Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bosque Adventure

We were up early this morning for the daily three mile hike into the Bosque along the Rio Grande. It was especially nice today because my son Justin and his girl Karly went with me and the Beagles. The Bosque is becoming overgrown with alfalfa. It has obliterated the trails. I think since the dead trees were taken down after the fire that the ground is getting a lot more sunlight and this alfalfa has just loved it.

The Rio Grande is still running high. It is just great being out there when this is happening.

This monument appeared in the Bosque a couple of months ago.

The FONTS say what this is really about.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My dad, Fermin Isaac Baca, died one month ago today. He was 90. This is him with his brother, Jaime and sister Pelta at Christmas time. Dad is in the middle. We will hold services for him on Saturday, July 2nd at 10:00am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Pena Blanca, New Mexico. We decided to wait until everyone could get home for the services. My wife Bobbi, who is currently working in Washington, DC as the Chief Environmental Engineer for the US Forest Service, my son Justin and his soulmate Karly, and my daughter Noelle will all be arriving over the next few days for the holiday and the services. It will be great to see them.
This commuting marriage for Bobbi and me has been going on for 8 months now. I am told that it is a progressive thing to do, but I miss her a lot. More about family later.

Another old reporting buddy

This is my good friend Rodger Beimer. I met him in 1967 when I went to work as a photographer at Channel 7 News in Albuquerque. We have been friends ever since. I like this picture of Rodger because it says a lot about him. Rodger isn't one to suffer fools and he is always a bit cynical and skeptical. He also has a great sense of humor and when he lets out with a laugh they can hear it all the way to Clovis. Rodger currently is the Deputy Manager of the State Fair. He and I have had a lot of talks about the fair every year. It hasn't really changed at all since I started going there as an infant some 59 years ago.
It is my personal opinion that if it doesn't change soon that it will slowly die from the public's desire for new experiences. That doesn't mean that the old things we love about the fair should disappear. This State Fair should really devote half of its efforts towards Science and Innovation. Whole new exhibits buildings should be constructed to highlight New Mexico's leadership in basic science research at our two national labs and the spinoffs they have produced. Wouldn't it behoove Lockheed-Martin, Intel and others to chip in to help with this? The state's institutions of higher learning could help too. Maybe we could appoint a few scientists to the State Fair Commission to get things

They would all love working with Rodger and Fair Manager Fred Peralta.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows me during my term as Mayor of Albuquerque with Luisa Casso, Brian Morris and Julie Hicks. These three smart people all served as communications director for me. Let's see.....on average they each lasted 1 year and four months. After dealing with TV News reporters and the Journal Editorial Board they were all lucky to have not ingested hemlock. Luisa is currently President and CEO of the Downtown Action Team, Brian is DAT's Vice President, and Julie is the Web Guru for the city of Albuquerque.

The Real News Show

If you didn't watch John Stewart last night on Comedy Central then catch him on the rerun tonight. He seems to be the only "broadcast journalist" that noticed in a BIG way that the last throes of the insurgency of Iraq could last twelve years. Hilarious!

Oh, and here is a picture of an old friend of mine, Nick Mace. He was a fellow reporter and cameraman at Channel Seven News.....back in the days when we actually covered news that wasn't primarily concerned with sexual perverts and cock fighting.

Nick currently works at the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments. I think he might be the only Ukranian working there. I remember back in the great News Room days he would sit at his desk and eat a whole jar of pickled herring. Damn!

Monday, June 27, 2005

This is Roy Soto. He has been a good friend for almost thirty years now. Roy is the head honcho for all of the State of New Mexico's Information Technology. I am not sure what his title is, but I guess he is important since the state spends an amount equal to the GNP of some small countries on its computer and IT systems every year. Roy was my Deputy State Land Commmissioner back in the 1980's. There isn't anyone better at demanding justification for spending taxpayer money than him.

My Big Sister

My big sister, Dr. Maria Carlota Baca, is the big cheese at the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers. That is just what it says, a group of Grantmakers who give money to worthy causes in New Mexico. Every month she puts out a news letter and writes a column for it. I particularly like this months. Read it with the knowledge that we are spending unfathomable amounts of money for our oil war.

Director’s Column
M. Carlota Baca, Executive Director, NMAG

Some time ago, I was in Walgreen’s refilling some prescriptions. Because I have good insurance, I can get 90 pills of anything for a flat $15 (cheaper if they’re generic). For the uninsured, a three-months’ supply of Lipitor costs $363.69! Thus, I pay $60 for a year’s supply while an uninsured person pays close to $1500 a year for the same thing.

On that day, I was waiting in line behind a slight, elderly man. When his turn came, he was handed a very small bottle of pills and he took out over $200 in cash to pay it. I was stunned and when he walked away, I spoke to the young woman at the counter. “God, I worry about how these older people who have to pay cash are managing.” I said, nodding at the departing old gent.

“Almost half of our customers are in the same situation,” she said. “Sometimes, I see people actually start to cry when I tell them how much it is. I just can’t stand it! Sometimes I just want to get a different job.” Her emotional response made me realize how insulated I am, and how, everyday, she sees the problem up close.

I’ve carried that recollection around with me since it happened. I always knew poverty and need were around me, but I guess I was seldom in line right behind it. I realized that I lead a very sheltered life.

Recently I heard about another way that the working poor pay more than I do for something rather basic—financial services: I’m sure that you’ve seen those quickie payday loan shops in your towns. According to one study, the people who use these outfits may end up, ultimately, paying about 40% of their income in debt service! It’s made me realize that poverty is sort of a bottomless pit. Once you’re in it, it’s very, very difficult to climb out. I highly recommend a book I read last year, “The Working Poor: Invisible in America” by David K. Shipler. It’s a shocker.

Philanthropy in its earlier forms in this country was very straightforward about addressing poverty. Carnegie, Ford, and other giants were, of course, the underwriters of great civic institutions such as libraries, museums, parks, symphonies and the like, but they also were dedicated to diminishing poverty because it made good economic and civic sense for the nation. Less poverty was good for business.

About every few months, a man used to come to my door and ask if I would like new blacktop on my driveway. I always said no thanks. He was hustling, he was working the neighborhood, and he was all business. He came again last week and this time, I said, “Sure, my driveway really needs it.” He did a terrific job and he didn’t charge very much. He did the entire job himself with no helpers and I hope he felt that he got a fair price for his grueling work.

John Kenneth Galbraith once said, “The arithmetic of modern politics makes it tempting to overlook the very poor, because they are an inarticulate minority.” This man who rang my doorbell was barely able to speak English. He didn’t have business cards so I had no way to call him later if I changed my mind. I realize that he probably did not report the income, so I guess I am part of the “undocumented-worker, low-wage mess.”

He certainly didn’t have the time or education to address articulately the public policy issues of immigration, labor, a living wage, fringe benefits and the absolute need for the human dignity that comes with work. I realize that he probably won’t come back now, and he has no phone, so I have no way to recommend him to you. All I have is his name, which is Jesús.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

This is the first post of many photos to come. I will show you people I know, most of them I like, and tell you a little bit about them from my perspective.

This first guy is Gavino. He does the heavy lifting yard work around here about three times a year. He is expensive. He works like an ant and does a meticulous job. He is from a town near Chihuahua, Mexico. His english is poor but he always gets the message across. He is 37 years old. Gavino works, and from what I gather, plays very hard. He has a knack for coming around looking for work just when you need him.

Gavino...the yard guy. Posted by Hello