Friday, July 31, 2015

State of Nasty

The Susana Martinez administration continues its state of nasty p.r.  Case in point is the Taxation and Revenue spokesman, Ben Cloutier, who said in an official statement that a 'left wing blogger' had identified a taxpayer who is alleged by the State Auditor to have been given special treatment by the TRD Secretary Demisia Padilla.  That taxpayer was a former client of Secretary Padilla's accounting firm.  The so called blogger is a well respected news blog that digs deeper than the shallow minded news media in this state.

The fact that Cloutier is spewing such epithets from an official state government organization is evidence that all government decor has gone off the rails under this hateful administration.  In my day as a flack for Governor King or Mayor Harry Kinney, such things were just not allowed.  We might have said, "it is regrettable that this information was made known and we will make sure we tighten up our security so that taxpayer confidentiality is protected as the law envisions."

No where in here did Cloutier admit that the documents  that  were redacted with the taxpayer's name and business could be easily read with a simple program run by a third grader.  But maybe Cloutier is only in the first grade, intellectually that  is.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

SLC

I am in Salt Lake City for a meeting of the southern Utah wilderness alliance board. They have a real morning newspaper hear that covers the news. They use journalism here rather than dogma in the Salt Lake City Tribune. It is very refreshing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It is Complete

The meltdown of American Broadcast Journalism is complete. Big things are happening in the world, but CBS and NBS nightly news led with stories about deflated footballs and a crazed midwestern dentist killing a beloved lion in Africa with a crossbow.  That was the diet of pablum fed to the American public last night.  Oh, and I shouldn't forget more 'stories' about Donald Trump.  Edward R. Murrow, if he were still alive, would probably just shoot himself.  The more I see of these bloated and self important anchors on national news, the more I despair.

On the local level we got to hear the 911 call from a girl trying to save her shot dying boyfriend.  Of course we got to hear it for the tenth time, and then an interview with her.  I think it was a good story from the standpoint of a 911 operator who just wigged out!  But this will be a story that will be around for weeks, unless another good 911 audio clip becomes available.  Security cams and audio clips....easy work for our local ego driven anchors and journalists.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Earth Moved

It happened.  The Albuquerque Journal used Mayor Berry's name in an editorial that was critical of his refusal to released results of a study into vicious dogs being adopted out at the Animal Control Department.  Perhaps we all shifted into a parallel universe.  Actually, one thing the Journal does is pursue open government and even Berry and the Governor can't get away with trying to cover up information that the public has a right to see.

That Santa Fe County Republican Party Treasurer was ousted from his position for publicly whacking a Donald Trump piñata.  There must be some real Trump fans in the party there with deep pockets that fund the party, otherwise this ill timed banishment probably would not have happened.  PR wise it was a stupid thing for them to do, so money must be the motive.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Update

This graphic was put together a couple of months ago.  As of today the number killed by American police is up to 663 for the year.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Even More Irony

The Albuquerque Journal had a really good story this morning skewering people who think we should deny the history of the Confederacy in their foray into New Mexico.  I thought it was right on the mark.  Reporter Ollie Reed, a real journalist, did a great job in writing this article.

Now, if only someone would do a story about how the Albuquerque Journal Editor tries to deny history on a daily basis by protecting republican public officer holders.  Talk about irony!  This Editor, Kent Walz, keeps the name of Mayor Richard Berry out of every negative story where  his name should be up front for questionable decision making and leadership.  Think the Albuquerque Police Department here.

And when it comes to our right wing Governor Susana Martinez, the Journal not only sits on using real journalism to uncover the abysmal lack of economic plans for the state, they go out of their way to show her in classrooms reading to kids every chance they get, as if she really cared about something other than her plans for a role in national republican party politics.

It is laughable really.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

On the Map

I just returned from a meeting in Martha's Vineyard, MA.  The weather was beautiful, the meetings productive, and listening to questions about the Albuquerque Police Department kept me busy.  It  seems our Duke City is on the map.

No one asked about our economy, or weather, on general well being.  They just wanted to know about the shootings and whether articles in the eastern press were accurate.  People back there are paying attention and maybe that is why the malaise in job creation exists here.  Some of the folks from Colorado who get New Mexico news stations said the broadcasts make Albuquerque look like ISIS has a branch here.  Except for the occasional lost dog story spewing forth from our toothy reporters on the local news, every story is about the crime blotter from law enforcement agencies.

No wonder we are just a way point for Santa Fe.  As they say, you can't buy this kind of publicity.  And the Mayor and Governor still have no plan other than sophomoric remarks about people who disagree with them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Coal oped in the Denver Post today

Our nation's federal coal program needs a major overhaul.

When I was director of the Bureau of Land Management, which manages our nation's public lands under the Department of the Interior, we aimed to give Americans a fair return from the mining of publicly owned coal deposits in the western U.S. 

It's clear now that this program, which produces 40 percent of our nation's coal, is seriously flawed.

Whether it's revelations by government investigators that coal is being leased to private companies at below fair market value; growing consensus that royalties (what companies pay taxpayers in return for profiting off the coal they produce) are outdated; or mounting agreement that the program is inconsistent with our nation's climate goals, there's no denying that reform is needed.

Even Interior Secretary Sally Jewell remarked in March that,"It's time for an honest and open conversation about modernizing the federal coal program."

Advertisement

I'm with the secretary. Yet while we have our conversation about reforming the federal coal program, Interior has to get serious about matching its words with its actions.

Coal is mined for one reason: to be burned. Already, more than 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to the federal coal program. Yet from the West Elk Mountains of Colorado to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, billions of tons of publicly owned coal are currently on the table. 

Just last month, Interior proposed plans that would make more than 80 billion more tons of coal available for strip mining. If this much coal is stripped from the ground, it stands to unleash 130 billion tons of carbon — more than 20 times the total greenhouse gas emissions released by the U.S. every year.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is slated to finalize its Clean Power Plan this summer, which aims to cut carbon emissions by 5.3 billion tons. It's not a stretch to say that Interior's coal plans will smother these reductions. 

It's a shocking inconsistency by the Obama administration.

Our federal coal program is based on a system where carbon emissions are completely ignored. The effect is that taxpayers subsidize the extraction of coal, allowing industry to pay rock bottom prices while we shoulder the climate costs.

The disparity between what is paid compared to the cost of coal is confirmed by recent reports from the International Monetary Fund. Taking into account climate and other environmental impacts, the IMF found that fossil fuels globally are subsidized to the tune of $10 million per minute, with coal reaping about 50 percent of those subsidies even in the U.S.

Consider that while Interior often sells coal for less than $1 per ton, the costs of carbon emissions may be as high as $200 per ton. That's a cost that future generations and we must bear in the form of disasters due to drought, fires, floods and other weather extremes.

Selling more coal before we've had a chance to reform how the federal coal program accounts for climate impacts is not only contrary to the public interest, it's also a costly recipe for disaster. It stands to erode trust and confidence that reforms will ever be realized. 

That's why there's an urgent need for Interior to put the brakes on selling more coal.

I'm not alone in making this call. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey recently introduced legislation that would impose a "temporary moratorium on new coal lease sales" until reforms are completed. Other groups — including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and WildEarth Guardians — have echoed the appeal.

While President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency are courageously moving our nation forward to confront climate change, the Department of the Interior seems bent on sitting at the sidelines.

The federal coal program is clearly no longer serving our nation's economic or environmental interests. For the sake of the American taxpayer and the climate, it's time for Interior to start leading. With 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions tied to federal coal, Jewell can make a huge difference.

It's time for Interior to get serious and take a time out on leasing more coal.

Jim Baca was director of the Bureau of Land Management from 1993 to 1994.

Monday, July 20, 2015

East

I will be about as far east in the U.S. as one can possibly get for a few days as I journey to Martha's Vineyard for a Wyss Foundation Board meeting.  It is always a lot of fun to go there and good wine is to be had.  The Board has been very generous with New Mexico environmental groups and has probably had a great part in helping to bring about our new National Monuments in the Land of Enchantment.  We have sent millions in funding to state environmental groups to help with the effort in building support for these designations.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Old Thinking vs. New Thinking

I can't think of a better way to show old thinking vs. new thinking than looking at a column in the Journal this morning by Michael Coleman.  It shows old tired useless leadership and new visionary progressive thinking.

Congressman Steve Pearce is trying to aid robbery of the American Taxpayer by inserting language into a funding bill that the Bureau of Land Management can not charge higher royalty rates on oil and gas on federal lands.  That is oil and gas owned by all Americans and the money is  used for many good purposes.  Can you imagine Pearce championing a law limiting the amount of royalty charged on private land by some of his big contributors in the dirty oil and gas industry?  Of course not.  They should get what the market will bear.  But when it comes to his fellow citizens....well, screw them.  Old dirty thinking from the fossil fuel barons who already get billions in subsidies in addition to low royalty rates.  Republican thievery.  Last century's thinking.

And then there is Senator Martin Heinrich with new thinking for the clean renewable energy folks.  He has asked Congress to extend the Solar Energy Efficiency Property Tax Credit for five years.  This enables citizens to get help in adopting solar photovoltaic panels, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps and wind turbines at their residences.  Compared to subsidies for the dirty fossil fuel boys, this is a very young program that will require very little if any back end clean  up costs like those associated with coal and oil.  Watch the republicans try and gut this effort.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Misc.

The City of Albuquerque made it into the Wall Street Journal today.  Not for its tanking economy, but for its per capita payouts for law suits against APD.  Between 2006 and 2011 the city taxpayer paid about $2000 per officer per year to cover the misdeeds of a poorly let cop shop.  And since then it has only gotten worse.  Not a way to shine in the nation's number one business publication.  Not really a part of the Mayor and City Council's vision I would bet.  And yet the horrible command structure and a ineffectual Chief are still at the helm.

Governor Susana Martinez has appointed an extreme rightwing mascot to the District Court Bench in Eastern New Mexico.  Matt Chandler will need to stand for election however, and if the NM Bar doesn't take a close look at this appointment and make a comment at least, then one wonders, why not?  Chandler will have a tough time convincing people who come in front of him that his decisions are worth spit.  Everyone might appeal to the State Supreme Court where Chandler made false accusations against the Chief Justice.  This whole situation is akin to an elected official sticking by a person that will really hurt people in the end.  Think Mayor Berry's undying support of our hapless Police Chief in Albuquerque.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Leaderless

Well, as if I don't have enough critics already, now I will antagonize some allies.  Vote against the sales tax hike to provide more money to the Albuquerque Bio Park.  It is a regressive tax and the poor will pay much more of their portion of the costs than the rich.  This additional money should come from the capital improvement funds that are supported by the property taxes we pay.  That way it isn't the poor and middle class being stuck with the bill.  Zoo supporters are collecting signatures to put this issue on the ballot, and it will probably pass because most people really don't understand how this particular tax is so harmful.

I do support the additions of more funding for the Bio Park.  But not with a gross receipts tax.  There, I took a position.  Unlike the Mayor and most of the City Council who have not stuck their necks out on this issue.  The Mayor is probably being advised two ways on stating a preference.  One, if he is for it then he is for more taxes.  Not a winner amongst his right wing supporters.  And if he doesn't support the tax he will get Albuquerque's large demographic of animal supporters up in arms.  I mean who can come out against furry creatures at the Zoo?

So, what is a person to do?  Why nothing of course!  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain....!

Limits


This comment sent by a reader is good to know. 

Under New Mexico Statutory law and in particular the Juvenile Code, minors (people younger than 18) are charged for criminal offenses as juveniles in need of supervision and the maximum sentence for ANY crime, INCLUDING VIOLENT CRIMES LIKE MURDER, is two years, unless the minor is specifically charged AND PROSECUTED and sentenced as an adult. WHAT THE JUVENILE CODE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES IS THAT PARENTS OR CUSTODIANS WHO ARE SUED "CIVILLY" FOR the DAMAGES OF THEIR CHILDREN ARE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR UP TO AND NO MORE THAN $4,000 IN CIVIL DAMAGES, WHICH MEANS PARENTS CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SINS OR PROPERTY DAMAGE DONE BY THEIR CHILDREN BEYOND $4,000. FOR ANY ONE WHO HAS KIDS, THIS IS A GOOD LAW!! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Conservative Creds

While many people want to form a lynch mob for the families of those worthless gangers who killed a man in his home in the middle of the night, our Governor is doing her part to make sure we turn out more of those sociopath teenage killers.  Let me explain.

Her handlers in the right wing think her signing on to more Medicaid for the state under our nation's new health care programs has hurt her conservative credentials.  She isn't radical enough.  So they are advising she now require food stamp recipients to work 60 hours a month to receive their food.  Remember that this is all funded with federal dollars, not state dollars.  She wants to look tough for her funders in the extreme right wing.

Now, think this through.  A single mother on food stamps with two children.  Abandoned by a husband who makes no child support payments, necessitating food subsidies for the kids.  Now she must go to work 60 hours a month and abandon her children to fend for themselves.  Where does she find daycare for two kids on her $600 a month earnings?  Absolutely no where.  So the kids enter the cycle of running on the streets as mobbers.  And, society will pay a lot more in the future just so Susana Martinez can look tough.

Knee Jerk Mayor

Mayor Richard Berry got on the blame game bandwagon and attacked the parents of the gangers who killed the man in his home in the middle of the night while on a 'mobbing' spree.  After the victims daughter blamed the parents and scores of commenters did so on social media, Berry jumped in with both feet and agreed.  And all of this was done without any one really knowing the parents and their abilities to rein in these 'bad seeds.'  This was all done as a different form of mobbing.  The emotionalism of the victim's family is understandable, but for the elected leader of the city, this is horrible.

I hope these little gangers get just what they deserve.  But, cooler heads should prevail on trying to exact vigilante bloodlust on the families.  Would these attacks on the families help the possibly good brothers and sisters of these murderers?  Who even knows if they have brothers and sisters and if the parents tried everything possible to make things right?  Were the parents terrorized as well by these punks?

And the leader of the lynch mob is the Mayor?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Misc.

The Susana Martinez administration will now have to start defending itself rather than, after multiple years in office, blaming for Governor Richardson for all the problems.  The State Auditor Tim Keller has turned over an investigation to the AG about favoritism and corruption at the upper levels of the Taxation and Revenue Department.  This is one department that usually is not dragged into such public view.  The administration's sophomoric responses to the investigation shows a typical take no prisoners approach to criticism.  They are blaming every thing on partisanship and are now trying to shift blame to the people whose job it is to uncover such things.  This time it just might backfire if the media just practices serious journalism.

Hats off to APD's Detectives for capturing those six little gangers that murdered a man in his own home during a robbery.  APD, for all its problems, is pretty good at finding the bad guys.  If these alleged killers are found guilty, they should be put away for life.


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Back

We had a wonderful trip up to Fort Collins, Co.  Our daughter and family are doing great in a booming economy in that state.  Just like Utah, Arizona, and Texas.  What's missing here?  Visionary leadership maybe?

New Mexico and Colorado are so green with the rains.  It is a great thing to see and I am sure we have some happy livestock folks all along those Rocky Mountains.  We even saw a large herd of Elk grazing near Springer, NM.  There must have been 75 of them.  Unlike the cattle, they are native to the area and should be left alone.

Anyway, as we all look at our grandchildren, whether we are on the left, center or right, I think most people would agree we all want what is best for them.  Those feelings used to drive some non partisanship in our legislative and executive bodies in this country.  Now our corporate powers are trumping everyone with the partisanship of profit.  It won't last forever.  It never does.


Here are eight month olds Kate and Alex.  Since they were born so early, they have an adjusted age of five months.  Surely not identical twins.....but real sweeties.

Friday, July 03, 2015

A Better Approach

I tried to ban concealed weapons in Albuquerque under 'home rule' laws back in 2001 when I was Mayor. We got nowhere as every judge on the Supreme Court in NM ran screaming from the NRA. I recall they were all democrats. This 'good cause' approach might be a good one for some brave city councillor to take on. It basically says that before a concealed weapon license can be issued, that a good cause must exist for it to be issued. Certainly our mascot Mayor will not attempt such a thing. Well, we can always dream.

Once again, did you notice how Donald Trump Piñatas and the confederate flag took all the heat away from the NRA after the last massacre? Culture wars trump real issues. Ha Ha.