Yes on Unity
Thank you very much for your recommendation that Albuquerque voters reject the City Street Bond question on this year's ballot.
However, we were surprised and disappointed by the Alibi's recommendation of a "No" vote on the city/county unification charter. After dedicating many paragraphs to extolling the advantages of a unified government, the Alibi surmises that the proposed charter is unlikely to be ratified by voters because no high-profile officials have been willing to step up and declare what a good idea it is."
The Alibi gives two other reasons to oppose the charter (after compiling a much-lengthier list of reasons to vote for it):
1) Partisan elections: The Alibi opposes the inclusion of partisan elections in the charter, particularly when a constitutional amendment is also on the ballot to reinstate runoff elections. However, since the constitutional amendment hasn't passed yet, the Charter Commission could hardly include runoff elections in the draft charter when they've been ruled unconstitutional by the courts. So whether the draft charter included partisan or nonpartisan elections, a charter-amendment vote by the residents of the new unified county would nevertheless be necessary before instituting runoff elections.
2) Elected sheriff: One of the major reasons given by voters opposing last year's version of the charter was that the sheriff would be appointed, not elected. Recognizing that an appointed sheriff would be the kiss of death for this proposed charter, the Unification Commission opted for an elected one. While NMPIRG has no position on the relative merits of an elected or appointed sheriff, we think it unlikely that the disadvantages of either would outweigh the overwhelming advantages of unification as a whole.
The Alibi then does a great disservice to voters by implying that voters will get another shot at unification next year. They won't. The constitutional amendment addressing unification mandated that a proposed charter be submitted to voters in 2003 and again in 2004 (if it failed in 2003). Thereafter, any attempts at unification must wait at least two years after defeat. But it doesn't mandate any new efforts, which means that the County Commission (who benefit tremendously from city taxpayer subsidies and city voter apathy) would simply refuse to participate in future efforts.
In fact, 2004 is likely the last opportunity for voters to approve a charter to unify, short of another statewide constitutional amendment reintroducing the mandate.
While flaws in the charter for a unified government can be fixed (as they frequently are), the opportunity to achieve tax equity and save our rural areas from the unchecked sprawl favored by the County Commission is here for a limited time only. Please act now to support unification.
New Mexico Public Interest Research Group (NMPIRG)
I have closely read the Alibi, even in the old daze with the old names. There was a Captain O, I believe, who reminds me of Greg Payne. Out of touch with the left-leaning thoughts of the other articles, pompous, mediocre and unaccountable since his "sources" are admittedly fictional (i.e. Bush Wins NM "according to our political observers from the great beyond," Payne's World, Oct. 21-27). Sort of like Captain O's anonymity as he spewed forth similar right-leaning rants. When many complained about Captain O, your paper's response was "He's pissing 'em off so let's keep him." You kept him way too long. Might as well just put Karl Rove as your editor, if that's your reasoning. He'll piss us all off. Payne puts forth anti-Kerry rants like the true middle-right, mediocre politician he was for Albuquerque. Why do you feel the need to put such right-leaning editorial writers on your staff? We get enough of that in the "major" local papers.
Regarding your “Thin Line” article in the Oct. 14-20 Alibi on Dick Cheney's mixing up the two FactCheck websites, I can easily understand our Vice President's confusion. To qualify for dot org status on the Internet, you have to be a nonprofit organization. And it is probably beyond poor Dick's comprehension that anyone would do anything that wasn't for profit.
No Means No
One year ago, the people of Albuquerque took it upon themselves to decisively reject the city street bond package. For the first time in nearly 20 years we voted against issuing bonds to pay for road construction because the package included some particularly abhorrent aspects. We didn't want Paseo Del Norte to be extended through the Petroglyph National Monument; we didn't want to promote unbridled suburban sprawl in Albuquerque; we didn't want developers draining our resources and taxes for their profits; we didn't want the majority of our road money being spent on just one city district. And we boldly said, "NO!"
And yet we must vote down the street bonds again this year because developers are continuing to thrust their sleazy propositions upon us. Through a little bit of political cronyism, they have placed the same street bond package back on the ballot and are once again looking to ravage a Native American scared area with the Paseo extension so that they can build an army of cookie-cutter houses on the Westside. It's little surprise that the strongest pushers of the Paseo Extension happen to own huge chunks of land on the Westside which they're itching to turn into subdivisions.
The developers expect us to provide the roads, the water, the schools, and police and emergency services. And they expect us to sacrifice the Petroglyphs on their altar of greed. Well, I am sick of subsidizing their profits with our taxes, scarce resources and cultural heritage. These developers need to learn some respect. When we say no it means no.
Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.
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