Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Short Winter Storm

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

As promised, the first winter storm hit the area Thanksgiving evening. Snow fell, but melted almost immediately because the ambient temperature was just above the freezing point. Friday morning, snow fell again. All gone. Typical New Mexico snowstorm.

Winter is the season when migrating birds populate the Rio Grande valley. Time for a road-trip!

So what’s wrong with this picture?

This is a U.S. Marine Corps AV8-B Harrier II, on its first deployment with the U.S Navy on the U.S.S. Belleaue Wood in 1987. This aircraft, built by McDonnell Douglas / British Aerospace has the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine. It has vertical take-off and landing capabilities.

This is a Harrier Hawk at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, eight miles south of San Antonio on the Camino Real.

I instantly understood why the airplane was named the Harrier. Not only does the airplane look somewhat like the bird in flight, when it lands, the plane mimics the bird. As it approaches its landing site, the bird radically shifts its wings halting its forward momentum. At about three to four feet above the ground, it partially folds its wings and drops to the ground.

The 20th annual Festival of the Cranes was held Nov. 13-18. It apparently is a big deal for the City of Socorro, with events including: parades, tours, exhibits, lectures, food and music. But it’s about the birds.

Here, a duck surfaces after diving for food underwater.

It is a nice trip on a sunny day. Admission is $3 per car or you can use your National Park pass; it’s the $40 worth of gas that’ll get you. Bring your binoculars and be prepared to marvel at the huge lenses of the really serious amateur and professional bird photographers. They are a milder bunch than the hard-bitten sports photographers you find on sidelines, yet some of the same banter is exchanged. “I got the shot!”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Standby for Fall

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

These flowers, on the University of New Mexico are still blooming two-thirds of the way into November and two-thirds of the way into Fall.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

It hasn’t frozen in Albuquerque yet; but there is a potential winter storm forecast for the Holiday. So, standby for Fall.

Beating Swords Into Plowshares

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is a sculpture called, “Guns Into Plowshares,” in Washington, D.C.’s Judiciary Square.

Its significance was pointed out today when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a 1976 law prohibiting the private ownership of handguns in the nations capital.

In the case, District of Columbia, et al., Petitioners v. Dick Anthony Heller, the high court will review the Second Amendment.

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Gun control advocates argued in the lower court that the Second Amendment means that states may have militias and only citizens, as part of such militias may be armed. Gun owners argue that the original congress that drafted the Second Amendment’s language feared big government and wanted citizens to freely own and carry weapons.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

This is a detailed section of the 1997 sculpture made from guns obtained in an amnesty buy back program to get weapons off the streets of the District of Columbia. The sculpture is based on “Swords Into Plowshares,” a biblical quotation.

This is a statue by the same name, near the rose garden at the United Nations that was a gift from the Soviet Union.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the outright ban on gun possession. The Supreme Court has not visited the issue of gun possession, in almost 70 years, since ruling on United States v. Miller 307 U.S. 174 (1939).

This should be a very interesting case.

It may have little effect in New Mexico and up to 43 other states that have the topic of gun ownership in their constitutions.

The Constitution of the State of New Mexico’ Bill of Rights, Section 6, right to bear arms, says, “No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Bond Girl

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

What’s the definition of a conservative? Answer; a liberal who’s been mugged.

So what’s a conservative who’s been mugged look like? Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Wilson was a career diplomat who rose to the level of ambassador. He was chargé d'affaires, second in command at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq up until it was closed in 1990, just prior to the Gulf War. He was the last American official to meet with Saddam Hussein

Wilson was a presidential appointee of George Herbert Walker Bush. He served as a dual ambassador to the two countries: Gabon along with São Tomé and Príncipe. When you go to your globe, you will find Gabon on the western edge of the African continent at the equator while São Tomé and Príncipe are an island nation, west of Gabon in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf of Guinea. It’s not the Court of St. James, but an Ambassadorship all the same.

In 1997, Wilson was appointed Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and was Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council before he retired in 1998.

The current Bush administration set out to make a case against Saddam Hussein in its run up to the Iraq war. As part of their justifications against Hussein, efforts were undertaken to prove Iraq’s intentions to obtain nuclear weapons.

Remember, Iraq had an almost completed French-built nuclear reactor at Osirak that was destroyed by the Israeli air force June 7, 1981. Hussein clearly had nuclear ambitions.

The Central Intelligence Agency, knowing Wilson’s knowledge of African uranium production capacity, sent him to Niger in Feb. 2002, to learn if Hussein was trying to purchase yellowcake uranium in Africa. He had a serious doubt that the Iraqi’s were acquiring uranium from Niger.

"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," President Bush said in his State of the Union address January 28, 2003.

Those 16 words got Wilson thinking, did he miss something? Had one of the other uranium producing African countries been approached? So he wrote a 1,500-word Op/Ed piece, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," for the New York Times that was published July 6, 2003.

Wilson is a big boy and he probably would not have been surprised if some political heat came his way for clarifying what he knew about African uranium.

The heat Wilson got from his government wasn’t that of a blast furnace, but the intensity of the Sun’s surface.

Many consider the mugging he received, cowardly, immoral, criminal, and even treasonous.

This is Valerie Plame. Until July 14, 2003, she was an undercover CIA operative.

On that day, the world learned that she was a spy for the United States.

How could such a thing happen? Did an enemy of the U.S. capture her? Had she revealed secrets under torture in some far off land’s dungeon? Did a double agent she had worked expose her?

No, she had been working at headquarters in Langley, Va. on counter proliferation issues. She had done clandestine field operations in the past and was still active, though she was in the country at the time.

“Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction,” syndicated columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times Robert Novak wrote in his July 14, 2003, column, "Mission to Niger."

“Two senior administration officials told me that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report,” Novak wrote. “The CIA says its counterproliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.”

In that moment, Plame’s chosen career was over. People with whom she had gained trust and who had given her information overseas were instantly endangered. Ongoing espionage efforts were compromised.

Joe Wilson told his wife, “the son’s of bitches did it,” according to Plame’s recounting of her husband throwing the morning newspaper on her bed that day.

The son’s of bitches he was referring to were members of the Bush administration as they began a retaliation effort that would include calling him a traitor and attempting to dismiss Plame as nothing more than a secretary and a person incapable of doing any real spying.

Several years have passed and facts have emerged.

We now know the two senior administration officials who informed Novak of Plame’s status were, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. Rove was in charge of: the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. He also confirmed Armitage’s identification.

Armitage also gave the information to the Washington Post's writer Bob Woodward. Other journalists also obtained information about Plame including: The New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, and NBC's Tim Russert.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald headed what would be called the CIA leak investigation and it sought to identify who disclosed Plame’s identity. President George Bush said that the White House would cooperate and that if anyone in the administration was found to have violated the law, he wanted them to face the full force of legal ramifications.

Eventually, only Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted for obstruction of justice by making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and of perjury. Ultimately, Libby was convicted on four of five counts and sentenced to prison. Bush commuted the sentence.

Fitzgerald was confronted with a legal burden that he was unable to overcome. He had to prove that those who revealed Plame’s name had actually broken the strict reading of the federal statute. No doubt those who engaged in outing Plame meant to damage Wilson’s reputation for his questioning the “facts” used to convince the American people and congress to go to war against Iraq.

Rove, according to Newsweek, had said that Plame, as Wilson’s wife, was “Fair Game,” in the domestic political war.

“Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House,” (Simon & Schuster 2007, $26.00) was written under her full name, Valerie Plame Wilson.

On Sunday Nov. 11, she was at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. N.W. Albuquerque, to speak about her book, answer some questions and sign copies.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

In the early part of President John F. Kennedy’s administration; he was asked by a reporter, during a press conference, why he had observed the lights on in the family quarters very late at night? Was he reading briefing books? The answer supposedly was that he was reading the Ian Fleming series of James Bond novels. As a result Fleming’s books became best sellers. Hollywood, or more precisely Pinewood Studios in London, has produced 21 movies based on the Fleming books. Several Bond films and even television versions have been produced.

One aspect of the Bond phenomenon was the Bond Girl. Beautiful, usually foreign; she was eye candy for the male moviegoers, as much as Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig were for the female audience.

Such females were shallow sex objects that fell for Bond. If the women were spies, they did not betray their own country, but joined Bond in taking on a third party criminal element who posed a threat to countries on both sides of the iron curtain. These spies also would fall for Bond. Bond girls were everything that Plame isn’t; except for the beauty part.

This isn’t Hollywood. However, there are a number of things that Hollywood does in its presentation of a story that are also at work and replicated in the Wilson/Plame story.

My Take

This is a war of ideology. In an attempt to disclose my bias; I side with the Wilsons. At the same time, I find what happened at the book signing fraught with contradictions, disconnects, misdirection and a level of propaganda and spin.

There is an axiom in filmmaking that, “it doesn’t have to be, it only has to look like it does.” Moviemakers ask their audiences to suspend their disbelief, to disregard that they know the actors are acting, to know that stunts don’t or can’t actually defy the laws of gravity, that the human body will not withstand the level of violence doled out during staged fights.

So I pick the events apart.

BookWorks is a relatively small independent bookstore in the North Valley at Dietz Farm close to the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. They pride themselves on being one of only two remaining independent bookstore in town. They have a fair number of book signings that they hold in their cramped spaces. It’s a good thing that the fire marshal is apparently not much of a reader because he would have a fit over the number of people that crowd into the store to listen to some authors. The Plame crowd would have been hosed down with the big nozzle. The place was jam-packed.

At some events, I am able to photograph and understand what is being said at a level where I can accurately report. At others, I know that doing both will be more difficult. This was one of those events. I was going to rely on using my tape recorder. In discussions with the store’s owner, Nancy Rutland, about covering this event, she checked with Plame about allowing audio recording. Rutland reported that Plame did not want her comments recorded; photographs were fine. So, I turned off and pocketed my recorder. KOB TV taped portions of the comments.

Ambassador Wilson introduced his wife and children, Trevor Rolph and Samantha Finnell Diana, who were born in January 2000. He said that, in part, the reason for taking on the Bush administration over exposing Plames’ clandestine job, was to raise his young family knowing how to stand for what is right in the world. Wilson also has an adult set of twins from a previous marriage.

As a career diplomat, words and their careful usage would be Ambassador Wilson’s chief tools. He demonstrated that he knows all the words using them liberally stringing together a blue streak, in front of his children, that could even make a sailor blush.

Plame said that the CIA won’t allow her to talk about her pre-2003 employment with the agency, though there is documentation in the public record of her 20-year career.

In an interview with KOAT TV at the end of the event, Plame said she and her husband chose Santa Fe as the place to move to when they left Washington, D.C. She had been on assignment to Los Alamos National Labs and, though she hadn’t had time to explore the area, was fascinated by New Mexico. She did not reveal any dates. She also made it clear that she had a long career and is playing the agencies game. There is no doubt that she will do nothing that might be used as an excuse to say that she revealed some classified information, however slight that possibility might be.

During the question period, she was asked about threats. Though she did not want to talk about them, she did want to mention a particular incident, where she was one of several people that had been threatened. The others were all higher-ranking members of the intelligence community or the administration. She had asked for round-the–clock protection for her family, which was denied, while the others were already receiving protection due to their status.

The inequity clearly perturbed her. She had earlier pointed out and confirmed one of her former CIA school classmate’s statements, that she had been the top shot with the communist built AK-47 assault rifle. There is no doubt about that; Plame is fully capable of protecting herself and her family. However, it would have been nice if she had been afforded the same level of consideration, which those who seem to now despise her, had received. I am sure she has slept with one eye open for years and will continue to do so for at least several more.

Plame, in writing her book, used a unique technique; that of redacting portions of her manuscript that the CIA would not approve.

At the end of her remarks, Plame doted on her children. As I got my copy signed, I took a picture of her with her children. Rutledge physically attacked me from my blindside, moving me back several feet. She was saying I could not be so close or include the children in my picture. I looked at Plame; she was aghast and her jaw had dropped.

It is my belief that the storeowner took it upon herself, after listening to the stories of credible threats, to go into a surrogate “Mother Bear” protective mode on behalf of Plame.

The Wilsons felt comfortable enough to bring their children to the event. Trevor was given the honor of wearing the wireless microphone and took center stage to perform the sound check.

What’s wrong with this picture is that I’m not going to show you my picture of the children’s faces; I am going show you what KOB TV did show moments later.

It seems that censorship doesn’t just come from the government, but from bookstore owners, when it suits them. Now there is something really wrong with that picture!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Political Corral Getting Crowded

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Between school and trying to keep up with covering the political meetings and announcements, my blogging has slipped to reporting about once a week. There are other stories; they are just going to have to wait. This is what has been happening.

Thursday Oct. 25, Richardson’s Volunteer Rally

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish introduced Gov. Richardson at the International Brotherhood of Electrical worker’s Union hall.

Richardson was trying to encourage the die-hard New Mexico Democrats to travel to Iowa between Christmas and New Years, to walk neighborhoods and to get out support for their Jan. 3, 2008 caucus.

In introducing the dais, Richardson recognized his host, Martin Chávez, not as a declared U.S. Senate candidate, but as Albuquerque’s Mayor.

The Gov. indicated he was in fighting form and ready to go the distance, reminding the crowd, front-runners in earlier campaigns had been known to fizzle. Citing former Governors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who were relatively unknowns at the time, Richardson noted that they had survived the early primaries to push ahead of the favorites and go on to be elected presidents.

Saturday, Oct. 27, The Women’s Turn

Democratic Women of New Mexico Convention

Democratic National Committee Secretary Alice Germond spoke of the importance of getting out the vote. Democratic State Chairman Brian Colón also gave a speech invoking more participation in getting voters to the polls.

New Mexico Federation of Republican Women

The Republican women held a three-day Biennial Convention where Congressional District 2 Rep. Steve Pearce gave the luncheon speech.
Rep. Heather Wilson, who has abandoned her Congressional District 1 seat and is seeking the Republican U.S. Senate primary nomination, for the seat vacated by current Sen. Pete Domenici, spoke at the dinner.

Both representatives are seen with Republican State Representative Nora Espinoza, District 59 of Chaves, Lincoln and Otero Counties. Espinoza seems to like both.

Friday Nov. 2, Pearce Announces for Senates

Former Gov. David Cargo introduced Congressman Steve Pearce in Albuquerque as Pearce made one of several city tours, announcing his candidacy for the Republican U.S. Senate primary nomination.

Cargo, in a characteristically understated manner, introduced Pearce. He spilled a glass of ice water on his shoes prompting me to ask if it was his way of cooling his heals?

Fellow blogger Joe Monahan pointed out that moderate Cargo had been Domenici’s 1972 primary opponent for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by then Sen. Clinton Anderson. Monahan seemed to suggest the Cargo still held a grudge for losing to Domenici.

Saturday Nov. 3, Democratic Party’s Central Committee

I met Lt. Gov. Diane Denish on my way into the Democratic Party’s Central Committee meeting at the Central New Mexico campus.

“Howdy neighbor!” I called; she lives a few houses up the block.

“Oh, Hi!” she responded, as she paused to let me catch up.

“Things are really getting excited,” I observed.

“Yes they are,” she said. “I haven’t seen it like this since, well I guess I haven’t seen it like this. …I told my daughter that since I announced my intentions for 2008, I can get back to doing my job.” Denish had said on Wednesday that she would not enter the U.S. Senate race.

“No you can’t, your doing the Governor’s job,” I noted.

“Oh yea, I guess I am,” the Lt. Gov. said.

Inside the building, I met up with Assistant City Attorney Pete Dinelli, who is the champion of closing down run down motels.
During the past week, there had been a success story. The Downtown Travel Inn, at High Street and Central Avenue, which had been shut down by the city for numerous code violations. reopened after more than a million dollar renovation. The owners of the property said they were going to avoid future problems by only accepting credit cards, because those they felt caused problems usually paid cash. Dinelli had endorsed the position.

I had to ask. I handed Dinelli a one-dollar bill pointing out the fine print, “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”. I got an “Oh Mark,” from Dinelli, “You know why they’re doing it.”

Yes I do know why they’re requiring credit cards over cash; it’s also illegal.

It’s not that I object so much that the motel is trying to control those who have caused problems for them in the past: drug pushers, prostitutes and the like, it is that Dinelli, representing the government, may not take a stance supporting housing discrimination. If drug dealing or prostitution is going on, arrest the miscreants, but one can’t engage or condone other illegal activity.

Dinelli said he is eligible for retirement at the end of the year and plans to leave in the middle of next year. He is telling fellow Democrats that he is considering running for mayor. Maybe some of the Constitutional rights that Dinelli has attacked so strongly in his current position will be restored with his departure.

Rep. Tom Udall of Congressional District 3 had previously announced that he was not giving up his House seat and the seniority that goes with it, including his position as a member of the House Appropriations Committee. On Thursday Nov 1, he announced that he is reconsidering seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate primary nomination.

At the meeting, he was introduced as an elected federal official and the current incumbent Congressional candidate. The room gave him a standing ovation with several “Run Tom Run” signs being waved and chanting.

Udall spoke of the need for Democratic leadership in the Senate and the magic number of 60 votes needed for cloture. Cloture is the process in the Senate rules that limits debate; it requires three-fifths of the entire Senate.

Then, with a wink and a nod, he said, for the benefit of any media in the room, that he was not announcing his candidacy at this time. Udall apologized for his wife not being in attendance and said he didn’t even know where his daughter, Richardson’s Deputy Campaign Manager Amanda Cooper, was. The Gov. has her out on the road somewhere, he said.

Udall was pushed hard by the press, here by Albuquerque Journal's political reporter Jeff Jones, right, as to why he would not announce immediately. Udall said he was going to take up to two weeks. His answer seemed to satisfy party faithfuls, but not reporters, pundits and political bloggers.

On the candidate’s table, in the hallway outside the meeting room Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez offered potato chips with his campaign sticker on the bag. Two years ago, while running for reelection, Chávez had one-pound bags of specialty coffee with his campaign material printed on the bag. This was not as elegant, but does raise the obvious question; is he offering chips and dip?

Chávez was introduced, as a current Democratic U.S. Senate primary candidate, much later in the afternoon by Democratic State Chairman Brian Colón.

Chávez took a verbal swing at U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York who is also the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Schumer told reporters in Washington that he wanted the strongest possible candidate to oppose Wilson or Pearce. Chávez told the crowd that it would be New Mexicans, not New Yorkers, who would select the next Senator from the state, to thunderous applause and the waving of Chávez and “Run Tom Run” signs.

Colón, seen here with his ten-year old son, Rafael, who led the pledge of allegiance in English and Spanish, is the newly elected Democratic State Chairman. He ran a tight meeting. He stated that he promised to be, among other things, open and inclusive.

With the eruditeness and aplomb of a sports announcer, he introduced the political elite by dragging out their names, allowing the last syllable to fade off slowly.

During a moment when questions of resolutions were up for debate, he made a ruling to allow the person who wished to present an amendment five-minutes to speak, followed by, up to six individuals, three for – three against, for one-minute each. However, on more than one occasion, while delegates waited to speak, he accepted shouted calls for the question. Procedurally, a call for the question is a way to end a debate. The Democratic Party has it’s own rules, but normally, and especially under Robert’s rules of order, it is improper to accept an unrecognized delegate’s shout over those who are in line to add their comments. The results were not severe, as those calls all passed the two-thirds voted to close the discussion.

In one case however, Colón backed down when Sandra Richardson, left, came forward as a call for the question was shouted.

Richardson left the podium muttering and Colón called her back, ruling that he had recognized her first. Richardson had a rough time the past few months for her disclosed “Honey-Bee” e-mail to Albuquerque City Council District 4 unsuccessful candidate Paulette de Pascal, with whom she attended the meeting. Richardson made an argument that, though the central committee represented Democrats statewide, they could not dictate how all members and voters should act. Her argument carried the day.

Sunday, Nov. 4, Neighborhoods gather to discuss construction plans for University of New Mexico's North Golf Course

Several neighborhood associations and citizens concerned with the announced plans to build on the golf course brought about 500 people to protest and enter into a dialogue with the newly appointed UNM President David Schmidly.

During the rally three fire units responded to a report of gas odors on the second floor of the law library. The fire official investigated using detectors and found nothing, according to department spokesman Capt. Ahren Griego. The presence of fire trucks had attendees wondering as Chávez scampered back and forth. Their seemed to be no actual correlation between the gas leak call and the rally.

North Campus Neighborhood Association President Sara Koplik moderated both the rally outside the school of law and inside the lecture hall. The room was crammed beyond overflow with more than 300 people. A second lecture hall was opened and audio was piped to the crowd.

Koplik, left, whispers to New Mexico State Representative Gail Chasey while speaking to the rally in front of the UNM School of Law, where Chasey currently attends.

University officials are willing to form an advisory committee to help in directing the project. The crowd seemed to have other ideas; specifically, that UNM leave the golf course untouched. The discussion is at two different points.

Schmidly, seen here in the projector light of his proposal, is trying to hold on to the current agenda, stated as, this is our plan and we will only talk about it, while the community wants the agenda to be about not developing on that site.

Emotions are running high and lots of statements are being made that constitute hyperbole. Some call the 80 acre site a ‘Central Park,” and the largest green space centrally located in Albuquerque. However, it is only a nine-hole golf course. There are several larger golf courses in town.

One question that has been raised is, what is the educational benefit derived by the project? The transverse is also true, what educational benefit is derived by the golf course? The University owns a lot of undeveloped land, some on the North campus and a fair amount on the South campus. It does not seem that the issue is so much an opposition to the proposed senior living center as it is to its location. Might the same project be relocated elsewhere? Apparently the City is amenable to a land swap and is willing to take over the Golf Course as a City Park.

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish was the ranking political leader, that included: Bernalillo County State Senators Cisco McSorley, District 16 and Gerald Ortiz y Pino, District 12, Bernalillo County State Representatives Danice Picraux, District 25 and Gail Chasey, District 18, who is also a current UNM law school student. County and city officials included: County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez, City Councillor Isaac Benton, and Councillor-elect Rey Garduño, and Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority Chairman Danny Hernandez, whose districts includes all or parts of UNM’s main campus. Other political figures also present included: U.S. Congressional District 1 Democratic primary candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham and former Land Commissioner Ray Powell Jr.

Denish, seen above right, chastised Schmidly and UNM officials, including Regents’ President Jamie Koch in the red sweater and Chairman of the Regents' Finance and Facilities Committee Mel Eaves, in the yellow sweater, for their proposal to encroach on the golf course.

Michelle Meaders correctly caught that I had transposed Michelle Lujan Grisham's name and pointed out that there were three other Democratic U.S. Senate primary candidates present besides Chávez. My intent, poorly executed, was to distinguish that Udall was not yet an announced candidate for the Senate seat.

Democratic U.S. Senate primary candidates: Jim Hannan, left, Leland Lehrman, center, and Don Wiviott, who also spoke.

Meaders' point that she, "thought Dem. officials were careful not to appear to favor a candidate before the Primary," might be true. but it is a fact that Chávez is a candidate. Saying so is not an endorsement and if it weren't for the fact that Richardson, despite denying the possibility of his getting into that race should his presidential aspirations fail, it can be viewed as being dismissive of a potential rival. I believe the reaction of Chávez, in the picture above says it better than my words could.