Alibi V.28 No.2 • Jan 10-16, 2019 

Newscity

Mayor: Progress Report Outdated

The News Monkey

Mayor Tim Keller said a progress report on the city needs to be updated with more recent figures.

Last week the city released its 2018 Albuquerque Progress Report, comparing Albuquerque to six other similar metro areas. Out of 59 progress indicators, the city was given an “undesirable” rating in 27 categories, including those evaluating poverty, violent crime, residents' perception of cultural diversity, population movement, job growth and others.

But Mayor Keller said the report uses data from 2016 and is “drastically in need of an update,” according to KOB4. He said he wants to work with the City Council and the group who compiled the report, the Indicators Progress Commission, to improve future reports.

While Keller said property crime was lower than reflected by the report, he mentioned concern over one metric in the report. According to the “City Responsiveness” indicator, 72 percent of residents felt the government did not respond to their needs. Keller suggested this was because of a change in the city's 311 system that was made by the previous administration which put an end to the practice of delivering complaints to the mayor that had gone unresolved for more than 30 days. Keller says he will reintroduce the system and hopes it will improve the city's efficacy.

Meat Packing Plant Pollution to be Investigated

The state's Environment Department announced last week that it will be reviewing a plan to investigate soil and groundwater at the former Karler meat packing facility for contamination.

According to a statement from the New Mexico Environment Department, its Ground Water Quality Bureau received a Stage 1 Abatement Plan after a previous groundwater sampling at the site found concentrations of nitrate, chloride and total dissolved solids exceeding the amount allowed by state regulations.

The Karler meat packing plant, located in the South Valley, has been closed for over two decades. The environmental damage is believed to have been made during its operation. The proposed abatement plan would allow NMED regulators to collect groundwater and soil samples from the former plant site. The testing will give authorities an updated look at the extent of damages.

Once Stage 1 of the plan is complete, the responsible parties will be required to submit a cleanup plan. NMED will be seeking public comment on the cleanup plan within 90 days of its proposal.

Campaign Financing Raises Concerns

Questions about Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign ties have been raised as officials look to issue a new horse-racing track license.

According to a report from the Santa Fe New Mexican, companies and individuals connected to groups looking to build horse-racing tracks and casinos in Clovis, Tucamcari and Lordsburg donated at least $60,000 combined to the governor's campaign. Since Lujan Grisham is now in charge of appointing members to the New Mexico Racing Commission, these donations have raised concerns.

Five different groups are reportedly vying for the chance to receive a track license that the racing commission voted to issue. The commission has yet to decide which company will receive the license, however. A spokesperson for the governor's office said she will be evaluating the situation before moving forward.

Last week the commission reportedly voted to postpone choosing a group for a third time.