Council Watch: Art Noise, Solar Options And Undercover Cops

Council Covers Many Civic Issues

Carolyn Carlson
5 min read
ART Noise, Solar Options and Undercover Cops
The Albuquerque City Council in session (Eric Williams)
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It was refreshing to see more than a dozen young people attend the May 16 Albuquerque City Council meeting. Many were there to show support for the future of solar energy and others were there to support continued funding for Youth Development Inc., a non-profit that serves about 350 at risk city youth. Councilors pushed the meeting to about four and half hours while taking care of a pile of city business.

Rapid Slow Down

Councilor Ken Sanchez asked city administrators about some water authority line work being done along Central. Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan said the water authority had long range plans to replace some of the water lines anyway but with the rapid transit line being planned the authority started their work early. Last week, a federal judge disagreed with the water authority and said it had to stop what it was doing and put things back until lawsuits to stop the rapid transit project have worked their way through court.

Not Me Man

Councilor Pat Davis questioned the Albuquerque Police Department’s latest undercover narcotic sting where cops are selling small amounts of confiscated drugs back to street level drug users in the area of Central and Pennsylvania. Deputy Chief Eric Garcia said they were hoping to catch the people who were coming into that area off Central to buy drugs. Councilor Davis asked Deputy Chief Garcia to “maybe tweak” that sting operation to go after the higher level offenders who are committing real crimes.

Sun Power

Harnessing the sun will have to wait until the next Council meeting. Councilors deferred approval of a resolution to set a goal of at least 25 percent solar energy usage for city facilities by 2025. Some Councilors and city staff said they wanted to do a fiscal analysis on implementing that goal. Many cities and states have set standards for percentages of electricity coming from renewable resources such as solar and wind. Positive public comments came from environmental groups and individuals young and old. “Say ‘yes’ to the limitless possibilities of the future,” one enthusiastic young solar supporter said.

Filling City Coffers

Councilors approved an approximately $526 million budget for fiscal year 2017. The budget funds all city operations and provides bucks for other projects. Some extra items councilors allocated money for include an additional animal control officer, an additional assistant city attorney to help with the US Department of Justice settlement agreement, land acquisition funds for a future West Mesa victims memorial park at 60th and Central, and funding for libraries, baseball fields, swimming pools and funds to keep retiring police officers on the force.

Chatter Time

Councilor Klarissa Peña tried to increase the time for individual public comments, but her attempt met a quick and quiet demise. Peña attempted to document that the public can, if the Council president allows, have up to three minutes for public comment. Without comment the Council passed over the measure. Currently the public can have 2 minutes for public comment.

More Election Dollars

Councilors deferred a bill that would put a question on the November ballot asking voters to raise the amount of money publicly funded mayoral candidates receive to run their campaigns. Municipal candidates can choose if they want to raise their own private campaign funds or go through the process to qualify for public campaign financing. Currently the amount is based on $1.50 per registered voter. The bill would raise that amount to $1.75 and would provide $.50 to $.60 per voter for run-off campaigns. The public money comes to about $630,00 in funding for mayoral candidates and a little over $250,000 for publicly funded Council candidates. The bill will be back next meeting for approval.

Bad Mood Bowsers Beware

Councilors passed amendments to the city’s current dangerous dog law titled Angel’s Law. Councilor Trudy Jones sponsored the changes and said, “It is a good compromise on what we need to do to keep our citizens and all our pets safe without doing undue harm to anyone.” Existing rules leave it up to the discretion of the animal control officer to seize dogs that have attacked people or other animals. Now those aggressive dogs that attack and kill without provocation will be thrown into doggie death row immediately. Dogs that attack but don’t kill could get paroled with restrictions back to their owners after an administrative hearing. Angel’s Law was named after a boy that was mauled in 2004 at a West Side park while protecting his sister from a loose dangerous dog. One fatal attack last year was on a dog named Angel, who was being walked on a leash when the attack occurred.

Public Comments

More city solar was by far the most popular topic during the public forum. More than a handful of young people turned out to address the governing body in support of the 25 percent solar usage goal by 2025 measure. A couple of speakers got teary-eyed during comments on the importance of tightening the city’s dangerous dog law. The speakers said they lost beloved dogs in random attacks by dangerous dogs.

The best public comment of the night award goes to the urban street racer publicly known as JonVon. He wore a purple flower in his hair and lead the council through a finger exercise on
how to see auras. “This is real, anyone can do it,” he said. After his presentation, it didn’t seem like the council saw any auras, though.

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The next meeting

Monday, June 6, 5pm

Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall

View it on GOV TV 16 or at

Albuquerque City Council

Eric Williams

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