Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Emails Now

I rolled back into town about 3:30 from Pendairies, NM.  We played 45 holes of golf in less than 24 hours.  Ah retirement.

But then I see that the new issue of the day in the Governor's campaign is not another venom and mud soaked TV commercial, but a venom and mud soaked email.  Apparently Susana Martinez's Assistant District Attorney sent around a nasty email, clearly racist and not really funny as it was meant to be, and now it is the issue of the day.  Except it really shouldn't be an issue.  If Martinez had sent it, then it would have been an issue.  If she does nothing in the way of discipline, that will be an issue.

Her day may be as bad as Hermes the Cat, and Ajax the other Cat.  Yes, they got neutered today.  Now, they are just sleepy and hungry.....and probably pissed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Local TV news spent a lot of time using their new Choppers to report on a fire in the Rio Grande Bosque in Albuquerque's north valley.  It did little damage and hurt no one but since it could be the subject of aerial videos it naturally got a ridiculous amount of airtime.

What is the deal with the dead bear?  Last night as I managed to sit through local TV newscasts and the corpse of that bruin was prominent.  Same thing in the Journal this morning.  Winnie the Pooh would be aghast! Not a good thing while consuming my frosted mini wheats this morning.

Now the Journal's radar seems to be settling on Bernalillo County Manager Thaddeus Lucero and his job status.  I have appreciated the reporting on the much ignored county government lately.  I think there really does need to be a lot of sunshine shed on them.  I see that John Dantis has retired after the reporting on the problems of his son working at the jail.  When I was Mayor of Albuquerque I always enjoyed working with John and felt he was responsive and civil.  I am sorry to see him leaving his career under these circumstances.

I am off to Pendairies Village in northern New Mexico to play golf for a couple of days.  That golf course is absolutely beautiful. I used to play there a lot in the 80's.  Not many people know about it.  It is about 25 miles from Las Vegas, NM.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Journal Future

The headline story in the Sunday Journal was about city employees who get paid while they are not working because of injury.  It was an okay story.   Was it headline class?  I don't think so.  It belonged on the Metro Page.

We all sat around over breakfast in the back yard yesterday discussing what the Journal does.  We pretty much decided that it gets its teeth into a story and doesn't let go until someone is brought low, guilty or not.  They mainly report alleged and real government corruption stories.  They seem to loathe government.  At least that is the idea one gets.

Those stories need to be done of course.  But so do success stories.  When did you ever see a string of stories that celebrated something that government did right.  Some uplifting stories.  They are out there because there are indeed a lot of dedicated public servants who go the extra mile.  People are being served.  When was the last time your water didn't come on when you went to the faucet?  Or how much fun your kids have at the zoo and what it took to provide that experience?  Or how after school programs made a difference in a child's life?  Or the fireman EMT who saved a heart attack victim?

We can only surmise where the Journal goes in the future.  If it is truly an extension of its publisher then it probably wont change.  But it needs to and fast.  I just cant get off on headline stories on insider stuff dealing with city leave policy for injured employees.   I want something better from the Journal on a regular basis.  I know their talented staff can do it, if they are given the opportunity.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cumbres and Toltec

I was saddened to see that a trestle over a deep ravine on the Cumbres and Toltec Rail Road burned yesterday.  I have taken that train often over the years, but my favorite ride was with Bobbi and Justin back in about 1983.  Justin had the time of his life on this trip.(You might notice he had his little blanket with him too.)

This fire will cost the northern New Mexico Economy a bundle in lost revenues from the tourists who ride this train.  Certainly, it will harm Chama the most.  The Governor and his troops need to jump on this immediately with a crash repair of the bridge.  Colorado should shoulder some of the costs too!


I am not even sure it is possible to govern in this country anymore.  The President of the United States should be working on one thing right now.  The economy and adding jobs.  What is he doing instead?  Dealing with the oil blow out in the Gulf, having to spend time in graciously firing a gullible and loudmouthed General for hanging out with Rolling Stone Magazine for a month, and any number of other things that distracts from the job at hand.

Not that these are not important things.  They are.  But the media and radio talk-show host world they are the only things that matter and they beat up everyone involved intensely for a week, just before they go back and criticize the leadership for not paying attention to the important things.

Things are important one day and forgotten the next!  What has ever happened in Haiti anyway?  Did CNN leave because Anderson Cooper ran out of pressed black T shirts again.  (I love saying that.)  Will they ever go back?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry has a full page ad in the Journal today saying they are doing everything they can to help BP clean up its mess, and gee, it only has happened once in 60 years (a lie), and golly we are doing everything to make sure it doesn't happen again, like getting an oil invested federal judge to disallow a moratorium to make sure it doesn't happen again, and golly, we sure don't need that 'pit rule' in New Mexico that protects water supplies, and shucks, we have our own gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez in NM to watch over things along with our oil executive GOP party chairman in NM so you will know they are helping us poor misunderstood oil guys convince you that we are safe and should be allowed to drill anywhere we damn well please!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

City Council

I feel sorry for Mayor Berry.  Here is the city of Albuquerque in the worst financial shape ever due to the Council and former Mayor Marty Chavez overspending for a decade.  Couple that with the economy being in the crapper and even an idiot can see that working together would be a smart thing to do for the Mayor and Council.  So, what does the council do?  In the middle of crucial labor negotiations that will determine the city's ability to meet its challenges, the council refuses to fund the labor negotiators contract with the city.

This is pandering politics at its worst.  The councillors who did this seem to me care more about vote getting from the labor groups than the welfare of the city.  I would bet the unions, who are just doing what they must for their membership, must be astonished at their success.  Although the advertising campaign of the Albuquerque Police Union is sophomoric in its implied allegations that we will all be killed in our beds if they don't get their pay raises.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Irony Again

There was a letter to the editor in the Journal today from someone who says they don't like GOP gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez because she took $450k from a Texan and that she in fact was born in Texas.  I think there is nothing wrong with questioning a $450K donation from anyone, but qualifying it as a donation from a Texan is no better than qualifying all immigrants as illegal.  As for Susana Martinez being a native Texan, who cares?  I wonder how she sees this slight.  Maybe she now knows how her qualification of immigrants as being criminals affects them.  Live by the sword and die by the sword I guess.

I  have a feeling we are now in the summer doldrums for political news in New Mexico.  You don't see or hear much except for the GOP candidate's over the top TV Commercials.  They are like something out of a Marvel Comic.  Can she really ride to victory on this trash?  Will old fashion organizing be in her quiver of arrows for the fall campaign?  Will she disavow her policy of less regulation on the oil and gas industry?  Will she go to the Gulf and see oil covered Pelicans to figure out what a lack of regulation does?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hanging Out

Somedays I am reminded of how we kids back in the 50's just would 'hang out' on summer vacation days.  An anticipated event was the milkman coming by.  He would give  us ice to suck on.  A pretty simple time.  Just like today when I went and played 18 holes of golf with my life long friend Lee.  Shot a 92 at Santa Ana.  We had a great time but I can't say we didn't talk about politics and religion.  Still we had fun.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sacrifice and Victimhood

I sometimes think I am becoming heartless.  But, then I talk with folks who are wiser and more experienced than me and find they have reached the same conclusions.

Today I had breakfast with my 87 year old Uncle Jaime.  He is a child of the depression, a combat veteran of WWII in the Pacific as a waist gunner on a B-24, a retired school teacher and long time Deacon in the Catholic Church.  He is still as sharp mentally as can be and has devoted his life to helping others.

However, he has about had it with people no longer wanting to sacrifice for the good of the country.  He is even more upset that they are not being asked to by our political leaders.  (I don't think I missed such leadership in the Obama speech did I?) And he is tired of too many seeking compensation and becoming professional victims of some catastrophe or slight.  This conversation all came about when we started talking about the BP Gulf Oil disaster.  We decided that if this had happened during decades past that instead of everyone waiting for the federal government to write checks,  that the states, counties and people would have rolled up their sleeves and started helping themselves until the cavalry arrived.  Instead, the goal seems to be to get on Anderson Cooper to cry on the air about how they are hopeless victims of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and ask for financial aid.  (Christine Amanpour has said Cooper is reporting from the Fact Free Zone.)  We are all victims of stress at some point in our lives but seem to get on with our lives.

Alright, this is over the top I know, but it is something to worry about.  I might feel differently if I were a shrimp boat worker in the Gulf or the bar tender at a beach resort.  BP is responsible and should pay for damages and the CEO and Boards should be forced to resign.

There is good news for New Mexico today on the renewable energy front at least.  Read this link.
The Governor's effort helped with our great position in this race for a green future.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


As everyone knows I am a big supporter of President Obama.  I thought he could hit a home run last night with his Oval Office Speech.  It was only a double.  My friend Rodger Beimer said this morning it was time to send in Joe Biden to the Gulf to manage efforts.  Rodger also said something else I agree with.  When will the national media actually start covering this story instead of sitting on the beach interviewing gasbags and professional victims who know little?  I am sick of seeing Anderson Cooper in his pressed black T-shirt standing in a park.  Send in some real journalists and get out of the fancy looking studios with babbling heads talking politics.

I keep seeing the Mayor's front man on Public Safety on TV when it will make him look good.  Darren White knows how to step in front of a camera.  I hope he will do so soon to assure us that the rash of police shootings are not indicative in any problems at APD.  Maybe he doesn't want to be seen in a defensive mode.  I remember when I was Mayor I questioned the training regime that APD cadets were given.  It was more like a Marine type 'kill them all' boot camp rather than a police officer/public servant course. Yes, the Police have to be tough and have the capability to kill if necessary, but there is a lot more to their service than that.  I wonder if the Mayor giving up his direct authority over public safety to White was a good idea.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just a Reminder

We are in a crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.  With that in mind it is important to look at the positions of the candidates for Governor on New Mexico's Pit Rule which protects precious  ground water from the oil and gas industry.

Here is what Susana Martinez says on her Facebook page.

"On local issues, Martinez took a hard stance on both the oil and gas and budding nuclear industries. 

“As governor, I would absolutely remove the Pit Rule as a regulation,” she said.

“Regulation that is imposed by the government has to be reduced. The folks in the oil industry are good stewards of the Earth. They take care of where they live. To continually regulate them is to regulate them out of the state.”

Here is what Diane Denish said on her web page.  

"Denish said alternatives to the pit rule are being considered, such as a "closed loop" system, which she said would render the pit rule obsolete."

Arizona Pox

A Pox on the Arizona Legislature.  Now a bill has been introduced to deport legal American citizen children of Mexicans who entered the country illegally.  Damn!  Why stop there?  Why not grandchildren and great grand children too?  You know this might even force GOP gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez to be forced out of the country.  We are all the off spring of immigrants.  And there is this idiot republican for Congress Tom Mullins suggesting land mines on the border. Yes, blowing legs off children would be a good deterrent wouldn't it.

Will someone ask Susan Martinez where she stands on land mines? (pun)   Will someone provide Mullins with some lessons in human decency?  Will someone urge Chairman Harvey Yates, the head of the republican party in New Mexico, to say land mines are a bad idea?  Afterall, he didn't like negative TV Commercials in the GOP primary so this shouldn't be very difficult for him.  Although, he didn't condemn Susana's over the top commercial on Diane Denish last week.

Life is too short.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Way of Life

Why is it that some people defend keeping "a way of life" in place even when it has outlived its usefulness and might even be bad for everyone else?.  Why is it that one "way of life" is worth saving and another is not?

Even in the middle of a planetary disaster like the Gulf oil spill we have people insisting that the jobs provided by deep water drilling must not disappear because a way of life in Gulf Coastal states would be destroyed.  I am sorry, but that way of life is killing us all and it is time to move on.  Why was it okay to destroy a way of life in the states that manufacture auto parts by shipping jobs overseas but not okay to destroy jobs in the military/industrial complex?  I think a lot of it has to do with profit, industry political donations, and voting blocs.

In my political career I always managed to come up against someone's way of life.  First it was the liquor industry in New Mexico.  They had no real supervision back in the 70's and early 80's.  Then it was the livestock industry as State Land Commissioner who felt they should be subsidized to overgraze.  And the oil industry who didn't want to pay fair royalties.  And then as Mayor the real estate developers who wanted no planned growth and water management.

So, this is nothing new.  Although I will say that of all the folks I came up against the oil guys are the most insidious and focused group at keeping the status quo. (even the cowboys can be collaborative now and then)  Very little has changed in their philosophy in my view.  More profit, no matter what the cost to the rest of us, is still their number one goal.  And they may soon be running state government through republican Susana Martinez and GOP party secretary Yates of Yates Petroleum.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kitten Progress

Hermes the Cat and Ajax the Other Cat are eating machines.  They have pretty much tripled their size in the six weeks since we acquired them.  They are very socialized (don't tell the Tea Party types) and like to be held.

Ajax is always purring.  Always.  He sounds like an Evinrude.

Hermes is rambunctious and needs to catch a nap whenever he can.

And then its off to mischief.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Political Coverage Again

Someone once wrote, "Television news was once a vast wasteland,  now it is only half vast."

Even my friend, the veteran and politically savvy newsman Dick Knipfing cannot seem to convince his managers that it might be a better idea to cover political races from the standpoint of issues.  Rather, Channel 13, 7, and 4 cover the ads that are purchased at their stations by candidates behaving badly.  And the print media is not much better.  Their websites all have links to the commercials.  It is a really peculiar thing that has happened over the last few election cycles and it points out one thing to me.  There are few journalists left anymore that can do real political reporting.

 I mean, how hard is it to go into the production department of a TV station to watch a commercial and then report on how negative it is, versus going down to Dona Ana county and doing in depth research on the record of republican candidate for Governor Susana Martinez who took $450,000 from a radical right wing Texan for her campaign?

I don't know what the solution to this is.  We still must rely on the major daily newspapers with their dwindling circulations to provide us with some decent coverage.  At the TV stations we can only hope that the few veteran journalists left influence their news directors to do some work that is not shallow and meaningless.  The broadcasters after all use the public airways under a license and should have some responsibility at providing service to the citizens.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

My Retirement Project

We all need to stay busy in retirement.  At least so we don't drive our still employed spouses to the straight-jacket store.  Bobbi is encouraging me to do more with my time and I concur.

I have started a new blog called Bridges on the Rio Grande.  It is my intention to take a photo of every bridge over the Rio Grande from the head waters to the Gulf of Mexico over the next few years.  Right now it is just in the experimental stage but I thought I would let people take a look at it and send suggestions on how to improve it.  I don't want to make a travelog out of it.  Just a little bit about each bridge and the communities nearby.  There will be plenty of links and photos.  I hope everyone will visit and suggest  improvements.  I will get seriously underway on this this summer.  This will require my short attention span to diminish.


Have you noticed how much time the Albuquerque Journal is dedicating to coverage of County government?  I am glad for it because I have always complained they have ignored it.  A friend and I figured out that since there is now a republican Mayor that they will shift their focus to the county.  I am not convinced we are right about that paranoid conclusion, but the timing is interesting.

There was a story in the New York Times today about how a rich guy with a $9  billion dollar estate has died.  Because of a lapse in the tax law there will be no estate taxes paid.  I think this is horrendous, but what we really need are front page stories about is how little in taxes the rich are paying when they are alive.

I wonder if BP will claim tax deductions for their expenses from the Gulf disaster.  Congress should pass legislation that will not allow that.  In the meantime I am hearing ominous warnings that the surrounding formation in the Gulf blowout may have been possibly fractured by the 'top kill' attempt.  I  had wondered how much could be jammed down that hole before the casings might rupture in the formation running down to the oil.  This would be really bad.

And finally, when will some reporter start tracking the reorganization of the MMS at the Interior Department?  Is anything really happening?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Arturo Update

Arturo is doing fine.  The Surgeons decided he didn't need surgery on his hip after taking O.R. xrays.  They manipulated his hip back into place.  Home tomorrow for him.  Healing will take a few weeks.

Arturo Sandoval

I did a post late last week with a picture of my good friend Arturo Sandoval.  We were camping out up in Chacon, New Mexico.  A few hours after I traveled back to Albuquerque Arturo was seriously injured in a mishap while riding one of his horses.  Luckily, his son was with him and helped get him to the hospital.  He will undergo some surgery today.  I will let everyone know how he is getting along.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Questions for the Candidates

Here are some questions that need to be asked of our Gubernatorial candidates Diane Denish (my favorite) and Susana Martinez (Sarah Palin's favorite.)

1. Would you support deporting the illegal immigrant parents of American born children who are legal citizens by birthright?
2. Would you weaken the so called 'pit rule' enacted by the Richardson administration which is meant to protect New Mexico's waters and aquifers from the oil and gas industry?
3. Will you support legislation that extends incentives and tax credits for renewable energy?
4. Will you promise not take any campaign donation over $5,000 and return any monies that you have accepted over that amount from any entity or person?

That last question is important because after this election cycle that will be the law.  This might be the most important question to decide which candidate will be on the moral and ethical high ground.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The High Road

Yesterday I traveled the high road from Chacon, NM down through Embudo to Espanola.  I snapped this picture from the highway looking down towards Dixon, NM.  I had not been on the 'high road' for many years and am still bowled over by the natural beauty of our state.

I was thinking about the term 'high road' and the kind of politics we just witnessed in the republican primary for governor.  That was an example of the 'low road'.  It was all to familiar of a campaign where the best you will see is one candidate blatantly lying about the other on expensive TV commercials.  Both Susana Martinez and Allen Weh should get Emmys for their outrageous commercials.  If there is a category for 'disgustingly simple minded drivel.'

This will certainly spill over into the general election because as we all know that is what seems to work as American voters continue to dumb down via Fox news and rightwing talk radio.

Also, yesterday as I was burning fuel coming down to Albuquerque from the north I got to thinking about who is to blame for the BP Gulf fiasco.  It is easy to blame them or the government.  Very easy.  And they both own a large part of this mess.  But so does everyone who stops at the filling station.  Many have let the oil and gas industry sponsored "Drill Baby Drill' mantra convince them that oil consumption is a benign thing.  As we are learning every second of the day, it is hardly that.  Remember, that was the motto of the republican party, Sarah Palin, and now GOP candidate for Governor Susana Martinez who took huge donations from the oil boys in her primary.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Under the Bus

It looks like Diane Denish has inoculated herself and has thrown immigrants under the bus.  I was very disappointed to see the story in the Journal this morning about it.  Now she doesn't like drivers licenses for immigrants either.  Okay, illegal immigrants who most likely have children who are American citizens.  I hope this is as far as it goes but knowing the republicans I am sure they will continue scapegoating the Jews, oops I mean the illegal Mexican immigrants.

Memo to Governor's candidates:

There are a lot of important issues to be discussed in your upcoming race.  About 80% of the way down that list might be immigration.  Please remember that when out on the campaign trail.  Of course the media will try and get you to argue over immigration everyday, but do all of us voters a favor and don't fall for that.  You could talk about jobs, crumbling infrastructure, oil and gas pollution, watershed protection, education and dozens of other things before you get to the phony immigration issue.


I traveled up to Chacon, New Mexico for a day and night to stay with my good friend Arturo Sandoval.  Back in the 70's he purchased 40 acres of land so he could keep the memories of his family in the area alive.  He goes up there often.

He has two beautiful horses now.  Cafe con Leche is the Pinto and Adelita is the Gray.  These horses act like dogs.  They follow you around everywhere hoping for an oat biscuit.  This morning they knocked on the door at 6am sharp.

There are a lot of ruins  of old Adobes in and around Chacon.  The young people leave as soon as they can because of a depressed economy in the North and the lack of anything to stimulate them.

We visited some old cemeteries.  This stone is in the Presbyterian cemetery in Chacon.  It was made with native rock and has stood up well.  The Presbyterians were strong in the Chacon area rather than the traditional Catholics.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Prime Time

Is Susana Martinez ready for Prime Time?  Can she do anything but carp about alleged corruption in Santa Fe?  Can she handle the economy, the unemployment rate, the needs of education, public safety, a Democrat controlled legislature, and a Democrat Congressional delegation? It is a long way from prosecuting DWI cases to handling state government and all of its intricacies. And there is that whole thing about her taking 450 thousand dollars from one right wing guy and his wife from Texas.  One guy.  How does that stack up for ethics and influence peddling on her part.  Will she disavow this guy?  That unprecedented donation sort of takes the 'pay to play' issue off the table for her.  Will she disavow the now Gulf disgraced oil and gas industry and their heavy contributions?  Will she allow them to drill and fracture their way through valuable aquifers in Otero Mesa?  Will she get rid of the pit rule that protected our water?  I am sure she will be shined up and polished when the battle is joined this summer with Diane Denish, who actually has the experience and knowledge to tackle the job.  It is going to be an interesting five months.