Thursday, August 30, 2007

District 2's "Independent Voice" is Debbie O'Malley

marjorie says...

I enjoyed getting my first full-color flier from Katherine Martinez today, who is running for city council against incumbent Debbie O'Malley in District 2, which is where I live. After a long day, I really needed a good chuckle. And I got a couple of them. Martinez is actually referring to herself as "An Independent Voice for our community." And when you look inside the flier you see this statement:
"After assuming her position as Director of Government Affairs, Katherine went to work on the problems facing Albuquerque."

My first thought was... she was Director of Government Affairs? Sounds pretty...important. Doesn't it? Even after all these years I am still quite gullible. At first. Then I remembered...Oh right, Director of Government Affairs for the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico! Of course, that last bit is conveniently left off of her flier. This was the moment of my first chuckle. Because, you know, I actually have a sense of humor about crass politics.

Folks, lets break that title down.

Home Builders Association: An association of private entities who come together to advance their interests.

Director of Public Affairs of said Association: The person responsible for manipulating the media and the government to achieve the aims of the Association.

In effect: Someone who works day in and day out to advance the interests of her employers, who in this case happen to be one of the most powerful players in terms of shaping our built environment. The shaping of which provides them with substantial economic benefit if it goes their way.

This does not make her "An Independent Voice." This was the second chuckle.

You know, it should really come as no surprise that incumbent Debbie O'Malley, who has been a champion bar none in this city of affordable housing, is being challenged with major bucks by someone friendly with the real estate and homebuilders crowd. That it would be their own Director of Public Affairs is really telling. Katherine Martinez isn't just friendly, she's essentially one of them...a seat on the Council, if she is elected, for the Homebuilders Association.

Let's face it. Fifty years from now, when this city looks back at the shaping of development of this city in a way that prioritizes workforce housing and small business/mixed use development, one of the essential names they will surface in making it happen will be Debbie O'Malley. And this is why the Homebuilders Association doesn't like her. They don't like anyone to challenge their right to build their housing developments exactly the way they want to build them...fifty years from now be damned. And for this very reason alone (because there are many others) Debbie has my vote.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Local Author Book Signing - Betrayal in Winter

Mikaela says:
Know how great it feels to support a local author?

Remember how wonderful it is when you find out a book you like was written by someone from your very own hometown?

Best yet, have you ever had a really good friend turn into a well-known author with book 2 of a quartet just published?

If so, then you know how great I feel knowing that Sept. 8 is a major booksigning by my former college roommate, Daniel Abraham, who has steadily been gaining a reputation and quite the career as a sci-fi writer.

Betrayal in Winter
Booksigning by local author Daniel Abraham
Sept. 8 at 1 pm
Barnes & Noble in Coronado Center

You can take a sneak peek at the book at Amazon, but don't buy! Buy during the signing in order to show your support.

I read the first book in the Long Price Quartet, A Shadow in Summer, and fell in love with the gorgeous writing and deep world immersion. Delicious sci-fi that's a pleasure to read and satisfying to finish. Gotta love that!

Oh, and better yet, it's local!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Prevent Environmental Racism - Speak Out Against Uranium Mining in NM

Colleen Gorman writes:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be meeting today to change the rules and regulations for uranium mining in the state of New Mexico.

When: 6 pm Thursday, 8/08/07

Where: The Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque on University and Menaul

For more information, call Don Hancock or Paul Robinson at the Southwest Research and Information Center

I received word about this meeting via an anonymous concerned citizen who wanted a Channel 27 Producer to film the event. Apparently they are trying to change the regulations so that uranium mining can begin again in accordance with illegal practices used in Texas. The caller mentioned that not too many people know about this meeting, and asked to get the word out about this to those who may be concerned about this.

News item in Santa Fe New Mexican here.

Quotes describing the effect of uranium mining on Navajo miners near the Four Corners:

"You could smell the gunpowder. When you blew your nose, it was yellow dust" (Eichstaedt l83).

"We never knew it would affect us on down the road" (Eichstaedt l86).

"Tests showed that his body was riddled with cancer. It was in his lungs and intestines. Ultimately, his spinal cord was affected, and he became paralyzed from the waist down" (Eichstaedt 96).

"my dad remains dead and I remain continues the legacy of uranium miners"

History: Eichstaedt, Peter H. If You Poison Us. Santa Fe, NM: Red Crane Book, l994.

Oral histories: Doug Brugge. Memories Come to Us in the Rain and the Wind, 1997.

The Definitive Work (upcoming October): The Navajo People and Uranium Mining, 2007.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Moises Gonzales Heads to Harvard

Mikaela congratulates:
Our fellow planner and alumnus of the UNM Community and Regional Planning Program, Moises Gonzales, has received a MAJOR honor and opportunity to go to Harvard for a year as a Loeb Fellow. Way to go, Moises! Sprinkle some Raza alma in Boston, would you?

From the NMAPA:

Long-time NMAPA Member Moises Gonzales named Loeb Fellow at Harvard Design School

Moises Gonzales, who works for Sandoval County in New Mexico, has been named a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Design School. Moises will be in residence at Harvard for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The Loeb Fellowship is the only one of its kind in the nation. Founded in 1970, it provides a year of independent study at Harvard for outstanding mid-career professionals in fields related to the built and natural environment. Primarily the focus is on architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and urban designers. Professionals in related fields such as filmmaking, journalism, non-profit administration, the arts, and government service have also been Loeb Fellows.

Moises Gonzales is an Urban Planner/Natural Resources Planner currently working for Sandoval County, New Mexico which is the fastest growing county in the state. His work has focused on new zoning strategies, planning regimens, and urban design tools that will encourage increased density within urban centers, concentrating development around transit nodes to reduce low density sprawl. Governor Bill Richardson has appointed him to the “Our Futures, Our Communities” Task Force on Smart Growth to develop legislative strategies addressing the impact of sprawl statewide.

Moises’ more recent passion for reducing the negative impacts of urban development in the West on traditional rural communities, has come from the work early in his career that focused on preserving cultural landscapes and historic communities in Northern New Mexico. Moises served as the Executive Director of the Mexicano Land Education and Conservation Trust, an organization that works in New Mexico “ejido” land grant communities where traditional Chicano communities manage communal land and water resources. Moises’ work was dedicated to preservation of traditional landscapes and plazas, improving housing conditions, and sustaining rural agricultural systems. More recently, he has been focusing on urban planning issues, out of the conviction that if the Albuquerque Metro Area becomes a more vibrant and exciting place, fewer people will want to flee to the sprawling suburbs.

At the Graduate School of Design, Moises will study patterns of urban development and urban design strategies around the world, concentrating on methods others have used to protect fragile cultural and natural landscapes and limit sprawl.

P.S. This was m-pyre's 1000th post! Woo-hoo!

Friday, August 03, 2007

m-pyre fulfills its purpose

Mikaela says:
The original impetus for m-pyre was to create a space where three Ms could continue to think together and laugh together even after life took us down different paths.

Over enchiladas in downtown Albuquerque, we talked about the likelihood that some or all of us would leave Albuquerque, who knows when. We hatched a plan to create a blog where we could share political analysis and pictures of family. We could share our stories and help buoy each other when things looked bleak.

We realized we had too much in common to let our friendship and intellectual companionship go the way of the dodo just because one of us -- or all of us -- moved away. As one of our professors at UNM's Community and Regional Planning Program reminded us, the friends you meet in graduate school are friends to keep, because they're friends that stem from your personal, political, and intellectual passions.

So m-pyre was born, growing and shrinking in importance over the bumpy course of life events and personal traumas. It's remained what it was meant to be: a place always waiting and available for us to share our thoughts.

And now, Maggie's done gone and moved to Texas. She got there safely and is now happily planning her abode with a new love. We wish her every happiness, and most especially, we wish her readily-available high-speed internet so that she can keep in touch about all things Dallas. Her new job dealing with transit-oriented development seems especially ripe for juicy analysis, and I for one, can't wait!

We're here on m-pyre, Mags! Ready always in this electronic home.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Message to G.W. re: Scooter

Mikaela says:
I finally answered one of those on-line petition thingamabobs to tell off George about his disgraceful commuting of Scooter Libby's jail sentence for obstruction of justice and lying (even though he was found guilty by a jury of his "peers" and was turned down for a petition stating that he had no case).

Every time I thought about it, I got too mad to think about it anymore.

Today, I decided I was ready to speak in a civil tone to the President of these here United States.

Mr. President,

If only you could show the same compassion to others who mess up. You're a hypocrite, George, plain and simple. You want to lock up poor minorities for drug violations and give harsh sentences, but if one of your white-collar cronies LIES to OBSTRUCT JUSTICE, you'll let him off with no jail time and a laughable fine that his friends pay for him in an hour or two.

What kind of message does this send to our children about justice in America?

Get rich or go to jail for trying.

You are worse than a liar. You are a liar's best friend.

I did not go one step further and end the way I wanted to:

Nice job, Brownie. Rot in hell.

Just my luck they'd call it a threat and throw me in jail for longer than it will take for him to LIVE THIS DOWN.