Sunday, April 01, 2012

Governor Martinez Establishes New Task Force

Breaking news!  Following the New Mexico State Engineer’s decision on March 30, 2012 [OSE File No. RG-89943] dismissing the San Augustin Ranch, LLC water rights application, Governor Susanna Martinez announced the creation of a new task force -- the Building Resilient Communities Task Force.

The stated goals of the task force are to examine the impacts of climate change on New Mexico communities (both urban and rural) and make recommendations by October 1 for building stronger, more resilient communities to be better prepared to adapt and respond to the serious impacts predicted by the scientific community. Governor Martinez will review these recommendations to determine what her administration can implement immediately and what might be appropriate legislation for the Legislature to take up in 2013.

“The Building Resilient Communities Task Force will pick up where Our Communities, Our Task Force left off in 2007,” Governor Martinez said. “We must not drop the ball.  Under my predecessor’s leadership, New Mexico began to ask the tough questions.  It is more important than ever to search for the answers today with the impacts of climate change, the economic meltdown, and other challenges confronting New Mexico.”

Lora Lucero, an Albuquerque land use attorney, city planner, writer, and climate activist, has accepted the role of leading the Building Resilient Communities Task Force which will be comprised of members from the previous task force. “I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Lucero responded. “Climate change is a non-partisan issue which impacts us all, and our children’s children, without regard to political affiliation.  I look forward to working with everyone on the Task Force over the next six months and including the public in this very important work.”

April 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM in Climate, Environment, Government, Green Economy, Land Issues, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Susana Martinez, Urban Issues, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, March 26, 2012

3/27 and 3/28: Invitation to "Curbside Chat"

The public is invited to attend a Curbside Chat to talk about how we might build a stronger, more resilient community.

Can we afford to grow as we have in the past?  Why must we think and act differently to build a strong community for the future?  The answers lie in the way we have developed; the financial productivity of our places.

Chuck Marohn, Executive Director of Strong Towns, will challenge the common myths about growth, and suggest a new way of looking at the future.  His presentation is a game-changer for communities looking to grow more resilient and obtain true prosperity during changing times.

Chuck's TedTalk provides a glimpse of what he'll share with City Councilors and County Commissioners at a joint study session on Tuesday, March 27 in the Council/Commission Chambers from 1:30 - 2:30 pm.

Curbside chat 001

March 26, 2012 at 09:23 PM in Events, Urban Issues | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Guest Blog: Taxpayers Being Fleeced in Albuquerque by NAHB

This is a guest blog by Greg Lennes, Las Cruces resident and retired Business Executive.

Taxpayers are being fleeced in Albuquerque. This time it's the National Association of Homebuilders (“NAHB”) seeking their own bailout in Albuquerque. The organization is running a national campaign to reduce or suspend impact fees that are vital to building infrastructure and for an orderly growth in cities.

So let me get this straight. Bad and unscrupulous lending and borrowing decisions were the culprits in the real estate market collapse. Now the NAHB is sending a speaker criss-crossing the country including my city -- Las Cruces -- telling local governments of the evils of impact fees. According to a number of authoritative studies like that of the Brookings Institution (see here), there is no evidence that cutting the impact fees results in any increase in residential or non-residential construction.

Dr. David Swenson, an Iowa State University economist unmistakably said that NAHB's housing and economic model is "a victim of flawed thinking. It's absolutely not possible for a community to grow itself into prosperity by building new homes. It's not the idea that 'if you build it, they will come.' It's actually the idea that if people come, you will build homes for them." The "build first" mentality will ruin the budget of a city. Click to read Mr. Swenson's excellent letter (pdf) on the subject.

The NAHB is throwing around all kinds of bogus data and statistics to convince municipalities and counties of the need to decrease impact fees for a quick-fix. As Mark Twain so aptly stated: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." So if a city slashes impact fees for essential roads, sewers, water lines, etc., it is obvious taxes will have to go up. This will be a disaster for Albuquerque and taxpayers. The NAHB and its members have to remember the 1930's adage that "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Mayor Chavez and the Albuquerque City Council have made a big blunder.

A bill package originally proposed by Mayor Martin Chavez to reduce or waive impact fees for one year was narrowly passed by the Albuquerque City Council this past Wednesday. The vote was 5-4 with support from Councilors Ken Sanchez, Trudy Jones, Sally Mayer, Brad Winter and Don Harris. Opposed were Isaac Benton, Debbie O'Malley, Michael Cadigan and Rey Garduño. The legislation would cut impact fees in half for the next year for most projects, with a full waiver available for development that meets certain "green" requirements. Check out this piece by Marjorie Childress at NMI for background on this issue.

This is a guest blog by Greg Lennes. You can read his previous guest blogs here and here. 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 11, 2009 at 11:49 AM in Business, City of Albuquerque, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Guest Blogger, Housing, Jobs, Land Issues, Las Cruces, Sprawl Development, Urban Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Message from Santa Fe Mayor David Coss Regarding Recent Tragedies

The following statement was issued today by David Coss, Mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico:

As we prepare for the 4th of July, Santa Feans are coping with great tragedy. I want to express my thoughts and discuss actions I believe we must take as a community. First, I want to express my deep condolences to the parents, families and friends of Rose Simmons, Kate Kline, Julian Martinez and Alyssa Trouw. I pray for the speedy recovery of Avree Koffman. I also want to express my condolences to the parents, family and friends of Pedro Maldonado.

Only weeks ago, I was expressing condolences to the Lovato family after a horrific domestic violence incident that affected all of us. There have been too many senseless and tragic losses. Domestic violence, gang violence and drunk driving affect us all. Santa Fe can not tolerate this, no community can.

In attending memorials and funerals this week, I have been moved by the depth of suffering and by the strength and character of our people. I ask all Santa Feans to decide that they will be safe and to see to the safety of their fellow community members this 4th of July weekend. I am humbled to be with our community in its bereavement. There has been great wisdom in the sentiments and insights expressed by people young and old. Yet, the healing will take a long time. Please continue to reach out and support one another in these painful times.

Out of the tragedy, the Santa Fe community must continue to work for change. Elected leaders shoulder a special responsibility to make solutions happen. Local government leaders will hold a joint City Council/Board of County Commissioners meeting next week to respond to these incidents, especially to the role that abuse of alcohol plays in our community.

We have to do more and working together, we will. We will support dialogue but we will also move for action. We know what programs work in education, enforcement and treatment. We have to improve our ability to implement these programs and practices. Change must occur quickly.

I have tremendous faith in the people of Santa Fe. It’s important that every individual makes personal decisions to look after the safety and well-being of their fellow community members. This weekend please make that decision. Be safe on the 4th of July. Make sure your actions show respect for yourself and for the safety of your family, friends and neighbors.

In closing, I want to again express my deepest condolences to those in our community who are most directly affected by the tragedies of this past week.

For background, see this article about the traffic accident that resulted in four deaths and severe injuries to a fifth teen, and this article about the death of Pedro Maldonado.

July 2, 2009 at 07:00 PM in Children and Families, Crime, Law Enforcement, Santa Fe, Urban Issues, Youth | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Friday: Discuss Proposed Historic Nob Hill Main Street Program at Informative Lunch at Scalo

From the Proposed Historic Nob Hill Steering Committee: Nob Hill has embarked on applying to rejoin the Main Street program. In conjunction with one of the final phases of the application process, the principles and potential benefits of the program will be discussed at a lunch on Friday, April 10th, 2009 from 12 to 1:30 PM at Scalo Northern Italian Grill, 3500 Central SE, in the heart of Albuquerque's Historic Nob Hill. The event is hosted by the Steering Committee (see http://www.rt66central.com) with a presentation conducted by Rich Williams, the director of the NM Main Street program, a branch of the NM Department of Economic Development.

The Steering Committee wishes to reach out to people, businesses, and organizations with an interest in the continued success of the Nob Hill area about the effort to join the Main Street program, and its potential short- and long-term benefits. Much of what is seen today in the Nob Hill area is a direct outgrowth of past participation in the program. The Steering Committee hopes to build on the previous effort to solidify Nob Hill's reputation as a city, state, and regional showpiece of sustainable economic development.

Everyone interested in learning more is encouraged to attend Friday's lunch meeting. Please RSVP to Jim Neustel, [email protected], 505.710.6256 or Duane W. Bargar, [email protected], 505.321.0650.

April 9, 2009 at 08:31 PM in City of Albuquerque, Events, Government, Urban Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)