Sometimes you come across stories that make you shout not just “Say what?”, but “Say F****** What?”
And this morning I found just such a story in one of the usual places that cause you to scream in angry disbelief at your computer screen or at the newspaper: the front page of the Albuquerque Journal.
The booster sheet, as I now call it, ran a gush piece today about how Sunset Magazine has ranked Albuquerque as one of the 20 best places to live in the West. The piece was so awfully and painfully gushy that I had to pour boiling water over my head and sulfuric acid on my arms in order to distract myself from the pain the story caused.
The Journal, as usual, basically repeated the slop the people at Sunset said about why they named Albuquerque one of top best 20 places to live in the West. If the so-called newspaper had done even a little critical analysis of Sunset's ranking, they would have seen through the BS. These lists that organizations now produce every other day have to be questioned because they often are BS.
The rankings and lists have to be questioned because they're often so goofy, off-target, riddled with glaring omissions and so out of touch with what normal people think and like that you wonder if the people who compile them have ever been to the places they write about, or if they have ever met people who actually work for a living. The answer has to be a big fat “no.”
A list last year from WalletHub was a perfect example of the list makers being stunningly out of touch with reality. WalletHub ranked Phoenix as one of the top summer vacation spots in the Untied States. That's right, 120-degree Phoenix in the summer is pure joy and perfect comfort.
Sunset's ranking of Albuquerque and the stuff it said about the city clearly show that the magazine's so-called editors have never been here, no nothing about the city and that they have no idea about what normal people want and need.
Here's what the magazine said about the city:
Albuquerque, NM: An Enchanting Downtown Revival
ABQ, as it’s often called, doesn’t like to brag, so you might only know it as the high-desert setting of Breaking Bad. But get it talking, and soon it’ll come out that Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft here in 1975, and that the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories calls it home. And later in 2018, in Los Lunas, Facebook is set to open a huge data center that will bring with it more jobs.
With all that tech comes some tasty accouterments that are helping reinvigorate Central Avenue’s downtown core, once a shabby stretch of boarded-up warehouses and tagged railroad cars. Add to that the city’s investment in new public transportation lines and jeuging up of Civic Plaza, and the 12-block corridor of today has become a place where locals gather all days of the week. Coffee roasters, restaurants, and food trucks are launching to keep up, many of them focused on local, organic produce, especially New Mexico’s beloved green chile. Yet beneath these changes lies Albuquerque’s south-of-the-border roots: the historic Old Town, the Rio Grande, the majority Hispanic population’s rich culture, and the fact that 23 percent of residents are bilingual. Considering the strong public-art program, miles of hiking trails, and 310 annual days of sunshine, it’s no wonder the locals don’t boast. They’re too busy living.
So let's look at this idiotic gush piece with a mildly critical eye. Here's what Sunset said about Central Avenue:
“With all that tech comes some tasty accouterments that are helping reinvigorate Central Avenue’s downtown core, once a shabby stretch of boarded-up warehouses and tagged railroad cars.”
Have any of you ever seen any boarded up railroad cars along Central in the Downtown area? The answer is no.
How about boarded up warehouses? Again, no.
There are lots of dumpy, empty and tiny retail store fronts along Central, but I don't recall seeing any boarded up warehouses.
And how about Sunset's nonsense about the city investing in new public transportation lines?
They must mean the near-universally hated Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project for which the city still doesn't have a federal grant. Right now, the city is $69 million to $75 million in the hole for ART.
Sunset made no mention that public transportation ridership in Albuquerque has fallen by 25 percent in the past five years. Ah, who cares about facts?
How about the “jeuging up of Civic Plaza, and the 12-block corridor of today has become a place where locals gather all days of the week.”
The guy who used to be mayor plunked $4 million to refurbish the fountain in Civic Plaza and it still leaks! About the only people on Civic Plaza are city employees. The plaza remains a sun-baked place with very little shade. And if Sunset's editors come here this summer, they'll be able to chat with all the homeless people who pitch tents on the plaza's few grassy places.
Sunset's editors obviously didn't read this past summer about how one of Albuquerque's rare business success stories, the home-grown Lavu, threatened to leave the state because of the rampant and unacceptable crime crime problem near its headquarters on Central in Downtown.
And most people I know could give two shits about coffee roasters; they want good paying jobs and safe neighborhoods.
There are some other glaring omissions in the Sunset piece.
Albuquerque is now the auto theft capital of the nation; the city's police department has been chronically understaffed for years; in the past several years, the city has seen an epic increase in crime; last year we had the most murders ever; the public school system has a horrible high school graduation rate; and the city's economy is one of the worst in the nation.
Maybe the people at Sunset can't read.
Look, I don't dislike Albuquerque, but I'm at least honest about it's problems. And idiotic gush pieces about it are just plain sickening and offensive.