Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don't Look for the Big Ideas

The upcoming Mayor's race will certainly lack one thing.  The "Big Idea".  "The Vision Thing."  "A Futurists View."  The Mayor has demonstrated he is incapable of even one large idea that will positively affect the City of Albuquerque.  He can't even keep our existing parks from drying up and blowing away.

Pete Dinelli's candidacy announcement didn't revolve on future projects that would make this a better city.  He was just concerned about the settling of lawsuits.

I wonder if New Mexico will no longer produce politicians that are capable of the whole vision thing.  Bill Richardson could do it with the Rail Runner and Space Port.  Yeah they were expensive but they will pay many dividends in the future.  Just like the Isotopes Stadium and a refurbished and now politically abandoned city core thanks to Marty Chavez and Mayor Berry.

Governor Martinez has not shown one iota of originality in making this state's future look brighter.  Where are her grand ideas?  There are none.

So, in the upcoming Mayoral and Governor's race let's start demanding a few grand projects from the candidates.  If they need some ideas because they can't think of any then I and any number of people could help.  It isn't that hard and it is a lot more fun than raising money for Super Pacs.

Here is a quickie for Pete Dinelli.  Let's get serious about an all purpose arena for downtown.

Here is one for the Governor's candidates.  How about an economic development project that makes New Mexico the center of renewable energy component manufacturing in the United States.  If the Governor of Alabama can travel to see Airbus and successfully get them to locate in his poor state, then why not have our Governor make some overt efforts too?


J said...

The comparison between Alabama and New Mexico is an apt one, and one that I've been mulling on recently. I lived in ABQ as a child and am hoping to retire to the area in a few years. But for the last 25+ years I've lived in Alabama. The commonalities are many: net recipients of federal dollars, wealth concentrated in a few (in NM - ONE) urban areas, pervasive rural poverty and lack of services, minimal safety net, low-scoring public schools, tourism component (beach vs. pueblo), heavy behind-the-scenes control by business interests (timber/farming vs. oil/gas), an under-educated workforce and populations that don't seem to be able to demand the best from their leaders.

Both states lack the "regional office"-type jobs that instead land in Atlanta or Phoenix/Dallas. Both states lack appeal for corporate headquarters seeking to relocate, and have trouble holding on to the home-grown companies as they go through mergers.

Alabama has had some success in the last twenty years, though, with auto manufacturing and aerospace/steel (the aforementioned Airbus). Much of that can be attributed to things that NM can't match: infrastructure (Port of Mobile, multiple large-site possibilities with convenient rail/interstate), a central Southern location, and the extremely pro-business bias of the Old South.

New Mexico can't fix the logistics piece, but it can fix the pro-business piece. And the one major thing it has on Alabama? People from other places want to live in New Mexico. They're intrigued by the possibilities of the place (nobody's intrigued by Alabama, except by maybe the beach). The weather, the history, the "freedom". But the people who make the move to NM are typically very young and obligation-free (so are comfortable living on the margins) or retired, bringing pension/retirement savings. NM needs to learn how to be a draw to the folks in the middle, which means it needs to beef up both education and jobs. Easier said than done, I know. But if NM could capitalize on it's intrinsic appeal, and focus on growing and/or poaching just the right type of employers it could work wonders.

I really enjoy your blog, Mr. Baca. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Since my dad retired to Albuquerque in '63, I've heard how NM is just one more big project away from economic nirvana. What we have is still a poor state, with a poorly educated workforce. California got a huge boost from decades of free education. Now it is trashing it's education system, and bringing in foreign workers to fill the gap, at cheaper rates.
NM doesn't have sea ports or a lot of natural resources, so education is critical. But the elites have determined that only the well off should have education. I went to the old Albuquerque TVI back in the '70's and learned a skill that kept me employed for over 30 years. The tuition for in state residents was free. I paid a lot of taxes and made good wages in those decades, so the state got more than it's money back. Now we have an expensive community college, where students find out how bad their High school education was, and a huge shortage of jobs. Add to this the need for a car due to sprawl, and young people probably see the economy here as hopeless.
I don't see any way out of this in the short term. It looks really bad for young people.

Anonymous said...

As far as Richardson goes, the average New Mexican would never be able to afford a $10,000 cost for a spaceport ride; the Railrunner costs went way over budget; and Richardson's popularity slumped from 74% to 41% by the time he was out of office mostly due to scandal and controversy over "pay to play".

While Martinez may not be showing much in forwarding New Mexico economically, Richardson left the state as one of the highest corruption administrations.

Anonymous said...

An arena downtown? Ugh not again please....that and Marty's trollies and Berry's beach....gag.

Anonymous said...

Those last two anonymous comments are representative of the republican party view. they are silly and childish and represent the can't do philosophy of the GOP in making NM a better place to live.

Anonymous said...

Heather Wilson said she loved NM and now even she can't find a job. She was on the short list for dean in North Dakota

Anonymous said...

No they are not, has the RailRoadRunner turned a profit? No. has the spaceport? No. And believe me, the fringe Republicans running this state are a disgrace. But spending money on public trinkets like beaches and arenas are a stupid use of funds. Invest in economic growth not stupid infrastructure that has no market.

Anonymous said...

earth to stupid republicans.....government provides services and amenities...not profits. You folks don't even understand that do you. By your philosophy there would be no mass transit, museums, schools, etc because they don't provide profits. And of course you would hate libraries, because there is knowledge there. and what use is knowledge if there are no profits? You folks are still living in the dark ages.

Bubba Muntzer said...

The Republican vision as far as I can tell is where everyone can live up to their potential to attack Bill Richardson.

That's in practice. In theory it's to create a situation where we have the opportunity to live up to our individual potential, so we can have a nice life. We achieve this by letting individual initiative flourish - that whole entrepreneurial spirit thing, get government off the backs, and it transfers this theory to the schools. Let Charter Schools experiment with innovative ways.

On the street, where people are less worried about how to get rich and more about making it to the next paycheck, this plays out by making people unlikely to want to think about long range problems, such as the education system.

The commenter above didn't mind paying a good share of his or her income in taxes, a lot of which goes to education. She or he at least acceded to the taxes, in part, at least, because they had a good income.

On some level they had to approve of what government did with their money. We all have to. A leader has to connect with people on that unconscious level, so that they permit government to spend money, and build new schools. Part of this is to create the vision, and part is to allay any unconscious misgivings. The commenter's misgivings were allayed in part, it would seem, because she or he didn't face economic insecurity every day.

In practice, on the street, the Republican philosophy can't do that. It can only do the opposite. Which is fine as a point of argument, but Democrats need to keep in mind that to whatever extent we go along with the promotion of individuality we are feeding into people's insecurities; whatever extent we don't promote the idea that we're all in this together and can rely on each other if times get hard, that we won't starve and lose our houses and get thrown out of our apartments.

Democrats must foster community, and collectivity, the opposite of the Republican philosophy. Governor Martinez and whoever comes after her would eventually have go along with this mindset, if it's what the people were thinking.

Central to the Democrats' task, then, is to reverse the massive redistribution of wealth upward that has occurred over the past 30 years, so that people don't mind chipping in for the schools.

Anonymous said...

Sunlight to retarded liberals, public enterprise projects need sustainability. Plz come out of the cave.

Anonymous said...

The guys who call liberals retarded must never have needed to use a bus. What a jerk.