Alibi V.20 No.16 • April 21-27, 2011 

Council Watch

Calling All Train Lovers

Jay Faught of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District briefed councilors at the Monday, April 18 meeting about the upcoming celebration of National Train Day. Faught said on Saturday, May 7, a Rail Runner train, other locomotives and railroad equipment will be on display at the train platform of Downtown’s Alvarado Transportation Center.

The Council again extended the deadline to submit fire-sprinkler plans until July 28 for restaurants that are more than 5,000 square feet. The Frontier, Doc & Eddy’s and some Dion’s Pizza locations are examples. Restaurant owners say it is a financial hardship to come up with the $70,000 to $100,000 it may take to retrofit their buildings. Albuquerque Fire Department Chief James Breen said his first priority is public safety.

The fire code change was originally adopted in 2005, and businesses were given until 2009 to comply. The Council voted on a two-year extension in 2009 and another short one earlier this year [“A Toxic Mess,” Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2011].

The next meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, May 2, in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall.

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The Mini Subs

Councilor Isaac Benton requested a report about the worth of two Albuquerque Police Department mini substations. The Triangle mini sub is a historic building on prime real estate at the three-way intersection of Central, Girard and Monte Vista. The entire structure, which once housed the old Tic-Toc Café, was donated to APD and relocated to that spot. Old Town’s mini sub is on the southeast corner of Rio Grande and Central. City administration returned a one-page report that indicated the stations are used by officers and are handy to their neighborhoods.
Councilors did not accept the report because they felt it did not answer the basic question behind the study: What future uses are planned for the stations to justify their existence? Benton questioned APD Police Chief Ray Schultz about the actual public safety value of the two buildings. Schultz said both are staffed at least part-time and open to the public, and they provide a place for officers to write reports and stage for large events. He also said the Old Town mini sub hosts community meetings. It was hard to get a grasp on what the Council really wanted to see in the report. Chief Schultz told the Council that the two mini stations are used daily. Triangle is busy with public walk-in traffic. It’s also near one of the State Probation and Parole offices. The Old Town location houses APD’s school resource officers, Schultz said.

Since the department and the public are using both buildings, there is no fiscal reason to get rid of them. Frankly, there should be even more mini stations throughout the city. The Council needs to move on. There are plenty more important public safety issues in the city.