Friday, July 31, 2009

Jerry the Cat

Jerry the Cat has gone to the big catnip farm in the sky. Our beloved cat used up his ninth life after kidney failure. He follows our beagle who passed in May. Now they can chase each other on the other side.

Jerry picked us when we went to the animal shelter fifteen years ago. Noelle wanted a cat because Justin had gotten his beagle. As we were walking down the aisle Jerry, a small kitten, reached his paw out of the cage and snagged Noelle's sweater. Well, what can you do but stop and say okay!

Jerry was an indoor and outdoor cat. In the summers he stayed outside at night. In the winters he lay in his laundry basket that had a very nice soft blanket in it just for him.

He was a pretty cool cat.

Your Money or Your Life

The Rural Electrical Cooperative system is a child of the liberal Roosevelt years. It was pure liberal welfare to electrify the rural areas of the country back in the 1930s. If the Republicans had been in charge it never would have happened. The ironic thing is that the majority of the people who benefited the most from this all became right wing crazies who now would work against such programs for any one else. They still get their welfare checks themselves from the Agricultural subsidies we taxpayers lavish on them. But they are now the biggest enemies of every other assistance program figured out the government.

Now, top it off with objecting to a climate change bill because it will raise their electric rates. I wonder if these people live in the 'bozone' and cant see that climate change will snuff their farms and grazing lands forever. How can anyone be so dense?

My sister Carlota told me that a lot of her friends are reading a novel called "Ultimatum". I downloaded it last night onto my Kindle and started reading. It is about a new Obama type President who takes office a few decades in the future and is faced with an impending disaster of climate change that has been kept from the public. Florida is already under water and it will only get worse. The reason for it being everyone not wanting to make sacrifices.

Cue the Electrical Co-ops......They will oppose the climate change bill because their electricity will cost more.

Are we doomed?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Careful Now

So, this Obama outburst on the cop who arrests the black scholar in his own home has caused him to drop 7 points since last month in job approval ratings. Will someone tell me how folks can be so reactive to this kind of gaffe? Come on and tell me. Are we so shallow that one screwed up comment can cause this kind of shift?

Maybe the health care issue and its entrenched and well funded medical/insurance complex has had an effect too, but other than that there is no reason for this. This kind of stuff makes me really worry about our country's judgment. (Where is George bush lately?)

Oh, and did you see the conservatives have started their non profit group in NM? They are doing attack ads on anyone who doesn't agree with the oil and gas industry. Will someone in the mainstream media please ask these folks how much money Yates Petroleum minions are giving? Don't forget the head honchos for Yates are also the head honchos for the NM Republicans.

Well, climate change might make this all moot. I am going to get into this issue in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


1 a
: the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors b: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care

: the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success

I put this definition here because of John Fleck's article in the Journal today about artificial trees that might be effective in cleaning CO2 from the atmosphere. Some people think we should just stop putting green house gases there in the first place so we don't need the artificial trees, but frankly we may be getting to a point where triage is necessary.

This is why I keep telling all of my friends in the public land protection groups that we have to be very careful about how we react to new renewable power transmission lines. Yes, we must be very careful about their placement in sensitive and protective areas, but in some cases it may be necessary to help site these facilities where not everyone would be in agreement.

The real message here is that we are approaching a real triage dilemma in trying to stave off climate change and we wont all be happy with the alternatives that we are presented with.

Monday, July 27, 2009


The Albuquerque Journal has a couple of stories on downtowns today. Specifically, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. They have a solid story on Rio Rancho's doomed boondoggle of a downtown far from civilization. This thing was a bad idea when it was floated and it is worse now. They built an arena that can't even get near breaking even and then a new City Hall nearby. This was supposed to bring in development. Fat Chance! I feel sorry for current Mayor Tom Swisstack and City Manager James Jimenez who now have to deal with the mess.

Then there is a comment in the Journal about downtown Albuquerque. It was about the number of drunks downtown. Well, that has always been a problem and part of the responsibility is the number of shelters downtown. Add to that the number busloads of released jail inmates that are dumped into downtown every day and you can see why things are not as they should be. Mayor Chavez has been less than supportive of the downtown revitalization but this is really causing problems, especially around the Alvarado Transportation Center and the Movie Theater Block.

I wonder what folks would think if all these homeless and addicts were dropped on the intersection of Academy and Eubank Streets. They Mayor would pay attention then.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fired Up

PNM's Frank Andazola came out today and 'commissioned' my PhotoVoltaic system. After firing it up the meter ran backwards as my system produced more power than the house was using. I had both evaporative coolers on at the time and my desktop office computer. You can see two meters in the picture with Frank. One is measuring my sales to PNM and one is measuring my purchases. As I said, it was running backwards. Woo Hoo!

Journal Nastiness

You would think the Albuquerque Journal has turned into something like my blog. They can get real nasty and silly sometimes. Today Thom Cole was extremely nasty about disgraced former Treasurer Robert Vigil getting out of the prison and being transferred to a halfway house for five months. Remember that Vigil was found guilty by a jury on only one count of a 23 count indictment engineered by the US Attorney's Office. He was found guilty of trying to find a job for someone and it was turned into a charge of extortion!

And then there is the Journal Editorial Board's attempt to disgrace former Governor Toney Anaya for taking a salary from the state for managing its federal stimulus money program. Since when is it wrong for a former Governor to make a living?

Maybe the Journal is just modeling itself on Fox News.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Did you know?

My niece Stephanie sent this to me. It was produced by Sony. It is worth the time to watch!

Tom Udall-WTF

Senator Tom Udall, a good friend, wants people who have concealed weapon permits from all over the United States to be able to carry them in New Mexico without meeting our own laws for doing so. WTF!

So now instead of just your fellow New Mexican packing a 9 mm Glock in the movie theater as he sits next to your child, you can also have itchy trigger fingers from Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas...etc. etc. too!

Will someone explain to me his reasoning here? Is his Senate seat vulnerable? I didn't think so. Would it be if he had voted as Senator Bingaman to not allow this? I don't think so. Is he just being paranoid about the gun lobby? Probably.

At least the measure is not law yet. I will be watching his vote when it comes up again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the Road

I am on the road for the next few days to Martha's Vineyard. I arrived Monday, we will have meetings of the Wyss Foundation today, and then back on Wednesday. It is nice and cool here. A great respite from the heat in Albuquerque. It will heat up here tomorrow and the humidity will be high. I will be out of here by mid day.....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rail Runner Birthday

Governor Richardson celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the Rail Runner today at the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown Albuquerque. This train will be one of his legacies for the state after he leaves office. The Department of Transportation and Lawrence Rael and the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments managed the project efficiently.

As the Governor spoke people crowded on to the train to go to Santa Fe for the day. Last Saturday 6000 people did the same thing.

Next up should be Las Cruces to El Paso. Texas needs to chip in on that one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ron Curry and Obama

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ron Curry should be appointed by President Obama to the post of Region 6 Director of the Environmental Protection Agency. He should be appointed on the basis of his courageous service in his current post. He has always put New Mexico's landscapes, water supplies and air sheds first. Of course that is what he is supposed to do.

There is another reason he should be appointed.

A Texan has always lead EPA Region 6. This has usually meant that the Texas Senator from the same political party as the President gets to pick who runs the region from Dallas. An exception was the last EPA Regional Administrator, former Arlington, Texas Mayor Richard Greene who was handpicked by Karl Rove.

Picking a New Mexican for this important post would mark a positive turn from the past, bring new, more progressive thinking to the Dallas Regional Headquarters, and truly be “Change We Can Believe In.”

It’s also good politics. Pop quiz: EPA Region 6 consists of the states of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Which one of these is not like the others? Answer: Obama won New Mexico by 15 points. He lost the four other states in the region by an average of 18 points. This makes New Mexico the friendliest political foothold for the President in the fast growing southwest region.

Ron has the support of Senator Bingaman who said in a letter to Obama, "Ron has the ability to find common ground between parties when that is possible, and the backbone to be tough when it is not." That is a pretty good recommendation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Seven Panels on the Garage
Here is how the 16 photo voltaic panels have been situated on the roof of our house. The final electrical inspection was done today and we are just waiting for PNM to come out and install their meter into the socket to start generating power.

Two Panels on the Great Room

We will see if they take long to do it. I hope not.

Seven Panels on the Kid's Old Bedrooms

When we fired the system up this a.m. the regular electric meter stopped dead and the current from the roof powered the one swamp cooler and other devices in the house.

The Wiring is Simple
It was only putting out about 30% of its power at that point because the sun was still very low.

Mayor's Achilles Heel?

The Albuquerque Journal ran an oped by City Charter Commission member Michael Passi that might show some city residents the extent of the politicization of city hall under Mayor Chavez. I am usually a little knowledgeable about what is going on in city government, but this one caught me by surprise. Marty has increased the number of 'exempt' employees in city employment by 300%. When I was Mayor there were only 34 political appointments. Now there are 140 and you can bet a lot of them will 'burrow in' to the classified service at some point. They didn't need to test and qualify for their jobs and will just gradually become protected employees. Right now they serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and they are the ones that are expected to get out the big vote for Marty in October.

My question is, why did the city council let this happen?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What to Do?

This Lt. Governor's race has a lot of folks hiding in their back yards. I say that because I am doing the same thing. I don't know what to do. I have a couple of good friends in the race. They are State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino and former city Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael. They both worked with me when I served as Albuquerque's Mayor. They both want me to support them and send them money. They are most likely both facing an uphill battle to win if they both stay in the race.

If I could take them to lunch at the same time here is the way I would handicap the race to them.

Jerry has a lot of progressives behind his candidacy, but he is a reluctant fund raiser. He also shares his progressive support with other assumed candidates in Santa Fe.

Lawrence will be an astute fund raiser. But he doesn't have an automatic constituency behind him. In fact some people are upset with him because of executive and bureaucratic decisions he has made through his government career. But the money part is important.

Given that there are many Hispanics in this race, and some popular ones in the north, then it will be hard to beat that one anglo candidate that will surely announce. So, the odds of Jerry or Lawrence winning are not that good. Unless one of them drops out. How can anyone who know either of these men ask them to do that? I wouldn't. So, I guess in the final analysis I have to sit it out for fear of losing a friend. I am not the only one in this situation and it is the nature of political primaries that this happens. Bummer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red Flag

The Democrats had better take notice of the red flag being waved at them by the oil and gas industry. Their leader, and GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, is taking action on a lot of fronts and is taking his cues from the progressives themselves. He is setting up nonprofit agencies with oil and gas and republican money and he will use them to try and defeat all non wingnut republican and Democrat candidates. He is starting with, surprisingly another oil industry guy, Harry Teague in New Mexico's southern district. Why? Because Harry voted to save the planet on the climate change bill in the house. It was a gutsy move because Harry himself is not sure climate change is actually happening.(Maybe he should visit Fairbanks Alaska where it reached 88 degrees this week.) But Harry voted for it just because he isn't sure. That is a prudent thing to do. Why take a chance?

Also look at the action where Yates used his friend Tom Lang's newspaper, the Journal, to attack Diane Denish for being complicit in corruption in government. Now that is being used as being factual by republican letter writers to the Journal. These writers are using phrases put together by political spin miesters. The language would never come from regular folks. Just read them! In fairness, the Journal let Diane Denish supporters respond and then they gave her a good editorial for her proposed ethics legislation.

All of this being caused by the oil and gas industry. Columnist Frank Rich in the New York Times today hit this on the head. He is talking about Palin supporters, but the truth is it applies to the oil and gas boys too.

He says. "It’s more likely that she(Palin) will never get anywhere near the White House, and not just because of her own limitations. The Palinist “real America” is demographically doomed to keep shrinking. But the emotion it represents is disproportionately powerful for its numbers. It’s an anger that Palin enjoyed stoking during her “palling around with terrorists” crusade against Obama on the campaign trail. It’s an anger that’s curdled into self-martyrdom since Inauguration Day."

We will see this backlash big time in NM since we are an oil and gas state.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

New and Worthy Blog

This is a blog that New Mexicans should read and bookmark.

City Finances

All indications are that the city financial condition is worsening. I have seen numbers that are truly frightening and makes me think some horrendous decisions will have to be made. Of course, you wont hear anything about this until after the election. The problem has been building over the last 7 years with recurring revenues falling behind recurring costs. Add the recession and disaster occurs.

After the election we will probably hear more than we want too. It will be interesting to see how this house of cards is being held together. Are restricted funds being raided to meet operating expenses?

Take for instance the Risk Management fund which pays out money when the city loses a lawsuit. One long running case involving down zoning of property near Winrock Shopping Center by the City Council in the first Chavez administration has been decided.(This was not Mayor Chavez's fault.)

I had attempted to settle it when I took office, but the city council did not want to admit they screwed up. That 12 year old lawsuit that I could have settled for 2.5 million dollars has now been finally decided by the New Mexico Supreme Court for over 8 million, with some indications that it could go to 12 million or more. Does the city have enough in the Risk Fund to cover this?

Maybe this could be a campaign issue, but the electorate seems to be more than a little apathetic about this upcoming campaign. That means the candidate who gets out their vote will win.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Mayor Marty Chavez got a Journal headline this morning saying he wants 100 more police officers hired. It took him 7 years to hire the last 100, if they have even reached that number of 1100. Now, as an election year ploy he says more are needed. He does not say how we pay for them except some vague notion of using stimulus money. And when that runs out? Oh, thats right! Blame the city council for not funding them. By then the election is over and the monkey is off his back. Of course, Marty loves monkeys, and dogs, and cats. Why even the Journal said so in an editorial this morning! An Editorial about the Mayor liking animals. All warm and fuzzy.

Two issues certain to get votes. You just have to marvel over the partnership between the Journal and the Mayor. Yeah, I am just jealous I wasn't that adept. I admit it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

KRQE Solar Story

Channel 13 did a nice story on our solar installation last night. You can see it here.


A while ago I went to the CNN website on my Iphone while eating a breakfast burrito. The first four stories were about the ceremonies surrounding Michael Jackson's corpse. Number 5 story was about Presidents Obama and Medevev of Russia announcing the culling of nuclear weapons stockpiles.

Sometimes America's news media has a colossal and nationwide brain fart all at once. Sometime in the future it will really cost us as we wont really know what important life changing event might be occurring.

In the meantime I had to chuckle when I saw Richard Romero's campaign for Mayor finally get some press. (I am supporting him.) It was about a shake up in his campaign staffing. Not about issues. This sort of fits into that traditional thing the local media gets into during election season when the placement of yard signs gets more press that the over arching issues in the campaign.

I am actually quite surprised at the lack of coverage on the Mayor's race. The Albuquerque Journal is doing a bit, but that is about all I see. Mayor Marty Chavez continues to use city resources to show his name and face while the press wonders if he will ever announce. He plays the game well.

Monday, July 06, 2009


This is the only piece of the photovoltaic panels that are visible on the house. I am astounded they blend in so well. Once again they are set at a 35 degree angle since Albuquerque sits at about 35 degrees latitude. Many of the neighbors stopped by today and seemed very happy with the process.

Progress on the Roof

This process goes relatively fast up on the roof. This crew has installed dozens of these systems and have an efficient system.

The frames were assembled for the first seven of 16 panels on the roof. They are virtually invisible from the street.

Channel 13 came by to shoot pictures and get some facts from Hal Everett of Sunergy.

The panels will all be in place by the end of the day. Tomorrow the crew will set the conduits for the wires. Next week we will get an electrical inspection and then will await for PNM to come and do their work. We should be operational with in 14 days.

Hoisting Panels

The crew has hoisted all 16 panels on to the roof. Now they must erect the frames. Each panel is rated at 190watts.


The crew from Sunergy is scheduled to show up this morning to hoist solar panels onto my roof. This is just part of a lot more work to be done, including the 'commissioning' of the system by PNM so that I can hook into the grid and sell power to them during the day. It will be interesting to see how that all goes. I will update during the day with photos.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


In what might well go down as the most infantile oped ever written by a political 'leader', GOP Party Chairman Harvey Yates of Yates Petroleum, I have figured out that this Tea Party wingnut group really is being funded by the Republicans and the oil and gas industry. It is just logic. Bear with me. I know, this is silly.

According to the Albuquerque Journal this morning the Tea Party participants said three main issues concerned them....and one of them was the cap and trade bill that will reward or punish those who emit or curtail green house gases. Why would that be? Of all the issues this country faces, the wars, the unemployment rate, crime, deflation and our diminished international stature(thanks to bush/cheney), why cap and trade? Because the oil and coal boys know that is a showstopper for the long term viability of their industry. Won't some enterprising reporter just ask Yates and others if he has funded the Tea Party malcontents?

Probably no one at the Journal will do so. Not after they let Yates do his hatchet job on Lt. Governor Diane Denish today. They even put a picture with the oped of Diane and the Governor with a caption that seemed to make a factual statement that Diane is complicit in corruption. I have never seen anything like that on an editorial or oped page in the Journal before. Shame.

This may also be the loss of many experienced people at the Journal. Possibly just an editing error where this slipped through. We probably need to expect this on a regular basis as newspapers continue erode their professional ranks.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


The story in the Journal today about the amount of per diem claimed by Legislators was fair game. It has always been my opinion that they are not compensated enough for the work they do. The public has never agreed and hence their meager earnings.

It is time that they be given small salaries, say $30,000, in addition to their per diem. Sometimes we all rail about these lawmakers, but they do make tremendous sacrifices to carry out their work. You try and sit through a long committee meeting at the end of a 60 day session. It is pure hell. In return for a small salary the lawmakers should go to a 60 day session every year. Things are more complex that they used to be and they need more time for their deliberations.

I see where the politicos who want an incorporated South Valley government have come up with a name for the city. Valle de Atrisco. Now they need to come up with a tax base to pull this off. Another whole new government wont be cheap, especially in an area of high growth and substandard infrastructure.