During public comment at the Monday, Aug. 6 meeting, activist Don Schrader reminded attendees of the anniversary of Hiroshima with a graphic oration describing burning flesh falling off victims’ bodies after the first atomic bomb was dropped.
Councilors returned from their summer hiatus for a contentious meeting. Sparks flew between Councilors Dan Lewis and Rey Garduño over whether the redistricting plan that was passed before the break by the Republican majority was politically motivated. The approved plan puts a large number of minority voters into one massive Valley swath in order to create another district on the Westside. It also eliminates Isaac Benton's District 3, which includes the UNM area, Downtown and Barelas.
So Benton sponsored a measure to add four Council districts instead. With Harris absent, a tie killed his measure that would have asked voters to weigh in on the issue in November. (Ties are considered failed votes in Albuquerque. A bill only succeeds with a simple majority.)
Benton introduced another resolution for a cooperative transition to the redistricting plan that’s in place. He will step down at the end of his second term when an additional Westside councilor is elected in 2013.