« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rally & Town Hall Meeting on Proposed UNM North Golf Course Development Set for 11.4.07

From Neighbors for Green Space: Big crowd needed for Rally to preserve the UNM North Golf Course and Green Space! Come show your support! Download a FLYER (pdf) and post it or pass it on.

FIrst there will be a Rally
Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 3:30 PM
UNM Law School parking lot
1117 Stanford NE, Albuquerque, adjoining the course

Followed by a TOWN HALL MEETING where UNM President Schmidly will meet with all those concerned about development of the proposed luxury retirement village on the grounds of the North campus golf course:

Town Hall Meeting
Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 4:00 PM
(this is the rescheduled time)
UNM Law School, Room 2401
Please click to RSVP
Questions? Email Sarah Koplik, President, North Campus Neighborhood Association at info@neighborsforgreenspace.com

Please write the UNM Regents, Gov. Bill Richardson, Mayor Martin Chavez and UNM President David Schmidly: click for contact information.

Neighbors for Green Space are in favor of:

  • Maintaining the North Golf Course as the largest open green space in central Albuquerque
  • Conserving trees on the North Golf Course that give beauty and protection from pollution
  • Preserving the North Golf Course as a refuge for wildlife
  • Keeping the North Golf Course as a revenue-generator for UNM
  • Utilizing the two-mile perimeter trail for walking, exercise, and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle
  • Setting aside permanently the North Golf Course and protecting it from development
  • We support the Legislature's efforts to protect this valuable community resource

Editor's Note: For more info about this issue, see our previous post.

October 31, 2007 at 03:20 PM in Education, Environment, Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Halloween Howlers


Looking for that last minute Halloween outfit? Check out People for the American Way's Right Wing Costume Kit. To get into the proper Halloween spirit, take a look at our made-for-New Mexico video of Martin Heinrich, Debbie O'Malley and Don Wiviott fighting off the attack of the right wing zombies! Also check out a frightening video and vote for the scariest Senate Republican at the site. Tom Tomorrow's holiday cartoon presents the scariest Halloween costume of 2007, and counting. The John Edwards campaign offers an election day 2008 edition of the Scary Times. Booooooo!

October 31, 2007 at 10:59 AM in Visuals | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

(Updated) Chavez for Senate Releases Selective Poll Results

UPDATE 10.31.07: Yesterday, I asked Mayor Chavez about this polling during a conference call initiated by his campaign to reach out to progressive bloggers. He said the poll was done on behalf of Patricia Madrid (who paid for it) when she was considering entering the race. He said his campaign purchased only certain segments of the results, and that they weren't yet in possession of all the data they had purchased. Chavez also reported that Steve Pearce had not announced his entry into the Senate race when the polling was done. The Chavez campaign is considering sharing more of the data when it becomes available.
According to a short post today on Political Wire:

A Lake Reseach (D) poll conducted for the U.S. Senate campaign of Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez (D) showed him narrowly beating Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) in a hypothetical Senate matchup, according to Roll Call. The survey found Chavez edging Wilson, 41% to 40%, with 19% undecided. Key finding for Democrats: "The poll found Chavez leading Wilson among independent voters 48% to 30%."

Celinda Lake of Lake Research is the Chavez campaign's polling consultant (see our previous post), so even these selective data should be taken with a grain of salt. But the real question is why the complete polling results haven't been released. It would be useful, for instance, to examine the methodology and questions used in the survey to determine their fairness. What was the margin of error? How many people were polled? Were they registered voters? What were the party affiliation and other demographics of the samples queried?

I'd also like to know if polling was done on a Chavez run against Steve Pearce, the other Repub candidate in the race who showed better numbers than Wilson in a recent SurveyUSA poll. What were the percentages of Democrats and Republicans who indicated their support for Chavez? If he's beating Wilson so badly among independents and since Republicans make up less than 40% of the electorate, what does this say about how he's doing with Dems?

I think it's less than transparent to release only selective numbers from what appears to be a campaign-funded poll that's already subject to political shading. Mayor Chavez -- how about releasing the complete results so we can see for ourselves what's going on in the race? It's the right thing to do.

I'll be participating in a conference call this afternoon with Mayor Chavez so I'll try to get a question in about releasing the results of the Lake Research poll and report later on what I learn.

You can see our previous posts on the 2008 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico by visiting our archive.

October 30, 2007 at 05:13 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (22)

New Book Parties & Discussions: Community Organizing

Mjbrown_2From Mark Rudd:
I know this coming weekend, November 3 and 4, is tragically busy, but please consider attending one of these book parties and discussions, Saturday in Santa Fe and Sunday in Albuquerque. My old friend Michael Brown, with a lifetime of experience in community organizing, has written an extraordinary book, an easy-to-read guide. The title tells it all, every word of which is covered in the book: Building Powerful Community Organizations. Michael writes simply and directly and tells lots of stories from the his own experience.  Whether you're a veteran organizer or a novice activist, you'll want to meet Michael (muy charming) and read his book. Tell young activists about this, please.

Michael's trip to New Mexcio is sponsored by the National Organizers' Alliance. Saturday's discussion and party is at Terry Odendahl's house in Santa Fe. Sunday you can go to the Peace Center discussion and party after the Dia de los Muertos events. Information is below. Thanks.

Book Party and Organizing Discussion
Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups That Can Solve Problems and Change the World, a new book about community organizing, by Michael Jacoby Brown , (Long Haul Press. 2007). Introduction by Mark Rudd. Also see: and Long Haul Press.

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 7 PM
Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center

202 Harvard St , Albuquerque, NM
Sponsored by the National Organizers Alliance
RSVP: 505-268-9557

"Michael Brown is a superb guide. His book is full of thoughtful, practical advice for community organizers, and indeed for anyone who wants to participate at the grass roots in making ours a more just society."  -Howard Zinn

"Michael Jacoby Brown distills more than 30 years of organizing into his book, which every aspiring and veteran activist should own." -Library Journal (starred review)

And in Santa Fe:
Saturday night, November 3, 2007, 7:30 PM
At the home of Terry Odendahl

1439 Miracerros Loop South, Santa Fe, NM
RSVP: Terry Odendahl at (505) 216-9756

Directions: From Albuquerque: take the St. Francis exit off Interstate I25. Go north 3 long blocks. Turn right on Columbia and right again on Miracerros Loop South. From Santa Fe: Go south on Galisteo. Turn right on Columbia and left on Miracerros Loop South.

Books will be on sale for discounted rate of $15. Available at bookstores for $19.95 or Michael Jacoby Brown, (781) 648 1508 or Email: MBrown7387@aol.com or Michael's cell: : 617 645 0226). Co-sponsored by the National Organizers Alliance www.noacentral.org and the Institute for Collaborative Change , Santa Fe.

October 30, 2007 at 01:05 PM in Books, Events, Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

(Updated) Martin Heinrich to Live Blog on Daily Kos Today at 5:00 PM

Photo and pumpkin carving by Ambrosia Ortiz

UPDATE: Click the direct link to Martin's diary on Kos.
Visit the national blog Daily Kos today at 5:00-5:30 PM Mountain Time when NM-01 Congressional candidate Martin Heinrich will be live blogging, taking questions and comments in a diary. Check back here as 5:00 PM nears and I should have a direct link to his diary. If you go to the main Daily Kos page at 5:00 PM you can also look for Martin's diary link yourself, in the right-hand sidebar under the heading Recent Diaries, and click on it to enter the thread.

This will be a critical quarter for Heinrich's campaign fundraising. He needs strong numbers to continue demonstrating that he's the best candidate in the race for the Dem ticket. Many small donations can become a powerful force in maintaining the momentum he needs, so consider contributing a few bucks now via the Heinrich DFNM Netroots page at ActBlue. You can also mail donations to the Heinrich campaign office at 2118 Central Ave. SE, #71, Albuquerque, NM 87106. Checks should be made payable to Martin Heinrich for Congress.

The other announced candidates in the NM-01 Dem primary are atttorney Jon Adams and former Secretary of NM Public Health, Michelle Lujan Grisham. Former Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who ran against Heather Wilson in 2006, has decided not to enter the race.

To read our previous coverage of the NM-01 Congressional race, visit our archive.

October 30, 2007 at 08:59 AM in NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Glenn Greenwald Talks Telecom Immunity

Video from Firedoglake. Go sign the letter to Harry Reid.
NY Times Op-Ed by Studs Terkel: The Wiretap This Time.

October 29, 2007 at 05:30 PM in Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Crime | Permalink | Comments (2)


Flynt Leverett on Washington Journal: What the White House Doesn’t Want You To Know About Iran. Another ex-Bush adviser blows the whistle.

October 29, 2007 at 12:57 PM in Iran | Permalink | Comments (1)

Whos' Really on the Marty Chavez for Senate Finance Committee?

With all the "confusion" bubbling up around the Marty Chavez for Senate primary campaign regarding who is or is not a member of his finance committee, I thought I'd recap the inconsistent record that emerged late last week. It begins on Thursday, October 23, 2007:

1) Thursday's Roll Call article reports that the Chavez campaign is reporting that Marty's campaign finance committee includes Paul Blanchard, Johnny Cope and Javier Gonzales, among others.

2) Chavez is interviewed by Las Cruces blogger/journalist Heath Haussamen on Thursday afternoon and says that Blanchard and Cope are on his finance committee.

3) At 4:18 PM on Thursday, the Chavez campaign distributes a press release (pdf) that does not have Johnny Cope's name included in the listing of those serving on his finance committee.

4) The next day, Friday, Haussamen quotes Javier Gonzales saying he is not on the Chavez finance committee:

“I’m not a member of his committee. I notified his campaign staff of that yesterday afternoon but also notified them that I would continue to help the mayor raise money,” he said. “… What I have agreed to do is raise Marty money, as I have agreed to raise money for other Democrats, including contributions I’ve given to Don Wiviott (one of Chávez’s opponents in the Senate Democratic primary).”

5) On the same day, Friday, Paul Blanchard is asked by Heath Haussamen if he's on Chavez's finance committee and he answers "no comment."

6) Also on Friday, a Chavez spokesman says that Johnny Cope "will" be on the finance committee, according to an article by Steve Terrell published Saturday in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

7) In the same New Mexican article, Javier Gonzales goes on the record as not being a member of the Chavez team, and Marty Chavez is forced to confirm that:

Meanwhile, one person who was listed as a member of Chávez's finance team, former Santa Fe County Commissioner Javier Gonzales, said his name should not have been listed on the news release.

Chavez "called me a couple of days ago. I told him I'd help him raise money. I help a lot of Democrats raise money. I guess it was a misunderstanding," Gonzales said.

Chavez confirmed Gonzales had told him he couldn't serve on the Chavez finance team.

Gonzales said because of his work as a consultant for a variety of national companies, he isn't comfortable being an official part of anyone's campaign.

What are we to make of all this? At the very least, statements by Chavez's campaign staff and Chavez himself as to the membership of Cope, Blanchard and Gonzales on his official campaign finance committee were premature, if not downright misleading. Despite the unwillingness of Cope and Blanchard to go on the record, the Chavez campaign is still touting them as finance team members. Javier Gonzales' membership on the finance committee has been refuted by him and Chavez finally confirmed that Gonzales wasn't on the committee.

The strong relationships that Cope and Blanchard have with Gov. Bill Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish make any formal connection with the Chavez campaign seem unlikely. After all, Denish says she's still pondering a Senate run, and reports have surfaced that Richardson people are telling his main financial supporters to "keep their powder dry" regarding the Senate race.

Why is the Chavez campaign going down this road, given how easy it is for fact checkers to determine the truth? Why did they release campaign finance committee information that can't readily be confirmed, especially when it tends to strengthen the already enshrined perception that some of the Mayor's dealings have been less than ethical or even downright dishonest? The Chavez campaign's strategy seems particularly dangerous when voter mistrust of career politicians is at an all-time high. I can't imagine why they think that operating in this matter will help their chances.

To read our previous coverage of the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, visit our archive.

October 29, 2007 at 10:21 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (9)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

(Updated) Sunday Bird Blogging: Red Sox Nation

UPDATE: Red Sox sweep series with 4-3 victory in Game Four. Mike Lowell named Series MVP. Pinch hitter Bobby Kielty hits 8th inning solo homer that makes the difference. Red Sox Nation jubilant (including Sunny, Bosco, and the Seven Parakeets -- Whitey, Ginger, Hambone, Georgie, Queenie, Peanut and Jumbo)!
The Red Sox Nation extends far and wide as Boston closes in on their second World Series victory in four years. They could win their fourth and decisive game in the best of seven series against the Colorado Rockies as early as tonight. Mary Ellen and I have been cheering them on throughout the playoffs and our avian family has been right beside us, pecking and peeping away. Bosco the peach-faced lovebird demanded we feature him and his collection of Red Sox gear in today's bird blogging. He considers himself to be the most loyal Sox supporter of our bird brained clan. This time, Sunny the sun conure and the seven parakeets decided not to argue with him. He's that vehement.


He even got his favorite rainbow bear and a couple of his favorite toys into the photo mix to best show off his plumage against the most colorful of backdrops. He's one vain lovebird. You should hear him sing the Bosox unofficial anthem, "Well I love that dirty water ... oh Boston you're my home." Even though it's really his human flock that has called the Boston area home in days of yore, Bosco definitely counts himself as an enthusiastic -- if long distance -- member of Red Sox Nation.



Bosco has already started the other birds chanting, "Manny, Manny, Papi, Papi! But he reserves his loudest cheers for Jacoby Ellsbury, the first baseball player of Navajo descent to make it to the major leagues. Ellsbury's mother's roots are Navajo and Jacoby sometimes summered with his Diné grandmother, a weaver, and other family near Parker, AZ. He spent a year there with his mom when his grandmoter was ill. He's officially a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribe, whose reservation straddles the Colorado River in Arizona and California and is home to Chemehuevis, Hopis, and Navajos. Click for more info on Ellsbury.

Click on photos for larger versions. All photos by M.E.B.

October 28, 2007 at 01:55 PM in Bird Blogging, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ortiz y Pino Guest Blog on Blackwater: The Visigoths

JerryThis is a guest blog by NM State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (right), a Democrat who represents Senate District 12 in Albuquerque. This piece was originally published in Santa Fe Sun News:

When the full accounting of the worst excesses of the Bush (Junior version) administration is at last tallied by historians, I will not be surprised to find heading the pathetic inventory the inglorious adventures of that uniquely American institution, the Blackwater Company. In a way that is exquisitely appropriate, Blackwater may well become recognized as the perfect example of the Bush-Cheney administration in microcosm, W's ideal and exemplary "MINI-ME"; a band of clumsy mercenaries wreaking havoc everywhere they tread (even while making quite a bundle of money in the process).

They are our Visigoths, the armored warriors who've swept in mindlessly and knocked down the last props holding up the American Empire, the very Empire our hapless President was apparently attempting to deputize them to protect. If it were a soccer match, Blackwater would have just managed to score an "own goal"... one for the other side. Recognize, too, that Blackwater is not an aberration, an unfortunate mistake, one noteworthy precisely because it is so different from all else that is going on. Oh no! These guys are no glitch; they are actually the vision! They are what Cheney and Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and the rest of that "New American Generation" crew had in mind when they talked about market forces and the "opportunity for regime change" and when they driveled-on about spreading American entrepreneurial capitalism across the globe. They saw the future and the future was ... Blackwater: another in the endless stream of governmental functions to be privatized; the endless chain of thefts from the public treasury for private gain; you know, the hallmark of all that Bush stands for! It's been so simple, really, to reverse the pumps.

It used to be Washington's task to bring money into the Government. No more. By the time they finally stagger away from their time at the trough, Dubya and his guys will have pretty well emptied out the Federal Government's cash reservoirs and filled their own and their buddies' up to the brim. What with Halliburton sopping up billions through creative bookkeeping of its non-activity in Iraq and dozens of corporations evading all tax liability by the simple expedient of listing their headquarters address off-shore in some businessman's tropic paradise; with Defense contractors, oil companies, major pharmaceuticals and money lenders all gorged just about to capacity from sucking up Federal largesse, it now turns out that (surprise!) there isn't much left in the accounts to actually run governmental services with. So there are plenty of villains to point at these days, no end to the larcenies being committed at public expense. Yet even among the ranks of all the many rogues with the foresight to cozy up to Republican elected officials and the willingness to exchange ethics for no-bid contracts, Blackwater stands out.

They all stink, of course; they all invite outrage, and they all should be made to pay the money back. But there is a clinging to this particular Virginia-based enterprise, this armed-muscle-for-hire company, an especially repugnant aroma that does set it apart even among the other opportunists and jackals that avidly fatten themselves at the expense of the miserable. You see, these guys are not just hired guns, mercenaries willing to serve whoever signs their pay vouchers. They fancy themselves as being our privatized Armed Forces: the ultimate in out-sourcing of essential governmental functions. And unfortunately, the President seems to agree with them.

Thus, when thugs in the employ of Blackwater commit murder, assault, mayhem and similarly impolite other forms of behavior during their stay in Iraq, as described so numbingly by Reporter Jeremy Scahill in his just-published book on the company called, simply, Blackwater, it is not the corporate investors in the company who will feel the heat of Iraqi outrage, it is the American people who will be blamed.

This is what the Romans learned the hard way over sixteen hundred years ago.

Those darned mercenaries are more trouble than they are worth. Not only can they prove difficult to control, but you have to bear the weight of all the errors they make. They are not independent of those who hire them. The illusion is that it is easier to pay big bucks for contractors to do the dirty work than to recruit, train and supervise your own troops. That is the illusion to which the current occupant of the White House has fallen prey. That is why we now have more private contract manpower in Iraq than we have troops (200,000 versus 170,000), even if we don't keep close tabs on their deaths -- must be a clause in their employment contract or something, a kind of "you don't have to mark my passing" authorization. But it is starting to look like even the Iraqi government (whose puppet strings we routinely jerk just to remind them who's boss) has finally tired of the arrogance and blood-letting of the contractors. The general populace did so long ago, of course. But then the general populace tired of all of us long ago, so it's no use asking them.

The government, though, now wants Blackwater gone; removed; their contract ended. They will soon be forced out of Iraq, I assume. But that will end neither the Bush entanglement with mercenaries in Iraq nor the profitability of Blackwater. Some other company of soldiers of fortune will fill their shoes, with little or no change in how badly we are served by using unaccountable and uncontrollable troops like that. Blackwater itself will scoop up some other juicy contract for work somewhere else in the world: Afghanistan, Mississippi (yes, they were there during Katrina), Darfur -- wherever there's a buck to be made and a code of ethics to be ignored. Blackwater is the Bush doctrine: private gain squeezed from public coffers. Now it is up to us, the American people, to decide if we are going to tolerate what it represents. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Blackwater are three very smelly pieces of inheritance to pass on to our children.

They don't deserve it. We must turn away the Visigoths.

This is a guest blog by Democratic NM State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino. Guest blogs provide readers with an opportunity to express their views on relevant issues and may or many not reflect our views. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

October 27, 2007 at 10:54 AM in Books, Corporatism, Crime, Guest Blogger, Iraq War, Military Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, October 26, 2007

NM-Sen Race: Marty Chavez Disses Tom Udall, Others

Anyone else shocked and dismayed that Mayor Marty Chavez has the nerve to paint Rep. Tom Udall -- one of the most respected and widely popular political figures in the state -- as a fringe left candidate? In an interview with Las Cruces blogger Heath Haussamen, Chavez is quoted as follows commenting on the Dem primary race for U.S. Senate in New Mexico:

He [Chavez] also said he is confident he would defeat Udall in a primary. "Philosophically, he's so far to the left," Chavez said. "I'd rather not have him in the race, but that's a challenge I'd not shy away from."

Despite serious misgivings about Chavez's primary run on the part of many Democrats -- high and low -- he comes across as supremely confident he can beat anyone because, well, he's "moderate" Marty Chavez and any other baggage he carries is apparently irrelevant:

"I feel very strongly that this is going to be a Democratic pickup and I'm going to be that Democrat, because I'm a moderate Democrat," Chavez said. "I think the Republicans are more afraid of me than some others."

... He also said he isn't concerned about U.S. Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, the two Republicans who are running. He said Wilson "is in trouble" because she's damaged from the 2006 election and the U.S. attorney scandal, and Pearce - who he called the likely winner of the GOP primary - "is way outside the mainstream."

In contrast, a statewide SurveyUSA poll, conducted for Albuquerque's KOB-TV from October 5-7, 2007, shows Pearce 21 points over Chavez and Wilson besting Chavez by four. The poll also has Pearce losing to Tom Udall by 18 points, as well as Wilson losing to Udall by 18 points. Seems that according to those polled anyway, it's Chavez who's outside the mainstream in some way.

Chavez also said he's "not concerned" about running against popular Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in the Dem Senate primary, should she decide to enter the race:

Chavez said he isn't worried. Denish has already raised more than $1 million for a 2010 gubernatorial run, and with Chavez abandoning his gubernatorial bid to instead run for Senate, he said it wouldn't make sense for her to enter the race. He said he is "not concerned" even if she does enter the race.

In addition, Chavez is out of step with those who believe that Albuquerque's recent municipal election, where the candidates he backed lost miserably, was a meaningful gauge of his current popularity:

Chavez said he doesn't "take much" from the results of the city election because turnout was only 9 percent.

... "I have legitimate progressive credentials, but I am pro-business," Chavez said, adding he believes the two can go together.

Marty doesn't seem to get that there's a big difference between being supportive of local business interests and giving away the store to sprawl developers and other big donors while claiming to be "progressive" and "green." There's also a big difference between Dems respected by New Mexicans for their integrity and fair play, no matter what their political stripe, and those who too often come across as concerned only with maximizing their own power by any means necessary.

To read our previous posts on the 2008 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, visit our archive.

October 26, 2007 at 03:03 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (15)

North Campus Meeting to Discuss Alternatives to UNM Golf Course Development


Stung by the University of New Mexico's aggressive pursuit of a retirement village development on UNM's North Golf Course ­after assurances in April from Acting UNM President David Harris that there were no development plans, the North Campus Neighborhood Association has called a meeting to be held at 5:00 PM on October 28 to form an action plan. The meeting will be in Room 2401 of the UNM Law School, 1117 Stanford NE in Albuquerque, which adjoins the course.

"The University in public and private meetings has repeatedly said they had no plans to develop the golf course. But last week we learned about a plan that would eat up two thirds of the existing UNM North Golf Course," said neighborhood association president Sara Koplik. "This plan does not value the multiple benefits of the course, which is really Albuquerque¹s Central Park. It's the People's Course -- affordable, centrally located and popular with the golfing public, but also used extensively by birders, runners, dog-walkers and nature lovers of all kinds."

UNM issued a request for information in February soliciting interest in commercial development of multiple properties in its real estate portfolio, including the North Golf Course. It announced plans to proceed with more detailed discussion with Co-operative Retirement Services of America (CRSA) and JP Morgan Chase for a "continuing life care community" dubbed Lobo Village. Preliminary plans posted on the university web site show the North Golf Course shrunk to a so-called "executive course" with buildings and parking lots consuming what is now open, green space.

"The neighborhood does not oppose a retirement village. But UNM owns ample undeveloped lands that are more suitable for development ­ and wouldn't lay siege to a natural jewel in the heart of the city," Koplik said. Lands owned by UNM include the Elks Lodge on University, car dealerships along the south side of Lomas and a swath of undeveloped parcels called Lands West, located west of University Boulevard.

North Campus is not the only neighborhood unhappy with the plan, Koplik said. Other adjacent neighborhoods, many environmental and civic groups and community leaders have taken positions opposed to development on the North Golf Course.

A link to the university¹s plan is available here by clicking on UNM Real Estate Projects and then Lobo Village. Further information is also available at NeighborsForGreenSpace.com.

JkochPast Protest and Jamie Koch's Responses
About 700 people showed up in February to protest the retirement project at the golf course and signed a petition against the proposed development. Back then the President of the UNM Board of Regents, Jamie Koch (right), had this to say, which bolsters the criticism that the forces behind the development have been less than honest about what's going on:

In a Feb. 20 e-mail from Jamie Koch, president of the board of regents, he claimed the university is not looking to turn the area into a retirement center, something that was briefly discussed during the regents' January meeting.

"I'd like to make it perfectly clear at this time that the university has no plans to build a retirement community for alumni or faculty on any property the university owns," he wrote. "I've repeatedly said that the UNM North Golf Course has not been discussed by the regents nor has there been any request from university personnel for use of the golf course for a retirement community."

More recently, Jamie Koch changed his tune, despite the fact that the retirement community would displace a new Appeals Court building approved for construction near the UNM Law School:

"We’re very interested in working with the community, but we are going to try to move ahead with a retirement community, maintaining the golf course,” Jamie Koch, president of the UNM regents, said this week.

Koch said as part of the project, he would like the university to find a new site for the planned state Court of Appeals building now slated to be built near the UNM Law School. A groundbreaking had been projected for early 2008.

... Regents previously had signed off on the courthouse location. “I think we need to get out of the deal on the courthouse,” Koch said, stressing that he was speaking for himself and not the full board. He said UNM could find other land for the courthouse.

Appeals Court Judge Michael Bustamante said he didn’t know how a change in the location might affect the project. “We have a Board of Regents resolution in place that they passed last year … allowing or giving us the space that we’re planning for,” Bustamante said. “That’s still in place, and we’re currently working on the form of lease.”

Koch also claims he wants to replace a signficant portion of the golf course to save water. Conveniently, he doesn't reveal how much water the new development would use.

Regent Contact Info and Related Stories

Click for contact info for the UNM Board of Regents, including President Jamie Koch.

Check these out for more info on this issue:

October 26, 2007 at 11:34 AM in Education, Environment, Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)