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Albuquerque, New Mexico SperlingViews



"Land of Entrapment? Maybe..."


Land of Entrapment? Maybe... - 2/18/2012
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Heidi
Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque is aka as "the land of enchantment, land of entrapment, the 505, burque and ABQ. all of which I hate and refuse to use but thought some people might be interested to know.

I feel compelled to write this review because I have been using this site for a few years and haven't posted yet. After reading the posts about Abq, both good and bad, I'd like to offer my two cents. I am a transplant to Albuquerque. I moved here when I was 14 from a greener and more pleasant land, England. It was total culture shock for me and I have yet to get over it. I graduated high school and went to college here, in fact I have just returned to college here as an adult to continue my education. I am now 40 years old and have three children. I have always known that I wanted to leave Abq from the moment I got here but I made choices as a young adult that prevented me from doing so. That said, I will offer my opinion as logically as possible based on the criteria that most people use to judge what makes a good vs. bad place to live.

1. Culture- We have little diversity outside of what is Hispanic, Native American or European descent. African Americans, Chinese, Eastern European or anything else is a rarity but you do still see some on occasion. Our restaurants are mainly American, Mexican, New Mexican or Fast Food. We have about 75% of the major fast food and casual dining chains found in the US. It is amusing that when we get a new chain, such as PF Changs or Pei Wei, people flock to it for months to get a feel for what a "real" city has to offer. We have an aquarium that takes all of 10 minutes to walk through. A zoo which is quite large and has some nice features but some disturbing issues as well. Twice I have come across bothersome situations at our zoo and reported it to security. I walked around the corner in an isolated area to find a girl standing topless agains an animal exhibit while some guy takes pics of her. Granted I go to the zoo in the middle of the week and in the off season when it is less crowded but come on! My kids saw the first incident but thankfully they were probably too young to remember. Fortunately they didn't see the second. We have a few museums and a bit of art but nothing compared to bigger cities. We don't get many good exhibits, shows or concerts but it is getting better over the years.

2. Climate-Our climate is ideal for some. Lots of sunny days. Many people, especially older people or those with asthma, arthritis or health concerns love the climate here. It is very arid and usually lends itself to being outdoors. We get a few snow storms that come through and leave a small amount of snow. It is usually gone by the afternoon or next day because the intensity of the sun is so great. The summers are too hot for me but some feel they're great. The sun is very intense and we have a high rate of skin cancer so expect to wear sunscreen. Most homes have swamp coolers not air conditioners so when the humidity is high in the monsoon season (July/August) the combination of increased humidity and heat (90+ degrees) is unbearable to me. Generally, I do not like the extremes we have here. Very hot in the summer with temperatures frequently above 90, very cold in the winter with temperatures freezing or below at night and in the 40's in the day. But as I mentioned, many people find it quite tolerable and there are always people outside enjoying out door activities.

3. Education-Extremely low educational standards. Consistently ranking in the bottom 10th of the US. APS (Alb. Public Schools) is poorly run, makes a great effort to cover the low rankings by continually LOWERING the standards so that it appears more students are passing. There is a strong blue collar work force here and an "old school" mentality that almost shuns higher education. Last I checked, the required GPA for entrance to the University of New Mexico was a 2.0. Really? I am in the medical field, my husband is a scientist. Almost everyone we know with school age children send their kids to one of the 3 main private schools we have here.
I encourage anyone thinking of moving here to do your own research and compare our education system to that of the rest of the US and beware. It is in bad condition here. English is spoken here as if it is a second language. Probably because for a lot of families it is. The problem is that the slang reflects that. Here's an example of a few sayings. "get down from the truck, turn your cigarette off, out of battery"

4. Cost of Living- No doubt about it, it is much lower here than most places in the US especially other cities this size. No tolls, parking is plentiful and cheap on the odd occasion that you have to pay for it. Houses are inexpensive, property taxes are fairly low, food and gas is very inexpensive. Even day care and preschool is very affordable comparatively. This is one of the pluses to living here. But dare I say, you get what you pay for?

5. Work Force/Jobs-There is an odd income distribution here. As mentioned earlier, we have a lot of blue collar jobs. What we also have a bit of, that throws the income distribution off, is Sandia National Labs which I believe employs about 2000 people. Most of those are high earners in the 100K+/year range. There is some technology based around the labs and defense contracts from Kirtland AFB. Intel (in Rio Rancho) employees quite a few people but those stats would likely fall under Rio Rancho which is the next town NW of Abq. There have been lots of businesses closing and laying people off. Jobs are becoming more difficult to find even for professionals. To be fair, I think it is mostly a reflection of the current economic state of the entire country.

6. Recreation-Moutains, high desert, remarkable views, amazing sunsets, interesting geographic oddities (carlsbad caverns, ice caves, tent rocks) You can ski, hike, rock climb, cycle, camp, snowshoe just about all year. I don't because I don't like the extremes in temperatures but lots of people can handle it better than I can. I do ski, camp and cycle when the temps are suitable for me. I have learned over the years, with much patience and education, to grow an amazing garden but it is quite an art here. I am one of the few people who can successfully grow potatoes but I use raised beds and make my own compost. Tomatoes, squash and corn do well here with little effort. The soil is either sand, clay or granite and requires lots of amending to support growth but with determination and patience it can be done. There are certain tree, shrub and plant varieties that do well here and it is worth knowing what those are to avoid frustration. Visiting one of the local garden centers will help you determine what you can and can't do. But beware, do not move here from a green and moist environment thinking you can get things to grow that you grew some where else. You will be disappointed.

7. Crime-As I mentioned, I work in the medical field. I see a disturbing amount of polysubstance abuse. Granted I generally see people at their worst, not their best. Espanola and norther New Mexico (Santa Fe and surrounding communities) have incredibly high rates of heroin use. Our police officers carry an heroin antidote drug called Narcan so that if they find someone down and unresponsive they can assume it is a heroin OD and administer Narcan! Wow! Meth is another big problem here. I see people using meth that you would never in a million years peg for a meth uses. Intel employees, lawyers, real estate agents and school teachers. Think Breaking Bad... and don't forget all the ugly behaviors that go along with crime. Violence, oh by the way, we have one of the highest rates of murder per capita in the US. Yes, Albuquerque, really. Theft, child abuse rates are so bad, as is domestic violence. We just had a case where a ONE MONTH old infant was RAPED and subsequently died from internal bleeding because mom's boyfriend (she managed to get a new BF a month after giving birth... priorities I guess!) who was not the father of the baby... was coming down off of meth and was irritated that the baby was crying. So I guess this guy thought the answer was to rape the infant. Okay, I hope they take care of him in jail. Mom was at Walmart while this was happening. Need I say more? well, I will...

Gangs, gangs and more gangs. They are disgusting and scary. Poor socioeconomic factors seem to make the gang life more appealing to youths. Those that aren't a part of them are still influence by them and it creeps into the schools and general pop culture. Lots of people walking around with their surname tattoo on their neck (incase they forget, or maybe so if they're found dead they can be identified? I dunno) Boyfriends name on the breasts, kids names categorized by which father they came from. It's tacky and gross. I've worked in Labor and Delivery and Mother-Baby as a nurse. The families and situations that kids in Abq are born into are distressing. We would all be so happy when a normal, semi-functioning nuclear family came in to have a baby. It was like a breath of fresh air.

I have also worked in ICU where of course we had trauma and a bunch of death. Depressing and scary and a lot of it was gang related OR someone caught in the cross fire. My sister was a burn and wound care nurse. She left because she couldn't handle all the kids she had to treat. Kids under the age of 10 who are burned, dipped in vats of hot oil, dads who stick garden hoses up their children's bottoms because they're angry they soiled their pants. Cigarette burns, one infant was stuck in a sink full of hot water and suffered 3rd degree burns. Many of these crimes take time to act on. You have to FILL THE SINK full of water. That takes thought and time to prepare. People here are just disturbing but the fact is, it is what they grew up seeing and it is a vicious cycle that continues with each generation. I know these are horrible, graphic details but this is the reality of what happens here. I've seen it for the past 15 or more years working in the medical field and it isn't getting better, it is getting worse.

So in closing, we are now trying to relocate. We have given this place every chance we can. It is time to leave. Enough is enough. I do not want my kids to be any more influenced than they already have been. They are even starting to speak as if english is their second language. I can't have that. We are so influenced by the New Mexican culture that we are loosing our own identity and it makes me sad. That isn't fair to us or them. They deserve a better place with more opportunity and higher standards. Another writer posted something about how because the education system is tough here it will prepare them for real life. That is not true at all. All it does is handicap them for anything outside of theses 4 walls. How can you possibly be competitive elsewhere when standards are higher everywhere else. So bottom line, if you are moving here to retire, this may be the place for you. If you are moving with kids or as a single person hopping to start a family, look else where. Since we announced to friends and family that we are thinking of moving, not a single person has said we should stay. Everyone has said that it is probably the best thing we can do for our family. That in itself speaks volumes.

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M.

re: Land of Entrapment? Maybe... - 2/18/2012 - 5/29/2012
Listen to Heidi please and most all posters!! She right on the money. Just avoid the state. It's beautiful but not worth living here. It's very cliquish(I has always has been this way) and with the economy not being great here you'll have a hard time finding a job with or without education. If you were offered a job before you get here that's a different story. This is not a place you want to raise you child. Keep a close eye on them. Just because it's laid back and not a large city do not be fooled. We have a lot gangs/criminals coming from California(we have enough of our own!) trying to avoid their third strike and the politicians continue to block laws that would stop the high crime; it will be California number two soon. We have no death penalty anymore. They won't even deal with drunk driving.However, this would make sense. Judges, politicians etc have been caught numerous times. If you come you'll be coming to a place that finally decided to do something with a drunk driver on his 27th DUI!!!. Cost of living is cheap but for the most part the schools are bad. Some one in previous comments said people seem unhappy and angry. This is true. And if they see you're happy they'll try to bring you down. Positive people stick with positive people(there are good people here as with any place)here and there's lots of mental illness here. And lots of abuse (spousal or child). People seem to love the animals more than humans. On a positive note, if you like the outdoors you'll find many things to do like camping and riding off road bikes. We're abundant in sunshine most days out of the year. There are a lot of talented artist and musician here. You'll see art in the local paper and in Santa Fe and around. If politics is your concern, we have a Republican governor but is constantly blocked in some way by the Democratic controllers. They have been in control for years. You you don't know what a place is like until you live in it and this state does not get near as much exposure for the corruption (on all levels) as other states do; it's as if people for get it exist. People for the most part do not fight it much or at all either. Nowhere is a utopia but please think twice before moving here if you have many of the concern listed in the comments of this post and other. And if you notice almost all of the comments almost have the same theme. Unfortunately on another forum(one major one I can think of) they do not tell the negative and if posters see a negative poster they're called a troll etc. I think it's important give both sides to give people a fair opinion of what's going on. But hey it's just my view.


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RHONDA

re: Land of Entrapment? Maybe... - 2/18/2012 - 4/20/2012
Holy crap Heidi! Thanks for the amazing descriptive need to know review. We are from the Chicago suburbs, so maybe this is no big change for us, but we were thinking of moving there for the weather and mountains. We are basically retired, in our middle 50's, but drive school buses here and were thinking ofmoving there and driving a school bus. But, maybe after reading the terrible conditions alot of these children are under, maybe not! What about scorpions??? I'm a little scared of moving there with the bugs and snakes. Any more information? Thanks, Rhonda


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More Albuquerque, New Mexico SperlingViews

scott
Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque is terrible !! - 7/26/2014

Stay away from this place, its terrible. If you are a liberal taker that wears birkenstocks you might fit in. Totally ugly women - not one knows how to wear makeup. No jobs, just a bunch of losers hanging on. Schools are terrible. Not one good thing to say about this crap hole !!!

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Dew
Houston, TX

Objective Views - 7/14/2014

The Pro's: Nice mountains, scenery, I personally thought there were a lot of friendly people there. A lot of nice weather. Winters aren't bad. Summers are hot, but not like Phoenix or Las Vegas. UNM is a nice university. There is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit (but see below). Intel is there as is the university and an F.A.A. air-traffic center. The Cons: It's a city that has seen better days and is behind the times. The neighborhoods are crumbling. Even the famous "Northeast Heights" have gone downhill. So many of the homes are crappy, unaesthetic little doll-houses built after WWII and are now in poor repair. It's a transient city like Vegas and Phoenix. The pay is awful. They think it's preposterous if you want more than $15/hr. Even people with degrees are poorly paid. There is an oversupply of unskilled labor so it keeps the pay down. Poverty is rampant. Lots of welfare and illegitimacy. The educational level is low. Some neighborhoods look positively third world. There is an old boys network here. They call it the "patrone system". You need connections with the old boys (and not just white boys)for a decent job. As it's been explained to me: There's a poverty mentality that prevails. There is a ton of crime. Drugs are RAMPANT!!! Vato/Cholo gangs are prevalent. That being said there is some unbelievable white trash, the likes of which I didn't even encounter in Phoenix. The crime is mostly property crime. There are murders and robberies but larceny, burglary and vandalism are the leaders. Lock your cars and homes! It's best to live in Rio Rancho or Taylor Ranch. There's actually some nice houses there. I would rather be here than Phoenix, but that ain't saying much.

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Bryan
Albuquerque, NM

An honest review - 6/18/2014

I will try to give the most honest, semi-educated review here - very much unlike the others. I live in the middle of Albuquerque near UNM and downtown. My car has been left unlocked for the past six months with no problems (not recommended of course). Albuquerque is one of the poorest major cities I can think of, and there is an average amount of crime though it is almost always non-violent. The city is old and not "beautiful" like you might be used to in newer, wealthier cities or suburbs. Bars on windows - absolutely. There are plenty of gangs and such like most cities, and these are most prevalent in the southeastern part of the city and southern farming communities. Being from the St. Louis area, I was surprised to see people calling this portion of the city a "ghetto," since bikers ride through it regularly with no problems. Racial and cultural diversity is phenomenal, some of the best of any US city. Racism is much less of a problem than any other major city I've been in other than Seattle. Socially, the city is extremely accepting, and I've not experienced any cliqu-yness whatsoever. This city is so laid back that it's hard to imagine such a thing. There are ~400 miles of bike roads/trails throughout the city, and within 45 minutes you can be at 10,678ft overlooking the road grid at a temperature 20 degrees below that in the city. If you get away from buildings, you can easily see 60 or more miles to distant mountains. A two-hour drive will get you to the most scenic-natural places of any other major city outside of perhaps the Northwest. But culturally, this will not be your type of city if you cannot accept that there is no majority. The climate index is similar of that in coastal California (check it out!), though I do miss rain! I have heard that many public schools are subpar, so certainly keep that in mind. Police are corrupt (major city for you). It is a bit smaller than most cities - perhaps less to do - and you can't come the suburbs of Whiteville, USA and expect the exact same culture. This isn't anything like Phoenix! I personally feel that this is a bit of a hidden gem, but that's for you to decide. I hope this gives a bit better perspective than the other reviews. Best of luck!

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Blah blah blah
Albuquerque, NM

It's called the Land of Entrapment for a reason... - 6/10/2014

The joke among the locals is that it's "the land of Entrapment" vs. the land of Enchantment which is the slogan that greets you as you enter New Mexico. I've been in Albuquerque for about eight years and I now understand what the locals meant. Virtually in the middle of nowhere for 6-7 hours in all directions, and there is nothing here. I would say okay to visit, but not to live if you're used to a faster pace unless you're retiring. Coming from the East Coast, initially it was a nice change of scenery to the hustle and bustle of the fast paced concrete jungle, but the newness has worn off. It's much slower here, but almost too slow. Most of the previous posts are very accurate descriptions. Pros-amazing weather, relatively low cost of living, low crime compared to most major cities, light traffic, great for retirees. Cons-zero entertainment-no real sports teams, no entertainment-aside from performers that haven't been relevant in decades, so if nostalgia is your thing then Albuquerque is perfect. I agree with a previous poster about the food here. It's terrible. You can only have so many burritos, tamales, and red and green chile EVERYthing before you begin to detest the cuisine here. Not to mention REAL cons. One of our suburbs is rumored to be home to a witness protection program. Lots of addicts here too. Meth, pills, and alcoholism is pretty bad here, but if I had lived here my entire life, I would probably resort to drug abuse to cope as well. Three movie theaters, two malls, a few bowling alleys, a few bars, a few casinos, a few parks, a dirty river, and a mountain range sums up what Albuquerque has to offer its residents.

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tammy
Albuquerque, NM

What a sewer of a city - 4/28/2014

The politicians will tell you what you want to hear then screw you over royal. This place is a den of thieves and swindlers and that's about the businesses and government. There are some nice people here but they are few and far between. Dugs and alcohol is everywhere no safe place to live in this looser cesspool.

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David
Albuquerque, NM

I'm home! - 4/3/2014

Glad to be back home where I belong! I moved away from Albuquerque, N.M. 21 years ago to Denver, CO where I lived for 18 years. I made a BIG mistake and quit my job that I loved and moved to Los Angeles, CA. I hated it there If you were a middle- class type person, and you moved to a place like Los Angeles, you suddenly became impoverished due to the extremely high cost of living. Yes, I ended up living in the most ghetto-est city. I'm not racist but I have to admit... I absolutely felt as if I were living in some foreign country- Mexico, to be exact! Blaahhhhh! The cost of living in Albuquerque is so much better! I feel richer having moved back here- I'm even able to freely spend and save money, finally! I love Albuquerque and I'm glad to be back.

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barbara
Albuquerque, NM

land of enchantment - 3/8/2014

great place to raise a family, there are so many fun places to take the kids. there is the bio park, aquarium with a shark in a tank , the kids love it.a train ride to the zoo just to add some more fun.the seasons are so beautiful.the spring and summers are filled with colorful trees and flowers and the winters are like a hallmark card.i enjoy the smell of lavender and pine in the air.the mountain that surrounds the city is ever changing in colors and weather its so magical.We lived in other states before we moved to Albuquerque and we have all that we need from a city and more right here in the land of enchantment.

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Brandon
Albuquerque, NM

NO NO NO, getting out asap - 1/30/2014

I'll try to keep my review from being too scathing ... I moved here from Boulder, CO a few months ago and was looking for work out of state after not finding what I needed there. I managed to find a good job in my field down here and had never been here before, so it was a shot in the dark I won't pretend to know everything about abq but after 4 months here's what i've learned..After having lived in 8 states and 3 countries and have at least visitedmost US states, I gotta say NM and ABQ has it's quirks, for better or worse. Pros- -Good Food, good number of restaurants -Beautiful sunsets -mild weather(winters been great) -diverse culture -now i'm stretching... Cons: Prevalent racism.. it's real, as a well dressed younger professional-type white male, I get dirty looks wherever I go. Abq seems very cliquey and overall of everywhere i've lived seems to be the least friendly. There are lots of people here who grew up here and this is all they know and they'd rather just stick to their circles and not let new people in. I'm a very social guy and even with going out on occasion I don't feel like this is a good place to be the new guy in town, most people are pretty set in their ways and have their own circles.. I "feel" like an outsider here more than anywhere else i've lived and i've moved many times. I've met very few people here who I can relate to. Everyone seems to be completely swept up in a massive party culture here and have no intention of getting out of here. Most people smoke, drink and rage out like most nights of the week. I think this is where "the land of entrapment" partly comes from.. people partying their lives away here instead of seeking out education, better opportunites etc. Being 26 I partied alot the past few yrs and am not judging anyone, I still go to some bars here and stuff but the amount of people who have nothing in their life but getting high and f***ed up is astounding, lots of people i've met here that could have been friends but getting too high or whatever to do anything but sleep. I've never seen so many tattoos, I have several myself but i'm talking about neck and face tattoos, i've never lived in a place where i've seen so many like on the regular basis, connected to the employment issues? well maybe at least partially.. there are an incredible amount of people living off uncle sam here ijs. Smoke shops, mother of god i've never seen so many.. again nothing against smoking but promoting the party culture is a problem here, it says alot about the kind of people the city will produce. The liquor stores are packed at most times of day..I honestly wasn't familiar with many states that sold liquor at gas stations, grocery stores etc and I don't think that helps that culture i'm talking about. Stupid people..I guess it's a stereotype for New Mexicans to be poorly educated and everything but lord have mercy. I meet tons of people(mostly hispanic) who have horrible vocabulary, close minded, ghetto don't know anything about the world beyond Abq. I've never heard the word "mines", ever, as in "that is mines" .. I die everytime lol. I'm in school right now and have seen a ton of local students who I don't know how they made it that far, kudos to them for getting education though. One of my teachers is honest to god the worst teacher i've ever had in terms of her knowledge and grammar usage. The best word I can use for this city is a word I hate.. "Ratchet". I actually met a pretty cool chick recently but she turned out to be ghetto AF.. all her friends thugs, swaggots, Cholos and people who generally want nothing out of life. She tried to get me to pay for every single thing in a few dates, turned out she had no direction in life and was a leech. never returned my calls or anything after passing out from smoking too much, typical Abq. If you are a single white guy who likes Latinas like me, good luck, most are not open minded.. most are ratchet, twerking hos nd only love the Cholo, gangbanger types..earrings, neck tattoos, shaved head, a typical look here, just being real about it.. there is a certain culture that exists here nowhere else i've seen. Also very few good looking women in general, i've heard that before about abq. Bad drivers, i've seen 2 intersection related accidents and several near misses.. every state says they have bad drivers but I see a ton of it here..people not paying attention and lots of swerving drivers too.. top DWI state I hear and it's not hard to see why. I don't think this is a place you want to be if you are white. I hope that doesn't offend anyone but I mean it. I've had many friends all over the world of diff cultures but there is something about Abq where the hispanics here act like they own the place and treat you like a true outsider, I feel very unwelcome. I'm trying to be open minded about this place, really am.. I grew up in NY and know all about unfriendly people but damn.. unless something really blows my mind here i'm gonna finish up some school and get out of here in a year or two. In summary, just feels like a trap here.. too many people doing nothing but pissing their lives away, poorly educated and lack of resources, discrimination is high if you are not hispanic and/or look/speak educated, professional etc. I like the sunsets, weather, some good food here and there, there are some opportunities for medical professionals here which I am and also research with Sandia Labs and some other high tech ventures.. but this is a place is clearly a place to visit not live imho. Other places i've lived that i'm kind of comparing against: Albuquerque, NM 4.5/10 Boulder, CO 8/10 Colorado Springs, CO 9/10 Ogden/Salt Lake City, UT 7/10 Syracuse, NY 7/10 Albany, NY 6/10 Lancaster/Lebanon, PA 7/10 Reading, PA 4/10

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scott
Albuquerque, NM

Not good !! - 1/7/2014

This city has no real economy much like the total state. There are far more takers than makers so many are on welfare. The workforce is very uneducated with only 50% graduating high school. People here are very white trash like. Totally no good looking women - totally. Worst drivers in the US. School system is terrible. NOT A GOOD PLACE TO BE !!!!

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque political environment - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque politics: Like the U.S. at large, the political divide is close to even. There are strong communitarian and individualistic views and impulses evident throughout, often in interesting combinations. The pioneer/rancher ethos is strong (which has both libertarian and communitarian streaks), along with Native American, intellectual, and humanist perspectives. There are noisy wing nuts on both sides, but more people seem relatively moderate politically. There's a large Air Force base and sizable active duty and National Guard populations. It's a generally pro gun area, though many anti-gun people are also present.

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque political environment - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque politics: Like the U.S. at large, the political divide is close to even. There are strong communitarian and individualistic views and impulses evident throughout, often in interesting combinations. The pioneer/rancher ethos is strong (which has both libertarian and communitarian streaks), along with Native American, intellectual, and humanist perspectives. There are noisy wing nuts on both sides, but more people seem relatively moderate politically. There's a large Air Force base and sizable active duty and National Guard populations. It's a generally pro gun area, though many anti-gun people are also present.

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Mediocre public education -- a few decent private - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque education: Public schools are so-so, and of inconsistent quality. We've not had children in the school system, but one of us volunteers with elementary reading tutoring and sees the damaging effects of several interacting factors: conservatives' relentless campaigns to vilify teachers and undercut real education, poorly managed schools at the system level, and a significant amount of parental incompetence (from an educational perspective). And yes, there are some (a minority of) unqualified teachers who need to be retrained or removed. There are a lot of poor, undereducated parents who don't know how to best help their children learn. It's a toxic mix of factors conspiring against effective public schools. Even so, there are pockets of excellence, though these tend not to be rewarded or reinforced and are difficult to maintain. There are a few good private schools in the area, but only a couple that are secular. Well educated parents who have the ability and time to oversee their kids' learning will be okay. Others' children may suffer inferior educations. University of New Mexico is here, with a reputation ranging from so-so to superior, depending on academic program. UNM has a reputation for bleeding off too much of its budget to a too-large cadre of overpaid, under-performing administrators. It also has a reputation for its maddening bureaucratic processes and unhelpful lower-and-mid level administrative personnel. I've heard many disturbing stories of staff being blatantly rude and dismissive of students seeking to sign up for classes, change schedules, or take other simple administrative actions. UNM does offer a robust continuing education program that gets much better reviews. CNM, the local community college, is typical of that kind of school. It's more affordable than UNM, but has fewer programs. Because there's a large military community, there are a lot of other national universities and colleges (U. of Phoenix, National U., etc.) with physical presence. If you want an education and can afford it, you can get it.

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Mediocre public education -- a few decent private - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque education: Public schools are so-so, and of inconsistent quality. We've not had children in the school system, but one of us volunteers with elementary reading tutoring and sees the damaging effects of several interacting factors: conservatives' relentless campaigns to vilify teachers and undercut real education, poorly managed schools at the system level, and a significant amount of parental incompetence (from an educational perspective). And yes, there are some (a minority of) unqualified teachers who need to be retrained or removed. There are a lot of poor, undereducated parents who don't know how to best help their children learn. It's a toxic mix of factors conspiring against effective public schools. Even so, there are pockets of excellence, though these tend not to be rewarded or reinforced and are difficult to maintain. There are a few good private schools in the area, but only a couple that are secular. Well educated parents who have the ability and time to oversee their kids' learning will be okay. Others' children may suffer inferior educations. University of New Mexico is here, with a reputation ranging from so-so to superior, depending on academic program. UNM has a reputation for bleeding off too much of its budget to a too-large cadre of overpaid, under-performing administrators. It also has a reputation for its maddening bureaucratic processes and unhelpful lower-and-mid level administrative personnel. I've heard many disturbing stories of staff being blatantly rude and dismissive of students seeking to sign up for classes, change schedules, or take other simple administrative actions. UNM does offer a robust continuing education program that gets much better reviews. CNM, the local community college, is typical of that kind of school. It's more affordable than UNM, but has fewer programs. Because there's a large military community, there are a lot of other national universities and colleges (U. of Phoenix, National U., etc.) with physical presence. If you want an education and can afford it, you can get it.

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Crime and enforcement - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque crime: There’s a good bit of property crime, mainly vehicle thefts and vandalism, but a lot of break ins. Violent crime is moderate-to-low in our vicinity. Crimes tend to be concentrated to particular areas. A bit of research before choosing a neighborhood will greatly improve your odds of a peaceful life here. The state and metro police seem to have been in relative disarray for a long time. Both have trouble attracting and retaining quality officers. There have been more than a few high-profile cases of police misbehavior that have cost taxpayers millions in lawsuits. In short, law enforcement appears be less professional and effective than needed. There's a sense that some officers are cavalier and abusive, leading to a lack of trust from the public. (One acquaintance recently showed me statistics indicating Albuquerque rates significantly higher for political corruption than does Mexico City!) On the other hand, it is often unclear what officers are supposed to do -- what is appropriate and legal -- in various situations. For example, when is it appropriate to use a firearm? When to engage in high-speed pursuit? These issues seem to lack legal and policy clarity and are made more difficult by ceaseless sensationalized media coverage. Better law enforcement will require both better (more qualified, more ethical) officers and clarity of laws and LE policies. And getting more and better cops means paying them more (as with teachers, etc.).

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Crime and enforcement - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque crime: There’s a good bit of property crime, mainly vehicle thefts and vandalism, but a lot of break ins. Violent crime is moderate-to-low in our vicinity. Crimes tend to be concentrated to particular areas. A bit of research before choosing a neighborhood will greatly improve your odds of a peaceful life here. The state and metro police seem to have been in relative disarray for a long time. Both have trouble attracting and retaining quality officers. There have been more than a few high-profile cases of police misbehavior that have cost taxpayers millions in lawsuits. In short, law enforcement appears be less professional and effective than needed. There's a sense that some officers are cavalier and abusive, leading to a lack of trust from the public. (One acquaintance recently showed me statistics indicating Albuquerque rates significantly higher for political corruption than does Mexico City!) On the other hand, it is often unclear what officers are supposed to do -- what is appropriate and legal -- in various situations. For example, when is it appropriate to use a firearm? When to engage in high-speed pursuit? These issues seem to lack legal and policy clarity and are made more difficult by ceaseless sensationalized media coverage. Better law enforcement will require both better (more qualified, more ethical) officers and clarity of laws and LE policies. And getting more and better cops means paying them more (as with teachers, etc.).

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Good location for climate and outdoor activities, - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque climate and recreation: Albuquerque has a moderate climate with lots of sunny days. It's a great place for year-round outdoor activities, assuming you are one of the few who does not have allergic reactions to the incredible volumns of pollen that swirl about 10 months of the year. I never had serious allergy problems until moving here--and I've lived all over, including Europe and Asia. I recommend renting for a full year before buying here. Make sure you aren't afflicted by allergies if you’re thinking to stay long term. The other negative, with respect to outdoor activities, is the bike, motorcycle, and pedestrian unfriendly roads. Many drivers are reckless, under the influence, impaired, or simply too selfish to share the roads with others. Drivers routinely and flagrantly run red lights and stop signs. Cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are maimed and killed regularly. There's also a huge problem with drunk/doped drivers. There are a few nice paved paths, but few of any meaningful length that don't cross roads. There are lots of good unpaved trails in the mountains and foothills, for both bikes and hikers. There’s a snow ski area on the mountain at the east boundary of the city, and another near Santa Fe (1+ hour drive), and Red River and Taos farther north. There’s great hiking and camping, and a fair amount of fishing, across the state. Albuquerque culture: There's a good bit of cultural variety here to keep things interesting. It's not like in a major city, but many cultures have a presence. You can find most kinds of food. There are a variety of festivals. I would like to see more cultural and racial variety, but it's getting there slowly.

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Mark
Albuquerque, NM

Good location for climate and outdoor activities, - 12/25/2013

Albuquerque climate and recreation: Albuquerque has a moderate climate with lots of sunny days. It's a great place for year-round outdoor activities, assuming you are one of the few who does not have allergic reactions to the incredible volumns of pollen that swirl about 10 months of the year. I never had serious allergy problems until moving here--and I've lived all over, including Europe and Asia. I recommend renting for a full year before buying here. Make sure you aren't afflicted by allergies if you’re thinking to stay long term. The other negative, with respect to outdoor activities, is the bike, motorcycle, and pedestrian unfriendly roads. Many drivers are reckless, under the influence, impaired, or simply too selfish to share the roads with others. Drivers routinely and flagrantly run red lights and stop signs. Cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are maimed and killed regularly. There's also a huge problem with drunk/doped drivers. There are a few nice paved paths, but few of any meaningful length that don't cross roads. There are lots of good unpaved trails in the mountains and foothills, for both bikes and hikers. There’s a snow ski area on the mountain at the east boundary of the city, and another near Santa Fe (1+ hour drive), and Red River and Taos farther north. There’s great hiking and camping, and a fair amount of fishing, across the state. Albuquerque culture: There's a good bit of cultural variety here to keep things interesting. It's not like in a major city, but many cultures have a presence. You can find most kinds of food. There are a variety of festivals. I would like to see more cultural and racial variety, but it's getting there slowly.

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D.
Baltimore, MD

Albuquerque - 12/21/2013

Hello, I am from Maryland too (Towson and Mt. Washington). We lived in Albuquerque for 8 years. We came back because of sick parents. We hate it here. In some ways Albuquerque fit us better. Don't reconsider Albuquerque. It does have a lot to offer. We were frustrated when living there. Now we see just what we gained by living there. We are planning to move back to Albuquerque or maybe San diego Ca. We love the West. Albuquerque is a great place to retire. Just educate yourself about the job market. It is not like the East Coast. Compared to Baltimore MD, it lacks economic infrastructure and education. It is a very different place. Make sure you have a savings or a steady income so you don't have to rely so much on a job there. If you have any questions you can e-mail me. We have learned a lot. D. Moss

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Kris
Kirkland, WA

i thought about moving there, but... - 12/8/2013

Few years ago, i went there for an interview and i spent a day driving all over the city. i felt the city was generally dirty and ugly, especially around downtown - even the river was brown and murky. The only part of the city that was half decent was in the NE. i went up the Tramway and went into housing blocks in the area, and it was nice and clean (a typical upper middle class suburb), but not too many shopping or eating places... The trails were not at all like the pictures posted - it was mostly dry brushes and steep hills - hard to climb with little ones. Finally i went up to North Acre area (just outside the city) which was nice and spacious dotted with mansion like houses, but there were no sidewalks for walking or biking, and cars were going very fast in those straight streets, making it dangerous to walk or bike around the street. They use ground water / septic, and i heard some are having problems with water quality. There were small pockets of well organized area with sidewalks in NE area of the city boundary. But, everywhere else was not very inviting. Overall, it was not enough for me to want to move there. i heard that UNM was not the best either. If you lived in the North Acres, you basically stay home, and have to drive long stretches to go anywhere. i also drove around east of the mountains where i found some trees, but you would miss out on the beautiful sunsets, because they are blocked by the mountains to the west.

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Kris
Kirkland, WA

i thought about moving there, but... - 12/8/2013

Few years ago, i went there for an interview and i spent a day driving all over the city. i felt the city was generally dirty and ugly, especially around downtown - even the river was brown and murky. The only part of the city that was half decent was in the NE. i went up the Tramway and went into housing blocks in the area, and it was nice and clean (a typical upper middle class suburb), but not too many shopping or eating places... The trails were not at all like the pictures posted - it was mostly dry brushes and steep hills - hard to climb with little ones. Finally i went up to North Acre area (just outside the city) which was nice and spacious dotted with mansion like houses, but there were no sidewalks for walking or biking, and cars were going very fast in those straight streets, making it dangerous to walk or bike around the street. They use ground water / septic, and i heard some are having problems with water quality. There were small pockets of well organized area with sidewalks in NE area of the city boundary. But, everywhere else was not very inviting. Overall, it was not enough for me to want to move there. i heard that UNM was not the best either. If you lived in the North Acres, you basically stay home, and have to drive long stretches to go anywhere. i also drove around east of the mountain where i found some trees, but you would miss out on the beautiful sunsets, because they are blocked by the mountains to the west.

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