Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stagnation At The Top: At UNM, APD And Santa Fe; Allow Us To Vent 

We're going to do a little venting today and we begin with an old saying we heard growing up: "There's nothing that ails this place that a couple of funerals wouldn't solve." Well, that's a bit harsh but it sums up the problem at the top of several key institutions in our little 'ol state.

Start with the University of New Mexico where the recent news reveals that our "Harvard on the Rio Grande" doesn't bother to provide reliable Wi-Fi to our kids. The connections in public places on campus are unpredictable or simply broke. This is the higher education environment that is supposed to make us competitive with the rest of the world? It would take $5 million to upgrade the system and give students Wi-Fi anywhere at anytime. That's a drop in the bucket and you can bet if it was an athletic department problem it would be solved quickly by the sports-addled UNM Regents and President.

UNM gets a new president later this year. If he doesn't clean house from top to bottom--at his office, the athletic department and elsewhere--there will be little hope that the stagnation will end. We have our fingers crossed.

And then there's the gridlock at the ABQ Police Department and the Mayor who won't move. The chief of police is effectively immobilized--a captive of his charges as he is under incessant fire over a multitude of police shootings and gradually losing whatever confidence he still carries. Four Democratic City Councilors ask the Mayor to do something and he responds that they aren't telling him what to do.


Isn't that the job of a Mayor--to provide executive leadership--to kick ass and take names when necessary. (Although the generally milquetoast city council could have called for the Chief to head for the exits).

Mayor Berry, probably relying on polling, retorts that the APD is "one of the finest" in the country. That's not an answer. That's more stagnation. The Department of Justice is mulling over a request for a review of APD and the multiple fatal shootings. The hope is they will move in and provide the tough-minded leadership that continues to evade the 11th Floor of City Hall.

And then there's the State Senate in Santa Fe. Talk about a blast from the past. A conservative coalition of Dems and R's was formed during the bullying days of former Governor Big Bill and it remains fully intact. That, despite the presence of a conservative Governor on the Fourth Floor. The state always needs debate and push back to executive power--as the coalition provided when Bill was Governor--and it needs it now. But you don't push back against a conservative governor with a conservative coalition. That's a recipe for---here comes that word again---stagnation.

There are many more examples of stagnation at the political top (you probably have a few of your own) and where a few good firings or retirements would get the logs rolling down the river again. Let us know.


Gary Johnson could not do it when he was Governor here, but the state of Washington is thinking seriously about it.

...A momentous initiative to legalize marijuana for all adults, which will be on the ballot this fall, is being opposed by the medical marijuana industry that the previous initiative created. Initiative 502, as the measure is known, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana without penalty. The state would issue licenses to marijuana farmers, distributors and even stores, which could then sell pot over the counter like beer. The plan...is about more than stoners’ rights: legalizing and regulating the pot market would wrest profits from murderous foreign cartels while helping the beleaguered state budget. Officials recently estimated the measure could generate up to $606 million in tax revenue in the first year.Every recent poll except one has shown most Washington voters are now ready to pass the initiative. But support has slipped since last fall, down to only 51 percent, according to SurveyUSA.

Look at that, Gary. Never mind running for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, you're true calling may be found as Governor of Washington...


It's Spring and Reader Joe Campos writes:

Joe, Forget politics for awhile and go out to the ballpark and see some fantastic ball players. Last night I got to see second baseman Castallanos make diving catches, stealing basis,  even home plate on a wild pitch, making big hits and finally hitting a three run homer!! Final score was Isotopes 13, Iowa Cubs 6. And then there's Van Slyke, Cruz, Fields (Campos) and the rest of the team pounding the ball. Even the pitcher Fife (Deputy Barney) got a hit and pitched nearly six innings.

Enjoyed the game with good friends. Nothing like a cold beer, a footlong hot dog, a night of baseball, great weather, and good friends for an enjoyable evening!

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