Size Still Matters
Resident takes city to court over water metering system
In Albuquerque, approximately 10,000 households are paying more than they need to on their water bill. That's right, you heard me. And if you belong to one of these households, you've probably been paying extra since you moved into your home—which for some, could be more than 20 years ago. The potential extra cost can be found in the "fixed" charge that comes with your water bill that's based on the size of the water meter that you have on your system. It may not seem like much at first but when added up every month over the course of 23 years, it's certainly enough to get Gary Williams, a retired military officer, riled up. It's also apparently enough to get him to take the city to court.
Bloggers united. If you're looking for a small taste of home-cooked news, opinion and sincere social blather, there's a new website, www.dukecityfix.com, that deserves some praise for its design, informed analysis and occasional sophistication. If you are a local news hound who just can't succumb to the Albuquerque Journal's sleep-inducing product, and pine for the days when the Albuquerque Tribune was one of the finest mid-market dailies in the nation, you might go to this blog for respite. I'm not saying it's comprehensive, but if you look at what a group of local volunteers are doing online to promote the city and foster dialogue among our citizens, you will see further reason for the decline of mainstream newspaper readership. Don't get me wrong; someday these folks could wind up competing with our own feisty alt.weekly, and as the day approaches, well, let the games begin! Competition, in theory, breeds better quality. Check them out and see for yourself.
Ortiz y Pino
A Quiet Revolution
There is no escape! There really is no end in sight! I'm just guessing here, but I'm sure that during last week's tumultuous school board hearing on charter school renewals this thought must have crossed the minds of all APS School officials present.
After slogging through a Committee of the Whole meeting, councilors tucked into their regular April 18 agenda. Councilor Sally Mayer's bill reinstating the community mediation program passed unanimously, as did Councilor Martin Heinrich's bill requiring that city buildings over 5,000 square feet meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Councilor Tina Cummins' bill bringing Albuquerque fire safety regulations in line with the recently adopted International Fire Code passed unanimously. And Councilor Craig Loy got a unanimous go ahead for his bill allowing a disabling "boot" to be placed on the vehicles of first-time DWI offenders. Councilor Eric Griego again pushed the Downtown arena negotiations, calling for either a viable financing proposal from Arena Management Company or a new bidding process. Councilor Miguel Gomez, hinting at a competing plan, called for a second hearing, once more halting the bill.
Just when I was getting ready to celebrate Earth Day, environmentalism kicked the bucket.
Twenty-five leaders of large enviro groups were recently interviewed for "The Death of Environmentalism," a report presented at a recent conference of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and authors Mark Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus concluded the environmental movement has become a relic and a failure. They're right. The movement too narrowly defines environmental problems and relies almost exclusively on shortsighted technical solutions. It lacks new ideas. Easy access to foundation funding has let it grow fat and complacent.
Odds & Ends
Dateline: Argentina—Rock star Andres Calamaro was recently charged with saying that he would like to smoke marijuana--a statement he made more than 10 years ago. “I feel so good that I could smoke a joint,” Calamaro told a crowd of 100,000 fans on Nov. 19, 1994 in La Plata, 30 miles south of Buenos Aries. Calamaro, 43, figured he was off the hook in 1995 when a group of enraged parents hauled him before a judge, who dismissed the charges of justifying a crime. Undeterred, the parents spent the last 10 years looking for a less “liberal” judge. “This trial is absurd. It's Kafkaesque,” Calamaro's lawyer, Jose Stefanuolo told a crowd of fans who came to support the musician. Stefanuolo says he will try to get the case dismissed. If that doesn't work, he will invoke the statute of limitations.