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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mayor Marty's "Ride-a-Bike to Work" Public Service Ad

Seen Mayor Martay on a Bike Lately? Call 1-800-Big-Butt to report it!

San Martin de Dinero flits his expansive backside on his "Mayor Marty" ads promoting his candidacy for Mayor - using public money.

Question: Why isn't the local media talking about this?

You've seen him on his bicycle in TV ads advocating fuel conservation and blah blah blah while simultaneously pushing for expansion of city services - fully knowing that our Aquifer is rapidly depleting - The much touted San Juan Water Diversion project is still not going to be enough to sustain the kind of growth our fluffy-bottomed Mayor has permitted by delivering water & sewer pipes all the way to Double Eagle Airport under the auspices of wooing Eclipse Aviation to settle down here.

Doesn't Eclipse Aviation have factory in Albuquerque's new South Broadway industrial park now? Have they moved their operation from Double Eagle Airport? This is a question I have - it is a question worth asking - I do not know the answer.

Imagine that, all those water and sewer pipes just waiting to be tapped into all the way from paradise hills to Double Eagle Airport. Whoever owns that land sure stands to make a pile of money developing it. That land is worth far more than the $400,000.00 Martin Chavez has in his war-chest to make his bid for Mayor again. Can anyone say 'Pimp?'

Mayor Marty is clearly aware that Albuquerque residents who live in the hinterlands of the way-out West Mesa are having to commute distances equivalent to what they would if they lived in Los Lunas in order to reach down-town Albuquerque where many of them work.

11 Comments:

At Wed Jun 01, 11:58:00 PM MDT, Blogger Alisa Lynn Valdes said...

Dude! I am so psyched you put my blog link under literature alongside (above and beneath?) Noam Chomsky and Isabel Allende!!! Are you CRAZY?!?! They're geniuses. I am honored.

 
At Wed Jun 01, 11:58:00 PM MDT, Blogger Alisa Lynn Valdes said...

PS - You can tell Marty I ride my bike to work. I don't know if it counts when you work at home, however...

 
At Thu Jun 02, 07:47:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

The Voice is strong within you young AVR. Trust the Voice.

AVR,
Thank you for visiting. I couldn’t help but play on that Star Wars theme - sorry. I am wondering however, whether it is time to have a change in nom de guerre owing to recent threats and cryptic e-mails I have been receiving of late.

Since one of my all-time heroes in literature was John Irving's Owen Meany, the original Voice (the parallel was never consciously intended - such is the phenomenon of Synchronicity) I must admit however, The Voice does have a certain vain appeal to me - It makes me feel taller. It carries a sense of anonymous authority akin to the famed, anonymous The Bull Moose blogger.

I am not yet certain whether, I should bid the blogging world adieu as "J" and now adopt a new nom de guerre of The Voice. Stay tuned ...

Let's see how it feels:

Regarding Marty and you and bikes: The Voice trusts spotting the round-bottomed Mayor on a bike will be as daunting a task as obtaining a good video of Bigfoot.

Should you ever chance to see the peacock politico with a proclivity for press releases, please report your findings to The Voice's San Martin de Dinero-on-a-bike watch. Oh that Mayor Martay could implement a hotline where his constituency could call in to report such sightings - Kind of like the Cockroach hotline. The Voice is thinking 1-800-Big-Butt Bike Watch.

Thank you for visiting AVR. You now possess the dubious distinction of being the only nationally acclaimed journalist and writer to visit the Voice's site.

May the Voice be with you!

The Voice

 
At Thu Jun 02, 11:04:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just FYI, that "Water News Online" story you linked to is a rewrite of a February 2003 story by Tania Soussan in the Albuquerque Journal - it's in places word-for-word identical. Tania's reporting on groundwater depletion issues goes back nearly a decade, and Chuck McCutcheon was on the story before that for the Journal. This is what the mainstream media does, day in and day out - provide the basic body of factual information on which political and policy discourse rests. My guess is if we hadn't been reporting thoroughly, sometimes boringly but I think always conscientiously on this issue over the years, the general public might know substantially less about it.

- John Fleck

 
At Thu Jun 02, 12:13:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Excellent point Mr. Fleck,

I love your work as a Science Reporter at the Albuquerque Journal and I only wish what you had to say rated more with the public. Maybe the message is getting lost in its delivery - I am certain your editors have something to do with that though. At any rate, I do appreciate any info that comes out of your news agency. Frankly, I would prefer 'thoroughly' & even 'boringly' as you might refer to it over not at all. I figure if you keep doing what your doing then maybe your editors will give you better billing than you have receiving thus far.

Frankly, I would prefer MORE rather than the paltry coverage it has received across the board and I am not talking about just your news agency. Now if you could make it mk\ore racy or sexy, then I think you might have something there. All kidding aside, it is an important issue and easy to understand numbers would help immensely.

I appreciate your 'heads-up' on the article. Now here's a question for you, is there anything more recent from the Journal regarding water depletion? My Google search reveals nothing so, am I to conclude that this issue has lost its importance with the journal reporting staff? If so, why? It seems like a pretty important issue. I mean it is all well and good to point out the article's source but really, three years old? Albuquerque has changed substantially in that time frame. Believe me, that point was not wasted on me when I started looking for information but I had to go with what was available. Pretty slim pickings I'd say. Don't you agree? Personally, I would love more recent research because it would lend credibility to my argument.

John, I am just curious, do you have any access to information that might be easier to digest regarding actual volumes of water being depleted as opposed to what the SJD project is bringing in? In one article I read about 'Acre feet' and in others I read about comparative depths etc.

I read the Mayor's presentation to the 2004 Mayor's Conference and aside from his horn tooting; I came away from the document wondering why he isn't mentioning anything about rates of depletion as opposed to replenishing or, better yet, predicted water consumption increases as the land developments continue from Paradise Boulevard to Double Eagle II Airport.

Do you have an upcoming article in the works about this? Please say yes.

By the way, I don't find your work boring at all. Your dedication to delivering such information is much appreciated. Keep up the good work and thanks for pointing out who really deserves the credit.

My last question is this; Who at the Journal is going to have the guts to write an article regarding our Mayor - The Great & Powerful Wizard of Ahhs - and our City's future predicament based on this unchecked sprawl?

Thanks

 
At Thu Jun 02, 12:50:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Mr. Fleck,

I also forgot to mention that your presence as a journalist visiting my blog is an honor as well.

Wow, two journalists in twenty-four hours - especially from two people whose work I deeply admire.

I hope we cross paths one day on a bike trail Mr. Fleck. You are a good man. Let me know if you are ever interested in a ride - I'm thinking out to San Isidro and back would be a nice run.

 
At Thu Jun 02, 03:37:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you mean by getting better billing. My eclectic mix of nuclear weapons and nuclear waste and climate and weather and odd science features has me on the front page all the time (consistently among the top two or three in total front page byline count at the Journal). I get great support from my editors for what I do.

As for groundwater coverage, it's ongoing. Dan McKay's on the beat these days. (I count 19 stories last year.) If you think there's something going on that we ought to be writing about, give him a call. He's a good guy.

And yes, a bike ride would be fun, but it'll have to wait until after my looming knee surgery.

- John Fleck

 
At Thu Jun 02, 04:47:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Mr. Fleck,
Thanks for the points of enlightenment - I am looking up McCay's articles right after this post.

I understand your field of expertise is nuclear information - I read your work all the time. I am not certain when you write whether your remarks are based in self-deprecation or sarcasm. I have always ascribed them to the former. When I speak of 'top-billing' I am referring to articles that grab the headlines - I still maintain that one of the most significant issues for any local news agency to be covering has to do with Albuquerque's future - Groundwater is the biggie.

You responded to my post so, I asked you. Now, perhaps the more appropriate questionto be asking should be directedat Dan McKay or, more relevantly, the Journal since they pay his checks. They decide what or rather how the story goes to print.

Realistically, several questions come to mind; is the Journal ever going to print an article describing what Albuquerque's future groundwater forecast is going to be? Is our aquifer shrinking or not? If so, by how much? What impact is Mayor Martin Chavez’ decision to open up development along the entire corridor that runs from Paradise Hills to Double Eagle Airport have on the Aquifer? I don’t recall ever seeing that article yet.

These queries are not ‘nuclear science’ type questions so I understand your reticence in addressing them. Be that as it may, it is not 'nuclear science' and thus ought to be fairly straight-forward in vetting out salient information withoug too much difficulty. In short, How much, How long, Impact? seem pretty straight forward to me.

At any rate, it also strikes me as odd that these questions are of the variety that would have to be posed to a journalist who arguably is immersed in the topic. Moreover, where is the difficulty in presenting an article to the public that is as relevant in scope as it could be cogent in its coverage.

It seems a bit odd that on the one hand you are quick to reference an originating author of an article that was penned three years ago. On the other hand, you deftly pass the ball to a fellow journalist who ostensibly has more credibility and expertise in that particular subject. How is McKay’s 'billing?' Do his by-lines enjoy the same status as yours?

At any rate, I will research the archives and if I am wrong, I will gladly post my findings. I do maintain, the reason our diminishing Aquifer is more than just a figment of anyone's imagination and its ho-hum treatment does the citizens of this city a huge disservice.

I hope your knee problem turns out okay - my surgery was incredibly painful and took nearly a year to recuperate from. If it is an ACL replacement, opt for a cadaver tendon or a tendon transfer from your posterior knee. Anterior tendon transfers are incredibly painful owing to difficulty in weight bearing issues arising from scar-tissue as a result of the surgery - it is a major pain to kneel on that scar tissue - it took me nearly a year to accomplish that - it still hurts on occasion.

Good Luck John and thanks for your insightful albeit contrary postings. I'm still a fan of yours. btw, that angel pic of your daughter a while back was too cool. She must get it from her parents. :O)

Be safe

 
At Fri Jun 03, 08:50:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Feb 2005 water

Mr. Fleck,

I am disappointed.

As I got to thinking about it, I knew something did not make sense because just a couple of days ago I recalled having read an article regarding the Aquifer. It turned out to be written by YOU. So, I decided to review some of your other articles conveniently listed in the Journal. I also reviewed articles writtten by Dan McKay. It made me feel disappointed that the words you posted here could have been so misleading. I am embarrassed that I accepted your words at face value.

Quite frankly, my effusive compliments were misguided. I created an image in my mind that you were something you have turned out not to be.

I have conducted an exhaustive Google search for articles written about water as related to Albuquerque. The number of articles you refer to are embarrassingly limited. I failed to find any that completely address my concerns. It seems high time that such an article should be undertaken especially considering that we have an incumbent Mayor who is seeking re-election and the Aquifer issue is something that seriously needs coverage.

You wrote, “As for groundwater coverage, it's ongoing. Dan McKay's on the beat these days. (I count 19 stories last year.) “ In all candor Mr. Fleck, I am not looking for a journalist who happens to live in Albuquerque and happens to mention raindrops or the MRGCD etc. in an article. In short, if it ain't about the Aquifer, it does not apply to this thread.

What you speciously refer to as, ‘groundwater issues’ is not what I was after. I specifically want to know more about the depleting Aquifer! Your implication that Dan McKay is covering the Aquifer issue in Albuquerque is flat-out misleading. I did note however, that your 31 May 2005 article entitled, "Division of Colorado River came at a bad time. The article referenced the amount of water Albuquerque receives from the Colorado River allocations - EXACTLY what I asked for in the first place. You wrote, “As Colorado River allocations go, the city of Albuquerque's share is a tiny one— about 50,000 of the 16.5 million acre-feet per year that has been allocated among the seven western states and Mexico. But for Albuquerque, the allocation is huge— enough to eventually replace the water the city now pumps from its dwindling aquifer, according to city water official John Stomp.” (Note to readers: if this link does not work, go to bottom of this post, copy url and paste it into your address box - see for yourself)

Mr. Fleck, the article I referrrd to indicates to me you are quite qualified to cover that issue. Why are you dodging it?

Your article directly touches upon what I was asking for specifically. I am surprised you failed to mention your coverage of the issue. It looks like you intentionally ducked the issue and moreover you tried to pass the buck on to Dan McKay because it is 'his beat.' If you aren't daring to cover his beat, please explain why you stepped on his toes with your 31 May 2005 article? I hope the readers of this blog take the time to conduct a Google search like I did and realize what you did. I expected more out of you.

I am somewhat perplexed that you came to this site with a raised eyebrow about journalistic accuracy when alluding to the article I cited in my post about Mayor Chavez. Your first post here post read, “Just FYI, that "Water News Online" story you linked to is a rewrite of a February 2003 story by Tania Soussan in the Albuquerque Journal …” In your second post here, you wrote, “As for groundwater coverage, it's ongoing. Dan McKay's on the beat these days. (I count 19 stories last year.)”

I looked for these 19 articles you mentioned, I found 4. Can you please point out to the articles you alluded to that cover Albuquerque’s Aquifer issue? I cannot find them. I am concerned that you made it appear that Dan McKay was covering the Aquifer issue and moreover that his articles were directly related to the Aquifer. Perhaps you did not mean to intentionally lead the readers of this post astray but, from what I can see, your remarks are embarrassingly inaccurate.

In truth, your article was written just three days ago and most closely addresses what I was looking for and I find it hard to believe you could be unaware of my questions; you are a journalist! Please review what my questions were in response to your postings and you will see that your article partially answered my questions – far more directly than any articles which you alluded to regarding Dan McKay.

Now I understand you work for the Journal and I expect you to sing its praises. I further accept your remarks which I earlier discussed regarding how you bemoan the rather dry nature of your articles that are written with the intent of delivering accurate, detailed information even if they turn out to be, ‘boring.’ Having read that remark when you wrote it in DukeCityfix I got your point. In light of developments I am seeing in this thread, I am beginning to see a pattern; you are to wave your journalist badge and don’t really respect bloggers. Since this venue is connected to the internet where people can quickly research your claims, did you really think we would be so dumb as to bow at your feet and accept your red-herrings?

I am a absolutely disconcerted the realization you tried to pull off a type of deception to me and my readership based on your credentialing as a Respected Journalist at the Albuquerque Journal.. Your actions indicate you think we are incapable of conducting searches and verifying your claims. If you want to point out that your articles are ‘boringly technical’ that is fine with me. I don’t happen to agree with you on that point. However, in the future, please make an effort to present your ‘facts’ more accurately than you have in your two posts here.

Since I received my degrees in History and Biochemistry, I find what you have done here incredibly insulting. I have loyally followed your writing at the Journal and I have to tell you, I am disappointed. My History Professor at UNM used to tell us, “Accuracy is a duty and not a privilege.” Good Lord Mr. Fleck, say what you mean and mean what you say. Is that too much to ask of a professional staff journalist who understands what accuracy means regarding Scientific Method – doubly so when it comes to journalism?

What did they teach you in Journalism school Mr. Fleck?


A dear friend of mine recently said to me, “it is better not to meet the writers you admire because you are bound to disappointed; they are not as impressive as their body of work. Perhaps she was right.


http://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/356569nm05-3

 
At Sat Jun 04, 10:45:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like somehow we've gotten off on the wrong foot here, when we appear to have a lot in common.

First, something you need to understand: Don't expect a Google search to give you a thorough picture of the Journal's coverage. Because of our paid web site model, and our disappearing web content, much of our stuff doesn't show up there. (We could have an interesting debate about the merits of that approach, but it's a separate issue.)

Second: You need to understand what I do. My beat is science. A big piece of that is nukes. Other big pieces are astronomy, biology, etc. And over the years, I've concluded that climate also needs to be a big piece. That's why I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand and explain to Journal readers the nature and implications of climate variability in the region. I've done this because smart scientists (mostly paleoecologists and archaeologists) have convinced me that it's important that people living in the West understand that sometimes it gets real dry here, and thinking well about long-term water supplies is critical.If you want, I'd be happy to email you a bunch of my stories on this, since they're not Googlable. It's a body of work I'm frankly proud of, and it's why I think you and I share a common interest here. A big-picture view of the climatological reality of desert life is critical to the community understanding and dealing with these issue. It's a meme I've embraced. But the big picture science angle (my part of this story) is just one piece of the puzzle. The day-to-day stuff about the pipes and rivers and ditches, about who's using how much water, how and why, is on other peoples' beats.

The story in Tuesday's paper is an example of this. I wrote about new science being done on big picture climate trends with New Mexico-wide implications. But when I needed to understand the San Juan Chama-Albuquerque aquifer/groundwater piece in order to use it as an example to give readers a sense for why they should care, I went back and read McKay's work. This is not my area of expertise,it's his. The San Juan Chama Rio Grande diversion project and Albuquerque's water pumping are on his beat, not mine. We've also got big issues with the MRGCD, and Isabel Sanchez and Tania Soussan cover that piece. Tania's covered the heck out of silvery minnow issues, Elephant Butte, irrigation and recreation issues. Isabel had a great story last week, for example, on the upcoming MRGCD election. The MRGCD is an incredibly important part of the Albuquerque water story that a lot of people ignore. We also have someone oout in Rio Rancho covering urban development and water issues out there. Water is a huge and overarching issue in this metropolitan area and this state, and we've got a lot of people working on lots of different pieces of it. Mine is just one part.

- John Fleck

 
At Sat Jun 04, 01:58:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Mr. Fleck,

I received your correspondence and have chosen to respond on my blog rather than in e-mail. My reasons are two-fold;

1] I don’t know if it is really you who e-mailed me or one of the nut-jobs who has sent me several increasingly threatening e-mails because of my other posts. I don’t want to give out more information to the kook(s) who might just be willing to make good on their veiled threats.

2] I want people to know that if it is in fact you who took the time to write a considerate response to my rants then you deserve public acknowledgment for doing the same. I have no intention of sharing everything you wrote me because what you sent was with the intention that it be private. I would expect the same.

Here are my thoughts;

First off, let me assure you I do not despise you. I think the world of your work. It is something I highly respect and look forward to reading.

I chose not to respond immediately on the thread because I wanted to give myself time to formulate an intelligent and thoughtful response. I saw the olive branch and I appreciate it.

I looked at the thread you refer to and the post which passionately lays out my concerns is just that. I also realize you are unaware that I did several other searches - one of which was the Journal's archives. They rarely touch upon what I am asking for in this thread. I noted that McKay seems to cover the issue due jour (e.g. voter registration etc) so I am not particularly impressed with his coverage - this does not mean I do not like him or even enjoy his reportage - it simply means he does not enjoy the status you have earned in my mind.

A little background on me; I am a NM Native - as it says on my very first posting - and I spent the majority of my life chasing a dream to become a Physician - I was accepted to a rather prestigious Medical School back-east, many years ago but, as fate would have it I did not go. I ended up with a career in Law Enforcement and the agencies I worked for were phenomenal. I am not a complainer and I do not fancy myself to be some high-faluten academic although my son tells me I am a bit of a pedant. I cannot and will not change my discourses in my blogs because I feel like I have now found a venue where I can express myself freely. I have found my voice.

All that aside, I have a deep and abiding respect for truth and justice - I know it sounds like bullshit and I am not Superman but I love my country, I love the people I served and I love the fact that we can freely engage in dialogue. I have been honored by your presence via postings.

I think you might have misinterpreted me as a spineless groupie who will cower and run at first insult. I am quite different; more like a bug toward the fire. I took exception to what I perceived as a smoke screen and I was upset about it. I have always admired your work and I meant what I said. I think the best way to describe myself is as existential in my approach to life - If I am happy, I am there in the moment. When I am angry, I get mad and get over it. My life has required such an approach or I suffer the consequences.

I did take into account your insults both at DCF and in your first posting. I chose to ignore them because they are your opinions and you are entitled to them. I also will say that, when I am wrong, I do as I have raised my children to do; I promptly admit it, I apologize where necessary and then I move on.

Having that out of the way, I want to say that your job to defend the Journal is unnecessary – people are going to believe what they believe – the Journal knows what they do and why they do it. I cast no dispersions on the writers and I really do respect the job they have to do.

At any rate, back to my original point – We need an article that addresses the points I have raised – I don’t think I am alone in wanting to know just what Albuquerque’s future prospects are regarding water and the Aquifer.

I think this current Mayor’s policies are dangerous and he is selling our kids futures off for his own personal gain. All sarcasm, lampooning and jokes aside, Marty Chavez actions belie underpinnings that serve his personal interests.

As I said before, I believe in truth and justice. Anyone who chooses to ignore either is not a friend of mine. Consequently, I will speak up and speak out to anyone who will listen and hopefully, the words will be heard.

Martin Chavez is a powerful man but he is not more powerful than the truth. He is not more powerful than the First Amendment. If enough people figure him out before October comes then he is certain to be defeated. He can take his agenda to the private sector and work his magic there because I am certain that man will never go to bed with a knot of hunger in his stomach – he has made too many connections.

I believe enough in the system to know the pen is mightier than the sword and so I pitch my battle here. Hopefully other people will see it. I do know however that my little blog is no match against a $400,000.00 bank account and so I will continue to shoot the flares in hopes that people out there, especially the media, will take notice – that they will do the right thing and provide the information necessary for its readership to make an informed decision.

I have a lot if faith in the media – probably more so than it has in itself these days.

Thank you for your responses and good luck with your knee surgery. I trust it will all turn out just fine.

ps. Give my regards to your father. He has a lot to be proud of.

 

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