Thursday, September 20, 2007

Trib Covers Candidate Forum. Rey: "We Need to Grow Smart, Not Out."

Joseph Crumb: Candidates, I'm a little hot about this asphalt

By Joseph CrumbThursday, September 20, 2007

Twice a day, my dog, Lucky, and I walk along Carlisle Boulevard north toward Burton Park, in the Kirtland Corners neighborhood north of Nob Hill and Ridgecrest.

The neighborhood association might be dormant, but the neighborhood clearly is not.
The center of activity is Michael Thomas Coffee at Carlisle and Anderson and the Source next door. At the coffee shop you can get a cup of coffee from beans roasted on site or down a shot of wheat grass juice, if that be your morning elixir.

The Source is an adobe building with sunflowers galore. It looks like a van Gogh.
Lucky's ears always perk up as we approach. He makes a left at the patio and sticks his nose in the small courtyard.

The Source offers holistic health services like massage, acupuncture and kinesiology. It also is host to yoga classes, art shows and music performances. There are Wednesday potlucks (Lucky's favorite), Freaky Fridays (dancing madness), Hippie Church on Sunday mornings (at 10-ish) and workshops on topics like building sustainable communities.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, The Source had a forum for the four City Council candidates running for the District 6 seat being vacated by Martin Heinrich.
In Albuquerque, local elections pop up early - Oct. 2 this year - and the campaign signs sprouted sometime in August.

Joanie Griffin has the most signs. She is a New York City native and a local business owner (Griffin and Associates, a marketing firm, and It's Just Lunch, a dating service).

Rey Garduno, a longtime community activist and business owner, has been endorsed by Heinrich, former City Councilor Eric Griego, and current Councilors Isaac Benton, Debbie O'Malley and Michael Cadigan.

Blair Kaufman is an elementary school principal and a vice chairman of the CNM Governing Board.
Kevin Wilson, the sole Republican in the nonpartisan race, has been a Nob Hill business owner since 1988.
So why spend a Sunday afternoon at a political forum?
After all, it was the NFL's opening weekend, and my beloved but hapless Buffalo Bills were playing the Denver Broncos on TV.

First, let me tell you that Lucky and my cat, Alice, and I spent a good part of this summer splayed out around my hotbox apartment, broiling. During Lucky's early walks, the morning cool vanished by 9. In the evening darkness the mercury barely budged, hovering around 90 degrees for hours.

So I had questions to ask the council candidates: Are those enormous developments planned for Mesa del Sol and the Atrisco land grant property locked in? Are they really going to pour all that heat-absorbing concrete and asphalt and roast us all alive? Will Albuquerque become another Phoenix?

I waited until the Broncos had dispatched the Bills on a last-second field goal and then dashed down to the Source and waited my turn to speak.
"You know, it's been an awfully hot summer," I began.
Well, there must have been a hint of surprise or naivet‚ in my voice because everybody laughed at me.

Turns out, my questions were on the minds of many.
Wilson believes that with land prices skyrocketing, growth on Albuquerque's outskirts is inevitable. But developments can be planned without creating "vast oceans of hot asphalt," he said.

Griffin said Mesa del Sol could become "our shining star of development," a national model of building green.

Garduno urged an end to sprawl growth. He said SunCal hopes to build 100,000 units on 50,000 acres, with 16,000 homes in the first phase. "We need to grow smart, not out. We can't promise water that we don't have," he said.

Later Kaufman echoed those sentiments. "We're a desert. We're a desert city. We cannot keep growing. The water will run out."


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