Sunday, July 31, 2005


Bobbi and I got into Martha's Vineyard about three hours late on Wednesday evening because the airport there had been fogged in all day. Our commuting marriage is a wonder of efficiency. I arrived at the Boston airport at about 2:30 PM on American Airlines and she arrived at 2:33pm on Delta Shuttle from Washington National.(Yes, National airport, never Reagan...not ever.) We needed to switch terminals and and meet in the middle, which we did within two minutes of each other. That's when we were told to take the bus and ferry which we did. Three hours on the bus to Woods Hole and 45 minutes on the ferry. The bus sucked but the ferry was fun, since we don't get to use them much in New Mexico it was a different experience.

Now to the point of the trip. I serve on the Board of the Wyss Foundation. It was founded by Hansjoerg Wyss, a successful businessman who loves wilderness and wants to protect our special landscapes in the American west. This is a picture of Hansjoerg and Marcey Olajos, a native of Albuquerque. They are always very gracious hosts and it is always fun to enjoy the great wines that are available at dinner time.

The Wyss foundation gives grants to non profit groups who work to protect wilderness, National Parks, and other important lands that need added protection in the American west. The groups are largely comprised of local organizations, such as the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Idaho Coservation League, and some national organizations such as the Wilderness Society.

As I said in my post last Tuesday, this is really a fun thing to do. Besides doing the work of fully discussing grants and grantee's performance we often have great speakers.

Our speaker this meeting was very impressive. Rob Stein of the Democracy Alliance spent two hours with us. He is the man with his arm in the air. As you can see these are relaxed and comfortable meetings. Staff always sits in too. Stein and the Alliance have done an outstanding job of pulling together data on the American conservative movement and how they have successfully owned the politics of the country by owning the message machinery. This is a great link to visit to learn more details from Alternet..

I really urge you to read it in full. Essentially, Stein says the media message machine has been hijacked by the right because of almost 40 years of continual investment. As the Alternet article says.

"To get their message out, the conservatives have a powerful media empire, which churns out and amplifies the message of the day - or the week - through a wide network of outlets and individuals, including Fox News, talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North, Ann Coulter, as well as religious broadcasters like Pat Robertson and his 700 Club. On the web, it starts with Fueling the conservative message machine with a steady flow of cash is a large group of wealthy individuals, including many who serve on the boards of the Big 80."

Stein estimates that the Conservative message machine is spending about $400 million a year on it's system while progressives and moderates spend about $60 million. That is all about to change as a concerted effort to match that investment has started.

The Conservative movement also owns many newspaper columnists, like Cal Thomas, and they appear in hundreds of newspapers a day.

There is also a large investment in University think tanks by the right wing. There are stand alone right wing think tanks like the CATO institute and Heritage Foundation that never lack funding. Young college students are recruited in to the conservative movement and given full scholarships and post graduate opportunities. Recipients include journalists, communications experts, and other young professionals who are offered wide ranging experiences inside and outside of government.

There is a good chance that with some investment, which according to Stein is available, that moderate and progressive Americans will once again gain a voice. It won't happen over night. Many meetings are taking place all over the country as this effort gears up.

Well, you get the idea. Interestingly enough, I wonder if the conservative movement might have been hijacked themselves by the wacko "neo con" folks. I asked Stein that question and he thinks maybe that has happened and that there are cracks occuring in their structure. I think Senator Frist's departure from the religious extreme right wing on the issue of stem cell research is a case in point. Of course we know that Frist wants to run for President and after the Schivao mess he stepped into he is now reading the polls more carefully. Hmmm, just another DC politico afterall.

A stimulating time in Martha's Vineyard.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Coming Home

Technology Today!

I am updating from a public internet site in the decrepit Boston Airport before boarding my flight in about an hour for the long haul through Dallas back to DRY heat. Actually, Martha's Vineyard was pretty nice since we got the ocean breezes.

Lots of neat photos and links coming as a result of this trip. Stay tuned!

This is where we held our Wyss Foundation Meetings. At the Wyss home. Yes, that is a model railroad and we all got to play with it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I-25 Moonscape

I have been a commuter to Santa Fe since Bruce King first hired me as his News Secretary back in 1974. I-25 had not been declared an Interstate yet and there was one exit to Santa Fe at Cerrillos. There wasn't much traffic either. You could drive pretty fast and I did so in my super 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was about as long as cabin cruiser but didn't have much space in it.

Over the last three decades the deterioration of the landscape between Albuquerque and Santa Fe has been continuous. Most alarming are the many sand and gravel pits in the area between the Traditions shopping area(where traditionally no one shops) to the outskirts of Albuquerque.

This picture is of one site that sits north of Bernalillo. I am not sure it will be reclaimed, but let's hope so. This is just what is visible from the Interstate. There is much more out of view on the numerous sites in that corridor. Next time you travel along the Interstate take an inventory of the disappearing juniper covered hills.

In the early 1990's there was a great battle in the legislature over mining reclamation standards for New Mexico. My good friend, the late Bob Langsenkamp who served as my Deputy State Land Commissioner, spearheaded the effort to toughen up those standards. After much effort and constant combat from the hard rock miners in this state new legislation was passed. However, at the last minute the sand and gravel industry had themselves exempted from the rules. It is time to fix that before more eyesores and damage like this occur.

Many of the Sand and Gravel operators do a good job of reclamation. But, for every properly reclaimed pit there are many more that are just abandoned. They end up being dumping grounds, or worse, all over the state. Obviously, we need to extract sand and gravel but these scars should not be allowed to go uncured.

I will be on the road until Sunday. If I have good broadband access I will blog about my trip. I will be meeting Bobbi in Boston tomorrow afternoon for a short vacation. We will fly over to Martha's Vineyard and I will participate in a meeting of the Wyss Foundation. I am on the board and it is one of the more satisfying things I do. We are a philantrophic organization that funds grass roots environmental groups in the western United States who fight for protection of our great western landscapes and wilderness.

Flash! As I was writing this post I got a call from my old friend Dick Knipfing at Channel 13 News. Dick has a memory for New Mexico History and he corrected my correction yesterday regarding elected Hispanic U.S. Senators. Add to that list Republican Senator Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo who was elected Governor of New Mexico in 1918; he was amember of the New Mexico house of representatives in 1927 and 1928; and was elected on November 6, 1928, as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Andrieus A. Jones. He served from December 7, 1928, to March 3, 1929 and due to illness, was not a candidate for the full term. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Someday, I will tell you stories about Knipfing and skiing.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Forgotten Pioneer New Mexicans

My wife Bobbi spotted a rather big factual mistake in an article by Roberto Suro in the June 26th edition of the Washington Post. The story was about the power of Latino voters in America. In the Article Suro said,

"True, Latinos have made gains in elected positions, but the advances have been relatively modest. The first two Hispanic U.S. senators were elected last year, and the number of Hispanics in the House edged up to 27."

The problem with this statement is that New Mexico long ago elected two Hispanic Senators. Any one who has been around in the "Land of Enchantment" for any amount of time in recent history knows that we had the services of Senator Dennis Chavez for four terms and Senator Joseph Montoya for two terms. Bobbi moved here in 1973 and she knew it!

This is Architect Chris Calott on the left and entrepreneur and businessman Jay Rembe of Infill Solutions Inc. outside of the Flying Star in downtown Albuquerque. They are doing some beautiful infill developments in downtown, including the old gas company building where the Flying Star is located at 8th and Silver. Across the street you can see reflected in the windows the first phase of their loft development which will eventually cover the whole block on both sides of Silver Ave. They are building for those seeking urban living at central locations that require only a walk to work, entertainment and services. It is exactly what we should be doing in this community.

The City Council and the Mayor have been sparring over the Capital Improvement Program and where millions of dollars should be spent. They Mayor wants a big Panda exhibit and the Zoo and the Council insisted that money be set aside for more basic needs. As this has been unfolding an article appeared about the horrible sewer stench in the area of Coors and Central. I remember this was a growing problem back when I was Mayor and I thought it would have been fixed by now. The city is spending $1000 a day to treat the problem. The stench is caused by an obsolete and overworked main sewer line. The residents in that area have suffered a long time and it is probably time to put in a new line. It will be expensive but it should be done. After all, brand new lines are being built out to the new areas in far northwestern section of the city to serve people who don't live there yet.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

People-OCD Dog-Plastic

It rained really hard as soon as Rodger and Connie's back yard party started last night. It lasted about an hour and we all retreated under the patio cover, although later in the evening it was really nice.(You can click on the pictures to make them bigger, and then click the back arrow to return.)

This is Ed Mahr. He spent time working as a reporter and editor for the Albuquerque Journal before deciding he would break into the political arena as a lobbyist for many clients at the legislature. One thing Ed and I, and most everyone at this party, have in common is a general dislike for the direction our country has taken under Bush. Ed told a great story about a conversation he had with a Postman in his neighborhood.. They were both lamenting the fact that this country is spending 940 million dollars a day in Iraq. Ed is livid that his daughter, who is a 35,000 dollar a year school teacher in Albuquerque, has to spend 400 dollars a year on school supplies for her class room out of her own pocket while this kind of money is being spent on an uncessary war. Ed said the Postman retorted that he hates delivering Social Security checks to people with Bush bumper stickers on their cars. That is funny.

This is Gieger. He is Rodger and Connie's Sheltie. He is one truly obsessive compulsive canine. Every time a jet airliner passes over head, he chases it. Every time. Really. And, when it started raining last night he didn't take shelter. He stood in the middle of the yard looking straight up and barked at the rain, for an hour.

Remember in the movie "The Graduate" when Ben is at the pool party and the family friend advises him on his future in one word. "Plastics". Well, I think he was right. This is a picture of a plastic Little Tykes toddler picnic table that Bobbi and I bought for Justin when he was about two. Both he and Noelle used it extensively. We then gave it to Rodger and Connie so all of the nieces and nephews could use it. It looks exactly the same as when we bought it 23 years ago. It has been out in the sun and elements and has aged better than any of us. Plastics!

This is Jolene Mahr. She too was a Journal Reporter before going to work at Albuquerque's Technical Vocational Institute. She has been there during its years of astonishing growth and service to our region. She has helped create a very good image for that institution.

This is John Wertheim. I blogged something about him and his wife Bianca being a power couple a couple of days ago. I better show him too. He was at the party and tried to get me to sign up for a New Mexico Democratic Party Visa card. The Party makes a dollar for every one hundred charged. He was doing his job as Party Chairman.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


It will be a domestic weekend. I love these kind of weekends. Brian Sanderoff came over and helped me move out some old furniture and then the delivery guys moved in some new leather furniture from TEMA in Albuqueque. I then went over and helped Brian do the same thing at his new house.

I went home and cleaned my hot tub. I do it religiously every weekend. It is a really good one that we purchased about 7 years ago. It gets used by me every single morning after early exercise. I recommend it to everyone. It is nice to get warmed up early when you get to my age and you start battling sore joints. I know, this is boring. But here is a picture of my back yard.

My brother in-law Wayne from Colorado Springs says it is a back yard to die for. It really is nice on summer evenings. He is a Lutheran minister and a really nice guy. He is very progressive and that takes courage in Colorado Springs where some of our most conservative fundamentalist religious folks are headquartered.

I will go to Rodger and Connie's tonight for a party. There will be lots of cool people there who mostly share the same good political views. I realize 'good' is relative here. I will have exactly one Margarita and then switch to tonic water. I never, ever, have more that one drink any more if I have to drive. With Bobbi in DC much of the time I am always the designated driver.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hard Work

Who ever thinks that working for government isn't hard work should meet this crew. I attended our twice a month cabinet meeting in Governor Richardson's office today. These meetings last about two hours with the cabinet and staff briefing the Governor and each other on issues everyone should know something about.

This picture is of Ned Farquhar, the Governor's Energy and Environment Policy assistant. Actually, I don't know if that is his real title, but it is close enough. Ned has an impressive background which includes heavy duties in Alaska with their Natural Resources Department. He then ran the Natural Resources Council in Vermont where he got to interact with Governor Howard Dean. He then travelled to New Mexico to head up 1000 Friends of New Mexico, a smart growth group. After he finished that job he went to work for the Packard Foundation in California before being lured back to take on his duties for Governor Richardson. Ned is helping the Governor take on a much needed role for a Western Governor, that being a conservationist and energy innovation activist. The Governor's stand on responsible public land use and protection of wilderness has gained him many friends in the environmental community around New Mexico and the Nation.

I have a good story about Ned. When I was Mayor I asked him to serve on the City's Environmental Planning Commission. He accepted, but the city council refused to approve him because he worked with an environmental group. It didn't matter that for many years the EPC had been packed with conflicted developers! This particular movida by the council was one of the most frustrating things that happened during my term in office. No, I don't know what that is on his chin.

This is Bianca Ortiz Wertheim, Director of Cabinet Affairs. She is the 'go to' person if you need to speak to the Governor or get some face time with him on official business. She is always extremely helpful and she herds us folks on the Cabinet in a manner that makes you feel good. This is another smart woman who should run for office one day. Yes, she is married to State Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim. Hmm, a "Power Couple".

This is Marissa Gonzales, Bianca's assistant. She always has a smile and positive attitude. This young woman and all of the staff of the Governor's office work very hard. They rarely get time for lunch, they arrive to work early, leave late, and often work weekends. Most people don't know or recognize that people of this caliber are working for them.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Alternative News

This is Chris Johnson. Most people don't know who he is but many folks spend time with his Alibi Newspaper every week. Chris is the Publisher of that 'alertnative weekly.' I got to know Chris when I ran for Mayor in 1997. After I got elected we tried to have lunch or coffee at least once every couple of weeks. It was refreshing that a publisher like him would spend time with an elected official for one on one conversations on a regular basis. That is rare here in Albuquerque.

In any city the Newspaper Publisher and the Mayor should always communicate with each other on a regular basis. They are often the two most influential people in any community. Sometimes, both will stay in their lofty offices instead of having honest heart to heart talks about their readers and constituents expectations and needs.

I read the Alibi every week. Under the leadership of Chris and Editor Tim McGivern they have really good coverage on city issues and very entertaining local columnists. I even enjoyed reading bad boy Greg Payne's rantings when he was there. Jerry Ortiz y Pino writes extremely thoughtful pieces too. I also like Jim Scarentino who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. You should check them out every week. Chris got married last fall to Pharmacist Angela Torres of Penasco, New Mexico. He said they are living in the East Mountains with ten chickens, an African goose and a black cat. We should all be happy that Albuquerque has a quality weekly newspaper.

This is my longtime friend Bob White. I bumped into him at lunch today. Bob was my City Attorney when I was Mayor. He has also served Marty Chavez for his two terms. Bob has a difficult job in that he must act as Attorney for both the Mayor and the Council. In Bob's case the system works because everyone likes him, but after he is gone I foresee there could be problems with this arrangement. Bob served a term as a City councilor back in the early 80's. He was a great Councilman who always tried to get others working together. Bob spends some of his spare time as a Shakesperean actor. I haven't ever seen him act, but I'll bet he is pretty good at it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I have always been a little perplexed about why the news media only seems to care about where political campaign money comes from. It is actually very important to know that, but why don't we pay closer attention to where the money goes and who gets it? Do they actually provide services for that money? Is there value recieved?

Since it looks like there will be a million dollar campaign this year for Mayor, it would be great if someone actually checked that the money that was listed as being spent for media really was spent for media. Or let's see where the dollars go that get paid to 'consultants.'

Just a thought.

Protecting New Mexico

I participated in a News Conference this morning sponsored by the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

Essentially, we gathered in a bi-partisan effort to support Senators Bingaman and Domenici in making sure their Senate version of the Energy bill prevails over the horrendous House Bill. The house version exempts the Oil and Gas industry from many environmental laws, public comment, and supervision by our Public Lands agencies. This comes at a time when the industry is making extremely large windfall profits on ascending oil prices. The last time this happened during the 70's there was a windfall profits tax enacted, but the chance of that happening with this President and Congress are about zero.

It was heartening to see Republicans and Democrats together on this. This is a photo of former Republican Governor Dave Cargo, William Wiley and Ken Whiton of the National Republicans for Environmental Protection, and Jeanne Bassett of the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group. The Republicans in this picture went out of the way in stressing they were very conservative, and I believe it. (Maybe "Lonesome Dave" isn't quite as conservative.)

This photo shows Ozawa Bineshi Albert of the Southwest Climate Council, Amy Welch of the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, Sarah Lundstrum of the Sierra Club, Carol Weekuaee of the Sierra Club and Neri Holguin of the New Mexico office of The Wilderness Society. I am pretty sure they probably are not Republicans, although I didn't ask them.

This is Oscar Simpson, Republican President of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. He is a passionate supporter of public lands protection and New Mexico's hunting and fishing areas.

Congresswoman Heather Wilson should look at a group like this and support the Senate version of the Energy bill. These are all New Mexicans who care a lot about our beautiful landscapes in the Land of Enchantment.

The media turnout for the news conference was poor. Neither the Journal or Tribune attended and only KOAT TV News showed up for the broadcasters, although I did an interview with KKOB AM Radio afterwards by phone. I know what will lead the local news tonight, probably a story about either sex or violence, or both. Although, a burning pickup truck on the I-40 might trump even those TV news stories. Afterall, their choppers are just sitting there!

This is a picture of downtown Albuquerque's street trees. They are in horrible shape all over downtown because they aren't being properly watered, fertilized and cared for. The city and building owners should get with it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mayor of the Region

This is Lawrence Rael, Executive Director the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments(MRGCOG). He has one of the nicest offices downtown with a terrace overlooking Robinson Park. This picture was taken there. Lawrence and I work together on official business having to do with Bosque restoration.

Lawrence was my Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Albuquerque when I served as Mayor. He also held that position for Mayor Louis Saavedra and during Martin Chavez's first term. Marty made a big mistake by not retaining him. ABQPAC would not have unfolded if Lawrence had been around with his good advice and high standard of Ethics.

Lawrence has really led the MRGCOG into a renaissance. This group is finally taking charge of planning for the Regions transportation future. The new Roadrunner Rail system between Belen and Bernalillo will come on line soon and it is Lawrence that deserves a lot of credit for managing its development. Governor Richardson deserves much of the credit too, as do most of the region's Mayors and Council members. Some people joke it should be called the Rael System.

Lawrence is relentless in pursuing his goals and he is a master at finding the resources to get things done. He is also pretty good at the politics and getting diverse groups working together. I hope he sticks around in public service for a long time. He and his wife, Kim Sanchez Rael, have two children and one on the way. Someday I will blog about Kim. She is also a remarkably accomplished woman.

Monday, July 18, 2005

New Mexico's Photographer

This is Douglas Kent Hall. I call him New Mexico's Photographer. I got to know Doug when our sons became best friends at Valley High School in Albuquerque. My son Justin and Devon Hall were a part of a really good group of kids who hung out in coffee houses during their evenings and weekends. If you want to know a lot about Doug look here.
He has a comprehensive website.

Doug and his wife Dawn live not far from us in Albuquerque. I went to visit him at his studio on 5th street a couple of weeks ago and was impressed all over again by his beautiful photography.
Doug did a lot of pictures of Arnold the Governator when he was pumping iron.

Some of my favorite works are his photos of Flamenco.

Doug will soon be honored by the State of New Mexico and Governor Richardson and receive the Governor's Arts Award for Photography for 2005.

Anyway, both Devon and Justin are doing great. Devon got his degree from Sarah Lawrence College and Justin from Cornell University. Their public school education worked well for them because they were focused guys with supportive parents. Devon is in graduate school at UNM and is a very impressive musician and composer. Justin will soon leave his job in Washington, DC before heading south of the border to improve his Spanish Language skills before obtaining an MBA .

Kids in Motion

These three kids are Ian, Amanda and little Anya. Their parents are John and Lisa Newell. Lisa is my brothers' wife's sister. Lisa moved to Albuquerque when she was about seventeen. Some years later she met John, who runs a Jewelry manufacturing business in Albuquerque. These are the most energetic, smart and attractive kids I have met in some time. They all attend a Montessori school in Albuquerque and they all seem advanced for their ages. John and Lisa are really great parents and people. They worry a lot about the leadership in Washington right now and if anyone is thinking about their kid's future in this country.

Million Dollar Mayor's Race?

It is almost unfathomable to me that we are closing in on a one million dollar Mayor's race in Albuquerque. Marty Chavez may actually bring in that much. That is almost 2 1/2 times what the race that I lost four years ago cost. I think when I was elected in 1997 we only spent about 150 thousand. The amount of money for this years race is certainly going to be record breaking. Soon this will be a rich man's game in Albuquerque, or the candidate's fundraising must sell the well being of the city to raise those stakes. The city voters should immediately insist that the limit on contributions from any one individual or corporate entity be capped at one thousand dollars. Right now, I believe that amount is over four thousand. Imagine that kind of money being raised in the Duke City, while over in Rio Rancho Mayor Owen probably wont spend 5% of that amount. And yet he managed to steal away a new arena from our town.

I was disappointed that the Newspapers have not yet listed those who contributed a thousand or more in print. I believe the Journal put it on their website, but I could not find it easily as I posted this.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


This is Connie Beimer. The picture she is holding is of her husband, Rodger. I put this picture in the blog a couple of weeks ago. Rodger is a big guy, Connie is a small woman. It all started in my den back in the late 80's or so. It was Superbowl Sunday and Rodger, who had know Connie for some time, asked her out on a date to our party. The rest, as they say, is history. Rodger, Connie, Bobbi and I went to dinner last night at Ambrosia in Old Town(I recommend it), and we had a great time talking about the 'old days.' Connie has a great back ground. She is a very accomplished woman and one of the hardest workers I have ever known. She is known for her desire to get things done quickly and efficiently. She would make a great political candidate for high office, but she never has taken the bait. Connie has a diverse background. She was news anchor and talk show host for KOB770 Radio and a special correspsondent for PM magazine. She served as Director of Communications for the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. She was Director of Marketing for regional members of the Presbyterian Hospital System. She served as my Director of Cultural Services for the City of Albuquerque. She served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the City in the last two years of my term as Mayor. She worked as a volutneer for Bill Richardson's campaign before taking on a paid position as field director. She was Deputy Director of Richardson's transition team and became Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor. She was then lured away to become Chief of Staff for UNM President Louis Caldera. Pretty impressive.

You must, I repeat, absolutely must read Frank Rich in the New York Times today. Please!

Saturday, July 16, 2005


My brother Tom and I got up early to take some aerial photos of the family land in Pena Blanca. My brother has a Beechcraft Bonanza that is fun to ride around in.

This photo above will locate Pena Blanca for you. It is looking south from Cochiti Lake towards the Sandia Mountains and Albuquerque. It gives you a good idea of the river valley. The Village is on the east side of theRio Grande.

This photo is of the 22 acre parcel that is leased out to Fred Espinosa. You will notice all of the Siberian elm trees that we are having taken down prior to laser leveling the property for better water conservation purposes. This land used to have hundreds of apple trees, cherry trees and peach treees on it. They all perished in the extreme cold in the early 70's when the temperature stayed around -20 degrees F for three days.
This view, which shows our 18 acre parcel surrounded by trees in the shape of a square, gives you a good idea of the views from these lands towards the Jemez. Most of the land to the west of us is Cochiti reservation land. This parcel is for sale by us, so if you have 45k per acre it is yours. I don't know for sure what the value around there is, but some are selling their land and water rights for 50k an acre. It was a fun morning.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Cheney Portrait

Well, you need to see this and wear your reading glasses. It is a picture of our Oil and Gas industry Vice President. It is made up of pictures of SUVs. My colleague Tyler Weik sent it to me with hopes I would share it. If you ever want to see bigger versions of any of these pictures just click on them.

Another moderate Republican

I bumped into Martha Buddecke at lunch today at Yanni's in Albuquerque. She is another moderate Republican that I worked with back in the 70's. When I was employed by Mayor Harry Kinney, Martha worked in the same office as I did at City Hall. She later went on to work for Senator Pete Domenici when he was still mainstream. Martha seems pretty happy with her retirement status, although she was having lunch with a local PR firm President. I asked her, "Martha, what do you really think about this President.?" She said in a quiet voice, "I support him." But, that is about all she said. On this point, there is a really good Paul Krugman column in the New York times today. Read it here. Martha has always had a great sense of humor and as you can see, a great smile.

This is a picture of something that has become routine in our lives. This is Bobbi arriving at the Airport from an official Forest Service meeting in San Diego. She will be here until Sunday morning when she returns to her job in Washington, DC. This commuting marriage has been going on for about 10 months now. Here has how it has worked in the last few weeks. Bobbi came home from June 16-19th, she returned for a week over the 4th of July when we all gathered to bury my dad's ashes, she returned to DC on the 7th, I travelled to DC for a meeting on the 10th, while I was still there she left for San Diego on the 12th, I came home the evening of the 13th, and she arrives today for a short stay until Sunday morning. We probably won't see each other again until July 27th when we meet in Boston and then travel to Martha's Vineyard for a meeting of the Wyss Foundation, which is a board that I serve on. I will return to Albuquerque on the 30th and Bobbi will return to DC. After that, we haven't even thought of a schedule, except we will travel to Bangkok, Thailand in November for 10 days vacation to tour the country and visit our daughter Noelle who will be attending school there. By the way, we have a great system for airport pickups. We check on to see where exactly the airplane is in flight and it's time of arrival. As soon as the plane lands we take off for the airport. If baggage is checked the traveller calls the ride as soon as the bags are recieved and then the rider proceeds to the pick up area. Most airports now have areas where the rides can wait free of charge until the call comes for the pickup. I don't think Albuquerque has one yet, but it should. I wait at the airplane observation area and that works pretty well, or I use the Wyndham hotel parking lot.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Dolphins head for Land

Dolphins worldwide reacted today to President Bush's new Clean Oceans Initiative. Dolphin linguists at Wood's Hole Research Center cobbled together some squeaks and squeals from submerged microphones that translated to something like, "We better go live on the beach."

Busy Busy

I have had a busy morning. I have been dealing with the State Attorney General's office and the Governor's staff on official business at the Natural Resources Trustee Office. We are dealing with some issues related to the Department of Energy. I have also been dealing with the federal Natural Resource Conservation Office on some work involving family owned irrigated land in Pena Blanca, New Mexico. That land is comprised of about 40 acres of irrigated property in two separate parcels. We are preparing to do some earthmoving work on one of the parcels for better water conservation practices.
That 22 acre piece is currently leased by Fred Espinosa of Santa Fe. He is a long time wrangler who provides horses for trail rides, hunting trips and movie makers. Most recently he worked on TNT's "In to the West," and his stock will appear in a History Channel documentary next Monday evening. He is a very articulate and thoughtful guy. He has done wonders with the property and we hope he sticks around a long time. By next fall the property will be cleared of unwanted Siberian Elm Trees and will be laser leveled for efficient irrigation. I believe Pena Blanca is destined to be the "New Corrales" in a few years. Property values there are soaring because the village is situated exactly halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It sits between Santo Domingo and Cochiti Pueblos. It is about 40 minutes from Albuquerque and 30 minutes from Santa Fe. It is a really beautiful place with views of the Jemez Mountains to the west. I am hopeful that we can pass this land along to our kids, Justin and Noelle, and my brother's daughters Sara and Stephanie.

This is Joe Monohan. I have linked his blog here since I began my blog. I have known Joe for thirty years. When he was a talk show host and newsman at the first talk station in Albuquerque in the early to mid 70's I was working as Mayor Harry Kinney's Public Information Officer. Yes, I worked for a republican, but back in those days there were a lot of decent moderate republicans and I liked them a lot. I think there are still a lot of them out there, but they are just outshouted by the republican far right fringe lunatics.

Anyway, one day I threw Joe out of my office during the strike by city Police Officers over pay issues. (Interestingly, the crime rate during the week long strike went down because the populace armed themselves and the criminals didn't want to take any chances.) Well, Joe had come in with some wild accusations about the Mayor. I don't quite remember what it was but it made me detonate and I practically came over my desk at him. Joe just sauntered out and down the hallway chuckling to himself. He still does that sort of thing and we still argue like fanatics. We did so yesterday over a glass of iced tea at Flying Star. I still disagree with much of Joe's positions on issues, but deep down I really have always liked him a lot. Check out his blog everyday. It is really entertaining for political junkies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


If some things are bearing down on you look at this link and they won't seem to be so important.

Rove Toons

You really need to tune into this page on the Washington Post Website to see Tom Tole's editorial cartoons. Also, below the place where you click on his toon are the sites of other great editorial cartoonists that beg to be viewed every day. It is too bad they don't run Trevor from the Journal everyday. Although he seems too be falling too the far right way too much lately. He is still really good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


It is always good to get back to the high desert below the Sandias. I think when I left Washington the temperature was 94 and the humidity was 95. As I always say, it is the "land of sweat". We had a pretty good meeting in DC that was sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council. They brought together a lot of Latino leaders to discuss how to get more involvement from Latinos in the fight to save America's environment. It is kind of sad to see the reaction of some of the local enviro groups who seem threatened by the outreach. Hopefully they will think more about goals than their turf.

Now, after returning from the 'land of sweat' I am required to do something about my hair. It turns into a brillo pad in that climate. This is Gene Varoz and Renee Farfan. They are my barber and manicurist. I have been going to see Gene since my newsman days at Channel Seven. It is getting close to almost 35 years now since I first met Gene. There is a great story about him. I was working for Bruce King in his campaign for Governor in 1978. Bruce at the time sported the "Brylcreem Look." In other words his hair was plastered to his head with oily stuff, but the dry look was in. I convinced him and Alice that they should go see Gene Varoz to get a new style before the first big televised debate against Joe Skeen. Well, they did go see him and Bruce arrived in a howling rain storm that night at Channel 7 for the debate with a newspaper wrapped around his head. When he got inside and revealed his new 'do', everyone was blown away. The next day the late Ernie Mills said on his syndicated radio show the Bruce won the debate because of the hair job Gene had given him. So, Gene helped Bruce win the election, which was very close...only 2,000 votes or so as I recall. Anyway, when I was Mayor, all of Gene's clients, many you would know, held a celebrity roast for him and I declared it Gene Varoz day. Renee has been with Gene about 15 years I believe. She was just a teenager when she started. She still looks exactly the same too. Two kids and still very slender. These two people are really great.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fire Fly

About 8PM last night we ran down to the mall to do a 50 minute walk. The sun was down but the humidity was up. With dwindling light the fire flies came out in abundance. The first time I had ever seen them was in Washington when we used to come here to visit my mothers parents in the 1950's. My dad met my mom when he worked in DC in the 30's and 40's.

There were a lot of people here out last evening at the Lincoln memorial. I just learned yesterday that Lincoln was outvoted as the most important president by the American public. The Discovery(?) Channel poll showed Reagan winning that. We don't have a chance do we?

Many people were visiting the war memorials last night. The Vietnam memorials, the Korean memorial, the ugly and new WWII memorial were all mobbed. Bobbi thought the WWII memorial looks like architecture you would see at Nuremberg prior to the invasion of Poland. It really is that bad. The others all have real emotional qualities. WWII's tribute has none.

I thought it would be nice if we, as a nation, could build a Peace Memorial on the Mall to celebrate those brief periods of time when we were not at war. I am not aware of any major Peace Memorials in our nation's Capitol, although I am not sure about that.

Bobbi left for a business trip to San Diego this a.m. I will spend the day making the rounds in DC at the organizations where I serve on boards, The Wilderness Society and the Wyss Foundation. I wil have lunch with my son Justin and attend a dinner this evening put on by the Natural Resources Defense Council prior to our all day meeting tomorrow. Then, back tomorrow night late.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


We had a great dinner with Steve and Molly Cobble last night here at Bobbi's apartment. Steve is a guy who has dedicated his life to progressive causes and politics. Molly is a chemistry teacher in the Arlington schools. Steve is originally from Las Cruces and Molly lived a long time in New Mexico, so they really enjoyed the green chile recipes we made last night.

This morning I got up and went to read the NY Times at the Starbucks down the street and Bobbi went to Jazzercise. Frank Rich always writes a good column on Sundays. Today's is really excellent.

At 1pm we went to a lecture at the Ripley Center at the Smithsonian. It was about Tim Burton's films. It was really enjoyable since we both like his movies. There is always stuff like that to do in DC. Tonight after sunset we will run over to the Mall for a long walk.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

In DC-Too near George

I had an uneventful flight in to Washington on Delta through Atlanta. I don't know why Delta is not doing better since there is never any empty seats on their planes. Bobbi picked me up and we came straight to her apartment at the Court House metro stop. This is a nice area and she has a nice place. It is hot but not oppressively humid today. We immediately started fixing Gypsy stew for Steve Cobble and his wife Molly. This is a green chile chicken stew that just about everyone enjoys. They will since they are from New Mexico. More about them later, suffice it to say they are really a great couple. They are smart and good liberals. We will spend the night dissecting the madness of W.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Guv!

I had to go to Santa Fe this morning and stopped by the Governor's office. My twin brother Tom was there too. He is the State Aviation Director. Since I am pretty much carrying my camera everywhere these days I had a staffer shoot a quick picture.

I really do like Bill Richardson. I first met him in 1978 when he came to New Mexico to run the
State Democratic Party at the request of Governor Apodaca. Bruce King had won the Primary election for Governor for the Dems that year and had not been consulted on Bill's hiring. To make a long story short Bill didn't stay long in that position, but as you can see he did stick around in New Mexico and has had a wonderful career. Bill and Bruce actually got along quite well after that first bump in the road.

What I like most about the Governor is that he is not afraid to think big. He is the exact opposite of so many politicians in this state who hold back their ideas because they think they might not be supported by EVERYONE. Bill understands that leadership doesn't always mean everyone gets on the bus with him.

My next few blogs will be from the road. I must travel to Washington, DC for a meeting set up by the National Resources Defense Council on the subject of recruiting more Latinos into the environmental movement. It should be interesting.

My George Bush Story

Believe it or not I have shaken the hand of every President of the United States since John Kennedy came to Albuquerque back in 1962, except for the first George Bush. I shook President Johnson's hand in Albuquerque, President Nixon's when I was a newsman at Channel 7, President Ford's in Santa Fe, President Carter's in Albuquerque, President Reagan's in Sacramento, and of course President Bill Clinton's on numerous occasions when I worked for his first administration. And, yes, I shook W's hand too and it was a very disheartening experience. Here is what happened. Several months after he was appointed President by the Supreme Court he visited Albuquerque and gave a speech at the Hispano Chamber of Commerce on South 4th street near Bridge Blvd. I was Mayor and was to officially greet him when he arrived at the site. It was a very hot day and the crowd was patiently baking in the sun. When President Bush arrived he was escorted over to me and I welcomed him to Albuquerque. His response was, "Thank you, but you environmentalists are really holding up progress." He then turned around and walked away. I was stupified. I went to my seat and quietly listened to him give his speech. I left shortly there after wondering why he would do such a thing and who had put him up to it. Is this the way a President should greet a city Mayor, even one that is a Democrat? I told many close friends about this but had never gone public with it before. I was reminded about it today after reading stories about the lack of any movement on Bush's part on global warming at the G-8 meeting, which is now a shambles as all issues now take second billing to terrorism. What happens now? Thomas Friedman has some interesting thoughts on that in the New York Times today.

This is Arturo Sandoval, a very good friend who I deal with on many environmental and Hispanic issues. Arturo is becoming a nationwide leader in organizing and educating Hispanic leaders and young people on environmental issues. This has been sorely lacking in this country. Arturo is a long time activist and a former reporter for the Albuqueque Journal. He is a really funny guy who is extremely knowledgeable about New Mexico, its families and history.

This is another old acquaintance who I bumped into on the way to have coffee with Arturo. Mike
Gallagher is the well respected long time investigative reporter for the Albuquerque Journal. I known him since my newsman days and have always thought he was one of the best. He looks like a newsman doesn't he?