« (Updated) 5:30 PM Today: NMI to Host Webcast, Live Blog of ABQ Charter Review Task Force | Main | AFSCME's ABQ Mayoral Candidate Forum Set for April 29 »

Friday, April 24, 2009

Richard Romero Speaks Out on CIP Budget Dispute: Mayor Chavez' SunCal Soccer Park Doesn't Pass the Smell Test

RichardRomeroCRLate yesterday, mayoral candidate Richard Romero released a statement calling on Mayor Martin Chavez to "put an end to his legal wrangling with the City Council and stop fighting for his misguided SunCal soccer park."

Mayor Chavez and the City Council have been embroiled in a battle prompted by the Mayor's insistence that the City Council did not meet a legal deadline in acting on the City's Capital Improvement Program budget. Chavez is incensed because the CIP budget approved by the Council didn't include some of his pet projects, like a massive and problematical $6.48 million swimming hole at Tingley Beach and an expensive soccer complex on land donated by SunCal.

Although the City Attorney's Office has sided with Chavez on the alleged deadline infraction, Council members and their legal advisors insist the deadline applies only to their taking some "action" on the Mayor's proposal -- not to their approval of a finalized budget. They pointed out that only the City Council has the power to approve the CIP budget. Councilors have threatened to initiate legal action against the Mayor if he continues to insist that his version of the CIP budget is the one that should form the basis for ballot questions that will go before voters for final approval this Fall.

In the meantime, Mayor Chavez has proposed a "compromise" that cedes to the Council's views on the Tingley Beach project, but retains funding for the soccer complex and cuts other projects okayed by the City Council to pay for it. Richard Romero points out the folly of Mayor Marty's determination to fund a soccer complex in an area where zero people currently reside -- while cutting out a much-needed park in an already well developed and underserved area on the City's West Side.

“SunCal doesn’t have the cashflow to build this park on their own land, so the Mayor wants the taxpayers to do it for them,” said Romero. “His campaign manager [Mark Fleisher] is a registered lobbyist for SunCal and this $8M sports complex in the middle of nowhere just doesn’t pass the smell test.”

“What the City Budget needs is the $6.6M appropriated by the City Council for the Ventana Ranch Community Park. This project will serve an area where THOUSANDS of KIDS already live. The Mayor wants to eliminate that park and build the SunCal park where NO KIDS live," said Romero. "Who is he looking out for -- SunCal or the existing West Side residents that desperately need more parks and green space?”

The Ventana Ranch project will be taken out of the CIP budget and the SunCal soccer field will be inserted into the budget if the mayor’s legal opinion stands.

“The Ventana Ranch sports complex has already been designed and gone through extensive community input and should be the priority,” said Romero. “It’s misguided for the taxpayers to fund an irrigation line and $8M soccer complex in the middle of nowhere.”

April 24, 2009 at 09:43 AM in 2009 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, City of Albuquerque, Government, Land Issues, Sprawl Development | Permalink


Go get 'em Richard!

Posted by: West Sider | Apr 24, 2009 11:04:34 AM

We need BOTH! I extend any an ivitation to any resident of Albuquerque to come out this weekend with me and I could fully explain and show the need for BOTH projects - the proposed Soccer Complex & the Ventana Ranch park. Why do you guys have to be against everything!? There is plenty of money for both and an investment in our youth pays out big time for the future! Since it will be a city project, it is being billed as a Soccer Complex, however it really could be used for all sports (YAFL, etc.). Our YOUTH deserve this from all parts of the city! This complex would provide a place for the 2010 Regional Tournament! Numbers from that tournament alone would destroy numbers from the last two Balloon Fiestas combined! Then we would be able to host that every other year in the least, plus many more opportunities! Yes, people live over here! We have been living over here for more than 40 years! We are NOT sprawl!

Posted by: Westside Voter | Apr 24, 2009 12:03:40 PM

Tell it to the Mayor Westside Voter. He's the one that's cutting out the Ventana Park money. Too bad he doesn't have any talent at all for working with people instead of grandstanding and causing fights so he can get some good press from the Urinal.

Posted by: Soccer Guy | Apr 24, 2009 12:34:24 PM