[RE: Council Watch, "SimCity," March17-23] Laura Sanchez' coverage of the March 7 City Council hearing that unanimously passed the EDO Master Plan highlights a significant victory for the entire city. However, there are a couple of points in the reporting that bear correction. Specifically:
1) How the plan was created
Alibi reporter: "Some people might not want to live in a planning concept."
Facts: The EDO Master Plan is a highly practical and visual "roadmap for the future," not a concept. It is a very clear, written zoning document. It was created by hundreds of people, most of them from the neighborhood, in an open public process. Citizens from all over Albuquerque worked with the best urban designers, architects and engineers in the business. The plan is grounded in solid principles and practices of how to make streets and neighborhoods great.
Alibi reporter: "Reducing Central to two traffic lanes and Broadway to two lanes plus a turning lane will significantly displace through-traffic now using those streets."
Facts: the EDO Master Plan recommends Central as two lanes with turn lanes, and Broadway as four lanes with a center turning lane, with modern roundabouts at key intersections. Our highly qualified traffic engineers performed calculations on the performance of these "Great Streets" recommendations, which are contained in the plan. Their conclusions are that both streets would have better traffic capacity, shorter drive times, fewer accidents and fatalities and better vehicle performance at peak hours—while creating an environment that is safe and comfortable for pedestrians and residents along both streets. Everybody wins.
Alibi reporter: "The goal of slowing and reducing traffic in the EDO area will encourage lots of latte sipping and tzotchke purchasing."
Facts: The goal of the plan is to slow traffic, while increasing the capacity of the roadways to accommodate more vehicle trips. Another goal proposes four to six blocks of Central as the best "Main Street" shopping area in the city. The tenant mix we propose would include most if not all of life's practical shopping needs in a walking environment—you name it, it would be there.
It's all in the plan, for anyone who wants to see how community-wide input and participation is a model for any revitalization effort in the city of Albuquerque, regardless of location.
24 Hour Party People
[RE: Feature, "Laying Down the Law," March 24-30] The recent article on the party patrol left one important group out of the story, i.e. the people who call up the police to break up the disruptive parties. How unbalanced can you get? For the past six years, I have had to deal with loud partying from a nearby apartment complex. Party animals have vandalized/trespassed on my property and have disturbed my sleep. August 2004 was an exceptionally bad month when parties deprived me of two or more hours of sleep on seven nights (almost once every four nights).
Law student Edward Burch believes "The police make a habit of overstepping the law." Well, I have been calling the police on party animals for six years and only once did the cops get heavy-handed. In that particular incident the party animals laughed at an order to end the party—big mistake. When I call the police, usually one of two scenarios occur: 1) If there's still a party, the police politely but firmly tell people to quiet down. 2) The police get there too late and the party is over, they just drive on by. In my record keeping, scenario two has been the most likely outcome. In either case, the party animals often get away with no consequences.
Attorney Knoblauch cries for party animals whose privacy has been violated. Let's get the story straight. On a few rare occasions, party animals get their privacy rights trampled on after they've trampled on the privacy of others. We're not talking here about police trampling on political activists. We're talking about police getting a little rough with egocentric people who think nothing of disturbing the privacy of others with their partying. Those who harass others deserve a good dose of harassment themselves.
I loved the part of the Alibi article when the police barged in and woke up the owner of the party home long after the party was over. Oh, poor baby! If the police did more of that to party animals, maybe I'll eventually get my own privacy back.
Filibusters for Freedom
Senate Republicans are threatening to employ the so-called "nuclear option" (their words, not mine) to eliminate the filibuster, a pillar of American democracy. The reason our founding fathers created the filibuster option was to prevent one party from taking absolute and total control over the entire government. Think about past regimes where one party took absolute and total control over the entire government and you'll understand why that would be a bad thing.
It seems utterly ridiculous that at a time when our country is working so hard, sacrificing our young people, to establish democracies in the Middle East, we are at the same time dismantling our own democracy. When one party rules the House, the Senate and the Executive Office, the filibuster is one of the last remaining features that separates a democracy from a one-party-ruled regime.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) understood this when he talked on the Senate floor about Iraq's fledgling democracy (Feb. 15): "We asked Mr. Salih, a Kurd in the minority ... 'Don't you fear that the Shiites, who will inevitably be in the majority, will overrun you?' He said: 'Oh, no, we have a secret weapon.' He said that secret weapon is one word: filibuster."
Supporting the filibuster is not a partisan issue. It's about retaining the checks and balances that our founding fathers so presciently put in place hundreds of years ago.
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