The Alibi's 2005 Last Minute Gift Guide You've got about two more weeks to do all of your Christmas shopping, but don't panic. If you didn't take our advice last time around, we're giving you a second chance, and this time it's personal. I mean, this time we've mapped out shopping opportunities around the city for maximum efficiency.
Is New Urbanism Right for Albuquerque? Albuquerque is commended by an environmental organization for a new urbanist-style redevelopment project Downtown, but as Jessica Cassyle Carr reports, not everyone in town wants to see more of this.
Show Off! Captain America provides some thoughtful insight into what small towns have to offer us big-city snobs in terms of music store selection, music fans and even new bands. He also refers to Albuquerque as "The Dirt City," which we will definitely be pirating in the future.
Restaurant Review: La Siringitu Vegetarian Café Jennifer Wohletz visits La Siringitu Vegetarian Café, which is so beautifully decorated and delicious that it almost turns her meat-crazed palate into a fake-meat-product-loving, antibiotic-free, substitute vegetarian one.
Film Festival Preview Screw Sundance and Cannes, the Santa Fe Film Festival is back for its sixth year and is packing in films from so many far away places that it will undoubtedly make other film festivals cower in defeat. Or, at least, that's what our state spirit makes the Alibi think!
A Brief Guide to Gift-worthy Recent Releases To further assist you in your attempt to make up for lost time, John Freeman has compiled a brief list of new books worthy of wrapping paper and a position underneath the tanenbaum.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry made history yesterday. In addition to debuting a YouTube communiqué strategy, Berry became the first mayor in Albuquerque's history to veto an election amendment. According to the announcement, Berry vetoed R-14-91 because he couldn't "in good conscience" allow citizens of Albuquerque the opportunity to vote on a) lessening criminal penalties for possession of marijuana in quantities of one ounce or less and b) raising the Albuquerque gross-receipts tax rate one-eighth of a cent to fund social services for addicted, mentally ill and homeless citizens.
In this historic address, Berry cites his unwillingness to sign a bill that would raise taxes without any "clear and concise plan" on how to spend resulting funds and "flying in the face of state and federal law" by decriminalizing the possession of an "illegal drug." And the big, bad "illegal drug" is ... marijuana, a drug so innocuous even notoriously conservative local media outlets refer to it by slang terms like "pot" or "weed."
Deferring a vote on lessening penalties for possession of marijuana—which is a far cry from actually decriminalizing marijuana—is rather short-sighted, but the greater injustice in this veto is stalling funding for a citywide crisis of addiction, mental illness and homelessness. These three issues—which overlap and are at the root of immense suffering, both for those grappling with these afflictions and those impacted by resulting crime—must be at the core of any "urban renewal" strategy.
The City Council can override Berry's veto with a vote of 6 to 3. Three other ballot initiatives—granting the City Council approval authority over the Mayor's hiring of police and fire chiefs, changing the voter-initiative process to prevent costly special elections and a bond proposal that would fund "metropolitan redevelopment"—are also included in Berry's veto. Within the scope of these combined, largely progressive initiatives, consider the urgency of funding social services for our city's homeless, mentally ill and addicted residents when communicating with your City Councilor. If you're not sure who that is, find out here.
For my money, raising sales tax one-eighth of a cent, from 7 percent to 7.125 percent, is a prudent investment in the future of Albuquerque. And if lessening criminal penalties for possession of marijuana allows Albuquerque law enforcement to focus on addressing the institutional failures clearly outlined by the US Department of Justice and preventing violent crime, so much the better. Whatever your opinion of the ballot initiatives proposed in R-14-91, let your City Councilor know what you think. This is an issue that deserves your attention and civic engagement ... even on Labor Day weekend.