An Open Letter To The City Council

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There’s a hopelessness floating around Albuquerque. Our wallets are slim. That’s part of it. As a result, citizens might not turn out to the vote centers in 2011. Seats could change hands over a few scores of ballots cast by those who still believe. Let’s hope that red-light camera issue draws people to polling locations on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The clerk’s making it easy this year, too. We can vote at any of 49 spots around the city.

People don’t realize what you councilors do, that you affect our daily lives more than national politicians. You fix the potholes, start road construction projects and make decisions about our immediate environment.

It could be a lack of understanding. Or maybe it’s that when constituents do turn up at meetings to beg for action over many months, you ignore them.

We’re talking, of course, about the hundreds who’ve attended
City Council meetings to plead with you, their elected representatives, to do something about the Albuquerque Police Department.

Some of you tried. The Council even managed to pass a measure asking the feds to dig into an ever-lengthening string of officer-involved shootings. But then the mayor vetoed it. And you couldn’t muster an override.

It seemed like a no-brainer.

Average Joes don’t often participate in local government. Council chambers usually contain you guys, a few reporters,
Geraldine Amato and rows of empty seats. But for the last couple of years, you’ve been gaining an audience. A frustrated one. When you couldn’t kick over that symbolic veto—the Department of Justice was considering a probe anyway, right?—hundreds of angry citizens started shouting. Some of you still haven’t heard them.

So what can we do? There’s that hopelessness.

We citizens can vote. That’s what we can do. And next year, more people should run for office and fill up the
Alibi’s candidate interview slots. The paper’s editorial board requires an in-person meeting with each contender. And as you’ve learned by now, you’d better know Albuquerque’s issues before you come to our offices, because we’ll grill you.

These are the results of the inquisition: the
Alibi’s 2011 endorsements.
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