Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some Tasks for Mayor Berry

In an unexpected (by him) and welcome (by the electorate) defeat, Mayor Martin Chavez lost to (now) Mayor Elect R. J. Berry in the October election. The new mayor doesn't get to take over until December, but in the mean time, here's some suggestions to undo some of the things that are just "a bit off" from the last mayor's terms. (Yes, that's plural. Chavez had been mayor for just too long.)

1. I have nothing against bicycles, but stop reducing traffic lane counts in favor of bicycle lanes. There aren't, and won't be that many people bicycling to work. It takes people who are extraordinarily physically fit to bicycle for miles uphill. If ABQ were flat, I could see it. But most of it is not flat. Reverse the trend. For example, put back four lanes on Morris north of Candelaria. And on Indian School west of Wyoming and east of Eubank. Come on already! Traffic is already bad enough. And even Smart cars need regular traffic lanes.
2. Take down the silly sewer-cover / tinpot dictator emblems from the Rio Grande Blvd., I-40 bridge, and do something with those tricentennial towers.
3. Stop with the rapid-rides and just put on more regular buses that travel by "grid" routes so we can all figure out where we are going if we have to ride them.
4. Don't even think about putting your picture on everything "city."
5. Get rid of the red light / speed cameras. I don't care if they reduce accidents. (Harsh.) But banning all auto traffic from the streets would reduce accidents, too. Both actions intrude on our rights. We have a constitutional right both to due process and to confront our accuser. The cameras and their kangaroo "administrative" hearings provide neither. I can't confront a speed camera. And a hearing officer paid by the city can't provide due process.
6. Do nothing else in the name of safety and/or environmental purism that infringes on our constitutional rights. There are enough things that are within the framework of the constitution that can be done in both arenas.
7. Just be mayor. Don't try to be all thing for all people. And don't have delusions of grandeur. Albuquerque is not New York or Los Angeles, nor is it Las Vegas. Stop trying to make it so.
8. Limit growth. I have been in ABQ for 15 years and I never imagined when I moved here that it could sprawl so badly. It is as horrifying as the city I moved from in that respect. A sea of oversized housing on undersized lots, with no landscaping, is not scenic. It's scary!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tax Lightning

Where else but in New Mexico could a law that has been declared unconstitutional by the highest court still be enforced.

Tax lightning is the reassessment of real estate to full value after it is sold, whereas before sale it was limited to an increase in value of only 3 percent for the same owner. This results in extraordinarily unfair tax bills for the buyer of an existing home. The courts have stated this is unconstitutional because it creates a targeted class of taxpayer instead of taxing uniformly over the population as a whole.

But the Bernalillo County Assessor will continue to insist that you pay, dear Sir, because the legislature has not changed the law. So if I refuse to honor an unconstitutional law, I can still be punished.

That's New Mexico.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


It's now trendy in the political world - because of President Obama's great success with it at the polls - to lead your constituents by having a "vision" of what (blank) should be; where (blank) is any or all of the following: your city, county, state, region, country, continent, world, earth, universe, and etc. You get the idea. The only other requirement for this "vision" is that it should represent "change."

Change is good. Isn't it? Before I go off on that tangent, let me make my point.

Mayor for Life Martin Chavez . . . what? He's not? Give me a break! He's now in the latest race for Mayor of Q and has already circumvented well advised legislation to limit mayoral terms to 2 consecutive. I have already swallowed 12 years of him and I have only lived in Q since 1995. Anyway, Mayor of Q for Life Marty has the vision thing down pat.

First, you can't fault him for having "vision." Even if his vision of Q is much different from anything you would want or need. Take dogs for instance. Who can object to dogs? Make dogs a part of your "vision" and people can't help but vote for you no matter how kinky your other politics might be. And then there's streetcars. He can't get enough of them. As a railfan, I think we never should have stopped having streetcars. But as a taxpayer, when I read what Houston, TX, has just forked over (puked up, as in hairball) for them, I know Q doesn't need them. The list goes on, including solar panels and cactus gardens on rooftops. Bicycle boxes? Take a look at the towers on I-40 near Old Town! Bicycle boulevards! Dogshit parks.

We don't need his infamous red light cameras, and his administration's incessant discouragement of motor vehicle use. Use the bus, use the bike, walk, take the train. Well bite me, but I don't feel like becoming one of Q's self-righteous road hogs who can't figure out what direction traffic is going, never saw a stop sign or red light they didn't pass, and haven't learned yet what happens when a 2-ton vehicle hits a 300-pound bicycle and rider. Ouch! That's gonna hurt whether it's the vehicle driver's fault or not.

Where was I? Vision! Used to be something New Mexicans got from a weed. Anyway, what happened to government of the people? Or are we now too slow and stupid (after all, we voted for them) to decide for ourselves? We gotta have politicians, most of whom are liars (rhymes with lawyers), to decide for us? Not for this writer!

Where's the Tylenol? Oh, wait, it might be illegal soon. Where's the Oxycontin?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mom Always Liked Harry’s Brother Best

Congressman Harry of NM wants the Rail Runner, already suffering from marginal density in its Belen terminal, to go to El Paso.  (See article.)  The reasoning is, and get this, the rest of New Mexico wants commuter options, too.  This shows that Mr. Teague has no concept of how to use rail resources and recover revenue.  Yes, El Paso would be a high-density city population, also with potential Mexican passengers (and concomitant border crossing problems like Amtrak’s international trains), but running a train because the other 2/3 of New Mexico has one isn’t a good reason.  And the northern end of the route is a marginal terminal (Santa Fe), that even the old namesake railroad didn’t go to.  (See my blog Passenger Rail.)

On the other hand, 2/3 of the population of the state already has (have) a train that can’t and won’t pay for itself, and for which funding for the indefinite future is in doubt.  Perhaps the rest of the state deserves to have the same thing. 

Gov. Bill might have a few friends who would like a finder’s fee to place the bonds for the project.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gives Murder

After 10 years, the trial of Brandon Craig, accused of the East Mountain murders and bearing a striking resemblance to a character on Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, went badly for the prosecution. Seems that 10 years wasn't long enough for The State to put together a winning case.

On the subject of murder, the west mesa bones (12 bodies dug up) are getting an airing this month on America's Most Wanted. May be a waste of time. If somebody turned in the serial killer responsible for all these bodies, our local prosecutor might not be able to get a conviction anyway. Why don't we just open the doors to the prisons?

Oops! That just might happen one day. Local legislators want criminals to be able to remove their criminal history for good behavior. Local legislators (many of them) are defense attorneys. One hand washes the other, so to speak. Yeah, after digging up the bones!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Public Financing

Far from making it easier for a candidate to run for the office of Mayor of Albuquerque - also variously known as Alcalde and "that idiot" - the new public financing rule has caused most viable candidates to drop out of the race before it even starts. This happened this week when candidates, both liberal and conservative, found themselves unable to spend the time and money to drum up the roughly 4000 five-dollar donations needed to qualify for public financing. And the incumbent (another name for Mayor)? No problem. He just asked all city employees to do donate. In fear of their jobs in this recessive economy, they did it. In spades. We may have a one-man race.

Ironically, the rule was supposed to keep the race from being run only by those with their own cash wads to spend. It backfired louder than a flivver running on green chile. Guacamole anyone?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tie Vote

With all of the possible earth-shattering problems our legislature has to deal with, the guys up in Santa Fe had to spend some of the limited time they have - our legislature meets only once a year for one or two months depending on the color of the chiles - get this: They had to vote on whether to allow members to wear bolo ties.

I don't frickin' (to use a good gubernatorial adjective, noun, verb type word as established by Gov. Blago of IL) care whether they tie a dang rope around their necks. Or maybe they should, and jump off a chair with the other end tied to . . . oh, never mind.

Just don't come around every January and pick my pocket for more money for such stupidity.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Robbery Button

We've had so many bank robberies in Albuquerque that I had an idea; one that would help keep the general public safer and feeling more secure about going into a bank to transact business.

Why don't they just put a Bank Robbery button on the ATM? These bank robbers don't care whether they are photographed anyway, so why not? The robber could just stroll up and press the button. After the machine grinds out some hundred dollar bills, if that ain't enough, the button could be pressed again. They could put up a disclaimer that says anyone using the button will be prosecuted if caught.

That way us meek and mild New Mexicans won't have to worry about the guy in the baseball cap and sunglasses who is ignoring the security sign that they don't enforce anyway.

Just thinking.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Secretary Schmecretary

The news broke this afternoon, and all the kings horses . . . OH, nevermind.

It was reported this afternoon that NM Gov. Bill Richardson (who conveniently hadn't yet resigned his post as governor) has withdrawn his name from nomination as President-elect Obama's Secretary of Commerce. He expressed his concern for possibly slowing the confirmation process because of the on-going investigation into a pay-for-play allegation that is similar to, but does not exactly mirror, the Gov. Blago scandal in Illinois. The people of the State of New Mexico thank him for his concerns.

The bad news is that Gov. Richardson, unless the investigation succeeds in deposing him as governor, will serve out his term that ends in 2010. The good news is that he will have to stick around and deal with the consequences of his egregious spending spree on highway projects and commuter rail - projects that would not have been funded during his tenure had he not convinced the legislature to use non-recurring funds (which have dried up).

Pity the New Mexico taxpayer who will now have to foot the bill for completing some projects and subsidizing others.

And pity the poor Lt. Governor, Diane Denish, who was preparing to step into the office of governor in February, and who had to do the job without any thanks from Gov. Bill while he was off campaigning for President. (Hmmm, it seems he pulled out of that race just about when the investigation was started. Hummm!)

To be fair and balanced, Mr. Richardson asserts that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and no charges have actually been filed, no arrests have been made, and no indictments have been handed down. Driven snow, my boys! Driven snow.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.