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Monday, September 26, 2011

Marianne Dickinson Guest Blog: Mayor Marty Chavez's Greenwashing Doesn't Wash

MarianneDickinson This is a guest blog by Marianne Dickinson of Albuquerque, who is a former journalist, a lifelong community organizer and currently runs her own design/ planning/ marketing business. She has observed New Mexico politics for 30 years and still believes we could have ethical, capable, accountable government some day.

I assume Kathleen Rogers was sincere in reporting her experience of Marty Chavez's "green" accomplishments (see her guest blog od 9.17.11), but I have to just as sincerely differ with her on his record of actions (and inaction) on environmental and sustainable growth issues. Marty Chavez had three terms as Albuquerque mayor -- 12 years of the last 18 -- to address our substantial problems with land use, air quality, water conservation and quality, public transportation, noise pollution, environmental justice, etc.

Although in his last term Mayor Chavez did start talking the talk of making ABQ a greener city, many of the items mentioned as his accomplishments were actually initiated and long fought for by City Councilors, former Mayor Jim Baca, community organizations and advocacy groups. He formed the committee Ms. Rogers mentions; what major new efforts recommended by them did he implement? 

Rather than campaign rhetoric, study the Mayor’s full record -- what he did before it was safe to become “green” and not lose the development/corporate support he has always given priority.

  • Supported a TIDD (tax giveaway) for Suncal, an out-of-state developer that wanted to develop the Westland Corp. land, the old Atrisco Land Grant in which the Chavez family are heirs, located at the south end of the Petroglyph National Monument. 

  • Opposed a Planned Growth Strategy, which aimed to control sprawl and leapfrog development, efficiently manage costs, and conserve open space. (Part of the reason utility and infrastructure costs are going up in the metro area is cost of extending utilities and services so far from existing City service areas.) The PGS was very watered down before being adopted, and the City’s Comprehensive Plan was not revised to align with the PGS. 

  • Fought against impact fees (eventually watered down and adopted) citing the need for affordable housing. Since 2008 that “affordable” housing on the West Side has had the highest foreclosure rates in the city.  He did not support lower fees for infill development. 

(The recent West Side growth boom facilitated by Mayor Chavez is why redistricting is now taking seats from progressives east of the river to add to the West Side legislative and city council districts--- e.g. Dede Feldman's and Ike Benton's seats.)

  • Fought against mandatory water conservation measures. 

  • (His staff) fought EPA’s reduction in arsenic levels permitted in drinking water 

  • Fought communities on helicopter and air traffic noise reduction

  • Did not push for clean-up of jet fuel leak at the Base, discovered 10 years ago and now threatening ground water in the SE Heights

  • Transportation staff gave low priority to funding and implementing bike trails and lanes advocated by bike community 

  • DT Growers Market was a Downtown Action Team project ... did Mayor have anything to do with it except to ok the location? (Their solar and recycling/composting programs were put in place after he left for DC.)

  • Showed no concern for environmental justice or cultural issues (South Valley sewage plant and many other problems, North Valley bosque preservation vs. Montano Bridge, Pueblo natives’ religious use of the areas around the petroglyphs and volcanos vs. road through the Monument, etc.)

This is only a partial list of the things I remember and others have brought up this week. (Many won’t go public because of Marty’s reputation for "vindictiveness.")

My suggestion to Democrats (and independents) is to look closely at the record and follow the money trail to see who has and will continue to truly stand up for a green economy and for Democratic values. My bet is on Eric Griego, who has done so all his career. Lobbyists know they can’t seduce Eric with power by showering him with money.

This is a guest blog by Marianne Dickinson. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

September 26, 2011 at 02:54 PM in Environment, Eric Griego, Green Economy, Guest Blogger, Martin Chavez, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink


Yup. All that. Marty is an opportunistic toad.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | Sep 26, 2011 7:12:55 PM

Thank you for writing this. Someone needed to say it, and frankly I wasn't paying enough attention at the time to know the details of what happened. I tried doing a little research on the internet, but I apparently don't have the skills. So, thanks.

One day I hope that the campaign can take enough time off from fundraising to actually have a web site that addresses the issues, with position statements and citations and sources and all that other evidence based stuff that commie pinko fascist Muslim socialists like.

Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Sep 26, 2011 9:27:10 PM

I remember other things as mayor that called into question his credentials as a Democrat. He generally went along with the Chamber of Commerce, and vetoed raising the minimum wage, and was against the Arts Tax. He was very negative on youth that had gotten into trouble, or tried to organize events, like SWOP.

Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Sep 27, 2011 10:45:03 AM


This is an excellent article, thank you.
It is clear that you all down there ( I'm in Ben Ray's District) have an exciting and integral candidate for Congress who needs all of our support. Lobbyists must be made irrelevant to the political process - that's the stark choice in this race but at least there is a great option in Eric Griego.

Posted by: David Bacon | Sep 27, 2011 11:04:37 AM

The minimum wage issue alone is reason enough to vote against Chavez.

Posted by: Minimum Wage | Sep 27, 2011 12:00:27 PM sent out an e-mail today asking members in the 1st district to vote for their choice between Marty Chavez, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Eric Griego. I voted for Eric Griego because he's a real Democrat, not some corporate hack like Chavez. If Eric wasn't in the race, I'd probably consider voting for Michelle but I don't know much about her other than that she just got elected as our county commissioner. She should at least try to finish her first term before running for something else.

Posted by: Terry | Sep 27, 2011 12:12:48 PM

Thanks, Marianne, for pointing out some examples of Marty's greenwashing his record as the Mayor of Albuquerque. He knows the smart growth lingo but has proven time and time again that he opposes good planning, or sensible environmental measures. Glad someone called him out as the sprawl Mayor that he was. What a mistake if he were elected to higher office!

Posted by: Lora Lucero | Sep 28, 2011 12:32:09 AM

Don't forget the Marty PAC he got busted for too.

Posted by: CD1 constituent | Sep 28, 2011 6:45:36 AM