From one hand to the next, the Albuquerque City Council’s powerful president’s gavel was passed at its Dec. 3 regular meeting. It happens each year during the first meeting of December, kind of like the annual plates of Burque biscochitos beginning to be doled out at homes across the city as the holiday season advances.
This year’s city leadership is a rosy shade of pink. Councilor Klarissa Peña was unanimously elected to take the gavel from outgoing President Ken Sanchez. Peña, by the way, has a vintage pink Cadillac which she sometimes uses to cruise down Central Avenue legally, thanks to legislation she helped get turned into ordinance. Riding shotgun with the new Council President will be Councilor Cynthia Borrego who secured the Vice President spot over Councilor Diane Gibson by a 6 to 3 vote. Councilor Trudy Jones will be the Chair of the Committee of the Whole, so the women at the table are in charge.
Tucked in the consent agenda for this week’s meeting was $158,000 in appropriations for lobbying firms to sway lawmakers in D.C. and Santa Fe toward this town and its many funding needs. To sway lawmakers at the New Mexico Roundhouse, Thompson Consulting, LLC was given a $48,000 annual contract for the next four years. A mysterious company called HROD Inc., dba MMO Partners, out of Washington, D.C., got a four-year annual hit of $90,000 to keep on top of Capital Hill lawmakers. And Thomas J. Horan, Ltd., received $20,000 a year for four years to be a lobbying consultant to the city.
The New Mexico Legislature convenes on January, 15, 2019 for a 60-day session that occurs in odd years; 30-day sessions occur in even numbered years. Up on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, the US House is in session annually about 138 days, and the US Senate about 162 days.
During the last couple of meetings the following citizens were appointed to do some civic duty: Mayra A. Acevedo was appointed to the Early Head Start Program Governance Advisory Committee; Nicholas T. Hart has been assigned to the Labor-Management Board; Emilie M. De Angelis will serve on the Arts Board; Christine J. Weidmann-Wilson has been selected for the Biological Park Board; Matthew C. Loehman will be a member the Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Council; Amanda L. Somerville has been selected to serve on the Veterans and Military Affairs Advisory Board; Robert E. Walling has been assigned to the Library Advisory Board; Felipe Rael is now a member of the Affordable Housing Committee; Sara Brownstein was appointed to the Early Head Start Program Governance Advisory Committee; Erin Hagenow is now a member of the ABQ Volunteers Advisory Council; Charlene Kalbfell was assigned to the Old Town Portal Market Advisory Board; Diann I Huddleson will be on the Senior Affairs Advisory Council as will Allison Weber; the Council also reappointed René Horvath to the Open Space Advisory Board.