Burque’s city-county building was a hive of activity on Aug. 15 with two meetings drawing folks in to speak their minds. Upstairs on the tenth floor the Bernalillo County Detention Facility Management Oversight Advisory Board held an emergency meeting to deal with a video showing detention officers using unreasonable force on a female inmate. No decisions were made at that meeting but the board left calling the video “problematic.” Downstairs in the basement, Albuquerque City Councilors buzzed through their meeting taking care of city business in just over three hours.
Getting A Good Buzz
A bunch of Burque beekeepers showed up to the Albuquerque City Council meeting on Aug. 15 to support the city receiving a Bee City USA designation. Councilors Isaac Benton and Brad Winter sponsored the bill. The designation means the city will work with the New Mexico Beekeepers Association to reduce chemicals being sprayed on public green spaces. If there are no bees, there’s little pollination, and the impact is immediate and drastic. But the city says it is the backyard gardeners that create the biggest problem by using products such as Roundup that sterilize the soil and poison water sources that bees need. “I love bees,” Benton said before introducing members of the local beekeeper association. Beekeeper Mike Griffin showed the Council a jar of honey and said, “This is liquid healthy gold to spread all over town, to help kids who have allergies or anyone with allergies.” President Dan Lewis said he was a honey consumer and is thankful for the beekeepers working on this bill. But the best bee line of the evening goes to Councilor Ken Sanchez when he said, “There’s been a lot of buzz at City Hall around this bill.”
Several folks living in the Downtown area said with all the new development, especially in the area of First and Second streets near Silver, the streets are increasingly dangerous to cross. They would like to see speed bumps along First with reduced speed limits in the entire area. Councilor Benton said he wants to see four-way stop signs go up at Second and Silver in the next couple months.
President Dan Lewis said he was a honey consumer and is thankful for the beekeepers working on this bill. But the best bee line of the evening goes to Councilor Ken Sanchez when he said, “There’s been a lot of buzz at City Hall around this bill.”
A couple of Albuquerque firefighters from Station Four showed up to ask the Council to re-staff their station with paramedic rescue services. Station Four is located in Coronado Park at 301 McKnight NW, north of Downtown between Second and Fourth, just south of Interstate 40. Firefighters say it is one of the busiest stations in the city, serving the interstate, Downtown and a large homeless population. Fire Chief David Downey said the department’s limited funding is prioritized and Station Four is in line for new rescue personnel sometime in the next year.
Just under a dozen city residents stepped up and volunteered to serve on several of the city’s boards and commissions: Dr. W. Douglas Mills was appointed to the Arts Board; Laurie Weahkee became part of the Commission on Indian Affairs; Brian L. White volunteered for the Cable and Franchise Hearing Board; Adam Silverman is now a member of the Biological Park Board; Ron T. Cossey went to the Greater Albuquerque Recreational Trails Committee; Joaquin E. Romero will serve on the the Youth Advisory Council; Suzanne M. Busch has been named a member of the Water Protection Advisory Board; Roland V. Penttila joins the Water Protection Advisory Board; Rex Throckmorton was added to the Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices and Johnny J. Armijo was added to the Police Oversight Board. There are a number of city boards and commissions looking for citizen volunteers, you can check them out at www.cabq.gov/
Councilors asked Mayor Richard Berry and his minions to get back to them by the Sept. 7 meeting with an updated financial plan for the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit. Councilor Ken Sanchez sponsored a resolution that would have required more detailed reports about where parking spaces would be added or removed along with other budget details. The $119 million project is federally funded and is slated to create bus only lanes with bus stations in the middle of a nine-mile stretch of Central from Coors to Louisiana. Except for pre-construction efforts like surveying, the project is currently halted pending a US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision filed by opponents of the rapid transit project.
Councilors approved a bond expenditure to provide $150,000 to purchase a computer system that can trace gun casings back to the gun they were fired from. A recent initiative lead by federal law enforcement agencies provided a similar computer system to roundup about 100 alleged drug and gun criminals. The officers used the computer system to link bullet casings found at different crime scenes to the gun that shot them. Councilor Pat Davis, a former police officer, sponsored the bill saying the city police department should be able to continue using the computer program. The system was used to link several shootings to the same guns, and then the cops were able to arrest the shooters.