Monday, October 31, 2011


Our first tricksters tonight were three angels accompanied by nine adults.

Many of our kids come on Halloween from  the Duranes neighborhood which abuts ours.  Ours is a upper middle class neighborhood and theirs is a strong working class neighborhood. There is a gate offering access to either side at any time of the year.  But our walls fall every halloween in a big way and it is glorious.

We keep count every year.  We ran out of candy after 261 little monsters came to the door.


The Albuquerque Journal just keeps trying to put public employees in the crosshairs of everything that is wrong in our lives.  Today their weepy front page columnist drove the last nails into the public servant careers of two employees by celebrating their departure after they made an error in judgement.  Good people I am sure, but no mistakes can be made in the Journal's estimation if you are a person that works for the public.  Why, they are just vampires aren't they?

Do you thing the editors could at  least do one story on a dedicated government employee a month?  Just throw out a bone?  Given the number of government employees around the area, including ones on contracts, it might be a good idea.

On another issue of vitriol the Journal finally.....finally,  printed a story on the scientist who got wide coverage for debunking global warming changing his mind and saying he was wrong after studying the data he attacked.  This story came out last week and was somewhat glossed over by everyone and ignored by our hometown paper.  I guess it just became to obvious that the story had to be done.  I mean they have to keep up appearances don't they?

Waking up to the Journal every morning is good for me.  It gets my blood moving quickly!  I owe them thanks for that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Report Card

This graph, a report card really, is from the New York Times today.  Read it and weep.  Think about corporate America and the super rich as you do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels took on the neo con special prosecutor who wants the judge to remove himself from the Las Cruces case involving alleged corruption on the District Court.  I have always felt this case was a trumped up attack on democrats when the special prosecutor, Matt Chandler of Clovis, was chosen to run this investigation.  Daniels shredded Chandler in a one hundred page response to the recusal request and in fact turned the tables on the prosecutor by including testimony from one of his assistants that said politics was rampant in the investigation.  This could lead back to the Governor and her backers.  It makes one wonder if Chandler has spoken at any time with Jay McClesky, the governor's political operative, who seems to be running the state.

McClesky's right wing philosophy and influence is now seen in another attack on state employees.  The governor has stopped all flex time schedules for state employees.  Out of spite?  If I were the state labor union chiefs I would start visiting the governor's office en masse.  Maybe even McCleskey's office.  This would be an extension of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.

A sign seen at one of the rallies said, "It is only class warfare when we fight back."

Actually, I wonder if the governor has any political common sense at all when she makes a unilateral move against her employees who have been asked to work more amidst cutbacks, taken furloughs, and continued to do their share during these hard times.  It is time to fight back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rainy Day

Two former New Mexico republican legislators are bemoaning the overuse of our state's severance tax permanent fund during these tough economic times.  That fund takes oil and gas severance taxes and puts them into a trust fund of sorts whose earnings go to pay off severance tax bonds that are used for public capital projects.  Many people have said this fund was really set up as a "rainy day fund" to be used in hard times.  In some respects that is true.  But, I have to agree with the legislators that the fund is being unduly hit.  Most of the money that is intended to strengthen the fund is being used to pay off more and more bonds approved by a pork barrel approach to projects.

We are not at a point just yet where this fund needs to be invaded in this manner.  Our state's permanent funds, including the Land Office permanent funds, are an envy of most other states.  These funds were visionary at a time when non partizan solutions were sought in the era between statehood and the 1990's.  My old boss democrat Governor Bruce King supported the severance tax measure as did a majority of the legislature.  Where have those times gone?  Dead with the likes of Susana Martinez and the neo cons.

Dead with the shifting of wealth over the last two decades very few control most of the money.  You can see where the wealthy would like things they way they are happening in the Severance tax funds.  If the state spends its savings account then the rich pay less taxes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Is it just me?  Or is media taking some kind of macabre interest in the festering body of Qaddafi?  On the way to the golf course this morning every newscast on every station was doing stories about how this character was finally buried.

Over the last three days we have been submerged in bloody pictures of his corpse.  Stories of his body being viewed by the Libyan public in a meat locker.  Speculation about why he wasn't under ground yet.  Have you ever noticed how the media, left and right, sometimes just get caught in these circular repetitions about things most readers don't even care about?  And then there was that whole thing about investigations into why he was murdered by his own people.  Of course if NATO (us really)  blew him to little teensy pieces with a drone, that would be okay.

Life is too short.

Last Warm Day

Brilliant bosque and blue shifted Rockies.  Priceless.

Twin Warriors Golf Course-Santa Ana
Probably the last really nice day for shorts this year.  My time on a golf course is not wasted because it is always fun to be outside and active.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Loss of Capacity

There is a frightful loss of capacity occurring in the halls of non governmental environmental protection organizations.  The baseless attacks on science, a poor economy,  and dying support for government's strong protection policies has led this nation's non profit groups to the brink of destruction.  Advocacy groups are being gutted because the American public has forgotten, amidst corporate media's relentless ignorance and biased reporting, the great institutions that once helped lead the world in the fight for clean air, water and landscapes.  In fact the whole issue of global warming has disappeared in America even while the rest of the world nation's working hard to address it.  Just turn on the TV and see the ads vomited forth by the oil, gas and coal industries.  The NGOs just cant counter that expenditure of funds.
Sunday the Albuquerque Journal did its part with a story on the costs of clean air requirements mandated upon PNM at the San Juan coal fired Generating Plant.  The story was well written but its whole direction was that we cant really afford to clean the air.  I would love to see the reporters first drafts before the right wing editors got a hold of them.

It is certainly okay to have this debate.  The slant of the article, however, is right in line with the Journal's stance on power costs.  Usually they love to hate PNM and its rate requests.  Now they have teamed up with them to fight these environmental requirements that would make our skies less hazy and increase the publishing companies electric bills.

Back in 1971 I won a local journalism award for my stories on the pollution coming from all of the Four Corners plants.  The owners said they could not afford to fix things.  They were mandated to come up to state of the art scrubbers.  They worked, the companies are still in business.   But now they will need to improve even more and they can do that too. I agree that these decisions come at a difficult time given the unemployment problems in this country, but the public health, safety and welfare should always trump corporate profits.  Shouldn't they?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Privacy for All?

A long time city employee called me  yesterday to ask what I thought about the posting of all city employees salary information online.  I said it was B.S.  It is just another way of attacking the integrity of anyone who is a public servant.  You know, these second class citizens are responsible for all of our problems.  Right?

I feel it is okay for folks to know what elected officials, political hires and department heads earn, but is it really crucial to know what your sanitation truck driver earns?  Or the guy the cuts the grass in the park down the street?  Is there any right to privacy for these government employees?

This posting of salaries is the handiwork of the Albuquerque Journal.  In the spirit of the policy I would once again request the earnings posting of all Albuquerque Publishing Company employees from the publisher, to the editor of the Journal, the reporters and press operators.  The Journal folks will tell  you this is not the same thing because of tax dollars funding city workers and not them. Forget that many tax dollars go to the Journal for Legal ads, a major source of revenue for them.   But really, if the journal is such a champion of making things transparent in government, lets see them lay it out themselves.  After all, it is really them who controls information in this community.  They print only what they want to print and hide the rest.

So, here is a challenge to all levels of government in the area.  Please put up on a website how much you pay the Albuquerque Journal every year for legal advertising.  Or maybe the Journal could put a reporter on that and let us know.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Posted late today because being outside this time of year is the best thing to do with  my time.  A beautiful game of golf above the colorful Bosque at Santa Ana.  My friend Lee and I played with a couple of nice senior citizens guys.  One of them was pretty much a tea party neocon and was upset that no one got angry with Obama for bombing Libya.  I told him I got mad and I voted for him.  This was all brought up by the death of Ghadaffi.  We decided not to talk about politics since we were having fun and didn't want to ruin it.  I did get in that at least this conflict wasn't going to last eleven years like bush's war.  Last Laugh.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Autumn on the Rio Grande

There is no better time of year to wander around the Land of Enchantment than the month of October.


Governor Martinez who at first hated the Spaceport championed by former Governor Bill Richardson has now embraced it.  She smiled gleefully as she posed with Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson at the dedication of the facility.  I am pretty sure that Bill Richardson was not at the function given her constant criticism of him and blaming him for everything but this year's drought.  That is gratitude for you but in politics it is nothing out of the ordinary.

 I remember that after leaving office of Mayor of Albuquerque never being invited to the projects that were started under my term when they were dedicated.  The one that hurt was the major addition to the Albuquerque Museum that I worked for and passed in a bond issue.  Neither Mayor Chavez or the Board of the Museum bothered to call with an invite.  But that is politics.  The sad thing is that Susanna Martinez will put her name on plaque at the space port when she had little to do with its inception or vision of the future and in fact started down a road to derail the project as best she could.  Just like Marty Chavez put his name on the Isoptopes Stadium when  he had nothing to do with it.

Still, most people will remember that Governor Richardson did this Spaceport.  And I have to admit many people remember I did the baseball stadium.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Bubba Munster had this photo on his Blog.  I love to read Bubba.  He should put together a book of the people he has met during his truck driving career.


Global warming has caused the Polar ice to melt to the degree that new and long wished for sea routes (Northwest Passage)  have opened.  But of course that is all just fraud brought on by global warming scientists.  Right? Except that it is really happening.  Just ask some of the shipping companies.  But, don't mention it to the republican candidates because they just wont believe it.  Don't mention it to President Obama either.  He does believe it but is too wimpy to do anything about it our warming climate with an election around the corner.

Wynn Quigley of the Albuquerque Journal, one of the few bright spots at that paper which now uses even thinner newsprint(almost like toilet paper) had another thoughtful column on some giants of capitalism publicly worrying that our financial systems are out of control in a global economy.  They don't seem to know what to do about it.

Farmers were supposed to be weaned off subsidies by this congress.  What is actually happening is they are being offered the public trough in other ways.  A real bait and switch.  These guys, who do a great job of feeding us, are the first ones to support right wing efforts to kill assistance for everyone else.  I have always seen this as very peculiar.  They are making good money right now.

I am reading a very interesting Scifi novel right now titled "The Wind Up Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi which is dedicated to the consequences of environmental degradation, global climate change, and unfettered corporate agribusiness strangle holds on the world's citizens.  It is a great read and has me in a rather dark mood.  

Monday, October 17, 2011


I am pretty sure that a U.S. serviceman died this weekend in Afghanistan.  I cant make that prediction 100% solid because the nation's media has not made me aware of it.  However I am being subjected to non stop photos and videos of a race car driver perishing in a fiery wreck.  So, Americans are lamenting the tragic death of a 33 year old racer instead of a 19 year old serviceman.  Sure, both men picked their professions.  One to win fame, money and glory and one to serve his country.  The media is just doing what they do on this one.  It is okay to show the race car driver being crushed in his car, but it is not okay to show servicemen's caskets being off loaded from cargo planes.

I hope Mayor Berry and his city council will start an investigation into the arrest of a California man at Albuquerque International airport.  He was cuffed for cursing after being hassled by an airport cop who instead of being a public servant allowing the guy unload his three kids and bags from a rental car, he told him to move the car.  I have been to a lot of airports and I have never seen airport cops like the ones we have in this city.  When I was Mayor here I had wanted to combine those cops with the main APD organization.  The city council said no and things have been worsening ever since.  Now its time to reconsider this.  That or we will become the laughing stock for how not to encourage tourists to come to our city and state.

As expected Congressman Martin Heinrich blew away the competition in the fund raising race for the US Senate primary against Hector Balderas.  I don't see Hector turning that around and would prefer that he withdraw and run for Governor in two years.  The fund raising in the Democratic primary to fill Heinrich's seat was lackluster.  Marty Chavez, Eric Griego and Michelle Grisham Lujan all were pretty close to each other.  The fact that Marty didn't blow them away given his experience is a red flag for his campaign.  This will be an interesting one to watch.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Time is One Directional

One thing the Albuquerque Journal does that I enjoy is putting pictures of people who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in the paper.  Two pictures actually.  One of them on their wedding day and a current one.  You really get an idea of the inevitable progression of time from looking at those photos.  I have say that everyone still looks pretty good.  So here are our photos.

This first picture is Bobbi and me sitting in our first home in 1978.  I was 33 and she was 26.

This picture was taken in California wine country a couple of weeks ago.  I have now doubled my age to 66 and Bobbi is 59.  Sure, we have aged but we still have our health and marriage.  Although I am pretty sure I wont be doubling my age again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Defense Budget

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is saying he is against any more cuts to his ravenous agency.  I find it hard to believe that the 369,000 American soldiers overseas in places that include Japan, Germany, Britain, Greece and other surprising places cant be brought  home.  It is said each soldier overseas costs one million dollars. Read the list of overseas deployments here and marvel.  Of course we can not pull everyone of them back to the U.S., but a phased approach over the next few years makes sense.  Do we really need 53,000 troops in Germany?  What war is being fought there?

As budget cuts loom in the future would we New Mexicans feel more comfortable closing one of our military bases or research labs in order to save one in Qatar?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I thought I would wander around the New Mexico political scene after having a long conversation with my good friend Bob White, former city attorney for Albuquerque.  We get together every few months to parse who is looking to win and who is going to need to look for a job after election time.

Here is what I take out of our latest conversation.  This is my analysis.  Not necessarily his.  Just gazing into a hazy crystal ball.

  • All candidates are having a tough time raising money.  The most successful fundraiser is Martin Heinrich who is looking to win the primary for US Senate against State Auditor Hector Balderas.  It looks like Martin will again out distance Hector in the latest reports.  Hector has been slow to report his take for the last quarter.  The funders may look at Hector and say, why don't you just sit tight and run for Governor in two years.  Some surmise that Heinrich will have an advantage in taking on Heather Wilson.  Rumors have it she could be enticed out of the race if she is given the job of UNM President.  She might see that as a plus rather than face off against John Sanchez who has gone over to the Tea Party dark side at exactly the wrong time.
  • Marty Chavez who at the age of 60 wants to be a congressman is an old pro who is having problems raising serious dough.  So is everyone else in that congressional race that is up for grabs since Heinrich opted for the Senate.  Eric Griego and Michelle Grisham Lujan are at a funding disadvantage most likely, but in this race it may not be a deal killer since little money is flowing into the race.
  • Governor Susanna Martinez is not guaranteed a second term at this point.  The electorate is looking for leadership on jobs and an improving economy and all she can do is hassle immigrants about drivers licenses and veto reapportionment bills.  The public really is getting a little more educated on how important leadership on creating jobs can be.  I predict a very large and open primary contest for democrats who want to take on Martinez and her right wing handlers.  If she wants a second term she needs to shed those extreme right wingers.
  • Congressman Ben Ray Lujan is a cinch for another term in the northern district.
  • Former Representative Jeff Steinborn in Las Cruces is rumored to take on oil and gas Congressman Steve Pearce in the southern district.  I think he could do well given the general building disgust with the radical views of Pearce's ultra conservative politics.  It will be a challenge but it is not out of the question.

Of course I am always almost wrong on my predictions.  But they are fun to do anyway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


After years of delay and jawboning I finally got around to having the front yard of our home xeriscaped.

The good folks at Narrow Leaf landscaping came in and did it in just 9 hours with a great crew who used their experience to lay things out very thoughtfully.  Drip irrigation was installed for all the plants and tree.

This will save us about 35% in water usage.  Since we started our vegetable garden we were using way to much water and the city water bills started to reflect it.  We can't really expect a payback on the work but it will save water.  This kind of resource conservation is extremely important for future New Mexicans or anyone who lives in the western United States. We did not apply for a rebate offered by the City of Albuquerque because it didn't seem worth the hassle.

We are keeping the grass in the back yard for the grand kids visits.  Simon the first grandchild will have fun in the grass as all kids should.  I wish I had eyebrows like him.  Mine are getting all bushy, white and gnarled.


Michael Coleman of the Albuquerque Journal Washington Bureau had a thoughtful piece on the growing Wall Street protests.  He basically said what I have been thinking.  He feels this is a serious movement aimed at the increasing wealth inequality in this country.  Although it is a somewhat leaderless movement it can't be considered to be a bunch of old meandering hippies.  It is a growing phenomenon.

My friend Rodger Beimer is a very observant guy.  Probably left over from his journalism days.  He said if people were to take a ride between Carlisle Avenue and Tramway on Central they would get a dose of reality on how sick our local economy is by counting the number of closed businesses.  I had done that drive the other day and noticed the forlorn look, but Rodger looked deeper and saw the real damage.  Still, we hear little from our Governor and Mayor on any sort of meaningful job programs.  We must bear some of the load since the republicans in Congress seem to equate putting people back to work with raising taxes and deficits.  They don't seem to understand what 'Priming the Pump"means.  I remember my wise old grandfather Delfin teaching me how to do that in Pena Blanca.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Washington Post took on the Corporate Mascots who are insisting that if we just loosen regulations they can create jobs.  The American Petroleum Institute, paid liars for the Oil boys, are stating if we loosen drilling regulations that they will create one million jobs.  Other claims from other industries tout the same kind of drivel.  Of course the main ones who seem to run with this stuff are republican presidential candidates.

Like many people I have been watching the Wall Street protests growing.  Timing is everything and lies like this from the corporate oil guys just feeds the growth of the protest.  Just like the Bank of America debit card fee announced at a time when their customers are having such a tough time.  The problem with the protests so far is that they don't seem to know what their goal is.  So far it is just rage.  It was a long time coming.

It is hard to beat corporate lies.  The organizations that pump this stuff out are very good at what they do.  Until there is some sort of coherent push back by a professional group then these lies will continue to erode common sense.  It will have to be a political push back more than anything.  We have to turn their claims around and  use them against them in innovative ways.  And it has to be lead by someone other than an environmentalist or progressive group.  It  has to be done by(shudder), a Karl Rove type.  I am not suggesting that lies be used against lies.  We just need to fight back against these lies in a more effective manner.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fat People

I had to marvel at the coverage of the Amanda Knox story coming out of Italy.  It seems Justice has been served with her release after evidence that was used against her was proven to be tainted and worthless.  The case involved murder and sex.

I have been wondering if she would be walking into freedom if she had been an obese black or brown woman.  Undoubtedly she was very attractive and the press loved showing her beauty.  I ask this question because of the grief Governor Christie is taking on his girth and whether it would hurt his running for president.  Of course it will hurt him because in this country if you are fat then you are damaged goods. I will always bet on the tall slender candidate to win. Everytime.

During my political career I was always being counseled to lose weight.  I have been over weight since I was a kid.  My identical twin brother Tom never was.  He ate, played, and pretty much led an identical life to me, but I was always fat and he wasn't.  Just dumb luck I guess.  But I am the healthiest person I know.  I have only spent one day in the hospital when I had my tonsils out in the third grade.  So, I figure I am pretty fortunate.

I remember right after I was elected Mayor in Albuquerque that one city councillor, Alan Armijo, walked  up to me and said, "Hello Chubby."  I tried to get along with him after that.  I really did.  (I defeated a shorter person than me.)

I leave today for Philadelphia for a meeting of the Wyss Foundation Board.  Then a quick trip up to New York to meet up with Bobbi and see my son and his family.  Our new grandchild is just days away from walking and we hope to be there when he takes his first step.

Monday, October 03, 2011


So, the last quarter of fund raising for federal candidates is behind us.  The media will be concentrating their coverage once again, not on issues or positions, but on how much the candidates raised for their campaigns.  Anymore, that seems to be what is important.  It also requires little work by reporters to regurgitate the reports.  I liken it to the contest every Monday in the media that tells us  how much money particular movies made.  At least the media provides movie reviews with paid critics.

When I started running for office back in 1981 the money machines had not  yet been tuned up.  A person of middle class means who did not want to sell his soul could still run a race and be elected because the special interests still had not gotten a death hold grip on politics through their bank vaults.  I won my first primary election for State Land Commissioner with a paltry sum of 60K in contributions.  The oil and gas industry favorite out spent me two to one but that wasn't enough in those days to swing the election.  Today the oil boys would go ten to one or more to defeat someone they haven't anointed.

I don't know if the public responds to the money contest, but I suspect they do.  After all, the one who gets the most money must be the winner in some peoples minds, don't you think?  It doesn't seem to matter where that money came from though.  That is one thing I have noticed in a political career.  If  you pointed out that some one's money was tainted no one would pay attention unless it involved a donor with some sex crime background.  I am being serious here.  I have seen it happen.

So prepare  yourselves for a few days of the Money Game.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Seven hundred camped out Wall Street protestors were arrested for exercising their rights of assembly yesterday.  They are upset with the greedy immoral financial criminals who almost melted down the world economy.  About five of them have been arrested.  150 hundred to one ratio at best.

I have been looking for the outrage to start manifesting itself.  Maybe it has begun.  Let's hope so.