Running on Hot Air
Thank you for the article "Gas Pains" by Rhett Zyla that appeared in the July 29-Aug. 4 issue. The author asks a highly pertinent question. While we are in the midst of a volatile war that is arguably greatly motivated by our country's addiction to oil, our government continues to deny technological advancements that could save us billions of gallons of gas, and therefore billions of dollars and untold human lives. The answer to this question can be found by examining who the current movers and shakers of this government are. Republicans' lackluster support for environmental protection is no secret and the fact that the GOP controls the House and Senate must be noted. But specifically, it is the Bush administration that has heralded in a new age of unprecedented environmental attacks.
Regarding fuel economy, are we surprised the Bush/Cheney environmental destruction team has no desire to raise such standards? The author does an excellent job of framing the issue but some important tidbits deserve to be included in making the case against the Bush administration. Lets start with the fact that the administration has handed billions of dollars in corporate tax breaks to the oil industry. Then there is the $3.6 million plus that the Bush/Cheney campaign has received from oil and gas executives. A last, but certainly not least, point is the $18 billion Halliburton (Cheney's old company) has received to rebuild Iraq—$7 billion in no-bid contracts. The Bush administration's actions have repeatedly demonstrated their blatant disregard for our environment and our pocketbooks. What is our other option?
According to the League of Conservation Voters, a nonpartisan political environmental organization, (which has given John Kerry a 92 percent lifetime rating and W the first F ever on a presidential scorecard—even Bush Senior and Reagan did better!) John Kerry plans to initiate a host of initiatives to set us back on the right track. He will increase funding for research into cleaner, renewable energies thereby creating millions of jobs. He is not in bed with the oil industry so he will immediately work to increase fuel efficiency standards for our cars and trucks. There will also be incentives and tax breaks for businesses and homes that seek to construct or upgrade to more energy efficient standards.
The Kerry energy plan is in stark contrast to W's and more info can be found at www.lcv.org. Check it out, educate yourselves! With so much at stake, don't we deserve a president who will put our interests above those of the oil and gas industries?
League of Conservation Voters
Almost a year ago Mayor Chavez promised to look into the problems plaguing APD's telephone systems. In particular, he vowed to fix the backlogs and response time for calls to 242-COPS. It appears that he has not fulfilled his promise, however. Last week I called 242-COPS to make a complaint and was greeted with a busy signal. I hung up and tried again. This time the phone rang but nobody ever answered. I let the phone ring at least 20 to 25 times before hanging up and trying again. Third time's a charm right? Nope. Another busy signal. This continued for at least 20 minutes until I finally was able to speak to an operator. Frustrated by the delay, I asked the operator how often they are overwhelmed by call volume. She replied that it happens all the time. Apparently I'm not alone in my frustration. Councilor Eric Griego addressed this problem at the Aug. 2 City Council meeting. He reported receiving numerous complaints from constituents and said he had problems reaching the police as well. He requested and the City Council unanimously approved an audit of APD's 242-COPS system. Thank you Councilor Griego and let's hope that the City Council can correct what the Mayor has failed to do.
In the Name of Progress and Growth
Well it finally happened. The Unser Blvd. extension will be built. Admit it, it isn't really a big surprise. We all knew that eventually it would be approved. In the name of progress, some will move forward and drag the others along with them. I'm a Valencia County resident so my opinion doesn't matter much to Albuquerque residents. Yet I have seen and heard both sides of the argument. Do I have a choice? I've even attended several public meetings on the subject. Now that it's over I thought I'd put my two cents in on the matter. Sometimes an outsider's perspective can cut through the rhetoric. What was heard at the few public meetings I witnessed was sometimes rhetoric, from both sides. There was talk of past decisions, culture, convenience, alternatives and the usual progress. I even heard from a former city council member in favor of the extension. That seemed ironic because here was someone that contributed to the unbridled sprawl of the past, and got them into this mess in the first place. I love the way politicians use growth as a means to solve all of the community's ills when it's just a Catch-22.
Anyway, each side had their good points and pointless ones. Westside home owners make a mental note: Next time you buy a house that only has one road to get to it, don't take the word of a real estate agent or city councilor. When it came to cultural issues I was dumbfounded by some statements of those in favor of the extension. You know, the rest of the world is smart enough to build their modern cities away from the ancient ones. I don't mean to sound racial, but I often hear Caucasians talk about how they long to visit Europe and visit their homelands. Think if England decided to build a road through Stonehenge, or if Greece built homes closer to the Pantheon. Those with European blood have historic sites to visit because their ancestral countries had the foresight to preserve them. Native Americans have very limited ancient indications that they were here. But that's OK because "we still have Paris." Would the rhetoric have changed if Kit Carson had built a home or a fort at the end of Unser Blvd? If that were the case, would there even be an Unser Blvd?
In the end, the ones in favor of progress got what they wanted. In 20 years when they have grown tired of how crowded their neighborhoods have become, they'll move to a more pleasant part of town and sell their homes to landlords. Later they'll complain about how the Westside has gone to hell and create ordinances to clean it up. They will probably even use the Petroglyphs as the reason. And as usual, the politicians will promise that growth is how they will pay for it all.
Rudy C. Granados
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