Bob: Community Pick

Joe Monahan—Political Blogger (

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Best Elected City Official

The best elected politician is the one serving their first six months. After that, look out. That’s why we have elections. 

Best Use of Local Tax Dollars

Have we done a good job around here of building parks or what? (Sorry Westside—you have to catch up). It’s a great tradition that started in the ’30s.

Best Radio Station

I’ve been doing Election Night results at KANW 89.1 FM for nearly 20 years and began in radio in Albuquerque in the ’70s at KUNM 89.9 FM, so a combination of current loyalty, quality programming and nostalgia has me mentioning both. And you may not agree with KKOB-AM, but Villanucci and Clark keep it percolating.  

Best Local Sports Team

Earth to Lobo fans: We’re not going to the NCAA final 16. Never. You live in New Mexico. Not New York. Just sit back and bask in basketball mediocrity. It’s your destiny.

Building Most in Need of Restoration

How about that little water pump station tucked in the back of Yale Park across from UNM? I’ve been looking at that shabby thing for 35 years. Fix it up and make sure the terrorists can’t get in there and drop LSD in the water supply. Or maybe you think that would be cool …

Best Place to Take Out-of-town Guests

To Santa Fe! Just kidding. Take them for a drive around here. It’s like three or four different countries. You are definitely not in North Dakota anymore, Aunt Polly.

Best Local Website

You had to ask. Actually, if you are looking for a thing of beauty, isn’t it. But we make up for it with meaty content that will fill up any political junkie. Stop by sometime.

Best All-ages Music Venue

Is there a better place in the state—maybe the nation—to take in a concert than Sandia Casino‘s amphitheater? Well, there is no mosh pit–do they still  have those?–but this is the place. While we’re at it, when are they going to tear down Tingley Coliseum and give us a real large-concert venue? Just asking. And waiting.

Best Movie Theater

Go to the Century 14 Downtown for the latest show on a weekday night, and it’s like having your own movie theater, except you can’t sneak in your own popcorn.

Bob: Community Pick Tequila Mockingbyrd And Geneva Convention—Founders Of The Dolls

Best Movie Theater

Geneva: I love Downtown Century 14. They have such comfortable seats and they get a lot of the more obscure films.

Tequila: We also have to say the Guild Cinema. They have Closet Cinema there and the Southwest Gay Film Festival. Our friend Roberto puts that together. We got to host the Southwest Gay Film Festival last year. It was a lot of fun.

Best Shoe Store

Tequila: Stomps and Threads. They have a wonderful selection of sexy and exotic shoes. Plus they specialize in shoes for us big girls.

Geneva: By "big," you mean voluptuous?

Tequila: What does being voluptuous have to do with your shoe size?

Geneva: Well I don’t know about you, but my foot is extremely curvaceous and voluptuous.

Best Hairstylist/Barber

Tequila: Gene’s Hairstyling. Geneva has been going to Gene since he was a little boy!

Geneva: Ha-ha. Gene is wonderful, though. I haven’t gone to anyone else in—(stops abruptly).

Tequila: How many years, dear?

Geneva: A very long time.

Best Interior Decorator

Tequila: Geneva and I just moved into our new pad, which I must say is utterly fabulous. As you know, Geneva and I have fantastic taste, but our friend London Turner, who we’ve known since high school, just moved back to town from San Francisco. He is the most divine interior decorator.

Geneva: He’s done hotels all over the world. And houses of the rich and famous.

Tequila: Even a few houses we’ve been thrown out of!

Best Thrift/Antique Store

Tequila: Luka’s Funky Stuff is the coolest antique store. We are ’50s and ’60s fanatics and Luka’s Funky Stuff specializes in that era. So many things from our ultra-chic pad are from Luka’s! And Marcus and Gigi are the coolest; they lot us borrow furniture for our shows!

Geneva: And for vintage clothing, it has to be Off Broadway. We’ve known Susan for years. In fact, Susan helped us costume our very first Dolls show! Susan has been a sponsor of The Dolls for these past 10 years.

Tequila: You make it sound as if we’re only mentioning people who sponsor us.

Geneva: Why not? Slip me $10 and I’ll mention your store!

Bob: Community Pick Caleb Crump—Host And Ceo Of “The Caleb Crump Show” And Itchn2Dance Productions, Originator Of The Wonder Bunzz

Best Nonprofit Organization

The Ronald McDonald House. They do a lot for families with sick children. We’ve also done a lot of community events with them.

Best Elected City Official

Marty Chavez. People seem to either love him or hate him, but he gets a lot accomplished. I appreciate that.

Best TV Personality

Caleb Crump. Do I need to say why?

Best Local TV Commercial

The Caleb Crump and Ron Bell commercial. It’s called "The Rapping Lawyer." Ron was a natural!

Best Place to Take Out-of-town Guests

Church Street Café. I love their Philly cheese steaks—they have green chile and cheese and are wrapped in a tortilla. Mmm! And they have excellent service.

Best Happy Hour

The Q Bar. You get live music as well as a professional demographic. It’s very good for networking. The staff is wonderful.

Best Hairstylist

Diego at Total Image. He cuts all types of people’s hair, and he does a great fade. If he sets up an appointment with you, he keeps it. He doesn’t make you sit around half the day waiting for a cut.

Best Hip-hop Clothing Store

The Lab. They’ve been very consistent over the last three or four years, and they work hard, too. The styles are current and reasonably priced—you can get a complete outfit for maybe $40. And they’ve also been involved in some community stuff, like Axion New Mexico and Alpha Phi Alpha.

Best Salsa Dancing

Sauce on Wednesday Nights. DJ Quico plays a great mix of not only salsa, but also tropical bachata, some reggaeton—all sorts of things that are great to dance to.

Best Upcoming Event

The "505 Get Live Tour!" We’re taking the Caleb Crump TV show all around the state to small towns where people haven’t had the chance to jump on TV; places like Gallup, Roswell and Las Vegas. The tour begins Friday, April 20, in Gallup. There’s information at

Bob: Community Pick Ray Schultz—Albuquerque Chief Of Police

Best Nonprofit Organization

Resources, Inc. They work with victims of domestic violence. They act as a liaison between law enforcement and the prosecution of people involved in domestic violence. They really help to make a lot of inroads to assure the needs of domestic violence victims are met.

Best Place to Take Out-of-town Guests

We always take them to the Winrock Garduño’s. It’s the Margaritas.

Best Butcher/Meat Counter

Keller’s Farm Stores. Best place to buy your fillets.

Best Locally Shot Film from the Past Year

I got to go down and actually watch them film Wild Hogs , and that was a riot. The most interesting thing about that is there were so many people out watching because it was filmed Downtown during the day. To see the community out there watching it made it really neat for everybody.

Most Unique Store

Kaufman’s West. They sell a little bit of everything. It’s an Army/Navy/police equipment store, but you go inside and there’s a full-size fire truck. There’s an old 1930s police car in there, there’s stuff hanging from the ceiling, camping stuff, toys. That’s where I buy my uniform shoes.

Best Hairstylist/Barber

Belair Barber Shop. It’s one of the few barber shops where they’ll still use a razor and trim around the ears and the neck.

Best Place to Get Work Done on Your Car

Bobby Joe’s Auto Services. It’s a small, little mom-and-pop repair place that treats you honest.

Best Place to Get Lost in the Crowd.

Sandia Casino.

Bob: Community Pick Darren P. White, Bernalillo County Sheriff

Worst City Political Stinkeroo

Outlawing hamster races. It’s just ridiculous. I’ve never seen hamsters as a threat. It’s just one of those things where you just kind of go, "What in the world?"

Best Radio Station

94 Rock. I like some of the talk stuff, especially being a politico, but on the way to work I just like listening to the music and the whole crew is borderline insane. They’re my kind of people.

Best Sports Team

The Dukes. I long for them. I miss them. It’s funny because I still don’t say the Isotopes. I go and I enjoy them but still, to me, they are the Dukes.

Best Bakery

Come on, this is simple. Any place that sells donuts—it’s a cop thing.

Best Spa

The Back Porch Day Spa. My wife and I have been regular costumers for years.

Best Dog-friendly Business

Flying Star. There are a lot of places in Albuquerque that cater to dogs, but there aren’t many restaurants where you can go with your dogs.

Best Vet

Dr. Jackson and the staff at Manzano Animal Clinic. They’re the best. When we had one of our dogs go down last year they took such good care of him. Dr. Jackson is just the best, very friendly and takes very good care of the doggies.

Best Hometown Hero

The late Deputy James McGrane, Jr.

Bob: Community Pick Ann Lerner--Film Liaison, Albuquerque Film Office

Best Elected City Official

Mayor Martin Chavez, of course!

Best Use of Local Tax Dollars

The ABQ Film Office, of course!

Best Dog-friendly Business

Lucky Paws.

Best Chicharrones

Barelas Coffee Shop.

Building Most in Need of Restoration

El Vado Motel.

Best Bakery

Flying Star (unbelievable coconut cream pie).

Best Sound Studios

ABQ Studios.

Best Animator

Jeff Drew.

Best Locally Shot Film from the Past Year

It’s a tie between Beerfest , Wildfire , Fanboys , Employee of the Month , The Lost Room , Save Me , Carriers , West Texas Children’s Story , No Country for Old Men , Wild Hogs , Donor Conspiracy , In the Valley of Elah and everything in the Duke City Shootout.

Bob: Community Pick Debbie O'malley—City Council President

Worst City Political Stinkeroo

I think one of the things that has emerged as a real problem is the red-light camera issue. That’s something we’re going to have to really work on to try to fix. The process is huge, people are complaining that they can’t pay anywhere in town. It just sort of took off. I think red-light cameras have their role, but the city went overboard.

Best Nonprofit Organization

Very Special Arts, on north Fourth Street. It provides programs, theater and art for people with developmental disabilities. It’s well-run; it has a good board of directors. It’s a very passionate group.

Best Use of Local Tax Dollars

The anti-graffiti program. It helps to deter crime, and it makes people feel good about their neighborhoods. Grafitti can really get out of hand, and it was for a while. It’s one of those things that isn’t a big deal, but happens every day.

Building Most in Need of Restoration

The Downtown Convention Center. We should just start from scratch, it’s so ugly.

Best Place to Take Out-of-town Guests

Somehow I always find myself taking people to ¡explora!

Best Produce Selection

I like the produce at Sunflower Market. The prices are really good, there’s an abundance of good, quality produce, and there’s always a good variety.

Best Butcher/Meat Counter

When I can, I like to go to Keller’s to get my meat.

Best Happy Hour

Seasons. They have really good Mojitos and Margaritas.

Best Independent Bookstore


Best Fitness Facility

New Heart on Lomas. After my husband had his heart attack, we started going. They take my blood pressure regularly. It’s Downtown, on Lomas before you get to I-25. A lot of people think it’s just a doctor’s thing. But a lot of people go to recover; spouses come. I believe people can just join.

Bob: Community Pick Brian Sanderoff—President Of Research & Polling, Inc.

Most Risky Use of Public Dollars

UNM’s new basketball coach will be compensated nearly $1 million annually. If he turns around the basketball program (which is big business), he may be worth it. But if he doesn’t work out, UNM will have another multimillion-dollar payout because of his six-year contract. By the way, if coaches leave early to take a position in greener pastures, do they pay the University back? Yeah, right. 

Best Political Bloggers

Political blogging is big in the Duke City and our bloggers have a national following. Two of the best are Joe Monahan and Whitney Cheshire. Joe Monahan makes high drama and great storylines out of even the most mundane political stories. His swamp of “alligators” (what he calls his inside sources, pundits and politicos) are constantly feeding him juicy gossip and newsworthy scoops.  Whitney Cheshire’s Wednesday Morning Quarterback gives us a self-described conservative perspective on government and political affairs in the state.  Her subtle sarcastic tone and wit makes her blog enjoyable reading for all philosophical bents. 

Best Use of Local Tax Dollars

Dog parks. Albuquerqueans spend millions each year on pet supplies, which in turn generates lots of gross receipts tax revenue. Someone had the bright idea to spend some of these tax dollars on our canine friends by designating a number of fenced parks for them to run around and bark it up. Emo, my black German shepherd, comes to work with me every day, and I like to take him to the Los Altos dog park. 

Best Coffee Shop

I know this is politically incorrect because they are a corporate behemoth, but Starbucks serves a great cup of coffee. More importantly, it’s consistent . And the staff at the one on Jefferson by the Journal Center knows me so well that they have nicknamed my drink a “Grande Brian,” which in coffee-speak is a grande nonfat latte. It is often waiting for me as I reach the front of the line at the cash register, and I appreciate that.

Best Place to Take Out-of-town Guests

Palms Trading Company has been around for a long time, although they rarely advertise. Word of mouth has made them a very successful seller of Indian jewelry and pottery. I have been taking guests there for 25 years and never heard a complaint. The price is right, the selection is great and the staff knows its jewelry, pots and rugs.

Bob: Community Pick Greg Payne—Director Of Abq Ride

Worst Political Stinkeroo

The political lynching of streetcar and light-rail. Like the cockfighting ban, things take a little more time to happen in our neck of the woods.

Best Use of Local Tax Dollars

There really are so many. APS Child Find identifies at-risk kids with learning challenges. Lucky Paws is another. For me and my little ones, you can’t beat the spray ground at the Manzano Mesa Multi-Generational Center. It’s a little water park. They’ve got flowers and water shooting out of the ground. It’s a great place for kids.

Most Wasteful Use of Local Tax Dollars

The APS boardroom remodel. The reason I say that is we’ve got kids in schools that are little more than a cluster of portable buildings, and we spend a million dollars this way?

Best Local Sports Team

The Premier Soccer Academy Red Tigers. That’s my son’s soccer team. Four-year-olds have more fun on the field than pros do, and they’re more fun to watch because of it.

Building Most in Need of Restoration

My house. Never buy a fixer-upper unless you’re Bob Villa or Ty Pennington. It’s like the Death Star. It never quite gets finished.

Best Local Union

New Mexico Transportation Union. Our busdrivers have a tough job and have a great union to stand up for them.

Best Art Gallery

We have an art exhibit on the interior of the D Ride and the Rapid Ride. I would challenge people to name another gallery that would get you around Downtown or from one end of the city to the other.

Best Psychic

Wait … it’s coming to me.

Bob: Community Pick Donnie Chase—Cohost Of 100.3 The Peak's Morning Show

Best Nonprofit Organization

Watermelon Mountain Ranch. Well, all the nonprofits are my favorite anytime they do stuff with animals. But we work with Watermelon. Robin will come into our studio once a week with a dog. She’ll oftentimes get dogs that were going to be euthanized that day. A couple weeks ago, she brought in a dog that had been on the table to be euthanized. We found her a home. I got a dog from there, too—Mister. He came in looking for a home and then didn’t find a home. He’s been a challenging but good addition. I’m glad we have him.

Best Happy Hour

Tuesday nights at Monte Vista Fire Station; they have 15-cent chicken wings. I’ve been going with my friends for, like, 10 years. We haven’t gone every Tuesday for a while, but we used to. That was when it was 10-cent wings.

Best Dog-friendly Business

That’s Kelly’s Brew Pub. You can eat on the patio with your dog, and you can actually order something off the menu for them. You’ll always find me and Baby out there in the summer. They have a little bowl of food on the menu, or I just give her a little piece of what I’m eating.

Best Blues Act

I want to say Linda Cotton. She would perform at a lot of events that I would emcee, local things. I would see her around all the time like everybody else did for the past few years. She’s so sweet and I miss her a lot.

Best Locally Shot Film from the Past Year

It’s crazy and I’m sure everyone will totally disagree with me, but I loved Employee of the Month . And I shop at Costco, so I’m like, "I know where that aisle is." I just really liked that movie.

Favorite Movie Theater

Century 14 Downtown
. It’s still small, and it has the stadium seating. You can usually get in and see a movie and there may not be a lot of people in the theater with you. It’s still kind of hidden. Plus, there’s an ice cream shop next door and that Brazilian place right around the corner.

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