The 2015 municipal election is now part of Burque’s history. It will go down showing a pathetic voter turnout of just above 8 percent. Those that did vote gave a big thumbs up to a gross receipts tax that will raise about $255 million over the next 15 years for repairs and upgrades to the zoo, aquarium, botanic garden and the Tingley Beach complex.
Councilor Election Results
District 6 folks elected Democrat Pat Davis over Republican Hessito Yntema and Independent Samuel Kerwin to fill the seat being vacated by longtime Councilor Rey Garduño. Incumbent Brad Winter will stay on representing the far Northeast Heights. Two seats on the ballot were uncontested. Councilors Trudy Jones and Isaac Benton will continue representing their districts. The current city council terms end on November 30 and Councilor-elect Davis and the incumbents will take their oaths in early December. When the new council sits, Democrats will keep their advantage with a 5 to 4 majority.
Voters approved a city charter amendment that will require the city council to confirm the hiring of future police and fire chiefs. Currently the mayor has sole discretion over who is police chief. Voters also approved $119 million in general obligation bonds funding many infrastructure and capital projects. Voters smartly rejected the city limiting information on future ballots by only providing a title and summary instead of the complete texts of charter amendments. Also approved was the reallocation of $6.5 million in Metropolitan Redevelopment monies to be used for projects in blighted areas.
Democrat City Councilors spent a bit of time at their Oct. 7 meeting trying to convince their Republican colleagues to overturn Mayor Richard Berry’s veto of two measures to decriminalize marijuana and its associated paraphernalia. It didn’t work.
Pot Veto Survives
Democrat City Councilors spent a bit of time at their Oct. 7 meeting trying to convince their Republican colleagues to overturn Mayor Richard Berry’s veto of two measures to decriminalize marijuana and its associated paraphernalia. It didn’t work. The four Republican councilors remained silent and upheld the mayor’s veto.
Back At You, Columbus
Six city councilors signed a proclamation that makes the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day and not Columbus Day. Councilors Trudy Jones, Don Harris and Dan Lewis did not support the proclamation saying they don’t think proclamations should be used for political statements. Shame on them; that is a lousy excuse. This isn’t a political statement—it is an acknowledgement of the true history of New Mexico. Melanie Yazzie, cofounder of The Red Nation urged councilors to join the other cities across the country in rejecting Columbus Day celebrations. Our state is a diverse cultural area that existed long before the Europeans marched up the Rio Grande corridor and devastated our Native American ancestors. A march and rally was held at Civic Plaza on Indigenous Peoples’ day.
You Got Served
The City and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry were served with a lawsuit during the public comment portion of the meeting. The lawsuit was filed by Charles Arasim, a photographer who had an altercation with Perry during a January 2014 council meeting. The highly charged and expletive-loaded verbal exchange continued in the city’s underground parking structure. Arasim says the altercation left him afraid of bringing his camera to the council meetings.
Councilors approved $331,788 to provide emergency shelter and transportation services to the Albuquerque Rescue Mission to shelter homeless people through the winter. The money will shelter about 150 men, 28 women and 8 homeless families per night at the emergency shelter. It also provides for transportation for 12 homeless passengers per night. The winter emergency shelter is located at the city’s old Westside jail, way out on the southwest mesa and is open from mid-November to mid-March. Time to open our wallets to donate money or round up some blankets, coats and other winter necessities to donate to the Rescue Mission to help these good folks keep our most vulnerable population alive and warm through the upcoming winter.