The streets of Downtown are less crowded. The traffic hasn't slowed, but the number of open parking spaces along the streets has increased. In early July, the City of Albuquerque installed 14 parking meters along Central between First and Seventh Streets [RE: Newscity, "Both Sides of the Street," July 6-12], which convert the formerly two-hour free parking zone into pay-only.
A Week in the Life—It’s that time again. It seems we can only go a couple of months before we are forced (forced, I tell you) to do a little Albuquerque Journal critiquing. It’s just one of those things—like taking the car for a tune-up or buckling down and cleaning the house—when the essentials start to fall apart, you have to pay attention.
Voter fraud is an unavoidable evil in a democracy. You can mitigate it, but you can never get rid of it completely. Toughen laws, and at least some vote-thieves will still find a way around them.
The payday loan industry in New Mexico remains nearly unregulated, but not for lack of trying on the part of Gov. Bill Richardson and Attorney General Patricia Madrid. In late June, the Regulation and Licensing Department ended the public comment period for proposed regulations designed to limit fees, end interest and give payback options to payday loan consumers [RE: Newscity, "Money in the Bank?" June 29-July 5].
At two different neighborhood association meetings this past week, I heard choruses of frustration over problems created in those communities by the large number of homeless people hanging out on street corners and in parks. For me it was déjà vu.
Every night, when the trains slip through Albuquerque, Jill Gatwood can hear their whistles from her North Valley home. She lives just a couple of blocks from the tracks, near Fourth Street and Griegos. For Gatwood, the tone is comforting, something that signifies stability—and Albuquerque. "It's the history of the city," she says. The railroad, she wrote in her June 15 letter to the Alibi, is largely responsible for the Duke City's existence. Her grandfather was a lobbyist for Southern Pacific Railroad in New Mexico, perhaps figuring into her affinity for the sounds associated with the rail. "A train whistle is a certain specific tone," Gatwood says. "It's always the same, and most people find it to be kind of romantic."
Dateline: Canada--A Swiss tourist caught for speeding through the Canadian countryside has blamed his crime on Canada’s distinct lack of goats. The driver was caught traveling 161 km/h (100 mph) on Canada’s busiest highway between Montreal and Toronto last Sunday. The posted speed limit is 100 km/h (60 mph). “An officer stopped the car for speeding along a straight stretch of road, and the driver told him he thought it would be all right to go fast because he wasn’t likely to hit a goat,” said Constable Joel Doiron. “I’ve never been to Switzerland, but I guess there must be a lot of goats there,” he said. Constable Doiron noted that in his 20 years as a police officer, “nobody’s ever used the lack of goats here as an excuse for speeding.” The Swiss speeder was issued a ticket for $C360 ($430).
The Sept. 6 Council meeting began with an adorable Pet Project dog peeing on the Council carpet and became even more entertaining when Lawrence Rael, executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, presented the Council with a model Rail Runner. Rael said the commuter train was averaging 2,500 to 3,000 riders on weekdays and carried more than 15,000 passengers to the Bernalillo wine festival. Unfortunately, the model trains painted with our state bird are all sold out.
I'd like to congratulate both the Albuquerque Animal Care Center and the Alibi's Christie Chisholm for fine work on "Gimme Shelter" [Feature, Sept. 7-13].