Alibi V.28 No.45 • Nov 7-13, 2019

On Assignment

A City Full of News

Varied Activities Shape Burque’s Future

Albuquerque
Cabq.gov

As one can imagine—even during election cycles—a city like Albuquerque is generating a vast amount of news stories as the clock ticks. And all those people in The Duke City make for an infinite amount of variation trickling out of time and into space as we proceed from season to season, election cycle to election cycle.

On account of this nature-enforced temporality—our sense of time is based on the revolution of the Earth around a star that is forever rushing outward as our orb rotates on a 12-degree axis in an elliptical orbit that features one natural satellite skewed from the elliptic by 5 degrees—we’re always universally, overarchingly marching forward, though on a smaller scale, it may seem like we’re going around and around without end.

On an even smaller, human scale, the news is like that. There are grand triumphs, small setbacks, the constant din of the clock, the group instinct to move the clan forward because the best cave with the most verdant valley attached is just another 14 sleeps distant.

Hope gives rise to and propels human politics but hope also sustains human communities, growing initiative and sharpening skills. And that statement is a great jumping-off point to begin examining the hopeful news coming out of Albuquerque, N.M., while la politica momentarily retreats retreats from view.

Sustainability

On Saturday, the Office of the Mayor of the City of Albuquerque sent out a missive discussing recent efforts on the part of the Keller administration to document city sustainability efforts via the launch of a new website designed to chronicle such efforts and keep citizens apprised of updates to policy and practice as they occur. In the letter, Mayor Keller addressed local citizens saying, “Climate change is real, it is costly, and it is already impacting our city. We take the threat seriously, and now the public can see exactly how much progress we are making as we make Albuquerque a top ten city in sustainability and renewable energy.”

The website, live at cabq.gov/sustainability, summarizes successes that we’re really on board with, like the recent citywide transition to LED street lights, the City’s stated commitment to replacing gas-powered vehicles with electric ones wherever possible and a $25 million investment into solar projects at city-owned buildings.

Overall, it’s a very informative and user-friendly website, even for grumpy Gen Xers looking for more flash. Good job, Albuquerque!

Gangsta on Repeat

As the economic divide between classes in the urban areas of the city grows, one might think that crimes like robbery are proliferating. Well, apparently they were proliferating until 2017, when the Keller adminstration took charge of City Hall. Robbery is down by 54 percent since 2017, the City says by way of a letter they recently sent out to the media.

But the letter also includes this fascinating bit of narrative about the nature of crime in the Burkes: A local couple tied to at least 20 consecutive, daily armed robberies in the metro area got busted when detectives were able to identify the folks allegedly strapped with a customized “purple and silver firearm” that was used in each of the felonious encounters.

Mathis Laau, 31, and his partner, Jasmine Montoya, age 20, were both charged in the series of armed robberies and aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon. And this is after a 54 percent decline in those sorts of activities since 2017.

Essentially Mayor Keller and APD Chief Mike Geier deserve a lot of credit for this. Restoring confidence in an accountable police force is working. But establishing and maintaining treatment and rehabilitation services for down-and-outers—who through addiction and desperation come to imagine themselves among the anti-heroic cast of El Camino—is going to take much time and certainly another term of Keller and Co.

One Heritage

We’ve also been advised by the City of Albuquerque that November is Native American Heritage Month. According to the expert municipal communicators who consulted The National Congress of American Indians, “The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.”

With that precise mission in mind, the City is gearing up for a series of events to celebrate, including a Native American Forum at APS on Thursday, Nov. 14, a proclamation event titled “Rock Your Mocs” on the morning of Nov. 15, followed by the APS Tribal Leaders Summit later that afternoon and community consultations wth tribal leaders that evening.

The next day, Saturday, Nov. 16, is when the City of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Public Schools and First Nations Community Health Source get together with the community for the first annual Indigenous Appreciation Feast and Wellness Celebration.

All these events are free and open to the public. Call 505-884-6392 for more details.

Jobs and Growth

Finally, last week saw the transmission of the latest stats about Albuquerque from the US Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics. Here’s some important data from the September 2019 BLS report: Albuquerque's unemployment rate is sitting at 4.4 percent for September 2019, that’s down from 4.9 percent in August 2019. Total private employment was up 1.9 percent. Albuquerque gained 4,100 jobs over the same period one year ago.

The largest contributors to growth were the leisure and hospitality industries (7 percent) professional and business entities (3.9 percent), education and health organizations (2.6 percent) and construction and mining companies (0.8 percent).

This collection of data clearly shows that Burque is leading the charge with regards to employment and economic growth in the state of New Mexico. Keller was hopeful and optimistic about the numbers, telling the press that, “For the first time, we can confidently say we have exceeded the pre-recession peak in total employment. We've focused on homegrown entrepreneurs, strategic investment in public-private partnership, and progress in sectors where we know we have a competitive advantage, like film, technology, and health services. There is still a lot of work ahead, but along with our private sector partners, the numbers show we're starting to turn the tide in our city."