Monday, December 12, 2005

Bourbon Balls at City Hall

One thing you can say about Councilor Heldmeyer is ... she's got balls.

Going into City Hall frequently, I get to know some of the employees working there. I wander the halls like a ghost, ending up in some meeting, induction or just a going away party, like yesterday, for the departing City Attorney Bruce Thompson. Bruce is heading back to Albuquerque to work for the big City down there where he lives. Most of the Santa Fe City workers don't live in Santa Fe, even the ones that can afford to, don't.

The ladies in the office welcomed me into the Attorney's conference room that had a table full of goodies. Great smell of coffee from the corner and a smile on everyone's face. I wondered, why are people so happy when they leave the City's employ?

Speaking of leaving, Police Chief Bev Lennen and her daughter came in. The Chief is not only leaving Santa Fe but she's getting completely out of the Fat Bill State.

Councilor David Coss and Councilor Heldmeyer came in at about the same time. She placed a tray of ball shaped cookies on the table of sweets. Apparently these 'Bourbon Balls" are a specialty of Councilor "Heidi" Heldmeyer. At 11 am, one of those suckers gave me a buzz and glued my bottom to the chair I was sitting in for about 15 minutes. I do remember the lady at the end of the table frozen with her eyebrows raised in amazement after one bite, and the guy from Parking, holding half a ball in his hand, saying, "I'm glad I don't have to drive."

Several people suggested the coffee but chose to stand and walk around. I walked toward the City Attorney, gave him a hug; then I said, with an exaggerated drunken slur in my voice, "This is the best time I have ever had at City Hall."
Everyone laughed as the staff member with the unusual first name, Mark Anthony, came in with Assistant City Attorney Spence Pacheco.
Having seen me three times in two days, Mark Anthony tried to rib me with, "I see you around here a lot."
"Get used to it, I'm going to be Mayor," I shot back. Everyone laughed again.
Showing the attorney in her, Spence grabbed her head with two hands and moaned, "Oh, the lawsuits."
Coss had to admit, as a candidate for the office himself, that there was a frightening chance that I could be Mayor, or as David put it ... I could be "the next Chief Officer for the City of Santa Fe."

I smiled thinking about my encounter with Fred Libby on the way over to City Hall that morning. He was having his picture taken in front of his and Patty's Plaza Bakery/Haagen Das. As I walked by Fred and the photographer, he asked me, "How's the campaign coming?"
I said, knowing I could get a laugh, "Hey Fred, I've been practicing my acceptance speech. You know how you gather up all the City Hall employees together... you want to hear my speech to them?"
Fred smiles and nods yes. The camera clicks a couple of times.
"OK Fred," I start, then I get a little louder, "YOU FUCKING GUYS ARE IN TROUBLE NOW!"
Fred totally cracks up and the camera fires away like an automatic weapon.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

How bad is IT?

My wife was at Eye Associates for an appointment. I was in the middle of collecting signatures for my Mayoral nominating petition so I said, what the fuck, I'll canvas this sorta industrial/commercial area of Santa Fe.

Right across the street there was a campus of buildings surrounding a dry winter fountain. The back of the first building I came to was signed "Lab 3."

I saw a few people through the glass door in what seemed to be a lunchroom; knocked on the door and took a couple of respectful steps back. I held up my clipboarded petition and said through the glass, "Hi, my name is Cove. I'm looking for registered voters within the City limits. Would you....?"

The annoyed woman inside first cupped her ear with her hand then reluctantly opened the door.
"Would you be a registered voter in the City of Santa Fe, by any chance?"
"I'M AT WORK," she said, giving me the stinky eye and pulling the door closed.

Holy shit, I thought, looking at the security key pad by the door and a hand written sign on the door that read, "Don't take samples through this door." What samples? Samples of what?

I went back toward the dead like a movie set fountain. All the buildings were only identified by Lab number and out of one of those labs a jacketless Asian-American kid with an ID badge and cell phone appears. Something else on his waist. "Can I help you?"

I thought of being a wise ass and offering to "help" him by putting my jacket over his shoulders, but instead I said, "I'm running for Mayor and I'm looking for registered voters to sign..."
"This is all private property. You'll have to go to the front office," he said, waving off in a direction I knew I wasn't going.
The kid gives me that look. What look? The Abu the Bomber look. "I'm just getting out of here," I say, waving in a direction I knew I was going. What was that name on his badge? GENZYME.

I cut through the chamisa toward the Eye Associates building. Just a little to my left was the back of a building. It had a loading dock, a large open rolling metal warehouse door, and a small office door with the decal 'Gensyme NO SOLICITING.'

I walked up to the edge of the loading dock. Twenty feet away inside the bay was an employee in front of a computer. I had to have been there 5 minutes or more waiting for the guy to be aware of me. On the dock were piles of vials with freakin' "Bio Hazard"written on them. I couldn't stand it. "Excuse me. Can you tell me where the front office is?" Not waiting for an answer from the startled employee, I continued, "...although I think it will have the same sign on the door," pointing to the NO SOLICITING sign.

The HiTech loading guy mumbled something and I asked him directly, "Why the "Bio Hazard?"
"Blood Pathogens. I have get back to work," and down came the big metal warehouse door.

Post Script

When delivering my petition to City Hall, I had to wait an hour while the City Clerk and staff were out to lunch. I had time to do my favorite research, opening up the recycling bins in the hallway. Accounting, City Attorney's office, and City Councilors just toss unshredded papers into those bins. There, on top, was a privileged communication concerning the State charging the City with violations in being responsible for dumping unpermitted "hazardous materials" into the landfill. The State said the City action exposed the workers "to dangers."
Guess where the "hazardous materials" came from?