News blues

I’m going to have turn from the news to something else for inspiration in my reading today.

— How can anyone, like the Family Dollar opponents in Abiquiú, in good conscience make an argument that is essentially economic classism? I doubt the Rio Arriba County planning and familydollarzoning commission will give it much time of day. And what if it were a Ralph Lauren outlet? Of course, we’re probably going to be first subjected to someone cartooning a Family Dollar sign into a Georgia O’Keeffe treatment of Perdenal or Ansel Adam’s “Moonrise Over Hernandez.” Maybe a celebrity or two will be trotted out to talk about the significance of the landscape. I love the landscape, too, but can’t bring myself to dictate to others on matters of taste and affordability. Admittedly, I am disgusted with Dairy Queen and Popeye’s for  advertising  specials of deep-fried chicken and shrimp, French fries and white bread toast, and this has something to do with affordability, too, but those campaigns seem just flat-out cynical. I’m usually on the side of maintaining the character of communities, but is this really being thought out in Abiquiú? I have not gone into either fence01of the “dollar stores” in Bernalillo, and see no reason to with a great Walgreen’s on the corner of Camino del Pueblo and U.S. 550, where much of the staff has been there for years and everyone knows your name. But somehow the Abiquiú flap reminds me of my first two Placitas controversies: whether beige is an earth tone and whether coyote fencing is an acceptable style in a faux-adobe subdivision. Meanwhile, as cited in The New Mexican story, the Pecos experience with “dollar stores” and the old Adelo general store would seem to have more to do with discount chain-store competition in general rather than what’s going on in Abiquiú.

— This stuff of change, development, economics and taste is intricate, of course, an easy to get tripped up in. So, I might as well admit that my own nimbyistic campaign has been to object to the sale of liquor miniatures at my neighborhood grocery. Basket fulls on the checkout counter, no less.

— I can’t resist commenting on the arguments over installing a pumpjack in front of the State Land Office on Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe. For the record, I have never had a problem — in 1979 or now — with putting a symbol of an industry that provides 30 percent of the state’s general revenues on the grounds of the office that collects most of the money.  I am sympathetic to the pumpjackhysterical styles efforts just up the road in the 1960s to redesign the original and trite spaceship-looking design of the new Capitol. I think Robert M. McKinney and others saved the day. The modernism of the spaceship model would have been as short-lived as the Edsel — New Mexico was apparently still catching up with the Sputnik craze — and petitioners soon would have before the Legislature seeking money for a replacement. At the same time, I don’t think Santa Fe can pretend that the oil and gas industry is not a key element of the New Mexico economy. Maybe Aubrey Dunn should call his pumpjack kinetic art and see what happens.

— I continue to have a hard time believing student protests over the impending PARCC testing are the result of spontaneous student body combustion. Jon Swedien did a good job of explaining the lay of the land in today’s Journal, but I also would go back and read D’Val Wesphal’s column on first-hand experience with PARCC.

Win Quigley’s column in the Journal this morning on the proposed Santolina development on Albuquerque’s Westside reminded me of what has to be the most dubious developer claim in recent history. Santolina will create 75,000 jobs? Thank goodness for Quigley. New Mexico In Focus’s treatment of the issue was really weak.

— I will, of course, watch the Supreme Court’s consideration of King v. Burwell. But I am afraid to think that the fate of national health care could turn on four words that in a reasonable world might be dealt with legislatively.

 

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