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Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association to hold planning meeting

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) will be holding a Planning Meeting on March 24 at 2:00 p.m. at the Placitas Community Center, 41 Camino de las Huertas. All ES-CA members are invited to attend, along with all other residents in the ES-CA area (Placitas, Algodones east of I-25, and the East Mountain portion of Sandoval County). The purpose of this meeting is to work with members to plan ES-CA priorities and activities. For those who are not already ES-CA members this meeting will be a good opportunity to learn what ES-CA is doing for our community and sign up to be a member.


Senator Eisenstadt holds booksigning event in Placitas

Pauline EisenstadtPauline Eisenstadt recently published a memoir about her time in the New Mexico House and Senate. The memoir is mainly antedotal and funny, and interesting to a broad audience, not just political junkies. Eisenstadt represented the Placitas area in the Senate through 2000. She remains involved in politics and is knowlegable about current events in New Mexico politics.

Pauline Eisenstadt will be coming to the Collin Meeting Room at the Placitas Community Library on Saturday March 17 at 2:00 p.m. to give a short talk, answer questions, and sell and sign books. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Elaine Sullivan at 771-1171.


A memoir from a unique legislator

—Wally Gordon

Pauline Eisenstadt, a Corrales Democrat who used to represent the East Mountain [and Placitas] area in the state Senate, was a unique legislator—so far as I know, the only one who has ever made her top priority a sustained effort to reform legislative processes. That she largely failed is a matter of historical record. Her role in sending a legislator to prison for corruption in 1999 may have led to her sudden and unexpected retirement from public life the following year. Now she has written a memoir, “A Woman in Both Houses” (UNM Press, 192 pages with black-and-white photographs, $27.95 in paperback), which describes her unusual political career. The title refers to the fact that she was the first woman to serve in both the House and the Senate (from 1989 to 2000).

One of the most revealing passages describes a conversation when she chaired the House Democratic caucus. Her job included organizing the more-or-less-weekly meetings of House Democrats. She departed from past custom in bringing in experts to inform the representatives about major issues.

“Pauline, why are you bringing all of these people into the caucus?” a House leader challenged her. Eisenstadt replied that members needed the information to vote.

“No they don’t,” he responded. “We’ll tell them how to vote.” Despite the reprimand she persisted in trying to inform her colleagues.

Another of my favorite passages describes the treatment of bills:

“Passing legislation is like a rabbit getting through a pack of coyotes; if it comes out alive, it will usually have a smaller tail, one leg, and perhaps one ear left, but usually it will not survive.”

Eisenstadt describes legislative service as a kind of contact sport. She depicts legislators as aggressive and competitive. Many are there, she reiterates three separate times, primarily to get pork spending for their constituents and friends.

During her eventful eight years in the House, followed by four in the Senate, she received death threats and walked to committee hearings with police protection; an unapologetic fellow legislator banged up her car; Senate majority leader Manny Aragon told her she was on his “shit list” for refusing to give him her constituents’ capital spending money; and finally, she had a peripheral but key role in sending Rep. Ron Olguin to prison for corruption.

In addition to her role as a reformer, Eisenstadt stressed compromise and conciliation in the legislative process, frequently crossing the aisle to collaborate with Republican colleagues.

The Legislature has always been a mostly male domain. When Eisenstadt was there, only eleven percent of legislators were female; today the number has crept up to thirty percent.

In an anecdote that has not been previously public, Eisenstadt recounts that she may have narrowly missed a chance to graduate from the Legislature to Congress.

When newly elected President Bill Clinton was assembling his Cabinet, she got a call from Congressman Bill Richardson. Richardson told her to stay by the phone because the next day the President would nominate him as secretary of the Interior, and he would then endorse her to take over his seat in the House. However, the Cabinet nomination went to Bruce Babbit, former governor of Arizona. It was not until two years later that Richardson joined the administration, as ambassador to the United Nations.

Eisenstadt’s memoir doesn’t explain why she quit the Senate. But the Legislature operates as a tight-knit club. When a constituent told her he suspected Olguin of corruption, and she referred the information to the state attorney general, and Olguin ended up in prison, she had violated the club rule of omerta, of silence, and her ability to function effectively in the Legislature was probably over.

It is sad. It is more than that, it is tragic, for Pauline Eisenstadt is the kind of public official we desperately need and sorely lack.

Reprinted from the January 18, 2012, “Mountain Musing” column of The Independent, a weekly newspaper of special interest to residents of the East Mountain area of Albuquerque.


Larry Goodell and Wayne Jones

Poet Larry Goodell and photographer Wayne Jones remember the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas that flourished in the early Seventies and burned down in 1976.

The Thunderbird: I got it wrong

—Tony Hull

With excess exuberance, I wrote about The Thunderbird last month in the Signpost. In fact, it was a mistake to try to characterize the T-bird experience in an article, let alone trying to define it. I have learned from many comments of those who were its core that the T-bird defies description in the context of 2012 Placitas, and perhaps 2012 America. One who wrote me described the last article as “a rather anesthetized reprise of what I really think went down.” The more I hear, the more I agree. In fact, if the T-bird were to reopen next week, I am confident that either authorities or our neighbors would rush to shut it down. Pronto!

During this period I was in Philadelphia, not Placitas, yet facing the Vietnam War, the music, protests and dreams of new ways of living. The materials brought to the T-bird exhibit have made me reflect on where we are today. Does something need to be iconic to have enduring value, or is it sufficient that good times happened and people were, for at least a moment, happy to be alive?  

We offer no interpretation for the show. The materials, which came to us from those who knew the T-bird, say a lot, yet there is always more to say. One person wrote, “What happened at the T-bird was just lived. For a brief time, people could just do it as they wished without explanation, plan or intent. No one tried to be in control. Live and let live: it was free. People on the outside looked in and wanted what they saw, but for the most part were not willing to risk or put themselves out.”

Larry Goodell expressed his reality of The T-bird, as only can be done in poem. [See “Thunderbird Flight, below.]  

I am looking forward to upcoming Library exhibits on “Shelter, Placitas Style,” the 1970s photography of Bob D’Alessandro, and “Tawapa.” For the Shelter and Tawapa exhibits, it is for those who were here then to provide materials and their stories. My role is only a catalyst, and I invite you to contact me (tony.hull@L-3com.com, 505 771 8566).


Thunderbird Flight

  when wonder worlds and worlds wonder
   what time gone by
   what turning of the hour of energy
    into the hour of reflection
     where is everybody who got lost in those times
     beaming health turned to sickness even death for some
     and for all of us eventually, but the music
      and above all dance, dance, dance
      you know what it’s like to dance your heart out?
                                            shaking wonder
  holding up the world you thought each to each
   would never come crashing down or burn up
                                                  in bitter rage . . .

  what would keep the war off and spirit up
              but a tender heart, a circus atmosphere
   protests walking down Central in Albuquerque
        and dancing in Placitas, the Thunderbird taking off
                    like a ship with no course but enjoyment
   or dancing in Rosa’s Cantina in Algodones or Raphael’s Silver Cloud
              where they cut your tie off and stuck it to the ceiling
                                if you dared to wear one
    but here at home a friendly realtor or mutual enterprise
        caused that bit of land to be bought and round house, domes
              zomes or friends piling adobes
    as all kinds of bitterness and questioning of what is going on
               with all the noise, the invasion, the place become
                                a mecca
     kids arriving in spangles & big city hippy togs
        but immediately getting into the dirt of real subsistence living –
              who didn’t know how to get their own truck going
        if they had one, but there was always a platform, sound equipment,
  and Fourth of July or birthdays, music līve, Cadillac Bob
        Oriental Blue Streak and an enormous potluck
                    dope and dancing, beer and forever
                                      and the Thunderbird

   the centerpiece being a place for performance, for pool
        for locals, for visitors, for poets to read
   for musicians, the venue, the support, a real gig
        famous or not, too loud or not, the drama
              of an evening building to a cooking climax
              whatever that was, if even remembered,
     it would all take its toll as war seems to determine
           everything in America, and time, ruthless thief,
        turns dancing into reflection, but music again
              survives and those who stayed stayed
                and the golden dream many had, turned gray,
     and the help-each-other-out-and-live-on-almost-nothing
        faded away into the selfish and more wealthy . . .

  when wonder worlds and worlds wonder
   what time gone by
   what turning of the hour of energy
    into the hour of reflection

                                                  larry goodell 11Feb2012

for the Thunderbird Bar Show Placitas Community Library 
a duende press broadside


New Mexico’s struggle for statehood

On March 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Loma Colorado Main Library Auditorium, 755 Loma Colorado Drive NE in Rio Rancho, New Mexico Centennial Author, Don Bullis, will talk about New Mexico’s not-so-smooth path to statehood. He will read from some of his many writings, including his latest book, New Mexico Historical Biographies. He is an award-winning author of eight non-fiction books and two novels.

Born in Ohio, he has lived in New Mexico for 45 years and has been a student of New Mexico history since 1967. Currently he serves as vice president of the Historical Society of New Mexico, Sheriff/President of the Central New Mexico Corral of Westerners, and editor of the New Mexico Historical Notebook. He is also an active member of the Western Writers of America. In 2010 he was named a New Mexico Centennial Author by the New Mexico State Library.

The program is free and open to the public. For information, call 891-5013, extension 3033.

 
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