Saturday, February 28, 2015

Goes Around Comes Around

When I ran for my first elective office back in 1981 I won a primary election that was said to be un-winnable for me.  That culminated in my first term as State Land Commissioner.  I won the primary for a lot of reasons, but possibly the one that put me over the top was the Oil Pump Jack that had been placed in front of the Land Office by then Commissioner Alex Armijo.  He managed to estrange every voter in Santa Fe by this callous placement on one of the main entryways into the historical Plaza.  I was running against Armijo's picked successor, Oscar Jordan in the Democratic Primary.  He had the support of all of the extractive industry folks that normally plundered the Land Office due to low royalty rates and subsidized grazing fees.  But when the votes came in from Santa Fe and environs in the north that Primary election night, I beat the machine.  That pump jack that had sat in front of the Land Office won it for me.

Cicero said, "We learn nothing from history except we learn nothing from history."   Current right-winger Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn just decided he would remove the beautiful public art from the front of the land office and replace it with a pump jack.  A symbolic and yet real step backwards from a more enlightened era for the Land Office.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Two Inches

I sent this around to my son in upstate New York to prove that his home town is toughing it out.  He  probably wasn't to impressed as the snow in his front and back  yard has accumulated to about five feet in depth.

Yesterday I commented on the military style training DOE is providing to APD saying, "Who knew?"  I guess I did because this was supposedly going on during my term as Mayor.  I remember visiting the Police Academy many times, but I really don't remember visiting DOE's facility.  It  is quite possible I didn't know, but that was almost 20 years ago and can't be sure.  It is still a bad idea.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What?

Channel 13 just did a story on a lost chicken.  It really happened. This means that things in Dick Knipfing's old newsroom aren't to the point of throwing blows like at Channel 4.  It just means......  I don't know what it means.

APD/DOE

Albuquerque Police Officers are undergoing training at hard military tactics provided by the Department of Energy?  Who knew?  What good does it do to clean up APD's training program so that it will turn out public servant/officers when the DOE is giving them a 'kill em all' type of training?

Well, thank you Congresswoman Michele Grisham Lujan for asking DOE to cease such training for APD and local law enforcement.  As she points out, 28 fatal police shootings since 2010, might be indicative of too much macho regimens.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Definition Required

I have not commented much on the KOBTV anchorman/reporter to-do  in the newsroom.  This stuff happens often and I have said on facebook, jokingly, they were probably fighting over which lost dog story with smart phone video should be the lead story.  But only if there wasn't a sex related story to do first.

But a quote by the news director on the incident is very curious.  She said that 25 year veteran anchor man Tom Joles was having trouble getting used to a 'modern day newsroom'.   What the hell does that mean?  That is the real story here and it actually might redeem Joles in my view in the long run.  Of course it is really hard to tell what it was all about, but the news director should give us a definition of her idea of a modern day newsroom.

We all know local TV news is about as informative as a Guantanamo prisoner.  We get 90% junk with an occasional piece of journalism.  Such as Larry Barker's story on Hospital billing ripoffs on KRQE the other night.

And in the end it is kind funny to know that this all KOB stuff was made public by a newsroom employee sending off information to media gossip sites.  They have their own whistle blower!  Hah!

Misc.

The new cowboy promoter,  State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, has reportedly hired Jim Lane who mysteriously was shown the door  at the Game and Fish Department 15 months ago.  Lane who came from Kentucky to run the department was a great proponent of Coyote killing contests, trapping,  and other cowboy favoring issues.  But no one has been able to ferret out why he left Game and Fish after such a short tenure.  Were there some inappropriate behaviors involved?  Did Dunn check him out to see if they were serious problems?  And what will Lane's responsibility be at the Land Office?  Will he encourage Coyote killing contests on state trust land?  Or will he let leg traps, which as Commissioner in the 90's I forbade, be reinstated?  Dunn should state his positions on these issues to make them clear.

The legitimate hunting sportsmen with conservation values better watch this closely.  Here is a story by the Santa Fe Reporter about him. 

A reasonable compromise on a motorcycle helmet law would be that if a rider sustains a head injury in an accident then his insurance could deny payment for his care and no public funds could be expended in hospitals on the injured's behalf.   That sounds cruel, but I am not sure that riding without a helmet should victimize taxpayers or insurance policy rates.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lauren Villigran

The Journal's southern NM correspondent wrote an excellent Up Front Column today on the immigration and border security issues.  It is a dose of reality for all of those xenophobic Americans who think brown people from the south will kill us all.  Just look at some of the facebook comments on her column.  Gee, they don't think that way about Canadians.  I wonder why?

Essentially, Lauren says the current hysteria is a tempest in a teapot.  Read the article and you will find out we are spending triple the money while the illegal border crossing has fallen by 86% since the year 2000.  And it isn't because of enforcement.

And then think of the time wasted on the drivers license issue in Santa Fe over the last five  years.  Instead of working on this kind of nonsense, why not work on economic development?  Mexicans have stop coming across the border in the New Mexico sector because Governor Susana Martinez is incompetent in bringing jobs to our state.

Once again, how many trips has she taken with her economic development team outside the state?  We know she is constantly outside the state raising money for other right wing candidates.  Could she squeeze out a little time to show she cares about our economic malaise?   In this lifetime?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Misc.


When Walmart starts raising the wages they pay their food stamp collecting employees you know that for the most part the economy is steaming up and the competition for workers is increasing.  Except in New Mexico where our GOP legislators can't even stomach a 50 cent raise in the minimum wage for our own workers.  I can't understand what goes through the minds of these people.  Most scientists say such rightwing behaviors are caused by certain structures in the brain.  (Likewise for us lefties.)  But when it gets down to 50 cents an hour you know they have some pretty strange brains.

Former Governor Richardson had an oped in the Journal this morning saying Governor Martinez needs to stop blaming him for everything that is wrong in New Mexico.  He would like her to start working to fix our dismal and depressing economic problem.  That got me to thinking, what does she do all day?  Everyone has their own opinions about Richardson, but he worked very hard.  I have no idea what Susana does in the course of a week.  How many out of state trips has she taken in the last five years with her economic development team?  Does anyone know?  Does anyone care?  Doubtful.  All she needs to do is appear at a school and read to kids and the voters think she is fine thank you.  She has done little to make a future for those kids and she will be long gone before it shows.

And one just has to stand in awe of Governor Scott Walker who is so afraid of losing the really brain impaired tea party types that he has to give up on issues like family planning and toe the line of the extremist fundamentalists.  He used to support a woman and her medical provider making decisions on pregnancy, but now he has reversed himself.  This is what the republican party has become because of the people who show up to vote in their primary elections.  Only the dogma driven crazies cast their ballots.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Skeptic

I attended Michael Shermer's lecture yesterday and truly enjoyed it.  He is the publisher of Skeptic Magazine.  Some comments on my posts say he is nothing more than a libertarian, but if he is, it didn't really come through in his talk yesterday. He summarized his book, "The Moral Arc."  Essentially he says things are better now in almost every category on earth as far as freedom and democracy are concerned.  Things are better mostly because of the application of science and reason.  Even rank and file republicans believe that and are now concerned about climate change.  They are coming around.

Pols and bloggers, of which I have done both, are usually in the business of saying how bad things are, but if one really does look back at history of the human race, its obvious things are better than they used to be.  His examples included the phenomenon of the acceptance of gay marriage.  Ten years ago everyone was aghast at the notion.  Now it just elicits a shoulder shrug in most nations.  Live and let live grows.

Now, back to reality.  Things could be better in New Mexico if the legislature and Governor could just go ahead and raise the gas tax.  Senator John Arthur Smith said in a Journal oped this morning that is the only way to plan a highway rehab effort.  And I agree.  Now is the time to do it.  The Governor's plan to borrow money through a bond issue is not sensible and is a one time shot.  It would have New Mexicans pay all the bills while truckers and tourists don't pay their fair share for using the roads.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kate on the Rebound

Cheeky Kate Currell, one of our twin granddaughters is on a great rebound.  She is going home a different baby in a few days.  Two holes patched in her heart and she is much stronger.  Noelle and her husband Luke have been exemplary through this ordeal.  When her little twin sister Alex was in the room with her last night and let out a cry, Kate opened her eyes as to say, "where have you been?"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Science and Surgeons

This is our grand daughter Katy Currell.  She and her twin sister were born to our daughter Noelle and husband Luke last October 25th, 11 weeks premature.  Katy had a hole in heart that was life threatening and today at the age of 3 1/2 months she underwent open heart surgery. She is doing well and has some hurdles to cross, but the surgeons said things went perfectly.

 Researchers. scientists and surgeons saved her.  I am happy that so many people have rooted for her, whether religious or not.  We appreciate both prayers and hopes.  But I especially want to thank the Federal Government and non profit research sector for being so good at funding life saving science.  Katy has a real chance at a great life.

Misc.

It was no surprise that the rightwing editorial page of the Journal would endorse a longer general election campaign by moving the primary election to an earlier date.  Of course this would give the likes of Koch brothers more time to spend more money in our state's elections.  This editorial appeared in the same issue as Winthrop Quigley's thoughtful Upfront column on the front page that shows data that business special interest groups donate 15 times as much money to campaigns as do public interest groups.  The upshot is that the so called Right to Work legislation in Santa Fe means to widen that gap even more.  His column is really worth a read.

SciFi author and futurist David Brin has a good blog today on how pessimists actually stop change that they want.  He may be talking about the rest of us bloggers.  Despite all of my grousing I do understand  that most things today are better than ever.  I will be attending a lecture at the Unitarian Church on Carlisle NE.  Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer will speak on his new book,
"The Moral Arc: How Science Leads Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom."  It should be fun.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blinked

The Bernalillo County Commission, thanks to Art de la Cruz, has blinked in its full steam ahead effort to raise the regressive gross receipts tax.  This is a good thing.  Of course, everyone wants some effective means of funding mental health services, but  the efforts being made did not seem planned out on how the money should be spent.  There was a lot of mixing up of addiction and mental illness. Many times they go hand in hand for sure.

An obvious way to me to fund all of this is to just legalize drugs and then use all the money that is currently being pounded down rat holes for the so called 'War on Drugs' on mental health care.  But  that is a pipe dream as long as the Justice system and the law enforcement industrial complex fights it.  Survival of the fittest!

Meanwhile, lets hope the County Commissioners can pare down these tax hikes after some exhaustive needs assessments.




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Taxing in Many Ways

I don't know what is more taxing, the Bernalillo County Commission getting ready to raise regressive gross receipts taxes on the poor, or the Albuquerque Journal blaming public servant employees for the situation.

First, I am dead set against these taxes with out a vote of the public.  When I served as Mayor we went to the public for a quarter cent increase in gross receipt taxes for our transportation efforts at building a bus system that worked and repairing our city streets.  The public voted for it.  As they did for a bond issue for the new Isotopes baseball stadium which turns a great profit for the city.  At that time , 1999, it lifted the tax to 5.25%.  Manageable.  But north of 7% is another matter.  I have a feeling that this might be voted down on the Commission if they regain their senses.

Second, The Albuquerque Journal editorialized against the move, like I just did, but blamed county employees for the mess instead of the elected officials.  The Journal's continued, well hatred, for public servants is bizarre.  They might be amongst the few jobs left in this city that provide a reasonable living for our citizens.  I would guess that a good proportion of the newspaper's subscribers are pubic employees and retirees.  If you look at the paper's edition this morning and see that there are barely three pages of classified ads and fewer display ads then you know that paper is in trouble too.  Talk about biting the hand that feeds  you!

Prediction time.....The Journal will be undergoing some really drastic changes.  It must if it is going to survive in any form.  I am guessing it will be down to three or four issues a week before long.  Or just turn into a web version of its former self.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reckless

A couple of things happened over the last week that turned out to be a reckless execution of best intentions.  Both involved to some extent the inept Mayor Berry administration and one was aided by a poorly thought out charitable act.

I can't get my arms around Mayor Berry's ham fisted invasion of the Rio Grande Bosque.  His incursion with earth movers to put in trails was a slap in the face of all of the groups that have been trying to work out a way of getting more visitors into the Bosque with as little damage to the natural setting as possible.


This is damage.  

We took a walk in the area this morning and I can't really say this has been well done and thought out.  My hiking companion said walking on the newly cleared trails made him feel he wasn't in the midst of the Bosque as before, but merely looking at it.  I think he  is right.

This photo shows the old vs. new trail.


And then there was the coalition in the Barelas neighborhood who unilaterally invited a homeless tent city onto a vacant lot near an old neighborhood.  It was done with out talking to the neighbors or to the owner of the land.  How inept was that?


I snapped this photo this morning at the site.  If I were one of the nearby homes I would be pretty much upset too.  Good intentions, and badly handled.  What did the coalition think would happen?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Lunacy

The lunacy continues in Santa Fe at the Capitol.  State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn and his little boy are all behind the notion that they can take over the federal public lands in New Mexico because, well they just think so.  They still haven't read the State Enabling Act and Constitution and are still proving themselves nothing more that tools for the fossil fuel and agricultural interests in the Land of Enchantment.  The bill letting this proceed just slithered through its first committee on a 9-1 vote in the newly GOP controlled House of Representatives.

They will spend millions on putting together a large board to study the issue while school children share text books in some of our schools.  And  they will make fools of themselves once again as we fight this 50th rendition of the so called 'Sagebrush Rebellion.'  It is almost too much to endure.  I mean really, think about it.  These guys in charge of our National Parks, Monuments and Wildlife Refuges?

But it will not happen.  This is all about creating divisions in our society. Aubrey Dunn and his ilk are behind it.

That photo above of White Sands National Monument is missing something isn't it?  Like drilling rigs.  That is what this issue is about.  Getting access for the extractive industries and the cowboys to unfettered exploitation.

This photo of my daughter Noelle was taken at White Sands in 1989.  She loved our numerous visits there.  I am hopeful she will be able to take her new twin girls there as they grow up.  It is a magical place.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Misc.

The idea that New Mexico should move its primary elections date to an even earlier time is being pushed by the GOP at the legislature.  Why?  Well because that way the Koch brothers and their 1% brethren can have more time to spend even more money on general elections.  The idea that it would give New Mexico more national attention is just bullshit.  (APD has fulfilled that job) It is meant to use American corporate power even more ruthlessly against our democracy.  This bill is right up there with attempts by the fossil fuel boys and ranchers who insist that federal public lands are really state lands and should be turned over to them.  Of course this will never happen but it does camouflage the real issues in Santa Fe.

The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District has a new General Manager.  This is one of the most  ignored taxing authorities in the state and it is one of the most powerful.  It manages to get urban dwellers to pay for 90% of the costs of irrigation systems for farmers.  It controls vast amounts of water with little or no interference from anyone.  It is run by a board that has never been able to break away from petty politics and bad management.  Maybe the new guy can make some headway, but I doubt it.  I wish him good luck.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Misc.

While I was up in Colorado being a grandparent for a few days I followed legislative happenings in Santa Fe.  I tried to put it all in a perspective of how it would affect my new twin grand daughters if they were to ever move back to the New Mexico.

First, on a very refreshing note is a bill introduced by a republican, Representative Terry McMillan of Las Cruces, that would protect pregnant women workers in our state.  Having watched the travails of our daughter since October, we really should do better about being more flexible in work schedules and leave times for pregnant women.

However, most other legislators on both sides of the aisle are spending their time on issues that bear little weight in preparing New Mexico to be a welcoming and prosperous place for Alex and Katy.  Culture war issues, like abortion, so called right to work laws, and gun issues, are really taking unnecessary time.  But it is a way to keep the sap public from realizing they are being had on better wages and a progressive tax system.

I wish everyone could travel to other states and just take in their participation in the recovering economy.  It might open some real debate in Santa Fe and finding a way to get New Mexico caught up.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Babies and Me.

I am off to see our granddaughters Katy and Alex in Fort Collins. They have been home two weeks now after spending 10 weeks in the NICU. They are doing well and both now over 8 pounds. I went into the laundry room and came out to be halted in my packing by Ajax the cat. He never misses a chance for a snooze in the luggage.

I have reached the halfway point in my radiation treatments for prostate cancer. I have climbed on to this machine 23 times and have another 22 sessions to go. It is all pretty easy and the side effects are not too bad. Just a little fatigue and getting up a few times in the night. This thing is essentially a linear accelerator that shoots photons.

Pot Holes

That GOP run House of Representatives in the New Mexico state legislature might be a metaphor for a pothole.  At the same time they are guaranteeing that we will all be victims of potholes on our state roads and highways.  Even the ABQ Journal seems to think it might be a good idea with plummeted gasoline prices that the time is right to increase the per gallon tax.  But, republican Jason Harper of Rio Rancho, says  that any additional monies brought in would would cause too much pain for New Mexico taxpayers.  Highly stupid comment.  Think of the pain to your wallet of having to fix your car's alignment every week or so.  His fellow GOP wing nuts agreed with him.  This may be the most intellectually unarmed gaggle ever to serve in the legislature.  Better call Saul when your accident is caused by a lack of road maintenance.  And then send these idiots the bill.

I am willing to bet these same guys liked the tabling of that payday loan interest curtailment bill.  

Thursday, February 05, 2015

MISC.

The legislature, with the help of the media,  is really good at camouflaging their work in Santa Fe.  They have a lot of experience in manipulating young reporters into covering issues that are really peripheral to what needs  attention.  Coyote killing contests are getting the most ink right now.  Dog fighting will be next once again after a front page story in the Journal this morning.

The media is spending time keel hauling legislators who let lobbyists hang out in their offices and use their coat racks.  This has been going on for a century but all of a sudden republicans are calling democrats on to the carpet for the practice.  Lots of ink and airtime on this nothing burger of a story.

In the meantime the lawmakers have tabled a bill capping payday loan rates to 36% interest per annum.  Currently these blood sucking bastards charge people most in need up to 346% in interest.  When the revolution comes (dream on) these will be the first people hunted down.

Minimum wage hikes have been killed so far, but emotionally charged sex laws move quickly.

New Mexico's continuing downward economic spiral gets little notice even while our high learning institutions continue to suffer and cut class offerings.  CNM has cut 500 classes due to lower enrollment because a lot of kids just can't afford to go to school while working minimum wage jobs that the legislature think pays just fine.





Tuesday, February 03, 2015

APD Shell Game

Retired APD Sergeant Dan Klein sent this to me today.  It is certainly worth using in its entirety.

"KOAT reports that APD Academy has 21 cadets, down from 26.  This is probably accurate.

KOAT goes on to report that APD has 935 sworn officers.  APD Tanner Tixier stated that APD lost around 40 officers at the end of 2014.

Why does the media just accept APD numbers without asking for proof?

Attorney Tom Grover said that at the APOA vs PERA court hearing on December 23, 2014 APD stated that they had far less than 900 officers.  On January 16 2015 on 770 KKOB Richard Berry stated that APD had 903 officers.  Now on February 2, 2015, two weeks later, we are told by APD that they have 935 officers.  APD's numbers don't make any sense, they contradict themselves over the last 45 days.  Add to this APD Tanner Tixier stating that APD lost almost 40 officers at the end of 2014 and the current academy class is still in session.  These numbers APD is providing don't make any sense.  Just look at Berry's numbers compared with Tanner Tixier numbers today.  APD would have grown by 32 officers in just 2 weeks.  I don't think so, do you?


Why can't we get a straight answer from APD and Berry.  In just over a month APD cries wolf that they are going to lose all sorts of cops, Yet they go to the media and say they are very close to max staffing (1,000 officers).  Why hasn't the media picked up all of these different numbers and point out how they don't make sense and demand, on air, an accurate accounting of all APD officers?  And where, exactly are they assigned?

I have lost faith in what Berry and APD say.  Notice how I say APD, we never see Eden or any command staff member making these announcements.  They dump it on Tanner and Simon. And poor Tanner he has to go on TV and say that APD has 935 officers, that over half are answering calls for service and that "APD is real busy" so citizens will just have to wait for Priority 2 and 3 calls but not for Priority 1.  This is exactly the opposite from what the media and city council have reported.  Yet Tanner doesn't get confronted with the actual facts and the citizens don't get the real story.

I believe the real story is APD has a lot of closet positions for police officers who don't want to do uniform patrol.  That APD has lots of calls, including priority 1, holding at any given time and that APD has very few officers working Field Services with a primary function as call takers (SWAT, K9, Horse Mounted don't take calls for service, they don't make arrests and they don't write reports).  The only officers who actually count in uniform patrol are the officers working out of each area command taking dispatch calls.  The retired rehires who work duplicating APS Police duties in schools do not count.   The Street Cop needs the real story to come out, they are the blue knights who are stretched thin with no support.

Can someone get a straight answer from Berry and APD on exactly how many full time sworn police officers we currently have and where are they assigned.  Are they counting cadets?  Are they counting part timers.  APD / Berry need to prove their numbers, because their statements over the last 45 days just don't make any sense.  They need to be put on the spot and asked to explain why the different numbers and for them to prove the real numbers on the date they are asked.

It's not that hard.  Chief Polisar, Chief Galvin and Chief Schultz knew exactly how many officers they had, and where they were working, everyday.  I am sure the same is true for Chief Eden, but for some reason he doesn't want to tell the public / media.  Why?  What are they hiding?  These are our tax dollars, we deserve to know the truth and not spin.

APD also needs to prove their statement that Priority 1 calls are not holding.  And just how long are Priority 2 and 3 calls holding?  I don't trust this administration, their own statements contradict themselves and they never provide proof.  Do you trust their numbers?  If you don't, then you shouldn't report them without proof."

Monday, February 02, 2015

Misc.

The Mayor was quick on the spot to travel to Mexico to get press ops next to the successful Two Eagles balloonists.  There is nothing wrong with that at all, except I wish he had been quick on the APD and economic disaster in our city as well.

The new republican State Land Commissioner told the legislature he could take over the federal public lands in the state and manage them.  This is simply trash talk from a cowboy who apparently thinks that the federal government stole those lands from New Mexico.  I would suggest that Aubrey Dunn read his state's own enabling act and constitution to figure out how all of this works.  So far, he is not studying very hard.

If the Governor Susana Martinez vetoes a minimum wage hike for the 1 percenters again, she will really go down in history as a corrupt and immoral Governor.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

My Blog Too

Good stuff here.  Even when you read my blog you should remember this.  Yes, I am a leftie...but I don't set out to give bad facts or even lies.