Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saved by a Natural Disaster

Hurricane Gustav is a gift to the Republican Party. It gives a reason to pare down expectations of the convention by canceling part of it. There was no way they could match the Obama spectacle last week in Denver. Yes, it is the right thing to do, but it is also a God send for McCain and his new VP pick Governor Palin. When I first saw her on TV she looked interesting. Then they started listing her positions on the issues. She is a right wing ultra conservative in soccer mom camoflauge.

My good friend Steve Cobble and I talked about this during a long coffee Sunday morning here in Washington, DC where we are visiting our son Justin and his wife Karly. We decided that the crucial issue that will wipe out Palin and then McCain in her wake is her position that bears in Alaska should be killed.

Think of it, a campaign to kill bears who are already running out of time since there is less and less flow ice to live on. Some smart Democrat has to get this information along with cute bear cub photos into every third grade classroom in the country. The sooner the better.

Here is a nice picture of Justin and Karly. Justin now works at the Solar Energy Industry Association and he is having a great time. Karly now will start looking for work too. They both have their Master's degrees from Syracuse University.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Home Run

Obama's speech was a home run in a football stadium. I thought a lot about our kids when he was speaking, wondering if they might have the feelings we did when we were listening to Kennedy back in the 60's. Tomorrow we will ask Justin and his Wife Karly what they felt. We are leaving in the early morning for Washington, DC to see them. I leave with a good feeling for the country and know that if we can elect Obama then things can only get better.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


One of the nice things about going to Denver is the rest stop near Watrous, NM. You can always get a good picture there. Always.

The scene in Downtown Denver is like Carnivale. It is a mass of humanity with most people, like me, just showing up there for the momentous nomination of an Barack Obama. It really is historic.

A guy dressed as a Toilet Seat was there. I didn't figure out why.
My friend Jim King, CEO of a high tech networking business was there, conducting business as usual.
Even the Hare Krishnas showed up on the 16th St. Mall. I didn't even know they still were around.

Seriously, there is a real air of hope here in Denver.


We are going to try and make our way downtown in a little while. They say it is pretty much chaos in the core area of Denver. We are going to take the light rail into the city as there is no place to park down there.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The West Teeters?

I will be heading up to Denver late Tuesday for the Convention. I am not a delegate but I will stay with friends up there and crash a party or two on Wednesday. It will surely increase my angst over what is happening right now on the campaign though. Here is my concern with the admonition that only someone like Governor Bill Richardson can save the day.

Are we heading for a rerun of the Kerry Presidential campaign? I am getting an uneasy feeling that may be the case. With Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden, both Eastern U.S. Senators, we have a case building that they don't understand the west, and especially the inter mountain west. Like Kerry and Edwards four years ago it will be difficult for them to hit western themes effectively if they don't get some practice in. It is not simply going to be pretending to love the Cowboys and the myth of the west.

Here are a few words for them that will show they at least understand some of the salient issues here. 1. Watersheds 2. Urban sprawl 3. Wilderness 4. Solar Energy 5. Oil and Gas pollution 6. Adequate clean water 7. Modern transportation systems 8. Humane Immigration Reform..........well, the list goes on but these few issues should be at least mentioned as Obama and Biden roll through our state which is being touted as a must win! Kerry never hit these themes which are so important to our region. There was no emotional connection on the issues that affect our quality of life. Bill Richardson could help big time in securing the west. I hope they put his knowledge of these issues to good use.

I am sure that McCain will hit on these issues occasionally just because he is from the west and knows of our concerns. He will just be on the wrong side of these issues. If you liked cheney's stands of western issues, (drill, drill, drill) then you will like McCains.

Law Enforcement

The Journal Editorial Board did a critical endorsement of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office for ripping that guy off of his $11,000 the other day. It was a really good editorial, except for the fact that they never mentioned Republican Sheriff Darren White's name. That bush loving Sheriff will probably get an endorsement from them for his congressional run against Martin Heinrich, and they just don't want to use his name in vain! But, it was a spot on editorial about abuses of our law enforcement officers.

Usually, the Sheriff's office keeps its embarrassments kind of quiet compared to APD. The recent revelations on APD's problems once again begs the question of when they will change their 'boot camp' techniques. There is currently a recruiting billboard up on I-40 for APD that shows a guy in full camouflage repelling down a building in full battle gear. This should be a US Marine ad, not an APD one. Cops should be public servants, well trained and tough yes, but not trained as assault troops with an "us versus them" philosophy and culture. That view certainly showed itself when APD minions were called to Valencia County after the suspicious death of an APD officer's wife. They allegedly destroyed evidence.

The City Council should review the training courses given APD recruits to make sure they are being trained properly. I hope they have better luck at it than when I was Mayor and attempted the same thing. I got no where because of the culture there.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Whither the West

It is unlikely that Barack Obama will choose a westerner as a running mate. My support for him is still 100%, but this bothers me a little when it comes to my main domestic issues. That is the protection of western landscapes and watersheds. Of course, having a VP from the west doesn't automatically mean good things will happen on these issues. Just look and the rape and pillage westerner we now have as VP, cheney.

But, we will have a team in place in the White House, if Obama wins, that will most likely not know what the Bureau of Land Management is or what the issues are on over half the lands in the inter-mountain west. So, the importance of an Interior Department Secretary who is influential with Obama and knows the issues is paramount. Certainly, Bill Richardson could do it, but I think he is moving on to other possibilities.

The real vigilance on this predicament should come in the transition process between election day and inauguration day. That is when the Interior Secretary will be vetted and selected and the fate of the west and its dominance by the oil and gas industry will be decided. Pay attention then for sure.

As for McCain, he is from the west but would be only slightly better than bush and cheney.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


My friend Ned Farquhar sent me this writeup on The Club for Growth. He was writing a regular column for the Albuquerque Journal that was recently discontinued because Ned is named in the lawsuit by three legislators about their primary loss - Ned chairs the Conservation Voters in New Mexico which has met all the registration, reporting and other requirements for its political activity. The lawsuit is obviously an attempt to chill and harass the Conservation Voters. Their activities were not conducted under general nonprofit law but under the political and election laws. It is an abuse of the legal process for these legislators to file against the Conservation Voters and say to the courts that they didn't file and report and register - when they did. You can contact Ned at

Here is the column you didn't see in the newspaper this morning.

The broadcast of the XXIXth Games of the Olympiad has been rudely interrupted by political commercials stating that offshore drilling will “get us off foreign oil.” The ads were placed by a Washington, D.C., organization opposing a New Mexico candidate for the United States Senate who hasn’t supported massive new offshore drilling.

That organization - the Club for Growth - features an article titled “Drill, Drill, Drill is Working” on its website. Here’s a quote: As Sen. John McCain and the GOP leadership nationalize the drill, drill, drill message, the Republican party might conceivably be riding a summer political rally. The question of offshore drilling, along with expanded domestic energy production, has suddenly become the biggest political and economic wedge issue of this election.”

Great! In ten years when offshore drilling still hasn’t dented our foreign oil dependence, barely replacing the domestic oil we are already using up, what are they going to do? Explain it all away and blame the Democrats? There couldn’t be a clearer indication that the drill, drill, drill message is about politics, not about solving America’s oil addiction or its energy crisis.

Here’s what I have to say to the Club for Growth:

“Offshore drilling won’t ‘get us off foreign oil.’ It won’t even produce much oil, at least compared to our demand. A huge investment in offshore oil would produce 5% of our projected demand - way less than the 60-65% we import today.

“Offshore drilling isn’t just a massively incomplete solution, it’s also a temporary solution. Maybe it buys us a few more years of energy insecurity and high prices and economic uncertainty. But U.S. oil production peaked in the early 1970’s. We don’t have limitless oil resources. They WILL run out.

“Offshore drilling won’t reduce gasoline prices. It will take ten or fifteen years to get offshore oil into the marketplace. Offshore oil will be expensive oil. The platforms cost billions and billions of dollars, the drilling is more and more expensive. This is no solution to high energy prices.

“Offshore drilling is a ridiculous answer to a serious question: What are we going to do about our nation’s overdependence on oil? We need to diversify our energy supply and transportation technology, not concentrate more on oil.”

Now I will quit addressing the faceless moneybags in Washington and industry boardrooms who paid for this ad campaign in New Mexico. Back to the reader!

Your eyes deceive you. Gasoline isn’t really $3.75 per gallon right now. It’s much more expensive than that. A true accounting would include the taxpayer-paid costs of defending world oil fields and transportation routes, as well as the costs of multiple military interventions in the oil-rich Middle East, and the human and economic costs of enriching oil despots from Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Sudan’s Bashir Al Assad. These costs will rise as we stay dependent on oil.

I don’t oppose offshore drilling as a matter of ideology. What I oppose is political gamesmanship obviously oriented at preventing needed energy dialogue and investment in energy alternatives. We need to undo our addiction. Congress and presidential candidates should discuss the alternatives that could “produce” oil equivalents much faster, from energy efficiency to electric cars to renewable energy.

I also don’t hate “Big Oil.” What I hate is that the United States has set its energy policies in the interests of this particular industry rather than in its own national interest. Even the biggest oil companies are now straws in the wind of world energy demand. They brought us oil for 100 years often at an affordable price, but they can’t do it anymore. We need to push forcefully for affordable, sensible alternatives.

The folks who are dragging energy policy into a ditch - offshore oil as the solution to our energy problems - are doing this nation a major disservice. National interest, and national security, clearly demand that the United States immediately and purposefully enact policies to cut back on our oil addiction, which is so costly to people and businesses around the country. Competition and choice in energy markets and technology, such as the electric car, are going to “produce” vastly more oil than all the offshore drilling the Club for Growth could ever dream up.

The nation is 97% dependent on petroleum to run an inefficient transportation system. That must change. It won’t as long as the energy dialogue is focused on offshore drilling.


Dangerous Enough

It has always been risky carrying a lot of cash around, but there is no law against it. If you get robbed by a drug addict or strong arm thief then that is a loss. But, now comes the Sheriff Darren White's Bernalillo County Sheriffs Office not to protect you but to also rob you of your money. The story of the man who was stopped for going 67mph in a 75mph zone by a deputy and was then cited for driving slow is astounding in itself. But then after finding a small amount of marijuana, which was apparently prescribed for illness, the officer seized $11,000 in cash from the Californian. So, what do you do to avoid being caught in the same predicament. Well, don't carry cash. Don't drive under the speed limit. Don't carry your prescriptions with you. Don't run into Sheriff Darren White's Deputies.

There is some meat on the bone for the way Sheriff White is running his office. (Martin Heinrich take note.)

All of this comes on the heels of reports of Albuquerque Police Officers responding to a death of an APD's officers wife in Los Lunas which is certainly not in their jurisdiction. Charges of coverups and evidence tampering are now out in the open because of a civil law suit brought against the city. These abuses by officers and departments should concern us all. I give credit to the Albuquerque Journal for reporting on them.

At the same time, given current issues, wouldn't it be great if the Journal had reporters on the energy and environment beats like they used to have. I think the reason that they don't is the general malaise in the newspaper industry right now. It is hard to replace staff when revenues and readership are stagnant or falling.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I am having one of my angst attacks. It started first thing this morning after reading fellow blogger Joe Monahan's blog and the Albuquerque Journal's stories on the ruling by the Secretary of State that non profit educational organizations will now have to register as Political Action Committees in New Mexico. This is a profound action that will definitely have a chilling effect on being able to expose to the public the voting records of legislators. This wont apply, I assume, to for profit groups who expose voting records. Like the Albuquerque Journal who dutifully, and in an act of public service, show the voting records of our Congressional Delegation on a regular basis.

So, the Journal prints 110k copies on weekdays and 150k copies on weekends with the voting records on issues of importance. The non profits send out 20k mailers, and they are evil. But, they don't endorse candidates or say who the recipients should vote for. However the Albuquerque Journal does tell us who to vote for every election cycle and does numerous editorials bitching about the way politicians vote.

Yes, I know, they are journalists and I understand all of their importance , however waning, and their provisions under the Constitution. But if you really stop and think about it, it is all amazing. It is basically an uneven playing field where a powerful and wealthy family that owns a newspaper can do this, but non profits can not do it. So, maybe the nonprofits should open newspapers!

In the meantime, I would like to see someone start exposing the group that is doing a smear campaign on Democratic candidate for US Senate Tom Udall. This right wing "Club for Growth" is spending a lot of money doing what the right wing does best. Lying.

Monday, August 18, 2008


This is a fascinating poll of how people are getting their news. It comes from Pew Research and it is both frightening and invigorating in some ways.


Since religious fundamentalists are so good at calling the shots in this presidential election you might think they would be at least fair in their approach about it. Barack Obama and John McCain were trotted out in separate Q&A sessions out by a religious sect for a candidates forum. The ground rules were that neither would be able to hear the questions put before the other candidate before making their appearance. The fundamentalist leader said that John McCain who went second would be in a 'cone of silence' while Obama answered the questions. NBC news executives are now saying that didn't happen and that McCain wasn't monitored and wasn't even in the building while Obama was on the stage.

That is cheating I think. But putting aside all of that, what part of our constitution does America not understand when it comes to separation of church and state. This religious intrusion into our political system has given us the worst president in history, bush, and it has put us into an immoral war as a result.

I am not so naive as to think this will end any time soon and that we can stop influence of radical fundamentalists from swaying people who fear the wrath of God. I would however hope that these fearful people could at least look at reality for a few moments. Or, maybe I am naive.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Embarassment

The St. Petersburg Times has another story on the lack of due diligence practiced at the State Land Office. Read it and weep.

When will the legislature start looking at this? When the real estate, oil and gas, mining and livestock industry give them permission I guess. There needs to be some due diligence on the careless business deals the land office gets involved in.

Friday, August 15, 2008


There is one born every minute. I just read a short poll that says 43% of Americans believe that "Bigfoot" type creatures exist. That is a lot of people who believe a myth and about three times as many as I would have assumed. These kinds of numbers really are scary. Bigfoot, if it existed, would certainly have been discovered and studied by now. Just about every square inch of earth, other than the oceans, have been looked at and studied and yet many people still believe in stuff like this.

That is why you can really get many folks to believe anything I guess. The "Swift Boat" jerks pulled it off in the last election against John Kerry and they are now trying the same thing against Barrack Obama. These folks are made up of ultra right wing crazies who hire two bit authors to write lies. But, many people will believe it and so it is one of those things in life that we just have to deal with.

They only way to fight this is with facts and truths and I am hopeful that Obama's campaign will expose this crap. No, I haven't read the book, "Obamanation" and I wont because if the Swift Boat crowd is behind it you can bet it is nothing but falsehoods.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This flap over the club in Albuquerque that was busted this weekend should get the legislature thinking real hard. As long as the current liquor licensing system is in place this kind of thing will continue to happen. The license owner will fight in court to keep his license because it is worth so much money on the open market. If it were not then the state could more easily enforce its laws. I have some experience in this since I was Director of the old Alcohol Beverage Control Department from 1978-1982. We reformed the laws to take away the value of the licenses over a ten year period. The legislature backed down on the tenth year after pressure from the liquor industry. Now the values of licenses are starting to skyrocket again in the metropolitan areas and the industry will fight like hell to keep it that way.

One of the reforms we initiated in 1982 was the creation of the beer and wine license. It can not be sold on the open market. It is issued by the state for a set fee every year. If a beer and wine license owner is cited, it is much easier to revoke the license, if necessary.

One interesting aside on this busted club is the Sheriff's office publicly saying the Department of Public Safety Liquor Agents were kept out of the bust because they couldn't be trusted. That should make for some interesting developments on future cooperation in crime fighting! Sheriff Darren White has stepped in it again. I think the DPS agents and Alcohol and Gaming Division have done a pretty good job under the Richardson Administration.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Invisible County Government

It never ceases to amaze me how Bernalillo County Government flies under the radar. They just committed the taxpayers to a 42 million dollar purchase of an upscale office building downtown which they will use to house county government as it grows. That growth will also be under the radar.

The County Commissioners get away with this because there is no one single person to lean on or to accept responsibility for the government's actions. The City has the Mayor, who is always a target, but the county gleefully gets away with major decisions that have little or no input by the taxpayer. It astonishes me.

Here are a few questions we should all ask about this deal. Who gets the real estate commission? Was there more than one appraisal? What will the operating costs be versus other possible solutions? What will this do to our tax rates? What were the alternatives?

Remember the baseball stadium we built for $25 million? That project was worked over with a fine tooth comb and debated for months. This county purchase dwarfs the cost of the stadium, which turns a profit, and yet it is all announced and the deal closed within a week!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We got back from Hawaii without any problems. Bobbi and I were a little slow in getting up but we will acclimate soon enough. We watched the Olympics last night, or should I say the commercials on NBC which were interrupted by competition once in a while. Tonight we record and skip, if you know what I mean. I understand NBC needs to make money to do this, but they are overkilling with commercials and schmaltzy bios!

Before we left Hawaii I got to thinking how hollow bush sounds in condemning putin in Russia for his invasion of Georgia. It is a terrible thing putin has done, just like bush did in Iraq. It is like a little boys club, these leaders who wage war and destruction to show how tough they are. But it is especially ironic that bush is now making America even less credible by criticizing another country for doing exactly what we have done. What is the old saying? "Do as I say, not as I do."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Last Morning

We are spending our day in Hawaii. It has been great to get away to a totally different environment.

We are sitting out on the Lanai drinking coffee and watching outriggers race by. I perused the Journal and noticed more ink on the non profit group's voter education programs being questionable. There is certainly nothing wrong with looking them over and Attorney General Gary King says he is doing so. While he is at it I wish he would look closer at the money flow from the NRA and the Oil and Gas Industry into New Mexico politics. That is much more clear cut and much more damaging than a group that simply exposes how legislators vote.

If you stop and think about it, why has no one ever done a full analysis on those two special interest groups money influence on New Mexico Politics? Probably because it would take a gargantuan effort to really trace the money.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Picture

Here is the picture I wanted to take of Noelle in Hawaii. She is in her triatholon suit and was just getting ready to go on a 30 mile bike ride along the coast. She already did a swimming course of a couple of miles. This afternoon she will run.

One more night here in Hawaii before taking the red eye back Sunday night. We have had a good time.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Yesterday we went snorkeling and saw fish that looked like colorful neon signs.We got up early this morning to watch a bunch of dolphins jumping around just off the back porch. That kind of thing makes you think about what freedom really means. They just do what they want to do and they are really a wonder to watch.

I finally got around to reading the Journal story from yesterday on Senate candidate Steven Pearce. His rant on Tom Udall as not being a good American borders on psychopathic. I thank the Journal for just letting him say it and then printing it. I think it shows Pearce hates people who disagree with the Government, especially when it comes to waging war. That makes many of us a target. Can you imagine him moving up to the Senate with this kind of philosophy and/or psychosis?

Now back to watching Dolphins.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Noelle Sees Hawaii

You will recall a few days ago I showed a picture of Noelle on her first visit to Hawaii. She didn't see much since Bobbi was still growing her. Well, here she is again!
I also took this picture of a beheaded space alien looking at some pretty blossoms.(click on the photo) Speaking of blossoms, I am reading onc of the best scifi books in years by James Hogan. It is named "Moon Blossom" and I highly recommend it to anyone who still believes in truth and justice.

Give Me a Break!

Even from Hawaii I am still aghast that so many legislators are complaining that non profit groups are exposing their voting records through public education mailers. They seem to think no one should know what their records are. Three legislators are even suing saying it was unfair that they lost their elections because people found out what their voting records are. Damn, this is really funny. Think about it. It is being spun so strongly that some people might forget that these same legislators take money for their campaigns from the NRA, the oil and gas industry and the pharmacuetical boys. Then, these same legislators vote for these guy's issues. Life is too short.

We are headed off for the Volcanoes this morning which have been spewing lava since last March.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Erik and Canoe

We spent some time with our good friends Erik Pfeiffer and his wonderful wife Canoe. They have been living in Kona for four years with their dog, Auctung! the Fourth. It's reason for living is to carry coconuts on the beach all day. Really. As you recall, Erik was the head of Economic development for the city for many years and he retired after I left the Mayor's office.

Erik and Canoe took me on a stroll across the lava beds for a mile or so. That is hard stuff to navigate. I only fell once.

Noelle found a great rock to read on in the back yard of the house we rented. She is glued to a SciFi book I gave her. Tomorrow---The Volcanoes!

Kona Back Yard

Bobbi and Noelle were looking over our back yard for the next week early Monday morning Hawaii time. We plan on relaxing and seeing the Volcanos, the observatories on Mauna Loa, and the insides of a few good sea food joints.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Incredulous Sour Grapes

I have seen it all. Three veteran legislators who lost their primary races in June have sued in District court to get the election overturned. They say some non profit groups illegally used money to defeat them. The non profit groups are allowed under law to do 'voter education' on various candidates, but they can not expend money in favor of one candidate or another. I know who these groups are and they are very intelligently run outfits. They are not going to break any laws.

The three veteran Democratic legislators who bit the dust were Senator Shannon Robinson, Senator James Taylor and Representative Dan Silva. They all pretty much made their livings as part time legislators. Dan Silva retired as a city employee some years ago and was a good guy until his son became a lobbyist and Dan started voting differently. Now, some enterprising reporter should check out where they raised their money and which industry groups stand to lose now that they are gone.

None of them had faced serious opposition in years and frankly they just got their butts kicked because they had lost touch with their constituents. They all lost by huge margins. So, why not just walk into the sunset? Well, I have always said that some legislators feel they are much more popular and well known than they are. They are not used to opposition and get to feel they are invincible. Just look at the number of legislators that never draw opponents. These folks are also fawned over and cared for by lobbyists and losing that adoration is hard. But, suing to overturn elections that were blowouts seem kind of incredulous and desperate. Oh, and it seems silly too.

We are heading to Kona, Hawaii on Monday for a week of hiking, snorkeling and beach time. I will blog from the road.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oops on the Journal

I am getting a bunch of comments from Albuquerque Journal staffers who say they have been on the story big time about State Land Commissioner Pat Lyon's land deals in Las Cruces. They have done some good work on it and my note of two days ago failed to mention it.


We are going on vacation for a week to Kona, Hawaii. Bobbi, our daughter Noelle, Brother-In-Law Dave, Sister-In Law Caryl and her husband Wayne will make the trip. We rented this great looking place on the beach. We will see our good friends Eric and Canoe Pfeiffer who now live in Kona and probably can lead us to the best Kona Coffee joints and snorkeling locales. Also, we can go for a ride in Eric's big boat!

We haven't been to Hawaii since 1984. We were in Kona when Bobbi was pregnant with Noelle. Now Noelle will get a better view. Time marches on.

As usual my heavily armed house sitter and attack Beagles will be guarding the house.