Friday, January 30, 2015

An Alternate Reality

An Alternate Reality exists on the 7th floor of Albuquerque's City Hall.  In response to a couple of devastating articles in Rolling Stone and the New Yorker Magazine, Mayor Berry's reactive quote in the Journal today was,

“No one likes or wants bad press for their communities, yet all cities receive it from time to time,” Mayor Richard Berry said. “Our goal in Albuquerque should be to write our own story instead of letting others write it for us … We live in a wonderful city with a rich history and a bright future, and we need to build our city up rather than letting outsiders and those in our very own community tear it down.”

"OUTSIDERS?"  I don't think outsiders were the ones giving quotes and information to the magazines.

I am not sure at this point if Berry and his aides and advisors fully understand the legacy they are leaving in their wake.  It is just denial on their part. On the good side of all of this is Senator Jerry Ortiz Y Pino really stated clearly that the leaders and even general public in our city are hardly engaged in the seriousness of this problem.

They Mayor might want to write a history here that he likes better than reality.  But to the economic development teams and CEO's who must decide where to place their next site, that will hardly matter.

Here is a quote from a former high school classmate yesterday.  It is very upsetting to me that anyone would think this way, but they do.  "Albuquerque is too big, too dangerous and too polluted to consider moving back there but it's ok to visit for the great New Mexican cuisine and especially to see family and old friends."  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gathers No Moss

Now Rolling Stone Magazine is out with its investigative piece into the Albuquerque Police Department.  Mayor Berry and his minions have run out of eyes to blacken.  Does anyone care?  Apparently not enough.  But more and more former Mayor Marty Chavez is also getting some scrutiny in this disaster as well as Darren White, that GOP operative who ran public safety for Mayor Berry.

State Land Commissioner

Newly elected State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is proving himself not only an enemy of renewable energy, but also an enemy of the future.  He is delaying, after five years of negotiations between all parties, the SUNZIA renewable energy transmission line across New Mexico.  The Federal government in cooperation with the Defense Department approved the line last week, as did former State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. Dunn's rightwing stalling of a project that will benefit our state's economy is the result of his closeness to the fossil fuel industry and livestock operators.  Would he have stalled an oil pipeline across the same right of way?  Doubtful.  The line will invest Billions in the state's economy through construction and additional jobs for maintenance and further renewable development.

If Dunn is serious about using state lands as something more than subsidy providers for the extractive industries, then he better get this approval back on track, and quickly.  I am hopeful that some brave career whistle blower at the Land Office will let us know exactly what is happening here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fox and the Journal?

Well, maybe not the ABQ Journal just yet.  But surely Fox.  And maybe MSNBC.

Just Asking

The infantile temper tantrum disguised as an editorial in the Journal this morning condemning the Bureau of Land Management's decision to allow a renewable energy transmission line near White Sands Missile range was really over the top.

In fact I kind of wonder who really wrote that hit piece on the BLM and Senator Martin Heinrich.  I am guessing it was ghosted either by the right wing Rio Grande Foundation or the oil and gas industry PR squad.  What do you think?

Don't forget that just earlier this week the Journal wrote an article on how renewable energy was the big economic star in New Mexico's otherwise dismal jobs performance.  It is like the newspaper's general hatred of good paying federal jobs.  Kill the sectors that keep us just above disaster!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Last Publisher

Bill Lang is taking over the title of Publisher of the Albuquerque Journal from his ailing and eccentric brother Tom Lang.  One wonders if Bill will be the last ever Publisher at that diminishing institution. I am thinking he will be unless there is some sort of dramatic changes made, starting with the Editor.

I just love reading an ink on paper publication everyday.  Both the New  York Times and Journal go a long way at taking up an hour or two in the day along with two good cappuccinos from my cool machine.  But as people like me get older the newspaper game is a goner.  When was the last time you saw anyone under 30 reading something besides a smart phone or tablet to get their news fix?  While the Journal arguably has the highest website visits in New Mexico, that certainly is not going to pay the bills of supporting anything like a good roster of serious journalists.

Someone needs to do some serious recruiting to replace the leadership at this newspaper.  New ideas and less partisanship are needed if it is to last another 5 years.  Times are changing for sure, but the Journal folks are sitting on their hands.

P.S.  I noticed that the Journal had nothing to say about that New Yorker Magazine article on our city's APD and Mayor.  At least not  yet.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kill Zone

Once again I will link this article on APD.  It is an incredibly strong indictment of APD and local leadership by the New Yorker Magazine.  

GOP Rhetoric

No matter that the public lands in Alaska do not belong to just Alaskans!  The Alaskan Governor has said that the President has declared 'WAR' on the people of the state because he is pushing Wilderness Protection of pristine landscapes for future generations.  US Senator Merkowski has said it is an "ASSAULT" on the state.  Big rhetoric from small minds in a big State.  It is laughable and scary at the same time and signals that the GOP remains on the fringe of American political history.

And then there is the GOP mascot Albuquerque Journal this morning.  They just hate regulation and trampling on corporate ability to steamroll water conscious local residents on fracking in New Mexico.  This horrible system threatens clean water in the area of such drilling operations.

At the same time the Journal wants the legislature to enact regulation on women's right to abortions.  No, I don't like the idea of late term abortions either, but if the archbishops in their funny clothes get their way then no good reason would be good enough for such procedures.

And sadly, here is another incredible black eye for Mayor Berry and APD.  National coverage like this is horrible, as is the reason they had to write it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


The Albuquerque Sunday Journal story on the Bernalillo County financial mess was informative.  Except for the labeling.  Every single time a quote was made or reference to an elected official the Journal seemed to think it was important to state whether the person was a democrat or republican.  It just jumped out at me this morning for some reason.  As if the Journal needed to label everyone mentioned as a politically charged person rather than an elected official.  So, I went and reread the article and pretended the words republican and democrat were not there.  Suddenly, it seemed like a pretty good debate on how the county ended up in the chaos it is enjoying right now.

All of the Commissioners are to blame.  They just spent too much money.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sun Zia

The Sun Zia renewable transmission line was approved by secretary of Interior Sally Jewel today at a ceremony at Sandia national labs. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan along with the Secretary and Defense Department representatives announced the decision much to the chagrin of Congressman Steve Pearce who for some reason thinks renewable energy transmission will threaten our national defense.

This transmission line across hundreds of miles in New Mexico will inject close to 1000 jobs in construction and 100 permanent jobs upon completion.  The power transmitted will come from renewable energy sources, solar and wind, and will be sent to markets across the southwest.

The announcement was  held at the large solar complex south of the Sandia National Labs.  Between the bright day and reflected solar arrays....everything looked slightly blue to the camera.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Heinrich on the Keystone Pipeline

I would recommend everyone watch this Senate Floor speech by Senator Martin Heinrich today.  It is 16 minutes long and incredibly informative.  If  you ever had any doubts about stopping the Keystone Pipeline, this should clear them away.

Heinrich has really improved his speaking capabilities.


I hear that the new Speaker of the House of the State Legislature, republican Don Tripp(a decent guy) had wanted to keep long time House Clerk Steve Arias on an advisory contract to help the new GOP majority run things properly.  Arias alleged said, "No Thanks."  The reason being that he had been treated so disrespectfully by Republican bad boy legislator Nate Gentry.  The result is yesterday's total confusion on now to handle committee reports on the floor.

APS School Board member Kathy Korte's latest outburst and bullying of an APS employee makes it seem that her serving on the board is more about herself and not the schools.  Many appreciate her pushing back against the Governor, but her juvenile fights with other board members and staff really hurt her credibility.  I was known to do that myself, it really is not helpful.

Playing golf with all my buddies and listening to their comments has led me to believe that the Bernalillo County Commissioners who voted for that gross receipts tax hike last week have finished their careers.  I have to agree.  These progressives turned regressive on the tax front.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I was on active duty with the New Mexico Air National Guard at Camp Douglas Wisconsin in 1967 when Reies Tijerina  pulled off his courthouse raid in Tierra Amarilla in his quest to get Spanish Land Grants restored to northern New Mexicans.  (I doubt they would have agreed to go back in history a little more and give those lands to the original Native American residents.)

Governor Cargo had just visited our summer encampment and returned via Air Force Jet to 'manage' the crisis by sending anti aircraft tanks into the state's northern forests.  A bit much even in those days.

I always thought Tijerina was a mixed bag.  He seemed a loose cannon to me, although his charisma and rhetoric were impressive.  I ended up covering him as a news man a few years later, before his anti semetic era, and couldn't help finding myself admiring his skill in calling for social justice.

At one point Tijerina started something called 'Brotherhood Awareness Week.'  I was supposed to moderate a half hour TV discussion between Reies and the Albuquerque Chief of Police at the time. The tension was so thick in the studio between Tijerina's supporters and police officers that I thought there would be trouble.  We started the videotaped show and it was pure hell getting those two to say anything to each other.   After 30 agonizing minutes as the show was about to wrap up, a production assistant ran in from the control room and said, "We forgot to roll the tape!"  It was like being told we had to walk through the gates of hell for a second time.   It actually provided a little comic relief and when we started over again the words came a little easier for everyone.

Tijerina was a man of his times and one that continues to fascinate people to this day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Invisible Happening

Tuesday the New Mexico State Legislature will convene.  Men and women from across the state will show up for this sixty day session with some ideas on passing new laws or repealing old ones.  They are all very busy but won't accomplish much because of special interest groups who spend money on friendly lobbyists who take said lawmakers to lunch everyday.  It has always worked that way, but now the influence of money is even more pervasive.

But the real issue here is that more than ever our citizens, even the 20% who might vote, will be mostly ignorant of what goes on there.  I think they just don't care or remember that the session is even occurring.  And the local media will only cover the hot button issues, like so called "Right to Work".  These are manufactured attention getters to keep people in the dark about other more important issues.  Those few journalists who are around that know how this all works will not be enough to keep us informed.

Speaking of journalists, a great has one died.  Eric McCrossen was an old-time reporter and editorial writer who believed in getting facts correct, being fair, and keeping the public interest in mind.  He always treated people with respect.  Something that is now rare at the Albuquerque Journal where he labored for so many  years.  In those days the opinion pieces, which he edited, stayed on the opinion pages and didn't leak over into the news pages.  But these are different times at that publication.

Eric was a genuinely good guy.  In today's brand of journalism there are fewer and fewer of his type around.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

bush cheney rumsfeld

Watching Saturday evening news can be enlightening for the mix of commercials you will see.  Laxatives, drugs that you should ask your Doctor about, hard-on enhancers, and veteran charities.  It is that last one that is the most disgusting.

Some redneck crooner is telling us to give money to the Wounded Warriors charity.  Another commercial is from a large law firm that wants to represent the veterans who want disability payments.(and the law firm gets a third.)  A TV News story features a charity run by a priest that makes veterans into bakery cooks.

What is missing here?  Any explanation on how bush, cheney, rumsfeld and their minions were able to spend one trillion on a war with out spending adequately on returning human wreckage from the 'war for profit.'  Why is the government relying on charity to to take care of veterans?  Because spending money on that doesn't give wartime profits to the defense industry and the likes of Blackstone mercenaries.

Watch those news commercials.  They are pretty revolting.

Friday, January 16, 2015


2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.  As the oceans heat up they may be in danger of dying according to new scientific studies.  And the leadership of the Republican party sees the most important issues as building the Keystone pipeline and repealing health care insurance for Americans.

Where does this all end?  I ask this as our two new twin baby granddaughters get ready to head home after 82 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit in Fort Collins.  Science has done wonders for Alex and Katy after they were born 11 weeks early.  We can see that scientific research and development can accomplish much.

If only it could enlighten profit motivated politicians and corporations.  But, astonishingly it doesn't.  And so the only hope left are the enraged parents and grandparents of the world who see the decline in quality of life for their kids and grandkids. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Getting it done

We had a leak in the water main in front our our home.  The crews got on it within hours and are incredibly efficient and friendly.  I wonder if they would like to go run the Police Department and Mayor's Office.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Food for Thought

My friend Dennis Jett contributed to the New Republic Magazine today.  This is a must read if you have plans for seeing the Clint Eastwood movie 'American Sniper."

What is Worse?

I am having trouble deciding which was the worse news in governance yesterday.  Here are the candidates.

1. The Albuquerque Police Department has proven they really don't give a damn what  anyone thinks of them.  Their action, in throwing out from a police shooting  incident briefing yesterday, a representative from the District Attorney's Office because the DA charged  two officers with murder will go down in history as a 'Fuck You" moment.  Essentially they have said the law and legal direction applies to everyone but them.  I am flabbergasted that this could happen and if the US Department of Justice doesn't march in by the end of the week to take over the department, then we are in trouble.  What must the honest hard working beat cop think about this?  And where is Mayor Berry and the City Council?  Their first order of business this week is to fire the Chief and find someone who can run the department as a professional law enforcement agency.

2. The Bernalillo County Commission went to the most regressive tax, the sales tax, to make up for their incompetence in managing their budget.  The poor will pay and the rich will laugh.  And our sales tax will now be 7.25% in the city of Albuquerque.  Every commissioner who voted for this made a decision that they don't want another elective office in the next ten years.  Let's hope.

The winner between these two disasters in leadership has to be the APD descent into madness.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Everyone deserves to be represented in court with the best defense available.  The APD officers charged with murder yesterday are no different.  One of them hired Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman to represent him in court.  A lot of people are upset, but that is purely a knee-jerk reaction.  Bregman is a master at getting the press to come to his news conferences to hear his over the top assertions of innocence for anyone he represents.  But that is his job.  So everyone should chill out.  Except one wonders why the media falls for his sucker punch approach to polluting the jury pool.

The Bernalillo County management wants a 3/8 cent increase in the gross receipts tax.  They and their commission have decided that bringing the sales tax to almost 8% might, or might not, be a good idea.  Well, it isn't because of the regressive nature of the tax and their mismanagement of their budget.  But one has to remember that the state legislature has added to this problem by making the cities and counties make up losses for the reduction in food taxes a few years ago.  After a phase in, the local governments are now really screwed.  And the state doesn't give a damn.  It affects Albuquerque too and maybe Mayor Berry, a former legislator, should park himself in Santa Fe during the session and fight for his city.

And then there is the fact that Albuquerque's Mayor and current council, along with a feeble amount of leadership in the  business community are over seeing our city's fall in rankings once again.  So of course at the NAIOP luncheon yesterday many of the developers and builders blame the lack of a so called 'Right to Work' law in New Mexico.  And the Albuquerque Journal spends no time asking for comments from these so called 'leaders'.

Instead they have a fact free and lie filled editorial today about the need for the Keystone pipeline in a time of plummeting oil prices and rising temperatures.

Monday, January 12, 2015


The only question remaining in the case of the shooting of James Boyd by APD is the story of why it took so long to charge the officers with murder.  The DA got around to that today despite a video that showed quite clearly what happened.  There is a real story here that will unfold over time.

APD Response

We have had a lot of burglaries in our neighborhood over the last three months.  These thieves hit houses with burglar alarms because they know they have time before the police respond to get away.  On Saturday night a home was broken into that had an alarm set off.  The police were called immediately and they didn't show up for 50 minutes.

The neighborhood is getting fed up and many urge us to call APD to get better service.  That probably wouldn't help much, but a call to the Mayor's Office and Councillor Isaac Benton might help.

We have to face the fact that APD is in continued deep trouble.  The tragic shooting of an undercover officer by another uniformed officer this weekend in a $60 Meth sting is just the latest manifestation of a failed organization.  Our political leadership on this is pretty much ineffectual.  That can't be fixed until the next city election, but one action could help things.  The current and woefully inexperienced Chief Eden should bow out of the picture.  Fade into the sunset.  Hasta La Vista!  And then the Mayor can start a nationwide search for new leadership for that department.  Pay a lot if necessary and get things fixed.  Ask for help from every successful police department in the country.  They know how things should work.  In the meantime let's hope all those good, dedicated and hardworking officers stick it out.  And there are a lot of them.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dark Side

Has the Dark Side has come to Public Service Company of New Mexico?  And I don't mean power outages.  I mean questionable business ethics.  What ever happened to that friendly guy, Reddy Kilowatt?  Was he laid off?

The story in the Albuquerque Journal this morning had it a little wrong.  They said a PNM engineer was fired for cause, when in fact he was really fired for being a whistle blower.  The whistle blower issue did get attention however and it should have.  This will play out in court.

But it is rather astounding that this engineer's sense of right and wrong manifested itself  in the current corruption of corporate America.  The fact that a highly experienced power plant manager would see something wrong in padding the books to get a higher rate of return from the utility's customers is refreshing.  Maybe the Public Regulatory Commission should invite him in for a chat.

I hope this gets a lot more attention from everyone in the media and public interest groups.  Especially from PNM who looks rather dishonest right now.  And I hope PNM can find the leadership to lead the country into new ways of providing power in an ever increasing renewable energy way.

But, as I always point out in PNM's favor.  The lights always go on when I flip the switch.  So their engineers must be doing something right.  So why fire them?

Friday, January 09, 2015

Get Real

I don't like our Governor and her minions, but that doesn't mean when they have a good idea that I will work against it.  State Senator Michael Sanchez should do the same.  He is still fighting the bill that would end social promotion in our schools. Those social promotions almost garuntee lots of future problems with these lagging students.

But if the Governor wants this to pass she also needs to be serious about extra reading and early childhood programs that will make social promotion an unneeded tool.  Mainly I would suggest strong reading programs with faltering kids in the first and second grade.  It has been proven that it works, especially if the parents are part of the solution.  Six weeks of this instruction during the summer would work miracles.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Tax the Journal

The Albuquerque Journal continues their pogrom against the poor.  Now they are supporting the imposition of the gross receipts tax on food, because it will lower the tax rate overall.  Let's do a case study.  A poor mother needs to spend $2000 on food.  Right now she pays no tax on that.  A more well off citizen pays $2000 for a flat screen TV and he pays at a 5% rate....$100 in taxes.

Now reimpose the food tax so the overall rate of 5% can be lowered to 4.5%.  The poor mother will spend $90 in sales tax and the rich guy will get his flat screen for $10 less because his tax will be lower.  That is what such a regressive tax would do.  And it shows the complete disregard by the Journal owners, the Lang Family and their right wing editor Kent Walz, for many New Mexicans.  They seem to forget their favorite leaders have led New Mexico to the bottom of the pile in well being.

I think a pretty good way to get back at the Journal would be to repeal the law that exempts them from having to pay a sales tax on the sale of their newspapers.  Any bright moderate legislator could take this one on.

And the Mayor, business leaders and the Journal are all ganging for the passage of the so called 'right to work' bill.'  Another way to keep wages down for the poor. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Would it be fair to say the upcoming session of the New Mexico Legislature might be chaotic?  Of course it would.  As the republicans  take over the House of Representatives they are cooking  up a recipe for disaster as they remake the committee memberships.  Anyone with a D beside their name will most likely be shuffled off to a committee where they have no knowledge of the issues.  And the institutional knowledge that is so important will be lost.  There is going to be some really bad legislation introduced and possibly passed.  The new Attorney General Hector Balderas will need to keep a close eye on all of that legislation so he will need to quickly hire some attorneys to replace the ones he fired.  Without their eyeballs on the legislature there will be bad laws passed.

Newly minted Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has cancelled some land auctions meant to stimulate solar energy production on state land.  In a terse announcement yesterday he gave no reason for the cancellations of the bidding process.  Would someone look into at the Albuquerque Journal?  There might be good reasons for this, but we can already see the lack of transperancy at the land office under Dunn's newbie administration.  My guess is that he is doing this for the ranchers who hold the grazing leases on that land.  They probably want undue compensation for giving up their highly subsidized use of the land.  But, hopefully he is just trying to get a bigger chunk of the revenue for the Land Office.  The cowboy hat might be a hint!  We will see.

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Police

I pretty much know what the Mayor in New York is feeling right now.  He is bewildered by the NYPD police force who don't seem to give a damn about the perception they leave about themselves in showing such disrespect to their civilian leadership.  When I was Mayor in Albuquerque I experienced the same attitude from many, but not all, officers who didn't like me bringing in a new chief from the outside.  This behavior should trouble all citizens who have entrusted these men and women with protecting the population.  When such poor judgement is shown with such arrogant behavior then it is frightening.

The shootings of officers in the performance of their duties are now getting more attention than some months ago.  The media seems to be trying to make up for all the bad press that police have recently received.  Some of it was warranted, some was not.  But this is certainly turning into an ever widening rift of police versus community.

A lot of frustration of working people and the poverty stricken might be aimed unfairly at police.  The real problems in this country are not the police but the ever widening division of wealth.  But, the police are making it easy for many to view them suspiciously by turning their backs on the people who citizens voted for in a democratic process.  It is as callous as American corporate treatment of its workers.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Jim King

My longtime friend and native of Albuquerque, Jim King, who lives in Mexico City and runs some entrepreneurial businesses stopped by this morning.  He secretly had been working on a novel for years and it was recently published by Amazon.  It is a horror story based in Albuquerque and is constantly referencing people and places in the city.  Visit his webpage to learn about him and his book.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Tanking Budgets 2015

The news from the Bernalillo County Commission that its budget could possibly suffer a 20% shortfall over the next couple of fiscal years is highly disturbing.  Cutbacks and more taxing would be needed.  But the question is, how did the Commission let it get to this point?  It is a massive failure in their management system that things would get to this point.  County government has always been pretty invisible because there is no one person accountable for occurrences like this one.

And as oil prices continue to fall Governor Martinez's free ride over the last four years will come to an end.  She has a seemingly peculiar lack of management skills on the state level.  It hasn't hurt her so far but I don't think even her pogrom against immigrant's drivers licenses will shield her from criticism for her lack of preparations over the last few months.  Of course the legislature will share in this meltdown.  In fairness, who could see this price decline continuing as it has?  But the Martinez administration looks like the deer in the headlights.

And in the Albuquerque's Mayor's office a feeble bond program shows our victimization by the Marty Chavez administration and their raiding of property taxes to pay for ongoing city operations, rather than using this money for major projects, as was always done.  It is a system that will hobble our city's ability to upgrade public works and projects to make us a player.

It will be interesting to see how everyone handles these frighteningly real budget meltdowns in 2015. Meanwhile those well paying federal jobs still look viable as a cushion, despite the Governor's and Mayor's dislike of government.