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See transcripts for the One ABQ & You podcast.

Episode 1 - Welcome Transcript

Leah Black: Welcome to 1ABQ and You, conversations, culture, and community. A City of Albuquerque production with your hosts, Mayor Tim Keller and me, Leah Black. Welcome, Albuquerque and beyond. This is our very first podcast episode of 1ABQ and You. My name is Leah Black and this man needs no introduction. It is the Albuquerque mayor, Tim Keller.

Mayor Tim Keller: Oh, well, listen, we're excited to be here. This is a podcast about one thing I think that we all love and we all know very well, which is our city and those of us in our own stories in our city. And, you know, usually we see things on like mainstream media, newspapers, things like that. And you know, it's always just so condensed. It's like a headline or it's a soundbite. And so we really wanted to do this because it's like, you know what? We, we've got stories to tell in Albuquerque. And what a great way to do it just in free form. And so that's what we're going to do today.

Leah Black: I love it. It's more organic and unscripted. And you're going to hang with us. So thank you so much for tuning in.

Okay, so I think it'd be nice for those that don't know, let's get to delve into your life a little bit more. Um, I want to talk about jobs. What was your first job?

Mayor Tim Keller: Oh, that's a good one.

So I think just so people know, the whole podcast is not going to be about our lives.

Leah Black: [Laughs] No. [Laughs]

Mayor Tim Keller: We're going to talk about other people's lives.

Leah Black: Yes,

Mayor Tim Keller: But we're going to start with some of our own stories. So, um, you know, so I had, well, first off, I want to tell you about two.

Leah Black: Okay.

Mayor Tim Keller: One was I used to pick up the range balls at a Arroyo del Oso golf course because I grew up in that neighborhood.

Leah Black: Okay.

Mayor Tim Keller: Which weirdly was like a city job. So in a way, my first job was, you know, sort of now what we would call Youth Connect.

Leah Black: Yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: Uh, and it was one of those summer jobs. It was really cool because basically, I would work for a hamburger. I mean, I loved the hamburgers at Arroyo del Oso golf course. And the guy who used to buy me a hamburger [Laughs] every day after work is still a golf coach!

Leah Black: [Laughs] What?

Mayor Tim Keller: I ran into him the other day, he this guy named Todd Kirsting. It's weird that I even remember, I just remember he was Todd. And I was like, Todd, I was like, you just used to buy like a little high school kid hamburgers after you pick up range balls. He was like that was me. Yeah.

Leah Black: And he remembered?

Mayor Tim Keller: Totally, yeah. And he, yeah, I saw him at Weck's. I mean, this is just like a couple of weeks ago.

Leah Black: Random.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah and uh, so anyway, shout out to Todd! Loved the burger. And there's still really good food at our golf courses, so that's important. But I have to tell you about one other job was not, it was probably my first like big kids, not big kids job. But it was the beach water park.

Leah Black: Oh, what? You worked there?

Mayor Tim Keller: Oh my gosh. Like, the best summers ever.

Leah Black: Were you a lifeguard?

Mayor Tim Keller: I did not make the lifeguard cut.

Leah Black: [Laughs]

Mayor Tim Keller: [Laughs] It was, it was very hard actually to make the lifeguard crew in my own defense, so I ended up working in the tube shack and I would be the guy who handed you your inner tube. [Laughs] I know. I did that for two years.

Leah Black: [Laughs] I love this. That's amazing.

Mayor Tim Keller: And there's a whole hierarchy because it's like high school, you know, like lifeguards are at the top and then there's like, I was, you know, tube shack, not at the top, but look, the summers - thinking of like summers at the beach, you know, unbelievable. I mean, what a great way when you're like 16 years old to spend a summer. And so yeah, love the beach water park.

Leah Black: Beach water park is amazing. My first job was a babysitter at a daycare at Jazzercise. Do you know jazzercise?

Mayor Tim Keller: Do they still do this? My mom did jazzercise.

Leah Black:  So yeah, that was the thing. My mom went to jazzercise and they said they needed a kid to, you know, not necessarily a kid, but somebody to watch the daycare. I think I was like 14. And then, um, that was, that kind of segged into like me starting to go to jazzercise with my mom. And then she quit going, she's a singer and they became rock stars. They were in a band. And they went, they were, [laughing] this is so funny. I hope she listens to this someday. They were an 80s cover band in the 80s.

Mayor Tim Keller: [laughing] Like a contemporary cover band.

Leah Black: Yeah at the time, I guess it was contemporary anyway. What did your parents do?

Mayor Tim Keller: Oh my gosh. Well not that. Um, how cool. I mean, does she still like rock it out?

Leah Black: No. And her voice is amazing, but she doesn't.

Mayor Tim Keller: What 80s are we talking about? We're talking like the cure or like Michael Jackson or like she did like

Leah Black: She did like Pat Benatar.

Mayor Tim Keller: Okay, there we go.

Leah Black: Because she was the singer.

Mayor Tim Keller: Jazzercise.

Leah Black: Yeah. You can picture the whole thing. Tell me about your parents

Mayor Tim Keller: They must have had a keyboardist in the band.

Leah Black: That was my stepdad! Yeah. 

Mayor Tim Keller:  Was it a stand up keyboard?

Leah Black: Yes! Yes. And he had like the thin tie. It was, it was crazy.

Mayor Tim Keller: Kind of crazy now. Nothing says tough like that.

Leah Black: Tell me about what your parents did.

Mayor Tim Keller: Uh, well, a lot less exciting, but we actually, my, my, well, my mom was a teacher, uh, kindergarten, uh, on and off.

Leah Black: That's very exciting. Yeah. Wait, we love teachers.

Mayor Tim Keller: Totally. And, um, and then, uh, but my dad actually worked, he worked for the union. So he was like staff for a bunch of different unions, uh, building trades in New Mexico.

And so that was pretty much the story. He did do appraisals on the side. So, like, I have a lot of memories driving all around New Mexico looking at half finished buildings because, like, that was his job.

Leah Black: Right.

Mayor Tim Keller: And, uh, we do it on the nights and weekends. So I'd get home at, like, you know, ten o'clock, I'm, like, eight. I thought it was so cool because I spent the day in, like, rural Grants. That's just what we did.

Leah Black: Yeah, just shadowing your dad.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's cool. Lots of car time.

Leah Black: Yep. Yeah, I know about the car time.

Mayor Tim Keller: So it's interesting, though, because, so we just had balloon fiesta for those of us who are like sort of time stamping this. We had lots of conversations about our city, all sorts of things - stadium, balloon fiesta, eclipse. But it was amazing because actually I was on the field and this one family starts chatting me up and they were like, 'hey,' it was weird that they asked this because it's such a specific question. But they were like, they're like, 'where is the future of Albuquerque?' Which is a different question than what is the future of Albuquerque? And I was like, where, I was like, why are you asking where, you know? And they were like, 'well, I don't know. You know, we have like young kids and we were just wondering like, what, where they're going to live and like geographically.'

Leah Black: Oh like geographically.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah. And it was it was also when like we were waiting was a yellow flag. So like there was kind of laughs we're all just kind of standing around.

Leah Black: Yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: And so I was like, well, let me tell you. And I was talking about how in the 80s, right? So in this era that you were talking about, and when I was a little kid, Intel moved to Rio Rancho.

Leah Black: Oh, that's right.

Mayor Tim Keller: And Rio Rancho existed before. Like I remember driving around Rio Rancho for inspections and they were like brick buildings that were built in the 70s. But then all of a sudden Intel came and it was like, boom. And like, I remember one out of five people you'd meet like their parents worked at Intel or working out at Intel. And I was probably maybe like 10 at the time, so it's not, you know, it's not like the most vivid memory, but I definitely remember it. And then, of course, even as I got older, like all of a sudden there were, you know, like two high schools in Rio Rancho. Now everybody knows this, you know. So Rio Rancho exploded and it became, I think it's the third largest city in New Mexico.

So the point is, we're going to have a new one, I think, for future families.

Leah Black: A new sort of Intel boom.

Mayor Tim Keller:  Yes! Yeah. And it's, it's at a place called Mesa del Sol, which like a lot of people may not even know about. But think the airport and then like go past the runways.

Leah Black:  Like if you're going to a concert at Isleta Pavilion.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yes.

Leah Black: That sort of area, right?

Mayor Tim Keller:  Yes. That whole area will be a suburb, although it's in the city, so it's not really a suburb.

Leah Black: Yeah. It's really close.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah! I mean, look, the short story, there's this company called Maxeon that is moving their solar panel manufacturing from Singapore to America to Mesa del Sol. It's going to be 2000 jobs. It's like 1.5 billion investment. It's literally about the same size as Intel. So if that all happens, like we know what that means. People will live there. People will play there.

And all of that's going to be filled out and it's a planned community, actually. So it's not, it's not going to be sprawl because that's actually built in. It's like sustainable and it's mixed use, which is a good thing. That's why Mesa Del Sol was sort of, um, created in the first place, uh, was to make sure we had like smart growth and everyone forgot about this for like ten years.

Leah Black: Yeah, I remember. And then all of a sudden it was like, yeah, it kind of went away.

Mayor Tim Keller: You know ,economic downturns, whatnot. So now you've got Netflix out there, North American headquarters, and then you have Maxeon. So I actually believe for like my kids, they are going to grow up and there's going to be a high school out there. There's going to be, you know, everyone's going to know about Mesa del Sol and theres going to be like 10 to 20 thousand people living out there will be the new sort of equivalent of what we went through in the 80s.

Leah Black: That's amazing. And just thinking of that whole area, because it feels far, like when you go to a concert, you know, you're in line and in a, in a traffic, you know,

Mayor Tim Keller: Because you're waiting in traffic.

Leah Black: ...but that's not a normal thing. But if you think about how quickly you get there, you know, it's so close. It's literally like four minutes from the heart of downtown.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah.

Leah Black: you know, it's really close. Maybe that's a little more because I have a lead foot but 

Mayor Tim Keller: True! Yeah, it is it's way like closer than any other sort of when you think about growing outside of town It's really not really that far outside of town and gonna be cool .

Leah Black: The things too that I that I'm finding really cool in these certain communities is the walkability thing. So I like that you're saying it's a planned community, so there's going to be places where you can have your car parked at your house and you can walk to it somewhere with your family for dinner, or, you know, a little store for whatever basic groceries you need so, I love that model. That's really exciting.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah, and it has, back when I was in the state legislature is when this passed, it's something called a tax increment district, which is not exciting. But, what it does is it like, makes sure that all of this is planned in advance. So you have, you know, certain areas where it's going to be like low income housing, then mixed use housing, and then, you know, big houses, small houses, and everything in between. But all the sort of... You know, fronts are like windows facing the street, so it's very much community feel with like parking in the back.

Leah Black: Oh, cool.

Mayor Tim Keller: And then there's like making sure it's a walkable community. So you have, you know, those basic things like sidewalks, but also to you name it, whether it's a restaurant or whether it's a playground, all of that is actually kind of mapped out.

Leah Black: That's great.

Mayor Tim Keller: And so now we're actually gonna get to see it work. Yeah, very cool.

Leah Black: That's super exciting for Albuquerque.

Mayor Tim Keller: But going back to Balloon Fiesta, how about fiesta this year? I mean, look, we've all - I've been to like 45 or something. I don't eve...

Leah Black: That's amazing!

Mayor Tim Keller: This thing... Well, I missed a few, you know, college stuff like that. But, uh, this one. I mean, it was so amazing because like there was obviously the main day with the eclipse and that was something like I remember seeing like an eclipse of people where there was just as many people coming in at nine o'clock in the morning as people going out.

Leah Black: Oh, wow.

Mayor Tim Keller: That was so bizarre, also made traffic terrible. But, you know, uh, there were just so many unique things about it. And then the way, like, it got so cold during the eclipse. I don't know if you're out there like, oh, it was like 40 degrees. And it was like, can the eclipse be over now?

Leah Black: Freezing, yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah. And then, of course, it was 80 degrees, you know, like 30 minutes later.

Leah Black: Right.

Mayor Tim Keller: And so there were just all these sort of little nuances. But like, in general, um, I feel like it had to be one of our most successful fiestas. But I know, you know, you kind of have insider knowledge working at the airport. So how did it play out? How does it look so far?

Leah Black: I do. Yes. For those of you don't know, I work at the Sunport. Um, we had, I think, just over 100. And now this is from the Friday before counting the traffic of people coming into town for balloon fiesta and leaving on the Monday after. Just over 120,000 people coming and going in Sunport in those, I guess it would be 12 days. 120. So we have far surpassed, you know, our, our sort of barometer year has always been 2019 because it was pre-pandemic and, and it's like pretty soon we don't have to use that anymore, but we've surpassed that now! And it's so exciting! People are traveling and coming to Albuquerque! It's awesome.

Mayor Tim Keller: So I heard some rumor that like the eclipse was the equivalent of 100,000 extra either tickets or seats or something. Is that an urban myth?

Leah Black: No, I think it's true because NASA put us as the number as like the number one destination and best viewing spot in the world to see the eclipse, clear skies, just where we fell in the array. I don't know the right terminology. [Laughs] Some science people listening. Um, but yeah, this, it definitely contributed to that. Um, but what I like to think is that now these airlines, because I think this, we should talk about this sometime. Everybody's like, Hey, why don't you add a flight to here and out of here?

Mayor Tim Keller: Always. I get that request all the time.

Leah Black: And they don't realize it's a really hard process. We have to woo the airlines. It's their decision. It's not our decision, but we're thinking now when they see these numbers, they can validate and warrant adding more flights.

Mayor Tim Keller: You don't think they're going to notice that it was like the eclipse just happened once. [Laughs]

Leah Black: No! [Laughs] We're going to forget about that. Okay. We're going to forget about that airlines, anyway.

Mayor Tim Keller: Interestingly, I watched it with Delta, so the Delta Airlines reps were at the Visit Albuquerque watch party. And I told them, I was like, Delta, we've got to be your hub going into Mexico because now we're international ready. And they were kind of like, 'we're here for the eclipse.' [Laughs]

Leah Black: [Laughs] They were like, we don't want to talk shop, Mayor.

Mayor Tim Keller: So, uh, but I still talk to them anyway, even if they didn't really want to talk back, but they were actually, they were actually really nice. They were great, but

Leah Black:  we keep trying to put those nuggets in their ears.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah, exactly. And I didn't want to lose the opportunity. So, um, but you know, so the other thing about Fiesta is I felt like it was the first - So on Tuesday I got to fly, I have a, I have a high school friend who actually is a balloon pilot.

Leah Black: Oh, cool.

Mayor Tim Keller: So I've been in a chase crew for, I don't know, 20 years or something like that, and it was so special because I haven't, since I've had this gig like I have not been a good chase crew member, and I don't even know I've done it once. But I used to be a regular and so anyway, but I got to fly with him. Robert Bacon is his name. It's the Sun flyer balloon. So it's like the blue balloon Kind of a dark blue with a Zia, but like a bright sun. Most people have seen it. It's very picturesque, all over. So the Sun Flyer. So I was like, they're like, 'hey, do you want to fly with us this year?' I was like, 'yeah, I'd love to.' And so I did the competition flight. And so you take off from outside Fiesta and then you try and drop a bean bag onto Fiesta.

Leah Black: Was it the day of the boat thing?

Mayor Tim Keller: No, it was the day after the boat, which is a very similar one, which by the way, he got second in that competition.

Leah Black: Oh, that's so cool.

Mayor Tim Keller: I know.

Leah Black: Is he related to Kevin Bacon? I got to ask it. No,

Mayor Tim Keller: No, I know. There's a lot of, there's always the whole thing. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Leah Black: I know. I'm sorry.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah, no, it's true.

Leah Black: I digress.

Mayor Tim Keller: Um, I mean, maybe he is right. Cause that's the whole thing. He wouldn't want to say. Yeah. So, but anyway, so you got, I got to go, uh, you know, you're so so like all these balloons are going up and down like on the field and close to you. It's crazy. It was way more like exciting and sporting than I would have ever thought. And also like a little bit scary. Yeah, you know, he was like 'your job is to make sure there's no balloons below us' because like you have to drop really fast and stuff like that.

Leah Black: Right.

Mayor Tim Keller: So I'm like just hanging out the window the whole time, you know, and so wait, I don't know why I said window, basket, but uh,

Leah Black: It's a very large window.

Mayor Tim Keller: It was awesome.

Leah Black: But wait, he says your job is to - what do you do? You just yell at him and say, Hey, there's somebody below us?

Mayor Tim Keller:  Yeah, cause there's only two people in the basket. So like you have to look. That's the weird thing about ballooning. It's not just 360, like all around you, it's also above you and below you.

Leah Black: How do you see above you?

Mayor Tim Keller: Well that's, it's really hard, but you're like literally going like this, or

Leah Black: And you're scared of falling out of the basket?

Mayor Tim Keller: Cause you can't also, uh, a little bit, yeah. And so, it was just the most active ballooning experience, you know. And I think we were in the air for, I don't know, maybe 40 minutes. It, it felt like two minutes. I mean it was so intense.

Leah Black: That sounds, yeah. Yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: And uh, anyway, it was really cool, but like when I was a kid, I used to chase them. Because they on my bicycle, you know, and they like land in the neighborhood.

Leah Black: Did you have a large trailer pulled from your bike that you were going to get the balloon on? You just ...

Mayor Tim Keller: We'd like play hot air balloon. I mean, I did my kids do this too. Like they jump off couches and they make like the balloon burner sound.

Leah Black: I love this! It's so a part of our culture. Like every balloons are what we are.

Mayor Tim Keller: It is weird. Like, we totally take it for granted. We grow up, talk about balloons, see them in the sky all the time. People come in from out of town, 'they're just like, what's going on?'

Leah Black: We're like, uh, balloons. Yeah, duh, this is just what happens. It never gets old. 20 years now, and you said you've been to like 40 some odd. This was the 51st year, so you've almost been to all of them.

Mayor Tim Keller:  I mean, you can quickly figure out how old I am by that math.

Leah Black: [Laughs] Sorry. I didn't mean to do that.

Mayor Tim Keller: And so, well, very cool. I do love the, the, you know, it all depends on where the wind's blowing. Cause like, when they do blow into town, it's like not good for balloonists.

Leah Black: Right.

Mayor Tim Keller: We have these landing site issues and, you know, people pull over and, but like, it is awesome. There's nothing like when you just walk out of, you name it, grocery store, whatever, parking lot.

Leah Black: Yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: And there's like two balloons landing and everyone's all excited.

Leah Black: It's so cool. Or when, above my house sometimes I'll hear, [makes hot air balloon burner wooshing sound] And I'm like, Oh, no, I live by the Indian - I live by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. And I'm like, Oh, they probably shouldn't be down here. But I'm so excited about it. As long as everybody's safe.

Mayor Tim Keller: Anyway, so true. Well, listen, we have a couple of things. I think we should probably we should probably touch on some other iconic old Albuquerque.

Leah Black: Oh, yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: While we're talking about the good old days for two people who may or may not be old, depending on who's watching.

Leah Black: [Laughs]

Mayor Tim Keller: But, um, And then as a preview though, next episode we're going to talk to other people. Yes,

Leah Black: it's not just going to be us, okay? Don't worry.

Mayor Tim Keller: I'll tell you one of the oldest stories I've got, which is that I was door knocking once when I was first running for office in the International District and this guy, who at the time was quite old, uh, and he told me a story, like apparently, there used to be a racetrack out on Eubank, and like, everyone who lived in that area of town would just drag race, but like on a racetrack.

Leah Black: Oh yeah, like an organized track.

Mayor Tim Keller: Now there's like houses and stuff there, but like, that was the whole like, place to be. And it was like, you'd go, you'd go drag race, and then you'd go to Caravan East.

Leah Black: Oh, yeah.

Mayor Tim Keller: So, Caravan East, which now is the International District Library.

Leah Black: That's right.

Mayor Tim Keller: But man, Caravan East, I mean, my parents used to dance there like when they were dating and I'm so glad because I hit it once like when I was an adult before it closed. And so I got to see this legendary place and it was one of those where like you had, you had a band, kind of a grandstand for a band. But then you had an oval dance floor and, and all the dancing also moved. So even if it wasn't like country western line dancing, no matter what it was, you still like moved in as you dance.

Leah Black: Circular sort of.

Mayor Tim Keller: Yeah. And then there were like elevated areas on the sides and, uh, it was awesome and it was huge too. So, uh, it was so much fun. And I remember, you know, just, I remember when I heard that it closed and I was like. I got there once, like as an over 21 year old adult and it was off the hook.

But like that was the scene back then on like route 66 in different variations. You know, it's like you're dancing at Caravan East and your drag race and like along route 66. And that's also why the car dealerships were there. There's just a whole mother road sort of story in that part of town. Um, but there was also the roller rink, which is funny because it's back now. So roller king is back.

Leah Black: I have a pair of roller skates that I bought this year.

Mayor Tim Keller: Wow. Have you been to the new roller King? It's not even that new.

Leah Black: I've never been there and it's on my list.

Mayor Tim Keller: Oh, you got to go. Yeah. And the ice rink is now double. So like now there's two rinks. If people haven't been to outpost. It's weird. There's like two rinks and there's like, you know, food in the center. And so if you haven't been there in a long time, everyone's kind of like, wow, this is actually like a whole different thing.

Leah Black: I have a buddy that plays hockey there every Thursday night. I'm going to go.

Mayor Tim Keller: There's like a whole hockey scene.

Leah Black: Yeah. I thought I was amazing. Cool logo. Yeah. It's so cool. I love Albuquerque.

Mayor Tim Keller: So it's a great city. So I think, listen, we've got all sorts of stuff on tap for the future of our podcast and we're going to be interviewing some folks, uh, just all around town. Some will work at the city, some who don't.

Probably some reality, harsh, kind of raw stories because we know that's part of who we are. We got our challenges, but we also have lots of things to sort of celebrate and dive into. So we're going to do that too.

I will say too, I've always felt, you know, despite, despite the rawness, compared to other cities, like everyone I know who grew up or was young in Albuquerque, like they had a really good time on a lot of fronts and like this town kind of delivers on that. And so it is a great place to grow up, uh, despite all our challenges. So we're going to go into all that and more.

Leah Black: Thanks so much for tuning in and hanging out with us. We're going to do this thing together and we're going to have a lot of fun.

Mayor Tim Keller: Remember Albuquerque, it takes all of us to make this place a special place we call home and deliver on that promise of Albuquerque, New Mexico. So thank you for tuning in to One ABQ and you.

Leah Black: Be sure and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and follow us at hashtag 1ABQandYou. If you'd like to share your own ABQ observations, experiences, or topic suggestions, reach out to us.

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