Sunday, November 27, 2011

Shooting for the Foot

New Mexico has beautiful southwestern scenery and magnificent climate.  Just about everything except ocean front property.  It also has national laboratories (Los Alamos and Sandia), White Sands Missle Range, and the Very Large Array.  It is the home of some of the highest tech weaponry in our arsenal, and to some of the most far-reaching space science on the planet.  All those tech jobs pay very, very well.  And yet a number of so-called concerned citizens, environmentalists of the standard lot, would like to curtail some of these activities in the name of cleaning up our environment.  If we do this, and get rid of oil and gas drilling, too, I'm sure we can celebrate the state centennial with massive unemployment, as well.  Let's think about consequences, folks!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Will of The People

I'm not going to try to define my title.  Let's just say that, nowadays, the will of the people is just something any adult New Mexico resident (or NMer) recognizes without explanation.  It is also something, apparently, that any NM politician does not understand.

Take two recent examples:  The recent special legislative session, and the recent Albuquerque city election.

Legislative Session.
Despite the clear will of the people that the politicians in our legislature cover more ground that just redistricting, and cover redistricting with fairness and within the bounds of the Constitution of the State of New Mexico, they  chose rather to do nothing and create legislative boundaries that do nothing more than secure the jobs of current politicians.  The will of the people be damned!

City Election.
Despite the clear will of the people that Albuquerque do away with red-light cameras and the public leaches that sold them to the city, as evidenced by the results of election, I predict that the city council will vote to retain them.  And despite the clear will of the people that we do not need any more public money spent on frivolous pet projects, Mayor Berry, is expected to push on with The Plan for Albuquerque whether the voters said no or not.

It's examples like this that have young patriots camped out on UNM property.  They may not have good ideas, and they may just be playing into the hands of the ultra left, but they know that something is going on in America, and it's not The Will Of The People!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Chickens Come Home to Roost

None of us with any knowledge of the business of Passenger Rail think that it is a walk in the park. Start a passenger train, let alone a full schedule of trains, from scratch requires capital, hard work, luck and a loyal customer base. Preferably that base is a broad one, drawn from a variety of demographics. If you are running a train, you should also hope that both ends of your line originate traffic.

Readers of this blog will recall my skepticism and incredulity when then New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson went out of his way to fund rail passenger service for the Mid-Region Council of Governments, AKA MRCOG. This service, one of Gov. Bill's "legacies", from Belen, NM, through Albuquerque, to Santa Fe, is now known as New Mexico Rail Runner Express. Look on my second page to see some photos.

I wrote at the time that the route was too costly and that the whole project would eventually cost the taxpayers of New Mexico many millions of dollars in subsidies. Albuquerque just isn't the kind of metro area that you find in places like Seattle or Dallas. If done at all, the service could have used existing tracks instead of new ones, used DMUs instead of full-fledged communter rail equipment, and grown with demand rather than taking a "build it and they will come" approach. Even now, with heavy rail tracks built all the way into Santa Fe, the equipment could be owned and operate by another entity under subsidy. And New Mexico will now have the dubious distinction of trying to make BNSF Railway run the Lamy to Raton portion of the original Santa Fe Raton Pass line in order to keep just one long distance train, Amtrak's Southwest Chief, running.

In the future, if you hear someone ask, "Who killed the Chief?" the answer will be either New Mexico or Railrunner Express.

The Albuquerque Journal of Sunday, June 19, 2011, reports that the service averages "about" 4,500 passenger boardings on weekdays. That's not a lot. It's why the beginning of the whine has started, as the Rio Metro Regional Transit District board decided to cut weekends from the schedule. Passenger boardings on weekend days of only 1,000 make this seem logical, but the politicians on the board see it as a way to speak to current Gov. Susana Martinez. "Whine! We need more taxpayer money. Whine! The businesses who depend on weekend recreational travelers will lose money. Whine!"

Frankly, as a taxpaying NMer, I don't see why I should have to subsidize riders to the tune of an (estimated) $40 to $80 a boarding just so they don't lose the profit from that latte. I don't think we should let them eat cake, but let them adjust their business practices to take advantage of the business that remains. Or learn a lesson, which is: Don't depend on the taxpayer to keep you in business.

But the better lesson is this. When you're local politician starts to talk about his or her legacy, hide your wallet and your kid's wallet and your grandkid's wallet. The state will be picking their pocket for the legacy forever.

©2011 - C. A. Turek -
For the full benefit of all the links in this post, please go to Passenger Rail.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here We Go Again

OPINION.  John Sanchez v. Heather Wilson.  The only thing I have to say about this is that I was hoping fellow conservatives in NM would be a helluva lot smarter.  Like Heather Wilson smart.

I know a lot of NMers think that we need a senator who is "of the people."  And Heather Wilson is just too well educated and experienced for a lot of NMers to identify with.  That's so much hogwash we ought to have the cleanest hogs in the Lower Forty-Eight.  (By the way NMers is pronounced enn-EMM-ers.)

We elect Lt. Govs the same way we elect vice-presidents.  We put them where they can do the least amount of harm and be useful when and if called upon.  We pray that Govs do not die in office and cause the Lt. Govs to become them.  John Sanchez is right where he belongs.  Right now.

Mr. Sanchez is as close to a RINO as it gets.  Whereas Heather Wilson has leadership skills and a demonstrated mind of her own, like most RINOs, Mr. Sanchez has only the desire to be a senator, a representative, a Gov, or something other than the owner of a roofing company.  He is jealous Gary Johnson thought of running for president first.  My serious reservations are that he would not stand pat for a single difficult issue unless some other prominent Republican could be blamed for it.  And, if elected to the senate, he would be doing it for SIX years.

Vote for Heather

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Everybody Has To Have a Pet

The trouble is, where politics in New Mexico are concerned, that pet is more often than not something that requires tax dollars.  And I think we're all finding out that those dollars are limited.  Once the federal government figures out it can't print more dollars (borrow more), those free dollars will be gone for a long, long while.

So while the legislature is meeting, we've all got to find a way to cut off our pets.  (You would think it was equivalent to leaving your poor family dog at a shelter, and you would be right when it comes to some politicians and special-interest groups.)  So here's a list of the most money-consuming pets.  Let's bite the bullet and leave them at the shelter, ladies and gentlement of the legislature!

Railrunner Express,  NM Spaceport, subsidies for movie production, about half the administrative positions in the school system from the state universities on down to grade K and beyond, about half the administrative positions in state government, any funding at all for take-home police cars (local, county or state), time and money for naming things the "Official State (blank)," any state airplane (let em ride the bus or drive), any state non-police motor vehicle that costs more than a Ford Focus, ANY project to add bicycle lanes ANYWHERE (let em ride the bus or drive), new gravel for medians (just lumpier sand and sand we've got), public art (let em go to a museum), any land purchase to keep resources out of the hands of private enterprise.

If you ladies and gents in the legislature can address just a few of the above, we'll all be better off. 

I'll add to the list at a later date.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.