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Friday, December 28, 2012

Hottest Year Since Statehood Draws Our Blogging Attention, Plus: More Comings And Goings On The Year End Econ Beat  

They're saying it's the state's warmest year in over a hundred years of record keeping, yet modern water conservation methods have been a major factor in keeping ABQ way ahead of the curve in providing enough of the precious stuff for nearly a million people who now live in Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties. That's the good news. The bad news is the continued fretting over global warming. Does ABQ's 2012 heat wave have any long-term meaning in that regard?

Much of what is written about ABQ water seems to come from a perspective that water use will gobble up less and less supply and that shortages are inevitable. They aren't.

We've been reading the disaster scenarios since the early 70's and none has even come close to coming true Why? The aforementioned technological advances in saving and using water is one reason. Another is the great triumph of New Mexico politicians like Senator Clinton Anderson in getting us water via the San Juan Chama Diversion Project and having leaders like Senator Domenici and former ABQ Mayor Chavez seeing it through to fruition.

But there is pain. A byproduct of this unusually hot and dry spell has meant a near epic drought across a wide swath of our enchanted land, including dozens of cattle ranches, many of which are now struggling to survive as rain refuses to fall.

We spoke recently to the annual convention of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association and water was their #1 concern--and sadly the reason some of them are going out of business. Following us on the podium was a climatologist offering the none too soothing news that our long drought is not about to be washed away anytime soon.

In light of all this, the appointment of ABQ Congresswoman-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham to the House Agriculture Committee doesn't seem quite so odd or off the beaten path for what's important to her largely urban district. There is a lot of rural acreage in the district, including the ABQ South Valley and all of Torrance County. Maybe she can develop an interest in water--or the lack thereof--as she prepares to take the oath of office next week and begins her first term in the US House.

MORE TO COME IN '13?

The aftershocks from the ABQ housing bust are long-lasting. With home construction still in the doldrums and no major job creation in the metro, you have to wonder if this closing news of 2012 is a precursor of 2013

Leishman Interiors, an Albuquerque-based home furnishings store, is set to close its doors after being in business since 1974.According to a report in the Albuquerque Journal, owner Scott Leishman announced a going-out-of-business sale Dec. 26 because of the poor economy and worries about the cost of renewing his lease on the 24,000-square-foot store and warehouse at 5809 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE in the Mountain Run Shopping Center. “Today’s economy is not like it was five years ago,” Leishman told the Journal.

NO GROWTH IS GOOD?

Well, we can always look at the no-growth state economy in a different light. That's what reader Larry Gioannini of Las Cruces did when he read our Thursday blog about the state's stagnant population:

Considering the state's water shortage, air pollution, reliance on extractive industries and the federal dole in the form of defense dollars, the slow-down in growth should be hailed as a step in the right direction for the future of NM. It's both amusing and sad to hear what are likely Republicans criticize government for failing to continuously grow the economy enough to make them ever more well-off in the short term regardless of the long term harm...Never ending growth is not possible in a finite system. The sooner we adjust to that the less painful it will be. Are you noticing any climate change yet?

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