serve the public. They will all be wondering what will happen to their jobs and if the bottom drops out of revenues even more and what will become of them and their families. This crisis will really affect those who are planning to retire in the next year or two as it will influence their retirement checks. These state public servants are probably amongst the last to feel this recessions tremendous force, but it wont be any easier for them.

This budget crisis is unmatched for New Mexico state government in my memory. I have been in public service off and on for 35 years now and have never seen things this scary. I think even the most libertarian legislator will not enjoy what will happen in January when the regular session of the legislature will have to deal with even further cuts.

We should not forget that there will be cuts in public services as a result of all of this. Then many of the taxpayers might see that their money really does work for them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Arghhhh

The meat cleaver approach which will cut many services to New Mexicans has prevailed at the state legislature. The across the board cuts of 7.5% are dramatic and need to be improved upon. I am not arguing about the amount of money that must be saved, but the meat cleaver approach leaves little room for thoughtful management. Now, the Governor must decide what to do and I would not be surprised to see a veto.

The State Land Commissioner announced horrible drops in revenue from the production of oil and gas. This means he must resign. At least if he followed his own philosophy of attacking me in our last campaign for causing a drop of revenues in 1993 when I was Land Commissioner. Of course it is the national economy that does this, not the Land Commissioner. But, I challenge this Commissioner to now step down since he has disgraced himself by his own admission. Add to that the sweet heart/middle of the night land trades and leases he has done and we would all be better off for him leaving early. The regular media will never call him on this.

Have you noticed? Still an ominous quiet from Albuquerque city government on its financial condition. I think we will hear a lot about it on December 1st when Mayor Marty marches out of office proclaiming a balanced budget.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Great Quotes

"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies."---Thomas Jefferson

"What is robbing a bank compared with founding a bank"---Bertolt Brecht

"The best way to rob a bank is to own one."---William Crawford

"Finance is the art and science of managing revenues and resources for the best advantage of the manager."---Ambrose Pierce

And so I applaud the Obama administration for cutting bonuses and salaries of the bailed out banks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Misc.

I see where the Pope is trying to be very inclusive. He is offering membership in his church to all Anglicans who want to leave their church because it is inclusive. I love irony.

If Mayor elect Berry's choice for CAO, my old colleague David Campbell, does not get approved by the City Council then it will be a miserable four years for our city government. The Mayor elect has always been able to pick his CAO with out worry about whether or not he is a 'born again christian' or if he is too moderate for the crazies in politics. Both Democrats and Republicans on the Council should send a message of respect to the Mayor elect and confirm Dave Campbell. Then they need to get to work on cleaning up the budget crisis at City Hall.

This will upset some folks, but I just don't think those firemen in Eddy County should get a dime for emotional distress because they saw horrific scenes at a natural gas explosion that killed an extended family. These guys are expected to deal with this stuff. I remember as a reporter/photographer, for Channel 7, going to a really gruesome plane crash that killed nine people. My friend Rodger Beimer and I were among the first on the scene and it was horrific but we did our jobs and didn't sue the airplane manufacturer because we saw bad things. Yes, I surely do appreciate the job that firefighters and rescue personnel perform. But, they have to know they will see this kind of thing and not run to some lawyer trying to cash in on it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pique

Many legislators are finger pointing at the Governor and trying to blame him for all of the state's budget problems. They are also trying to lay it at the feet of Lt. Governor Diane Denish. She presides over the Senate. But stop and think a moment. The Governor must get approval for the budget from the legislature. So maybe many of those members should be pointing at them selves for pork projects, tax cuts, freely spending in times of plenty, and generally letting the good times roll.

They are also trying to scapegoat the 'exempt' employees for being a source of many problems. Yes, the Governor has increased the number of exempt employees but it is hardly the cause of the budget meltdown. Also, these exempt employees are the only ones in state or school employment that have taken a salary reduction. They are doing their part to staunch the bleeding.

Now, switch over to Albuquerque City Government where Mayor elect Berry has hired an exempt as a republican favor. Think of Sheriff Darren White. If that isn't a political hire then I am Santa Claus. (I actually think White has done a good job as sheriff.) It will also be interesting to see how many exempt positions get axed by the new Mayor. Probably more than a few, but certainly not all of them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Other Shoe

I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop in the aftermath of the financial condition of the state that the Governor and Legislature are trying to deal with. That shoe would belong to the incoming administration of Albuquerque Mayor Elect Berry. There is an ominous silence on city finances from the incoming and outgoing administrations. The media has not asked for any comment on what the new Mayor is facing and the Mayor elect is not talking about it. Certainly, Marty Chavez wont but I have a feeling he will be hearing about it for years after he steps out of office on December 1st.

How about the City Council? Do any of them have any information on how bad the situation is? Come on! We are all (mostly) adults around here and we can take some bad news.

I have made a couple of calls to the transition office asking if, as a former Mayor, I might get in to see the Mayor elect. I have a little experience in dealing with a financial disaster left by Marty Chavez. I have not received any call backs yet. Ten days later. When you are in you are in.....when you are out you are out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Misc.

Yesterday there was a big story in the national financial media about the fact that the largest bonus payouts in history for CEOs in the financial industry are about to take place. At the same time there is a story in Colorado that the legislature will lower the minimum wage in that state. And this weekend the New Mexico Legislature will probably end up cutting wages for state employees.

The Social Security Administration will not enact a cost of living raise for seniors and others this year. That is understandable, but not in light of the CEO's greed.

This is the kind of stuff that leads to revolution! Next we will be throwing homeless families into debtors prison for stealing bread. It is no longer just a"Tale of Two Cities" but a tale of two economies. I guess I would be classified as upper middle class and people like me can't stand around and watch this injustice go on much longer. We will all pay a price.

I was watching local news last night and saw Mayor Elect Berry once again say he would run the city like a business. I know he will find it necessary to keep saying that for a while, at least until he figures out it won't work that way. I think he will be a good Mayor once he sees that operating government and business are really two different things.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Out of the Gate

Mayor elect Berry's selection of David Campbell as Chief Administrative Officer is a winner. Dave is a good guy with progressive tendencies and a good overall understanding of the city bureaucracy. I worked with him a lot when I served as Mayor. He is a realist and a thinker.

Mayor elect Berry's selection of Darren White is a gift to the republican party. That is about it. White will enter a job that was created by Marty Chavez to give to a long time supporter eight years ago. This "Public Safety" position will mainly consist of knocking down derelict properties in the city. The Albuquerque Police Department will run itself as will the Fire Department. At least now White wont have to go back to an hourly wage as a police officer in Torrance County, or as a crime reporter on TV when his term as Sheriff ends.

I have to chuckle at the Bernalillo County Commission for doing the right thing. The democratic commission appointed a republican to take over Mayor elect Berry's seat in the legislature. Can you imagine a republican dominated commission doing that for a democrat? Not in this lifetime!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Irony

Think about it. Our legislature that is. Last November the progressive minded democrats took over three legislative seats in the primary election from more conservative democrats. Add to that the loss of another half dozen or so republican seats to democrats in the general election. That was a signal of sorts that the legislature should become more centrist or left of center. In fact it has not changed at all because of the seniority system that has the conservative wing of the democratic legislative delegation still calling the shots. I am talking about Senator Tim Jennings and Senator John Arthur Smith. This isn't a necessarily a bad thing but it does fly in the face of what one would have expected.

Now, the legislature meets this next weekend for a horrendous job of dealing a plummeting revenue base. With the seniority system alive and well the chance for any repeal of tax cuts for the rich is about zero. The Governor has his work cut out for him. It will generally be a very unpleasant weekend.

And New Mexico's oil and gas industry, the industry that made immoral and obscene profits up until about a year ago, are weighing in saying this state's environmental regulations are killing their business. They are threatening to pull up stakes and jobs from New Mexico unless these regs are repealed. They seem to be sending a message of, "We want our way on degrading your water and landscapes and in return we will give you short term jobs" Doesn't sound like a good deal to me. Do not forget that the republican party is led here by oil and gas executive Harvey Yates of Yates Petroleum.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Solar Update

Our Solar Panels that went active on the roof around August 1st are starting to pay off. For the month of Sept. 9 to Oct. 9 our total bill for electricity from PNM was a minus $37.50. Yes, that is right. They owe us money for the amount of energy we sold them during the daytime. We sold them 467 kilowatt hours(kwh) during the day at about 13cents and we bought power in the evenings of 228 kwh at less than 10 cents. The estimates we had for the system are right on target for paying off the system in about 9 years. More importantly, our system is saving the emission of green house gasses.

Journal At Its Best

The Sunday Journal has started a great series on Latino/Hispanic youth education issues. It is the kind of thing we wish we could see more often. I am looking forward to the ongoing reporting on this most important of issues for New Mexicans.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Misc.

The headline in the Albuquerque Journal this morning on President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize really pissed everyone off in this house hold. It says, "Nobel unlikely to help Obama". Now, that is a pretty negative headline for a Nobel prize winner. It is ironic, as one of my hiking buddies said this morning, that the only ones who will not understand the importance of this award to an American President is the American people themselves. C'mon, this is an expression of how good the U.S. is looking to other world nations right now. Be happy about that! Or is a striving for peace now not a good thing?


State Government is now facing the full blunt trauma of the economic downturn. Oil and gas prices are still in the crapper and a deficit of 600 million or more in the state budget means pain. It is pain we should all accept. Every special interest group will be howling.

I hope the remedies to this will not mean layoffs of any employees. Cuts can be made through well thought out furloughs that can be spread through the fiscal year to take the sting out. That way everyone in state employment still has a job and health care coverage.It is just medicine that must be taken until times get better.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cleansing





With all the Albuquerque political stuff ricocheting around in my head I find the best way to cleanse it is by going to the Balloon Fiesta. I had not done it in a few years. Here is a history of my involvement with the Fiesta.

Noelle and Luke came in from Phoenix along with his mom Susan. The kids got a great hour long ride from State Environment Secretary Ron Curry.
Susan, Bobbi and I stayed on the earth and just took pictures.

Everyone smiles at balloon fiesta!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fatigue

Well, Richard Berry did take the Mayor's election without a runoff. I thought it unlikely, but fatigue with the Chavez administration did Mayor Marty in. Richard Romero just could not give good reasons to vote for him. This was all done on a low turn out and low interest election with just over 25% of the electorate participating.

Congratulations to Mayor Elect Berry. He is going to need everyone's help as he comes into a financial meltdown of city finances cause by eight years of overspending and a tanked economy. Last night I spoke with city councillor Ken Sanchez, who has always carried water for Mayor Chavez but also knows city finances well. He admitted that the condition of the city treasury was scary and that city employees and other interests groups were going to have to sacrifice greatly for a while.

Berry will have to run a bi-partisan effort as he tackles these enormous problems. He wont have time, at least for a while, to fall into the grip of radical republicans who will now take credit for his election. Berry got democrat votes too along with a lot of independents. He will have to continually remind himself that he was elected with a plurality and not a majority. He faces a split city council but it is also a mostly veto proof council.

I think he will do well if he listens. He must put together a really good transition team that can take some of the heat off of him. They can give him tough recommendations on balancing the budget and erecting a safety net for our most needy citizens.

I sincerely hope he is successful. In times like these everyone needs to pull together.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Campaign Committees

I got a comment on my blog yesterday from the good people at common cause who said my prediction that 'measure finance committees' would turn an Albuquerque Mayor's runoff election into a mockery of the public finance law is just not true. They say that if a committee starts spending a money against a candidate then that candidate will get a matching amount of money from the public financing fund. I am sure that may be true, but the goal of public financing is really to take the big money out of these races. That probably will not be the case. Of course, the economy is in bad shape so maybe the money won't be forthcoming into the committees. However, you will see a lot of money come in and you will see a lot of money not reported. Word is that some campaigns are asking people to write direct checks to the post office for mailings. Will that ever be picked up? Also, last night the parking lot at republican headquarters was jammed with phoners for their candidate. Will those costs be reported?

Don't hold your breath. But do get out and vote.

I will be on KANW FM 89.1 radio this evening with fellow blogger Joe Monahan as we try to make sense of the returns....

Monday, October 05, 2009

Predictions

My predictions on the non partizan Mayor's race in Albuquerque are as follows.

1. Republican Richard Berry will get in the runoff. Republicans could try to get him to that magic 40% to avoid it, but that is not likely.
2. Mayor Marty Chavez might get in the runoff.
3. Richard Romero might get in the runoff.
4. When the runoff election is held then the 'measure finance committees' will start raising oodles of money for the candidates in an attempt to elect their favorite while at the same time making a mockery of our public financing system.
5. Some pundits and bloggers will try to turn the little Albuquerque Mayor's race into an indictment of the Obama administration(all of eight months old). I haven't quite figured this out yet, but remember you heard it here.
6. The turnout in this election will be meager which means that having a 'get out the vote' cadre in the field is the tie breaker.
7. Who ever wins the runoff will face four years of hellish city finances.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Apology

The UNM Athletic Department called me this morning to apologize for the conduct of one of its fundraisers in my state office the other day. Apparently the fund raising is done by contractors and not by UNM employees. It was nice of them to call.

I will be taping a public affairs program on KOB TV this afternoon to talk about the Mayor's election next Tuesday in Albuquerque. Fellow blogger Joe Monahan, Reporter Stuart Dyson and I will be scratching our heads trying to figure out who is on first. The truth is that we will all be just guessing. Anything can happen.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Misc.



The Navajo and Hopi tribes have told environmentalists they are not welcome on the reservation lands because they object to coal fired power plants. This mainly concerns the Desert Rock Power Plant that would buy coal from the tribes. That would be needed cash for the tribes, but those plants could eventually kill us all. It is a disturbing thing but not unusual that any particular group cares more about economic development than the health of the planet. That certainly is not just the attitude of the tribes. However, there are a fair amount of tribal members who object to these dirty coal fired plants too.

Mayor Marty Chavez has picked up the endorsement of the rightwing NRA. Marty doesn't have to worry about concealed weapons in his personal space because he has full time body guards siphoned off the Police Department. He is the first Mayor ever to pull away police from crime fighting to open his SUV door for him. Also, concealed weapons are not allowed in city buildings so he has more protection than you do at the movie theater.

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons is trading away valuable commercial property from the state land inventory along the border with Mexico for another ranch. While this trade is even constitutionally questionable I wonder if the meager grazing fees it will bring in comparison with revenues that might be made off the border land isn't another rip off of the trust. There was only one bidder on the deal. This stuff is all done almost invisibly.




Wednesday, September 30, 2009

True Story

I am not making this up. A young man just came into my office trying to raise money for the Lobo Club at UNM. I told him we were a state office and he could not be soliciting here. He argued he could do it. I also mentioned to him that I would not be contributing anyway until the UNM football coach who punched out a subordinate was fired. He then started arguing that it was better to keep him because he wasn't a wimp. He said he was glad the coach did it. Now on my coffee break I am writing this on my I-Phone in the parking lot because I am dumbfounded.

Note to Lobo Club.....Do a little PR work with your fundraisers.

Who's Your Daddy?

So, how many things can a candidate claim to be before someone says...wtf? I say this because last evening I got a call from a close friend who is not so quite politically active as me. He and his wife were really upset because they had received a robo call from Howard Dean asking them to support Marty Chavez. Dean is the former democratic party chairman who became famous for his scream. Marty had supported him when he ran for President and then Dean helped him four years ago. My friends were upset because they didn't think a high profile democrat should be endorsing one democrat candidate over another in a non partisan race.

Not one hour later I get a visit from a neighbor who brought over a flyer that was obviously mailed to independent voters by Marty Chavez. It basically says....I am an independent, vote for me.

So, what is it....is Marty a democrat or an independent? Well, he is just really a good politician who in his campaign tries to be all things to all people.

I also hear the republican Richard Berry who has been dissing Latino immigrants will now go after their vote on the abortion issue. Look for churches to be papered this weekend about how his opponents are pro choice.

All of this happens as our supposed democratic controlled senate in Washington votes against the public option in healthcare. Other countries must now be really sure we are a nation that really doesn't care about its healthcare. Thanks to Senator Bingaman for voting the right way!

Life is too short.