Monday, June 20, 2016

Mayor Berry And An ART Attack, Lots Of Space For The SOS Race, Brian's Bad Optics And On The Fire Line  

Mayor Berry, you're giving us an ART attack. The news:

Mayor Berry’s $119 million bus rapid transit project down ABQ's Central Avenue will create traffic congestion where none exists and will have to be junked in 19 years to alleviate the congestion it created. That’s not a line from a satirist or comedian, it’s the city’s own assessment of the project submitted in the application it made to get $69 million in federal grant money for ART. And, it’s one of many claims in the city’s 2015 application to the Federal Transit Administration for the grant that don’t make sense, are contradictory or are just plain false, ART critics said during a recent meeting to discuss the project.

Business owners up and down the line--many of them fellow Republicans of Berry--have lined up in opposition to the bus plan, saying it's a business killer and traffic jam creator. Berry is not listening and charging forward. However, a federal lawsuit may stop him.


It's the only statewide executive office on this year's ballot so there's plenty of ink to spare (or digits) for covering the race for secretary of state between Dem Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Roswell Republican Nora Espinoza. The Roswell Record gives it the treatment, coming with 1,600 words on the contest featuring their hometown state representative. Espinoza spends a good portion of her space attacking Oliver over voter ID. Espinoza is for it, Oliver is against it and the public--according to the polls--overwhelmingly agrees with Espinoza.


Rep. Egolf
State House Minority Leader Brian Egolf of Santa Fe is leading the charge this year for the Dems to take back control of the state House which the Republicans took over in 2014. If they do, he stands to become Speaker of the House. So why, in his role as a private attorney, is he defending the controversial practice of fracking which is so offensive to the Democratic base? The news:

Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn and lawyer Brian Egolf are locked in a legal dispute over a company’s plan to draw potable water from wells in SE NM that could be used for fracking. Ironically, the conflict has inverted traditional positions promoted by Dunn--a Republican who generally supports oil and gas activities--and Egolf, a House Democrat known for his efforts to limit environmental damage from hydraulic fracturing. Dunn is now opposing plans by the private company to drill into the aquifer in Lea County that generally holds potable water that could be used for oil and gas operations. The Land Office says it wants the company to dig deeper into more brackish layers of the aquifer. Egolf, who is defending the company, said the Land Office is trampling on the rights of a small company that deserves legal protection independent of Egolf’s environmental positions as a state legislator.

"Independent of Egolf's environmental positions?" What? Dems are supposed to make that distinction? You mean the same way they did when then NM Dem Party Chairman and attorney Sam Bregman took the case of two APD officers accused of killing a homeless camper?

Serving two masters is never a good idea and in the heat of a historic campaign to take back the House it seems especially ill-advised. But, hey, a guy has to make a living.


Fernanada Santos
As the Dog Head fire east of ABQ raged on Friday, the visit to the city by Fernanda Santos, author of a new book on one of the deadliest wildfires in US history, was particularly timely.

Santos, the Phoenix bureau chief of the New York Times who immigrated to the US from Brazil, stopped by Bookworks in ABQ's North Valley to read passages from and field questions about "The Fire Line."  It's the story of the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire in neighboring Arizona that claimed the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, members of the Prescott, AZ fire department. It was one of the deadliest days in American firefighting.

One reviewer described the book as a "riveting, pulse pounding account of an American tragedy. . ."  It's available at Bookworks and will resonate with New Mexicans who in recent years have been witness to a number of spectacular wildfires.


Brian Tierney of he ABQ Tea Party writes:

The Albuquerque Tea Party will host a legislative candidate forum Tuesday, June 21, at 7 p.m. at the UNM Continuing Ed. Center, 1634 University Dr. NE.  We are expecting three state Senate candidates to attend: Democratic Sen. John Sapien, his Republican challenger Diego Espinoza, and Republican Eric Burton who is challenging ABQ  Democratic State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto.

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