Target Stores—What’s Their Aim?
Clearly, it’s not the commitment to green building proclaimed on their website. If it were, Target would not have sent a letter to Albuquerque’s mayor supporting repeal of our green building code.
So why does Target support repeal of Albuquerque’s code? According to their letter, it is to “minimize initial construction costs.”
Target will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars adapting the design of a store to a location where they think profits will be optimized. But $1.13 per square foot to comply with Albuquerque’s code it too much—even though energy savings would pay for the added cost in less than three years? Even if it conserves water and reduces air pollution?
Does Albuquerque’s code create hurdles by requiring new and unapproved systems and products as Target implies? No! Systems and products required by Albuquerque’s code are the same systems and products required by the code that Target “strongly encourages” the mayor to adopt. Albuquerque’s code requires more of some products like insulation, and it requires that some products, like windows, be more energy efficient, but it does not require any products or systems not previously approved and not already in use throughout the United States. Target supports repeal of our code, but they haven’t read it.
Albuquerque’s code is, simply, an amended version of the code that Target urges the mayor to adopt. It does not require products and systems not already in common use. Target builds stores in other cities with energy efficiencies far in excess of our requirements. I’m left wondering not only why, but why now, Target would send a letter to the mayor urging repeal of a code they know nothing about.
Albuquerque’s First Green Building Program Manager
Member International Code Council
Dear Alibi ,
Reference the Quote ... Unquote, Inc. contract saga [News, “End Quote?” Nov. 3-9]: Oftentimes a group that has held a long-term service contract is shocked, dismayed and appalled when they are not renewed. A sense of entitlement leads them to believe the fix was in for them. They can't imagine that anyone else could perform the service as well as them, because they've been doing it for so long. History has shown that it's hard to build a better mousetrap, but we’re talking public access television, not mousetraps. After 30 years, maybe it's time for someone else to sit at the control panel and push the buttons for these channels. It's doubtful that anyone else could perform any worse than Quote ... Unquote, Inc. has.
Letter to “Yungactivists” at (Un)occupy Albuquerque
We, the silverbacks and survivors of past campaigns for peace and social justice, some more successful than others, have waited a long time for you. After decades of uneasy quiet, the streets of this country are filling with nonviolent protest. In the ’60s, a terrifying draft brought thousands into the streets. Our brothers, sons and boyfriends found themselves in Southeast Asia fighting a war against the threat of growing communism. My brother became a gunner in a helicopter. He flew over jungles with “hidden enemies” and came home with slides of rice paddies, clouds, shrapnel and a lifetime of nightmares.
Why the exploding grassroots movement now? Foreclosures, homelessness, debt, unemployment, a broken medical system, fear of impending environmental catastrophe and the sunset of the American Dream as unsustainable. The Wall Street Declaration of Occupation was modeled on our Declaration of Independence. “A democratic government derives its just power from the people. ... We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our government.”
During the weeklong teach-in at UNM, a well-known veteran of ’60s activism warned that we ignore existing power structures at our peril. He enjoined us to actively elect Eric Griego for U.S. Congress because he shares our values. I was among thousands attending the 1968 Democratic Convention to support antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy. When Hubert Humphrey was chosen, many lost hope for electoral politics. I cast my first vote for Pigasus the Pig, a write-in protest candidate. If Humphrey defeated Nixon, would the political system have delivered the peace we so craved? I don’t know. To work outside or within the system: That is still a question. Generational differences aside, everyone agreed the time of endless greed and maximum profit was over.
The (Un)occupy Albuquerque encampment lasted three weeks. Before it was shut down, it became a haven for students, professors, homeless, a rainbow coalition of activists and anyone who cared about the future. A Native American presence added to the poignant, electrifying atmosphere. They made dream catchers and began drumming and singing circles. They lit a smudge stick, blessed us and said time was running out for our fragile planet, that we must all become indigenous guardians.
The night the protesters were ordered to disband the encampment, not everyone was ready to be arrested, but everyone was committed to the movement. I left before the consensus meeting ended. Headlines in the morning papers did not surprise me—PROTESTERS EVICTED. A score of people were arrested while hundreds chanted support from the sidewalk. Nonviolent resistance is being challenged across the country. But the movement for social justice, environmental and personal, is just heating up. Whose democracy? Our democracy! We are the 99%.
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is worthy because it is a catalyst. OWS further stirs the helter-skelter debate that has consumed this country since Obama was elected. In 2008 the right wing crawled out of the woodwork in droves and the tea party kicked butt in the 2010 midterm elections. Now the left wing is erupting out of the woodwork in droves, and they are energizing a voting bloc of our populace that was floating listlessly in the doldrums, overtly or vaguely angry with Barack Obama.
I like OWS because they are using street demonstrations to call attention to massive government and corporate malfeasance. It is Wall Street, and not the U.S. government, that runs the American economy. The insular and greedy behavior of the top 1 percent is nothing new. We humans have allowed this game to go on and on for thousands of years, the symbiotic relationship between government and wealth.
I declare that OWS is not an anticapitalist movement. I declare that OWS wants transparency and pure justice. But that's just me talking. I don't speak for any of the many citizens who are pro-OWS. And that's part of the secret OWS formula. It is not just one thing. It isn't a set of 10 demands. It's more like, We see you, we see exactly what you are up to, and it's time to put a stop to the cheating and bribery and money crimes on Wall Street and within the U.S. government.
The Wall Street players, and our elected and appointed government lackeys, know they've pushed their greedy agenda too far. The Wall Street players continue to cling to their booty. Where is their imagination? The Wall Street crime families could come together and decide to resurrect this economy. With a concerted effort by all the wealthy worldwide, we Earthlings could be out of this recession in two years, and the wealthy would be our new gods.
Long ago the wealthy co-opted the government. In a simple twist of fate, the American Dream, fed to us by our handlers, is now motivating OWS: unity, fairness, honest work, family, community, education, home ownership ... and, by the way, “Leave the world a better place than you found it."
I am not against capitalism. I am against corruption.
If you are looking for a criminal class that provides the most bang for the buck, you'll find them at the top, on Wall Street.
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Wine Dinner Benefitting Working Classtoom at Club Rio Rancho
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UNM SAAP Lecture Series at University of New Mexico
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