Thursday, June 30, 2016

Friends Now

This is a photo taken last night of my brother Tom and Dinh Ngoc Truc.  They met in 2008 when National Geographic was doing a documentary on a mission that my brother flew as a helicopter pilot.  True served as a guide and interpreter during the production in Vietnam.  See the documentary here.

Truc had been a member of the NVA at the end of the conflict.  He was an anti aircraft gunner who was sent into the South to help unify the country.  Truc now runs a company specializing in tours of Viet Nam for tourists and former soldiers and airmen.  My brother and a dozen of his aviation friends from the conflict took a two week tour last year.  Now Truc has come to America for a five week tour and is being hosted by those aviators.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


This is a picture of Rio Grande Blvd. northbound at Mountain Rd.  This is the main gateway to Old Town, the  Museum of Albuquerque, Explora, and the Natural History Museum.  It is the ugliest gateway possible to that culturally rich part of Albuquerque.

So as a suggestion to the Mayor, maybe with the demise of ART in the near future, you might want to jump on this ugly and dangerous pedestrian intersection.   The patrons of the hotels to the north take their lives in their hands trying to cross here.  Notice the hardly visible cross walks and streets striping?  Perhaps this is being planned already, but  you could speed it up!  


The State of New Mexico and it's largest City, Albuquerque, have been under the hapless leadership of elected Republican leadership for more than half a decade.  At a time when strong economic and social leadership was most needed, following the 2008 meltdown of the Global Economy, we opted for the crowd  that said less is good.  Less efforts at economic development, less efforts at nurturing high paying federal jobs, less efforts at taking care of our children and their educations.  The list could go on.

The thing that seems to personify all of this poor state of affairs is the Mayor's ART project.  Nothing has gone right with this.  But the stubbornness continues with no Plan B in sight.  It is just something that has the support of no one.

There is nothing wrong with stepping back once in a while and saying, 'this isn't working."  But that doesn't seem to be in the lexicon of Mayor Berry and his CAO Rob Perry.  It is much like Governor Susana Martinez and her complete lack of energy on working with the legislature to do something besides cut corporate and business taxes.  That isn't working either.

The elections to replace these office holders are coming soon, and if we don't pick some energetic and innovative leadership, then the Land of Enchantment won't be so enchanting any longer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Remember the Alamo

I dug up this old photo of Bruce King and I attending the annual roundup on the Alamo ranch back in 1978.  Bruce was running for a second term as Governor and I was working as his press secretary.  The huge ranch is northwest of Rio Rancho.

Now we see that the Pueblo of Santa Ana has purchased the Alamo Ranch from the King family.  I think this is about the best thing that could happen to the property.  It is a beautiful piece of New Mexican landscape and the Pueblo will most likely make sure it does not succumb to sprawl development.

The Santa Ana Casino is enabling the Pueblo to buy back the property, and that is a very positive use of the money.  Congratulations to both the Pueblo and King family.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Day Late

The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce is gearing down.  They say less is more, and it may be because they have done so little in the post 2008 meltdown of our city's economy.  Coupled with sidling up to do nothing economic development  teams from the state and city, they have been forced to this point.  This is all on them, but maybe it will be for the better.  That Chamber has existed to protect the status quo for years and maybe this new direction will let them actually accomplish something.

They say the want to work on Public Safety, Education and Downtown development.  Well, the Public Safety issue really must have a proponent in the Mayor's office.  So, that effort maybe doomed.  As far as the Education initiative, I wish them well.  They will need to depend on having a Governor who is willing to rethink tax breaks that  have hurt education on all levels.  That is going to require some new lobbying staff at the legislature that can go to Santa Fe with some ideas to retool educational funding.

The most interesting new direction is working to spur Downtown redevelopment.  While I worked as Mayor on Downtown revitalization in the late 90's and early 2000s, the Chamber was really just a bystander.  They were pretty much in the pocket of the sprawl developers and saw investment in the older parts of the City to be counter productive.  So, it is great  they have signed on some two decades later.  That movie theater and housing we started with some astute Downtown supporters some years ago is finally getting the support it always should have had.  You can't have a livable city without a good core.

Friday, June 24, 2016


It would be like Texas leaving the Union.  New border stations go up with neighbors and economic progress is stifled.  All made possible by the rising and peculiar leadership of the ignorant, greedy, and just plain stupid people who don't know what is in their own best interests.  That is what happened in England yesterday as the Brits left the EU.  

Could it happen here? Yes it could in a different way.  And that would be Trump winning and the continuing GOP leadership in the House of Reps.  And so the challenge for the Sanders people is to not be ignorant, but choose intellect over racist populism.

Government isn't easy, especially in this time of global economics.  But it is easier than what the Brits are now going to have to endure.  Wait and see.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Heat

I just caught all kinds of hell on a Journal Facebook page for daring to say that  Bernie Sanders was beaten and that  he should give it up.  I sent him money early on because he was saying the right things, but he did lose the nomination and now some of his supporters think he was robbed.  One of them accused me of using drugs because of my comment.

He entered the contest under a set of rules that he knew existed, but now his campaign is crying foul and many supporters are acting like spoiled brats by saying they won't vote.  This is like the Tea Party in many ways, letting out of control emotions trump rationality.

On another subject one wonders if the heat is on the Governor seeing as New Mexico has fallen to last place in caring for its children.  Of course that heat  won't come from the Albuquerque Journal who put the story on the State Page instead of the front page.

In fairness, the front page did have a story on a bipartisan effort of Senator Heinrich on trying to enact some kind of gun control even if it is somewhat meaningless.  But he is trying and the heat he is feeling was evident in a sidebar story about his frustrations.  Udall was absent, but sometimes I forget he was one of the few that voted against the bush/cheney Iraq War.  It shows fortitude.

Still, in a country that made steel tipped lawn darts illegal, it is amazing that assault rifles are not.  As John Oliver said on his HBO show the other night, Planet Fitness has more members than the NRA, so what gives?

Saturday, June 18, 2016


This is my op-ed that the Santa Fe New Mexican used to coincide with the visit of the President and his family To Carlsbad Caverns yesterday.

When President Barack Obama and the first family visit Carlsbad Caverns, they will experience a state where our prosperity and way of life have long been rooted in the health of our land. Clean water from our forests feeds our crops. Forage from our rangeland grows our cattle. And the magic of our open spaces draws visitors, workers, and businesses to the Land of Enchantment.
Yet New Mexico’s open spaces are disappearing fast. A new study by Conservation Science Partners and the Center for American Progress found that between 2001 and 2011, our state lost 319 square miles of natural area to development – an area bigger than the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.
The state, meanwhile, recently made headlines for having one of the worst-performing economies in America. New Mexico’s unemployment rate is at 6.2 percent, which ranks 46th in the nation. Our land and our economy are hurting.
Unfortunately, New Mexico’s leaders have long overlooked the relationship between our state’s natural beauty and our economic health. As a consequence, New Mexico is falling behind. Among the Western states, New Mexico has one of the lowest proportions of national parks, wilderness, and national monuments. Just 6 percent of the lands within the state are managed primarily to be protected for future generations — half the average of other western states.
What does this have to do with the state’s lagging economic growth? The answer is simple: national parks and other public lands are the engines for a booming outdoor recreation industry. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in the U.S. generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year. While New Mexico’s outdoor industry is $6.1 billion strong, it lags far behind nearby Arizona and Colorado, which boast $10.6 and $13.2 billion outdoor industries.
In today’s West, hunting, fishing, climbing, and mountain biking are big moneymakers, attracting businesses, workers, and visitors to the state. With New Mexico’s already meager protected lands and fast-disappearing natural areas, our outdoor industry is at a structural disadvantage to our neighboring states.
Although oil and gas extraction has long been a pillar of our state’s economy, it was also the primary cause of natural area loss between 2001 and 2011; in just 10 years, we added 184 square miles of oil and gas wells, drilling pads, and energy infrastructure to the landscape, carving wildlife habitat into increasingly smaller sections.
As other states in the West have been diversifying their energy mix and economy, our state leaders have been putting all their eggs in the oil and gas basket. Instead of continuing to gamble on one industry whose reserves will one day dry up, our state’s leaders should be looking at ways to incentivize conservation and to take advantage of the growing recreation economy. Indeed, research points to the ability of communities with outdoor amenities to weather economic downturns.
New Mexico has been fortunate, thanks in part to the leadership of Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., to benefit from two national monument designations during the Obama administration:Río Grande Del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. Protecting these beautiful and ecologically rich areas will bolster small businesses and local economies. In fact, visitation at Río Grande Del Norte has increased by 40 percent since it was designated as a national monument.
But more can be done. It’s time for a broad assessment of what we want to protect for future generations. Instead of focusing on how to squeeze more oil from the ground, we should be thinking about how to better protect the icons of New Mexico’s landscape, from the greater Gila area to Otero Mesa, before they are lost.
Jim Baca served as the director of the National Bureau of Land Management at the Department of the Interior in the first Clinton Administration, was twice elected New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands, and served as the mayor of Albuquerque.

Friday, June 17, 2016


State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has thought up another subsidy for the oil and gas industry.  At first I thought, upon seeing the story, that he was showing some common sense in getting rogue oil and gas operators to clean up their mess.  But, as it turns out he is asking for legislation that would allow him to take money out of the State Land Maintenance Fund to clean up the oil spills for the industry.  He is letting them off the hook for the cost of their sloppiness.  Does this proposal make these criminals less likely to respond to demands for cleanups?  And don't forget that surplus monies in the State Land Maintenance Fund would go to the beneficiaries of the Land Office,  and that would be the common schools.

It is good that Dunn thinks the Lands must be restored.  Asking for a new oil and gas fee at the land office for a cleanup fund makes more sense.

President Obama and his family will tour Carlsbad Caverns today.  If they have never been there before I have a feeling they will be awed by its magnificence.  It was always a favorite place for our family to visit as the kids were growing up.

It is nice to have Senator Heinrich and Udall being supported of our National Parks and public lands. After dumping on them yesterday for their lack of cajones in banning assault weapons, I will say their work on conservation is stellar.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bait and Switch

The Bait and Switch has started again on gun control.  Senator Heinrich and Udall want to limit the capacity of assault rifle magazines and not let terrorists buy the weapons.  This is meaningless and cowardly.  And our two democratic Congress Reps say nothing but they do ask for money for their campaigns.

I am not a one issue voter, but the time might have come for me to vote that way because my grandchildren shouldn't grow up in a nation with assault weapons available to every crazy person, religious or otherwise.  Anything less is selling out to the NRA.

I do understand the political calculus here.  Heinrich and Udall might be defeated if they come out for  an assault weapons ban before the next election.  But what a way to go, with a statement for morality and common sense.

I have talked with three close friends who will never vote for any of our Dems again unless they vote to make assault rifles illegal.  And I am going to join them.

Another friend came up with an idea today.  That all assault weapon opponents of all colors and persuasions joint the NRA.  Then take it over.  It is not a bad idea.  Can you imagine hundreds of thousands of new members overthrowing the Board and Staff?  Democracy in action.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bell Curve

I have been thinking a lot about Bell Curves lately.  I vaguely remember them from some statistic and probability classes I took 45 years ago at UNM.   I have been trying to figure out where Trump would fit in this illustrated Bell Curve in any of a number of categories.

Assuming this is a curve for sanity, would he be in that infinitely small space where the line becomes almost flat at the right side?  At the furthest standard deviation possible in this universe?

Would he be at the same position at the left side for ego, derangement and racism?  Close perhaps.

And then where would his supporters who made his rise to the nomination possible reside?  Lets say on a level of dealing with real facts.  Probably right along side Fox News and Talk Radio.  The people who made those institutions possible......well, we should never forget who they are.  Just like the Board members and staff of the NRA.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Wrong Horse

Republican Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn isn't much of a cowboy.  He has climbed on the wrong horse.  This weekend he did another Op-Ed in his support role as mascot for the fossil fuel boys.  Those 'Lords of Yesterday" just love him, and their days are numbered.

There was just a piece distributed by the Solar Energy Industry Association that quotes a new Bloomberg Study that  says over the next 25 years, fossil fuel power will generate $2.1 trillion in investments, while renewables will attract some $7.8 trillion in investments.  Solar will account for almost half of all investment in renewables over that time, helping overtake fossil fuels as the global power source leader. Read more here.


I wish someone would publish the names and addresses of the Board members and staff of the NRA.  And the Boards and executives of every manufacturer who turns out assault weapons for purchase by the public.  They continue their psychopathic behavior because they feel safe.

Thursday, June 09, 2016


The ABQ Journal Business section has an article about New Mexico State University scaling down its operations in Albuquerque.  They will be moving out of a 40,000 square foot facility to a smaller space.  This whole exercise will cost the state taxpayers a bundle.  And  it really brings in to question the wisdom of so many branch operations for our state University system.

I have never  understood this need for our major institutions to move on to new turf that is already served by other higher ed institutions.  It is a duplication of services and it is expensive.  Yes, there may be some good reasons to do so at some point, but does the costs really justify the policy?

Throw into the mix all of these phony 'Universities' that seem to exist for the sole reason of making outrageously expensive student loans to unaware students, and you have massive inefficiencies.

The legislature will probably never fix this problem, because they see branch universities as job centers for their constituents.  But in the end it is just a misdirection of resources.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


Bernie just has to give it up.  It is time.  He just didn't win the nomination although he certainly brought a conscience to the process.   He said everything I hoped he would.  Now we have to defeat the biggest racist candidate to run for the Presidency in my lifetime.  Trump may actually be a psychopath who wants to control the nuclear codes.  So far, he has managed to bring down a whole political party, albeit with their help since 1994 arrival of Newt Gingrich and the so called 'contract with America.'  Good Riddance.

One of the big wins for New Mexicans last night was the election of Cynthia Hall as a new PRC member.  She will bring an ethical aura to that beleaguered Commission.  She will give a realistic boost to the pursuit of renewable energy production.  She will work with PNM fairly.  She will face no GOP opposition, so she can fully prepare for her new office.  For all of its faults, PNM is really good at providing stable service, but it needs someone watching its policies.

Santolina, the sprawl land developer, has elected their primary TV actor to carry their water into the general election for County Commissioner.  Lets hope there is more to Steven Michael Quezada than that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Run Away

One of my favorite songs in High School was Del Shannon's 'Runaway."  Now, the Governor has run away for the election.  No love for the GOP in the Land of Enchantment today.

After six years in office she decided this was a good time for a first trip to see if she can get some private sector jobs located in NM.  Susana pretty much hates government jobs, especially those well paying federal jobs.  They have kept the state afloat but I can't ever recall her going to DC to try and get some more located here.  No, she went to Chicago for some reason.  Maybe with all the bullets flying, thanks to our NRA's obstruction of regulation, she thinks some companies will flee the windy city.

Probably she doesn't want to be near cameras in NM when Trump forces here claim a victory.  She is such a coward she will flee one thousand miles so she won't have to explain her party's racist candidate.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Middle of the Road

'Middle of the Road' usually refers to someone who is neither hot nor cold, brave or cowardly, right nor left wing.  But my post today is not about any of those.

It is about the lack of Mayor Berry's administration to get some basic maintenance done on our city streets.  If you have been on any major thoroughfares recently you probably were driving down the middle of the road since, as far as I can tell, there has not been a new paint stripe put down in years.  This is a safety issue and it does cause problems.

I can actually remember getting street sweepers coming by a couple of time a year in our neighborhood.  Haven't seen one in a long, long time.

And then there is our city park.  It is called Dulcinea Park.  It looks like an abandoned neighbors house with weeds and invasive plants interspersed with a few blades of dried out grass.  The parks maintenance man I spoke with thinks the Mayor wants to privatize all parks work, so he is letting things go to hell in hopes of getting support for his plan.  I have yet to see workers in the park this year except for a guy who came out last week to fix the irrigation system.

This was always a very nicely maintained park in the past.  But no more.  One more indication of a failed city administration.  We don't hear about the little things like this because of alleged crime growth  and APD's problems.

But the little things do add up.

Friday, June 03, 2016


The Mayor and APD Chief has decided to make a high profile effort of catching the rock throwers from the Trump rally.  Sure, we want them caught, but what a great PR opportunity, right?

In the meantime  the DA has dropped charges against suspects in a drive by murder because the investigation by APD was so terribly flawed.  Lives have been disrupted, reputations ruined and not a peep from the Mayor.  All Chief Gordon Eden could do was say they strive to do the right thing.  Weak.

One can only wonder how much longer this can go on.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Teed Off

Our liberal to moderate group of golfers at the Albuquerque Country Club will have a good time at one of our regular games on Friday as we guffaw at Donald Trump losing a PGA Golf Tournament from his Doral Golf Course in Florida.  It is now going to be played in Mexico City.  If I weren't a non believer I would say,  'there is a god.'


My heart was with Bernie, but my early vote went to Hilary.  There is just too much at stake with Trump, a psychopath, aiming for the White House.  It just came down to my calculations that Hilary has a better shot at winning.  One thing is for sure, it will depend a lot on who she picks as a VP running mate.  It probably can't be Sanders, but it would have to be someone a lot like him.  There has to be a real conscience in the White House environs to make sure a third Clinton White House is environmentally and socially ethical.  This was a hard decision and I have heard more than one person express angst over the choice.

The one race in the New Mexico primary that I think is important more than most is the PRC contest between Cynthia Hall and Karen Montoya.  Incumbent Montoya has shown some serious ethical lapses as she raised money for other candidates from the people she should be regulating.  Cynthia is an honest and knowledgable candidate.  She should take this seat and make sure that renewable energy is encouraged at every opportunity in New Mexico.

And it is really important that the State House of Representatives be returned in November to Democratic control.  That  means picking the best and strongest candidates in the Democratic Primary.