Jan 28 - Feb 3, 2010 
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Council Watch

Cash for Firefighters, STAT

By Carolyn Carlson

It is always a pleasure to see firefighters at a City Council meeting. At the Wednesday, Jan. 20 meeting about a dozen spoke in support of adding a paramedic to Station 8, which is near Tramway and Indian School. The station is one of the busiest in the city, and emergency critical intervention (such as airway intubation) requires a paramedic.

The firefighters said people are dying unnecessarily because there is no funding for even one paramedic at the station. If paramedics are needed, they have to come from miles away, and often, firefighters said, it is too late. Councilors did not take any action on this but did listen intently when they heard people were dying.

The Council approved a resolution saying more kids should go outside and play instead of sitting inside hunched over electronic devices. According to the resolution, children today spend up to eight hours a day plugged in, versus 20 years ago when kids spent the same amount of time playing and interacting with the outside world and other kids.

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

Hold the Booze

Issue

La Mesa Community Improvement Association appealed a Planning and Zoning decision to allow booze sales at a new CVS Pharmacy at Louisiana and Central. Community members say adding another liquor outlet in the area would be detrimental to the International District. A representative for the CVS property owner countered by saying that adding another liquor outlet would actually be good for the area. This permit has been appealed a number of times.

Council's Take

Councilors listened to arguments on both sides of the issue and agreed with the association. The neighborhood south of the Fairgrounds does not need another place to buy booze, they said. Community members said they have worked for more than a decade to change the area’s reputation for drugs, crime and drunks. They reminded councilors that the intersection of Louisiana and Central has the most DWI-related incidents in the city.

Reporter's Take

I am not a teetotaler, nor am I in favor of limiting the free market, but I totally agree with this decision. Over the last few years, seedy alcohol outlets in the area such as the Blue Spruce Lounge and the Cork N Bottle have been closed down by the government in the interest of helping the neighborhood clean up its image of public drunkenness. There are plenty of places nearby to buy spirits, including Talin Market or Kelly Liquors.

Home Sweet Home

Issue

The Council allocated a $1 million grant for a 67-unit affordable housing project on more than three acres of city-owned property in the Trumbull Neighborhood. The project will include a spacious childcare facility run by All Faiths Receiving Home. The units will be two- or three-bedroom homes that rent between $600 to $800 a month. The money would come from a special fund set aside for affordable housing.

Council's Take

City Councilors asked questions about how the property would be transferred to the nonprofit Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership and who would be eligible for residency. The units will be for low- to moderate-income residents.

City staff said the streets San Pablo, Espanola, Bell and Trumbull border the property. It has been appraised at $696,000 and has been deemed nonessential for city purposes.

Reporter's Take

Low-income housing projects such as these can either be a blessing or a curse. In this case, let’s hope the 67 units help bring more stability and better living conditions for those calling the neighborhood home.

Champions of Trumbull and nearby La Mesa have worked tirelessly over the years to improve this area. It is beginning to show as the neighborhood moves away from being a war zone and becomes a truly vibrant International District.
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