One way to cut through the din of constant political noise during an election is to look at the money flowing through the political system. Laws that require campaign and lobbying reports are meant to help the public learn about groups or people attempting to influence election outcomes through donations, or official decisions by spending money on elected officials once they’re in office. Those laws are only worthwhile, though, when they are followed. Take, for example, Albuquerque’s lobbying ordinance. It looks good on paper.
Black community leaders and citizens have taken to the airwaves to call for reform as more information surfaces about a federal sting operation that arrested a disproportionate number of blacks in a city with comparatively few African Americans. Earlier this month, I interviewed leaders from several black community groups, as well as black citizens, for a New Mexico In Depth story about the design of the 2016 criminal operation conducted by the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF operation used three black and two Hispanic confidential informants (none were white) and focused on a low-income, largely minority section of southeast Albuquerque. Last week on NMPBS’s public affairs show, New Mexico In Focus, I continued that discussion with Patrick Barrett of the local chapter of the NAACP and Janette McClelland, a resident of one of the neighborhoods targeted in the operation. (NMPBS is an NMID partner.
On the latest episode of Blue Corn Live, a new podcast exploring food in New Mexico, farmers from the Albuquerque area talk about some of the challenges they face, including when it comes to climate change.
There’s plenty more to learn about insect infestations and disease in the Sandia Mountains – and also about what local fire departments, communities, and agency officials are doing to address wildfire threats to places like Tijeras and Cedar Crest.
Drought-stressed trees are vulnerable to insect outbreaks. As the trees die, they provide fuel for wildfires. And while big fires haven’t ravaged the Sandia district of the Cibola National Forest, thousands of acres of dead conifer trees pose a hazard.