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 V.16 No.43 | October 25 - 31, 2007 

Council Watch

The Madness of Crowds

At the Oct. 15 Council meeting, an audit requested by Councilor Brad Winter revealed that statistics kept on the red-light camera program were too confusing to establish whether crashes had increased or decreased due to the cameras. The only thing more confusing was the program's cash flow. Councilors unanimously passed a compromise bill on jail funding, directing the city and county to jointly approach the State Legislature. Councilor Don Harris' bills extending a moratorium on cell phone tower construction and deleting a study of a road through Tijeras Arroyo both passed unanimously. Councilor Michael Cadigan was excused.

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

Issue Council's Take Reporter's Take
Is Your Math Patriotic?

A brouhaha erupted over mandatory city training that included information about global warming and nonpolitical excerpts from Al Gore's film
An Inconvenient Truth. During the question and answer period, Councilor Isaac Benton asked the administration about news reports.

Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Perlman said incorrect information, such as uniformed police being present at the training, went out through talk radio. He added that the goal of the training was saving money through better building management.
Councilor Sally Mayer said she'd been called by a "very upset" employee who thought the whole thing irrelevant. Mayer said a letter from human resources director Pat Miller listed APD, fire and other departments attending. O'Malley said she had also been called. The training shouldn't have been mandatory, she said, though she would recommend the film to anyone. Harris said global warming education was OK but the movie was produced by "a very partisan person" and there were other views on the evidence. Nobody mention geology to city employees, OK? It's partisan propaganda that goes against Genesis in the Bible. And nobody mention math either--those slutty statisticians use it to argue that birth control works.

Oh, please. This hysteria over a very clear presentation of established science is baffling. Do these people crank up similar outrage over the hours wasted by academic, government and corporate conventions and training seminars on other topics?
Our Loss, In Bronze

A committee of service members and civilians has been meeting with architects from the Cherry/See firm to design a memorial for New Mexicans killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The memorial will be in Veterans Park near Louisiana and Gibson.

A circle of five empty "lockers" will stand behind empty, life-size bronze uniforms of the type worn for military funerals. The center column, portable so it can tour the state, includes the names of the fallen and depictions of sites associated with the attacks of 9/11, circled by words from a presidential speech.
Councilor Martin Heinrich, who sponsored the resolution, said it was an honor to have the memorial in his district. Terry Riley, a Veteran for Peace, said the memorial "endorsed the fallacy that the World Trade Center is connected with Iraq" when the great majority of bombers were from Saudi Arabia and none from Iraq. Bob Anderson said the city shouldn't spend the $124,000 on a monument when veterans had so many needs. Harris and Councilor Ken Sanchez thanked Heinrich. O'Malley said she was grateful to Heinrich and also to those who question authority. The bill passed unanimously. Perhaps the last horror of war is that its pain is so great it drives out the truth. But one can honor the fallen without endorsing the tangle of justifications for which they fell--witness the Vietnam Wall.

The names of the fallen are the heart and soul of this monument, the spaces left for more names the horror. The empty uniforms are eerie and moving. The depictions of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania crash site dilute the honor due the dead with political spin from discredited links to Iraq.
Send Money or I Shoot the Pup

Charges crashed into countercharges during debate over Mayer's bill reserving $1.3 million from animal services. Mayer said the mayor refuses to spend the money for the goals listed in the budget but is creating a top-heavy administration for his new, unexplained Animal Welfare Department, including hiring former
Albuquerque Journal reporter Jim Ludwick as an animal program analyst. Mayer said studies done recently duplicate work done to support the HEART ordinance. Speakers said more animals would be euthanized.
Mayer said money wasn't being cut, just reserved, and wouldn't affect euthanasia rates. Chief Operations Officer Ed Adams said the deauthorization eliminated positions, a clinic and equipment. Mayer said, "Ed, all you have to do is request money for these items in the budget." Harris said Chavez should have consulted with the Council but "he just does it, then we have to unscramble the egg and get blamed for it." The bill passed 4-3, Sanchez, Heinrich and Benton opposed, Cadigan and Loy excused. For years now Mayer and Chavez have battled for the title of Beastmaster. And while the overheated rhetoric about sacrificing animals could have powered the Glowdeo, it doesn't seem like the critters are in any immediate danger because of the reserved funding. Might as well settle the thorny, underlying issue--the Council controls the budget, the administration controls personnel and operations; but this issue, like many, involves all three.
 
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