By Marisa Demarco, Christie Chisholm and Simon McCormack
More Cash Means Fewer Clunkers—This year's election cycle offers a couple of exciting candidates, some so-so contenders and one or two duds. Over the past few weeks the Alibi sat down with those running for mayor and those vying for the odd-numbered City Council seats. The reaction from us was mostly: Meh.
You have to bring a photo ID to the polls now. That means your passport, government badge, driver’s license, student ID, union card or basically anything that has both your picture and name and is official in some capacity. For a complete list, go to Common Cause New Mexico’s election protection website, counteveryvotenm.org.
In addition to sitting down with candidates to interview them face-to-face, the Alibi also sent all the contenders questionnaires. Click on the names below to read their responses. Check back for more that roll in.
Mayor Martin Chavez is really good at a few things. And he’ll never let you forget it.
Chavez has been mayor of Albuquerque for 12 years, from 1993 to 1997, and later for two consecutive terms beginning in 2001. In the past, Albuquerque mayors were only allowed to serve two terms back to back. But Chavez suedthe city early last year to have the term limit for the office removed—after he withdrew from the race for U.S. Senate—and he was successful.
Occupation: Attorney Private Practice; Family Law and Bankruptcy
Political Experience: City Councilor, still in my first term. I was a Special Assistant Attorney General for several years, then an Assistant City Attorney for approximately two years with the City of Albuquerque.
Political Experience: Election poll worker; president, election poll location; worker, absentee count, city special election; registration of voters; worker, on campaigns of political candidates; executive officer, student association; president, racing oriented bicycle club.
1) What's your plan of action for three major citywide issues?
Public Safety: Increase the Albuquerque Police Department by 100 officers in 18 months, push our lawmakers for tougher penalties for repeat offenders and expand community policing and neighborhood watch programs. Forge new partnerships with our schools.
Ken Sanchez is running for re-election this year without a challenger. Sanchez knows the issues of his Southwest district well. Gangs flourish in the area, and property crime numbers are up. Houses were built, but retail wasn't. Extra fees and taxes have been paid into city coffers for years, but infrastructure is lacking. The roadways are bizarre in the area, and the passages across the Rio Grande are often clogged.
Occupation: Vice President Gilbert Sanchez Tax & Accounting Service and Enrolled Agent to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service. President of Ken Sanchez & Associates Realty. Affiliate with Prudential Financial.
You can't ask for a better councilor than Isaac Benton. Early in his first term, he was faced with the immediate problem of flooding in Barelas and the Santa Barbara / Martineztown area. Benton says the flooding wasn't a top priority of Mayor Martin Chavez' administration at first. He passed a bill through the Council that forced it to the top of Chavez' to-do list. Benton's efforts resulted in new storm drainage retention ponds in those neighborhoods that reduce the chance of future floods.
Dan Lewis wants Michael Cadigan's job, and his campaigning fueled perhaps the ugliest Council race this season. Unfortunately, Cadigan was a topic Lewis couldn't let lie during his endorsement interview with the Alibi. The pastor and small-business owner called the councilor ineffective and demeaning, said he was too hostile to the city administration, and declared him “combative.” And that was just the first five minutes.
What a horrible thing to not endorse any candidates, especially when we started out with three hopefuls. But here's how the District 7 race has gone down: Two months ago, incumbent Sally Mayer was running for re-election against challengers David Green and Mike Cook. David Green failed to turn in his Declaration of Candidacy to the City Clerk's Office in time. His name will be absent from the ballot, although he's still running as a write-in candidate. Green doesn't appear to have a campaign website, so all we can tell you about him is this: He's a baker and this is his first time running for public office.
In his first term, Don Harris did a lot of good for people in his district who aren't the noisiest or most powerful. His predecessors "kissed the ring of Four Hills," as Harris puts it, and didn't do much else. Keeping Four Hills happy might be all it takes to secure a Council seat in District 9, but Harris tackled more.
The Alibi endorses all bonds proposed on the ballot. This year, all bonds are General Obligation (GO). Bonds are debt the city incurs for capital improvement projects. When a city takes out a bond, it promises to pay the balance back in full with interest. None of these bonds will increase property taxes. Here's what you're being asked to vote for.
In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance to review the city charter. From that review, the Council presented 10 recommendations to the mayor that would amend the charter. The mayor vetoed all the amendments, but the Council overrode his veto in August. The result is that the voting public now gets to decide on the amendments individually in this election. Here's what they are:
It would be crazy not to vote for this tax. The money from this tax goes directly to road maintenance, public transit, trails and bike paths. And we’re talking about 25 cents for every $100 spent. It’s been in place since 2000 and is set to expire at the end of this year. And just to set citizens’ minds further at ease, this gem of a sentence was added: “No portion of the revenue generated by the transportation infrastructure gross receipts tax shall be used to build or operate any rail transportation system until such a system is approved at a separate election by the voters.” Got it? No light-rail. No modern streetcar. No trolley. Well, they won’t be funded by this tax, anyway—not unless in some future election you call for them.
I first learned about Casa de Benavidez from an old hippie in Placitas. His eyes glazed dreamily as he described a North Valley restaurant that serves “Placitas-style” New Mexican food. Rita Benavidez, the owner, grew up near the old hippie’s commune. When I asked him if he’d join me for dinner, he said, “Just give me enough advance notice. I’ll need to shave.”
We're nearing the end of the stone fruit season (apricots, peaches, nectarines and the like), and tomatoes are really rocking, so why not throw them together? Just like throwing a little salt on your dessert, these two fruits offer flavors and textures that complement and contrast each other; both are acidic, both are (or should be) sweet and both have a lusty, oozy nature that prompts slurping and licking. It was only a matter of time before they ended up on the cutting board together. Are peach soups and tomato cobblers in the not-so-distant future?
Memorial honors the 100 New Mexico bicyclists killed by vehicles in the last two decades
By Danny Hernandez
Sunday, Sept. 20, was the perfect day for a ride—temperate weather, no wind and the rain clouds hovered over the distant southwest valley. Two-hundred bicyclists gathered in a parking lot at the corner of Jefferson and Copper.
More sunshine is the key to illuminating shadowy government shenanigans. Councilors delayed but did not kill a proposal to shine a beam on the city’s financial business. Councilor Rey Garduño asked for expedited approval of his transparency bill at the Monday, Sept. 21 Council meeting. Some councilors agreed with Garduño, saying there was no reason to wait and they should just “get it done.” Councilor Trudy Jones and the city’s administration reminded everyone they're required to have a fiscal impact report ready for inspection when the bill comes up for approval. Garduño’s measure did not have a fiscal impact report attached yet.
Cyclists say roads aren't safe for two-wheeled travelers
By Simon McCormack
Larry Kepley was peddling south on Tramway near Spain.
As he approached the right turn lane, Kepley suddenly lost control of his bike, flying over the handlebars and landing on his shoulder, hip and face. He walked away with a bad bruise that didn't require any major medical attention. Though the accident happened last year, he still remembers how he felt when he landed. "I was pissed off," he says. "It was as if someone had reached underneath me and pulled the bike from under me."
Kepley says the cause of his crash was uneven paving on Tramway, which created a ridge in the road that sent him sprawling. Diane Albert, president of the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico, says stories like Kepley's are all too common. She says the state Department of Transportation (DOT) must do a better job of keeping roads suitable for cyclists. "These types of crashes dissuade people from biking because they perceive it to be unsafe," Albert says. "These road conditions are all over the state."
Dateline: Nigeria—A housewife has filed for divorce from her husband because he will not stop defecating in the family’s cooking pots. According to the Online Nigeria website, Oluwakemi Ogundele told the Igando Customary Court in Lagos earlier this month that her husband, Oluwafemi, is a violent drunkard. To add insult to injury, Oluwafemi has an unfortunate habit of pooping in cooking pots and on dinner plates when intoxicated. Mrs. Ogundele asked the court to dissolve the marriage because Oluwafemi no longer provides for her or her children and because she does not love him. Oluwafemi denied charges of spousal abuse and crockery defecation, but admitted there is no love left between the couple. The court adjourned the matter until later this month and warned the couple to remain civil with one another in the meantime.
What the heck is “found footage”? Well, in the simplest terms, it’s any film or video footage that someone has—through their vast pop cultural archaeology skills—collected, stumbled across or otherwise unearthed from the trash bin of time. Now, for the first time ever, The Found Footage Film Festival is making a stop in New Mexico. This acclaimed touring showcase of odd and hilarious found clips is curated and hosted (live and in-person) by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, whose credits include The Onion, “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Colbert Report.” Among those contributing garage sale finds, warehouse excavations and prized dumpster dives are comedians David Cross, David Wain and Kumail Nanjiani. Weird old TV commercials, bizarro PSAs, freaky home movies, indecipherable Saturday morning cartoons and one-of-a-kind exercise videos featuring the likes of Dolph Lundgren, Milton Berle and WWF’s The Bushwhackers are just the tip of the iceberg! The Found Footage Fest rolls into UNM’s Southwest Film Center on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. for one must-not-miss screening. Check out foundfootagefest.com for more info.
There's no chance for single-payer health care, says David Brancaccio. Actually, it was dead in the water early on, and he can pinpoint the moment of its demise. Months ago, the Obama administration said it wasn’t going to do away with insurance companies. “They were too powerful, I think, is what the issue was. At that point, there was no chance."
The Warriors is one of my favorite films of all time. Indeed, Walter Hill’s 1979 gang classic holds such a special place in my cold, darkened heart that my blind affection has led to many a passionate debate (and even a fistfight or two) over its artistic merit as a cult film. You see, we diehard cinephiles tend to wear our cinematic tastes firmly on our sleeves. And when someone dares to trash-talk a film we hold dear ... well, you’d better hold on to your panties, Margaret, because trouble’s a-brewing. No other gang film has ever matched the pure badassery and retro-hipness of The Warriors. But even a jaded refugee of ’70s cinema such as myself has to admit one thing: The Wanderers comes pretty damn close.
If you’re a fan of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, then you’re probably a regular viewer of “Robot Chicken.” Over the seasons, that stop-motion-animated pop-cultural mashup has skewered just about every sacred cow from your childhood (provided your childhood fell sometime between 1970 and 1989). Plenty of people can produce a funny parody of Star Wars (well, not the makers of “Family Guy,” but anyway). It takes a special group of evil nerd geniuses, however, to even remember what the hell the “Shirt Tales” cartoon was about. Creating an amusing skit about it is just the icing on the cake.
Pile onto the Marble Brewery patio (First Street and Marble NW, 21+) for garage punk supreme by The Scrams. 8 p.m. and free, but bring cash for the band’s brand-new, rumpus-ready 7-inch. (Laura Marrich)
What to do about teenagers? They ruin your couches, they smell weird and there's lots of hugging. We older folk forget, perhaps intentionally, that we were once also pimply bundles of barely contained hormonal explosions. Maybe instead of locking our car doors when they walk by, we should look at giving them better than we got.
This is the answer Jesse Daves, the owner of Amyo Farms—a local pesticide-free grower—gives when I ask him what prompted his transition from a formerly computer-centered life to one of hard manual labor and sunshine.
Autumn is harvest time, and even though this year hasn’t been the most fertile in recent memory, you’ll still be able to find plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables grown by your neighbors until at least mid-November.
Traffic along Central through Nob Hill will just have to slow down. The City Council approved the installation of two stop lights at the intersections of Wellesley and Morningside. The lights are needed for safe pedestrian crossings, according to Councilor Rey Garduño. At the Wednesday, Sept. 9 meeting, several business owners and residents spoke in support, saying pedestrians have to “haul ass” across Central because there are not enough safe crossing points. A couple of councilors griped about Nob Hill getting the lights without a recent traffic engineering study, saying they want more lights in their districts, too. In the end, there was unanimous approval.
I am what you call a city slicker, but my chosen line of work has taken me to small towns across America. I move more than Mongolian sheep herders. I never get to really know anyone outside of work, and before long, I move on.
Most of these locales are at the very least semi-rural and at the most, the country.
Since I was born and raised on concrete, the country is often a source of amusement—the amusement of the country residents at me.
Dateline: China—Whatever you do, don’t shoplift from a Chinese Wal-Mart. A customer at a new Wal-Mart superstore in Jingdezhen apparently died at the hand of Wal-Mart employees who suspected her of stealing. According to the China Daily, employees surveilled suspected shoplifter Yu Xiaochun for several minutes before approaching her. As Yu exited the store, one Wal-Mart employee stopped her and requested a receipt for some merchandise. Yu handed over the receipt, then snatched it back, saying no one was wearing a Wal-Mart uniform and she didn’t believe they worked there. In response, four more Wal-Mart employees allegedly gathered around the woman and began beating her. Yu somehow managed to send an alert to her family through her cellphone. When Yu’s mother and sister showed up at the store, the staff members were allegedly still pummeling her. Police eventually arrived and put a stop to the incident. Yu, 37, was rushed to a nearby hospital but died of her wounds three days later. Police say two of the security guards involved in the incident have been detained.
You haven't you signed up for the Music in Film Summit yet? Sheesh. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18 and 19, Downtown will host panels and parties devoted to getting your music on the big screen, and it's 100 percent free. But before you load up the jalopy and move to California, you need to RSVP in advance of the conference to email@example.com. Log on to newmexicomusic.org for the schedule.
MV & EE plays with sound in the form of electrified acoustic instruments (and vice-versa in Thurston Moore's trippy Ecstatic Peace! label recordings.) Burque’s A.G.L. and The Jeebies open what looks like the last show at 1Kind Studios (1016 Coal SW) on Tuesday, Sept. 22 ... :( . Cover is $5, jammage beings at 8:30 p.m. and it’s still all-ages. ... :) (Laura Marrich)
We’ve mentioned the upcoming Music in Film Summit before in the Alibi, and if you haven’t registered yet, your time is running out. The event takes place this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18 and 19, at the KiMo Theater. Panelists have been confirmed and include an amazing selection of film and music industry professionals like Steven Vincent, VP of Music and Soundtracks at Disney Channel; Randy Spendlove, president of Film Music at Paramount Studios; Dana Sano, music supervisor and producer at Zenden Entertainment; Lizzy Moore, West Coast regional director of The Recording Academy; and Mike Knobloch, senior vice president of Film Music at 20th Century Fox. The folks are coming to New Mexico will teach you (yes, you) how to break into the film music business. On Friday, there will be a film screening starting at 4 p.m. at the KiMo (423 Central NW) followed by a meet-and-greet at One Up Elevated Lounge (301 Central NW). Panels and presentations will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the KiMo. This is a free event, but reservations are required. For more information, visit newmexicomusic.org. To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
True-life character study finds humor in corporate price-fixing of amino acids
By Devin D. O’Leary
Mark Whitacre is no moron. By all accounts, he’s an educated guy. He was president of Archer Daniels Midland’s BioProducts division—the youngest in company history—and that bespeaks a certain level of intelligence. For much of his time at the Fortune 500 company, Whitacre was an undercover informant for the FBI, and you would assume they don’t hire a lot of complete chuckleheads. Whitacre’s problem may simply be that he thinks too much. As portrayed in the loosey-goosey, true-life biopic The Informant!, Whitacre’s brain is a babbling brook that entertains every half-formed idea and every random-neuron non sequiter. Embodied by Matt Damon in workaday, low-glam mode, Mark Whitacre is that genial but infuriating stranger who sits next to you on the plane and just starts talking. For the entire flight. About god knows what. You stopped paying attention 200 miles ago.
While it can’t approach the rarified atmosphere of a Pixar film, Sony’s ambitious, 3-D, computer-animated kiddy flick Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs manages to cook up some harmless, high-flying fun.
The fall 2009 TV season opens up its floodgates this week and lets loose a tsunami of new shows. We’ve got everything from tough cops to hilariously dysfunctional families to mopey teenage vampires to rodent-eating space invaders. But you never can tell which shows will be good and which will suck so hard they’ll pull the remote out of your hand. Nonetheless, you can always make an educated guess ... or a rash pronouncement based on innate prejudice. Either one’s good by me. So, here’s my snap judgment for the best and worst of the upcoming TV season.
I've been playing The Beatles: Rock Band nearly nonstop since it came out last week and have never been more pleased with technology in my life. Sometimes, though, it's good to get back to our pre-fake-guitar-playing-avatar roots and enjoy the works of an earlier, non-electric era. Sure, sexism and racism and classism and disease were rampant, but the music was nice.
At the very least, Mother Road Theatre Company’s production of The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer is ambitious. Written by Carson Kreitzer, the play attempts to weave together the making of the atomic bomb, Jewish identity, hubris, guilt, original sin, the legacy of Lilith, Hindu texts and T.S. Eliot. It’s a lot.
A sampling of some of the State Fair’s greatest artwork
By Erin Adair-Hodges
You may go to the 2009 New Mexico State Fair for the chance to eat a giant turkey leg with a fried Twinkie chaser. You may stay for the opportunity to experience rides that will throw you backwards in a loop while blaring ’80s metal music in your ears. But don’t leave without exposing yourself to the art of the State Fair. The mind-bogglingly diverse work of people of all ages from all over the state—from the oil paintings of the Fine Arts Gallery to the LEGO dioramas in the Creative Arts Building—makes the fair one of the most exciting arts destinations of the year. I can’t think of another place where one can see traditional New Mexican inlay woodworking along with a giant Mr. Potato Head and sock puppets. Don’t miss out.
My hens wanted to be moms. I did my best to be a dad.
By Ari LeVaux
Two of our hens recently got broody. While the other two kept up their standard schedules of scratching around, chasing bugs and rolling in the dust, Black ’n Blue, a sweet little Bantam, and Annabelle, a tough orange Buff Orpington, stopped laying eggs and glued themselves to their nesting box. Once in a while Baldy or Chicken Hawk came in to lay an egg and forfeit her creation to the broody girls, who used their beaks and claws to roll the new egg onto their pile. They shared this pile, sitting side by side, sometimes with their wings wrapped around each other. They wouldn't leave the nest to eat or drink, so I put food and water dishes next to the nesting box.
It's important to try new things. I'm somewhat of an expert at this. I've tried seven art forms, six sports, five languages and cooking. It is safe to say that I'm fairly horrible at all but one of these (hint: not cooking), but I'm better for having tried. In fact, I’m always on the lookout for the next thing I can be not very good at. Join me, won’t you?
There’s a research info website called Smart QandA (qanda.encyclopedia.com); plug in a question and an answer comes back. How they hook you is by giving you a list of related local news stories, hoping you’ll want to expand your knowledge on the subject.
Dateline: England—The central English town of Birmingham has banned two street musicians from doing their thing because they only know two songs. Sick of hearing endless, out-of-tune renditions of “Wonderwall” by Oasis and “Faith” by George Michael, a judge at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court slapped a two-year performing ban on the bad buskers. Acoustic guitar player James Ryan, 40, and garbage can lid banger Andrew Cave, 39, were also barred from entering the Birmingham suburb of Moseley Village and playing instruments of any kind there. The city council added that it is now illegal for either man to beg for change anywhere in England or Wales. Next stop: France!
Several years ago, art therapist Janis Timm-Bottos was inspired when she learned about Depression-era “community art studios.” These studios were created in response to the economic hardships of the day and gave people a free place to come together and express themselves. In 2001, Timm-Bottos founded OFFCenter, an art studio that provides supplies and studio space at no cost to just about anyone who wants to create.
Q: Despite the fact that a link between aluminum cookware and Alzheimer's disease has been proven false, I still prefer to avoid using aluminum pots. However, all the stainless steel cookware that I've seen has aluminum in the base.
Part café, part grocery store and part library, Persian Market is an oasis of Persian culture. A banal strip mall exterior gives little indication of the world inside; but when you open the door, things change. If you happen to read Farsi, help yourself to the pile of books by the door. If you’ve been wondering about Turkish delight ever since you read The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, you’ll find it on the shelves. (Turkey was conquered by Persian forces during the fifth and sixth centuries.) If you’re wondering what you might concoct with the gallon-bag of dried limes that’s for sale, take a seat and order a plate of khoresh-e ghormeh sabzi, a soupy dish of parsley, leeks and fenugreek fried with red kidney beans and dried limes.
On Friday, Sept. 11, the New Mexico Film Museum at Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe will host the premiere of Tamarind King and Paul Glickman’s just-completed New Visions 2007 Contract Award winning short “El Salon Mexico.” Inspired by the exuberant composition by Aaron Copeland, the animated film was made using Photoshop and Illustrator and consists of more than 22,500 individual frames. Previous animated films by King and Glickman will also be screened. There will be two free showings at 6 and 8 p.m. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP to email@example.com using “ESM Screening” in the subject line. The Jean Cocteau Theatre is located at 418 Montezuma in Santa Fe.
By-the-numbers sci-fi tale at least looks fantastic
By Devin D. O’Leary
Like the recent low-budget sci-fi hit District 9 (with which it shares a numerical kinship), director Shane Acker’s 9 also started out as an attention-grabbing short film. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005, the 11-minute, 3-D-esque, CGI-animated silent film has been expanded into a 79-minute feature courtesy of producers Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted).
Given the recent passing of Les Paul, the universally lauded godfather of the electric guitar, the timing couldn’t be better for Davis Guggenheim’s six-string-worshipping documentary It Might Get Loud. Aimed straight at the heart of the world’s most popular amplified instrument, the film is a love letter so obsessive it could be issued a restraining order.
Call it the “Susan Boyle Principal,” the naive yet endearing (and occasionally true) idea that, once in a great while, a dark horse, ugly ducking, underdog dreamer will be given a turn in the spotlight and seize it. In that one moment, they’ll shine, dazzling onlookers and naysayers with their incontrovertible talent, and it will be a victory for all those who weren’t fortunate enough to be born with money or looks or instant popularity. It’s a concept that speaks to the nerdy teenager buried in just about all of us.
Bid bon voyage to summer with your pals the Alibi this Saturday, Sept. 12. We're throwing a maritime-themed dance party with ’70s and ’80s soft rock out the yin-yang. Come dressed as a salty dog, Moby Dick, Jacques Cousteau, a pirate ... any oceanic costume that allows you to swim freely and shake "yarr booty." The Universal DJs Eve, Jessica, Bea and Grey man the jams, guaranteed to have 50 percent more yachts than your average Saturday night playlist—or your money back! Doors open at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW, 21+, free) at 9 p.m.
In a way, The Thermals is the quintessential indie band. It’s attracted major label interest since forming in 2002, but its loyalty to the Northwest and strict DIY standards are testaments to punk rock ethics.
The Dandy Warhols is a band of many sonic hats. As its punny moniker suggests, the Portland four-piece harkens back to '60s bohemia, where psychedelia and art-rock experimentation are updated with indie-pop.