People turned up at the Monday, June 4 meeting to comment on the proposal to put a Walmart at Coors and Montaño. The Council deferred a vote on whether to give the big-box chain five years to create a development plan. Councilor Brad Winter was absent, and Councilor Rey Garduño said he had to recuse himself from the vote.
Former District Judge Tommy Jewell will sit in as interim independent review officer. The person who occupies the post examines citizen complaints against the Albuquerque Police Department. Jewell succeeds William Deaton, who retired June 1. Jewell is not one of the candidates who are being vetted for the permanent position. The city expects to have three options by August, said Chief Administrative Office Rob Perry.
The next meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, June 18, in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall. You can also view it on GOV TV 16 or at cabq.gov/govtv.
Cash Speaks Louder?Councilor Garduño introduced a resolution opposing the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United opinion. The decision eliminated restrictions on corporate and union spending intended to advocate for or defeat someone running for office.
Councilors did not discuss this issue. They just listened to the public comment. A half-dozen or so people spoke in support of the proposed resolution that will be voted on at the next meeting. “The idea that money equals speech is abhorrent,” said Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico. Corporations and unions cannot give money directly to campaigns for federal office, but they can buy ads and distribute other propaganda.
The ripple effect of this ruling has reached New Mexico. In an eleventh-hour courtroom drama, Public Regulation Commission candidate Al Park tried to stop his publicly financed opponents from using their funds. The argument was that if money is speech, matching public funds dilute the speech of private campaign donors. He was unsuccessful. The Citizens United ruling also gave rise to super PACs. Reform New Mexico, a Republican political action committee, sent out mailers to influence Democrat races in Northern New Mexico during the primary race. Like one of the speakers said at the meeting: Money shouldn’t speak louder than the people.
The “Fire” in “Fireworks”It’s time to play with home explosives in honor of our country again. Or not. The City Council and many other entities across the state took up banning the sale or use of most fireworks within the city limits. This means anything that can fly, explode, or shoot up or sideways, including Roman candles and bottle rockets.
Councilors said they hope residents will be safe, because extremely dry and windy conditions are ideal for fires. Councilor Trudy Jones said folks should have fun but try not to burn down the city. Potential firebugs who can’t restrain themselves could be fined up to $500 and spend as many as 90 days in jail.
Like the city ordinance says, think “safe and sane.” Cones, curly black snakes and sparklers are still fun for kids. There will be some public fireworks displays around Albuquerque. And there are awesome displays, picnics and rodeos in dark-sky places like Mountainair, Belen and Moriarty.