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V.23 No.36 |

Opinion

County Commission Offers Alternative to Berry's Tender Mercies

On Friday, Aug. 29, Mayor Richard J. Berry made history. In his YouTube communiqué debut, Berry became the first Albuquerque mayor to veto an election amendment. According to Berry's statement, R-14-91 contained proposals he couldn't "in good conscience" allow Albuquerque citizens to vote on. Translation: Berry claims his ethics prevented him from permitting us to weigh in at the polls on a) raising sales tax one-eighth of a centto fund social services for the addicted, homeless and mentally illand b) to reduce criminal penalties for the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

R-14-91 also contained ballot initiatives to a) grant the City Council approval authority over the Mayor's hiring of police and fire chiefs, b) change the voter-initiative process to prevent costly special elections and c) a bond proposal to fund "metropolitan redevelopment." In layman's terms, Berry's veto was a political strong-arm tactic to get the City Council to drop the tax increase and penalty reduction initiatives. Otherwise, these other three issues wouldn't get to voters. And it worked. On Wednesday, Sept. 3, the Council compromised (read: caved).

And that, as they say, could have been that. But on Friday, Sept. 5, the Bernalillo County Commission issued a press release calling for voter input on the tax increase and marijuana penalty reduction initiatives that Berry nixed. In the release Commission Chair Debbie O’Malley said, “It’s critical that we hear directly from the people about how to move forward on these two issues that have such a major impact on our community. We need to look for ways to divert people with serious mental illness out of jail and into treatment instead. This issue impacts all of us and Bernalillo County residents are ready to talk about solutions.”

In the same release, Commissioner Maggie Hart-Stebbins states, “Better access to mental health services and marijuana penalties are clearly on the minds of Bernalillo County residents. Both of these issues have a significant impact on public safety and county government so it makes sense to give the voters a say in this community discussion.”

The County Commission will convene on Monday, Sept. 8, at 10am to make a final decision on which questions voters will get to address. That's where you come in. O'Malley and Hart-Stebbins want your input on the tax and marijuana penalty initiatives. Based on the overwhelmingly critical responses to Berry's veto video and the veto post on his Facebook page, many of you have something to say. So say it. If the Commission adds these initiatives to the ballot, all Bernalillo County residentsnot just city folkwill have an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in creating local public policy.

These are difficult times for our city, and we appear to be at a crossroads. It's easy to be cynical. But rather than reposting memesespecially those featuring Mark Twain's belief that voting makes no differencetake a few minutes this weekend to engage your representatives on issues that matter to you. To facilitate that conversation, scroll on for quick links to contact O'Malley and Hart Stebbins. Use your voice. It's more powerful than you know.

Click here to email Debbie O'Malley or call her at (505) 468-7027.

Click here to email Maggie Hart-Stebbins or call her at (505) 468-7108.

V.23 No.35 |

Opinion

The Revolution Will Not Be Posted On YouTube

Berry's historic veto endangers Albuquerque's future

Play Youtube Video

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 marijuanawhich is a far cry from actually decriminalizing marijuanais 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 issueswhich overlap and are at the root of immense suffering, both for those grappling with these afflictions and those impacted by resulting crimemust 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 initiativesgranting 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.

More Videos

V.23 No.34 |

news

The Daily Word in David Correia, homelessness and ancient shrimp

The Daily Word

Battery charges against UNM professor, local activist, and Alibi contributor David Correia have been dropped.

A local man allegedly rode to his appointment with a probation officer on a stolen electric shopping cart.

The Albuquerque Isotopes won on the road last night after losing 6 of 7 in their last home stand.

An ancient species of shrimp lives in Albuquerque.

APD has a brand-new “crisis vehicle."

The City Council is considering raising the gross receipts tax in order to assuage homelessness.

A Burque balloon factory is in the works.

Puddles of urine found at the BioPark Zoo may have human sources.

Some of the intersections downtown are dangerous.

Operations at the City’s Police Oversight Committee have officially been suspended.

V.23 No.32 |

news

The Daily Word in cruel hierarchies, BrBa autopsy and sentinel wells

The Daily Word

An alleged robber was really just scratching himself.

Our mayor is doing something about chronic poverty and homelessness.

Regular safety inspections at WIPP went undone because the agency in charge of those sorts of issues didn’t know if it had the authority to inspect a Department of Energy site.

The local board of education wants to meet in closed session about superintendent Winston Brooks but they keep postponing the matter.

In the cruel hierarchy of college football, UNM walk-on and Roswell native David Anaya gets a break.

In the southeast part of town, a "smiling man" was accused of automobile theft.

Starting today, scientists will begin drilling “sentinel" wells in the Trumbull Village neighborhood near Kirtland Air Force Base.

Here’s a new LA Times article about the autopsy of some teevee show called "Breaking Bad."

Warning fellow Scots about the dangers of police militarization using Albuquerque as an example, a resident of Dundee writes, “Get the guns back in the boot of the armed response team cars where they belong.”

A 26-inch catfish was caught at Tingley Beach using shrimp as bait.

V.23 No.32 | 8/7/2014

Editorial

War on the Streets

Violence against the homeless is not ‘senseless’

August March considers the origin of violence in the recent, horrific attacks by three teenage boys.
V.23 No.25 | 6/19/2014
Benjamin J. George

Opinion

On Raised Voices and Structural Inequality

APD protest won’t end until justice is served

Protester Benjamin J. George explains why police brutality and structural inequality are inextricably intertwined.
V.23 No.24 |

news

The Daily Word in fire, a haunted VHS and Redskin racism

The Daily Word

Good morning, it's Wednesday, June 18,

and the Assayii Lake Fire is continuing to spread,

a memorial for Nancy Myers, a woman who was killed at a homeless encampment by a hit-and-run driver on June 9th, will be held this Friday at 6pm at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission courtyard (525 Second SW),

and one New Mexico gubernatorial campaign has been caught lying in emails, and the other apparently doesn't like "fat girls" in bikinis,

Meanwhile,

the US Patent Office has revoked the Redskins' trademarks because they are "disparaging to Native Americans,"

Youtube will soon begin blocking music videos from independent labels,

and a London bus stop is being haunted by a VHS copy of Hell Raiser.

Have a great day!

V.23 No.23 |

news

The Daily Word in Flashdancing, pure evil and also a goat

The Daily Word

Good morning, it's Wednesday, June 11,

and let's take a moment to remember the famous "Flashdancer of Albuquerque Academy,"

before we settle into the grim business of keeping our eyes peeled for a black or green small pickup truck with front end damage

that was probably involved in the deadly "hit-and-run" that killed one pedestrian and injured three others on Monday morning at an encampment of homeless people on Iron and 1st,

that was almost certainly an act of hatred and malice.

Usually, I put in a bunch of other stories here too

today I'm just too mad about this to give it much effort

but, still, here are some pictures of Prince Harry petting an official military goat.

V.21 No.10 |

news

The Daily Word in high-speed bus chase, new iPad, Kony 2012

The Daily Word

Man steals school bus, say police, who chase him down I-40 from Grants to Albuquerque.

People want politicians to do something about gas prices, poll says.

BernCo Sheriff Dan Houston gets a vote of no confidence from his deputies.

Los Lunas judge fails alcohol test, steps down.

LSD might help people quit the booze.

Lots of new jobs, but unemployment rate holds steady.

Vogue Italia shoots for ghetto fabulous, rips off regular people, maybe wanders into racist and classist territory.

Banks are foreclosing on many churches now.

NPR fact-checks viral video "Kony 2012," which aims to take down Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony with charges that he kills and rapes children.

Philosophy student at McGill is intentionally homeless.

New iPad not as fast as they say it is.

Coke and Pepsi change their recipes to be less cancerous.

Speaking of soda pop, Blue Sky may owe you a refund for not being made in New Mexico for a few years.

Filmmakers and Sarah Palin talk about the relative truthiness of Game Changer.

V.20 No.52 | 12/29/2011

Year in Review: News

Best and Worst of 2011

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. In 2011, the happenings of the worldand Burqueloomed large. Inspect the Alibi’s highlight reel.
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