Alibi V.14 No.4 • Jan 27-Feb 2, 2005 

Council Watch

Very Bad Things

“Honey, hold those plans, it looks like we’re going back to three full meetings a month.”
“Honey, hold those plans, it looks like we’re going back to three full meetings a month.”
Stacey Adams

Two hot button bills on the Jan. 19 City Council agenda—the Old Town missile bill and a Montaño restriping compromise—were deferred when Councilor Debbie O'Malley fell ill and left after the break. The recently passed quarter-cent public safety tax budgeted money for social services. Five resulting bills passed, funding programs for adolescent substance abuse treatment, services for victims of sexual assault, child witnesses of domestic violence, treatment for domestic violence offenders and DWI workplace education.

City leaders planning the year long blowout for Albuquerque's 300th birthday praised the coming celebrations as a way to transform the Duke City into destination city for the tourist trade and urged the city to catch up with corporate donations for the ad-fest.

If you're interested in council business, get ready to sit through more and longer meetings. In December 2002, Councilor Miguel Gomez sponsored a bill eliminating council committees, where bills were initially thrashed out, in favor of having more full council meetings. The new system didn't work too well, and about a year later, councilors returned to the committee structure. But Councilors Sally Mayer and Gomez moved to dump committees again and move to three or more general meetings a month. The bill passed 5-3, Councilors Griego, Cadigan and Heinrich opposed.

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IssueCouncil's TakeReporter's Take
Bad Poles
Residents along Rio Grande Boulevard appealed a decision to allow the erection of an Alltel Communications cell phone tower on a neighboring property.
All parties agreed that the matter should be remanded to the planning department, but clarification was needed on what constitutes a "concealed" tower.Excuse me. At deadline I'm still processing the concept that a 65-foot-tall, 12-inch diameter pole can be concealed by painting it brown.
Bad Roosters
Cockfighting is currently illegal in Albuquerque, but according to Councilor Mayer, whenever the police raid a fight, "Everybody goes, 'It's not my chicken,'" and no arrests are made. Mayer's bill extended penalties to anyone associated with cockfighting, whether by raising birds or transporting birds, attending a fight, holding bets or working with the birds.
Carlos Cansino, one of three cockfighting supporters who spoke, said the bill violated the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo's provisions protecting Hispanic culture. Cansino labeled bull-dogging and the destruction of Fallujah as more barbaric. City Attorney Greg Wheeler said Attorney General Patricia Madrid had ruled that cockfighting was not a part of Hispanic culture. The bill passed unanimously.Cock fighting sucks. Bull fighting sucks. Dog fighting and trophy hunting suck. But all of them put together create hardly one thousandth of the animal torment caused by the American factory farm production system. So unless we're vegetarians, we're all guilty of hypocrisy on this one. Oh, well. Maybe the bill will alleviate some misery.
Bad Dogs
In a recent, highly publicized incident, 10-year-old Angel Martinez was severely mauled while saving his 8-year-old sister from two attacking dogs. In response Mayer introduced a bill allowing pre-emptive measures against dogs categorized as dangerous. Speakers from the animal welfare community praised the bill as moving away from breed-focused restrictions.
Citing people who sell dogs out of trucks in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Cadigan criticized APD's lack of enforcement for existing animal ordinances. He asked Nick Bakas, chief public safety officer, if there were any chance APD would do something before another child was attacked. Bakas said, "Yes." The bill passed unanimously.Solicited for four-legged comment, the Alibi's Riblet asked, "If I jumped the fence and growled at a cat that happened to be in the vicinity of a child, would the city put me in a freezer while my heart was still beating? Would they put my owner, Gwyneth, in jail?" Um, probably not, unless you have enemies. Offenders must be labeled either Dangerous Dogs or Irresponsible Owners. Once they are labeled, they are guilty until they can prove their innocence.
Bad Polls
Cadigan introduced a memorial urging the state Legislature to enact electoral reform during the current session. The measure calls for seven changes. Unopposed were uniform standards for ballot counting, requiring lists of precincts at polling places, sufficient numbers of provisional and in lieu of ballots at polling places, and a minimum ratio of registered voters to voting machines.
Gomez objected to requirements for voter IDs and tracking of individuals who requested more than five voter registration forms. Cadigan said he worked at the polls and a lot of voters who'd registered at Wal-Mart turned up to vote but found their registrations had disappeared. Griego also opposed requiring voter IDs. Mayer protested allowing same-day voter registrations. The bill passed 5-3, Gomez, Griego and Heinrich opposed. To the memorial's credit, it wrangled sacred cows in a nonpartisan manner. True to form, Republicans objected to measures designed to expand the voter base, Democrats objected to measures that would potentially drive off voters. Whether or not one believes tampered software threw the last election, plenty of evidence recorded voter intimidation, misdirection and discrimination in availability of polling places. We need to fix it ASAP.