Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sign of The Times: "Closed Due To Crime", A Head Scratcher Over NM Water And The Media And The Roundhouse 

The ABQ headlines are not eliciting shouts of "Spring is here!" The city was hit with a mini-crime wave over the weekend that claimed three lives, signaling that the city's crime and punishment problem is still its stickiest. Don't think that impacts most people? Well, look at this from Wal-Mart. Crime at some of its locations is so bad they're shutting them down overnight:

Walmart policy is to keep many of its stores open 24 hours, but the retailer is closing at midnight at some Albuquerque locations, and a rash of crime seems to be a key reason. . . Walmart stores at Coors and I-40, San Mateo near Central, and Eubank near I-40 are three locations that Albuquerque police say keep them busy. The stores are cutting hours and will now be open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Shootings, shoplifting, drug busts and deaths have all happened at the three stores. 

When you see that kind of stuff you know that ABQ remains a mid-sized city with a big city crime problem.

How are you going to get business coming here, Mr. Mayor, when one of the largest employers in the metro can't keep its doors open over night?


Watch out for the howls when this news is fully digested. A top official serving under controversial NM Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera is among the first wave of applicants for the position of ABQ Public Schools Superintendent. Hipolito "Paul" Aguilar is Deputy Secretary for Finance and Operations at PED.

Aguilar has the credentials. He was a teacher in the Bernalillo Public School District, earned a Bachelor's in Elementary and Special Education and a Master's in Education Administration from NM Highlands University. He also was an education analyst at the Legislative Finance Committee. But it will be his connections to Skandera and her policies and politics that will be the point of contention, if Aguilar emerges as a likely choice.

ABQ City Councilor Brad Winter, a Republican with close ties to the Guv's political machine, is the current interim APS Super. The seven member school board will make the call on his replacement. This is one to watch. . .

Speaking of the Guv's machine, a former 2010 campaign aide to the Guv is breathing a bit easier. All claims against Anissa Ford in a federal lawsuit have been dismissed. The other defendants, including NM Dem Party Chairman Sam Bregman, still face claims. Ford and the others were sued for allegedly violating federal privacy protections by their involvement in intercepting and disclosing email from the governor’s hijacked email account. Here's the federal court order dismissing the charges against Ford.


Here's a head scratcher from a recent news article on NM water:

It is almost impossible to say with certainty who owns water rights in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, and it would be obscenely expensive to find out. If you can’t be certain who owns the right, you can’t create a market to buy, sell and lease water. Since it is hard to obtain water rights, and since nature doesn’t seem to want to give us more water, conservation is the best way to stretch supplies.

Well, what looks "impossible" today will become probable--if and when the day comes that the city faces a real water crisis. All that water going for unneeded alfalfa will be rushed into ABQ quicker than you can say: "There's money to be made." And that's today's lesson in capitalism.


Joe Monahan
We noted the explosion in on-line media that covers the NM Legislature, but this self-described "Veteran Wall-Leaner" rightly points out that is not the case with the mainstream media:

As important as what's happening in Santa Fe, the coverage by the mass media is underwhelming. Yes, there's AP coverage, coverage by the administration-friendly Albuquerque Journal, and the Santa Fe New Mexican. The public radio stations don't really staff the session anymore. In the past the Albuquerque TV stations had full time Santa Fe bureaus. Now the general assignment reporters provide superficial coverage. I used to think the voters were informed. Now, not so much.

No doubt mainstream media budgets and priorities have meant a cut in their coverage and that means average voters who don't immerse themselves in online media aren't getting as much info. But the contention of our Wall-Leaner that "as important as what's happening in Santa Fe. . . " doesn't hold up.

What is happening in Santa Fe is only important in the context of what is not happening. Legislative sessions have been reduced to annual squabbles with no significant attacks on the systemic poverty, loss of government jobs or education and social problems that keep the state at the bottom of the national rankings and that have forced people to flee to other states. The Legislature has become a bauble for journalists, lobbyists, contract seekers and political jesters.

Okay, enough about the Roundhouse. Spring is Here!

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