Things have changed at city hall. Experts can point to a dozen or so precedents, resumptions and advancements that signal a progressive path forward for the city. The crime problem—especially gun violence—is raging nonetheless. But there are solid indications that by finding solutions to the underlying problems, Albuquerque will find success after years of wandering dreamlike in the land of mañana.
In no place is that clearer than in official communications coming from the city. Such missives, often from the mayor’s office itself, provide information and details about a wide range of Keller administration plans and projects.
How is that different, one may rightly inquire? Well, under the previous 8-year administration of Richard Berry, communication was not a priority, especially in regards to the press. I recall one other alt-weekly outlet in these parts—now scuttled and sunken like an old Viking war boat in the deeps of the Rio Grande—who complained that they weren’t part of the vast communication network that kept the press fed around this concrete and adobe jungle. A fracas ensued and Weekly Alibi watched from the sidelines; we were also virtually invisible to Berry and his coterie and kinda preferred it that way.
Sometime after the ABQ Free Press self-immolated, sometime after this news section grew and grew, Burque elected a progressive mayor. The mayor started communicating in earnest with all sorts of media outlets, including Weekly Alibi. Now we get updates frequently, delivered to our news inbox in a timely manner.
That makes for better democracy and helps define a path for sustainable transparency; Keller has used solid communication to advance a progressive agenda. This is particularly notable in the administration’s attention to the natural environment that our city is embedded within and shares with other sentient life forms. Here are some examples.
Last week, Keller presented a proclamation designating Albuquerque as an Urban Bird Treaty City for migratory species, a program created by federal agencies and implemented by the city’s parks and recreation department to advance and sustain urban avian conservation.
Keller told those gathered that “making the extra effort to protect and enhance habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife improves our quality of life and extends our commitment to sustainability.” Amy Lueders, US Fish & Wildlife Service Southwest Regional director concurred, adding, “With the support of Mayor Keller, we are ready to begin the next phase of this partnership. Together, we will continue to help Albuquerque serve as a sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife.”
Last week, we also learned that Keller’s proposed 2020 operating budget includes funding for a mobile vet clinic designed to serve companion animals directly, in neighborhoods across el Duque. The veterinary clinic on wheels would provide free microchipping and vaccinations for dogs and cats—as well as spay and neuter vouchers (how’s that for getting to the root of an issue!)—according our sources. The clinic will provide essential services to the community as well as providing residents with the ability to consult with an onboard behaviorist.
Interestingly, Keller again seemed to reference the bigger picture while describing this new, much-needed addition to city-sponsored offerings, telling the press via email that “We're working to make sure every neighborhood in our city can be healthy and safe—and that includes making sure families have access to basic veterinary services," said Mayor Tim Keller. He added, "We're aiming to bring these services out into the community to make it easier than ever to care for your pets, get them spayed and neutered, and keep Albuquerque humane.”
And if you think that all of that is just part of the necessarily saccharine accoutrements of liberal propaganda, check out this next bit.
On Friday afternoon Keller convened local, state and federal leaders to announce his response to the ongoing violence in this town. He told those gathered that “we’re determined to win this fight and we won’t stand down” and noted that APD had identified a suspect in a deadly shooting that left an UNM undergrad dead last weekend.
By Saturday morning, local police detectives found and arrested Darian Bashir in the shooting death of UNM baseball player Jackson Weller.
With regard to nature as well as human nature, this mayor is clearly wide awake, ready for today and not waiting until tomorrow to act.