The April 3 regular meeting of the Albuquerque City Council was quick and easy. President Isaac Benton was excused, leaving Councilor Brad Winter in charge of the gavel. Winter, a lifelong track and field star, ran the meeting as if he was sprinting to the finish line. The meeting adjourned after just over two hours and coincidentally in time for the NCAA basketball final championship playoff game scheduled for that evening.
Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico are home to many members of the Sikh religion. Councilor Diane Gibson sponsored a proclamation acknowledging the Sikh community’s many contributions to our state. The proclamation also wishes the Sikh community a joyous Baisakhi on April 13. Baisakhi is a Sikh religious festival honoring the origins of one of the top 10 religions in world. Sikhism, a panentheistic religion, was founded around 1469 in the Punjab area of India. There are approximately 500,000 American Sikhs. This branch was founded by Yogi Bhajan, a yoga master. He founded the local community in Española, N.M.. Because Sikhs wear turbans they are often mistaken for Muslims but they are not followers of Islam. This misunderstanding has spawned several hate crimes against Sikhs across the nation. This religion is more closely related to Hinduism. Several local Sikh business people were on hand and said they are reaching out so people know who they are. Among their teachings are living an honest and healthy life, a belief in one god, sharing, caring and the equality of all human beings.
Those who help victims of violent crimes got some recognition. Councilor Trudy Jones sponsored a proclamation for April being declared violent crime victim’s awareness month. Representatives from the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death and the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission were on hand, as was a mother of a violent crime victim and a violent crime reparation officer. According to Frank Zubia of the Reparation Commission, the commission handled 3,000 applications in fiscal year 2016, spent $486,000 for homicide victim support, funded 145 crime victim groups in the state and assisted 164 families during a violent death event.
Local semi-naked man Don Schrader let the Council know they can be in love with more than one person at a time. “Hell no to lies and cheating, yes to deep intimacy and sexual pleasure shared with more than one person,” Schrader gravely intoned as he ended his commentary. His comments were a little hard to beat but the next speaker gave it a shot and talked about bubbles in space that might represent the biggest hoax in global warming. Another regular commenter said he was wondering what Albuquerque was becoming with all the liberals, Democrats, homosexuals and communists running around. It is no wonder Councilor Winter sprinted to end the meeting.
Councilors approved renaming the Alamosa Community Center the Ted M. Gallegos Community Center. Gallegos was born and raised in the Alamosa neighborhood, was co-founder of the La Familia Car Club and co-founder of the Alamosa Neighborhood Association. He was also a Golden Glove boxer. Ted was a vital member of Youth Development Incorporated and touched many, many lives, all while bettering his community. “Rest in peace, the world was lucky to have you,” said one speaker. Gallegos, 59, died Jan. 16, 2017 due to complications after an auto accident said close friend Councilor Klarissa Peña.
The city is getting a little closer to owning an exceptional piece of open space after Councilors approved spending interest monies for the La Cuentista properties which sit next to the Petroglyph National Monument near the Five Sisters volcanoes. The city is currently in negotiations for the 60-acre property initially appraised at over $6 million.
In a revised resolution, to be taken up at the April 17 meeting, Councilor Pat Davis is reserving $500,000 from his set aside pot of money for some design and construction on some of Nob Hill’s sidewalks. The work will be done after the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project is finished.
Other postponed items include amending how the city and county will work together on collaborative behavioral health reform, re-naming the stage at civic plaza after Al Hurricane Sr., adding the name Ruby Tafoya to the Louis Tafoya Community Room at the Westside police substation and amending the public purchases ordinance requiring competitive bids in capital project changes.
Outside of the Council Chambers, Democratic Councilor Pat Davis announced his run for Congress. Davis is competing for the open seat left by current Democrat Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham. She is vying for governor. Davis joins the political arena along with Councilor Dan Lewis who recently announced he is running for mayor on the Republican ticket.