Alibi V.27 No.48 • Nov 29-Dec 5, 2018 

News Commentary

Lamps: Trimmed and Burning, Please

Keep up as 2020 approaches

earth

La politica isn’t going away.

Although the always hungry and sometimes brutal beast tends towards a slouching sort of retreat from the spotlight following decisive elections, that’s not the case here in America at the end of the second decade of the 21st century.

A decisive blue wave did indeed impact what is to be—over in Washington, and closer to home, here in New Mexico, too. But that kind of output has to find a method of sustaining itself as we all march toward 2020.

Plainly stated, this past Nov. 6 was dress rehearsal and perhaps prelude. The themes expounded, the leitmotifs introduced, point to further gains in the next year a President of the United States can be elected. But nothing should be taken for granted in that matter or in any corollary issues now hovering over the Trump administration.

Indeed, keeping track of all the Trumpian tentacles—as well as the paths through and around such sticky, suctioning traps—should be as habitual as a strong cup of coffee in the bright sunshine of early morning, here in Burque. With that in mind, here’s a definitely, strongly caffeinated view of what to stay águila about this week in town, in the Land of Enchantment and in the nation that surrounds us.

In the City

In Albuquerque, Mayor Tim Keller continues to work the progressive program, initiating a plethora of platforms designed to engage citizens in the process of governance.

Nevermind the ART dealio for this week, mijos, it’s not his fault anyway. At some point though, getting into the heads—and ledgers—of those who were responsible for the debacle is going to be big news. But it’s probably going to take someone with an investigative bent to uncover the details.

Getting a substantive discourse going about this matter is going to have to involve the former mayor as well as former administrators such as COO Michael Riordan—who remains incommunicado following the death, last year, of his wife in a tragic and heavily publicized aviation accident. It’s clear that initial supporters of the project within the City Council have so far chosen silence. One supposes this text is an attempt to reach out to those leaders to ask them what they knew about the project’s problems and when they knew such crushing details. Hello out there, we might add, curiously.

But back to Keller. He’s working hard and recent efforts show his commitment to lifting up this little old military outpost in the desert. A recent communiqué from his office is all about efforts to get people involved in government.

The One ABQ Volunteers program is a comprehensive initiative that asks Burqueños to address the challenges the city continues to face. In this latest iteration of public engagement the Keller administration is seeking individuals with specific skill sets to help grow our city.

Mayor Keller detailed his latest effort, writing, “We want to turn government inside out so every person has a role to play in moving our city forward. … There’s something for everyone—if you’re interested in public safety we have crime data entry; if you care about animals you can foster a pet—we want everyone to be able to find something they’re passionate about and come to the City to help.”

As part of the process used to launch the One ABQ Volunteers program, individual departments within city government did assessments of the needs they had, needs that could be assuaged through the involvement of skilled Burque resident-volunteers. After that happened, a wide range of opportunities for service were identified.

Those chances to volunteer and so help Albuquerque prosper include working at various community centers around town, serving as ambassadors at the Sunport, assisting with beautification projects through Parks and Recreation, providing administrative support to APD or volunteering at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial.

Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Director David Simon summed up the latest initiative by saying, “Albuquerque has some of the most passionate and caring people. We want them to get involved in the work we have to do at the city.”

Volunteers can find a way to lend a hand and a good fit at cabq.gov/abq-volunteers/.

In the State

Taking in a larger view of all things political brings the state of New Mexico into focus. When newly elected officials take office on Jan. 1, 2019, there will be a preponderance of Dems running this state at the Roundhouse. The end to the reign of La Tejana and the sudden and tragic (JK) implosion of the state Republican party after this last election signal what amounts to party time for Nuevo Mexicano donkeys, with a few caveats.

One of the big issues that will no doubt face state leaders by the time the Legislature convenes in January is the incredible but very possibly volatile surplus our state is facing, thanks to the expanded oil and gas exploration, mining, sales and distribution that became the hallmark economic engine of the state under Governor Martinez and southern compatriots such as Steve Pearce and Yvette Herrell.

Get this: The general fund budget of New Mexico for the coming year is estimated to be about $6.3 billion. Oil and gas revenue might increase that amount by up to 25 percent, or about $1.5 billion. That’s huge and could help our state get back to a prosperous standing among other entities in the union. But naysayers continue to warn of the dangers of continuing to invest in what they see as another iteration of New Mexico’s boom and bust economy.

Democrats generally fall on the warning side, but ironically—and because a number of the Democratic senators representing the fossil fuel rich southeast and north-central parts of the state happen to be of the elephant variety—Legislative Finance Committee Chair John Arthur Smith recently implied everything was going to be OK, telling political blogger Joe Monahan, “We’ve been anticipating $1.2 billion in new money for next year, but we could get another shot in the arm from next month’s lease sale,” Smith said. “I’m guessing it could generate $250 million more for New Mexico, putting us near the $1.5 billion ballpark.”

That sounds cool, but thank the gods our next governor—as well as this state’s US Senate delegation—is bent towards exploring and promoting renewable energy as a sustainable income stream in this already drilled to death state.

Additionally, that tenuous balance between profitability and wholesale destruction of the natural New Mexico environment is an issue that has even been recognized by recently turned Libertarian State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who told the Carlsbad Current Argus last week, “On one hand, money is being generated at an unprecedented rate but the flip side is that with the increased productivity comes problems. …I’ve already gone on record to say that our environment is suffering as a result of unenforced environmental regulations and unscrupulous business practices in the oil patch and beyond. As a result, the land, its resources and the citizens of New Mexico are not being afforded the protection they deserve.”

Sounds like the State Legislature has some studying to do before party time ensues.

In the Nation

It’s been a month since the general election. Today, the New Mexico Secretary of State will certify the results of that election. New US Representatives like Deb Haaland from District 1 and Xochitl Torres Small from District 2 are in the nation’s capital city getting a view from the bridge as I write this.

But in the small town of Alamogordo, a place surrounded by white sands and military installations, Yvette Herrell, the former GOP candidate for Congress refuses to concede.

It’s uncivil and unprofessional behavior, but predictable given the character inherited by most elephants when Trump came to power. We sincerely hope Herrell finds something better to do soon. The holidays are here, after all, maybe she can volunteer as a department store Santa.

In the World

At our state’s border with Mexico, things are still calm. The thick, long and sad thread of refugees from Central America haven’t shown up in Santa Teresa or El Paso or Douglas, Ariz., although, notably, some militia members have recently cased the area for signs of “invaders.”

No the real tragedy is happening in Califas, where desperate humans from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have made their way to Tijuana. This past weekend a rush to the gates resulted in tear gas canisters being lobbed at the refugees. There is anger and disappointment on one side and entrenched nationalism on the other. After witnessing the confrontation this weekend, some have left to return home while others continue to throng in a sports stadium in TJ.

Make no mistake about it. The events of the past month are just the beginning of a long reckoning regarding immigration. Our nation, particularly our new leaders in Congress must face, reflect upon and improve this situation peacefully and progressively before Trump and his minions can add more fuel to the fire with fiery rhetoric and political stunts that use the US military to deflect his dangerous policies.

Stay tuned to Weekly Alibi for updates on this and other important issues.