Albuquerque is a musical city. Our music traditions and diverse musical stylings are reflected everywhere, including in our lively Downtown district, where residents and visitors alike can often enjoy live musical performances by our great local bands or touring artists.
The recent plans announced by Mayor Martin J. Chávez and other community officials to implement a myriad of public safety initiatives and infrastructure improvements Downtown does not, nor ever did, include plans to: 1) shut down the Launchpad or Sunshine Theater; or 2) put an end to all-ages concerts or shows. The initiatives were taken at the specific request of Downtown business owners and residents.
We strongly support venues and cultural entertainment outlets for people of all ages, and hope to dispel the misinformation around alcohol and all-ages events.
The opposition to our efforts at enhancing Downtown's security is based on a proposed policy of regulating those places that host events which allow under-21 individuals to attend while alcohol is served simultaneously on the premises. While separate entrances and bouncers can do much to prevent underage drinking, we continue to see such incidents on occasion. Further, a "common area" where adults who have been drinking can then mix with under-21ers is plain bad policy.
A vibrant metropolitan center is a safe place for everyone. There should be more alcohol-free venues or "nights" at bars or clubs where younger people can go and enjoy their Downtown. I'd encourage your readers to not only contact City Hall, but to ask club owners (including the very places who may be affected by this policy) to work with them on viable ways to remain accessible or to be more inclusive entertainment venues.
Discussions and debates are good for community-based solutions, but not when so many participants are misguided.
James B. Lewis Chief Administrative Officer City of Albuquerque
The Kids are All right
[RE: "It's Past Your Bedtime," Letters, March 17-23] Thanks to Ms. Cates, for pointing out the obvious flaw in my way of thinking: that even if you work your butt off at 18, nobody will take you seriously until you are 30.
Everyone is entitled to enjoy music around Albuquerque. But, if my favorite local bands decide it's more lucrative to play 21 and over shows, that makes her slightly more entitled than me, doesn't it? Just because your ID says you can buy a beer or three, doesn't make us less serious about the music we love. I am an adult in every legal way, except for my ability to purchase alcohol. I work just as hard, if not harder, than other adults to make my living. I do it without many of the benefits that more "mature" adults have ... insurance, for example. But, I do it, and I think I deserve some respect, and possibly the chance to see The Casualties play at the Launchpad, should they decide to come again, before my 21st birthday in 2007.
Kids and teens put their heart and soul into music. Not only is it entertainment, it is an identity defining necessity. If taken away from us, we are missing out on a culturally significant right of passage. My favorite punk bands aren't going to be playing at the Blue Dragon any time soon, and I highly doubt they'll be doing any free shows in local parks. Sure, if I want to see folk singers on acoustic guitars, or listen to open-mic poetry (two lovely things, in and of themselves), I have a plethora of venues to choose from, but more specific genres require certain performance spaces. Spaces in danger of being restricted to the fans that support, and need, their bands most.
The experience of a rock "show" is half the appeal of the music, and the artist. We're going for the artists, not the ambiance of sitting at a bar with music playing vaguely in the background. We pay more for shows, don't have the option of cuddling up in a booth or ordering a beer (even if we're shy of the legal age by mere weeks) wait in the back alley to get in, and have to leave early. That's dedication. So don't tell me to get my kicks sitting on a beat-up couch drinking chai. I can do that in my own living room, thank you.
Jessicah Adkins Albuquerque
[RE: "Political Correctness in the Time of Global Warming," March 10-16] As a long-time activist in causes often labeled progressive or left-wing, I'm writing to agree with most of what Mr. Scarantino had to say in the article.
Natural gas may burn clean in your furnace, but most people don't realize what a destructive mess is spawned in extracting and delivering it. There may indeed prove to be some tarnish on the luster of the much-celebrated future of hydrogen economy. We human beings can be as clever at solving tough problems as we are at creating them. And yes, there is a police-state kind of streak running through politically correct circles.
Mr. S. bravely and correctly declares that we should look at every alternative energy source including "nuclear." I agree, having lived close to coal and its effects, I'm marginally more open minded about "nuclear" than are many of my alternative-energy friends and allies.
But isn't there more than one kind of "nuclear?" What about fusion? I may be setting myself up to get busted by those green armband "PC Cops" feared by Mr. S. but I've heard some faint noises about possible progress in small scale controlled fusion technology. Could it happen someday? Should it?
I happen to believe that wind, solar and maybe other forms of renewable energy along with conservation and the development of energy thrifty technology are all the power we should ever need. But with our population at over six billion and still climbing, maybe I'm dreaming. In any case I'd like to hear more about this possibility, one way and the other.
Speaking of energy thrifty technology, one of the finest examples of this ever invented rarely gets the respect it deserves: the passenger train. Thanks to you for Ms. Chisholm's recent article about our upcoming Commuter Rail service: an article remarkably free of the nostalgic "choo-choo" cuteness that often infects passenger rail reportage in our local media.
J.W. Madison Albuquerque
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