In a recent Alibi interview [ “An Insurgent Campaign,” v28 i36] regarding his candidacy for City Council District 2, candidate Robert Nelson blatantly misrepresents my record. Contrary to what Mr. Nelson said, I have consistently been an advocate for our historic and traditional neighborhoods and have directed funding toward these communities. In 2016, when the Berry administration sought to move $5 million from the Housing and Neighborhood Economic Development Fund (federal “pocket of poverty” funding earmarked for low income communities) to fund small business loans related to ART, I assertively and successfully fought the administration’s effort. Mr. Nelson’s claim that “[Benton] was in support of the [ART] loans,” is simply erroneous.Numerous news stories quote me saying I opposed Berry’s attempts to move this money (March 25, 2016, KOB, “Millions meant for poor may go to businesses affected by ART”). But, Mr. Nelson said, “Benton signed legislation to make sure that money was used for small business loans … We did win that fight, Berry vetoed the plan to provide loans from the fund in question.” Mr. Nelson is 100 percent wrong. As President of the Council, I was vocal and instrumental in stopping the Berry Administration from diverting money from this fund. During this time, I also met with Robert Nelson and several other Historic Neighborhood Alliance and District 2 neighborhood advocates to encourage them to apply to become members of the Housing and Neighborhood Economic Development (HNED) Committee, the City entity that governs the “pocket of poverty” funding. Interested community members had to apply with Mayor Berry’s office—which then failed to promptly act on the appointments. My office pushed for the appointments to be sent to Council and on August 7, 2017, I voted for Robert Nelson’s appointment. I hope going forward that Mr. Nelson gets his facts straight when commenting on my record.
Letters: Sick Idea Sick Idea
I was unimpressed by your coverage [“The Dog Days of BernCo,” v28 i36] of the Employee Wellness Act (paid sick leave ordinance) due to your failing to mention its obvious inequity (due to it only impacting a small subset of Bernalillo County area businesses).No question that requiring paid sick leave is a good idea, but the fact that the entire City of Albuquerque and the Villages of Los Ranchos and Tijeras are exempt from the ordinance not only doesn’t make sense, but also clearly creates an economic disadvantage for small businesses that have an address outside those areas. The two Commissioners that voted against the proposal should be applauded for not supporting an obviously flawed (for multiple reasons) ordinance, not to mention representing their constituents’ small businesses.
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