Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tased

State Auditor Tim Keller has tased the Albuquerque Mayor, Chief Administrative Officer, former Police Chief Ray Schultz and his upper echelon for probable improprieties in dealing with the company that manufactures Tasers.  It seems they all supported some pretty iffy back slapping between Shultz and the manufacturer as Shultz received gifts and then went to work for the company, even as he worked for the city.  Millions of dollars in contracts, in Shutz's own words, were 'greased' to provide officers with the stun guns.

So, now what will happen?  Will anyone followup on the Mayor and CAO's blessing of this mess?  Will the city council barge in and say, 'this is corruption'?  Or will they get into a partisan pissing match instead of standing up for honest government?  And will the procurement system get a strong working over?  Often it seems that the bigger amount of money involved in government corruption, the less that gets done.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Unpaid Violence

That UFC world champion cage fighter who is handsomely paid to inflict violence onto others has now been stripped of his crown for inflicting violence on others, for which he was not paid.  Of course the media is all over this story after 'Bones' Jones hit a vehicle and injured a pregnant woman in Albuquerque. Jones fled the scene with a bag of cash, leaving his victim in a heap on the street.  If he had done this in a Mixed Martial Arts fight he would have been praised.  Now, he will suffer consequences.

The Journal had a picture of UFC officials walking down a street after they had a meeting with Jones' attorney.  They are something right out of a B-movie.  Their career is generating violence to the extreme in order to make money by getting mostly economically deprived men to beat the crap out of each other. The photo could be made into a movie poster for a bad fight movie.  You really wonder why these guys aren't arrested for inciting violence like some of those Baltimore folks who are fed up with their everlasting unemployment, underpaid jobs and unrestrained cops.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Misc

Pope Francis has sent one of his like minded clerical supporters to be the new Archbishop of the Santa Fe Archdiocese.  At least it looks that way.  I know some of my friends who are still active in the church will be happy about this.  I know some Catholic supporters of the fossil fuel industry will not be happy at all.  In case you haven't noticed, Pope Francis is getting ready to come down hard on the climate change issue because he sees it as a real danger to the continuance of life on the planet.  Of course the Koch brothers, big supporters of our Governor, immediately took on Francis for being a dupe of the United Nations.  It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Senator Martin Heinrich has come out against the new Trade Promotion Authority legislation that would prevent congress from amending the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.  This is a gutsy thing for Heinrich to do and I think it should show his credentials as an independent Senator who won't march lockstep with many of his colleagues.  He wants answers and he should get them before any such agreement is inked.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Watchdog Needed

I applaud Senator Martin Heinrich's bill to place the federal government in the driver's seat for siting new power lines that will take advantage of  our growing renewable energy push in this country.  That oil, gas and coal loving mascot, republican land commissioner Aubrey Dunn, is slowing down the Sun Zia renewable project after he took office.  This could be a dagger in the heart of the only exciting economic play in New Mexico right now.  Dunn is joining Governor Susana Martinez in helping out their fossil fuel masters.  She has already vetoed a renewable energy tax credit that would continue to encourage solar installations in the sunniest state in the union.

We need a new watchdog group that will do nothing but dig into all policy and doings at the State Land Office.   Dunn could be doing a lot more harm than one thinks by quietly changing policies that harm the state.  Such changes would go pretty much unnoticed since journalists are on the rocks in New Mexico.

It will be interesting to see what the more welcoming Catholics in the state will do in researching the history of the newly appointed Archbishop for the Archdiocese.  The new man, the Rev. John Wester comes from Salt Lake City.  After the extremely conservative administration of Archbishop Sheehan, just about any change might be good.  Wester might have learned something from the pragmatic Mormons in that state who have changed policies on Gays in that religion. This is a good article on the issue.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Hard Thing to Do

Many elected or appointed officials have one thing in common.  They don't like to fire people they have hired.  Usually, these are people they like and trust and who are given more chances to perform than many others would get.  But sometimes things just don't work out and it is time to get them to resign their positions.  It is an uncomfortable thing to do as I found out on several occasions in my career.

Now it is time for Mayor Richard Berry to ask for the resignation of his police chief Gordon Eden.  I am still unable to figure out why this unqualified pol was hired to run a troubled police force in the first place, but the Mayor must have had a reason to believe he could handle things.  But, Eden has failed time and again.  And so has the Mayor in not admitting he made a mistake in this appointment. Things keep getting worse.

And I look on in astonishment at the fact that our city councillors have not chimed in on this issue.  Perhaps a vote of confidence should be taken on Eden's leadership.  I have a feeling that even the GOP members of the nonpartisan body might see some wisdom in sending a message to Mayor Berry.  After all, history will be looking at every councillor's tenure in regards to this APD disaster.




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

City States

Will there be a new battle of city states like in ancient Greece?  Except these new fights will occur in New Mexico.  Our hapless and unqualified police chief in Albuquerque just declared war on all the other Mayors and City Councils in the region by bribing their police officers to come to work for the troubled and understaffed APD.  And Mayor Berry approves.  Put your self in their positions for a moment and think how this helps our regional cooperation over time.

I speak from experience on this as some of this was going on when I took over as Mayor in the late 90's.  I organized monthly meetings over lunch with all of the other regional Mayors and tribal governors in hopes of finding common issues to  work on.  This had never been done before and it was productive.  The one thing regional leaders were upset about was raiding their police departments.  We stopped it and relations got better for the most part.  And so Mayor Berry you might think twice about continuing on with this.  Your little $5,000 dollar bonuses for officers deserting other departments might work, but it is a form of capitalism that will earn  you nothing but disdain.

Speaking of which, when was the last time you had all the other leaders in for lunch?  You might learn some things and get some real ideas for cooperation.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wondering

One can only wonder if the one per centers and their enablers in politics can see anything headed their way.  Not just in this country but globally.  After the horrific deaths of 700 Mediterranean region refugees desperate to flee poverty and persecution, one might thing if one were rational, that pretty soon many more will be willing to take down the economic systems that is ruining life for so many in the world.

As far as the USA is concerned the latest effort of giving even more tax breaks to the ridiculously wealthy by dumping the estate tax just keeps encouraging a sense of rage.  Can't these folks see any downside to their unparalleled greed?  They might be good at making money and hoarding it, but their inability to see a cataclysm headed straight for them is almost comical.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top of the Fold

The Journal is beginning to look more and more like a local TV newscast.  A case in point is a major front page story today on a strangled dog.  Pictures and everything.  The poor dog was caught up in domestic problems and died for it.  But, front page news?  And people on the comment page of this story are calling for the woman who killed the pooch to be strangled also.  Insanity!

We have been pet owners our whole lives.  We are currently into our cats but I keep thinking about getting another dog.  They are so needy but so rewarding.  We felt with all the travel we do it would be best to wait to get another one after our beloved Beagles died.  Still, I wish we had one.  People just love them.  Our neighborhood alert system over the last few days revolved around a homeless Pomeranian dog found wandering the neighborhood.  Someone rescued it and found out it had heart problems.  A big effort was made and it was taken in by an organization helping with such cases.  If that dog had been a homeless person wandering the streets the police would have been notified.

Maybe that is why TV and now Newspapers spend so much time on animal issues.  Because that is obviously what folks care about.  It is a good thing really, but like everything we need to keep it in perspective.

I recently reread "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke.  When aliens surround our planet in massive space ships to help us move to the next level of evolution, the first thing they look at to see if we might be ready is how we treat other species on our planet.  The book was written in the early 1950's and demonstrates that many people have always thought about animal welfare.  I am just saying we need to show as much concern for the poor and homeless as well.

P.S. I am looking forward to the SciFi channel's miniseries of "Childhood's End" in December.  It is said to be very good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rabid Press Secretaries

My first ever political job was Press Secretary for Governor Bruce King back in 1975, the last  year in his first term.   I had just left Channel 7 in disgust as they entered the 'chatty news' era that eventually led to the state of local broadcast news we see today.

King had called me a few hours after I left my job and asked me to come  up for an interview for the position.  There were numerous applicants and I would be the first to see him on a Monday morning.  When I entered his office he said I was his pick and asked me when I could start, even though all the other applicants were in the reception area.  And that is how I got into politics.  Apparently I had done some stories on his administration which he liked and so decided I was the right guy for the job.  He told me to be honest and forthright in dealing with the media who covered state government.  There were a lot of them back then and they were professionals.  King told be to always treat critics with respect and merely give our side of an issue.  I followed his orders and loved the job.

Now we see what the roles of press secretaries are in the current Governor's administration.  The job is not to give their side of an issue, but to attack personally the critics who disagree with them.  And since we have such a poor press corp these days, that is usually what gets printed or aired.  There are some exceptions, like the Santa Fe Reporter.

And so, the governor's rabid press relations person is moving to a new job after pulling off so many personal and nasty attacks on anyone who disagreed with our Tea Party right wing Governor.  Good riddance to Enrique Knell.  And welcome to the new guy Chris Sanchez.  Will he be a rabid dog too?  Of course he will if he takes orders from the governor's neocon political advisors.  Destroying someone's reputation who disagrees with you is so much more likely to gain ink than a thoughtful debate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Misc.

The Albuquerque Police Department and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton are both using social media to skirt the press in making announcements.  APD Chief Eden, a certifiable failure, has used YouTube to announce an investigation into two officers accused of beating a suspect.  That way there is no hard questions for him to answer.  That is good for him and bad for us.  And of course not a peep from the Mayor.

And Hilary Clinton gives us a four minute blurb announcing her run for the Presidency.  That is it.  No hard questions for her either.  Don't get me wrong, I like her and would vote for her in a general election.  But once again, where is the new leadership?  Why are we reaching into the 90's again with the Clintons and bushes?


The Albuquerque Journal story on public transit was a good recap today about the importance of getting people around our metro area.  The modern day bus system we now have started back during my term as Mayor when we got the voters to approve a quarter cent sales tax to improve maintenance and public transit.  The republicans on the council at that time tried every thing they could to gut the public transit part of the effort.  We ended  up using 20% of that money to update the system and it has paid off.  Of course, public transit never pays for itself, but it is the kind of service a city must provide to make an efficient economy possible.  The republican intellect is still at work though in constant attacks on the Rail Runner system to Santa Fe.  In a few years they will be proven fools once again.

Susanna Martinez seems to be only a fly on the wall as legislators negotiate issues that might be considered for a special session.  The leadership is moving ahead while the governor seems to be ambivalent about doing her job.  I have never understood pols like here who seem to think that 'being there' is the only reason for being elected.  Voters need to think about leadership qualities once in a while.

We are back from upstate New York.  On Sunday in the town of Camillus where our son and family live the sun came out and a spring like day was presented.  It was great watching these upstaters come out of their homes into the nice weather shielding their eyes from the bright sky.  They looked like hibernating bears coming out of caves.  Most of them got to work right away walking dogs or working in the yards.  Their several feet of snow had disappeared. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Welcome

Dear First Solar,

Welcome to New Mexico.  Fuck You and your clean energy.  I vetoed the solar tax credits.

Sincerely,

Governor Susana Martinez


cc:  NM Oil and Gas Association

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Headed to Upstate NY

I am pretty hopeful most of the snow is gone from upstate New York.  We are going to see our grandsons and family there.  There will be lots of rain, or so the forecast says.  But not much pollen yet.  Blogging from afar.

Our house sitter's new flame thrower is still under warranty.  If that doesn't work we will call the good god fearing people from that west side New Life Baptist church to come blast away at the bad guys.  Shoot first and Jesus will take care of the left overs.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Holy Shit


This is the guy who was just hired as a chief deputy at the Bernalillo County Sheriffs Office at $100K a year. This whole Jesus and guns thing really is telling. And the county commission wasted money on this. Click on the full screen arrows to see it better.

Who is in Jail?

Bernalillo County Commissioners want the city of Albuquerque to pay them to house prisoners in the County Jail.  That puts all city taxpayers in a fiscal prison because we  already pay county taxes.  This is all happening because of malfeasance in county government finance management.  This would amount to double dipping by the Commissioners to relieve them of their poor fiscal management.  This is a loser for everyone.  The city shouldn't pay them a dime more until we see some hard decision making on the county level.  First off, they could just forget about putting us in another financial bind by approving that massive Santolina development plan ten miles from the city on the west side.  It is sprawl development at its worse.

Of course the real problem here is the taxpayers own making in refusing to consolidate city and county government.  It makes more sense than ever.  Why have two of everything when one would do?  Because of small political fiefdoms and conspiracy theories of county residents who think their lives would be hindered by a consolidated government.  Votes to consolidate taken in the past shows the city residents always vote yes and the county residents nix it.  Hubris.  Expensive hubris.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Misc.

The oil and gas boys are starting another media blitz on TV to let people know they are still very important people and should not be messed with at all.  They will spend a quarter of a million dollars to shine themselves up because environmentalists and critics have managed to convince the Bureau of Land Management that there are some places that should not see drilling rigs.  I would suggest that money be used instead to clean up some of the messes they have left in the Land of Enchantment.

It has been announced that a Chicago Real Estate Investment Trust has purchased Lovelace Medical Systems. The CEO said it would be good for Lovelace.  Will it be good for the patients?

The GOP and Dems on the Albuquerque City Council fought at length over a Memorial on immigration issues.  These memorial debates take up a lot of time and have no effect other than a statement on certain issues.  Strangely, the republicans on the council equated immigration issues with abortion and gun rights.  The GOP said they haven't bought these up to save time for the council.     Culture wars come to the Council.

We watched the latest John Oliver show on HBO last night.  It has to be one of the best political commentary(comedic) on TV.  Oliver spent 40 minutes on the upcoming extension vote on the so called Patriot Act that pretty much tramples on all Americans rights to privacy.  He even went to Moscow to interview Eric Snowden and provided evidence that Americans have no clue as to who Snowden is and what he did.  They only time his man on the street interviews got peoples dander up about privacy was when he stated that the NSA could see pictures of people's genitals that were mailed to boyfriends and girlfriends.  That got them riled up and they sort of began to understand the issue.  Other than that it really made citizens look uninformed and rather stupid.

I have the all time lowest golf handicap of my life.  I am spending entirely to much time on the golf course and I plan on continuing to do so.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sucking Sound

A corporation named Global Foundries took out a half page ad in the Sunday Journal to advertise jobs available in New York State's 'Tech Valley".  This is a semiconductor factory.  It could also be another giant sucking sound of people fleeing New Mexico because of our total lack of economic development leadership both in government and the business community.  I hope this doesn't hint about the nature of Intel's plans here in our metro area.  Frightening stuff.

Meanwhile there is a happening on the oped page in which two republicans, that great self promoter Sherman McCorkle and Caleb Chandler of Clovis, NM, are asking for more money from government in higher funding for the US Air Force.  GOP types usually hate government spending, right?  But not when it comes to military spending.  They sort of have their classic double standard, like most of us do, but their's is especially hard to take.  It is okay to attract money for 'death technology and training', but not for healthcare for New Mexicans under the Affordable Care Act.

The Air Force is starting to use it's new F-22 Raptor Fighter.  They only cost $412 million dollars each.  It is a fighter without a mission since most countries just aren't willing to spend money on these ridiculous programs anymore.  Only the military defense lobby in the USA gets to pull that off.  Meanwhile we watch highways and bridges crumble and put up with third rate internet systems.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Resurrection

Easter.  Time of resurrection stories for many in Christendom.  But a second resurrection occurred on Good Friday.  He's Back!  That master chameleon Jaime Koch was brought back from the crypt of washed up politicos and made Regent again at UNM.  How did that stone get rolled back?

Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall on how this all came about?  He resigned as Regent after being confirmed by the Senate because he was 'upset' that right winger Matt Chandler was not confirmed.  I opined that the only reason he was appointed again by the Governor was that he was charged in getting Chandler confirmed in the Democratic Senate.  When he failed, he fell on his sword because he didn't deliver.  I still think that is true.  But Koch has a way of turning up again and it is pretty impressive.

Meanwhile the Governor has appointed another prosecutor to the Board of Regents.  This is evidence to me that the Governor wants narrow focus people, like all prosecutors, on her team in every position of importance.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Misc.

Just a few questions lingering this morning.

1.  Why does the Mayor Berry jump quickly to fix idiocy at the Animal Services Center but let fester for so long the APD mess?

2.  Why aren't super tolerant young people voting to stop legislatures like Indiana and Arkansas from passing religious based discrimination laws?

3.  Why when I get my new annual Bernalillo County property tax assessment does it always go up my the maximum allowed by law?

4. Why does it matter which APD officer launched the fatal bullet into that homeless guy when both of them were blazing away at the man?

5.  Why do some people think a line on a map should determine who might be the best new APS school superintendent?

Just asking while in a pollen induced coma.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

On the Plus Side

We can lament our legislature and Governor, but frankly in hindsight, looking at Indiana and Arkansas, our elected officials look pretty benign.  They haven't set out just yet to persecute a whole segment of the population because an old white guy who lives in the clouds told them to do so.  Yes, the Governor and GOP seem to dislike brown people from south of the border using state drivers licenses to get around in NM, but mostly that is just GOP dogma that says you have to single out some group as a cause of all your problems.  But they are not using their god as a reason.  So far as I know.

The problem here is that those anti gay laws are being passed because christian fundamentalists are so adept at voting.  They elect the people who carry their dogma into the halls of government.  The only way to counter it is for young people to start voting strongly.  Mostly, they aren't afraid of gay marriage and teaching of science in schools.

Here is an enjoyable chart.  Click on it to make it larger.