Housing For All

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Two recent stories in the Weekly Alibi (the Safe City Strike Force story, aptly titled “Appetite for Destruction,” by Tim McGivern in the June 2-8 Alibi, and the Del Rey Mobile Home Park victory story, titled “Turf War,” by Christie Chisholm in the June 9-15 Alibi) shed light on a serious issue confronting our community: the loss of real and potential affordable, economically diverse housing in Albuquerque at the hands of both the city and private developers, and the need for the community to demand a city response to that loss.

The Safe City Strike Force boasts how “with a little luck in the next three to four months we'll have three motels taken down.” But at what costs to our public safety and to the diversity of our community? The Strike Force, by closing down “nuisance” motels, single family homes and apartment buildings without accounting for the well-being of those evicted, is actually making our streets less safe and working counter to its stated intentions. There is nothing “safe” about living on the street, and there is nothing safe about creating more homeless people in Albuquerque. Until the city adopts a comprehensive plan for replacing these lost housing units for our low-income neighbors, our streets and our neighborhoods will continue to become more dangerous as people who are evicted from nuisance properties—the majority of whom are not criminals—end up homeless or fall victim to the next unscrupulous landlord.

No one should live in unsafe, derelict and substandard housing, but the actions of the Safe City Strike Force do not account for the planned redevelopment of affordable housing to replace the low-income units just destroyed. Rather, once the vacated property or land is sold, the next step is uncoordinated and unchecked redevelopment: a loft, condo or other development that most of us, including, most importantly, the low-income people who were just evicted, cannot afford. As low-income people are forced out of their housing, the city must be responsible to them as part of our whole community, developing plans that help to embrace the social and economic diversity that makes Albuquerque a great place to live. A “revitalized urban landscape” needs to include the entire community, not just those who can afford to live in a “trendy corridor.”

Our entire community, especially those whose housing is at risk, must send a message to the mayor and the Council: we will not stand idly by while our housing is demolished or bought out from under us, and we demand that the city find a way to accomplish economic development and public safety goals while living up to its responsibility to preserve our community, promote economic diversity and ensure that we all have safe and affordable housing. One excellent way to deliver this message, especially in election season, is to register to vote. Let your elected officials know that you have registered to vote, show up at campaign events and demand answers. And vote on election day.

Give Freelance A Chance

Gwyneth is gone. Long live Gwyneth. Now, can we all stop whining and give the new guy a chance? Scott Sharot is known to be a knife and fork man of the first water. He’s also been seen around town as a writer/performer with New Mexico’s primo comedy improv troupe, the Hit and Run Players. The guy can eat. The guy can write. The guy even has some good recipes to share. His reviews have already led me to worthwhile new restaurants, not to mention an exceptional new rest room. I say let him have a run at it.

Free Will For War Babies

Maybe Jim Scarantino should change the name of his column from “The Real Side” to “The Ridiculous Side.” Recently [“Fresh Meat … Not So Fast,” June 16-22], he spent his entire column going on about how shameful it is that Bush’s daughters and the offspring of other Republicans aren’t being made to go to war in Iraq. This column would’ve made a lot more sense to me if there was an element of humor in it, but as it is I must assume that Mr. Scarantino actually holds it against these politicians for not sending their kids to war.

As pig-pen shitty and far removed from democracy as this country has become, last I checked the offspring of politicians still had the right to free will. Surely these kids, as privileged and loyal as most of them likely are, still have a right to disagree with the policies and actions of their parents. It’s absurd to seriously hold them accountable to political positions they had nothing to do with implementing. Am I to assume that Scarantino also condones arranged marriages?

We'Re Rich! Rich Beyond Our Wildest Dreams!

I’ve finally figured out the reason your paper is plump with titty bar ads and covering mostly subjects and music that appeal to the under-17 disenfranchised skateboard-boy demographic. You are selling your little business. My 11-year-old nephew loves “Jimmy Eat World” as do all his pals; but Jason Victor Serinus and Michael Henningsen used to cover what my nephew calls “real” music (jazz and classical). Making your fine little weekly into the same as every other fine little weekly across the country is not necessarily going to get you a better price for it. Teenage angst does sell; but New Mexico is different. Anyway, all you have to do is keep the movie times and you are assured 99.9 percent of your readership will remain loyal. Why not throw the over-90 IQ demographic a bone in the meantime?

Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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