The Albuquerque alt-weekly celebrates it's quinceañera by tracing its history from Oct. 9, 1992: the 12-page, black-and-white debut as NuCity, threats of a lawsuit from Chicago's Newcity, the name change to the Weekly Alibi, all the way to, well, this week's 15th anniversary issue and a newly unveiled print redesign. But it's not all good news in Duke City: editor Steven Robert Allen is leaving the paper on Oct. 1 to become executive director of Common Cause New Mexico. "I fully expect the paper's best days are ahead of it," he writes in a farewell column. "That's one reason why I don't mind making an exit, not too much, anyway. To tell you the truth, I'm eager to just be an ordinary reader, to pick up the Alibi on Thursday from one of those ubiquitous blue metal boxes, just like everyone else, and take a peek inside."
Richard Diefenbach read Gustavo Arellano's syndicated column for the first time in the Weekly Alibi, while on vacation in Albuquerque. He was so enthused with the column -- which that week addressed readers' questions about "the Mexican love affair with chicken and similarities between Mexicans and the Irish," according to Arellano -- that when he returned to work in his hometown of Newport, Ore., he printed a copy and gave it to a Mexican-American co-worker. The following day Diefenbach was suspended from work for five days without pay, accused of racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
After picking up OC Weekly's syndicated "Ask a Mexican" column, Editor Steven Robert Allen writes, the newspaper received "plenty of positive responses" but also "lots of angry calls and e-mails from people -- both Latinos and Anglos -- saying [the column is] promoting hate speech and negative racial stereotypes." Allen interviews the author, Gustavo Arellano, about the column's genesis and subsequent fallout. "Especially during these times, which are so contentious and fraught with animosity, when you have a column that's addressing these issues, not in a namby-pamby way but as blisteringly as possible, people want to read that," Arellano says.
In a March 14 letter, Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson admitted VA nurse Laura Berg should not have been investigated for sedition for a letter to the editor she wrote to the Weekly Alibi in which she criticized Bush administration policies. The Albuquerque Tribune reports that Berg received a private apology from her supervisor in mid-February, but she continued to seek a public apology. "My concern about just having a private apology is because this happened to me it has frightened other people. It was intimidating," Berg told the Tribune. Nicholson's letter was addressed to U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and was made public this week by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, which represents Berg.