Masterpieces from the Prado Museum on the Plaza

In a major cultural event for Albuquerque, 92 full-scale mounted reproductions of artwork from the Museum del Prado in Madrid, Spain, are on display at Civic Plaza, free and under shade.

The Prado Exhibition boasts some of the world’s finest collections of European art of the 15th – 19th centuries including Diego Velázquez, Hieronymus Bosch, Francisco de Zurbarán, Titian, José de Ribera, Peter Paul Rubens, El Greco and Francisco de Goya. Because of New Mexico’s colonial history, these works will have special significance for many; for all, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To find out more about the exhibition and its significance, New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with UNM historian Dr. Charlie Steen who specializes in Early Modern European History.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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New Mexico Racing Champion, Bobby Unser

This month’s guest is Bobby Unser, three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the older brother of four-time Indy winner, Al Unser, Sr., who founded the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque.

If you are interested in what it is like to first take the track at Indianapolis at speeds over 200 mph, while the owner of a million-dollar car nervously watches a rookie driver immediately go for top speeds, then you must hear Bobby Unser tell the story of his initial attempts to qualify for the 500. We will also ask Bobby what it is about this family –individually or collectively– that makes it the most successful family in racing if not in all of sports. (Besides Bobby and Al, Al, Jr. has won Indy twice and two other Unser’s have competed seven times in the 500.)

Finally, we cover the closest and most controversial 500 in history that came down to a duel between Bobby and fellow racing legend Mario Andretti, which, instead of three hours, took four months to decide.

Produced with the assistance of John Burgund.

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What Teacher walk-outs signal for New Mexico

Since first igniting in West Virginia earlier this year, teachers have walked off the job in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona arguing for higher wages. Teachers in New Mexico openly support these walkouts and also receive a very low salary.

What is behind this sudden burst of activism and what does it signal for New Mexico? For answers, New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with the President of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, and veteran public school teacher, Ellen Bernstein, to discuss the latest in “teachers’ wars”.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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ART is a “bit of a lemon”

Albuquerque’s newly elected Mayor, Tim Keller, has pronounced ART (Albuquerque’s Rapid Transit bus system designed to run down the middle of Central) a “bit of a lemon”. Why?

Well, the electric buses leak, cant hold a proper charge, and don’t align with stations. Worse, Albuquerque spent $130M on the system, relying on an $80M reimbursement from the Feds, but Mayor Keller says the “check is not in the mail”. Now what? New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with Mayor Tim Keller to learn more about these problems and the direction ART is headed.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci

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Crime and Punishment in Albuquerque

Crime and punishment continue to dominate our politics. Crime was the #1 issue in Albuquerque’s recent mayoral election and was again a top issue at this year’s Legislative Session. Punishment is the #1 Answer, namely more police and prosecutors. But, are police and prosecutor understaffing really the reason for Albuquerque’s dramatic increase in crime?

Host Stephen Spitz will put this question to two national experts on crime, UNM professors Maria Velez and Christopher Lyons who are presently engaged in a nation-wide study of this issue.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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Where is New Mexico’s Climate Headed?

Where is New Mexico’s Climate Headed? The answer is South, according to UNM climate scientist and meteorologist Dr. David Gutzler. Specifically, toward a climate like that of today’s El Paso: “What we see in the data, the temperature is rising with a rate consistent with a middle-road climate change based on greenhouse gases,” according to Gutzler. “If we extrapolate out … the analogy I draw is the climate in the Albuquerque area would be roughly similar to El Paso.” It’s a frightening picture of tree less mountains where it’s much dryer and hotter. And, even though his background is in chaos theory and uncertainty, Professor Gutzler’s question “is not if we are headed there, but how rapidly.”

To get a complete picture, please join host Stephen Spitz as we explore what the latest climate change models predict for New Mexico and the Southwest.

Produced with the assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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Catch and Release Judges

Are Catch and Release Judges responsible for our high crime rate?

In 2016 New Mexico voters approved a Constitutional Amendment giving judges the power to release a defendant prior to trial based on that individual’s risk of danger or flight, not on how much an arrestee can pay to get out of jail. Critics, including Governor Martinez, say this Amendment is exacerbating New Mexico’s crime problem, and call for it to be “repealed and replaced”. Defenders of the Amendment, including the chairman of the state bail reform committee, former UNM Law School Dean Leo Romero, argue that while none of the 2010-to-2016-crime rate increase can be attributed to the later adoption of the November 2016 constitutional amendment, it will take time for prosecutors and courts to adjust to new rules.

Please join host Stephen Spitz and special guest, Professor Leo Romero, as we explore bail reform in New Mexico.

Produced with the assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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Who is Dolores Huerta?

Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history and is our special guest this month. A new documentary about her life, Dolores, is about to change that. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, she became one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century, and continues the fight to this day, at 87. As she lead the struggle, she was attacked by false charges of immoral conduct and child neglect, which resulted in her being forced out of the union she formed. Please join host Stephen Spitz and one of the giants of the civil rights era, Dolores Huerta. Produced with the assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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Education Crisis? So What if we are Dead Last.

Education crisis, what education crisis; we are improving and doing the best we can with available resources. This is the essence of the State’s Answer to cases brought by Center for Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. No one, however, disputes that the vast majority of New Mexico school children finish each school year without the basic literacy and math skills necessary to continue their education or to succeed in life. These outcomes, plaintiffs argue, violate the New Mexico Constitution which requires, “A uniform system of free public schools sufficient for the education of, and open to, all children of school age…” Host Stephen Spitz will review the evidence presented in the case with the trial attorneys as we all await the court’s decision.

Produced with the assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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Homeless to Founder of New Mexico’s Largest Homeless Shelter

Homelessness is present in large numbers in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. And, in a revealing new survey carried out by NM Research and Polling, when Albuquerque residents are asked about their top concerns, an astounding seventy percent identified homelessness as our second most sever problem, just behind crime, while 43 percent of respondents view it is a very serious problem. What lies at the root of homelessness and how much do the conventional answers of alcohol, drugs, laziness and mental illness actually explain its causes?

Our guest, Jeremy Reynalds, knows the answers to these questions. In an amazing story, he was once homeless himself and then went on to found and now runs New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, Joy Junction. Please join host Stephen Spitz as we talk with Dr. Reynalds about how he rose from the despair of homelessness and how he now helps others do so.

Produced with the assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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