Alibi V.16 No.39 • Sept 27-Oct 3, 2007 

Council Watch

Just Make It Stop!

Mayor Martin Chavez decreed all outdoor city property off limits to smoking earlier this summer. At the Sept. 17 meeting, Councilor Ken Sanchez moved a bill that would allow smoking in certain outdoor areas of Isotopes Stadium, but it failed 3-4, Councilors Michael Cadigan, Sally Mayer, Isaac Benton and Martin Heinrich opposed. Councilor Brad Winter's bill giving a 5 percent to 10 percent break to small, local businesses on some city job bids passed 8-1, Mayer opposed.

In the ongoing, need-a-scorecard battle between animal advocates, Mayer introduced a bill to hold up about $1.3 million in funds for animal services until Chavez explains why he reorganized those services into a new, semi-separate department, leaving nine budgeted positions unfilled.

Send your comments about the City Council to laura@alibi.com.

Issue Council's Take Reporter's Take
We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia

The occupation of Iraq echoed in Council chambers from Albuquerque Raging Grannies, who denounced everything from APD to Benton's bill supporting a troop withdrawal. Regarding the Sept. 15 APD disruption of a protest near Kirtland, librarian Sara Attleson asked, "What do I tell my students" about Constitution Day--should she show them videos of the suppression of free speech?

Heinrich asked APD Chief Ray Schultz to explain. Schultz said several procedural errors occurred because APD expected the protest to be much bigger. Penelope Foran, questioned for wearing a burqa, said she broke no actual law. Others objected to officers in riot gear riding horses through the mostly elderly crowd on the sidewalk and ticketing only cars with anti-war bumper stickers.
On Benton's bill, Mayer moved an amendment opposing any war funding cuts and Loy proposed withdrawal only on military commanders' agreement. Both amendments failed.

Benton said his bill was aimed at supporting New Mexico's fighting men and women, particularly the state's Army and Air National Guard, which were badly needed at home, with strains on police and almost $400 million in Albuquerque tax dollars already spent. The bill urged Congress to call for "the orderly withdrawal of American troops from Iraq to commence immediately," full benefits for returning troops and money redirected to the city's urgent needs. The bill passed 5-2, Mayer and Loy opposed, Winter and Harris excused.
Nothing seems to penetrate the gaseous delusions emitted by The Decider, but can we at least review reality? Iraq's "connection" with 9/11 was a deliberate lie, as were Saddam's "Weapons of Mass Destruction." The Iraqis were not, in fact, doing a damn thing to us.

People throw bombs, not flowers, at foreigners who invade their country. Ordinary Iraqis have no desire to "follow us home." Al Qaeda and "foreign fighters" have never been more than a tiny percentage of insurgents. The hated hydrocarbon law gives unprecedented control over Iraqi oil to Western oil companies. Bush "consults his commanders" by getting rid of those who don't agree with him. Our troops have worked and fought heroically to carry out an impossible mission. There's no good solution to this deceitful mess--there never was.
Actually, Less is Less

Two bills upping energy conservation came to a vote. Councilors Benton, Heinrich and Cadigan's shorter bill, the High Performance Building Ordinance, sets general standards for efficient heating and cooling equipment, insulation, air leakage and lighting in new or significantly remodeled residences.

The bill compiled by administration staff and the Green Ribbon Task Force also covers commercial and multifamily buildings using technical "code language" to amend building codes already in existence. It aims for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions over a 1999 baseline building.
Benton said backers of the two competing bills had "narrowed issues down to only two," a cooling equipment standard and a permit schedule based on size. He proposed lowering permit fees by 15 percent for building smaller than the national standard square footage for numbers of bedrooms and increasing fees by 25 percent for building bigger.

The amendment passed unanimously, but Councilor Brad Winter proposed a second amendment that would do away with any fee modification based on size. It passed 5-4, Winter, Mayer, Loy, Sanchez and Harris in favor. The two bills passed unanimously.
Generally, the sloppiest, most wasteful way to solve design problems is to throw more square footage at them. But that's unimportant compared to our need to cut carbon emissions by building smaller. To have a chance at survival, we need to change everything we do. The biggest lack is not new technology, but political will, even to pass a minor surcharge on oversized houses that, for example, would go into effect if a five-bedroom house exceeded 3,400 heated square feet. Otherwise the two bills are excellent on materials and methods.
Four Hills, Four Hundred Humps?

Several years ago District 9 Councilor Tina Cummins secured funding to install controversial speed humps along Four Hills streets. With the humps in place, residents are even angrier, moving current councilor Don Harris to call for a study.
The study indicates that the humps save fewer lives than they cost by slowing down emergency vehicles. More than 15 people spoke at length, most for removing the humps. Harris' bill implementing the study's findings passed unanimously. At great length, Four Hills folks described orthopedic nightmares and ambulance crews unable to insert IV lines due to the jolting. The number of speakers supporting the bill may indicate the embattled Harris has more support than imagined.