Monday, December 31, 2007

My New Years Resolution


Forewarning, I am from a long line of Irish American women. I can remember my mother telling us stories from an early age. My grandfather (my mother’s father) would sit out on the front porch swing on his farm in Pike County, Kentucky when I was a small child and tell me stories about the court system. I loved his stories. I don’t think that I could make a good point without telling a story that gave an example of what I am talking about when it comes to something important. My close friends and I tell each other stories all of the time. We enjoy telling each other lots of stories because it gives us insight into how the other person's mind works. If anyone wants to get to know me well, they will learn to listen to my stories and look for meaning in those stories.

My New Years Resolution

It is that time of year again when people take a close up hard look at their lives and decide what bad habit needs to be ended or be changed. You have to decide what your New Year’s resolution will be and then try not to break it on the first day of the New Year.

I have decided not to try to befriend the wild kittens of the New Mexican political world. You will need to wish me a lot of luck with this resolution. You have to hear the story to understand the reference.

The Wild Kitten of the Appalachian Mountains

I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I had an older sister who died when she was nineteen. Marie was a blond haired green eyed thin thing that loved any and every animal that walked, crawled or creped upon the planet. She mostly stayed around our house to dream of and play at being the perfect housewife. She was my mother’s perfect little republican lady. She was always bringing home some wild animal to ask my mother if she could keep it as a pet. I on the other hand was a wild child that knew the dangers of the wild world were I spent all of my time as a child. My mother always expected me to keep an eye on my older sister when it came to the wilds of the West Virginia’s mountains because she appeared to have no common senses when it came to dealing with the greater outdoors. I on the other hand had a healthy respect for all things wild and untamed maybe because I was one of them. I knew the difference between a wild animal and a tamed one. My mother knew her daughters only too well. The only hitch with my mother’s plan was that I had an independent nature and would run off by myself without thinking about Marie to enjoy the peace and quiet of the natural world. I though that it was her job to get herself home safely if I left her on a path close to home however my sister was more than happy to prove me dead wrong on that fact of life.

One day my sister and I were out walking the road near my family home. I picked that day to ditch my sister on the roadside and run off to be alone in the mountains. She found a small wild kitten beside the road that day. The animal had been born in the wild and did not know people. It had all of the instincts of a wild animal. It was a cute fussy little kitten and did not appear to have a mother. My sister decided to bring the cat home to ask my mother if she could keep it as a pet. I made it home before my sister that day. She showed up a little later than I covered in her own blood. That cute fussy little kitten had gone for my sister’s throat when she had tried to bring it home. She was lucky to be alive. It had not been a harmful animal but was just trying to protect itself from being taken out of the only world it knew. It may have appeared helpless and harmless but it was far from it. I refused to understand that day why my sister could be so stupid about that cat. She should have known that a wild animal like that one would not begin to understand what she was trying to do for it. She had to learn the hard way to not try to help wild animals no matter how sweet they acted toward her at first in the wild.

Some politicians are like that wild kitten, no matter how vulnerable or helpless or harmless they may appear, some of them do not want my help or to take my support and I like my sister should stop being so stupid. Hopefully, I have learned my lesson this year and will stop trying to help political kittens that will only turn on me if I try to invite them to my political parties and activities. It is high time that I learned the common senses approach to my New Mexican political urban environment. It is not that hard to tell the differences between the wild political kittens and the tamed ones. After being trained by my parents all of my live in how to be a political activist, I should know better than to trust wild untrained political kittens no matter how nice, sweet, cute, or harmless they appear to be at first. I will in the future leave it up to others to tame those people if in fact they can ever be tamed.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top ten traits that make a good public servant

  1. Shows a high level of respect for the rule of law
  2. Uses force with care only as a last resource
  3. Protects and cares for the natural world
  4. Stands up for quality public education
  5. Desires quality health care for all Americans
  6. Listens to people who wish to voice their views
  7. Never gives up on the issues the constituents care about
  8. Represents and works hard for the people of his/her state
  9. Responds to the cares and fears of his/her constituents
  10. Is well informed and thoughtful about the issues facing our nation and our state

    These are all traits that we would like in our politicians. Yet, how often do we the voters take the time to get to know the people who work for us in our local or national government. I have heard over the last year voters voice a strong displeasure with some of our local politicians without beginning to know how they have voted in the past or what they stand for in the present. The art of debate has gone by the way side in favor of the five second sound bits on just about every issue. It is not what they stand for but how good they appear and how much money they can raise. Politicians need to look good and sound good on camera but they don't need to have a solid understanding of the issues that matter to their constituents. After they are elected then they must provide our state with the best results that they can bring home from a situation where everyone is out for the same limited resources. Resources that are dwindling because of a never ending war. Some voters do not wish to be contacted by the individuals running for public office. They don't want to know where these people stand on issues. Yet, they vote for the people who will lead our country and represent our state. Too many people have stopped voting altogether and appear not to care who runs their government. Our freedoms are endanger of being taking away because of a lack of interest in our own system of government. More and more individuals have little or no knowledge of how our form of government works. If asked, I wonder what would be the top ten traits that a good public servant would like in his/her constituents. At what point does our country reach the tipping point that will cause the downfall of our system of government. It is time for voters to stand up so that they can listen to and be heard by the people who represent them.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How do we make Albuquerque a more environmentally friendly city?

Ok, mowing your roof does not sound like a fun way of spending your weekend.

I personally don’t think it would be a good usage of our rain water either. While I applaud Mayor Chavez for trying to find ways to make Albuquerque a more
environmentally friendly city, the cold hard fact is that we live in the high desert and should take that into consideration when we look at ways to improve or protect our environment and reduce our energy usage. I think that Mayor Chavez should look at talking with the New Mexico First group to see if they could hold a town hall meeting here in Albuquerque to work on ways to make Albuquerque a more environmentally friendly city and still have an effective usage of our limited water supplies and reduce the usage of energy in the city. I have also heard that the University of New Mexico is working on ways to reduce their energy usage and are rewarding the program that is doing that with a percentage of the savings.

I personally live in an apartment complex so that I don’t have to mow a lawn or clean my own pool. I have replaced all of my light bulbs with the more energy efficient ones. I drive a subcompact car.

Mayor Martin Chavez should look into using the money he can raise to encourage city residents and businesses to collect rain water from roofs in the City of Albuquerque. They can then use the water to reduce the usage of city water when watering the Xeriscape that they have planted. It takes many intelligent people to come up with ways to save energy, save water and protect our environment while still living within the restrictions that our city has to offer but a stupid man can always take a swipe at our Mayor with no constructive alternatives to offer in reply. Our Mayor’s faults may include the problem of knowing how to build positive community involvement but he is still trying to care about our city’s environment and energy usage which is more than can be said about some of the people who are criticizing him for his approach.

If you have ever watched the water run off the roofs of an apartment complex or any other large building in this city you know how much water could be collected to be reused in watering the landscape around one of those buildings or complexes. Roof water collection might also reduce the flooding of our streets that we see when this city has one of its few hard rain storms during the year.

I am not an expert in the field of energy efficiency but here are just a few ways that I could think up to reduce the use of water, increase energy efficiency and still protect our environment at the same time. I am sure that if we could get the right people together that they could come up with many more ways to make Albuquerque an environmentally friendly city.

1. Use rain water collection systems in conjunction with Xeriscaping to reduce the amount of water used for landscape.

2. Encourage people with rebates to replace old outdated sprinkler systems with drip irrigation.

3.Replace grass lawns with Xeriscape. Give businesses and owners of old apartment complexes rebates to convert grass lawns to Xeriscape.

4. Encourage people with the higher incomes to develop Xeriscape roofs in conjunction with rain water collection systems.

5. Find the money to help owners of old apartment complexes, middle income home owners and low income home owners to make their units more energy efficient.

6. Help apartment dwellers and low income home owners to replace old style light bulbs with the new more energy efficient ones.

7. Use the community centers in our neighborhoods to give classes on how to best save energy. People could be reward for attending these classes with prizes that gave them assistance in making their businesses, homes and apartments more energy efficient.

8. Encourage colleges and universities in the Albuquerque area to help local communities and businesses to develop energy saving plans. The plans could save energy and reduce the cost of energy to home owners, business owners, and apartment residents.

If the city as a whole is willing to work together to save energy and reduce the usage of water it can and will work.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto and State Senate President Pro-Tem Ben Altamirano

A Woman of Destiny

There are times in every nation's history when a person comes into the public eye that will change forever the course of that nation's destiny. Benazir Bhutto became that woman to change the direction for Pakistan at this point in history. History has many examples of men who have played that roll for their country. Few women have gone down in history as leaders who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom. Among Bhutto's last words to her people was a statement that they did not need foreign fighters to free themselves for terrorist because they were capable of doing it for themselves. Bhutto was a charismatic leader with a spark of life that few others are ever gifted to be born with but other women leaders will follow because of the example she gave her people. The leaders that follow Bhutto will most likely not have the charismas that Bhutto had but they will play an important roll in allowing Pakistan to become a free and open democracy. Once people view the example, the spark, of what can be done there is no turning back to the old ways of the past.

Women in the United States and around the world can also gain from the example Bhutto set for her people. She made it clear to all women of the world that for a nation to be free it must show respect to the mother's of it country. Woman can play an important roll in how our country deals with the current and future problems that face our nation. We must encourage ourselves and our daughters to stand up for what we believe in and never fear to express our views in the public eye no matter what the cost. Women in this country and around the world should be encouraged to seek roles of power in their own governments. Women can bring a different point of view to politics that can change the world for the better. Benazir Bhutto gave her life proving that point to the whole world yesterday.

Local news of the death of State Senator Ben Altamirano

Yesterday, State Senate President Pro-Tem Ben Altamirano pasted away at the age of 77. He had represented New Mexico State Senate District 28 since 1971. His influence in the state senate will be greatly missed. There are few words that can be said to a family after the death of a loved one around the holidays. I wish his family peace and comfort at this time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today by a suicide bomber. It is a sad day when one of this world’s most outspoken female leaders is killed by a terrorist from a culture that would love nothing more then to send women’s rights back to the Stone Age. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state. She was also elected twice as Pakistan Prime Minister.

Bhutto received her college education here in the United States where she attended Radcliffe College and then Harvard University. She had a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in comparative government. Bhutto also study in England at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in the field of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She completed a course in International Law and Diplomacy while at Oxford.

The world and Pakistan can only be a darker place without her strong leadership in that part of the world. It can be said that she gave her life in the pursuit of freedom for her people.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The day after Christmas

Home for the Holidays

Christmas was nice this year. My daughter got a new bicycle and a gameboy DS from Santa Claus. I got Avon from my brother and his wife. I gave myself a nice Asian tea set for two. Who knew that David could have that much of an impact on my behavior and no I will not be returning to my republican family roots anytime in the near future. Sorry David.

I truly hope he gets his wish for Christmas!

I am truly hoping that Governor Richardson gets a big white house in a red bow this year for Christmas. I think he has been a very good Governor and has earned it. I hear that Iowa is very flat and cold this time of year. I won’t get to go until the 2012 election because my daughter is still a little young for that type of campaigning. Everyone that has the opportunity should plan to spend New Years Eve with Governor Richardson in Iowa. I hear that he has the best party in the country planned for the end of the year. I know that he has a lot of supporters here in Albuquerque. I will do my part by going down to his campaign office here in the city this week and giving some of my time to help.

A lot of groups are doing their top ten lists for the end of the year. I thought I would do my own.

End of the year top ten list.
  1. Governor Bill Richardson announces that he would run for President of the United States.
  2. Senator Pete Domenici announces that he will not run for the Senate.
  3. Congressman Tom Udall announces that he would run for the US Senate.
  4. City Councilman Martin Heinrich announces that he would run for CD1.
  5. Congresswoman Heather Wilson pulls out of race for CD1.
  6. Energy Bill passes and is signed into law. Every little bit helps Senator Bingaman.
  7. Diane Denish announces that she would run for New Mexico Governor.
  8. Brain Colon was elected State Chair for the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
  9. Mayor Martin Chavez pulled out of the race for US Senate.
  10. Educators will get a 2% raise in the Higher Education Field. One can only hope that the State Legislators will find more money to give higher raises to the hard working educational support staff in this state. I know how much I could use the money.

    After looking at this list I can say it was a very good year for us political junkies here in New Mexico.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Women in the Political World

Oh my god—wrinkles!

From female syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman; “If you’re seen as an authority figure, you aren’t seen as womanly; if you’re seen as womanly, you aren’t seen as an authority figure. By the time you tack through that narrow channel, you have—ohmigod—wrinkles!”

I have seen female politicians try to navigate those channels here in New Mexico way to often and I have a great deal of respect for women like Diane Denish. Just today I was watching Eye on New Mexico and saw a prime example of what women have to face in the public eye in New Mexico. Put a reporter and a republican together and the result is a B horror film from the 1950s. How sad can it get in a one hour program? Dennis should learn to show a little more respect to the woman sitting on his other side after all she is a reporter evening if she is younger then him. Nothing wrong with a little forward green though. I hear it is called being a progressive.

All women in the political arena have to deal with the idea that they have to walk a fine line between being a woman and being a politician, political activist, supporter or a woman voter. If we express our views from a woman’s point of view then we are being too soft: if we express a harder point of view than we are being too masculine. It is not just men who treat women badly in the area of politics. Some women feel that any woman who is a friend or supporter to a male politician or a friend to a male voter is somehow doing something wrong. God forbid that two people could work together and just be friends in the year 2007. They either have to be one of the guys (masculine) or they are one of those type of women (feminine). You know the kind: those that have affairs with married men.

I can honestly say that I am a woman. Yes, that means that I have feminine reactions to some political issues. I am not masculine or lesbian. I do have male married friends that I don’t have affairs with now or ever! I like female politicians as friends because they have learned to navigate difficult channels in the political world. I have a few favorite wives of politicians who treat me like a friend and someone who can help their husbands. Jill Cooper and Ann Kaufman are just two fine married women who come to mind. Yes, I do like men and would be happy to date one of them that is if the right one ever asked me out. That could be a whole other story. So, the next time you see a female working in politics try to think kind and gentle thoughts about her. They have more than their fair share of hard narrow channels to navigate without anyone adding more. Also try to remember that Democrats both men and woman are fair minded people who see that women can do any job that they put their mind to in this world that means even a political one. As democrats, we don’t tell our daughters that they can never be president not like some republicans I know…

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Celebrate now and fight next year

Pace on earth and goodwill toward all mankind

On Tuesday we will be celebrating Christmas. Our country is at war; our children are not getting the education that they need to help them be members of a world community. Not everyone has a nice warm home and healthcare. Our environment is getting warmer everyday. There has always been and will always be areas that we can work on in the political realm. We should not forget all of the good things about our country. We have the ability to speak our mind in public. We elect the people who run our country. Yes, it may not be a perfect system but it is better than what most of the world has to work with in terms of fairness and accountability. We need to be thankful for what we have achieved and we need to work on fixing the things that we feel need changing in the next year. We should love our friends and family no matter how hard they sometimes make it to get along with them. We should remember that we love them and that they love us. We should show respect for the rule of law even if we don't always agree with the Federal Supreme Court. We should spend the next year working to change laws that we don't agree with so that the court systems will be forced to see it our way on issues of torture and spying. We are not and probability never will be totally happy with the system we have but we have the ability to make changes to it over the following years. Now is a time to celebrate because next year we will be in for the fight of our life. We will take back our country! I am wishing everyone a happy and a blue Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

DPBC Xmas party and fund raiser

Democratic Party of Bernalillo County's Christmas Party and Fund Raiser for Homeless Veterans

Last evening was the DPBC's annual Christmas party and it went very well. The party received many donations from the people who showed up for the event. It was good to see the tables with lots of gifts for the homeless veterans. I can honestly say that Cheryl Harris was speechless last evening.

Albuquerque court judges turned out in force to help out with the cause and to talk with the voters.

I got to meet Justice Charles Daniels for the first time. He even got down on one knee and asked for mine and a friends vote. I now know for sure that the Governor has selected the right man for the seat. I hope everyone can turn out to vote him into office in November of 2008.

Also there was one of our standing district court judges, Carl J. Butkus who will be running for reelection in 2008. He won his seat with 68% of the vote in 2006 and with all of the good work he has been doing on the bench should have no difficulty in getting reelected in 2008.

Judge Clyde DeMersseman who will be running in a contested races for the Albuquerque metro court system was also there at the party. Judge Clyde DeMersseman was appointed to his metro court position by Governor Bill Richardson. He was also recommended by a non-partisan judicial selection committee. Judge Ben Chavez, a metro court judge,who will be running for a district court seat was also in attendents. Both Judge DeMersseman and Judge Ben Chavez have long years of experience in the field of law and were talented attorney before they were appointed to the bench.

James B. Lewis, our state treasurer, was also at the meeting. He told me that his office will be coming out with a newsletter in the not too distance future. He is a very good man and should go far in the future. I just don't see him staying in the treasurer's office for very long. Somehow with his talent, I get the feeling that he will be called to run for a higher office. He has had a very difficult job to do with cleaning up the treasurer's office but I know it will not take him long to have that office running like clockwork.

I also got to see Blair Kaufman, a member of the CNM Governing Board, who loves to fly hot air balloons. He and his wife are active members of the party and they have always given their support to their local community.

Last but by far not to be unnoticed was Brain Colon, our New Mexico Democratic Party State Chair. Brain is a great attorney here in Albuquerque and has done a lot of good things to put the Democratic State Party on the right track for the 2008 elections.

The parties political activists had a good turn out and lots of people to talk with last night. I can honestly say that everyone had a good time and the homeless veteran will benefit greatly for all of the kind donations made by the members of the party.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pay raises for Higher Education

The New Mexico State Legislative Finance Committee's message is clear they don't value the people who work in Higher Education in this state so in the long run they don't value the students in our Higher Education system.

Why is it so hard to get the New Mexico State Legislative Finance Committee to value education in our state? The Governor of our state, Bill Richardson, values the people who work with students. I am working hard to get him elected President of the United States. The Legislative Finance Committee has suggested a 2% raise for Higher Education Instructors and Staff. I am a staff member at a local community college and I have to take this personally. I am by no means a rich person. I get less than $25,000 a year gross pay so a 2% raise is going to be only $500. I am forced by the college to take 21 days off a year without pay because I work with students. Administrative staff gets paid vacations and paid holidays. I get six less paid holidays than people who work with computers and paperwork and no paid vacation days. When I ask why they get more in pay and benefits than I. The answer is always the same. The State Legislative Finance Committee doesn't value people who work with students. Is it any wonder why our state places so low when rated against other states? I am told that if I am smart that I should leave the field of education and work out in the industry. What kind of message is that for people who want to teach the next generation of New Mexicans? Why are we forcing people to leave the field of education just to make a living? I have been with the college for eight years and I simply don't have any hope that my pay will be getting any better in the future. I am a single mother with a preteen daughter. When will the New Mexico State Legislative Finance Committee stop living in the 1950s when it comes to the pay rates for people who work in the field of education? I truly hope that the governor of our state can find a few minutes in his busy schedule to deal with this state issue.

Here are just a few facts about my future pay raise which I won't get until September of 2008.

The president of my college gets a salary of around $200,000 so she will receive a raise of around $4,000 for the year. She gets her raise in July of 2008.

The Deans of my college gets a salary of around $100,000 so they will receive a raise of around $2,000 for the year. They also get their raises in July of 2008. The deans get 50% less than the president of the college.

A full time instructor gets a starting salary of around $40,000 so they will receive a raise of around $800 for the year. The instructors get 80% less than the president of the college.

A full time instructional technician earns around $25,000 after eight years of service so they will receive a raise of around $500 for the year. The full time instructional technicians get 87.5% less than the president of the college.

A part time instructional technician or tutor earns around $15,000 a year so they will receive a raise of around $300 for the year. The part time instructional technicians and tutors get 92.5% less than the president of the college.

It is only too clear who The New Mexico State Legislative Finance Committee values when it comes to Higher Education.

The New Mexico State Legislative Finance Committee

Title Name Role Party Contact Info.
Senator John Arthur Smith Chair Democrat
Representative Luciano "Lucky" VarelaVice Chair Democrat 986-4318
Senator Sue Wilson Beffort Member Republican
Representative Donald E. Bratton Member Republican
Senator Pete Campos Member Democrat
Senator Joseph J. Carraro Member Republican
Senator Carlos R. Cisneros Member Democrat
Senator Phil A. Griego Member Democrat
Senator Timothy Z. Jennings Member Democrat (575) 623-8331
Representative Rhonda S. King Member Democrat (505) 832-5050
Representative Brian K. Moore Member Republican
Senator Leonard Lee Rawson Member Republican
Representative Henry Kiki Saavedra Member Democrat (505) 350-0486
Representative Nick L. Salazar Member Democrat
Representative Edward C. Sandoval Member Democrat
Representative Jeannette O. Wallace Member Republican
Senator Rod Adair Designee Republican
Senator Ben D. Altamirano Designee Democrat 986-4733
Representative Andrew J. Barreras Designee Democrat (505) 315-7493
Representative Richard J. Berry Designee Republican
Representative Justine Fox-Young Designee Republican
Senator Mary Jane M. Garcia Designee Democrat
Representative Roberto "Bobby" J. Gonzales Designee Democrat
Senator Clinton D. Harden Designee Republican
Representative John A. Heaton Designee Democrat
Senator Stuart Ingle Designee Republican 986-4702
Representative Larry A. Larrañaga Designee Republican
Senator Carroll H. Leavell Designee Republican
Senator Linda M. Lopez Designee Democrat 986-4737
Representative Antonio Lujan Designee Democrat
Representative Patricia A. Lundstrom Designess Democrat
Senator Cisco McSorley Designee Democrat
Senator Mary Kay Papen Designee Democrat
Representative Al Park Designee Democrat
Representative Danice Picraux Designee Democrat
Senator Shannon Robinson Designee Democrat
Senator Bernadette M. Sanchez Designee Democrat
Senator H. Diane Snyder Designee Republican
Representative Thomas C. Taylor Designee Republican
Senator David Ulibarri Designee Democrat 986-4265
Representative Richard D. Vigil Designee Democrat
Representative Peter Wirth Designee Democrat

At this point in time I am giving all of these people an F for Higher Education!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bipartisanship at Christmas time?

Today my daughter made me stop to buy her outspoken Republican Social Studies teacher a Christmas present. I had already purchased teddy bears for all of her friends but she surprised me the other day with a last minute request to get him a present. As a mother who comes from a long line of Republicans, I must admit that one of my fears is that my child will be drawn back into the party that my family has supported for generations. But it is Christmas time so I can and should make nice with the other side. The one good thing about having children is that they often remind us of how easy it is to be friends with someone that you don't always agree with when it comes to political views. Too bad we can't remember to act that way the rest of the year.

The other day I went to see Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's lecture at the convention center. She reminded us that in the past when travel cost more and was harder to do that the politicians were forced to stay in Washington and therefore they spent more time together. The result of that time spent together was that they made lasting friendships that helped them work together the rest of the year. With travel being less difficult in present times, politicians fly home for their down time so they can spend it with friends and family. With a state like New Mexico where the seats are divided between both parties and our country is divided between both parties maybe it is time that we encourage both Republicans and Democrats to have some social time together during their breaks. It just might result in our state representatives being able to work better together and get more done during the rest of the year. I would encourage the heads of both parties to talk about creating an annual social event or maybe evening more than one that could bring not only representatives but also party activists together so that the lines of communication could be developed. I am not saying that it would be an easy job but the rewards for our state and our country could surprise even the most harden amongst both our parties. The term bipartisanship should not be a word of the past but also of the future.