Friday, December 07, 2012

12/10: ABQ Fair Redistricting Fundraiser

PLEASE COME TO A FUNDRAISER FOR OUR LEGAL FUND AT ARTICHOKE CAFÉ!

MONDAY, December 10, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
ARTICHOKE CAFÉ, 424 Central Ave. SW (corner of Central and Edith)
Suggested minimum contribution: $100.

Whether or not you live in the downtown/Old Town/north valley, you should be concerned about the implications of this Republican-engineered rediststricting plan that could lock in a Republican majority on City Council for the next decade. The biggest losers would be the old neighborhoods along the east side of the river who have the greatest infrastructure needs, but will be reduced to only one vote on Council.

Attorneys at the national League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) believe that we have a strong case and have agreed to represent us in court to overturn the unwise and unjust decision to eliminate our center city Council District.

LULAC is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and contributions for its advocacy litigation purposes are tax-deductible. This is a legal effort, not political, and your contribution, employer and identity are not subject to campaign reporting requirements. There is no limit to your contribution. Please make your check to LULAC, with “ABQ redistricting” in the memo space.

For more information or to donate on-line, see our website: http://abqfairredistricting.org. Just click on the “Contribute” link and you’ll be directed to a secure LULAC contribution site that sends donations directly to our defense fund.

You can also mail your check to us at: Albuquerque Fair Redistricting, 1106 Santa Fe Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

Thanks, and see you on the 10th!

December 7, 2012 at 11:16 AM in City of Albuquerque, Events, Hispanic Issues, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

12/1: Help get Signatures to Amend the Abq City Charter

It is time for majority rule elections In the city of Albuquerque. Help us amend the Albuquerque City Charter to 50% Majority Elections by gathering petition signatures on Saturday December 1st , during the Nob Hill Shop and Stroll Holiday event. Thirty thousand people are expected to attend !

What : Collect petition signatures to amend the Albuquerque City Charter
When : December 1st , 2012 from 11am - 6pm
Where : Democratic Party HQ , 3200 Monte Vista blvd NE

Join the fight , call and volunteer for a two hour shift to help bring majority rule elections to the city of Albuquerque. Call Jason @ 750-8386 or email Majority505@gmail.com

November 29, 2012 at 10:35 AM in City of Albuquerque, Election Reform & Voting, Events | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Albuquerque City Councilors and Administration Officials Promote Electric Vehicles

Events in more than 60 cities celebrate 200 Million Oil-Free Miles Driven by EVs

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Albuquerque, NM—Albuquerque City Councilors Ken Sanchez and Rey Garduño, City Transit Director Bruce Rizzieri, and City Fleet Manager Tony Baldonado test-drove electric cars and touted their role in a cleaner, greener, more secure America as part of National Plug-In Day, a nationwide celebration of electric vehicles (EVs). The Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club organized the event along with local EV owners and clean-energy advocates, including the New Mexico Solar Energy Association, Sacred Power, and the Southwest Green Building Center.

"Electric vehicles have a bright future in Albuquerque—and the future is here.” said Dave Simon, Rio Grande Chapter Director for the Sierra Club. “Switching to EVs will reduce America’s dependence on oil, cut air pollution, and create jobs—and we can power many EVs in New Mexico using solar energy. The City should be a leader in promoting EVs and can take many steps to encourage EV use.”

City officials drove a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and a converted electric Volkswagen Beetle in the morning then discussed their experiences and steps the City can take to encourage electric vehicles at an afternoon press conference in front of the City’s downtown EV charging station on 3rd Street. Other EV vehicles that will soon be available on the market include the Ford Focus EV, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Honda Fit EV, the Tesla Model S, and the Toyota plug-in hybrid Prius.

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"Electric car technology will bring us one step closer to energy independence, which is important for our long-term economic viability and our national security,” said City Councilor Ken Sanchez. “I would like to see Albuquerque take the lead in exploring the use of electric vehicles to keep the air clean and sustain our future as a global innovator."

“Electric cars are more than a fad, but a way to look at transportation in the future,” said City Councilor Rey Garduño. “With that in mind, it’s vital that electric vehicles be affordable for people.”

Simon pointed out several ways in which the City of Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico could promote and incentivize EV use, including: A state tax credit or rebate for purchasing an EV or converting vehicles to plug-in; Installing more EV charging units throughout the city and state; state and city fleet purchases of EVs; state or utility tax credit or rebate for installing an EV charging unit; Local or state building-code changes that require new construction to include EV-ready wiring; Waiver of emissions inspections or sales tax for EVs.

National Plug In Day events on September 23-24 took place in more than 60 cities nationwide organized by Plug In America, Sierra Club, Electric Auto Association, and local groups. These free events invited the public to celebrate the success of electric vehicles. Some 50,000 new electric vehicles have sold in the U.S. in the last two years and tens of thousands of U.S. drivers are saving money at the pump and leading an oil-free transportation revolution.

New data compiled by the National Plug In Day organizers show that EVs have now traveled more than 200 million oil-free electric miles in recent years. EV drivers thus avoided the purchase of 7.4 million gallons of gasoline, saved $19.6 million in fueling costs (even taking into account electricity costs), and prevented 96.5 million pounds of carbon pollution emissions (even factoring in emissions from electricity generated to charge EVs)—that’s like closing 20 coal-fired power plants for a year. These impressive figures are only the beginning, as EV sales are growing steadily, and many new models are becoming available. For details of the new data analysis see this link.

In August the Obama Administration finalized new car efficiency and pollution standards that will raise average fuel economy to 54.5 MPG and slash greenhouse gas pollution from new cars and light trucks. Automakers supported these new standards, in part, because they were confident that they have the technology to meet them, and buyers are demanding high-tech, innovative vehicles. EVs will play an important role in helping automakers meet and exceed these new standards.

About Plug In America: Plug In America is leading the nation’s plug-in vehicle movement. The nonprofit organization works to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment. We drive electric. You can, too. www.pluginamerica.org, http://www.pluginday.org

About the Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization with 1.4 million members and supporters and chapters in all 50 states. The Sierra Club’s national electric vehicles campaign advocates for a switch to EVs as one important way to reduce emissions and cut our addiction to oil. www.sierraclub.org/electric-vehicles

About the Electric Auto Association: The Electric Auto Association, formed in 1967, is a nonprofit educational organization with 75 chapters worldwide that promotes the advancement and widespread adoption of electric vehicles. www.electricauto.org

September 24, 2012 at 10:09 PM in City of Albuquerque, Energy, Transportation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee Initiates Public Records Inquiry Concerning Partisan Violations of Open Meetings Act and Hispanic Voting Rights Dilution

Following is a press release provided by Lora Lucero.

This afternoon, community leaders representing the ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee submitted a public records inspection request to the City of Albuquerque, inquiring about back-door partisan communications that reduced the number of the City Council’s Hispanic Voting Age Majority districts to just two of the city’s nine council districts. Since 2000, 75% of the city’s new growth has been Hispanic, now comprising 47.2% of the city’s whole population. The National League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is assisting the group with its IPRA request and potential litigation.

“There’s simply too much at stake for Albuquerque’s Hispanic population and core historic neighborhoods to let this injustice go unaddressed,” said Lora Lucero, a north valley activist working with the group. “The five councilors might have scored a ten-year partisan majority, but they did so at the cost of diluting the voices of many minority and impoverished communities.”

Partisan power-grabs like that achieved by the five city councilors on February 22, and signed by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on March 5, were the target of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition to Hispanic voting dilution, the decision also packed into one district many communities of interest, including most of the city’s federally designated “pockets of poverty,” areas in need of street improvements, communities desperate for revitalization, and areas with crumbling infrastructure.

Although the Albuquerque City Council is a non-partisan body and the redistricting committee process was mandated to be public, the ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee wants to know what communications were not made available to the public but might have had a significant impact on the outcome of the city council redistricting. For that reason, the group’s letter requests copies of all documents and communications (correspondence, e-mails, and attachments) related to the City Council redistricting process since June 1, 2010. Recipients of the IPRA request will have 15 days to respond and the information garnered will inform the ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee’s decision to pursue legal recourse.

July 12, 2012 at 04:00 PM in City of Albuquerque, Legal Issues, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Resolution to Amend the U.S. Constitution and Reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision debated at the Albuquerque City Council

ConstitutionTonight the Albuquerque City Council will debate City Councilor Rey Garduno’s resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission.

A sharply divided Supreme Court decided that the American people are powerless to stop corporations from using corporate funds to influence state and federal elections. The 5-4 decision ruled that the restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections contained in the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known as “McCain-Feingold”) violated the First Amendment protections of free speech.

The ruling dramatically expands the new “corporate rights” doctrine that has transformed the First Amendment in recent years, reduces transparency and exposes our elections to a new flow of billions of dollars of corporate money. The Citizens United ruling has already resulted in an explosion of unlimited, and often undisclosed, Super PAC spending, as we have seen in the current New Mexico state legislative races, as well as in the Republican presidential nominating process.

The Court’s action seriously threatens to overwhelm the voice and vote of individual American citizens. The decision unleashes a torrent of corporate money in our elections and reduces transparency in political advertising. It has invalidated state laws and even state Constitutional provisions separating corporate money from elections; And, along with the Supreme Court’s ruling that money equals speech, it grants excessive power to corporate interests.

Advocate Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico praised the resolution as “a definitive statement of the City of Albuquerque’s intent to correct the egregiously wrong Citizens United decision that allowed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend millions on electing politicians in hopes they will do their bidding.” And LeMoyne Castle of Albuquerque Move to Amend says the “City Council resolution makes it clear that money is just an amplifier of speech and that granting human rights to corporations inevitably violates the principle of equal protection.”

79% of Americans support passage of an amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling, showing that this issue truly transcends political ideology. According to the 2010 Hart Research survey, 82% of Independent voters, 68% of Republican voters and 87% of Democratic voters support a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. Additionally, John McCain has called this the “worst decision in this Supreme Court’s history.”

June 18, 2012 at 02:17 PM in Citizens United, City of Albuquerque, Corporatism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Resolution to Amend the U.S. Constitution and Reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision Introduced at the Albuquerque City Council

Tonight at the Albuquerque City Council meeting City Councilor Rey Garduno will introduce a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission.

The Citizens United ruling resulted in an explosion of unlimited, and often undisclosed, Super PAC spending, as we have seen in the current New Mexico state legislative races, as well as in the Republican presidential nominating process. The resolution is an important statement by the Albuquerque City Council because the constitutional amendment process requires ratification by a minimum of 38 states and passage would strongly affirm the support of New Mexico’s largest city.

Earlier this year, Representative Mimi Stewart (Albuquerque) and Senator Steve Fischmann (Las Cruces) passed both House Memorial 4 and Senate Memorial 3, making New Mexico the second state in United States to call on Congress to pass an amendment and reverse the Citizens United decision (Hawaii was the first, in April 2010). Since that time Rhode Island and California have followed suit, joining the rising tide of hundreds of cities and towns across the country.

Advocate Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico praised the resolution’s introduction as “a frank statement of the State of New Mexico’s intent to correct the egregiously wrong Citizens United decision that allowed corporations to spend millions on electing politicians who will do their bidding.” And LeMoyne Castle of Albuquerque Move to Amend says the “City Council resolution supported by Move To Amend and the Education Outreach Group makes it clear that money is just an amplifier of speech and that granting human rights to corporations inevitably violates the principle of equal protection.”

The dramatic increase in election-related funding by artificial entities threatens to drown out all other forms of speech, public debate, and election discourse. Addressing the flood of campaign contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals is supported by a vast and diverse majority of Americans, including two-thirds of small business owners.

79% of Americans support passage of an amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling, showing that this issue truly transcends political ideology. According to the 2010 Hart Research survey, 82% of Independent voters, 68% of Republican voters and 87% of Democratic voters support a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. Additionally, John McCain has called this the “worst decision in this Supreme Court’s history.”

After its introduction tonight, the resolution is expected to be heard at the June 18, 2012 City Council meeting.

June 4, 2012 at 05:41 PM in Action Alerts, Citizens United, City of Albuquerque, Corporatism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Senators Engage Air Force on Aggressive Kirtland Fuel Spill Cleanup

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall are asking the Air Force to partner with county and state authorities to “conduct further scientific and technical analysis” to determine the scope of the Kirtland jet fuel leak and develop contingency plans for the continued safety of the drinking water.

The Senators, who met with Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Terry Yonkers in Washington last week for an update on the plume, wrote to him today in support of the Air Force’s goal to cleanup the spill and ensure the area continues to meet federal drinking water standards in the future.

“We welcome your goal to aggressively remove fuel to stabilize the spilled fuel plume by 2017,” they wrote. “We realize that significant uncertainties remain, but agree it is important to set a strong goal to ensure protection of drinking water.”

The lawmakers also recommended that the Air Force continue to work in cooperation with the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) and the New Mexico Environment Department to continue supporting area well monitoring, evaluating the nature of the plume, and regarding the progress of the cleanup efforts.

“We recommend the Air Force continue to work cooperatively with the New Mexico Environment Department to ensure that the full size, extent, and characteristics of the fuel spill are known,” the Senators wrote. “In the past several years, public estimates of the size of the spill have ranged from one million gallons to twenty-four million gallons. While cleaning up the spill is most important, such a broad range indicates that full characterization is incomplete. We urge the Air Force to take a precautionary approach and do what the appropriate scientific and technical experts recommend to characterize this spill.”

The full text of the letter is below: May 24, 2012

The Honorable Terry Yonkers
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics
1670 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear Assistant Secretary Yonkers:
Thank you for visiting with us last week to discuss the cleanup of the Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) fuel spill in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We truly appreciate your ongoing attention to protecting the health and environment in and around KAFB.

We welcome your goal to aggressively remove fuel to stabilize the spilled fuel plume by 2017. We realize that significant uncertainties remain, but agree it is important to set a strong goal to ensure protection of drinking water. We also appreciate the fact that the Air Force is committed to working with the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) to ensure there are adequate contingency plans for safe and reliable drinking water in case any existing water wells are ever affected. To ensure success, it is critical for the Air Force to maintain focus on achieving this mission and devoting the financial resources necessary to do so.

We would also like to follow up on our meeting with some recommendations in order to assist in resolving this issue and protecting the groundwater supplies that provide New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area with drinking water. First, we recommend that the Air Force continue to work closely with the ABCWUA and assist them with the necessary resources to conduct further scientific and technical analysis of the size, extent, and characterization of the spill, along with the progress and effectiveness of the cleanup project. While we have no reason to believe that the Air Force’s studies are inadequate, additional analysis would be a great help in maintaining public trust during this project.

Second, we are aware that the Air Force is providing resources to ABCWUA to conduct monthly testing of water wells, which to date have shown no contamination. We urge continuation of this arrangement and expanding it if appropriate to ensure accurate information about the safety of groundwater and drinking water supplies.

Finally, we recommend the Air Force continue to work cooperatively with the New Mexico Environment Department to ensure that the full size, extent, and characteristics of the fuel spill are known. In the past several years, public estimates of the size of the spill have ranged from one million gallons to twenty-four million gallons. While cleaning up the spill is most important, such a broad range indicates that full characterization is incomplete. We urge the Air Force to take a precautionary approach and do what the appropriate scientific and technical experts recommend to characterize this spill.

Thank you for your service to our country and your personal dedication to this cleanup project. If we can assist you on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely, Jeff Bingaman, United States Senator/ Tom Udall, United States Senator

May 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM in City of Albuquerque, Environment, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Alibi's Best of Burque 2012 Poet: Hakim Bellamy and Best Comedian: Sarah Kennedy

2012 Best of Burque Poet: Hakim Bellamy

From the Alibi: Bellamy is not just one of our most beloved young wordsmiths—he’s a contemporary Renaissance man, cross-pollinating his lyrical work with pursuits in film, theater, journalism, music, youth education and community activism.

Please take the time to go read and listen to Hakim's latest moving peice From OJ to Trayvon, at http://hakimbe.com/ this is a must read and hear folks.

Lettuce Sarah Kennedy!

From the Alibi: Readers love Sarah Kennedy for her casual, observational, consistently hilarious brand of humor. We agree: This lady has got to be one of the most likable people we’ve seen on stage. Check out a sample of Sarah below.

Quintessential Artists

Hakim and Sarah are both very engaged in their communities. They use their gift to tell a message. They follow issues and care, they create their art to help communicate their message of caring and love. Give it up for two local talented stars!

April 12, 2012 at 09:54 AM in City of Albuquerque, Current Affairs, Humor, Theater | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Before We Spend $50M, How About We Let the Voters Decide?

Download Letter from Abq City Councilor Rey Garduno:

I am writing to explain why City Councilors Ike Benton, Debbie O’Malley, and myself will vote to support sending a $50 million dollar bond proposal for the Paseo del Norte interchange to the voters this November. You may remember this important capital project was tied to the $25 million dollar sportsplex last October and was soundly rejected by voters. Please read below why we believe it's only right to send it back to voters again for consideration. Also, if you believe you should have the opportunity to vote on this project, please let Mayor Berry know. You can call him at 768-3000.

Thanks, Rey…

The Paseo del Norte/I-25 Improvement project is important to the City, the state and the region, and we need to move it forward as quickly as possible. The three of us have always supported this project, and as recently as last August voted to send the full $50 million in funding to the voters for their approval. Unfortunately, we were outvoted along straight party lines. We’ve always been consistent in our support for the project and in the need for voter approval.

That’s why we took the stand we did Monday night. Much has been made of that decision, and how it may affect the project, but as a practical matter, sending the project to the voters won’t delay it in any way. The contract for the design of the project still hasn’t been finalized, and once it is, the design won’t be complete for another 12 to 18 months. What’s the rush to issue bonds now? Issuing bonds this far ahead of when they’re needed will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in unnecessary interest payments. It’s like paying a mortgage before the house is even designed!

If we send this to the voters in November, they get the chance to weigh in on how we spend money that normally goes to pay for police, fire, parks, animal services, senior centers and other critical day-to-day costs of providing services to citizens. Voters should know that the $50 million funding for Paseo commits $3 million in Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) Operating Funds from those services annually for the next 30 years.

Moreover, the County’s proposed funding is going to the voters for approval this November, and no one is saying the County doesn’t support the project! Albuquerque citizens are being asked to fund the lion’s share of the project, so shouldn’t they get an opportunity to weigh in on how their money is spent?

As far as federal funding, opportunities to apply for "TIGER" (federal transportation improvement) grants have been available every six months. Should the voters approve the project, it’s possible that by then the design will be far enough along to demonstrate to the Department of Transportation that the project is truly multi-modal, which will only help our chances of getting the grant.

Once again, we want to make it clear that we have always supported the Paseo del Norte interchange project, and understand the positive impact it will have the community. We just want to make sure that the citizens of Albuquerque get to decide how $75 million of their tax dollars are spent.

March 22, 2012 at 03:09 PM in City of Albuquerque, Transportation | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, February 20, 2012

City Redistricting is More Than Lines on a Map

Provided by Contributing writer Lora Lucero.

Albuquerque City CouncilThe Albuquerque City Council is poised to take final action on Wednesday, February 22, on its preferred plan for carving up the nine city council districts.

The Council does this every 10 years following the US Census to make sure that we adhere to the "one person, one vote" goal.   Clearly, most of the city's growth in the past decade has occurred on the West Side, thanks to our leaders' pro-sprawl policies. And so it's time for the people of the West Side to have a third council district.

There are many ways to skin this cat, but it appears the five Republican councilors have decided "Plan L" is the map du jour.  "Plan L" essentially eliminates District 3 by squishing Districts 2 & 3 together, creating a "small nation" says Councilor Debbie O'Malley who represents District 2.

The problem with Plan L District 2 is the impact it would have on representation for downtown Albuquerque.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have approximately 30% of the city's "poor" and "very poor" streets; along  with approximately 40% of the city's 5-year road rehab projects.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have 23 of the city's 27 redevelopment areas.  Nearly 25% of the GO Bond projects would fall into a single district.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have the vast majority of low income census tracts and all of the federally-designated "pockets of poverty."

That means one councilor would be advocating for the needs of 30-40% of the crumbling infrastructure; for 85% of the redevelopment projects; and for the majority of low-income residents of Albuquerque.

The goal ideally is to create 9 districts with equal population numbers --- approximately 60,675 people. But "Plan L" would shift more people into District 2 and, with 63,508 people, the new District 2 would have the greatest deviation from the ideal.  4.7%

Something to think about ..... not just for those of us who live downtown, but for the entire city.

In a nutshell, what the 5 Republican Councilors want is to protect their solid Republican-voting districts while diluting the representation of the minorities and poor people who live in District 3.  This results in a geographic bias in favor of the predominately white, middle-upper class neighborhoods in the NE Heights.

Shameful!

The entire city depends on a strong historic core with a vibrant downtown.

There are other ways to draw the lines on the map so that we don't slight the voters who live downtown, and don't weaken the representation and advocacy that a thriving city requires in its downtown core.

Contact your City Councilor and the Mayor ---- and let them know that "Plan L" stinks.  They can do much better.  COrtega@cabq.gov 

February 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM in City of Albuquerque, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (3)

Councilor Cook Redistricting Fairness is like “Getting thrown to the Wolves”

Guest Blog by Pam Fraser Walters resident in City Council District 7.

Could we please have more redistricting honesty and less obfuscation and grandstanding from City Councilor and Congressional aspirant Dan Lewis?  Does Mister/Pastor Lewis really believe and expect others to believe that “redistricting is not about politics”? The purpose of redistricting political entities, those units of government such as cities, counties, legislatures and congress, is to provide equitable representation for citizens.  That’s surely one element of politics.  Partisanship, unmentioned by Mr. Lewis, is often another.  How elected representatives and citizens behave is still one more. 

Councilor Lewis claims that “Throughout the [redistricting] process, my colleagues and I on the City Council have been open minded….” Yet an October 21, 2011 email from Councilor Cook to a constituent declares “Do not worry about our district getting thrown to the wolves, we councilors on east side and Lewis on west will not vote for that.”

“Getting thrown to the wolves” is Councilor Cook’s depiction of moving District 7 to the southwest as Plan V would do. Of course, it also undoes his incumbent seat.  Plan L, which Councilor Lewis (and east side councilors Winter, Cook, Jones and Harris) have spoken for, would move District 3, Councilor Benton’s, to the southwest currently represented mostly by Councilor Sanchez and in a relatively few precincts by Councilor Benton.

And, while Councilor Lewis declares, “I will not support any map that does not give West Side residents three full council districts,” he fails to mention that none of the eight maps recommended to the Council by its’ appointed redistricting committee lacks three full council districts.  Nor does he mention that the “carefully” selected redistricting committee included not merely residents of each Council district, but active, elected politicians such as Linda Lopez, Sander Rue and Wayne Johnson (Alternate for Janice Arnold-Jones, first, then Kathie Leyendecker).  So much for redistricting being “political”  being “the furthest thing from the truth.”

Although Mr. Lewis says he and other Councilors appreciated constituent comments and took them seriously, anyone reviewing citizen testimony will see that Nob Hill and International District residents greatly preferred Plan V to Plan L.

Interested observers also may note that the first six redistricting maps, A through F, did not mark the residence of incumbents, a factor crucial in election eligibility.  All subsequent maps do.  Is that not political? It is also fair to point out that current Districts 3, 7 and 8 are farthest below “ideal” numbers of residents per the 2010 census (and hence, overrepresented) while Districts 1 and 5 are severely underrepresented.

Map L, which creates a new District 3 outside the residency of Councilor Benton, also considerably alters the boundaries of Districts 2, 4 and 6 (those most recently subject to election) and puts Councilors O’Malley (District 2) and Benton in the same district.  It also modifies eastside Districts 7, 8 and 9 and west side districts 1 and 5.  Map V, by moving District 7, would put Councilor Cook in a redrawn District 6, currently represented by Councilor Garduno.

Because the City Council has only nine districts, the real issue has been how will existing districts be reconfigured and/or moved, which Councilor(s) will be unseated or forced to compete, and consequently, who will represent Albuquerque citizens in particular parts of the city.  That issue of representation is crucial.

Redistricting means not only that west siders will be more equitably represented (by having three rather than two districts), but also that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of Albuquerque citizens will have new City Councilors and possibly not the one they recently elected.

Mr. Lewis closes his Op-Ed by saying that redistricting is “not about politics,” but “what’s best for the citizens of Albuquerque.”  Because Plan L changes not only boundaries, but also ethnic distribution within districts, the question is: Which citizens and Councilors are treated equitably, advantageously or disadvantageously?  Who truly is served?

February 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM in City of Albuquerque, Guest Blogger, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

01/28: DemocracyforNewMexico Randomly Picked to Present at ABQ Sprout Dinner

DemocracyforNewMexico submitted for the ABQ Sprout micro-grant and was randomly chosen to be one of ten local community projects which will present to the first ABQ Sprout Dinner, competing for a micro-grant.

You can watch the random picking of the ten contestants here.

ABQ sprout is a recurring public dinner funding micro-grants for local creative projects that contribute to the Albuquerque community.

How it works:

  • We randomly choose 10 grant proposals from the project submissions.
  • These 10 ideas are presented at a community dinner.
  • Volunteers prepare dinner.
  • Proposals are presented in 5 minute sprouts.
  • Everyone receives a ballot and votes on what they believe best fits Albuquerque’s needs.
  • Sliding scale fees ($15-30) for dinner provide an immediate micro-grant to the winner.

The Inaugural ABQ Sprout Dinner will be held this Saturday, the 28th, at the South Valley Multipurpose Senior Center on 2008 Larrazolo Rd SW in Albuquerque from 6 to 9pm.

Tickets appear to be going fast. Sign up now. DemocracyforNewMexico could sure use your support, and supporting this Sprout project with our grassroots base seems to be the perfect natural organic fit.

January 24, 2012 at 09:42 PM in ABQ Sprout, City of Albuquerque, DFNM - Albq, Events | Permalink | Comments (3)