Albuquerque City Council said goodbye to its longest-sitting member, while welcoming onboard a new Council member. Then, the body politic gave a shout-out to some very good soccer champs—all at its December meetings.
With lots of smiles and pride, Councilors presented a proclamation to the Volcano Vista High School girls’ soccer team for bringing home the 2019 5A State Championship. The Hawks dominated their division with skilled playing.
With all due respect, we bid a fond adieu to longtime Councilor Brad Winter. District 4 Councilor Winter (and one of La Tejana’s favorite political appointees) will soon be officially retired from 20 years at the City Council table. Winter started his two decade vault with a win over incumbent Sam Bregman in 1999. He says he never thought he would win and win he did, a total of five times. He served under four mayors and sat at the table with 34 other councilors—and continues to pole vault at the Senior Olympics. For all this, he got accolades from his colleagues along with a serenade by a barbershop quartet to send him on his way in style. After humming along with the barbershop version of “Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do,” Winter thanked the citizens who show up each meeting to speak, his colleagues and the city staff over the years who he said, “want to do right by the city.” He said he’s thankful for the non-partisan form of government that this City Council participates in. And to wrap up, he said after 20 years, that there was something to be said for term limits.
A bit later, Councilor Trudy Jones introduced the newly elected Brook Bassan, who will be taking Winter’s seat at the table in January. Bassan faced Ane Romero in a run-off election to claim the Northeast Heights seat. Councilor Isaac Benton held onto his seat during a contentious run off against Zach Quintero. Councilors Pat Davis and Trudy Jones did not need a run-off to keep their seats. When the Councilors reconvene in January, they will pick new officers. Benton has served on the Council for 14 years. Councilor Klarissa Peña said this will be the first time in City Council history where there has been a majority of women at the table. The Council is non-partisan and the political party composition stays the same with three Republicans and six Democrats.
Time to get on board with carrying your own reusable bags or be shamed. Just kidding, well maybe just a little shaming if you forget your reusable bags when going into places where you will be carrying things out such as grocery stores, convenience stores and gift shops. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1 and prohibits businesses from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. Retailers can offer a paper bag or a multi-use plastic bag. Restaurants, dry cleaners and food banks are allowed to use single-use plastic. It is estimated that the ban will keep 120 million plastic bags out of Albuquerque area landfills.
Councilors approved entering into formal negotiations to set up a special Tax Increment Development District for the University of New Mexico’s South Campus, athletic venues and Science and Technology Park. It is estimated that the tax revenue collected over 25 years could be up to $516 million and go towards building infrastructure, stores, offices and other businesses. The developers behind this project will be going to Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico to get those entities on board, as well.
The Council deferred a few non-essential items such as amending the scope of the Lodger’s Tax Bond for a soccer facility, expanding the composition for the Albuquerque Housing Authority and shifting some money to buy open space in the Crestview/Arenal Bluff area. These and other items will be on the table when the new Council takes its seat.
Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Check out the many boards and commissions at both the city and county level. Local politics hit us in the face everywhere we go about our day, so it is important to stack the decks with helpers. A handful of kudos to these fine Burqueños who stepped up to walk the talk:
Michael Cadigan to the Ethics Board; Teri L. Neville to the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; Skye C. Morris-Devore and Leah Nauman (Black) to the Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board; David J. Chapek to the EMS Providers Advisory Committee; James Breen to the Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices; Steven C. Garcia to the Civilian Police Oversight Agency Board; Brittany Schulman, Rebecca Riley, Kimberly D. Gleason, Kyle J. Tapaha Dr. Lloyd Lee and Dr. Maggie George to the Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs; Jessie M. Calero to the Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Council; Rodney E. Bowe to the Public Safety Tax Advisory Board; Memar D. Ivy to the Youth Advisory Council; Brandi Stone to the Library Advisory Board; Alex Montano to the Albuquerque Energy Council; Dr. Scott Crago to the Greater Albuquerque Recreational Trails Committee; and Manilal (Manu) Patel to the Public Safety Tax Advisory Board.