Sunday, December 31, 2006

Karly and Justin

Justin went back to Syracuse on the red eye last night. He wanted to be there to propose to his girl Karly before the New Year came in. They have been steadies for over five years. He and his mom shopped for the engagement ring and settled on an Aquamarine surrounded by Opals.

You can see it on Karly's finger as they take their post proposal photo. She said yes, and you can see that conveyed in Justin's grin.

Karly will get her Masters degree in Social Work from Syracuse University in May. Justin is working on his Masters in Business Administration at Cornell University. These two kids are avid progressives and look forward to the new congress taking office. I think they are happy that the Democrats have said one of the first things they will do is lower the interest rates on student loans.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Snow Beagle

Athena had a good time in the snow this morning.

So did Beagle!

We got about 12 inches down here in the valley. Noelle's drive back to Phoenix isn't going to happen today. Hopefully, Justin's redeye to Newark and then to Syracuse will leave around midnight.

This is the gang checking out videos of the dogs in the snow.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Days of Future Passed

I had a great opportunity today to go through some 50 year old photographs from my childhood. The reason I did this was because I received a call from the past in the form of my brother's and my best childhood friends, Bobby and Billy Salazar.

They were traveling between Pagosa Springs and Phoenix and decided we should have lunch. We have occasionally stayed in touch with them over the years and it is always great to see them.

We went to Dos Amigos for lunch and talked about our growing up in Albuquerque's mid heights in the 1950's. Actually, we mostly talked about all of our near death adventures. Thinking back, it is a wonder any of us ever survived. Some of the stuff we did was really stupid but we always escaped with our limbs still attached.

We met Bobby and Billy in 1952 on the day the moved into their house about a block and a half from ours on Quincy street. Their dad was a juvenile probation officer who died suddenly in 1958 from a severe stroke. Bob and Bill moved to Phoenix with their mom about three years later. Bob worked for the Bureau of Reclamation and started his own swimming pool construction company. Bill had a long career as a banker in Phoenix. They are both still working in their retirement years.

It is great to still have contact with such old friends. They were there during our formative years and thinking back I can say we had a great childhood where we reveled in simple things that were available to us to keep us occupied. Long bike rides, building underground forts, riding the escalators at the Fedway Department store downtown, hanging dummies from streetlamps, playing football in the street, and watching Victory at Sea on Sunday nights on Television. We somehow stayed busy and our parents raised kids that pretty much stayed out of trouble. What more can you ask for?
Here are a couple of pictures of before and after! The first was taken in March of 1957 and shows Bob, me, and Roger Burnett standing in our front yard with my Man in the Moon Kite.
This other picture was taken today at lunch. Left to Right it is Bob, Jim, Tom and Billy. Sheeesh! Time Marches on!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Land Office and Cattle Farts

The State Land Office is barging ahead with its plans to deforest 100 square miles of Pinon Juniper Forest in Torrance County. The wood will be used for fuel for a powerplant and a by-product will be cleared land for more cattle grazing. There have been no scientific studies to support the wisdom of this project.

Fast forward to a report put out by the Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative, an effort funded in part by the World Bank. Read the report's executive summary here. It turns out that livestock production accounts for more greenhouse gas emmissions than the transportation sector. Cattle Farts are warming up the planet.

Yes, there is nothing I like better than my once a week Sirloin Tip steak(from Costco--the best in town), but some of the statistics in this report are truly staggering. It really brings into doubt the wisdom of burning trees, which scrub green house gases from the atmosphere to make more grazing land available for fart generation.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Power Plants

The Albuquerque Journal had two important stories concerning power plants in New Mexico in the morning edition. One is about the proposed coal fired power plant on the Navajo reservation. Although this will be a relatively clean coal burning plant, it is hardly state of the art and it alone will increase greenhouse gas emissions by over 10% in our state. The Navajo administration is pushing for its construction because of the jobs and money it will bring, but they seem oblivious to the long term harm it does to us all.

The second power plant item is in a letter to the Business Outlook. It is something I tried to make an issue during my campaign, but the media wasn't interested. It concerns PNM's biomass plant in Torrance county. This power plant will burn pinon and juniper trees to provide electricity. Those trees will come from at least 40 square miles of state land administered by State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons. Lyons did not notify anyone who will be affected by this action, including its neighbors at the Gran Quivira National Monument, Salinas National Monument or the Office of State Historic Preservation. There are lots of archeological sites there. When the source of fuel was to have been U.S. Forest Service land the deal was killed by concerned neighbors so the PNM guys went to Pat Lyons. PNM contributed heavily to Lyons. Some of their employees also sent money to me.

So, where is the public involvement in this? Is it a good idea to burn forests to create electricity and more grazing land for land office lessees? Those forests thickened up because of overgrazing in the first place. Who decides which trees and how many to take down. I understand it is the individual ranchers who will do so. Do they have any guidelines or scientific advice on how to do this? Do they realize the New Mexico lawmakers some years ago passed legislation calling for the protection of Pinon trees since they provide a high value cash crop? Will the Land Office hold hearings on the science used by them in reaching this decision to deforest large tracts of Torrance County land? What will make up for the green house gasses those trees would have absorbed?

Don't hold your breath. This land is going to auction three days after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pass These Reforms

After having been defeated in the yearlong campaign for Land Commissioner because of our puny campaign contribution laws I am hopeful the Governor's new Ethics reform package will pass the legislature. Among many other things, it will limit the amount of money that can be given to any statewide candidate by one entity or person to $2100. That is the same amount that Federal election laws mandates for federal candidates. This would have probably cut by 60% the amount of money the oil and gas companies gave to my opponent. A full time ethics commission will also be formed under the Governor's proposed legislation. That is good because the media spends so little effort in looking at those campaign reports. This commission will hopefully do it well along with some auditors who can 'follow the money.' The news release from the Governor's office is below.

Governor Richardson Outlines Ethics Reform Package, Calls for Creation of Independent Ethics Commission

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Governor Richardson today announced a comprehensive ethics reform package during the annual KKOB business luncheon in Albuquerque. This package includes the establishment of an independent ethics commission, limitations on gifts and campaign contributions and public financing for judicial candidates.

“New Mexicans expect a government that’s honest and honorable,” said Governor Richardson. “Holding the highest ethical standards is our responsibility as public servants. It’s also the best, and only way, we can protect the public’s faith in their democracy.”

Governor Richardson urged citizens and members of the business community to help push for ethics reform. In May of 2006, Governor Richardson formed an ethics reform task force to conduct a bi-partisan review of ethics and campaign finance in New Mexico. Led by UNM Law Dean Suellyn Scarnecchia and Former Governor Garrey Carruthers, the task forward put forward a series of recommendations. Based on those recommendations and his own priorities, Governor Richardson today proposed an ethics reform package that he will seek to pass during the upcoming legislative session.

  1. Establish an independent ethics commission. This commission would provide independent oversight of the executive and legislative branches and all state employees. It would receive and investigate complaints by concerned citizens and whistleblowers. The commission would also have strong powers to investigate and discipline, including the ability to fine, censure, and reprimand public officials, state employees, lobbyists, contractors and officials.

  1. Limits on Gifts. The Governor proposed that no state official, employee or candidate be allowed to receive a gift greater than $250. During the legislative session there would be a ban on gifts greater than $100. There would be criminal penalties for those who break the law.

  1. Set campaign contribution limits. The Governor proposes that statewide races match the federal level of $2,100 per individual, per election. His package will also recommend $1,050 limits for PRC and District races, and a ban on cash of more than $100 from one person.

  1. “Clean Elections” Public Financing. The Governor’s ethics reform package proposes a phased approach toward public financing beginning with judicial elections, based on the successful Public Regulatory Commission campaign system. Using the PRC model, candidates in contested judicial elections could choose to run as a “Clean Elections” candidate. These candidates would qualify for public financing if they meet a threshold based upon the number of $5 contributions they receive from individuals. If the opposition opts out of the public system and spends more than public funding provides, “Clean elections” candidates would be given matching funds.

  1. Better campaign reporting. This package calls for more detailed reporting of campaign finances, more frequent reporting in non-election years, and cumulative totals of campaign contributions by each individual to each candidate.

  1. Amend Governmental Conduct Act. The amendments will help prevent public officials and employees from abusing public office. These amendments will expand coverage of the Governmental Conduct Act to include all public servants, including judges.

“These proposals will allow New Mexicans to know where campaign money comes from, where it goes, and how it’s spent,” said Governor Richardson. “This is not an issue that affects the few. Every citizen benefits from a government that is open, transparent and accountable. And every citizen is harmed by one that is not.”

The Governor pushed for a strong anti-corruption package in the 2006 Legislature. “Last year we had some success,” said Governor Richardson. “We were able to pass a ban on campaign contributions from contractors seeking to do business with the state. But, the remainder of the package, died in the Legislature. This time, there are no excuses. This time, reform must be done.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


How is it there is snow in Albuquerque and not in Santa Fe? Oh well, lets enjoy it. If Noelle were here there would be a snowman already!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mt. Hood and Iraq

I have been following the story of the three lost climbers on Mount Hood. It reminds me of the saga of the United States in Iraq. Think about it.

Three cocky guys decide to climb a treacherous Mount Hood in December. bush, rumsfeld and cheney decide to invade Iraq with its treacherous Shiite and Sunni factions awaiting them. The climbers reach their goal, the summit, and then have trouble extricating themselves from there. bush, rumsfeld and cheney capture Bagdad and have trouble extricating themselves from there.

Huge sums of money are being spent to look for the climbers on the mountain. Huge sums of money are being spent trying to rescue the flawed invasion from total disaster and civil war.

The money to pay for the attempted Mount Hood rescue will come from the families of the climbers, leaving them in debt for a long time. The money to pay for the Iraq war will come from the nation's families leaving them and the country in a deficit for a long time. (Unless your family is filthy rich and your bush tax reductions keep you safe)

Most likely, all the climbers are dead after their careless attempt to conquer Mt. Hood in winter. Most likely the death toll for Americans and Iraqis will continue to increase after the careless invasion with no planning for the aftermath.

Of course, the big difference here is that the climbers pay with their lives and bush, cheney and rumsfeld just walk away shrugging their shoulders.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Last night on the way home from a great Chinese dinner Bobbi and I were commenting on how mild the weather still is. I actually took up the golf clubs for the first time in six months this week and the weather was very pleasant. I even worked up a sweat on the driving range after hitting two large buckets of balls.

I got to thinking about my friends who have bought winter get-a-ways in Mexico and whether they will be too hot in the winter to enjoy and if the beaches will survive rising ocean levels.

I know I am constantly on this global warming thing but everyone should read this from the New York Times today. It really is time for some radical actions on dealing with this, but I am not holding my breath. Why are we talking about more coal fired plants, tar sands, or any energy source that pumps greenhouse gasses into the air? Inertia and profits are the answer and a campaign finance system that caters to it.

Yesterday there was another complex story in the Times about putting economic values on the cost to future generations of not doing something to fix this. It is about the “social rate of time discount,” the rate used to compare the well-being of future generations to the well-being of those alive today. As I said, this is complex stuff so we really need a President who understands it after the next election.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

T or C Classroom

The Albuquerque Journal had an interesting story this morning on a class experiment at a Truth or Consequences High School. One of the classes put up 'whites only and colored only' signs on water fountains to watch student reactions for a project on racisim. One student objected and now some teachers may lose their licenses. This is ridiculous. One student out of hundreds was upset and it comes to this.

I remember my days in our sophomore civics class at St. Pius X High School. Our teacher was Father Alan Cushing. (We put his VW in a hallway one day.) He taught a course on communism. During the first part of the course we were indoctrinated to become communists. We had cell meetings, wore hammer and sickle armbands, and generally espoused Karl Marx and Lenin. We were encouraged to say that "religion is the opiate of the people." Stuff like that.

During the second part of the course Father Cushing dismantled everything we had been told during our indoctrination. He assinged us a book to read, George Orwell's "1984". It was a breathtaking class experience that taught us the danger of totalitarianism and government thought control.

Yes, we were in a private school and we could do things like that. But the object was to teach us to think and the class was one of the best I ever experienced in that catholic high school. It is frightening that kind of thinking and learning experience doesn't work in the T of C schools or maybe any of our public schools these days. The kids will be the losers after the lawyers and bureucrats finish with this. This might be the totalitarianism and thought control we learned about.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Daytime TV Commercials

As I relax after the last year's hard work I have been reading lots of novels. I have a habit that drives Bobbi up the wall though, as I read I also have the TV turned on to MSNBC or the History or Military Channel. Well, during the day time I sit at my computer a lot too and I have a little 8 inch LCD TV and keep it on too while blogging or doing my other stuff. I have come to the conclusion that four things are paying for delivery of our TV News and Documentaries. They are hair loss drugs, erection loss drugs, drugs for guys who have a constant urge to pee, and all kinds of other drugs for every ailment that ever might afflict you. In this last category you are never really informed what the drugs are for, just that you might need them and you better call some Doctors to ask them about it.

I guess this is what us baby boomers can expect on TV from here on out. Of course we can just decide not to watch commerical TV. I only really watch a few network shows. Battlestar Gallactica, Boston Legal, Invasion(if it ever comes back), and some of the SCI-FI channels mini series. I started watching the Lost Room last night and it looks to be pretty good. And, I record them all and skip through the commercials. That turns a one hour show into 40 minutes. A time saver.

Mostly I watch HBO and Showtime miniseries because they are really entertaining and thought provoking. Like Showtime's Dexter. It is about a likeable serial killer who only takes out bad guys.....slowly.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pete's Raid and Land Office Musing

Senator Pete Domenici led a raid on the U.S. Treasury at New Mexico's expense during last minute bill passage manuevers while the Republicans were still in power in Congress. He insisted on passage of a bill that gives a large chunk of newly opened Gulf Coast oil and gas lease royalties to four southern states. That money would normally go to the US Treasury for the benefit of all Americans. Domenici probably did this to get southern states support for opening up these oil and gas areas for Pete's good buddies in the Oil and Gas Industry. Now, in fairness New Mexico already gets a lot of the Federal Oil and Gas revenues that is produced in New Mexico, but the offshore reserves are usually allocated to national use. Pete was looking out more for his industry supporters than his constituents on this one.

In the meantime we are repeatedly hearing about the US Interior Department's inability to collect royalties that are already owed to the government. Hundreds of millions, or even billions, may be lost to puny auditing by the Feds. This is costing New Mexico a bundle too.

Now, one has to wonder if the Legislative Finance Committee might look into New Mexico's oil and gas royalty collections. Are they being honest with us. During the campaign for Land Commissioner I heard from some producers that there might be problems in that area as well as the 'unitizing' of state oil and gas leases. This would protect companies from having to relinquish their leases because their ten years for producing the leases had lapsed. If they weren't unitized then the land office would put then out for bid again and get bonus income. This little process would save the companies a bundle and cost the land office just as much.

Friday, December 08, 2006


They fall for it everytime. It is an old trick and it works well. This time it is working, intended or not, for my friend Bill Richardson. Apparently, he hinted or inadvertantly said he might be running for President. Then the media picked it up and Fox News said he had announced he was in the race. The Governor said he didn't make an announcement, but he got a lot of press. When he does announce then he will get a lot more press. One of those two for one deals!

I hope he does announce soon so I can get to work for him. There will be a few New Mexicans who will be negative about him running, but overall I think most of us will be proud that one of our own is going for the big one. As I write this I am watching TV and see that the AP/Ipsos poll now has bush at an all time low for his job approval. Just 27% feel he is doing a good job. My question is, how can they possibly believe that?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Woman in 8C

It never fails. Last Friday I headed to Salt Lake City for 24 hours of meetings with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. I was seated in 5D on a regional jet. They Lady in 8C was sneezing and coughing with out the aid of a handkerchief. I got back on Saturday and then left again early Monday morning for the Wyss Foundation Meeting in Tucson. Of course the oncoming cold was just making itself felt and it blewup big time early Tuesday morning. It just seems that you can't defend yourself against inconsiderate people like that lady. Yes, I took Airborne and Eachanacia but they didn't work to well.

Talk about inconsiderate the TSA in Albuquerque ranks up there too. After carefully assuring that my travel pack contained no containers with more than 3 ounces of liquid I was pulled out of line and told that I would have to go and buy a plastic bag to separate then from my travel pack. The line was long, I was upset and just marveled at the hassle. I was getting ready to 'donate' all of my stuff to the trash can so I could catch my plane when a level headed supervisor showed up and pulled a little bag out of his pocket. I thanked him, but then found out my travel companion who showed up a little earlier had to trash all of his 3oz bottles of stuff. I then noticed that in Salt Lake City and Tucson that there were a supply of plastic bags for people who didn't have them. Why not in Albuquerque? Who knows with the TSA.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oil and Gas Royalties

There is a story in the Journal Business Outlook today about how the Federal Mineral Service has sent over $500 million dollars to the State of New Mexico this year for its share of oil and gas royalties on Federal land within the state. The story has a picture of Pete Domenici for some reason. Why not Senator Bingaman or one of the other delegation? Well, I wonder if the Journal will use Pete's picture if they get around to picking up stories on the failure of the bush administration to properly collect royalities in the first place. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected royalties that the bush Interior Department has not collected. That is now the subject of lawsuits by federal auditors wo say they were fired for trying to pursue those collections. This should be a wake up call for New Mexico because some of that money would be coming into state coffers. Will Pete Domenici press for that? Or will his oil and gas donors be awarded with silence from him?

I am off to a Wyss Foundation meeting in Tucson for a couple of days. Bobbi and Noelle will show up there this afternoon from Phoenix where they spent the weekend together and we will attend the always fun dinner tonight.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Board Meetings

It is not like I haven't anything to do since the election. There is a lot of domestic stuff to catch up on and I am still busy with Board Meetings. I need to run up to Salt Lake City at noon for a meeting of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and then on Monday over to Tucson for a meeting of the Wyss Foundation Board. These meetings are intense and fun and they will be especially interesting in light of the upcoming lame duck congressional session and a change of power following in January.

The issues we work with on these Boards won't get necessarily easier to work through congress, but at least the new committee chairs will listen to us. Over the past six years all we have had to rely on was court rulings to delay destructive bush policies. Now, we might even get some land protection bills passed a couple of years from now.

I have the sinking feeling that all the work we do on Wilderness and other land protection won't mean anything in 20 years if we don't get serious about climate change. I am going to devote more of my time to that issue over the next couple of years.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cool Cat

Jerry the Cat has a favorite place in the garage when the cold weather rolls in. He sits next to the boiler on the hot water heating system we have. (The best kind of heat so far as I know. No dust or blowing hot air around.) Jerry's next favorite place to stay warm is on the hood of the car when I leave it in the garage.

Can't Stand Success

The Albuquerque Journal seems to be doing everything possible to put Eclipse Aviation into a a controversial light. Every time there is a delay or glitch in delivery of the Eclipse 500 Jet the Journal jumps on the story like a cheetah on a gazelle. I can't figure out this kind of journalism at our daily newspaper sometimes. Granted, there are some public funds involved in making the Eclipse 500 possible through city and state tax incentives. It was always seen as a good risk if the start up aviation company could get its plane off the ground. This little 1.3 million dollar jet has a backlog of orders and will be a success. This company started from the ground up on the design and build of this aircraft and have experienced the same kind of problems any aircraft manufacturer does when building a new concept airplane.

The Publisher of the Journal himself flies a Falcon 200 business jet which probably had the same kind of delays and problems in its design phase. (The Journal publisher often uses his jet for charitable flights). I know a guy who bought a new Falcon 900EZ that also had lots of delays but is now very successful.

Lets give success a chance and cheer on this great little airplane and the company that showed faith in Albuquerque and its labor force.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Marty's Progressive Move

Mayor Marty Chavez, perhaps looking forward to a US Senate or Governor's race has been slapped down on his progressive streetcar proposal. I hope he doesn't let the reaction to this idea stop him from turning to left center a little more. Of course, the Albuquerque Journal will bury this proposal in negative stories and any vote on it will not be successful. I have to admit even some of my left leaning friends feel 270 million dollars for a "Nob Hill Streetcar" probably wont fly with west side voters. Selling this to the voters will be difficult. When the original transportation tax was passed during my term as Mayor the first polls showed it passing with about a 65% margin. After the right wing city councillors, were done complaining to the newspapers and talk shows it passed by about 1%, but it did pass and we have had almost ten years of successful transportation and transit projects. About 20% of those revenues went directly into the transit system. We had tried to get a larger share, but the Council wouldn't buy it. Now, the entire tax is being proposed for transit which seems like a good idea to me. When gasoloine is up to $5 a gallon in a few years this will really pay off.

I would advise the Mayor and City Council to complete a truly effective grid system for bus service throughout the city. I think once that is done the Streetcar proposal would probably fly. I still like the concept and have seen it work in Salt Lake City where often it is standing room only on their system.

Now, if we can just convince the naysayers in Santa Fe that the Rail Runner won't ruin their lives we will have made real progress on transportation in the Middle Rio Grande corridor.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Transition II

I attended the session regarding alternative and renewable energy at the Governor's Energy and Environment Transition meeting this morning. It was a good session and the Team listened to a nice mix of comments on the need to push into new frontiers when it comes to new forms of energy. It was all there, clean coal, nuclear, wind, biomass and geothermal. No one got up to represent the oil and gas industry.

Tax incentives seem to be seen as a major tool by many in affecting positive progress for renewable energy development. Oil companies have been getting lots of those in the last few years by ultimately not being charged windfall profits tax. So they better not complain. Yes, they still pay for a lot of stuff in our state through their taxes. They also pay a lot for taking state owned oil and gas, which is not a tax. The fact of the matter is that someone has to be thinking hard about how New Mexico will fund its government once the oil and gas guys are relegated to the dust bin of history. Those taxes and royalties will have to be replaced somehow if state government is to continue to function. In just a few years as production slips we might see some of its effects, although volatile and higher oil and gas prices might put that off for a while.

We need to think hard on this issue for the sake of our educational system in this state. Kids who are entering kindergarten next year will be facing this crunch by the time they are seniors in high school. Not much time.

Transition Teams

I am going to drop by the Governor's Energy and Environment Transition Team meeting today in Albuquerque. I am hopeful it will concentrate on renewable and alternative energy issues, which the Governor has already signed onto big time.

I am reading a book titled "The End of Oil" by Paul Roberts right now. It is a sobering look at our planet's energy consumption and supplies and it really makes clear that the oil industry's future is not bright. That is not because they are inefficient at what they do, it is because the worlds supply of oil and its production has peaked and may well just dribble away within thirty years.

China's demands for oil and energy in the next twenty years alone will surpass today's total worldwide production of oil.

In the meantime we in New Mexico have to figure out, while there is still time, how our state government will function with little or no oil revenues in the future.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Remains of the Day

Bobbi and Noelle look over the remains of the day at my brother Tom's house. It was a large family gathering.I recovered enough from the stomach flu to help with the feast. I notice though that all of us older family members really don't eat that much anymore.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Stomach flu, high fever, nausea, and generally discomfort for the last 24 hours. It could be worse.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Street Car

The Albuquerque Journal is starting to do its thing on the Mayor's proposed streetcar for Central Avenue along Albuquerque's core area. They are calling for a vote on the project, which is probably fine, but they will likely turn this into a controversial project which will ultimately go down to defeat if it is voted on.

I remember when I was Mayor and we passed the original transportation tax in 1998. Many of the republican city councillors fought the tax but it ended up passing by 700 votes. These were the same guys that fought building the Isoptopes Stadium a couple of years later. One of them was Greg Payne, who is now a big supporter of the streetcar initiative now that he is Transit director for the city. He originally ran for the city council on an anti tax platform, now he is promoting this new tax without going to a vote.

I think this project is an interesting one and that if the economics are there it should be built. It will certainly have to prove itself against expanding Rapid Ride Services throughout the city. Thirty years from now when we are out of oil an existing infrastructure for mass transit will look really visionary. Thirty years isn't that long folks.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Leaving PV

Bobbi got the Iguana off my head so we can come home now.

This was my favorite picture of the trip. These ladies were reading the wisdom on the grafitti wall in Yelapa.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Downtown Puerto Vallarta is like many Mexican cities we have visited. The streets are narrow and the space is used everywhere. It is like wrestling in some ways, every thing crammed together looking for an advantage. We spotted these wrestling masks off the Malecon in the flea market. The interesting thing about this town is that it is a young town. Up until the famous movie ´Night of the Iguana¨there was not much here. Rodger Beimer and I figured out we are 60% of the age of this place.

Now, I marvel at the amount of concrete that is set here everyday in the large hotel and condo developments north of the city. Bobbi and I are actually thinking of buying part of one of these condos down here, but I truly worry about the effects of global warming in places like this. It is approaching Thanksgiving and it is still very hot here. Even the real estate guys admit it. The ocean water in the Bay of Banderas is warm as bath water and to really cool off you need to jump in a swimming pool.

I was thrilled today to see that Senator Bingaman and others have sent a letter to bush saying that they are serious about the Congress enacting real global warming legislation. Lets hope it is not too late. While here, I have been reading a book, ¨Transcendence ¨by one of my favorite scifi authors, Stephen Baxter. The novel is set in two different times. One in 2040, and the other 500,000 years in the future. It describes in numbing detail what we can expect from global warming. Read it if you get the chance.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Trimaran, Jungle, Waterfalls and Headaches

We had another good day with a trip to Yelapa on the southern part of Banderas Bay . It is a small village reachable only by watercraft. It is in the jungle and has about 2,000 residents. It was a long ride to and from the village but the company was good and bar was open.

We hiked up into the town and jungle to see this nice waterfall.

When we got back down I had this Iguana on my head. I hate it when this happens.

The village had a graffiti wall with some truths written thereon. Uh, I know what your thinking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PV Again

The lack of stress is great and I recommend it for everyone. This is a small beach out side of Pat and Debs second condo which is South of Puerto Vallarta.

They did great work on it. Bobbi and I will have their main place to ourselves since they leave for Albuquerque today. Tomorrow we go to a small isolated village named Yelapa via catamaran. It should be fun.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


We are hanging out on the beach and genuinely enjoying ourselves. Seafood, Margaritas, Spa and beachtime. It is amusing seeing all of the Americans pouring into Puerto Vallarta, (Canadians too) and then think of this stupid 2,000 mile fence some want to erect at the border. Lets get this straight! We are bringing in millions of dollars a day to places like this, and then we borrow it back from Mexico to finance our deficit caused by bushs war, and then we want to build the fence to keep our bankers out. How wierd is that?

Now we are off to see a sunset.

Monday, November 13, 2006


We got here to Puerto Vallarta on time and ready to relax. We started with some of Pat and Debbys $90 Tequila. Yes, that is Rodger and Bobbi trying some out. We then took time to go down to the Malecon for the traditional Sunday evening walk with Mexican families and dinner at a place called the Blue Shrimp. It was a great evening. Beachtime today.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Turn Them Off

We leave early in the morning for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We are staying with Albuquerque friends who have nice accommodations down there. Everyone that goes down there seems to end up owning a condo or a time share, maybe we will too someday. I understand my cell phone will work there and I will blog from the Internet cafe.

I liked the story in the Journal today on those political speed traps. You know, the cameras that Mayor Chavez and his police department have spread around town. I wouldn't mind them so much except they seem to use these cameras to do more than catch light runners. A case in point are the stories on Lt. Governor Denish's photos being splashed in the papers. Now, how did that happen? Did the police chief give orders to watch for politicians cars being caught? Or did the Mayor, who might be running against the Lt. Governor in four years? Really, who cares? Except if you have made someone angry at APD, the Mayor's Office, or the City Council you might just end up on the front page too. OK, it isn't right to run the yellow light. We have all done it though, me included, during inattentive times. But, these cameras are a privacy intrusion at best and a political enemies tool at worst. Turn them off! Catch light runners the old fashion way, with traffic control cops.....not BIG BROTHER!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sleeping Late

As I recover from the grueling campaign and Bobbi from her major surgery we are enjoying getting some sleep time. We didn't get up this morning until 7:30am. I have already started my diet program and getting back into the aerobics and weights. Thirty pounds has to go. Anyway the sleep time was great. Reading the Journal was not. I am really upset that Patsy Madrid has probably lost her race to Halliburton Heather.

Stop and think about what happened here. Last October 3rd the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association and their master Yates Petroleum of Artesia decided to break with tradition and endorse candidates. The two they endorsed were Heather Wilson and Pat Lyons. That certainly pumped a lot more oil money into their campaigns. I was surprised to see how much more money Wilson spent on TV than Patsy. That turned the tide against Patsy, just like it did to me.

Tomorrow we pack to go to Puerto Vallarta for a week. Then we come back and I will figure out what to do next. Probably some consulting having to do with solar and alternative energy production. Now that we have Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall in charge of the right committees we might actually make progress and minimize the oil companies stranglehold on this country. I might be willing to dedicate the rest of my life to that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Trash Day and Newspapers

It will be clean out time at the office today. Campaign offices are really like Newspaper and TV News Rooms. Scattered and messy, but the nice thing is that most everything except the financial records can go into a trashcan. We don't really have much to do except bring home those records and a computer. We ran out of signs, literature, stationary, stickers and everything thing else that campaigns use as cannon fodder. Of course, we ran out of money before all of that. I still feel good that we didn't take oil money.

Speaking of newsrooms above there is interesting news in the Washington Post this morning about more Editors at major daily newspapers quitting their jobs rather than firing journalists to increase the bottom line for their mostly ultra conservative owners. Those editors are making last stands in the demise of the newspaper as the dominant information disseminator. I think I know why this is happening and I can describe how it works in our house.

I get up every morning and on the way to the kitchen to turn on the espresso machine I turn on the computer. I go out to pick up Jerry the Cat, the Albuquerque Journal and New York Times from the driveway. I come back in and make the lattes for Bobbi and me. I sit down for five minutes to scan the Journal's front and state pages. I then spend 40 minutes checking out my favorite Internet news sources and blogs. I get to the Times in the evenings. Think about that formula. I am spending a lot more time on the Internet than the newsprint. I think a lot of people are doing that.

I still love to read the newspaper and always will, but I can get away from the Journal's never changing presentation and Editorial stands by surfing the net for variety. The Times is a pleasure to read because of its writing. Suggestion to the Journal....Allow comments on your stories on the Internet and you will up your readership. Here is an interesting report on the Journal's newsroom makeup and other demographics.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thanks to Everyone who Helped

Thanks to everyone who helped during the campaign. The list is long so I won't mention names because I would forget someone. I do want to thank our dedicated staff, Mike Davis my campaign manager, Phil Muller our mail consultant, Dolores Martinez our office manager and Maria Zannes our media person. They all worked very hard to turn the Land Office into a progressive agency that looks to the future. I believe you will see some of our ideas working their way through the legislature in the next two years.

We have some debt, not a lot. About 20K I think. You can help Bobbi and I eradicate it with one last contribution to the campaign. You can donate online here, or mail a donation to Jim Baca for Land Commissioner, PO Box 7514, Albuquerque, NM 87104.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mostly Oil Money

We ran a good race against special interest money. In the end I just couldn't run the kind of negative ads that my opponent ran. I wouldn't have wanted his wife and children to see something like that, as mine did. Noelle and Bobbi saw the ad for the first time a few days after she had surgery. Noelle had come home to care for Bobbi while I was on the road. They saw it and were so upset they didn't tell me about it for a whole day. Since I wasn't watching TV because I was on the road I didn't really know what he was doing with that oil money that was showered on him.

We put forth progressive ideas for the Land Office that takes into account more than the oil companies desires to drill anywhere and everywhere they want. I am very hopeful that others will pursue those ideas in the legislature. We certainly owe it to the people who will inherit these lands.

So, I will be retired for a while to recuperate from this year long ordeal. Then I will do some consulting to make enough money for Bobbi and I to travel on. That sounds pretty good to us. Bobbi was really great during the campaign and we will travel this week to Puerto Vallarta. Things will look better then after a few margaritas and novels on the beach!

Just Go Vote

I will be working the streets today. Yesterday we were in Artesia, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Raton and Taos. Great Democratic Rallies in every one. Taos will be the ticket's banner county.

Take 10 friends to the polls today and take back our country by taking back our congress. They should definitely vote for me too.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Train Ride and Polls

This is how we spent our day. A really nice train ride from Las Cruces to all points north. Lots of time to talk about the Journal poll which saw my opponents oil and gas money work its magic with negative hateful TV ads. Our lead evaporated at Big Oil poured another $350,000 into my opponents war chest in 30 days. That puts him up to 1.2 million in oil and gas contributions. I took none.

This election is still in play and the strength of the ticket can win a clean sweep for us. These are some of the participants in the the poll on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Moonrise ABQ North Valley 5:03PM

This is the scene outside my home as I arrived tonight about 5PM!

We had a relatively full day of campaigning. Rodger drove me to Santa Fe where I hopped a plane with the Governor to go to Gallup for a get out the vote rally. They put up a big tent at the Flea Market, (one of the biggest flea markets I have ever seen), and we gave some remarks to an enthusiastic crowd of local and Navajo attendees. Then we raced to Albuquerque for two Ralley in the Valley functions with lots of good food and friends. Just about every 2 out of 3 people we see have already voted.

If the Republicans are doing any of these kinds of coordinated campaign things around the state I sure have not noticed them. Tomorrow we Dems take off from the airport for Las Cruces at 5:45am and attend a rally there. Then we pile on the train for stops in Hatch, Socorro, Belen, Albuquerque, Bernalillo and Las Vegas. We should conclude by 10pm tomorrow night. Then home for a few hours sleep before boarding another plane on Monday morning for Hobbs, Artesia, Carlsbad, Raton and Taos. Then it is home for election day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Last Dash

Schedule includes Gallup, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Hatch, Socorro, Belen, Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Las Vegas, Artesia, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Raton, and Taos. This occurs by plane, train and automobile.

We have had a lot of calls from people saying they like the TV Commercial. They also like the new radio spots. Meanwhile, we sweat out the last poll in the Journal to see if the vicious attacks on me have gained traction.

The Rally with President Clinton last night was great. It was attended by about 2500 folks, not the 500 that was reported in the Journal. I was surprised the President remembered me so quickly. His mind was as sharp as ever. He had the audience spellbound as he simply deconstructed every thing involving the bush administration. You could really see the audience's hunger for intellect in its leaders.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

No Negative Vibes


I see in the Journal this morning that Mayor Chavez and the City Council are considering making the transportation tax the voters passed after I campaigned for it as Mayor in 1999 into a permanent tax. I had to take that tax to the voters and after an all out assault by Republican city councillors we ended up winning by about 1000 votes. The tax has modernized our transit system, reinvested in our streets in the older parts of the city, and fixed deficiencies generally around Albuquerque. Mayor Chavez has done a good job of following up on this. Now, because of an improving economy the 1/4 cent tax has ballooned in dollars received and there is talk of a street car system up and down Central Avenue. Go for it!

This is one of the many things I am proud of accomplishing as Mayor, just like Isotopes Stadium and Eclipse Aviation as a major employer. I continue to be assaulted by my opponent for the things I did for my hometown. These are particularly vicious ads that he is running and people say it may now hurt. We will see. I have started a new positive ad for the rest of the campaign. Here is a great column by Jerry Ortiz Y Pino in the Alibi this week. I also received their endorsement today and the endorsement of the Santa Fe Reporter.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CNN Stats

CNN reported tonight that the Congressional candidates in the country spent $160 million on negative ads and $17 million on positive ads. Now wonder my friend Lee Otteni from Farmington said the people up in San Juan County are turning off their TVs. They have been subjected to negative ads from Albuquerque TV in the Congressional race since Heather Wilson started them last July. They cant even vote in the race. The LA times says $11 million has been spent in this congressional race by the candidates and independant campaigns on 11,500 TV commercials. That is a lot of negative vibes going through the ether!

My opponent has really helped in that too. He is at it again saying the I caused the Land Office to lose a hundred million dollars when I was Commissioner. Of course he fails to mention that 98% of all revenues are brought in by oil and gas and that plummeting oil prices in the 80's and 90's caused that. If he wants to blame me for that then you should blame him for $3 dollar a gallon gasoline for most of the year. Oh, thats right, it dropped to $2 a gallon for a few weeks until the election is past.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Must Buy More Candy

I must remember to find time to buy more candy. Bobbi and Noelle bought some but I know it wont be enough after experiencing the last two years. When I wake up I hope I remember. I would give the kids a bumper sticker, but the tricksters would burn the house. Cant blame them. The above pumpkins were carved by my son Justin and his girl Karly in Syracuse.

Life Outside

I know there is a life outside the current political campaigns. All of the candidates know that and frankly, they are looking forward to the year long gauntlet to end. I see young guys like Democratic State Auditor Candidate Hector Balderas of Wagon Mound yearning to be with his young family. He had been on the road for us with days and got to see his wife and kids in Las Vegas this weekend. He visibly brightened with them there at his side.

These campaigns in New Mexico take a whole year to conduct and are akin to 'running the guantlet'. You must start collecting signature petitions in October of the year before the general election. Those are filed in Marchof the next year. Then you have to endure the questionable effectiveness of the Pre Primary Nominating Convention which has a mediocre record of picking the eventual Primary winner. Then the Primary campaign starts. That is the most lonely part of the whole campaign because your party members are automatically split and many are unwilling to commit for fear of losing friends. Then the Primary in June and it starts all over for the General Election. The General Election is more fun because then you run as a team and the candidates attempt to help each other out. Even so, you can see the strain in the last three weeks on every ones faces. Everyone is sort of at the point of saying, "Be over."

Well, we are one week away of this being over and then we an our families can get back to our lives outside the modern day equivalent of 'running the gauntlet.'

Win or lose next week Bobbi and I will travel for a week to Puerto Vallarte for a rest.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It Starts-The Swift Boating

Pat Lyons has just started his negative TV Commercials against me. Everyone says they are truly awful. I haven't seen them since I have been campaigning in the north with all the candidates. Bad pictures of me, lies about me, and generally offensive TV. So, what do I do? Sink to his level? Send a comment and advice.

In the meantime we had two strong editorial endorsements today. One in a column by V.B. Price in the Albuquerque Tribune and a very good endorsement in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

These articles paint a much different picture than Pat Lyons lies do.

We did our tour of the north today with the start in the Plaza in Las Vegas.

Our next stop was Mora and the VFW Post.

Then it was on to Taos.

Then we stopped in Espanola where I mugged with Governor Benavidez of Santa Clara Pueblo.

And finished in Santa Fe with an introduction by Mayor Coss.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Late-Then the Bus

We went to all those places I described in the last post. This beautiful autumn picture was taken between Zuni Pueblo and El Morro on the way back from a long day of campaigning. Scenes like this one make it all worth it.

We all made this tour including the big guy, (now getting slimmer) and Senator Bingaman.

Here is my faithful chase car driver and campaign Treasurer Rodger Beimer listening to our speeches for the third time in three hours.

Tomorrow we take the bus to Las Vegas, Mora, Taos, Espanola and Santa Fe.