Monday, September 30, 2013

A Break

I am off to some beautiful wine country near Paso Robles, California for a few days for a board meeting.  Time to taste the new releases while there and forget about the Tea Party.  Then it is a quick trip back for a meeting of the Wilderness Society Governing Council in Santa Fe.  No golf for a week or so, but some highly gratifying work!


The Governor and Mayor Berry are invisible right now, as is the legislature.  While the federal government prepares to shut down they seem to be hiding in a closet and afraid to say anything.  All of them should march on down to see Congressman Steve Pearce and give him a chewing out over his Tea Party appeasements in killing paychecks for thousands of federal workers in this state.  Those good paying federal jobs are the only thing keeping us afloat right now since neither the city or state, under poor leadership, are doing anything on the economic development front.

My lovely wife Bobbi left for her office at the Forest Service today where she has served as an engineer, environmental engineer and financial manager over the last 27 years.  Her agency will work for at least four more days on carry over funds from prior years.  Then she will get some time off if the  radical GOP doesn't admit there is nothing wrong with people having health insurance.  This whole episode will surely go down as one of the most senseless and stupid things to happen in our country's history.

On the bright side, things can only get better.  Right?


Friday, September 27, 2013


The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce shows it's lack of vision in supporting development and testing of weapons over the generation and transfer of renewable energy.  It wants White Sands Missile Range to keep on trucking with their defense industry partners.  They are the Neanderthals who are trying to kill the long planned Sun Zia transmission line across the northern extension area of the range.  That area has people living in it.   This extension area is rarely used.  And these weapons that are being tested?  Who will they be used against to get the production line and profits fired up for the one per centers?

The Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board is substituting political science for earth science in saying the drought is not reason enough to curtail grazing on lands turning to desert.  The cry baby ranchers who are objecting to removing their cattle from ravaged lands are part of the right wing effort to blame government for everything and the Journal bought in.  As a matter of fact the Forest Service has real scientists working for it and they feel the resources will be ruined for decades if action isn't taken.  And the ranchers and Journal seem upset that the lease fees for this publicly owned land will stay in effect.  Those fees have not been raised in decades as a way for subsidizing and providing welfare to public land ranchers. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

NSA Wired

Last year I lost about 30 pounds on weight watchers.  I gained back about seven after my knee replacement surgery.  I am trying to lose that plus another 15.  My wife Bobbi recently got one of these gadgets that my daughter refers to as a 'body bug'.  You wear it on your arm and it measures how many calories, steps, exercise and hours of good sleep you get.  It also ties in with your smart phone and you enter the amount of food you ingest  and it lets you know if you are losing weight everyday.  She is losing weight.  So, I bought one in my latest battle with fat.  This is a 50 year war and I aim to win it.  I wonder if the NSA is tracking my food through my cell phone?  If they are I hope they send some encouragement to me.  That feed back is important you know.  I mean it would be one positive thing for all the taxes we send them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Senator Ted Cruz still reminds me of Senator Joe McCarthy from the 50's.  I think Cruz is capable of harming a lot of people and he needs to be watched carefully.  I have no doubt he will end up a joke in our history, as did "Tail Gunner" Joe, but lets make it that way ASAP.

The Journal's stories on the economic development plans of the Mayoral candidates in Albuquerque this morning kind of shows how bereft they all are when it comes to economic development.  The have all fallen back on the same old stuff, which is okay, but there is no breakout vision being shown by any of them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I remember when I was Mayor and all of the political districts nationwide were being reapportioned in 2001.  I was trying to make sure that there was no gerrymandering of city council districts and vetoed several proposals sent to me by the city council.  It was all insider stuff of council members trying to rig districts either for democrats or republicans, but mostly for themselves.

After my second veto the Albuquerque Journal, through its great editorial cartoonist John Trevor as I recall, opined that this was all very boring and who cared!  (Trevor has since turned sharply to the right wing.)

Anyway, it might be boring stuff but right now the gerrymandering of the republican party and tea party have set up a situation in which our congress wants to destroy our democratic institutions.  They want to shut down government, suppress voters, starve children, and make sure that poor people have no access to health care.  All because the news media sees reapportionment as boring?  Or are they in on it because their corporate American owners have ordered the lack of reporting on reapportionment processes?

Right now we are stuck until the next go-round for reapportionment in about 8 years.  They only thing to do is go into the tea party districts and raise hell with the voters and let them know they are ignoring their own interests.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day After

I did not watch the Mayoral debate on Sunday evening.  I didn't even realize there was one scheduled.  We were at a dinner party and the subject never came up.  The debate really didn't change anything in what is going to be a walk over for Mayor Berry.

It shouldn't be a walkover though.  This morning's front page story on the state of Albuquerque's economy and job situation should be a wake up call for everyone, but the public is so apathetic that they cant see new leadership is needed on the state and local political scene.  The reason why this apathy is so rampant is easy for me to see.  It comes about from the power of American corporate money's interference in our democracy.  These one per centers just dump money into tricky media and effectively convince the voter that unions and minimum wage hikes are the root of all of our problems.  Even to the point of taking away food stamps from the many children who live below the poverty level.

Frankly, I often think of the great scenes in the Frankenstein movies when the villagers with pitchforks and torches go after the folks in the castle on the hill.  Would that it could happen on Wall Street and the nation's corporate HQs.

Finally, this is a good read.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Storm Over ABQ

We had a great ringside seat to the terrific storm that rolled up from the south this evening.
This was taken from our friend's house in the very northwest part of Rio Rancho.

Who's Who

Just as the Albuquerque Journal endorses Isaac Benton, democrat, for the City Council seat in the North Valley we now find out that his opponent Roxanna Meyers is more liberal than he is.  According to her.  We got our hands on a mailer that was obviously intended to hit young voters in which she criticizes Benton for not attending the Los Ranchos Gay Pride Parade, nor the Gay Pride festival and Expo New Mexico, nor did he attend the annual JCC awards Dinner in which a gay activist was honored.  She goes on to tout her efforts as councillor to get the APD to hire more gay officers and to have the Convention and Visitors Bureau market that city as Gay friendly.

She has a good in with the Pope these days.

And there was another funny thing in this race today.  Jerry Ginsburg, a democrat supporter, and a guy who is spending $40,000 on Meyer's behalf, sent out a missive on our neighborhood list serve saying he has found a pit bull near his home.  Some people would describe him as a pit bull for his unflinching support of Meyers.

Friday, September 20, 2013


I like this new Pope.  Even though I am a non believer and fallen catholic I know that the church of my upbringing still has influence and gravity.  That is why this refreshing man may be the answer to bringing his flock into a modern day society where science, social changes, and modernism can be accepted.  It is really a move to practice inclusion and understanding.  Now, the extreme catholic groups must pay attention and get on the bandwagon.  There is no stopping it.

I am looking forward to hearing some statements from the Santa Fe Archdiocese.  So far as I can tell they haven't said much now that their anti gay and anti contraception stands have been minimized by an 'infallible' Pope.  I visited their website.  Nothing there about this truly momentous statement by Francis.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Retirements and Government Services

The ABQ Journal had an interesting story on the number of public service employees retiring in the state.  Most of it is probably due to an aging workforce and fatigue caused by the anti government rantings of the Republican Party.  It is hard for anyone to put up with that kind of constant degradation.

I think the bigger story here might be one of who replaces many of these experienced workers.  They actually do serve important functions no matter what the Tea Party radicals say.  They are engineers, health specialists, public safety officers, environmental protection specialists and all the way down to the guys who patch our highways and clean up litter.  They all require experience and dedication.  Are some employees in government slackers?  Sure, just like anywhere else.  But mostly they are good people watching out for you in a thousand ways to make your life more manageable.

So as the likes of Congressman Steve Pearce, Mayor Berry, and Governor Martinez and their Tea Party friends continue to assail public service, what will young talented people think about entering government service?  The corporate handlers of the right wing have already turned Union members into demons with their constant use of dollars to defame the hard won rights of workers.  Will they be as successful in keeping much needed new talent out of the government workforces?  Let's hope not.  Because if they do you will suffer for it greatly.

And a word of advice for public employee organizations.  You better start fighting back or the Koch brothers and their ilk will privatize your jobs and pay minimum wages.

I salute those government career workers who show up every day to provide the services that make our lives safe and productive.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


As usual we were gabbing a lot on the golf course yesterday.  The subject of dangerous countries came up with the consensus the you wouldn't want to visit Iraq or Afghanistan right now.  They are very violent after America intervened and invaded those countries.  One our our golf partners got around to saying he always laughed when some one would question his trips to Mexico during the winter.  They would say, "That country is too dangerous!"  My friend merely retorted that the only danger in Mexico would be an involvement in drugs.  Those cartels shoot each other up constantly, but those who are not involved in drugs are probably safer than we are in America.  I agree with  him.

The city council race in Albuquerque's North Valley is very interesting to say the least.  While talking with friends at the Rio Grande Flying Star this morning I would not be able to pick a winner in the race between Isaac Benton and Roxanne Meyers.  I am vacillating again on who I should vote for after someone delayed a city council  hearing on the controversial roundabout at Rio Grande and Candelaria.  That looks to me like Councillor Benton didn't want to take heat over a vote in the council before election day.  This is why I have problems with his behavior.  It is a lot like Mayor Berry's delay, at great expense, to have a vote on the blatantly unconstitutional ballot proposition to ban abortions.  If the Mayor and Council had any courage they would have not let this go to a ballot because it will just be ruled invalid.

I am going to go early vote this week.  Then I will make up my mind.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Exceptional Again

Putin was wrong.  We are an exceptional nation.  Right up there with Iraq and Syria.  We regularly endure the slaughter of innocents by crazed gunmen with assault rifles in the workplace or schools.  I wonder what the rest of the world thinks about us.  While Iraq and Syria's slaughter continues with hardly any options to end it, we certainly could cut down on our killing of innocents by just banning assault rifles.

Sometimes I wonder if the NRA headquarters in Washington, DC has any security plan in place to keep gun packing crazy people out of their building.  Would it be possible for some nutcase with a gun show up to their board meeting some day, or do they have extra special security provided for them that most other people can't afford?  Some journalists should go check out their security plans.  It would make a good story.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Where is the Legislature?

I spend a good amount of my time moaning about the lack of leadership in the Governor's Office and Mayor's Office in Albuquerque.  Susannah Martinez and Richard Berry are hiding in their gilded cocoons while on board a non rocking boat.  Don't make anyone mad and they will vote for you seems to be the mantra there.  They are doing a good job of it.  And nothing is happening.

But, where is the legislature?  Where are the democrats and some moderate republicans that could take matters into their own hands and create an economic development program and public works program that will employ some folks and replace much needed infrastructure?  Surely, out of 112 legislators there could be a leader that emerges to stoke the fires of compromise and progress.  Right?

But I can not remember any such great leader emerging from that legislative morass in Santa Fe in the last twenty years.  Don't get me wrong, there are good people serving there.  But where are the breakout leaders that can actually lead this state forward?  Are there any?  I am beginning to think there are not.  The only leadership that is exhibited is the kind that preserves the status quo.  That involves lobbyists buying lunches at the ever increasing number of interim committee meeting days. What a shame!

While it is always fund to poke the Gov and Mayor, maybe we should save some regular criticism for the lawmakers.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rio Grande

The Rio Grande near our house looks like a river today.  But really, it is not much higher than we get during the spring thaw.  There is a huge amount of sediment in the water along with debris, so you know some of those arroyos are pumping a lot of junk into it.  It is nice to see it running like this.  Tomorrow the sandbars will reappear.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Talk about rainy days.  INTEL is laying off 400 employees from their Albuquerque plant.  The meltdown of the state's economy continues under Governor Susannah Martinez.  Even after she gave tax breaks to large profitable corporations the economy under her watch is falling apart.  Those tax breaks only helped folks like INTEL.  Not the struggling business who aren't making enough money to be taxed.

When will the public wake up to the Governor being nothing more than a right wing mascot for the likes of the Koch brothers.  Much like the Albuquerque Journal who couldn't bring it self to say these people are being fired, but rather 'redeployed.'

I have lived here my whole life and can not remember more ineffectual political leaders as we currently have.  Wake up New Mexico!


I have to laugh at the outrage so many people have as Russia's leaders warn the U.S. that we are not exceptional.  Last night watching the news of the stuffed shirts complaining about Putin's comments was almost to much to take, especially after the next story that aired.  It is about how many American school systems have had late openings due to lack of funding.  Thousands of teachers have been fired, hundreds of schools have been closed, music-art-sports and other creative programs have been shuttered.  Even school nurses have been done away with.  Meanwhile we still spend more on weapons for the military and defense programs than the next dozen or so nations on the globe put together.

And we are exceptional?

My fellow blogger Joe Monahan had an exceptional piece today outlining the labyrinth of cash being passed back and forth on behalf of the Governor's dumping of New Mexico Behavorial Healthcare providers in favor of Arizona providers.  Money is also being used to find and register voters who are opposed to the nation's new health insurance law.  All of this is being done by friends of her rightwing political hack, Jay McClesky.

Exceptional is not a word I would use on the Mayor's plan to urbanize the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.  His lack of an environmental study on this ill advised project is reason enough to slow this down.  We are one of the few cities in the nation to allow a wild river to exist through the middle of it.  It is unique.  Hopefully, this whole effort will be cognizant of that.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


An old friend and co worker of mine bought lunch for me yesterday and we lamented the state of politics in New Mexico right now.  That is pretty much normal for the two of us when we get together. And normal for me all the time.

The main course, other than a Ruben sandwich, is that the less a politician does these days the more likely he is to get good ratings from the public and it's smaller subset of voters.  Governor Susannah and Mayor Berry are prime examples of this.  They have no programs, economic development initiatives that have created jobs, and no great vision that they want to see come true in their terms.  They just want to keep the folks happy by avoiding hard work and controversy.   That way no one gets angry with them.  And New Mexico will suffer for it as the region surpasses us in providing good jobs and a growing middle class.

This morning at coffee with another friend we were trying to figure out why the editor of the Albuquerque Journal would put out favorability polls on the APS Superintendent and the UNM President.  Who would even know their names?  And so any data you look at will be mostly people who will say, "Who are these guys?"   Here is an idea for the Journal that would take some real integrity.  Show  us a poll of what the public thinks of your newspaper.  Give us a lot of demographics along with that.  We are after all....your customers!  We would like to know if everyone thinks you are  a rag or a piece of silk!  It would be much more meaningful than a favorability poll on people who are unknown.  Of course, so few people are reading newspapers these days that this might be equally inconclusive.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Kudos to UNM President Bob Frank and his 'Innovate Albuquerque Plan.'  He has shown a real understanding of  urban issues by wanting to put a major development downtown.  It is something I tried to get done when I was Mayor, but the then Board of Regents were so influenced by sprawl developers that they wouldn't even consider putting student housing down there.  Bob Frank is doing more to get UNM involved in the rest of the community than any other President I have seen.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that APD has as high a rating from the public as they do.  That is because most folks see them as protectors and helpers.  Mostly they are, but those bad eggs on the force cause an awful lot of people to be unsure of them.

I don't think things would move these numbers very much no matter what happened.  The fact that so many republicans will  blindly support a police force is not something that can be changed.  I guess they are all afraid of the rest of us and see the cops as their  private security apparatus.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Corporate Media

Why does the national media,  both print and broadcast, run national stories about what the new models of iPhones are?  Is this news more important than about a million other things they could be covering that might really make a difference in someones life?

The latests trend in TV commercials are people who walk by other people and stare at them.  Just watch and see.  It is as bad as all the football commercials during the games that have country western music playing along side pictures of dirty pick up trucks.  Or those the lame beer commercials that show all American males as clueless junk food eating imbeciles.  And the Viagra type commercials that show happily married middle aged couples with that awful music playing making goo goo eyes at each other before heading off the the bedroom.   How many times can we stand to watch these?  We pretty much use the DVR now and skip through them.

We had a great couple of days in Pendairies, NM playing golf.  We finished our last game around noon this morning and drove back 150 miles to Albuquerque in a good rain.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Lowest Ever

Pete Dinelli continues to hover around 20% in his race to take the Mayor's office from Richard Berry.  That 20% number will also likely be the turnout of voters in this election.  If it even reaches that figure, it will be the lowest number ever in a Mayor's race.  One reason of course is the probable collusion of the Berry campaign staff with the City Clerk to keep that anti abortion issue off the ballot.   That suppresses the vote two ways.  One in helping Berry by not having a lot more prochoice folks going to the polls, and two by assuring confusion in the vote on this blatantly unconstitutional measure forced to a vote by fundamentalist religious operatives.  All of this has hurt Dinelli and made his quest much more difficult.

I am off for a couple of days to play golf in Pendaries, NM before the leaves fall.  

Old Friends

Before we could go to Saint Pius X high school we had to pass through various catholic schools around Albuquerque.  During our fifty year reunion we gathered some of the kids that went to Our Lady of Fatima Heights Catholic School.  We are all around 68 years old and look sort of okay.

We held a nice dinner at Casa Rodena Winery in the north valley on Saturday night.  There weren't enough wine glasses at the Winery.  Seriously!  But it was a beautiful evening.

Mostly, it was a really relaxing and comfortable weekend seeing long lost friends.  We rang the school bell for each of our departed classmates.  Twelve in all.  It was really easy to recall why you liked all those who attended,  and promises have been made to stay in touch.  Some golf games have already been arranged! 

Friday, September 06, 2013


Tonight starts our weekend of activities for our 50th St. Pius X high school reunion.  We  had 112 in our senior class and 56 will attend the weekend activities.  It should be a lot of fun.

My twin brother Tom and I were the smallest guys in the class  and often put up with having to stand in the front of every famous procession for the mother church.  What a pain! (Today is our 68th birthday.  He is two minutes older than me.)

We generally had a very good experience in high school.  With a class that small you got to know everyone and made life long friends.  We have had a few classmates pass away, but most of us are still doing great.

We were talking over coffee this morning wondering about a few of us who just seemingly disappeared from the face of the Earth.  You can't help but be curious about what happened to them.  I hope they are okay.

We also agreed that we enjoyed high school for the most part and that St. Pius, as we viewed it at that time, was a good place.  Looking back of course you can recognize all the problems at the school.  Many of our teachers weren't that great.  But some of them were gems.  The religious dogma has been pretty much washed off almost all of us, but the good parts remain with many of us in the form of trying to be decent by practicing the Seven Acts of Mercy and being generous when possible.  Those Seven Acts of Mercy can be seen here.

Thursday, September 05, 2013


Last night driving on I-40 westbound from Carlisle to Rio Grande Blvd. I counted 61 inoperable street lights along the freeway.  A real safety concern once again.  61 one lights out in less than a four mile stretch.  PNM and the City and or State of NM is asking for a law suit because of these unmaintained street lights.  And the tax payer may end up paying.

Off to early golf at Paako Ridge in the east mountains. We will be pretty busy this week at my 50th High School reunion activities get underway.  Former class of 63 St. Pius X High School Seniors are starting to gather and some of us will play golf 5 times in 7 days......Most of us are still alive.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Here we go again. As Mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli tries to keep Mayor Berry from reaching the 50% mark so there can be a run-off election, The Albuquerque Journal throws another gem into the Mayor's campaign.  That would be a front page photo of the Mayor and the country's Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz schmoozing around at Sandia National Labs.  Congress Ben Ray Lujan was there too.  But this photo did so many things in so many ways for the Mayor.  He is shown at Albuquerque's premier employer, funded by federal tax dollars by the way.  He is rubbing shoulders with national leaders at one of America's best research facilities.  He looks non partisan hanging with Lujan from the north.

Meanwhile, on the business page is a story that Albuquerque has essentially the worst home sales value in the top metro markets in the USA.  But nary a quote from the Mayor.  Pete Dinelli must want to blow himself up!

On another matter I was happy to see Senator Tom Udall take one of his rare public stands.  Usually, he will say he is watching an issue carefully and researching it.  So then he doesn't have to take a position and possibly scare off voters who might not agree with him.  But this time he said what is on just about everyone's mind.  Why are we going to attack Syria?  He says the goals are vague.  I couldn't agree with him more.  Sometimes I think this whole thing is being done so some cruise missile manufacturer can open up production lines.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

PNM Dangerous

Is PNM is daily endangering the public because of their lack of responsibility in keeping the street lights maintained?  The number of inoperable lights along I-40 west of the BIG I is a public safety hazard.  These lights have been out for months.  PNM bills the  approrpriate government entitites every month for the maintenance and power to keep these lights on, and they are failing to do so.  Will the city and state start auditing their performance?

Back when I was Mayor of the city I kept a log in my Mayor-mobile of every inoperable street or freeway light that I saw as I traveled to an fro in the evenings.  I would call PNM to get them fixed and they got right on the problem.  Now that PNM has become a typical bottom line corporate operation, one can only wonder if they even care about their abysmal record on this important public safety issue.  The media should get on them and stay on them.  And so should the city councillors.  They could get a volunteer from every neighborhood association to survey their areas every couple of weeks and send in an inventory of non functioning lights.  Of course one can only wonder if PNM has a quality control system for these lights.   After all, PNM is charging us for these lights and they should be working.

Monday, September 02, 2013


Sustainability must be a concept that natural resource extractors hate to deal with.  So they  use it for their own purposes.  There is an interesting story in the Journal this morning about how the communities of Clovis and Portales in Eastern New Mexico will have the government build them a half billion dollar pipeline to bring water down from Ute Lake to help sustain them.  These farming communities(who generally hate the government but love subsidies) have finally had to start dealing with the unsustainable pumping of the Ogallala aquifer for their agricultural economy.  That water will be gone in less than a life time.  Reality bites.

In another story the oil and gas boys cheering section in New Mexico says their pumping of oil and gas is sustainable because of new finds and techniques for extracting the fossil fuels.  They should define what they mean by sustainable.  Does it mean pumping until the planet is uninhabitable?  Or does it mean until they run out of dirty fuel?  Or hopefully, does it mean that in the future there just wont be a need for it because solar and other alternatives replace it to a large extent?

And then the Journal once again lets that oil and gas mascot Marita Noon say the oil and gas industry has really never been subsidized.  Why does the Journal let that lunatic on to their editorial pages?  It just make them look like they live in a fantasy land.

I have to say that over the last few weeks the Journal has been doing some good work.  The story yesterday about Harding County's depopulation and the ensuing excitement about an all night gas pump being available was really great work.  And so was the story on the water situation in Clovis and Portales today.  I am really enjoying their use of photo graphs again. 

Sunday, September 01, 2013


Our Indian Corn did great this year.  One of the stalks reached almost 14 feet and produced this tapestry of colors.  Nature's bounty can also be beautiful.