Thursday, October 8, 2015

Diddling Around With Albuquerque

We (not the editorial we but we the people) had a municipal election yesterday.  A whopping 8% turnout.  Not sure if that's 8% of registered voters or just of those people of voting age living in the City of Albuquerque--aka Burque or just ABQ.  Not important.  It's a dismal number because most of us know that it's useless to vote for any of the politicians that were running.

Oh, sure.  We elect a new politician every now and then.  It takes them about a year to start doing the same damn things the old politician was doing, sometimes doing them even better (worse?) than the old one.  Case in point:  A couple mayoral admins ago, the city started converting perfectly good traffic lanes to bicycle lanes.  It's an if-you-build-it-they-will-ride-their-bicycles mentality.  When we finally got a conservative mayor into office, I expected this nonsense would stop.  After all, everyone continually complains about lack of jobs; and employers don't move jobs into a city just because their new employees can ride their bikes to work.  (Unless the employer is a totally Californicated liberal moonbeam microchipped dotcom 3D animation studio tofu for breakfast lunch and dinner type--and they don't give a flying rat's patoo about Albuquerque even with the bicycle lanes).

To be fair, movies are made in and around Albuquerque and New Mexico--a couple infamous TV series, too.  But I guarantee none of them want their people to show up for shooting on bicycles.  They roar into town with motorcades sufficient to carry a UN full of dignitaries, and convoys of industrial-sized wheels enough to carry on a major offensive in a third-world country.  Not many bicycles, though.

In case you were wondering, I'm telling you the nonsense of converting traffic lanes to bicycle lanes is continuing, depriving residents who do actually need to drive to work of both sufficient roadways and sufficient parking, sometimes in front of their own houses.  Since Albuquerque has never seen its way clear to outlaw overnight street parking, which would make the city look a lot better to outsiders, suddenly taking away on-street parking spaces is problematic at best, a slap in the face to local residents, and a pander to the bicycle lobby.   (I respect anyone who can pedal a bike more than a block at Albuquerque's altitude, and don't suggest we should deprive anyone of the opportunity to do so.  Let's just be smart about it.)

Another interesting diddle is the transit service.  This consists of the bus system and the Richardsonian (not architecture but former Gov. Bill Richardson) commuter train called Rail Runner Express, for which the State of New Mexico is and will be grandly paying for years to come.  The bus system has three subdivisions, that I can see:  The normal bus routes, the so-called Rapid Ride (faster? No.), and the on-call system for disabled and elderly.  Collectively, the bus systems is known as ABQ Ride.  As far as I can tell, the bus system is under-utilized and not particularly convenient.  Sure there are peak times when the buses are full, but then there are times during any day you can see an ad-wrapped bus scooting up the street with nobody on board, convenient for nobody but the lawyer who bought the ad.  (They sell ad-wrap advertising to cover the windows and keep you from seeing this, I think.)  So now the mayor wants to start a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) by taking more than the usual bike lanes from Old US 66, aka Central Avenue, the city's only iconic business thorofare.  It's feature controlled signalling for cross traffic, special bus stations in the medians, and other golly-gosh fru-fru.  Believe me.  That's what the Rapid Ride (vapid ride?) was supposed to have.

Meanwhile, the Rail Runner was supposed to stimulate TOD (Transit Oriented Development), and hasn't.  The only thing that developed is a drain on the treasury.  And everybody goes ga-ga for these improvements every time they're introduced and nobody ever . . . EVER . . . thinks about the cost of maintenance and depreciation of these systems once they're built.  Only the best way to get federal funding so some connected contractor can have a new Porsche and his crews can have a job for a few months one year.

I'll keep my vote to myself.  Thank you very much.

©2015 C. A. Turek -

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eyes to See With, Ears to Hear

Yeah, it's a biblical phrase.  So sue me!  The fact that half the population of the U.S. can turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the crap being pulled by the political left is frustrating to the extreme.  

So I'm going to treat you to a blog rant right here!

Let's start with the (still-meeting, still trying to avoid solid legislation) New Mexico legislature.  First frustration:  How can anybody think that "social promotion" of a third-grader to the next grade when he or she can't read to grade level is good for the child?  But that's what the "progressives" want to continue.  After all, like the War on Poverty, it has worked so well for so long that we've got three generations of public school "graduates" who are illiterate in several languages.  The argument is that being held back is a stigma, and maybe we should do something like "extra help" during regular class time in the next grade.

I don't know when these people were in school, but the guy/girl who gets set aside for "extra help" in the classroom is the one who is going to be teased.  So much for stigma.  On the other hand, the child who was held back will have a mild advantage over the new kids in the old grade.  Perhaps the advantage will give the held-back child the confidence to excel and get the heck back to grade level.  Since social promotion hasn't worked, it's worth a shot to do it the other way for awhile.

Next frustration: Somehow, the progressives argue, driver's licenses make those who have them better and more responsible drivers.  What hole have their heads been in?  Just because New Mexico grants a non-restricted driver's license to those who are illegally in the U.S., it hasn't made the streets of Albuquerque any safer, nor has it made them any better insured.  It's a hollow argument that those of us who are conservative will never win because granting driver's licenses to illegals just may give the progressives the opportunity to let them vote for their side in the next election.  Come on, people!

Another frustration:  Right to Work (followed by a strong dose of increasing the minimum wage).  It's impossible to logically argue that forcing someone to pay union dues to get a job is vital to growing a flourishing business community.  Let's face it!  No employer considering a move to, or opening a business in New Mexico wants to have to deal with the extra costs associated with collecting union dues.  And Right to Work does not prohibit unions from organizing once the business is open.  Let's not put the cart before the horse.  Bring in the business!  If the business is then established in the state and then treats its workers badly, bring in the unions!

I've got more.  Lot's more.  Like the idiot conservatives who vigorously opposed Obamacare but are now complaining that a total abolition of Obamacare will hurt people that it has helped!  Hello! You don't know it has helped anyone!  The numbers aren't in yet, and if they are, they are being spoon fed to us in doses that have been adulterated by political crap.  Let's get rid of it before it hurts us all more than it already has!

©2015 - C. A. Turek -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Winter State Fair

The New Mexico Legislature is meeting again.  I like to think of it as the Winter State Fair.  Unlike the late summer event that takes place in Albuquerque, the winter version happens in Santa Fe at the capitol building we refer to as The Roundhouse.  It's either because they built it on an abandoned railroad yard or because of the punches thrown by legislators from one side of the aisle to the other.  Either way, more people go to Santa Fe to see the special events and have fun and games than go to Albuquerque in the summer for the carnival rides and beer.

I can predict two things with certainty:

  1. Only about 10 percent of the bills introduced will be passed.  That's a good thing.  Only about 1 percent of the bills intruduced will probably have anything to do with real state business.  The rest of them will be things like naming the State Spinach Salad, or funding a study of whether it's shorter to drive to Santa Fe via I-25 or Highway 14.  Once the study establishes the shorter route, there will be heated debate as to whether they used the right kind of ruler.
  2. It will cost New Mexico citizens more tax money.  I'll grant you that Republican Governor Martinez has kept her promise on taxes for the most part, but that doesn't mean those pesky little hidden taxes won't keep cropping up.  Things like increased tuition at state colleges, for example.
Other things that I can predict with confidence:
  • There will be at least one constitutional crisis, as legislators are actually forced to read a copy.
  • There may be a second crisis as it is determined that the legislature doesn't own a copy.
  • At least one Democrat will call a specific Republican a bad name.
  • At least 75 percent of the Democrats will call all Republicans a bad name.
  • There will be livestock.
  • The legislature will spend at least one afternoon debating who will clean up after the livestock.
  • The Democrats will find undocumented workers to clean it up at less than minimum wage.
  • The Democrats will propose several bills to raise the minimum wage.
  • Global warming or climate change will be mentioned at least once in conjunction with each of the following: Oil and gas exploration, gas prices, jobs, education, beer, teacher pay, Republicans, the rich, the poor, green chiles, the homeless, Obamacare, Social Security, bean burritos, Medicare, minimum wage, baseball, beer, and, if they can get it all in, tamales, posole, enchiladas, sopapillas, and beer.
Because New Mexico has a citizen legislature, it only meets for one or two months a year.  This is also good.  It limits the damage that can be done and prevents the politicians from thinking of it as a real job.  This year, the Winter State Fair will go on for 60 days total.  Watch this page to see how many of my predictions come true.

© C. A. Turek -
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.