Sunday, April 8: On the day the Christ rose from the dead, bringing us our chocolaty spring holiday, Easter, Gov. Bill Richardson arrived in North Korea, leading a visiting delegation. The trip seemed to be part honest mission to retrieve remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War while extending an olive branch to the hostile country, and part political showboating while seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Either way, the "imperialist's" unofficial propaganda-laden visit with the communists was seen in a positive light nationally. Progress toward resolving the country's weapons situation seemed to be made and the display of experience and professionalism, i.e. showboating, won't hurt his campaign either, which still trails behind Clinton's, Obama's and Edwards'.
Monday, April 9: Former State Treasurer Robert Vigil began his 37-month stint in the clink today for one count of attempted bribery. You might remember Vigil as the guy who scammed kickbacks by selling contracts for state business. The punch line is that his jail time, which will be at a federal prison outside of Austin, Texas, will be served with another infamous white-collar criminal, former Enron exec. Richard Causey. You know how they say jail just trains criminals to be better criminals? Just sayin'.
Tuesday, April 10: Today saw the end of a six-month grace period for getting Whiskers spayed or neutered under the city's HEART ordinance (Human and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment). Among other things, like mandating that all cats and dogs be microchipped, allowing Albuquerqueans to own no more than six pets, and requiring all dogs to wear city tags and have a license that must be renewed annually, the ordinance requires cats and dogs to be fixed unless owners obtain a $150 dollar "intact animal" permit, which must be renewed every year. Sick or aged pets are exempt, but need verifying papers from a veterinarian. Owners of "noncompliant" or "intact" animals may be charged with misdemeanors, which could bring them a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Captured pets will not be returned without being altered.
Wednesday, April 11: Not too much happened today, except we found out that regents voted Tuesday to increase tuition at the University of New Mexico by 5.38 percent, which doesn't raise tuition all that much, but will generate more than $4 million annually. It's slightly unsettling that the increase comes a couple weeks after fancy new men's basketball coach, Steve Alford, was hired and will be paid an annual salary of nearly $1 million.
Thursday, April 12: Are we starting to see a theme? Today former state Senate President Manny Aragon, along with three other involved parties, pleaded not guilty to kickback scheme charges related to the construction of metro court. Three others, including former Albuquerque mayor Ken Schultz, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud. The scheme involved fraudulent invoices used to increase the cost of the taxpayer-funded construction by $4.2 million. Aragon allegedly received $700,000.
Friday, April 13: Are we starting to see a theme? Today we learned the City Council has proposed a sign ordinance that would only allow discrete signs mounted on brick or cinder block and ban signposts and signs more than 13 feet tall in the metro area. This means landmark Albuquerque signs, such as the weird Paul Bunyan that towers over May Café on East Central, might be headed for a designated museum, while others would be trashed. Here's an idea: Instead, why don't we just paint everything a nice shade of taupe? Every sign, every building, every thing: Taupe. That way, the chuckleheads running this town would get where they're going a helluva lot quicker.
Saturday, April 14: In the news today, Albuquerque Aquarium accessed the damage after kids from John Adams Middle School vandalized several expensive tanks on April 5. All kids from the school are now banned from the BioPark for two years. Parents of the seventh-graders will be fined for damage, estimated at more than $30,000, which involved the kids scratching tanks with rocks. I'd say throwing them into the jellyfish tank they ruined would be the most appropriate punishment.