Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hybrid Envy

The new Hybrid arrived today. This Toyota Camry is really just a giant computer with four sixteen inch tires. Its got little gadgets, readouts, audio, telephony, and a lot of stuff I haven't discovered yet. You don't need a key. You just walk around with a little thingie in your pocket and when you get within three feet of your car it unlocks. The you get in and push a button and the car starts and connects with your cell phone.

Now, I just want to say I love my little pickup, but I think it has Hybrid envy. I do want to use the hybrid on the road for the campaign and I know it will get close to 40 miles to the gallon out there. That is a little better than my opponent's Ford 250 pickup. Just to be clear about this, Bobbi and I did pay for this car. No campaign funds were used.

Speaking of Bobbi, for some reason she put dibs on this car, so if I use it on the campaign trail it is because she gave me permission.

Seriously, this technology is so far out in front of American car manufacturers it is heartbreaking. It was designed, licensed and developed in Japan. I think my car was actually built in an American Toyota Plant. Why do I have this sinking feeling that we are finally feeling the effects of a pervasive 'bottom line' philosophy in American business. It seems that they still think that the next quarters profits trump research and development. Maddening isn't it? Well, go see Al Gore's movie, "An Inconveniet Truth". If that doesnt wake this nation up then nothing will.

I keep wondering why people don't think about environmental matters more. I know some really sharp, good and responsible people who never seem to think about the consequences of climate change, fossil fuels and water degradation. It is hard for me to understand.

Water and the Absurd

It was great to see Governor Richardson declare 2007 the Year of Water. This one issue affects all New Mexicans, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, all races and creeds.

Coincidentally, it rained really hard at our north valley home last night for the first time in a year. It was one of the most intense storms I have ever witnessed in Albuquerque and I am a lifelong resident. It was exhilerating and I had wanted to go out and stand in it and get soaked, but there was such a violent electrical storm that I didn't dare try it. When we got up to take our showers this morning there was no hot water because the wind blew the pilot light out on our water heater.

Now switch to the antics of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. The infighting between Board members has reached an all time high, except for that time in the 1980's when they had a fist fight. I hope the Governor's call for the Year of Water will include a complete restructuring of the MRGCD. This body is a creature of the Legislature and its whole mode of operation could be changed if so desired. The time has come and 2007 would be a good time to consider modernizing the ways this crucial water agency is managed and held accountable.

The Governor's statement this morning included working with the state's smaller water systems. This is crucial because these smaller systems are not very well maintained and lose large amounts of water to leaky pipes and waste. When I was New Mexico Natural Resource Trustee we funded the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments to do some work on looking at a few of the small water systems to get an idea of what remedies might be possible. That funding is running out and it would be great if it could be continued.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Trap

Bernalillo County Commissioners and Albuquerque City councilors are setting a trap for themselves. The trap is the continuing hikes in the region's gross receipts tax. There are three new taxes being considered by the County Commission, although some need approval by the voters next November. The end result will be that the sales tax in Albuquerque will have jumped from about 5.8% to 7.25% since I left the Mayor's office. During my term as Mayor our budget increased by less than the rate of inflation over a four year period. We were forced into that situation by the sales tax, which is incredibly vulnerable to every little tick in the economy. As soon as the economy takes a little nose dive, so do the revenues of city and county government. Now we see even more reliance on the sales tax over the last four years. Some future elected officials will be facing incredible cuts in the budget because of this. Painful cuts!

The continued double digit budget increases of the city and county governments guarantee this. If they feel a need for this continued spending, they at least should fund it with more stable revenue sources, such as the property tax. Or, we could just reign ourselves in a little. Stop and think about it. 7.25% added to just about every purchase you make. That is a lot more than our hated state income tax, which too his credit the Governor has managed to cut.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Pick-Up Truck's First Campaign Swing

It has been a grueling couple of days. Friday morning, Mike Davis my campaign manager and I, left early for a breakfast at the with the Governor and the other statewide Democratic candidates. (It was paid for by the Governor's campaign)

First, there was a quick stop at the State Land Office in Santa Fe. I didn't see my opponents monster pick up truck there but I am sure it is lurking somewhere.

We then ran up to the Governor's Mansion for the breakfast.

All of the candidates were there with their campaign managers. The Governor's campaign staff and the Party Chair and executive director were all there.

This is Dave Contarino. He explained how we will work an effective and coordinated campaign over the summer and fall. I have been involved in these before and they work. We will all win our races if we do this. History proves it!

We then raced down to Las Cruces for a reception for me hosted by friends and supporters. We stopped for a look at the awesome Organ Mountains.

We met with various legislators, Labor leaders and voters. It was a really action packed trip and I feel very good about the feelings of everyone I spoke with regarding changing the leadership of the Congress and the State Land Office.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ethics Again

Now, I want you all to look at the New Mexico State Land Office Web site. Think about ethics in Government as you do this. Tell me whether this is a government web site or a political campaign website for my opponent. I am getting tired of the taxpayer footing the bill for my opponent's campaign. This is direct in your face pilfering of public money for political purposes. It ranks right up there with my opponents use of over $100,000 in taxpayer money for airing TV commercials early this year telling everyone what a great Commissioner he is.

Now, let's fast forward to the upcoming New Mexico State Fair. I can't wait to see what kind of exhibit the State Land Office will put up in the Natural Resources building. In fact construction is scheduled to begin soon from what I understand. If this exhibit turns into a campaign piece for my opponent you can expect some news releases from me. I also hope the State Auditor can take a look at these abuses of taxpayer funds.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dogs and Cats Living Together

Life is so full of surprises. The New Mexico State Legislature funded a World Peace Conference which will take place in Santa Fe. I never heard about this and I am kinda proud of the Legislators for doing this. They came up with 420K to sponsor this conference. It will be held at the State Capitol September 22-24, 2006. It might be the first time a state legislature has done this.

Now for the really amazing part. The appropriations legislation was sponsored by none other than Senator Shannon Robinson of Albuquerque. You remember him, he is also the sponsor of the infamous 'concealed weapons' legislation that easily passed in our legislature. I wonder if people will be allowed to carry concealed weapons into the conference. Probably not, I think that law prohibits concealed weapons in government buildings. But not to worry, you can carry them into Walmarts, movie theaters and churches.

Actually, Shannon is a guy I really like but he and I went at it when I was Mayor and tried to ban concealed weapons in Albuquerque. I failed in that, but I did get a baseball stadium built and I assume you can carry concealed weapons into that facility too.

But thanks for the Peace Conference Shannon, Really!

Meanwhile the National Rifle Association called me this morning to say they received my responses to their questionnaire. Just so you know, I am a gun owner and a sportsman and have been all my life. I enjoy trap and skeet shooting and target shooting with a large array of firearms. I was brought up with them. I don't hunt any more but I used to do quite a bit of it.

The NRA guy intimated that most of my responses were fine, except the ones opposing concealed weapons. Its all or nothing with them. I asked the representative, a very pleasant man, why concealed weapons were so important to them. I told him that wearing visible weapons was always legal here and I liked it that way. You could see who was armed and that was good as far as I was concerned. He said it just got to be a burden wearing unconcealed weapons because when members of the public saw them they called the police and the wearer ended up spread eagled on the sidewalk with the cops standing over them thinking they were crazy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Questions for the Media to Ask About Bait and Switch

A bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the fraudster lures in customers by advertising a good at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute good is. The goal of the bait-and-switch is to convince some buyers to purchase the substitute good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait, or as a way to recover sunk costs expended to try to obtain the bait. It suggests that the seller will not show the original product or product advertised but instead will demonstrate a more expensive product.

1. What percentage members of the GOP Central Committee voted to dump Damron and replace him with Dendahl?
2. What percentage of all Republicans on the Central committee knew this would be up for a vote?
3. Did Dendahl meet with bush when he was in Albuquerque on Friday?
4. Did Dendahl meet with Karl Rove when he was in Albuquerque on Friday?
5. Did Dendahl, bush and/or Rove discuss this coup when they were in town on Friday?
6. Did bush/Rove make any promises of campaign money to Dendahl?
7. Can the Republican central committee meet again with full participation and revote this issue?
8. Why was this meeting of the GOP central committe closed to the press and public?
9. Isn't this just an attempt to tarnish Governor Richardson's run for President in 2008 by conducting a outrageously negative smear campaign?
10. What would the GOP say if the Democrats had pulled a fast one like this?

Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
Henry A. Wallace

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Nasty Man Replaces Nice Man & Another Accomplishment for Martin Heinrich

John Dendahl, the New Mexico version of Karl Rove when it comes to nastiness, will replace J.R. Damron as the Republican's nominee for Governor against Bill Richardson. He is the guy who attempted to give New Mexico's Green Party $100,000 to run a candidate against the Democrats a few years ago. So, this promises to be an all out assault on the Governor by a guy who will say anything and do anything to hurt any Democrat or progressive cause. Don't be fooled by Dendahl. He is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of guy. My friend Rodger was wondering if Dendahl and Rove met on Air Force One yesterday while bush was in town raising money for Heather. I wonder if Dendahl met with bush. I wonder if anyone in the media will ask Dendahl this question.

I don't know what this looks like to an outsider, but I am an outsider and it appears to me the extreme right wing wackos are in charge of the GOP.

On another note, my good friend Albuquerque City Council President Martin Heinrich has been named by some group as the hottest elected official in the nation. Hottest! His wife Julie Hicks, one of my former kamikaze communications officers when I was Mayor, seemed amused by it all. This is a nice picture of Martin, pregnant Julie, and their son Carter at a tree planting project in the Bosque today. The Hottest elected official is not available.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Office Work

I brought my new pickup to work today. The next few days will be comprised of office work and travel.

I will probably mosey over to the anti bush meeting this afternoon in downtown Albuquerque. Once again, Heather Wilson is doing what she always does, being close to bush while denying she is close to bush. This is typical two faced political posturing that seems to work for her. While this is going on everyone should look at this link, sent by my sister Carlota, to get a true grasp of the price in human terms, of the Iraq war. This is tough stuff to view as you read the story and move further down into the photo albums.

I remember the movie "Clockwork Orange" in which one of the characters eyes were forced open and then he was subjected to images that would make him less violent. Hmmm, are you thinking a few people in DC could use this treatement?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My New Campaign Pick-Up Truck

We are all familiar with my opponent Pat Lyons purchase of a six year old pickup truck for his campaign at a price of $29000. (Six years old!) The campaign paid for the vehicle but the truck was registered in his name. Read about it here.

Well, I understand he is trying to sell the truck and then will give the money back to the campaign. I just wonder who he bought it from in the first place. He has never come clean with that to the media. We do know he bought a lot of antelope hunting permits from his brother to auction off.

Well, today I have a new pickup truck. My new campaign manager, Mike Davis and my soon departing primary election campaign manager Jesse Keefe,(she is moving to Hawaii with her significant other, Jeff) presented me with my pickup at Starbucks this morning. They felt that since I am traveling so much that I would need it. Over the course of this campaign you will see this little pickup many times as we travel the state and visit its communities.

State Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim said he hoped this kind of campaign vehicle would not generate a controversy.

This little truck will have lots of heavy hauling to do around the state. You should knowI have not put the registration in my name. For some reason they registered it to some guy named Tonka. Also, this was not paid for with campaign funds but with an inkind contribution from Mike and Jessie!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bait and Switch

While bush is returning from his five hour visit to Iraq we can see that his mascots in DC have been busy. This release is courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity. It should upset you.

This is why I feel so strongly about having a strong Land Commissioner fighting bush during his last two years in office. Prepare for a lot more of this.


I am already at full speed for the general election. The realization that my opponent has 500k in the bank has me fundraising already. Did I mention you can donate at

I am also having numerous meetings with groups and individuals. I am also trying to sell Bobbi's cute little VW Beetle Diesel. We are asking 11k for it. It is in pristine condition with only 52k miles on it. Let me know if you are interested.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Back in 1979 Bobbi and I went out one Saturday morning to buy me some razor blades. On the way to the drug store we thought we would take a long drive into the north valley. Instead of buying razor blades we bought a house. It was the last thing on our mind when we left our starter home in the north east heights. We had always wanted to live in Albuquerque's close in north valley but we never thought we could afford it. Then I went to work for Governor King as state liquor director and we had a little more income. Additionally, the little starter house we bought only 10 months before for 43k had appreciated to 57k. We had the down payment!

We often do things like that kind of impulse buying. Here is what happened today. Bobbi commented that it was hard to load her golf clubs into her VW Beetle. As great a car as it is, it has enough trunk space to hold a small litter of kittens. Maybe.

I sauntered into the office and did a check on the VW Diesel's value and was astonished at how much it was worth. I didn't think much more about it, except subliminally I guess.

Bobbi and I then left to travel to Pena Blanca to see how things were at the farm. Instead, some mysterious force sucked us off the freeway to the Toyota dealership. Yep, we bought a new car. If we are lucky we will own a new Toyota Camry Hybrid anywhere from next week to three months from now.

This is how we always manage our big purchases in life. No fretting, agonizing or procrastinating. Just do it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Rael, Rodger & Rail Runner

This was a fun trip over to Bernalillo on the new Rail Runner. Lawrence Rael, my Chief Administrative Officer when I served as Mayor, and Rodger Beimer went along. Lawrence is now Director of the Middle Rio Grande Council of Govermnments. He has worked very hard with Governor Richardson to make this commuter train a reality. We all went to Bernalillo to have lunch with business leaders and elected officials there. The trip each way took about 15 minutes. No hassles with traffic. I can't wait for it to go to Santa Fe.

This is Mike Cerletti, Secretary of the State Tourism Department. I am showing you this picture because he was self conscious with his tiny borrowed sunglasses. Sorry Mike, but you knew I had to do this.

Seriously, Mike is doing a great job for New Mexico. Tourism is really important to this state. I read just today that hunting and fishing brings in a third of a billion dollars a year to our economy. That is why it makes sense to preserve and protect those sportsmen's lands from irresponsible development.


I got some rest yesterday and went and had a much put off physical exam this morning. I was glad to be told I am still alive. I had one friend call me this morning to congratulate me and I told him I was going to the Docs for an exam. He said he doesn't like to go and has not done so for several years because he doesn't want to endure the prostate exam. I told him to get over it and go because it could save his life. I hope he will. I had one other good friend just diagnosed with prostrate cancer and it would have been really bad, but his exam caught it early.

I have added a new feature to my blog. It is a little poll you can take once a week or so. It is totally not statistically accurate or scientific, but it will give you an idea of what my blog readers are thinking. We will try this out for a while and see how it works.

Now I am off to ride the Rail Runner to Bernalillo. Quick, build it to Santa Fe so I can ride it everyday if I win the election in November!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Call from Ray

I just had a very gracious call from Ray Powell congratulating me on my apparent win in the Land Commissioner race. Ray has pledged to help me in my contest against Pat Lyons next November.

The Associated Press declared me the winner at about 9:30 this morning with a margin of victory of 2223 votes. If there are no gross clerical errors on these totals then we have won the primary campaign. Thanks to all who helped.

Now, I will be the only statewide candidate to face an incumbent Republican office holder. He has half a million in the bank and more rolling in. This will be fun, right? Don't forget you can contribute to me at


At 7am this morning the Associated Press had me ahead with 2000 votes and 99% of the precincts reporting. There is now a three week canvassing period ahead in which totals are rechecked. Right now, 2000 votes looks good.

Close only counts with hand grenades

As I write this at 1:30 AM I am sitting on a 1500 vote lead. 7% of the counties precincts have still not reported. This will not decided for another day, and then we endure the three week canvassing period. More tomorrow. This is fun.

Monday, June 05, 2006

24 Hours

Once again I show you one of my favorite news photos of all time. It shows Wendell Wilkie campaigning. It says it all. He didn't win this election, but do you think he was enjoying himself?

The last 24 hours of a campaign can be surreal. Serious candidates work very hard and take risks that most people would not understand. It is a grueling endurance race with manic/depressive events peppered evenly over a six month period. Things get surreal because everything can end as suddenly as driving your car at 100mph into a bridge abutment. Or, you face five more stamina challenging months of campaigning.

I would say that this campaign, at the age of 60, is no harder or easier than my first statewide campaign at the age of 38. The emotions are all there, the ups and downs, and the endless miles in the car. Actually, the only thing that is a little more difficult is sitting for so long in the car.

I am really happy I decided to do this campaign. I will be content with the results whether I win or lose, well I would really rather win. But, I wanted to see if I could still run a campaign and then bring some much need changes to the land office. I felt I have made a good effort.

My campaign manager Jessie Keefe and fund raiser Mario Montoya have done a great job. Jessie will be leaving New Mexico for a new life in Hawaii in June and I will be on the hunt for a manager real quick if I win.

My hat is off to my opponent Ray Powell for running a positive campaign. If he vanquishes me I will be fully supporting him in the general election.

We will all be at the Hilton Inn in Albuquerque tomorrow evening to wait for election results. It could be a long evening and a close race.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


There is nothing I hate more than clothes hangers. They can not be controlled. They can not be ordered. Put just two clothes hangers together and they will tangle. Put a dozen together and you may as well throw them into a smelter. I hate them. Ask Bobbi. Everytime I get around them I mutter and sputter curse words. Don't you just hate the way they launch them selves on to the floor in the closet when you pull a shirt off of them?

Who invented the hanger? I hope they hung him. Why hasn't anyone ever come up with a better hanger? They will be rich beyond their wildest dreams if they do so. It seems all things evolve, but clothes hangers don't. I wonder if they are the same in alternate universes. Or, on other intelligent and developed planets. If they are the same then those planets are no more advanced than we are.

I really hate hangers. This is not an obsessive compulsive disorder thing. Do you hate hangers? I will enable comments now so you can tell me how much you hate them.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Razzle Dazzle

This is a great example of razzle dazzle from Commissioner Patrick Lyons at the land office.
See it here.

Now, Lyons is doing the legal thing here. He is advertising a trade of land. (Although many of these trades could be deemed unconstitutional.) This is a legal description of the property to be traded in Lincoln County. If you are interested in this kind of stuff then maybe a legal description is all you need. If you are an average citizen looking for information on the Land Office web site, you are out of luck here. You wont see anything here about:
1. Why is this land being traded?
2. Who asked the Land Office to do this?
3. How does it benefit the Land Office to do this?
4. Where is this land really?
5. Was the local community included in discussions on this trade?
6. Will it impact the local community's planning efforts?
7. How will this trade affect water supplies?
8. How will this trade affect transportation issues?
9. How will this trade affect local taxpayers?
10. How does a citizen find out this information since it is not readily available?

This is why I think we need a constitutional amendment to create a State Lands Approval Board that will have final approval on all permanent land actions by the Commissioner.

Struck Silver

I got another endorsment from the Silver City Daily Press. I had a nice chat with the publisher down there about my days as State Liquor Director. I especially like this newspaper because it is one of the few small town dailies in New Mexico that has its own press. Most small town papers are part of conglomerate operations that centrally print their editions and then truck them to the communities' readers. In Silver City you can still smell that special scent of newsprint ink.

I also noticed that my opponent's financial report shows him with $50 thousand in unspent funds as of yesterday. He had loaned himself almost that much, so maybe he didn't really want to spend it and make it appear he had raised a lot, or maybe he knows something I don't! I did loan about $11 thousand to my campaign, but I put it to work in these last days.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

And Now for Something Entirely Different

Anyone who is over 50 will remember Joe Friday on Dragnet. You must see this.


First, I got some more endorsements in the last couple of days, which is good. The Santa Fe Reporter and the Albuquerque Alibi, both of them large and influential weeklies, endorsed me. I really appreciate their support. Both publications offer real alternative looks at issues and politics. I am glad they exist and hope they will for a long time. I also got the support of the Taos News. This is a great weekly paper with a local news flavor.

Second, what is more useless than a candidate four days before an election that will probably set a record for a low turnout. We have all done about all that can be done except to call for more money. That will dry up anyway this close in to the election. The victors next Tuesday will then start all over and on a much bigger scale. It will be nice to be a part of a team instead of being in the wilderness that we call primary elections. Election night gatherings for the Democrats will be held at the Albuquerque Hilton Inn. Look for us there whether we are victorious or vanquished.

Third, if you want to see how much all the candidates are reporting in contributions and expenditures visit this site.

Just click on the June 1 column. I raised about $35,000 this period and spent $55,000. Totally I have spent about $120,000 and raised about the same amount.