Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Wrong Bandwagon

The Mayor of Albuquerque and the Governor of New Mexico have called on Republican County Commissioner Michael Weiner to resign his post after his picture appeared in a red light district in the Philippines.  This is taking up most of the time of the local media in New Mexico.  Much like the national media is immersing itself in young soldiers and secret service agents having sex with hookers in Columbia.  (I still would like the media to tell us what Obama and other leaders were doing there.)  Sex scandals are the best  bandwagons for the media these days.  Resignations are called for, cameras follow people, stories are repeated ad nauseum.  And things we really need to know are ignored.

A friend of mine called from out of state and was wondering how much the Albuquerque Police Department paid Commissioner Weiner to get that picture in the paper of him standing with hookers.  It effectively took the cops off the hot plate as far as news coverage of two dozen police shootings.

Scandals that involve sex end up with people being ruined, but when bush/cheney started a war based on lies which led to the deaths of thousands they were reelected.  And then they retire and one of them gets a new heart.

This country is so screwed.  No wonder so many of our Mexican immigrants are turning around and heading home.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cat Furniture

The latest and greatest thing for cats.  A perch from which to look down upon us mere humans.  Bobbi's brother Dave saw a quote the other day that stated, "Dogs have masters, Cats have staff."

Very True.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Project Talent

Back in 1962 the students at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque participated in a program called Project Talent.  It was a series of tests designed to figure out students strongest natural abilities in academics.  I recently found out that I could get those scores and signed up with Project Talent.  I received them this week.

It showed my strongest area as being aeronautics and space, followed by advanced high school mathematics.

Totally wrong.  My math phobia is well known amongst friends and family.  In high school I struggled with Algebra.  In college I got better but I never took much in the way of high traditional math.  I did excel at set theory, probability and statistics.  Because I had a great teacher and study partner.

The test did get some things correct.  My reading comprehension, mechanical reasoning and creativity scored high.  I think the most important thing was I could read just about anything and understand the the subject matter.  (except for math).  It convinced me that early childhood reading programs were more important than any other thing a school could do.  I funded some programs for that when I was Mayor and they really paid off for lagging students.

You might have participated in this testing regime for the years 1960-1963.  Find out at Project Talent.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

One Deep

I did an interview with a local government employee who is working on some management courses.  He wanted to talk about crisis management by government leaders.  I told him there were two kinds of crisis.  The ones that happen suddenly and without warning.  Those are easy to handle if the government services are ready to respond.  Most of the work happens before the event.  Preparation to manage most sudden man made and natural disasters are what counts.

The other kind of crisis is the slowly evolving crisis which requires tough and steady decision making.  One example of that is the current perceived crisis at the Albuquerque Police Department.  (Perception is important.)  I think in this case that there is little courage or steady decisions being made by either the city council or the Mayor.  So, this crisis is still unfolding and will remain that way it seems.

Another slowly evolving crisis is the expectation that government positions can continue to be cut at all levels while expecting services to improve.  While there have been no massive one time layoffs in state and local government there is one occurring through attrition.  That makes for a 'one deep' redundancy in providing public services.  If one person is on leave or sick or dies then there is no one to step in and fill the gap.  This is a serious problem that will manifest itself in the future.  And it will lead to what I was talking about above.  A lack of depth in dealing with sudden and unexpected crisis.  This is all common sense but it is ignored by those whose mission in life is to blame government for all of their problems.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


President Obama took another tiny step over the last few days when he used our country's Antiquities Act to declare a National Monument at the site of the old Fort Ord military complex in California.  It is the second time he has used his powers under that act which has been so important in protecting America's Landscapes.  He has not been courageous in its use, but this 14,000 acres of newly protected California land is a step in the right direction.  My hope is that now that he is becoming familiar with the ability to use the act that he will do so strongly in a second term.  As most Presidents, he knows little or nothing about western public lands and his White House Staff is the front line in keeping the resource exploiters happy.

This process worked the same in the Clinton administration.  But his second term was great from a public land protection standpoint.  Lets hope Obama emulates him in this regard.  I actually broke down and sent Obama some money this weekend.  There really is no alternative except to reelect him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rebuild APD

The memo to neighborhood leaders by an Albuquerque Police Department Area Commander that says everyone but police are responsible for the police shootings truly indicates there is an atmosphere at APD that calls for a massive rebuilding of the organization.  It certainly shows an 'us versus them' attitude.

It must start with a new leadership in the upper ranks and a better police training curriculum.  Certainly, we have fine officers but there is such an arrogant view by many other officers that something must be done.

I can remember when I brought a new police chief on board after being elected Mayor in 1997.  I did a nationwide search rather than opt for just automatically picking from within the department.  I hired an outsider, Jerry Galvin, and he stayed in the job for four years.  He instituted community policing and made the force accountable for its crime prevention and crime solving in weekly meetings.  He was unpopular with some in the department only because he was an outsider.  When Marty Chavez came back into office he reverted to using insiders to lead the department.  Mayor Berry has continued with Chavez's leadership, much to my surprise.

It is time to change out the old guard at the department and bring in fresh new innovative leaders from other places.  It is the only way we can fix the mistrust that is growing between citizens and the officers who serve them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

For better or worse it is Earth Day.  I really mean that.  In many ways the planet is healthier than it used to be.  We are more aware of the dangers of pollutants in the soil and water.  We have become more conscious of the things that can harm the biosphere.  Recycling is a way of life for many.   Even industry finds some value in it.

In other ways things are worse.  Climate change is happening.  America's ability to respond is hampered by the GOP and Tea Party radicals who are owned and operated by the fossil fuel industry.  Science is actively debunked by these folks too with the Bible and fundamentalist believers being the biggest tools.

It is said that in the next ten  years political will can save  us from disaster on climate change.  After that it may be too late.  It will take some gutsy leaders who care more about making tough decisions than furthering their own careers and wealth.  Lets hope they exist.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What's Next?

Maybe another Inquisition?

First, I was taught by Dominican nuns for eight years at Our Lady of Fatima's Heights Catholic School.  I remember every one of them and liked them all.  Especially Sister Madelyn Claire in the sixth grade.  She would hike up her nun's habit and play baseball with  us.  Sister Lydia taught eighth grade and was troubled and had a nervous breakdown. We all worried about her.  One day my friend Mike kept jabbing me in the back with a pencil while seated in the classroom.  I took my fountain pen, turned around and swished it at him.  The ink flew across the room and stitched right across Sister Lydia's white habit  like machine gun bullets on a windshield.  I got out of detention at 7PM that night.  It wasn't bad though because I had to stay in the convent and she kept bringing me snacks.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has now turned its sights on the few remaining nuns in America.  It seems they are not condemning enough gays to hell fire.  Or something like that.
I have a good friend who has been a nun since she graduated from high school.  She has spent her life in the third world helping the poor.  She helps women empower themselves and gives advice on family planning.  When asked why she did this when the Vatican says it is wrong she said, "Oh, the Pope, he is just a man."

She has done more good in  her lifetime than just about anyone I know.  And the enforcement arm of the church would stop it?  This church may well end up a footnote in the annals of man because they could not find leaders who can change.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NRA Redux

The post about a truckload of ammo being halted at the border at Juarez is now being explained by the ammo dealer as a truck driver taking a wrong turn.  Okay,  I accept that.  But while do I feel uncomfortable that the quarter million assault rifle rounds were supposed to go to Arizona?  Who needs that much ammo except the crazies who have legislation pending to allow vigilante patrols by para military groups on the border.

Journal Shows Colors

The Albuquerque Journal showed their true colors on partisanship today when, after running an oped from a left of center group, they then did a news story on how some facts in the oped were questionable.  I don't think I have ever seen this before.  Their right wing nut case contributors from the Rio Grande Foundation continually send in opeds with egregiously bad facts and logic, but I have never seen the editor at the Journal call them out in a news story.  If this doesn't show how right wing our daily newspaper is, then nothing will.

A recent Pew Trust poll showed that most people still inform themselves by reading newspapers.  Well now we have the Fox News version of print journalism right here in the Duke City.  I bet if the job market for journalists didn't suck so bad right now that there would be no ethical folks left at the paper.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Someone at the NRA might want to comment on the fact that a semi truck full of military grade small arms ammunition was stopped at the border in Juarez.  The ammo was most likely headed for the violence fueled drug cartels in Mexico.  Surely, the ammo manufacturers who support the NRA should be returned their donations from this right wing organization.  It is nothing more than blood money.  Now, as my friend Rodger mentioned, what will get more attention from congress?  This story of lethal ammo or young men having sex with women in Columbia?

Of course if the money is returned then the NRA can no longer enable passage of state legislation on so called 'stand your ground' legislation that is fostered by the American Legislative Exchange Council.  That council recently had its funding pulled by major corporations because of its extreme right wing agenda.  Besides nurturing the gun nuts they also are pushing for laws that would turn over all public lands to the states.  Exxon/Mobil would use love to sink some wells in Yellowstone and Chaco Canyon don't you know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Campaign Surprises

I was somewhat astonished when I read that Martin Chavez was flattened by Eric Griego in the campaign fund raising game for the democratic congressional primary election race.  One of my golf buddies yesterday who is politically astute said he wasn't surprised.  He blamed it on "Marty Fatigue" and that it will be hard for him to overcome it.  I think there is some truth to that but I also think his long time bullying of people, invisible to the media, is another cause.  Of course, it isn't over until it is over and Eric Griego should not think it is.

Of course I was not surprised that Martin Heinrich blew away Hector Balderas in the last quarters fundraising.  Hector had done better for a while than many people expected, but that was the easy money.  Now that the polling is showing Heinrich's strength in the general election it will spell an end to Hector's fundraising.  Hector has run a good race so far, but it might be time to admit the inevitable and save his money for a run for Attorney General or Governor in a couple of years.  I would help him with that as would a lot of Martin's supporters  because Hector has not succumbed to the negative campaigning that is so prevalent these days.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

I marvel that everyone gets upset over the slaughter of horses but not steers.

I think it all comes down to one animal being pretty, and therefore more lovable, and the other being ungainly and ugly and therefore good to eat.  It is just a peculiar way humans categorize things.

I have always thought cows, with their big brown eyes, were kind of cute.

One time a classmate at Our Lady Fatima school in the fifth grade wanted to trade my bologna and cheese sandwich for his hamburger.  I made the deal and then after devouring the burger he told me it was made from horse meat.  He was Canadian.  I was freaked and got over it quickly.  I have never partook of horse meat again.  Can't say the same for beef.

We have cut our beef consumption by 90% in the last four months and I don't miss it at all.  Also, in my quest to lose weight it has been a big help.  I hit the 20 pound loss mark this week with the help of weight watchers online.  I feel pretty good and I am having to buy new clothes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Opening Night

We celebrated the tenth season at Isotopes Park baseball stadium.  That is the one we got funded and built during my term as Mayor.  It is turning a very good profit for the city.

The team honored the Back in Baseball Committee that worked so hard on the project.  Rodger Beimer was a real force on the committee.

Bobbi and I enjoyed the game.

Our friends Wayne and Ruth Glass came in from L.A. for the opener.  He is an avid baseball fan and spent a lot to time as a kid at Tingley Field watching the Dukes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Heather's High Bidders

Former Congresswoman Heather Wilson, who was a bush/cheney war enabler, is now running for the US Senate and has put out a call to all high bidders to pour money into her treasury.  As my friend Roy pointed out this morning she let it be known that the Republicans would fund TV buys for her to the tune of $3 million dollars.  Roy said this was an alert to Super Pacs that she was open for business and the time for payback from the right wing and defense industries donors that she held hands with during her years in Congress.  She is also open for business with the oil and gas industry super pacs too.  They will naturally gravitate towards her since her likely opponent Martin Heinrich cares about environmental issues and climate change.  She will be an enabler for the fossil fuel crowd on every issue.

I wonder how long the public will tolerate these super pacs.  Have American citizens forgotten how greed can destroy their way of life?  Or will all the frustration just burst forward in one giant upheaval in the body politic?  The next few years will be interesting.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The ever growing scandal at the GSA, General Services Administration, in the federal government should really make everyone angry.  It certainly angers me.  And you would think the GOP was going to have a stroke over the monumental waste of money on a conference in Las Vegas for agency employees.

I wonder where all of this outrage was during the run up and operation of the Iraq war.  Why was the GOP not then pulling their hair out over Halliburton's and Blackhawk's monumental rip offs of the American taxpayer and endangerment of US Servicemen?  Well, because the profiteers were essentially the republican party backers within the defense industry.

People forget things.  I even forget what I had for dinner last night.  But I don't conveniently forget major budget disasters and the Iraq war was one of them. That bush/cheney/rumsfeld conflict has now cost the American taxpayer three trillion dollars.  And that number is still growing.  All of this when taxes for the rich were slashed and an economic meltdown ensued.  We have to remember this kind of thing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I am in a quandary.  Since Rick Santorum dropped out I am beginning to think there is a god.  Until I realize we are left with Mitt Romney who wears magic underpants related to his religious beliefs, and then I know for sure  there isn't a god.  Or not a very good one.

A lot of candidates are no longer in a quandary due to the NM Supreme Court letting them stay on the ballot even though some nitpicking rules on petition signature gathering weren't followed.  The courts usually decide in favor of letting people vote on candidates.

This whole signature petition mess started decades ago when candidates were required to pay large amounts of money to file for an office.  The Supreme Court knocked that down, rightfully so, and the ability for anyone to easily run for office made apparent.  That year some lobbyists hanging out in the infamous "Bull Ring" bar in Santa Fe decided some cocktail waitress should run for the US Congress for New Mexico.  They got her to file for office.  She almost won.  Her name was Sparkle Plenty.  It was hilarious.  I wrote about this back in 2005.  I am pretty sure this is her picture.  After this debacle the whole petition process was started to make things more efficient.  Fat Chance.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Heat is On

The heat is on for both the state of politics in the USA and the planet earth's climate.  Even the climate change doubting and right wing oil money influenced Albuquerque Journal could not ignore the fact that the average temperature in the country for the first quarter was and epochal 8.6 degrees above normal.  That is a number that is numbing and just has to set even the worst science bashing republicans into a session of self doubt.

There is another number that will soon be talked about, and that is the amount of money that will be spent in the November elections.  Currently US Senate Candidate Martin Heinrich is blowing away his primary election competitors in the fund raising department.  (I just had a small fundraiser for him.)  His opponents just can't keep pace but they will doggedly do everything they can to weaken him.  Kind of like what the republican presidential primary is like.

But all of this is minor when you realize that the democratic victor in the primary will then have to square off against not only their GOP opponent but also the oil and gas funded Super-Pacs.  They will pump more money into the campaign to defeat any candidate that is not in lockstep with them than the candidates could ever raise.  All so they can keep strangling the planet with green house gases in order to keep their windfall profits and taxpayer subsidies at record levels.

Meanwhile, tucked away in the Journal is a story about how New Mexico is a leader for the generation of Solar energy.  The Solar Energy Industry Association has just released a new report that makes me proud of the ability of the state population's grasp of the usefulness of renewable energy.

Monday, April 09, 2012


The reporters at the Albuquerque Journal must shudder when they turn in their copy to be worked over by the right wing editor at the paper.  The usually solid and fair Mark Oswald wrote a story about the city of Las Vegas, NM passing an ordinance that prohibits oil and gas drilling and fracking with in the city limits.  Unless Oswald was forced to take an editorial stand in the story, my guess is the editors stuck in a phrase that, "the ordinance contains several provocative provisions" which were meant to protect water and ecosystems.  That's provocative?  While they might say this in an editorial I don't think I have ever seen it used in this way in a story.  But of course the Albuquerque Journal somehow, (or perhaps someone) has been unduly influenced by the oil and gas industry in this state.  Maybe some brave journalist, with in the organization or outside of it can get to the bottom of it.  It is just plain bizarre.

I have a great idea.  I think the Journal publisher  should allow a drilling rig in his back yard and a compressor station in his front yard to see how he likes it.  And when they are done there they can go to the editor's front and back yard and do the same.  They really have no idea of the hell they would live through.  Maybe they could just go live within a quarter mile of those operations for six weeks and get an idea.

Meanwhile a Journal reporter was picked up for a DUI and the paper wrote a story about it.  How could they not do so?  I feel they did the right thing.  Now that might be provocative.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


The American Legislative Exchange Council, a right wing group that is funded by BP, Exxon, Shell and Mobil with the help of the Koch brothers is aiming to have the state legislatures in the west claim ownership of federal public lands.  The are drafting legislation for western legislatures to claim that those public lands really belong to the states. They feel that the feds stole it.  This is insanity of course so naturally the legislature in Utah has passed the law and the governor signed it there.  Watch for it to rear its  head in New Mexico.

Now think of coal mines and oil rigs in Chaco Canyon.

Now think of oil rigs in in the Valles Caldera.

Now think of hard rock mineral mines in the Sandia Mountains wilderness.

Now think of the red rock wilderness of Southern Utah destroyed by All Terrain Vehicles.

The list could go on forever.  The rich oil companies are investing billions to eradicate our national treasures and landscapes.  It is almost too much to comprehend.

Thanks to the blog 'Bubba Munster' for reminding me of this.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

GOP to NM.."Go To Hell"

The budget being bannered by the republican GOP Congress is really a 'go to hell' message for New Mexico.  The Land of Enchantment depends on federal funds for a good part of its employment base.  It depends on safety net funded federal dollars to help alleviate poverty in our state and on our native american lands.  It is great to see Obama, who really knows little of the west, at least pushing back strongly on that budget.

I am so apathetic when it comes to hearing about the GOP presidential primary.  Surely more that half of the voter population could care less.  People will perk up when the clownish republicans finally settle on one candidate.  I know I will.

I marvel at how attorneys in the reapportionment court cases in New Mexico are ripping off the public coffers for suing over minor moves of district lines in districted political races.  Some democrats and republicans are soaking us while ignoring the fact that their actions in draining the treasury just make it harder to give assistance to the disabled and poverty stricken in New Mexico.  One wonders if they really have a conscience.  I hope the judge in the cases cuts their  billing claims by 90%.  Millions of dollars could be saved.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Last night one of the major stories on KOB Eyewitness News was one about the reality show 'Dancing with the Stars".  When I see this kind of journalism I do really think that the movie Hunger Games is not so far fetched.  That movie shows the reality show where young people are forced to compete and kill each other for a stupefied audience.  Journalism on local TV is dead, dead, dead.  How can these anchors, who know better, just sit there and barf out these news stories.  Here is a story they should be doing, given we are an oil producing state where petro dollars will be poured in to defeat progressive candidates.

Spring Time

It rained all night here in Albuquerque and this morning it turned into a wet snow.  Just last week we were all in shorts and sweating around the golf course.  This is much needed moisture and hopefully my Petunias will come through it all right.

Monday, April 02, 2012


Bobbi and I went to see "The Hunger Games" tonight.  I had not read the novels but the reviews were pretty good and I like the young actress who did such a great job in "Winter's Bone."

The movie, a kind of scifi dystopian story, has been debated on who are the bad guys.  Its about America. Liberal vs. conservatives.  I am here to tell you that the good guys, coal miner stock, are probably the liberals. The bad guys could be led by Rick Santorum and especially Mitt Romney. Kind of out of touch types.

I guess I will have to read the next two novels to see what happens.  The story is interesting.  Three novels of rage.


I have been watching the seemingly endless parade of legislators who are trying to keep their opponents off the ballot with asinine lawsuits revolving around nominating petitions not having a number on them.  What a bunch of gutless rubes!  Get in there and practice politics of the ballot box instead of getting lawyers to evade giving people a vote.  Its bad enough that most legislators don't even have opponents.

The parade of the bizarre continues in the community of Sunland Park in southern New Mexico.  After the debacle of the last city election in which the winner of the Mayor's race was arrested and not allowed to take office after blackmailing his opponent, we now find out the last Mayor took a road trip to Washington, DC on 'official business' but missed all of his appointments because he got lost in the big city.  It cost that poverty stricken town almost $2500.  It might be time for the local government's division of the State of NM finance department to take over the administration of that city.  And quickly.

The Albuquerque Journal is opining today that it would be wrong to keep politicians from speaking on public school campuses.  I agree with them.  However, back in 2001 when I was running for reelection as Mayor I gave a speech at Monte Vista Elementary School in the north east heights and was immediately assailed by the Journal for misusing public school property.  Oh!  That's right!  I was a democrat and opponent of urban sprawl so naturally I was a subversive to the then emerging right wing Journal editorial board.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Begging the Question

The Albuquerque Journal had a very small snippet about the water line break yesterday.  No pictures since their photo department is somewhat diminished.

So, no one in the media will ask the question that is on my mind and the ones of the residents in the area where this occurred.  That is, why was there an attempt to spend $50 million with no vote on a new Paseo del Norte interstate exchange when the existing infrastructure in many parts of the city is failing due to old age?

It is easy to see the damage wrought on the Media Arts Charter School by the hydraulic stresses on the building.

I was told this water line was installed in the 1950s.  The crews could not find the correct size sleeve to put on the pipe because it was so old.

I have commented many times that the infrastructure in the heart of the city was being ignored in favor of subsidizing  new development.  We tried to halt that when I was Mayor with a quarter cent tax to rehab the transportation system with in the older parts of the city while also increasing public transit.  It was effective.

It is all a balancing act of course and Mayor Berry is faced with difficult decisions just like other Mayors.  But the public has a voice in these matters too and that opportunity comes at the ballot box on bond issues.  That is why an end run on no vote on Paseo was wrong.  Especially with Rio Rancho and Sandoval County not wanting to help.