A stern City Council clipped its way through the Monday, May 4 meeting. After clearing up routine matters, the Council, minus Sally Mayer, approved hiring an outside attorney to go head-to-head with Mayor Martin Chavez. At issue: the capital budget bill. The Council says its version is valid. The mayor says it isn’t.City staff speaking on behalf of Chavez said there is no reason to resort to litigation; they could all sit down and hash it out. Councilor Brad Winter, who sponsored the bill, said when dealing with the mayor, “It is his way or the highway.” Other councilors concurred, saying it was time for the Council as a body to stand up for itself. Councilors Ken Sanchez and Don Harris disagreed. They said hiring a lawyer would make the Council look bad, and it is not in the best interest of the city’s residents for the Council to resort to going to court. City Attorney Bob White—under rapid cross-examination by Councilor Michael Cadigan—had to admit his office shouldn’t have advised councilors to postpone acting on the capital bill. Because of the hesitation, the mayor said they missed the deadline and their capital bill was invalid. A challenge was thrown out to Mayor Chavez: Approve the Council’s version and send back amendments for projects he would like to see on the October ballot. If he does not want to do that, councilors said, they will see him in court.The Council also approved a measure making it perfectly clear that public financing for campaigns can’t be used on booze or votes. Little discussion was held on this no-brainer.Finally, the Albuquerque Fire Department wanted to remind city residents that while it looks like a green spring, it is very dry in the Bosque. Everyone needs to be careful with cigarettes, fireworks and any type of flame.
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