Council Watch: Loud and clear
 Alibi V.21 No.14 • April 5-11, 2012 

Council Watch

Loud and Clear

According to Norma Byers from the Council Office, 77 people signed up to talk at the Monday, April 2 meeting about police misconduct and the city's public access TV channels. The Council took a dinner break a couple of hours into the testimony. In contrast, 22 people turned up to weigh in on the Paseo and I-25 interchange at a heavily advertised meeting in late March, after Mayor Richard Berry called on citizens to speak out.

Merry Jobe, choking back tears and with a toddler in tow, pleaded with councilors to stop the Albuquerque Police Department's violence. She said she was the girlfriend of Daniel Tillison and is the mother of his children. Tillison was killed on Monday, March 19, by officer Martin Smith, who took a call about someone selling stolen merchandise. Tillison tried to flee and rammed Smith's police car, according to reports.

Public comment on the community cable access TV contract was not stymied, though the Council deferred the issue until next month. A new company, uPUBLIC, was selected to run the channels at the end of 2011 by a committee that reviewed bids for the contract. The Cable Franchise and Hearing Board is urging the Council to keep 30-year operator Quote ... Unquote, Inc. instead. QUQ was given an extension to continue running the channels through June.

Most speakers supported preserving QUQ’s cable access programming and education. Zack Freeman said the nonprofit is the reason he has a career as a videographer with the Attorney General’s Office, works with the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School, and is a Boy Scout master on video and film projects. “I got training to do all of this for $30 at channel 27,” he said.

Send your comments about the City Council to
Issue Council's Take Reporter's Take
Pedal Power

Up for approval was hiring Wilson & Company to create a bike loop master plan. $150,000 would go to designing a 50-mile trail around the city using existing paths. Possible amenities could include benches, shade structures and pocket parks. This idea is part of Berry's "ABQ the Plan."
Councilors Ken Sanchez, Rey Garduño and Debbie O’Malley said they could not support this project without a fiscal impact report. “What is missing here is a trust factor,” O’Malley said. City planning staff said the bike loop could be paid for with future bonds. The Council voted 4-3 in favor of a 60-day deferral. Councilors Isaac Benton and Brad Winter were absent. Expanding bike trails is a good way to use public money in almost any city. Our state offers a variety of terrain and near-perfect weather. Quality-of-life projects add to the value of visiting or living in Albuquerque. Safety for bicyclists is a big factor, as well.
Rollin’ on the River

The city wants to hire design firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini for $150,000 to enhance select areas of the Bosque. City planners say the Rio Grande is a great but underused feature of Albuquerque. The river could draw economic development opportunities, they said, with the addition of restaurants, better river access and scenic overlooks.
Councilors again wanted a fiscal impact report and said the idea needs more vetting. They voted 4-3 to defer the proposal for another 60 days.

I have to give this a thumbs up. Cities of all sizes find ways to get people down to their river areas. Our Rio Grande has its unique environmental challenges, but it is time to start looking at ways to enjoy our urban riparian forest. Seems like the river-enhancing architects and the bike path planning company should coordinate their designs, linking a river walk to Downtown and the valley with bike paths.
Central’s Grand Knight

The De Anza Motor Lodge, which opened in 1939, was seeking landmark status. Well-known trader C.G. Wallace operated the De Anza, promoting Zuni culture, jewelry and pottery until 1983.
No real discussion took place, but the status was approved unanimously: One of the best remaining examples of the state's pre-World War II tourist courting was designated as a landmark. The lodge is also entered in both the State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places. Renovating the De Anza was a big project for the city to take on. Not much has been done since Albuquerque purchased the property in 2003, but restoration takes a lot of money. With the landmark designation, doors open to more funding avenues. The De Anza is worth saving. It could become, once again, a prime Route 66 destination.