Local politics are just as exciting as national politics. If you don’t believe this, then check out these important issues Albuquerque City Councilors tackled at their March 20 regular meeting.
The rewrite of the city’s planning guide, dubbed the ABC-Z project, has been in the works for a couple of years. The city’s guiding document has not had a comprehensive update since 1988. Over the last few council meetings there have been hundreds of comments split between those who support the changes and those asked for at least a year postponement because they did not think the changes were fair to several neighborhoods that bear the brunt of the industrial zoning in the city. This new plan will generate an integrated development ordinance which will replace the existing sector plans. It is a complicated issue but it is one that will impact, on a day-to-day level, Burquenos’ lives in the future. Keep up with planning progress at https://abc-zone.com.
Councilors approved a measure to look at combining the city and county public safety departments. In a press conference prior to the meeting, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales said he would be interested to see what the results would be of the study and that if it will improve services, he will support the consolidation. But apparently, sponsors of the bill did not talk with the Bernalillo County Commission about the idea. Councilor Trudy Jones voted against the measure saying, “We should make sure all parties are a party to this.” Councilor Isaac Benton said that the idea of consolidation is valid because currently there are four public safety agencies serving the same group of people, since Albuquerque makes up the bulk of Bernalillo County. Benton added that 95 percent of the county residents live directly adjacent to city boundaries.
Councilors honored former University of New Mexico basketball point guard Petie Gibson along with Sylvia, his wife, for their dedication to community service. As a Lobo, Petie is known for a last second winning shot in the 1970 Rio Grande Rivalry game between the Lobos and the New Mexico State Aggies. His basket gave the Lobos a 71-70 win. Over all, in the 218 rivalry games played since 1903, the Lobos have dominated 120-96. Petie’s grandfather, Josh Gibson, was an American Negro Baseball League catcher and power hitter who played from 1930 to 1946. Petie has taught elementary school basketball for over 30 years in the city’s disadvantaged areas. He is currently at Alamosa Elementary where, since 2009, the Bobcats basketball team have boasted a record of 201 wins to 9 losses. Petie eloquently thanked the council for the honor as team members stood alongside. Councilor Ken Sanchez asked if there were any future Lobos among those young players. Gibson said all of them are potential Lobo hoopsters.
Councilor Dan Lewis wants to take a hard look at the environmental, traffic and business impacts of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. A resolution he introduced says the city will collect data after the project is operational and compare it with data from one to two years before the project. If negative impacts are found, then they will be mitigated. In a response statement, the mayor’s office basically passed Lewis’ resolution off as part of posturing by one of 15 mayoral candidates. We will see what happens when the resolution is brought to the table at the April 3 meeting.
Items either postponed or introduced for next meeting include:
• Naming the stage at Civic Plaza the Al Hurricane Sr. Pavilion; renaming the Alamosa Community Center the Ted M. Gonzales Center; changing the name of the community room at APD’s Westside Substation to The Louis and Ruby Tafoya Community Room.
• Taser International up for another contract with APD
• Establishing a policy for the police department’s criminal investigation of officer-involved shootings and in custody deaths
• What to do about the proposed, then contested widening of Nob Hill sidewalks.