Monday, March 31, 2014

In the Streets

I can't remember the last time that citizens took to the streets in Albuquerque to vent against the state of things.  It many ways it was refreshing to see people motivated enough to come out yesterday to smell the tear gas.  But as one of my readers Dan Klein said, there is more to this.  Here is the retired police officer's essay.  I don't agree with all of it, but it is very thought provoking.

                        The media and public are demanding for someone to "fix" APD.  Well if we want a real fix to the issues at APD we need to look deeper at our community as a whole.  As a retired APD officer with a background in Criminal Justice I hope this article will get our community and police department back on solid ground.

                        The problems at APD are best described as a four-legged stool.  The first leg is the well documented mismanagement of APD over the last ten years.  This period of time has seen millions in judgments against APD, scandals and no one in authority holding the Chief and others in Command Positions accountable.  So the first leg is a mismanaged police department.

                        The second leg in this mess belongs entirely to the community and our elected leaders.  This leg has to do with making it illegal to be poor, homeless and mentally ill in our community.  A good example of this is the Albuquerque City Council who have made it against the law for anyone to park their car with the purpose of living out of it.  I doubt this law was written to impact anyone living in Tanoan.  This law is specific to the poor, homeless and mentally ill.  Council Benton wants APD to enforce this law.  Thank goodness APD has so far refused.  But the Boyd shooting was a direct response to a homeless person living in a camp in the Foothills.  I guess it is easier if the homeless live in other places, not where we can see them.  Since when did it become illegal to be poor?  Benton and others make being poor illegal because they don't want to deal with them.  The make a law, send the police and then express shame, sadness, surprise and outrage that the officers end up in a confrontation with these people.  Well the shame belongs to us and our elected leaders.  Being poor shouldn't be against the law.  We only set our police up for failure when we create and demand enforcement of such ludicrous laws.

                        The third leg is our economy and lack of mental health and homeless support.  The media has already reported on how bad our economy has been.  In this horrible economy the only engine running is usually alcohol and drugs.  New Mexico is last in the nation in Child Welfare.  It seems our business community and government officials have no idea how to get our economic engine running again.  Add to this Governor Martinez temporarily shutting down mental health providers last year, leaving thousands of mentally ill New Mexicans with no place to turn.  She should have thought this through and had a back up plan to support these people.  Instead the mental health providers were shut down and the police were left to deal with them and their crisis.  No help for children, no help for our economy and no help for the mentally ill.

                        The fourth leg of this broken stool is known as "community based policing".  Everyone loves this phrase yet know one knows what it means, how to do it and what the implications might be.  In Albuquerque it was decided that APD would the the "go to" people for all problems with the community.  This sounds nice but this should never have been the mission of APD.  By having APD become the go to people, officers are tasked with dozens of problems that they should not be dealing with.  From overgrown weeds in yards, to homeless people living in campgrounds or cars, to substandard buildings the list goes on and on.  And once again we all act shocked when police officers deal with these issues and then it goes terribly wrong.  The community needs to decide, what do you want the mission of APD to be?  Then don't deviate from this mission.  Right now APD is a jack of all trades and as we have seen a master of none.

                        This isn't written to make anyone feel bad.  I am writing this because I see an opportunity for Albuquerque to right the ship and lead the nation into the next century of policing.  We can do this by first giving APD a narrow, clearly defined mission.  By electing city and county officials who will hold all levels of APD accountable, and the community holding these elected officials accountable when they vacate their responsibility.  By not enacting laws that are discriminatory, such as against poor, homeless and mentally ill people.  By creating programs within the government and community to help these people in need, not punish them.  These programs should be run and managed by city departments that do not answer to APD and do not use APD personnel.  These programs need to be run by the experts in social work, mental health and child welfare.  They should only call in APD when a crime has or is about to occur.  The governor and legislature should come in special session to address our economy, child welfare, homeless and mentally ill.  They need to create public sector departments who partner with the private sector, to fix these issues.  Lastly, the City of Albuquerque needs to embrace the entire community, including APD, and ask "What do you want your police department's mission to be?"

                        Dan Klein

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Questions

How much money did the Archdiocese of Santa Fe pay for purchase and renovation of a tax free residence with a view for the retiring archbishop?

How did the suspect who allegedly shot a police dog die after that confrontation?

Where was Mayor Berry over the last week during the firestorm on the police department shootings?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Conspiracy Theorists Awaken

This is an interesting view of weather radar from New Mexico on St. Patrick's Day this year.  Any guesses as to what caused it?

Where was Berry?

Where was Mayor Berry during the week that was?  First he was said to be traveling in Brazil on a trade mission.  Then he was said to be in Phoenix, except no word about that actually being true or accurate from the Mayor.  In fairness,  he was said to have a medical procedure and that could explain a secretive absence.  But, it is a close call on whether a Mayor's health issue is a public concern.  Because of the current chaos he really needs to let people know.

And, I am still waiting for a report on how that other suspect died last week after allegedly shooting the police dog.  If he wasn't shot to death by police, how did he die?  By his own hand?  Or by the police?

Leaderless Response

Just like the so called 'Occupy' movement that went no where, so will this group 'Anonymous' who have threatened cyber warfare against the Albuquerque Police Department.  These idiots are managing to take attention off the police department and put it on themselves.  And all they will do is take taxpayer resources away to protect computer files and systems instead of fixing our broken and shattered public safety program in the Duke City.

The 'Occupy' movement did nothing more that set  up overnight campsites.  No leaders came forth to make that well intentioned mob into a real political force.  The same can be said for "Anonymous' because we don't even know who they are.  Maybe 16 year old computer nerds in the Balkans?  Who knows?

And now all political candidates are following the public outcry.  They are condemning the APD shootings a week or two late after taking their toes out of the water.  Some leadership!  Attorney General Gary King says his department will investigate the shootings.  Where has he been over the last two years?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another Video

Another video shows APD officers shooting a man last night on his front porch. He died this morning.  It appeared he was talking on a cell phone.  And in an editorial today the Albuquerque Journal seems to be protecting the Mayor by saying he has acted properly in calling for more investigation of the department.  No matter that he was on a spring break during the chaos following last weeks killing, and not on a trade mission to South America.  So, who ever said he was overseas was lying or incompetent.  Well, better late than never, but it is pretty late.

I have been talking with friends who know the work of the new police chief that Berry hired at the suggestion of the Martinez administration in Santa Fe.  He was one of her cabinet officers.  They say he is nothing more than an accomplished bureaucrat and not ready for primetime in a major metropolitan police department leadership role.  Most think he has no business there.

Mayor Berry should just admit it and ask him to go.  Then go out and find someone who can fix this department.  And finally again, how about the guy who allegedly shot the police dog?  He is dead but no one has explained how he died.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Home on the Oxbow

This is a must read article from Chuck Wellborn on the goings on in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and their treatment of the parishioners at the Aquinas Newman Center at UNM.

And he  has let the cat out of the bag on the purchase and renovation of a new home on Alamogordo NW for Archbishop Sheehan's retirement home.  This is the second home on that west side street with a view that the Archdiocese owns.  In fact, I did a little search that shows there are over 130 properties listed as owned by the Archdiocese on the tax rolls.  Except they pay no taxes on them.  Oh that we all could have a retirement home without property tax.

I know folks who have dedicated a good part of their lives to the church.  At retirement they have little to show for their acts of selflessness.  But as anywhere, rank has its privileges.


We have heard the police dog is recovering from another incident in which a suspect died last week after being pursued by APD.  We know the dog was shot but APD still isn't saying how the suspect died.  They just said he wasn't shot.  Will someone remember to ask that question until it is answered?

The march from the Alvarado Transportation Center  to City Hall is still scheduled tonight to protest APD's continued violent solutions to confrontations.  I hope there is a very large turn out.  If there isn't, then time will cover up this killing in the foothills.  Somewhat like the Mayor, new political Police Chief, and city council now belatedly covering themselves from the outcry of the citizens.

On another issue, if I were an employee of Channel 13 I would be very worried that the sale of their TV stations is being closed.  The company buying them is reportedly paying a 68% premium over stock value to their current owners.  That means lots of cost savings in the future.  Anyone with a salary above a certain level will be fired and replaced with someone willing to work for poverty level wages.  And the real danger is that the new owners own so many media outlets and are just getting bigger and bigger.  Corporate controlled journalism is growing.

This sale shouldn't be allowed to happen.  The FCC should deny the transfer of these licenses.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Changing a Tune

In 2011 the City Council wanted the Mayor to call in the Justice Department to look at the Police Department.  He vetoed their bill.  See this to see the veto message.

And who will ask the hard questions of the Mayor, his APD Chief, and his CAO.  Certainly not the local TV station reporters who looked like kiddie show hosts in their interviews.

As one of my commenters said, "Just saw Berry's interviews on Channel 13 and Channel 4 and very pathetic, not just for him, but for the stations and its reporters. Berry look uncomfortable, his eyes puffy and his voice cracked in one interview. No hard questions at all by the reporters. No questions as to how much he,Perry and Eden were in the know last week nor why top APD management did not have better control of the situation. No questions asked if he intends to discipline or hold Eden accountable for his quick judgment that the shooting was justified or if he regrets appointing Eden. No questions on Perry's role. No questions as to where was Berry all week. Berry referring the case to Justice is a joke seeing that it no doubt will be looking at the case anyway."

Out of the Bunker

The Mayor held one on one sessions today with reporters on the killing of that mentally ill man in the foothills by APD.  He seems to be afraid of  reporters in packs….not just up to it and wants to be in control I guess.  And of course the journalists go right along in being controlled.

But after a week of silence he has agreed that the shooting was 'unsettling.'  He has asked the Justice Department to look into it.

My guess is that his week of silence has backfired on him.  His advisors really screwed this one up and his own inclinations, if he had any, will just be invisible to us.  I can tell you that he is in a world of stress right now.  He is taking it on the chin while most of the city council hides in the bushes.

None of them are going to see this issue die out very soon.

Send a Message Correction

The public is getting angry, all the way around, in Albuquerque.  Hopefully, a public protest in downtown Albuquerque at 6pm Tuesday(correction from earlier post)  evening might get the Mayor and City Council out of their bunkers to talk about the murder of the homeless and mentally disturbed man by police.  The Mayor hasn't uttered a peep in over a week.  It shows a lack of responsibility, but then again maybe he is afraid of our assault rifle toting cops.  Hell, they even have armored cars these days.  A military unit rather than a community police and service force.

The protest will start a 6pm at the Alvarado Transportation Center at 1st and Central and then move to the Civic Plaza.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


In a followup story in the Journal this morning only one city elected official had any comments on the murder of the homeless man in the foothills by APD.  Councillor Isaac Benton said he was concerned  after seeing the video and questioned the new police chief's defense of the shooting.

Meanwhile, the public has chimed in and they are not happy.  Soon, other elected officials will follow those comments with ones of their own.  Showing they are followers and not leaders.

And the Mayor, all the Journal could say was that he was out of town and not available for comment. Apparently he doesn't know how to use email or cell phones. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Come on Down

The Price is High.  Come on down.  That should be yelled to the Mayor Berry and Albuquerque City Council in the wake of the execution of a mentally ill man by APD in the foot hills of Albuquerque.  These city political leaders are absent from duty in fixing this police department.  They are probably being wary of warnings from the city attorney and CAO Rob Perry that anything they say could cost the taxpayers a bundle.  But that has been happening anyway.  But, the time has come for the councillors to start screaming bloody murder.  Because that is what happened to this homeless man.

So, what would I do if I were Mayor.  First off, this would not be happening because it I would never have let it go so far for so long.  I did not fear APD and was willing to tell then Chief Jerry Galvin that changes were needed.  The rank and file didn't care for me much and police officers would not even shake my hand for going against their wishes.  But the changes got made.  Then under my successor everything went back to the way it was.  The hiring binge to meet campaign promises brought in less than desirable recruits.  And here we are.

If I needed to deal with this current department I would ask the Department of Justice to come in and over see the operation of the department along with professional police associations.  They would have full authority to change anything that needed it.  Training, ongoing testing, and weeding out of trigger happy cops would all be part of the program.

The new police chief for the city said the shooting by assault rifles was justified.  Look at the video and see if you agree.  In fairness to this new chief he was presented with an unwinnable situation.  After coming in from outside the department he is faced with distrust by the rank and file.  I wonder what would have happened if he had said, 'this is troubling and we need to look into it.'  I know I would have felt better about him.

I write this about 9am this morning.  I can only assume that some leaders will come forth with some meaningful statements that promise change.

And compliments to the Albuquerque Journal for a great front page story today.  Like the professional journalists they should be.

Friday, March 21, 2014


The shooting of that camper by APD officers in the foothills of Albuquerque is disgraceful.  The video shows a deranged man surround by cops with assault rifles, shotguns, dogs and pistols.  He had no where to go.  He had two knives in his hand and was turning away when he was shot.  Then, they kept shooting bean bag rounds at him.   This video will put APD in the state of disgrace for a long time.  .  The Mayor needs to step up and take action.  None of us can trust these trigger happy cops.  You will be seeing this video everywhere soon.  No need to post it here.  Watching it once is enough.


The Albuquerque Journal did something they rarely do today.  They wrote a small item about former GOP Attorney General Hal Stratton going on the board of the extreme right wing Rio Grande Foundation.  This sort of leaves a clue to how the editor's rightwing standing influences the news.  When was the last time you saw a story about some one joining a moderate or left of center foundation board?  This particular foundation is infamous for having baseless opeds run on the paper's editorial page.  The essays are so blatantly devoid of facts that it is embarrassing.

The Legislative Finance Committee today said that remedial courses for struggling college students are ineffective and that standards for our public schools must be tougher.  At the same time four New Mexico families have filed a suit to get the state to spend more money on education citing the requirements of the state constitution.  So, it is the LFC that recommends funding levels for the schools.  More is required than tougher standards.  Increased funding would be one thing to do.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Governor Martinez is putting the hurt on her own state employees.  The corporate sponsored republican has now decided that she wants to weaken state employee unions by stopping dues deductions on state paychecks.

Doesn't she have something better to do?  Perhaps, as my friend Rodger suggested, she should climb into the state's tourism bus and go to Tesla headquarters and set up shop.  Greet employees.  Hand out brochures.  And maybe corner the CEO in the parking lot to offer him a bowl of green chile stew.

But no, she will spend time and political capital on screwing working people.

Life is too short.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Twenty Years Later

Garage Makeover from James Baca on Vimeo.

We finally cleaned out our garage.  I helped by taking a time lapse movie.  It really helped.  Right?  By putting this on my blog one of my best friends would say I am narcissistic.  But anyone who has a blog or facebook page are anyway.  I mean what does one need with college text books when one is approaching 70.  Stuff you always wanted to save until you realized that you haven't looked at it or even remembered you had it since the 70's.  So it is gone and now we have a garage so clean we don't want to park our cars in it.  Life is strange.  We find out the big bang beginning of the universe is for real and we worry about our slum garage.

I need to go put this movie on my facebook page.


I was thinking yesterday of a great SciFi book series "Cities in Flight" by James Blish.  It was about the far future where entire cities could be sent into space to look for work in the expanding human colonies.  Most of the Earth cities were impoverished and had to compete for work on other planets.  They were willing to do just about anything in order to find revenues to feed their populations.

This reminds me of the fight over the Tesla battery factory by the states.  They too are willing to do just about anything to get those jobs.  The big difference here is that New Mexico is in the crapper economically while its competitors are in pretty good shape.  So, Governor Martinez, who has been asleep at the switch for three years on economic development, has finally stirred and said she is willing to call a special session of the legislature to do whatever she can to get the plant located in the Land of Enchantment.  It is about time.

Bobbi and I were captivated by the original Carl Sagan series "Cosmos" back in the 70's.  The new version airing on about half a dozen channels is excellent also.  It is my hope that every school in America show this series in Science classes.  And if the fundamentalists who believe the earth is 6000 years old don't show it in their schools it shows the weakness in their beliefs.

Monday, March 17, 2014


I mis-identified the reporter in my post from yesterday.  Stupid me.  It was Michael Coleman that was miffed.  Not James Monteleone.  My mistake and apologies to anyone's sensitivities.  I edited the post!

The Big Cash

The cash machine is being turned on by corporate America for the republican party in New Mexico once again.  No big surprise there, but one can see the real motivations here as you see this money moving down the ballot to the Secretary of State contest.

The Virginia based Republican State Leadership Committee will be sending money to defeat democrat Maggie Tolouse Oliver in her bid to oust republican Dianna Duran in hopes that they can continue to use Duran to suppress the vote of poor people and minorities.  This committee is helped along by it's co-chair Governor Susana Martinez.  It is shameful and embarrassing.

The Secretary of State's race may be the most important statewide contest this year.  If people are to be allowed to vote without hassles and intimidation then Maggie must be elected.  I am not talking about the issue of showing an ID at voting time.  That doesn't bother me so much.  But making it hard for people to register to vote or messing around with unnecessary paperwork and voting time would have a real effect on the working poor.  This is what the republicans aim to do with Duran.

Send every dime you can to Maggie Tolouse Oliver to help her beat down corporate interference in our democracy.  You can find her website here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dear Michael

Michael Coleman of the Albuquerque Journal, usually pretty factual, was miffed this morning because Senator Martin Heinrich did not return his calls.  He wanted to talk to him about the CIA's kerfuffle with the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Heinrich had shown some real courage on taking on the spy agency.  See my last post.

So, Michael, I am sorry you were  stiffed on the story.  But you must understand that any politician who isn't a fossil fuel loving, fundamentalist christian crazy, and rightwing war monger just can't trust the Albuquerque Journal Editor who will twist the facts that the otherwise decent reporters gather.  Yes, it is getting that bad and everyone knows it.  Any communication with that publication turns into a right wing rant on the editorial page.

I feel sorry for these few remaining journalists who rattle around the largely empty newsroom.  They take the brunt of the outrage.

Having said that, the Journal has been doing some interesting and informative journalism lately.  But they didn't involve politics.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Heinrich Interview

This transcript of Senator Martin Heinrich on the Diane Rehm show on NPR is worth reading.  It points out he is not afraid to take on the CIA.


Thank you so much for having me and thank you for covering this issue.


And as a member of the Intelligence Committee, what did you think about those remarkable statements that Sen. Feinstein made on the senate floor Tuesday? Do you agree with what she was saying?


Well, I think it was really important for her to do what she did and sort of set the factual record straight so we could have a conversation about some of the constitutional principles involved here, particularly the separation of powers and I very appreciate at the beginning of this show, you reminded listeners that this goes back to not just the recent revelations and the back and forth between the committee and that CIA, but this is really about this detention and interrogation report.


It has been incredibly difficult to get that report out. It's been slow-walked for years. And I think that is going to be a very important piece of our history and we're going to make sure that that comes out as quickly as possible. And finally, I'd just say, you know, that the Senate Intelligence Committee's job is to oversee the CIA, not the other way around.


And, you know, the things that Sen. Feinstein outlined in her statement, which I believe to be factual, have caused some of us, myself included, to really lose confidence in Director Brennan.


Now, you voted to confirm John Brennan in 2013. Do you regret that vote now?


I think it was a mistake.


Do you think other...


And I don't take that statement lightly.


Do you think other senators who voted for his confirmation would agree with you, that it was a mistake to confirm him for that post?


I don't want to speak for my colleagues, but I think there is real concern over a relationship that Director Brennan stated he understood that there was a great deal of mending that needed to be done to make that relationship work to the best of both the CIA and the Intelligence Committee. And unfortunately, the chasm has done nothing but widen under his leadership.


Now, we heard President Obama yesterday back up John Brennan basically in brief comments that he made about this controversy. Does he bear some of the responsibility as well?


Well, I think the executive is always responsible for their cabinet secretaries and their appointees, but I think, you know, the relationship that I've had with this administration has been incredibly positive with a few very specific exceptions. And the relationship with Director Brennan is the most obvious and difficult exception.


Now, why do you think the CIA's making such an effort to prevent the contents of this document that's in question, the so-called Panetta review document, from being revealed?


Well, I think it's really important that we put a very dark period in our history behind us. And unfortunately, this report will probably open up some old wounds and certainly looks very closely at the agency's role in all of that. But I think it's going to be critical for us to be able to learn from our past mistakes and to be able to put some of those things behind us.


You know, I'm one that believes that some of these methods equate to torture and we need to understand where they effective, were they not effective. There's been a lot of misinformation in my view out there on some of those issues and this report will help put this, hopefully, put this era in our history behind us.


Is the Senate Intelligence Committee determined to release this report publically, including references to the Panetta report?


I can't say what's in or out of the report. I am absolutely committed to seeing this report declassified and shared with the public so that the public can make their own determinations based on the facts. And I think that you saw from Senator -- Chairman Feinstein's statement on the floor that she is also very committed to that.


That makes me optimistic that it will happen. Certainly, the current back and forth has, once again, slowed that process down. But I think I don't see any putting the genie back in the bottle on this one. I certainly hope not.


And Senator, just one last question. The CIA says it didn't do anything wrong. It's asked the Justice Department to investigate your committee. We hear Sen. Feinstein says she thought that was an effort at intimidation. Is that how you view it?


I think it's, once again, sort of an effort to muddy the waters here. There's certainly no moral equivalency between, you know, potentially breaking a rule or an agreement and on the other side violations of executive orders, statute and ignoring the Constitution. I think what's most important, once again, and I'm comfortable with a very thorough review of all the facts, I think that's critical if we're going to get to the bottom of this.


But once again, I think we need to return to fact that at the end of the day, we're going to fight to make sure that this report comes out because that's what all of this relates back to.


Senator, thanks so much for joining us on "The Diane Rehm Show."


Thank you for having me.

Much Ado About Nothing

Governor Susana Martinez vetoed money that State Land Commissioner Ray Powell wanted to help with efforts in getting the Feds to turn over unwanted BLM lands to New Mexico.  He wants more lands to help fund early childhood education.

This is all meaningless.  The Feds won't just give land to the State Land Office.  They aren't allowed to do so.  They do participate in land trades.  That is the best route to follow.  And any lands that Powell might trade for would not be valuable and spin off any real revenue.  Except maybe lands around Dona Ana County and Santa Teresa.  And that land would be traded on a value to value basis. It wouldn't be a give away.

If Ray wants to continue his effort he should just tap his own State Land Maintenance Fund for the money he wants.  It is possible.  That is the way I got preliminary planning money for Mesa Del Sol in the early 80's.  No one in the legislature cared.  And it would be a shot across the Governor's Bow to challenge the immense constitutional powers of the Land Commissioner.  Probably not Ray's style and he has milked this pretty good for a campaign issue.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


It is really pretty amazing that our legislature continually rolls over for big business.  Yesterday I was thinking how Texas and Arizona had screwed themselves out of contention for the Tesla Battery Factory by not allowing direct sales of Tesla cars with in their borders.  Today we find out that the same is true for the Land of Enchantment.  The big car dealers, like all big  business, just have their way with our lawmakers in protecting themselves from competition.  It may not be a showstopper for our state given that we don't pass crazy laws on abortion and against gay citizens.  Texas and Arizona won't be looked favorably on by the modern and left of center Tesla company executives.  So, it may just come down to New Mexico and Nevada.  Here is hoping we can compete.  My money would be on southern NM with its new rail transportation hub near Santa Teresa.  I really want to buy one of those Tesla cars.  When they start mass production of a cheaper version I will get one.  My roof top solar panels can fuel it!

We are in an age of constant surveillance.  That is why I am intrigued about the missing Malaysian airliner.  How can it just disappear without a clue?  This may be one of our future urban legends and the subject of SciFi movies.  Remember the "Maria Celeste?"

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


We all owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Martin Heinrich and Senator Tom Udall for being resolute in holding the CIA accountable for domestic spying.  Our New Mexico Senators probably had a hand in Senator Diane Feinstein taking the spy agency to the woodshed yesterday for spying on Senate computers and staff.  Heinrich was an early alarm system for the unfettered spying on our own citizens.  It shows one more side of Heinrich.  He is not afraid to do the right thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


The Bloomfield city government, run by fundamentalist zealots, seems intent on proving that they will do anything to force their religious beliefs on the populace.  Their "monument" to the Ten Commandments is subterfuge and it defeats their own arguments that they would not force others to favor their religion.  It is almost comical.  It makes them liars, really.

Attorney General Gary King says he will stay in the race for Governor despite the humiliation of being left out at the Democratic Convention.  Sometimes, we all live in a bubble of one sort or another.  I have not talked to a single voter in the last few days that thinks he can win the Primary or General election.  I am not trying to be malicious here.  Just realistic.

The Albuquerque Journal has been somewhat readable the last few days.  I especially enjoyed their story on Juarez, Mexico.  It was over due.  Their story today on the US Forest Service Drug Sweep at Taos Ski Valley was excellent.  Their editorial page still sucks.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Road Ahead

The pothole that is the pre primary nominating convention for the Democrats is behind us.  The road ahead is pretty much wide open for the candidates that got their 20% of the delegate votes.  However, for Gary King the road ended up in a brick wall.  The well known Attorney General son of Governor Bruce King is finished after a dismal showing at the convention.  If the convention is nothing more than an insider game then he really should have done better.  His laid back approach to campaigning and carrying out his official duties just isn't working and it might be time to bow gracefully out and support a candidate after the primary.  Senator Linda Lopez is also a candidate for that graceful effort and she can be content with the fact that she did better than Gary.

State Senator Howie Morales proved himself the insider at the convention.  He out organized the other candidates but now every thing will shift out of convention mode into real world mode.  Both Lawrence Rael and the anointed outside candidate Alan Webber eked out their ballot counts to get into the game .  Now, once again, the real campaign to get people to listen will begin.  Morales is an unknown to the average voter as is Webber.  Rael has some name i.d. of those left standing.  Really, anything can happen.

After a winner is announced following the primary election in June the realities of this race will settle in.  Just how much money can a Democrat raise in New Mexico for the Governor's race?  Probably no more than a million dollars.  Which means the democrat is going to have to show national appeal in trying to bring down the Corporate Queen Susana Martinez.  Her oil and coal boys and right wingers will fund her with what ever it takes to win.

I am thinking they will raise her more than 10 million if needed.  And that is the problem with politics today.  It is all money.

Some people think that you can point back to the infamous race of Phil Maloof for Congress, saying that money isn't everything.  He outspent his opponent greatly but still lost.  Mostly because he knew nothing about issues and the job of being a congressman.  It showed.  So his expenditure of money didn't really mean much.

But, this was all before our U.S. Supreme Court turned corporations into people with unlimited power to funnel money into campaigns.  They know how to use that money and that is what is at work in this Governor's race.  Meanwhile, the people sleep, oblivious to their being squashed by the 1 per centers.

Friday, March 07, 2014


We were chatting over coffee the other day about the 2016 general election.  We came to the conclusion that the media and the pols want to return to the 90's, and none of us thought that was a good idea.  The names of Clinton and Bush keep coming up.  The question is, do we want to go there?  Do we want to return to either of those dynasties?  Will this country just keep going back to the same old families and recycling?

Of course, we would support Hilary if she is the nominee for the democrats.  We would support anyone that isn't a republican.  But it might be time for a whole new crew to start running things.  Some one smart and not affiliated with the Tea Party, neo cons, or road blocking revenge artists.

As far as New Mexico races in 2014, the level of excitement three months from the Primaries is almost non existent.  The media seems content to put up puff pieces lauding the incumbents (republicans) and the democratic challengers for Governor seem to be wandering aimlessly looking for someone to listen to them.  All while the rightwing Albuquerque Journal editor does editorials weekly that practically canonizes republican office holders.

And the public sleeps.  Perhaps they should read "The Next America" by Paul Taylor of Pew Research.  Things are changing and it is time to stop looking backwards.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Pan to Fire

I mean really, Governor!  If a viral video of your police officers shooting at a van load of kids isn't enough to strain their reputation then why pile more credibility problems on?  Why would they want to keep changes to the training curriculum at the police academy a secret?

Susana, you have been pretty adept at controlling the media.  You only appear on your terms and the lame editor and reporters don't seem to ever go off script.  But they just couldn't ignore the secrecy on this issue and frankly cracks have appeared in you p.r. teflon.

And while we are at it, could we possibly get some transparency on the APD Academy curriculum?  It would be nice to see it some time too, if the Mayor could show some backbone in not rolling over for the cop shop.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Cast the First Stone

As we all lament the bizarre reasoning behind Putin's invasion of the Ukraine's Crimea we should stop and think.
  1. Afghanistan
  2. Iraq
  3. Panama
  4. Grenada
  5. Drones and missiles into Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.  At least.
As far as double standards go, our nation is the expert in their exercise.

Monday, March 03, 2014


If Governor Susana Martinez doesn't remind you of George Orwell's book, "1984", then you probably never read it.  She is trying to change history by rewriting what really happened in the just concluded legislative session by saying she supported a raise in the minimum wage.  Her "Big Brother" advisors from the right wing thought they could get away with it, but even the Albuquerque Journal cast a suspicious eye at that  assertion.  Not that anyone cares about her lying but it is nice to know she has not rewritten history to her advantage.

It looks like New Mexico is at the top of one list for the country.  That would be the number of nuts that we have.  The state's Pecan farmers harvested a record 75 million pounds of nuts this year as new orchards came on line.  It is a great cash crop that sells for almost $2 a pound.  Now, if you could remind those farmers of the amount of public money that went into building the irrigation works to help produce those nuts, that would be good.  And don't forget the Rural electrical projects of the 30's that brought power to these areas and the many types of subsidies that farmers receive in bad times.  Yes, they are hard workers and are efficient.  But everyone has helped with this success story.  I am hopeful that with these good prices and revenues that they have let their workers benefit.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


Two great New Mexico Pioneers passed away this weekend.  Dr. Henry Casso and Vicente Ximenez were in the vanguard of the civil rights movement in this country and helped Latino citizens realize their full rights.  I was fortunate to know them both.

I met Dr. Casso many years ago when he was working in public relations and I was a newsman at Channel 7.  Little did I know then that many years later I would hire his daughter Luisa as communications director for the Mayor's office.  She is now an executive with the Coca Cola Company.

I grew up knowing Vicente Ximenez.  He and his family lived just a block away from us in the close northeast heights of Albuquerque.  We were playmates of his children and saw him often.  Vicente was a founding member of the American GI Forum along with my uncle, Deacon Jaime Baca.  They fought hard for Latino war veterans rights and civil rights in general.

You can read Vicente's obituary here.   You can read Henry's obituary  here.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


As the war hawks scream for action of some sort on Putin's Russia marching into the Crimea, just think of one thing.  That would be the fact that the U.S. has troops in over one hundred and fifty countries around the world.  These hawks are so arrogant and have such a double standard that they won't connect the two issues.  They will now fight harder than ever to keep building tanks an combat planes that we don't need.

 Here is a nifty little chart to remind you where the militarists are supreme.  Click on it to make it large.