Local Vet Puzzled by McCain’s GI Forum Speech

In a speech today before the American GI Forum in Denver, John McCain told the veterans group that when the government forgets its debts to veterans, it constitutes “a stain upon America’s honor.”

Yet that’s just what one prominent local member of the Hispanic veteran’s rights group says McCain has done, for failing to support the revamped GI Bill and increased medical benefits for veterans during his long tenure as a United States Senator.

A few months ago, I interviewed Louis Tellez of Albuquerque, a World War II Army veteran and former national secretary of the GI Forum.

Tellez, 84, attended college thanks to the original GI bill and credited it with setting him down the path to a lifetime of success. Continue reading

What is “Green Building?”

Green builders and architects often joke that they spend half their time explaining what green building actually is.

When the Albuquerque green architectural consulting firm Environmental Dynamics, Inc. is pressed to define green building, they have a ready example at hand – their own rehabbed building. The architects and consultants who run EDI bought a “nasty” concrete block commercial building near San Mateo and Central NE several years ago and turned it into a veritable showcase for green commercial renovation.

“What we do is exemplified by the building we’re in,” explains Kent Beierle, one of four partners who make up EDI.

The building at 142 Truman NE has a rustic yet stylish, modern look, sporting sustainable cork floors in the conference room and bamboo walls and floors throughout. Interior walls are finished with a non-toxic product made from crushed oyster shells and marble sand. Abundant skylights eliminate the need for artificial lighting during the day.


Photo by Patrick Coulie

The building’s exterior is finished with an all-natural lime wash mixed with crushed, recycled glass.

Recycled steel beams were used in the renovation, and concrete rubble from the nearly complete demolition of the building is “caged” in wire and used as a fence around parts of the building.
Continue reading

More Questions: Kirtland Contamination

Few commonly used things are more toxic than jet fuel. So that’s a big part of why the news that a huge jet-fuel leak under Kirtland Air Force Base on the southern edge of Albuquerque is so disturbing. The bare facts of the case are cause for concern: The leak has been happening since the 1970s, was finally discovered in 1999 and then was re-discovered last February to be much, much worse than ever thought.

The public is concerned, and rightly so, about the risk of contamination to nearby groundwater in residential neighborhoods located nearby. Jet fuel, if ingested by human, can cause cancer. Continue reading

Blame it on… Viagra?

Three NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico members were ejected from Arizona senator John McCain’s town hall meeting Tuesday at the Hotel Albuquerque.

They had tickets, just like the 500 or so people who were let in and given a chance to pose a question. But they apparently made the fatal mistake of wearing NARAL T-shirts to the event.

At least that’s what the group’s executive director is left to believe.

The security people who ejected the NARAL ticket holders didn’t give them a reason for having to leave, NARAL director Heather Brewer told me Tuesday. They were simply told that they were trespassing and threatened with arrest.

The NARAL members weren’t arrested – they left quietly.

But their ejection certainly raises a lot of questions about whether free speech was tolerated at a town hall event designed to take questions from New Mexicans – all New Mexicans, not just those who tow a particular party line. Organizers had billed the event as public and open to anyone holding a ticket, space permitting. Continue reading

Green Job Profile: Gerald King

Gerald King can’t wait for the day when green jobs become plentiful all over Albuquerque. The New York native says he’s tired of working dirty, low-paying jobs that don’t benefit the environment.

King says he feels like he’s worked every one of those jobs, but confesses that his “bottom rung” was his stint at a fast-food restaurant, serving up “unhealthy, jacked-up food.”

Indeed, fast food restaurants, which serve heavily-processed starches, sugars and meat from far-flung sources, pay the lowest and have the highest carbon footprint of any food sources around. Continue reading