It would seem obvious at a time when Congress is raising fuel economy on a national scale that similar efforts should be done legislatively in New Mexico if they are to be done at all. Unfortunately, in New Mexico, too often it is nameless and faceless bureaucrats that make these decisions. In fact, the Environmental Improvement Board and Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Board recently decided to adopt so-called “Clean Car” regulations in New Mexico, a move that would dramatically reduce emissions. As the Albuquerque Journal points out, such moves should at least be considered by our elected officials before they become law.
Although we don’t always agree with the left-leaning 1000 Friends of New Mexico, this article on the hidden costs of TIDD is a must-read. TIDD for urban redevelopment is of questionable benefit because it would be so much more efficient to eliminate harmful government policies. Subsidizing politically-correct “new urbanist” developments in greenfields is nothing more than corporate welfare.Economics in Focus
I live off Coors just south of Montano. While I don’t oppose buses and often notice full buses — both Rapid Ride and regular — on Central when I’m over there. Unfortunately, the new Rapid Ride buses which form the so-called Blue Line along Coors are constantly empty or they have one or maybe two riders. Of course, if you believe the transit department’s press releases, the Blue Line has been nothing but a success. Unfortunately, getting objective data out of the transit department is not an easy task, but it would seem that the city could have gotten away with smaller buses or even vans rather than the massive, articulated buses now used.
Outside of a few isolated areas in this city, traditional mass transit is simply not feasible. We should keep this in mind as another round of public hearings and comment sessions (you can comment online) is held on mass transit in and around Albuquerque.
I opened today’s West Side section of the Albuquerque Journal to find two seemingly unrelated stories that actually point to one of the biggest problems in economic development here in New Mexico: the tight control government bureaucrats have over land use decisions. As I have stated in the past on this blog, politicians are increasingly taking over land use decisions that should rightfully be made by property owners and developers.
One of today’s stories is about TIDD and the effort to prevent local governments from subsidizing some development at the expense of the rest of the city and county. Thankfully, Councilor Cadigan now supports stopping TIDD from being used on “greenfield” developments, most of which would happen on their own terms and without subsidy. This issue will be heard at the Council meeting Monday night.
The other article, also dealing with government micromanaging of land use, is about the owners of 80 acres in the South Valley who have been trying to develop the land into a shopping center. One might think that the political establishment would support economic development in the economically struggling South Valley, but the Bernalillo County Planning Commission seems to believe that pastoral poverty is superior to economic development.
The fact is that the subsidies for TIDD are bad, but the County Planning Commission is essentially stealing land from property owners by preventing them from using it for no better reason than personal preference. In both cases, allowing individuals acting in a free market to make decisions for themselves would be far superior to the political process.
Leonard Pitts is a relatively left-of-center columnist who is often picked up in various geographically-specific editions of the Albuquerque Journal. While I don’t agree with him often, a recent story he wrote on what works in education caught my eye. In his story, Pitts praises charter schools and specifically the additional discipline and time in the classroom provided by the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) style of teaching.
Charter schools are certainly a good option for many kids both in New Mexico and around the nation and Mr. Pitts’ praise for this form of school choice is welcome. I wonder, however, whether he also favors broader school choice measures such as tax credit scholarship programs. As recent studies from the Rio Grande Foundation and other organizations have shown, New Mexico is in dire need of improvement in K-12 education. Hopefully lefties like Pitts and others are willing to consider all options, public and private, in order to improve the schools.
Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing appeared on Channel 5’s “In Focus” public affairs show a few weeks ago to discuss , the Rail Runner, transportation, and other important topics. The show can be accessed at the following link. There are three windows that you may click on and my appearance is in the third (bottom) window. The first two windows were a prelude to the show with a discussion between Transportation Commission Chair Johnny Cope and Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, Vice Chair of the Transportation committee. Neither of these two individuals inspire much confidence in those who believe that innovative thinking is necessary to solve New Mexico’s transportation problems. Enjoy the show!Decidedly New Mexican
An organization called Blognet News is now ranking political blogs around New Mexico. Based on their criterion and given slight variations from week to week, Errors of Enchantment consistently ranks in the top 10 as far as influence is concerned. View the rankings here. Considering that in the most recent rankings we’re ahead of two commonly read blogs, Joe Monahan and Heath Haussamen, I’d say that we’re pretty influential and having an impact. Hopefully, with a little luck and continued hard work, we can work our way into the top five and eventually to number one.General Info
(Albuquerque) On Tuesday, December 4th at 7pm, the Rio Grande Foundation will host the New Mexico premier of the new film “The Call of the Entrepreneur.” This is a free event.
This short (approximately one hour long), dynamic documentary presented by Acton Media and the Rio Grande Foundation tells the story of free enterprise by following the lives of three very different entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs risk it all to make a better future for their families and fellow citizens. Why do their stories matter? Because how we view entrepreneurs—as greedy or altruistic, as virtuous or vicious—shapes the destinies of individuals and nations.
A short trailer and some additional information on the movie is available here: http://www.calloftheentrepreneur.com/
With premieres from Houston to Kenya, this film has been met with enthusiastic responses as its message of liberty spreads across the globe. The Washington Times recently called the premiere “an emotionally powerful film experience.”
The film will be shown in Albuquerque in the main auditorium of the New Mexico Bar Association which is located at 5121 Masthead NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 (near Jefferson and I-25). Admission is free, but in order to best accommodate our guests, please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org or simply call us at 505-264-6090.
The schedule is as follows:
6:30 p.m. Light Snacks
7:00 p.m. The Call of the Entrepreneur Film Premiere
8:00 p.m. Brief Discussion (optional)
So come out after work and don’t miss this opportunity to see the message of liberty portrayed in such a compelling format. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your friends and colleagues to these ideas and to renew your passion for liberty!
New Mexico Senator and Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee Jeff Bingaman made headlines (subscription required) in today’s Albuquerque Journal with comments that the public is ahead of Congress on issues of climate change and increased use of renewable energy.
With a barrel of gas at nearly $100 and a gallon of gas going for over $3.00 a gallon here in New Mexico, Bingaman’s concerns are understandable. The problem is that he is complaining about high gas prices which are the very tool needed if alternative energy sources are to become competitive. Only when consumers demand alternatives in the marketplace will we actually switch from oil and gas to alternatives. Bingaman and his cronies on the Energy Committee can mandate higher fuel efficiency and ethanol usage, but as Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute points out, until some energy source comes along that is as cheap and portable as gasoline, nothing is on the horizon.
It would be nice if Bingaman and the rest of his Committee would leave the energy marketplace alone so that we can make our own decisions about the price of gasoline and alternatives, but that is not the way of Washington.
No, I’m not saying that EVERYONE in Santa Fe is a whiner, but the public comments made at a recent meeting held by the County to discuss potential oil and gas drilling in the county by Houston-based Tecton Energy company certainly brought out the worst in NIMBY types. One member of the throng, a Dennis Marker, stated, “I see it as your job to make Santa Fe the most business unfriendly, unreasonable environment for oil and gas exploration in the history of the United States.” Without citing all the comments, the 500 or so people who attended the hearing were almost universally opposed to drilling.
To the average wealthy Santa Fean it would seem that oil and gas drilling are good enough to support their kid’s education and for the hicks in Roswell, Hobbs and Farmington, but heaven forbid they have to see an oil and gas well on their way to and from their favorite art gallery.
I might add that I’ve been to Santa Fe (city and county) many times and I have seen many cars on the roads, not to mention petroleum-based asphalt covering the roads, and plastic bottles and cups in wide usage. It would seem to me that New Mexico would be better off if the bulk of oil and gas taxes were directed to local governments as opposed to being sent to Santa Fe. Perhaps then at least the same people who bear the relatively minor “costs” associated with oil and gas drilling would reap the benefits and the folks in Santa Fe could rely on movie stars like Julie Roberts for their livelihoods.