When the Gaslite Motel was open for business in East Downtown, it symbolized the kind of urban decay that makes Albuquerque feel like a town that hates itself. The place was, for decades, a well-known home for the destitute and depraved, a magnet for drug dealing, violent crime and likely spot to see a shoving match between a pimp and a whore in broad daylight.
Good news, Albuquerque! Municipal employees now have an Internet forum where they tell the public about waste, incompetence, mismanagement and corruption in city government. It's not controlled by Mayor Martin Chavez. It's not something he should really want floating around on the Internet, either. It's written by regular city employees speaking up about what they see happening around them. You can find their website at www.abqgovernmentwaste.com.
If you haven't seen it yet, you really need to watch The Motorcycle Diaries, the brilliant movie (Spanish with English subtitles) about an eight-month motorcycle trip across South America in 1952 by two youthful Argentinean medical students, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and Alberto Granado.
Dateline: Australia—A group of drug-sniffing police dogs in Victoria will have to be retrained after it was revealed that the animals were drilled using a packet of talcum power. “I'm sure our dogs have got very soft, nice-smelling noses at the moment,” Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Evans told ABC Online. “But they are, in fact, trained in detecting talcum powder, so that means that they will have to be retrained in detecting cocaine.” An investigation is underway to see how the cocaine sample, used for police sniffer dog training, was substituted with talcum power. The Ethical Standards Division of the Australian Federal Police, who supplied the “cocaine,” is trying to determine if the sample was stolen or if an administrative error resulted in the switch.
This spring, Mayor Chavez and the Community Policing Program distributed a survey regarding homelessness, panhandling and prostitution in our neighborhood. We are deeply disturbed by the implications underlying the survey. Whether it merely inadvertently reinforces the prejudices of some of the city's residents or actually represents the city's own latent or patent prejudices, the survey's language and assumptions bear scrutiny and critique.