Thursday, July 31, 2014

Green Shame

I have harped for years about mainstream and regional environmental groups being un-diversified in their staffing and Board makeups.  They are for the most part, lily white.  I have personally recruited many Hispanics to work for and serve on such boards.  They have been great workers and policy makers.  But, it is a drop in the bucket and most organizations just don't seem to give a damn.  Now  there is an official study about how bad it really is in the otherwise altruistic green groups.  A new study out of the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment has uncovered the scandal both in NGOs and the governments environmental agencies.  This is a startling report that all green organizations must pay attention to.  And soon.

From a political standpoint it makes no sense to not change and diversify.  If it doesn't happen then the race to salvage our environment can not be won because there will be too few activists representing all segments of our populations.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


The Mayor Berry administration, undoubtedly under instructions from the Governor and her minions, has moved the goal for signature petition requirements that would lessen penalties for marijuana possession.  They increased the number required that will make it harder to get the question on the ballot.  They know that young people will come out to vote on this issue, and that those young people in Albuquerque could make a big difference in the upcoming election for Governor.  This is one of the most underhanded things I have seen Berry and his crew pull off.  It is voter suppression.

It was nice to see Senator Martin Heinrich stick his head out and take on the failed policies of Governor Susana Martinez.  He is not afraid to state the obvious, in that Martinez is a do nothing pol. Meanwhile, Senator Tom Udall is in his bunker worrying only about reelection.  This is his style and one wishes he would be a little more aggressive on the faltering standing of the Land of Enchantment.  He can do good work, especially his efforts are reforming and improving the Senate and wanting corporate money out of politics.  But he needs to get down and dirty in his own state because things are not well here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dog Days

Are these the dog days of summer?  Everyone just hanging around in lethargy?  No energy in the heat?  It kind of appears that way to me, at least in the realm of political happenings.  New Mexico is in a tail spin economically and all the Governor can do is go back to her hatred of drivers licenses for immigrants.  Think about that.  That is the only arrow she seems to have in her quiver?

And now she can't even admit that her prior dislike of the film industry in New Mexico was wrong.  Economic studies have proven it and even the Albuquerque Journal has admitted they were wrong in the opposition to the efforts of Governor Bill Richardson's vision in pursuing this industry for our state.  And of course in its editorial yesterday the Journal never actually mentioned his name.  Astonishing!

But, a laurel to the Journal news room for a good article Sunday on property taxes in the Albuquerque area.  City, County and other governmental agencies are absolutely shoving most people into an abyss with their annual 3% hike in values for property.  I looked at my records yesterday and they have done it to me for ten years.  It just has to stop.  The legislature needs to cap the increases at 2%, like they did on Public employees cost of living increases on retirement payments.

Now, if the Journal would really sink its teeth into the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District's pillaging of urban areas of tax money to subsidize its farmers, it would be a great service.  There is a real story here that must be done.  If people who live in the district really knew how they are being had, they would demand reform.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dead Last

Is Governor Susana Martinez's abysmal performance catching  up to her?  I think it might be.  This morning, buried in the Albuquerque Journal, was a story quoting Forbes magazine saying that Albuquerque was dead last out of 200 surveyed cities for job growth.  Dead last!  Combine that with police shootings, bludgeoning deaths of homeless men,  and the growing aura of non accomplishment  in leadership and you have an impending disaster for Martinez and Mayor Berry.

Of course the first beneficiary of that is democratic candidate Gary King who is shown in a dead heat on the republican leaning Rasmussen poll against Martinez.  43 to 43 percent.  It is at first blush unbelievable, but after a little meditation, one could see it might actually be true.

I noticed a blitz by Martinez on TV in the last few days as some sort of panic attack on the part of her campaign.  Did they have some internal polling done which showed a slippage?  I am thinking that is exactly what happened.  And so, what we need to see now is some animation in the King campaign  that will convince people that his layed back approach to governing is less damaging that the current Governor's helplessness on economic issues.  It is  time for Gary to come alive.  And quickly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Raining

Time to open the rainy day flood gates of the New Mexico State Permanent Fund to get the schools in order.  By that I mean guaranteeing that every child in the third grade is reading at third grade level.  A little money aimed at that one specific will do wonders for the Land of Enchantment.  That will lead to fewer drop outs and the horrible consequences of that entry into poverty and crime.  As we have seen here in Albuquerque this week when a bunch of drop out losers slaughtered two defenseless homeless men to get their kicks!

The conservative legislators from the oil patch won't like that Permanent fund raid one bit.  Most of that money came from oil and gas royalties paid to the state for its resources.  The fossil fuel boys like to let everyone know it is really a tax.  But it isn't.  And they don't want to see that Permanent Fund depleted more that usual because they think they will see royalty rates go up.  And they haven't gone up since I raised them back in the 80's when I served as Land Commissioner.

So I am suggesting that any new leases sold up the ante on royalty rates.  That will help continue to fund some growth in the permanent fund while at the same time getting our educational system in order.  And the Teachers Unions better damn well get on board too.

And as for our Governor, your time is running out on showing anyone that you really have any leadership abilities.  It is probably too late anyway but the people just don't see your failures.  History certainly will.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Steve Pearce is the Hypocrite of the Year

Congressman Steve Pearce of the oil patch may be the biggest hypocrite I have ever known.  He has been constantly whining that the federal government is always organizing land grabs that hurt his constituents, the oil and gas boys.  Yes,  we have been lucky in New Mexico to get to great new National Monuments designated by President Obama.  This was done after years of public meetings and congressional hearings and input from every interested party.  Yet, Pearce still insists it is a land grab.

Now, Pearce who is chagrined because a renewable energy power line will be built on the northern edge of the White Sands Missile Range, has secretly put an amendment on a bill that would give the defense department control over 300,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management Land.  No public hearings, no input from interested parties, no notification of anyone including hard scrabble ranchers in the area who are feeling blindsided by a guy who usually will support them and their subsidies on public lands.

This all makes Pearce look pathetic and the Defense Department look scurrilous.  Maybe this giant blunder will give some added wind to the sails of his opponent in November.  Send Rocky Lara a check even if she isn't in your district.  Pearce needs to be shown the door.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Ugly Governor

There was a great book and movie back in the 60's called "The Ugly American".  It was really about the overall arrogance and ignorance of the American average citizen and their government employees.  It was about uninformed policy in government that was designed to keep the public uninterested while making profits for the few and enemies of all foreign nations.  It is as true today as ever in our own state government, especially when it comes to ignorance.

We  New Mexicans now have a truly ignorant Governor in the person of Susana Martinez.  Have you ever wondered why she never appears in a wide ranging news conference?  It is because she would not be able to answer policy questions in any rational way.  If  you have ever spoken with anyone who has had the opportunity to visit with her on issues that she should be knowledgeable in, then you know that her lack of depth really shines through.  She has her shadow neocons to divert any criticisms of her by attacking those who differ with her.

I spoke recently with some folks who were asked to meet with the governor on the spur of the moment.  She then proceeded to embarrass her self with her total lack of what laws and policies were on the subject she was ranting on.  The participants said it was truly remarkable.

She is aided and abetted in this by our sorry state of affairs in journalism in New Mexico.  How is it that the broadcasters and print folks haven't cornered her in a free wheeling sit down session in over four years?  How can that be?  Are they required to give a list of questions first?  And then not deviate from it?

I am betting that is exactly the ground rules for anyone interviewing Martinez who is obviously in way over her head even after four years of experience.  She is very vulnerable here and Gary King needs to hit this issue hard.  He must corner her at every turn to force her ignorance into the open.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dagger to the Heart

The Bernalillo County Commission is attempting to put a dagger in the heart of downtown Albuquerque.  They want to move county offices out of the historic core of the city, and that would fly in the face of modern urban planning.

Due to eight years of Mayor Marty Chavez not caring about the area after its renaissance began, and then following up with the incompetence of the Berry administration, the efforts of the city to have a heartbeat are dwindling.

Surely, there is a viable alternative in keeping county employees downtown and there  has to be a bright Commissioner that can find it.  Right?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Top Story

When the media has two top stories running at once you can see how broadcast journalism is really a mile wide and an inch deep.  When an Israeli invasion of Gaza takes second fiddle to some lunatics blowing an airliner out of the air, then you know you are not getting the full story on either one of them.  Not really.  They are doing their best probably on slashed budgets that make the Rupert Murdochs and Comcasts of the world richer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Young Scapegoats

Stop and think about the new distractions the right wing has imbedded in the ignorant Tea Party type masses.  In order to take folks minds off the atrocious division of wealth and income in this country, they have now targeted children immigrants as the cause of all problems.  Children!  This country is truly in trouble when you see this hatred against the defenseless.  

Please read a thoughtful piece on this division of wealth in the Albuquerque Journal today.  


I happened to catch an old movie last night called "Munich".  It is about the slaughter of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and the ensuing revenge killings by Israeli operatives.  The assassins soon begin to doubt the outcomes of their actions because the people they kill are replaced by even worse terrorists.  And we look today at what is going on in the middle east and see that things haven't changed a bit.  On both sides.  Once again, it is not a crisis but a culture of killing each others children.  They are all nuts.

Governor Toney Anaya of New Mexico has pled no contest to security fraud.  The once hard fighter against corruption got caught up in not disclosing the fact that the company that  he served has CEO was really being run by convicted felons on the board.  This is pretty surprising to me in that I thought he was above all that.

The comments on my post on the Archbishop retiring are interesting.  Many commenters think I hate the Catholic Church.  I do not.  I just hate the hierarchal corruption and behavior I see in the church, and most other churches.  My being an Atheist really has nothing to do with it.  I have many friends who have strong religious beliefs who don't much like that corruption either.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Short Timer

My old friend Dick Knipfing is hanging up his microphone and stowing his makeup  at Channel 13.  After 51 years of broadcast journalism he is retiring.  I don't think I have personally ever known someone who has stayed in one profession for such a long time.  And it is a profession that has changed dramatically from days of real solid journalism to lost dog and sex stories interspersed with occasional good work that makes a difference.

I first met Dick while serving in the New Mexico Air National Guard.  I was a freshly trained photographer/cinematographer from tech school at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.  He was also a member of the unit and I knew him to be a reporter.  I had always wanted to work at a TV station at some point.  But I was a business major and was working as a trust auditor at the old First National Bank in Albuquerque while attending UNM.

True story.  One day I went down to the personnel department at the bank to make an inquiry.  While I was there a phone call came in to the receptionist and she said the call was for me.  I got on the phone and it was Dick Knipfing saying they needed a photographer at Channel 7, and would I be interested.  I said I would and that I could start immediately.  I hung up the phone and resigned on the spot to go start my new job.  It lead to a great career in journalism and politics before it was all over.

The photo above is from Channel 7's 1972 Primary election night coverage.  (Think George McGovern)  I had moved on to reporting and on air work from shooting film.  I have to say my time in TV News was amongst the best times in my life.  Sitting around the newsroom, smoking, wisecracking, and marveling at the stuff that came across our desks.

I have Dick Knipfing to thank for that.  I wish him well in a new stress free lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Retirement Comes for the Archbishop

Bernalillo County taxpayers will take a hit in the pocketbook now that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has plunked down a half million dollars or more for the retirement home for the retiring Archbishop Sheehan. That property has been taken off the tax rolls and Sheehan gets a free home for life.  Taxpayers will take up the slack.

Don't forget that the Catholic Church moved all of its properties into trusts that could not be taken as compensation for victims of pedophile priests.  Also, one can only wonder what that half million dollars could have been used for in the way of helping poor people.

Maybe we can get a new Archbishop that will emulate the new Pope.  Let us hope so.  

Monday, July 14, 2014


The case of Governor Martinez's Game Commissioner Scott Bidegain who profited from having a cougar cornered by dogs in a cave and then allowed an illegal killing of the animal for profit shows just how these right wingers work.  He says it was just a "little biddy misdemeanor" and so what.  He has hired high priced lawyers and figures that he will get off with no trial.  And he was appointed by Martinez to uphold game and fish laws and regulations.

He must believe he is above the law and he is letting everyone know he has the money and privilege to prove it.  He is the new poster boy for the dark side.

Centennial Valley Saved

We  have worked with ranchers and locals, the Nature Conservancy and the Fish and Wildlife Service for the last eight years to save the great Montana Centennial Valley in a natural condition. It has all happened thanks to the leadership of the Wyss Foundation.  It  is a great achievement and is a gift for future generations.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

APD From Afar

We are visiting friends in Montana and we were looking at some New Mexico websites together and found out that APD is buying 350 new assault rifles.  Our friends who follow things closely in ABQ said they thought this was a flip off to the citizens from the old time culture at APD.  Essentially, they are saying nothing has changed here and there is nothing you can do about it. They may be right, or it just might be one more indication of the sheer incompetence of the leadership of APD.  Given everything that is going on, was now a good time to be buying these military weapons?  Are they listening at all to their new PR person?  Or was Janet Blair blindsided by this as well?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


The U.S. Marshal's are starting to shoot people too.  Time for the DOJ to check that out.  At least when APD shoots someone, we learn a little bit about it.  The Marshals throw down a non transparent curtain for a long period.  It would be nice to learn why this cluster of shootings have occurred recently.  Have training and recruitment practices deteriorated at  their academy?  Wasn't the current police chief at APD once the head Marshal?  Yep, thats right!  That is just informational and doesn't really mean anything.  Except maybe he should take up a new profession because the one he has chosen isn't working out well for him.

On the Road Again

I am off to a week of meetings and sightseeing in Montana.  Looks to be pretty warm there!  Will go up to Glacier National Park to see if there might be some vestige of a Glacier.  I will send a photo if I see one.

Monday, July 07, 2014


It is hilarious actually, the ABQ Journal editorial giving hell to President Obama for 'harping' on the plight of the poor, and then they do a sensitive front page Sunday piece on the plight of the homeless in Albuquerque.  If that doesn't show some schizophrenia in the leadership of that newspaper, then nothing does.  Well, actually it just shows their extreme prejudicial partisanship.  How can they build any trust at all?

Senator Tom Udall's opponent is insisting that he return $46,000 in donations from labor unions.  Udall should agree if Alan Weh will donate to charity all of his company's war profits from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts that Weh so eagerly supported.  Don't hold your breath.

I am reading the book "Blood and Thunder" on Kit Carson and western 'manifest destiny'.  I am more convinced than ever that the Taos City Council must reverse their decision on renaming Kit Carson Park.  Do your selves a favor and pick up this book.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

A Mental Exercise

We all sat around after our walk this morning trying to figure out what the guys on the U.S. Supreme Court could do to men in a manner as they have done to women in the Hobby Lobby case.  We could not really come up with anything where they might deny insurance coverage in relations to men's reproductive functions.  Nothing quite fit.  Not one thing.  If anyone thinks one up please comment.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Kent Walz....Journal Editor

A reader can only take so much.  Here is what the editor of the Albuquerque Journal had to say on the  opinion page today.   In reference to Guatemalans rushing the US Border he said,

"They, apparently, aren’t persuaded by continual harping by President Obama and his followers about all the things wrong with our nation, including income inequality and the plight of the poor and of minorities."

Gee, what is it about Obama that the owners and editor of the Journal hate so much?  Hmmm, I just can't figure it out.  I mean the economy is going full steam ahead.  More people than ever have health insurance.  We are starting to make a little progress on climate change and renewable energy.  Gee, what is it that they don't like?  I just can't fathom it.   Is there something I am missing?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Liquor Licenses

The demise of the Art Bar downtown is sad.  They violated liquor laws via the use of the club license.  It is sad to see the place go and it once again speaks volumes for another round of liquor license reform.

Get in your wayback machine and travel to the Liquor License reform of 1981.  I was then state liquor director under Governor Bruce King.  If you wanted a $50 state license you would have to pay up to $700,000 to some one who already had one to get it.  King appointed me to that job after his Organized Crime Commission said there was real danger in the system from criminals controlling the licenses.  The department itself was corrupt and inept.  We stirred the pot and started taking legal actions against the folks who were 'brown bagging' in restaurants in order to have a glass of wine with their dinner.  It brought the whole charade of a corrupt system into view after a few citizens and cafe owners were cited for breaking the law.

After a three year battle a reform was passed doing away with private ownership and trade in licenses after a ten year period.  Also a Beer and Wine license was created which has been a great success.  Ten years later Bruce King was again Governor and he signed a bill giving back private license status to the system.  It was the only really unethical thing I ever saw him do.

Now, the system has rapidly inflating license costs again and one example of how it hurts our economy is the Art Bar demise.  Some brave legislator needs to take on the liquor lobby once again, like Senator Les Houston did back in 1981.  

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

American Dystopia

I think I read every book Isaac Asimov ever wrote.  More than just about any author he taught me to think.  Probably I learned later than I should have, as I have always been a late starter.  (But an early adopter!)

This article is a must read for everyone concerned with our dumbing down in America.


Should we take seriously the poll just released by the Martinez administration that shows here beating democrat Gary King at this point?  Sure, as long as we know it is incredibly tainted by the fact that the poll is done by the wife of Martinez's campaign manager Jay McCleskey.  If Martinez can ignore a conflict of interest like this, it is no wonder she feels that she can get away with anything.

What is more intriguing about this is the fact that the media is using the poll with not much in the way of analysis.  Like analyzing just how the ethics of using this makes them credible.

Early morning golf at Santa Ana

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Follow the Money

Here is a suggestion for those folks who are working to reform the Albuquerque Police Department.  Go out and find yourselves the best forensic accountants and CPAs that are available and start tracking where the money has been spent in that troubled department.  Every year they are over funded for officers they don't have and that money has to have been siphoned off into other areas that we know little about.  Perhaps the city auditor has been on top of it, but it would be great to get some truly independent eyes on APD expenditures.

APD has always been the biggest spender in city government and if the performance of the department in its lethality is any indication, then the expenditure of taxpayer money also needs some real scrutiny.  And now we read that APD will get the biggest pay raises than any other city department.  It just doesn't feel right.