Alibi V.28 No.44 • Oct 31-Nov 6, 2019 

On Assignment

On Your Mark!

Bond Issues, Tax Questions and Voting Proposals

I Voted
Courtesy NM Political Report

Before you take the trip over to your local voting center to make municipal governance happen in the best of all possible worlds using the best of all possible policies and progressive politicians, you might want to find out a bit more about the questions you’re bound to be asked when you interface with that special piece of paper with your name and identifying characteristics layed out in front of you at said voting location.

Certainly—as with most calls for expenditures designed to improve our city facilities, resources, programs and outreach efforts—Weekly Alibi is generally and overarchingly in favor of passing all of the general obligation bond questions up for approval—with one caveat—in the coming municipal election. It’s important to know what these expenditures represent and who they will inevitably affect, but it’s also important that this city spends where necessary to guarantee citizens are living in a progressive, sustainable and equitable municipal environment.

With that in mind you might want to peruse—and then clip and save—our facsimile ballot on page 9 of this week’s news section.

As is true with the ballot proposals being to put to voters in this election cycle, Weekly Alibi is particularly interested in certain general obligation bonds that are up for approval. While all deserve funding, some have needs that are more pressing than others.

It’s with that sense of discovering and delivering democracy that Weekly Alibi offers its legendary two cents on the following ballot bond issues, mill levy requests and tax questions and election proposals.

Oh, and, please keep in mind the following definition while you read.

A general obligation bond is a municipal bond backed up by the credit and taxing power of the issuing municipality and is issued with with the belief that the debt obligation from the bond will be payed for through taxation or revenue from projects.

Affordable Housing and the Homeless

Two bond issues that deal directly with affordable housing and homeless services on this year’s ballot are of extreme importance, we believe. The city wants to issue bonds to the tune of $5 million in support of the city’s Workforce Housing Act and thereby provide funding for the construction of permanently affordable housing for low to moderate-income working class families and senior citizens. With this kind of outlay, it will be possible to bring a new sense of stability and sustainability to our city’s less prosperous.

The Senior, Family, Community Center, Homeless and Community Enhancement Bonds call for the issuance of almost $22 million in bonds that will not only upgrade and repair community centers around town but will also provide money to begin a project to serve the homeless with a facility that will provide shelter, retraining and other opportunities for our burgeoning homeless population.

Though many in city governance have called for a centralized center—that serves up to 300 people—to take care of the needs of Burque’s less fortunate, some city and neighborhood groups have also called for several decentralized locations to help ameliorate potential problems with settled inhabitants. We call on city and community leaders to meet together to hash this one out. It’s too important a project to be relegated to a NIMBY mentality.

Metropolitan Redevelopment Bonds

The City is asking voters to approve the issuance of slightly more than $8 million for municipal redevelopment. What this means is that—if the measure is approved—the city will finally have some feria to work on the Railyards. We’ve been driving by there for more than 25 years—and remember when it was dusty and totally deserted, a great place to shoot a UNM MFA show but not much else. The recent success of the Railyards Market and the undying urbanist vision of Councilor Ike Benton demonstrate that such a redevelopment project is on the right track.

Money for Public Schools

APS is asking city voters to approve a 2 mill levy on assessed property in the district. That means that for every $1000 of value, a typical Burqueño property owner will pay $2 more property tax than before the already existing levy was created—and all the money goes to a struggling district, que no? The truth is APS needs all the help it can get and this mill levy will provide needed fundage for equipment and facilities improvement. See Josh Lee’s fascinating article on the whole schmear. It’s just over to the left.

Transportation Tax

The city is asking voters to approve a continuance of the one-quarter of one cent transportation infrastructure gross receipts tax. To build roads, bridges and bikeways. They’re also asking for nearly $33 million in GO bonds for streets and $3 million in GO bonds for transportation needs. Because of the latter, this measure surely smells of pork. Beware.

Campaign Finance

The two proposals on this year’s ballot both refer to the Open and Ethical Elections Act. The first calls for more public finance money to be made available to qualified mayoral candidates. It also calls for the City Council to have more power in amending the same act. We’re for both of those things, as they will provide more resources for publicly financed candidates who sometimes have to face huge private war chests from privately financed candidates. It’s a simple, ground-leveling move.

Though the other proposal isn’t so simple, we believe it’s essential to the growth and maintenance of democracy in Burque. Proposal 2 calls for the introduction and use of “Democracy Dollars” by voters who want to support publicly financed candidates in municipal elections. The proposal is written in such a way as to empower local voters. Under the proposal, the City of Albuquerque will provide every registered voter with a non-transferable $25 coupon that they can gift to the candidate of their choice. In such a scenario, it’s believed that candidates would become beholden to their constituents and not big-money donors.

As Mayor Tim Keller recently said, “At the heart of every democracy, everone should have a stake in their elections. That connection is what Democracy Dollars is all about.” Weekly Alibi supports the proposal to bring Democracy Dollars to Albuquerque’s municipal elections.

Now go out there and vote!

News Editor’s Note: In the print version of this article, Weekly Alibi was too vague when we stated, “That means that for every $1000 of value, a typical Burqueño property owner will pay $2 more property tax than before—and all the money goes to a struggling district, que no?

We Meant to be more specific, Viz.: That means that for every $1000 of value, a typical Burqueño property owner will pay $2 more property tax t
han before the already existing levy was created—and all the money goes to a struggling district, que no?

We understand that our wording was less than 100 percent limpid and so, regret the error.