Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Albuquerque Indian Center to Receive Money to Equip Newly Renovated Kitchen

The Albuquerque Indian Center, located at 105 Texas St in the SE Heights of Albuquerque, provides services and programs that cater to the Native American Community.

The AIC strives to empower the community by promoting wellness, healing, self-sufficiency, traditions, and to educate and inform public about the indigenous culture in Albuquerque.

The large Native American community in Albuquerque benefits from the AIC and will continue to because the Albuquerque City Council has approved $5,500 for kitchen equipment in their newly renovated kitchen.

After inviting City Councilor Rey Garduño to the center, Garduño was able to amass support from the Council to appropriate money to equip the kitchen.

The equipment and kitchen will provide a space for the center to conduct cooking classes, restaurant business trainings, and their large community meals. Their goal is to be an asset by providing not only kitchen training but business training to community members that are looking to open a small business or restaurant. Giving aspiring entrepreneurs all the tools they will need for a new business.

The AIC also hosts community meals 2-3 times a year as well as food, clothing, and jacket give-aways. The AIC’s last give-away attracted about 500 people.

The AIC is not only available to Native Americans, from the total amount of people served, 70% is Native American, 20% Hispanic, and 5% mixed.

There will be a press conference and check distribution at the Albuquerque Indian Center TODAY at 2:00 pm. The AIC staff and board will be joined by City Councilor Rey Garduño.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NA Discussion from Duke City Fix

Over on Duke City Fix, which is a Albuquerque based social networking site, there is an interesting post and discussion occurring in regards to the past City Council Meeting (12/15).

During the meeting, the Council heard an appeal of an EPC decision from SWAN (Southwest Alliance of Neighbors). They did not appeal based on the zoning, but based on the issuance of notification which they did not receive.

You can watch the Council Meeting here, it begins at about 1:05:50

Read the post here and share your thoughts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Councilor Garduño's 2009 Committee Appointments

District 6 City Councilor Rey Garduño has been appointed to the following Committees for the upcoming year:
Land Use, Planning & Zoning Committee; Councilor Garduño served on this Committee last year and will continue to assure that the land use policies for the City are serving the community and not burdening them.
Albuquerque / Bernalillo Water Authority; One of Councilor Garduño's passions is water and policies that conserve and protect our water. He will be an essential voice on this increasingly crucial board.
Public Safety Committee - Chair; During his campaign and first year on the Council, Garduño has stressed the importance of prevention and intervention programs play in the larger scope of Public Safety, along with Police and Fire Departments. Councilor Garduño will assure that programs will be available and accessible to ensure community safety.
Regional Transit District; Another issue that Councilor Garduño has continually pushed is the efficiency and accessibility of public transportation. He will continue to serve on this board to keep improving the transit in the mid-region of the state.
Other appointments include Albuquerque / Bernalillo County Government Commission, Accountability in Government Oversight Committee, Committee on Guidelines for Negotiations, Internal Operations, Community Schools, Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vayamos a Santa Fe

Rail Runner Express kicks off its public schedule today

By Trip Jennings 12/17/08 9:06 AM
The New Mexico Rail Runner commuter train officially begins running to Santa Fe today, and, in fact, already has made its first journey to the City Different. The first train left Los Lunas a little before 5 a.m.
Gov. Bill Richardson made the Rail Runner a major priority and took his own ride on the train Monday, where he waxed poetically — and sometimes hyperbolically — about what the train would do for New Mexico and the world at large.
As someone who loves trains and rode up with the guv on Monday, I thought the train was a nice ride, especially for those of us who travel to Santa Fe more than once a week. The only gripe I have is that the wireless Internet that state officials promised business commuters is not up and running yet. But state transportation officials told me Monday it will be available in about a month.
I did a lot of reporting when I was with the Albuquerque Journal on the Rail Runner project and on some legislators’ concerns about the cost of the project ($400 million). There seemed to be some very legitimate questions. But it will be years before we know what kind of legacy Richardson’s Rail Runner is for the state of New Mexico. Until then, I’d encourage people who are interested in the train to try it out.
Here’s a Web page with the Rail Runner’s schedule.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Rights Week

Tonight is the culmanation of Human Rights Week in Albuquerque with a program being sponsored by the Albuquerque United Nations Association and Veterans for Peace. The event will take place at Smith-Brasher Hall, which is on the corner of University and Coal, at 6pm.

The moderator for this event is your very own District 6 City Councilor Rey Garduño.

Here is program schedule;
6:00 pm – Refreshments
7:00 pm - Program: MODERATOR: Rey Garduno, member of
Albuquerque City Council

Songs by The Raging Grannies
Introduction of Moderator
Reading of City Proclamation
Reports by participating organizations
Awarding of Essay Contest Prize by Veterans for Peace
Reports of other organizations

SPEAKER: Ladonna Harris, President of Americans for
Indian Opportunity (AIO)

Questions and Discussion; A Charge to Protect

Monday, December 8, 2008

Special Council Meeting Tonight

Tonight at 5pm in the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers, the City Council will hold a special meeting to hear Election Code/Municipal Elections Bills that were defered from the last Council meeting on December 1st.

At that meeting Vice-President Sally Mayer asked to have these bill discussed and voted on together at a Special Meeting.

These bills are resolutions to some problems that occurred during the first public financed election in Albuquerque in October 2007.

The Bills are O-08-52, O-08-53, and O-08-54;

These bills if adopted:
(1) increases the number of campaign finance reports from six to nine. In
addition it requires campaign contributions of over $250 for a Council election
and over $500 for a Mayoral election to be reported the following day if
received in the week preceding an election;
(2) defines the word "expenditure" for purposes of requiring a campaign
finance report. An "expenditure" under the bill would include the creation of an
obligation to make a payment or provide a service. This is an attempt to deal
with the problem of a candidate incurring an obligation but not paying or
reporting that obligation until later, including after an election; and,
(3) allows a single form to be used both to receipt a five dollar
qualifying contribution and as a candidate petition. Legislation sponsored by
Councilors O’Malley, Benton and Garduno.

Also, to be heard is R-08-142;

This bill if adopted would call on the City Clerk to initiate the process
to amend the regulations governing the Open and Ethical Elections Ordinance. The
bill does not mandate any change but does request that certain changes be
considered. The changes for consideration are:
(1) specifying the time of day when the Qualifying Period ends; and
(2) specifying that seed money is deducted from the amount of public funds
distributed; and,
(3) allow funds to be expended on the last three days before an election if
it is determined that such amounts are to be distributed even if those funds
have not yet been distributed.

Friday, December 5, 2008

San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project

Today is the offical grand opening of the San Juan-Chama New Surface Water Treatment Plant.

This morning the Agua Es Vida Action Team and Amigos Bravos held a press conference and highlighted some of the issues with the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project:

· After more than 30 years of San Juan-Chama water flowing in the Río Grande, the river ecosystem, the Bosque, those with domestic wells, and other users have become dependent on those flows; removing them will cause harm.
· Removing up to 94,000 acre feet per year (afy) of water from the river between the Alameda diversion point and the south side wastewater treatment discharge near Río Bravo will seriously dewater the river as it flows through the heart of the city, harming the Bosque and the river ecosystem.
· Dewatering this long stretch of the river will deprive the aquifer of a significant source of recharge.
· Dewatering the river will aggravate the already very large impact on the river
from decades of groundwater pumping, which has led to an estimated loss from the
river of almost 70,000afy (Albuquerque uses a little over 100,000 afy by comparison). The WUA will likely need to find water rights to cover this loss, which has been masked by the flows from the San Juan-Chama water.
· Dewatering the river will increase the impact of the wastewater discharge, which will be more concentrated as it enters the river. Several studies of this part of the river confirm two national surveys documenting the relationship between wastewater discharges and the presence of pharmaceuticals, endocrine disrupting compounds (like steroids and estrogen), and personal care products (like insect repellant and sunscreen) in rivers. The impacts of these chemicals on aquatic life are becoming well documented and studies are beginning to suggest an impact on humans from chronic low-dose exposure to these same chemicals.
· Removing the San Juan-Chama water from the system and plans that the WUA has for additional withdrawals means that the burden of finding sufficient water rights to meet a variety of deficits will fall on agriculture. The WUA is already seriously deficient in required water rights to offset its activities. While many believe agriculture “wastes” water, the irrigation system and water put on fields now is a major source of aquifer recharge, a job originally performed by the river. Furthermore, analysis of the amount of water rights that the WUA (and others in the region) would need in order to get into compliance with water law in the state greatly exceeds ALL the agricultural water rights held in the Middle Río Grande; taking them would turn the region into a brown and lifeless zone.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tonight! Nob Hill Shop & Stroll

The 14th Annual Holiday Shop & Stroll is being held tonight in Nob Hill from 5-10 pm.

Grab your gift list, grab some dinner, and SHOP LOCAL!

Also, take advantage of the City's FREE parking for the Holiday Season.
For more info click here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Governor Richardson Appoints EXPO NM Redevelopment Task Force

Last week, Governor Bill Richardson announced that CH Johnson Consulting will develop a master plan for the State Fairgrounds redevelopment. CH Johnson will work with the EXPO New Mexico Redevelopment Task Force to develop the plan that;

"will incorporate ideas generated by the community into a plan that will best suit the needs of the State Fairground to include attractions, the equestrian center and additional uses for the property," said Governor Richardson.
Here are the Task Force members:

Brian O'Neill - New Mexico Sports Authority
Luke Otero - State Fair Commission
Vic Chavez - Chavez Grieves Engineering
Valerie Cole - New Mexico Horse Council
Mary Ann Weems - Gallery Owner
Bob McCabe - Architect, Former City of Albuquerque Planning Director
Representative Al Park
Representative Sheryl Williams-Stapleton
Senator Cisco McSorley
Bianca Ortiz Wertheim - City of Albuquerque
Lawrence Rael - Mid Region Council of Governments
Sam Bregman - Albuquerque Thunderbirds
Mahlon Love - Former State Fair Commissioner
Joanne Landry - Neighborhood Community Leader
Jay Czar - New Mexico Mortgage and Finance Authority
Senator-Elect Tim Keller
Judith Espinoza - EXPO New Mexico
Mike Sivage - Albuquerque Builder and Developer
Fred Peralta - Former EXPO New Mexico Director
Gary Morton - Equestrian
Task Force
Caroline Stevenson - Equestrian Task Force
Eddie Corley Jr. - Former State Representative

If you look close enough, there are 3 equestrian representatives and 1 community/neighborhood representative. It makes me question the reasoning for muting the neighborhood voice because the horse trailers have easier access off of I-40, then it would have in Mesa del Sol.

This is nothing against the equestrian community because they are an amazing asset to the Albuquerque community and have an amazing history in New Mexico, but I am disappointed that the EXPO neighbor who stares into a giant wall from their window is being silenced.

Now it is up to not only the communities surrounding the fairgrounds but the Albuquerque community as a whole to hold the Elected Officials accountable to the community voice.

posted by Julian

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buy Nothing Day

After Celebrating the killing of Native Americans, the consumer masses celebrate the real American Holiday...BLACK FRIDAY.

In an effort to defeat this day of consumerism, over consumption, and the power of the almighty dollar. Celebrate Buy Nothing Day!

(if you must buy something, Buy Local)

Happy Thankstaking!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hundreds Gather in Civic Plaza & Rally Against Proposition 8

This Saturday, New Mexicans took to the street to have their voice heard in the National debate of California's Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 amended the California State Constitution to only recognize marriages between men and women.

Since November 4th, marches, rallies, and actions have been held around the country to opose Proposition 8 and other discrimiatory actions against the GLBT Community.

Click here for Democracy for New Mexico coverage of the rally and march.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hurricane Season Rolls into the Duke City

Here is a link to SWOPblogger that features an event this Saturday featuring two amazing Brooklyn Poets, Alixa and Naima.

The doors open at 7 at 1 Kind Studios, 1016 Coal #3 SW.

I personally recommend checking out this show, I saw them last summer in Atlanta, at the United States Social Forum. It was an insightful and inspirational evening that disects the struggle of New Orleans residents during and following Hurricane Katrina.

While at SWOPblogger check out the story and interview with our dear friend Joaquin Lujan.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Door Knocking with Garduño

Check out this link from SWOPblogger, as Councilman Garduño reminds folks the importance of voting on the eve of the election.

Tomorrow is the BIG Day and your last chance to vote if you have not already. Here is a link to find your polling location.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This footage was shot by an aspiring young filmaker named Rey Garduño. This was from the Barack Obama Rally in Albuquerque in front of 45,000 Burqueños, one week before Election Day, enjoy....

Monday, October 27, 2008

EARLY Program Helps Youth with Mental Illness

from the Albuquerque Journal;

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Program Helps Identify Mental Illness
By Olivier Uyttebrouck
Journal Staff Writer

Dead people were a part of Douglas Fraser's life from the time he was 8 until he was nearly 40. "Frankly, I was living with dead people, either their bodies or part of their bodies, for many years," said Fraser, 51. The hallucinations were terrifying at first but eventually became familiar and somewhat normal.
"They were just people who hung out in my life that weren't actually there," said Fraser, who has been diagnosed as bipolar with psychotic features. "The one that stayed with me the longest was the lower half of a man. He wore black pants, and he was with me a lot."
Fraser says he still experiences some delusions but has largely overcome his illness and has built a good life. He also works with a new University of New Mexico program, offering hope to young people and families battling with mental illness.
The program, called Early Assessment and Resource Linkage for Youth, or EARLY, is intended to identify young people who show early symptoms of mental illness. It targets people ages 12 to 25, said Steve Adelsheim, a UNM psychiatrist who heads the program.
Psychosis can develop at any age, but symptoms most often show up early. Prompt and aggressive treatment can lead to a full recovery, but most people simply don't get help, Adelsheim said.
"One in five children or adolescents develop a mental health issue at some point in time," Adelsheim said. Symptoms of serious mental illness targeted by the program, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, typically begin in adolescence, Adelsheim said.
EARLY aims to give young people and families intensive support that too often is unavailable. "We all feel like it has great potential to support a lot of families in this community," he said.
The center's services are free for those who qualify, although families would pay for drugs or lab work, if required.
Staff perform an initial screening by telephone. Likely candidates then are invited to UNMH for a more thorough evaluation.
The $350,000-a-year program, which opened to patients this month, is funded jointly by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and New Mexico philanthropist Suzanne Poole. Those enrolled can choose to receive brain imaging and genetics testing at the Mind Research Network, which is a partner in the program. Ken Kiehl, a UNM psychology professor and Mind researcher, said tools such as magnetic resonance imaging can assist diagnosis and rule out physical illnesses
such as tumors or multiple sclerosis that could cause troubling symptoms.
Key elements of the program are peer mentoring, coaching and multifamily group counseling, Fraser said.
"I've been really, really sick and not much in contact with good old planet
Earth," he said. "The fact that I can be where I am today shows that a lot of
things are possible."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Streetscape Construction for International Marketplace

Councilor Garduño was joined by Mayor Martin Chavez, Senator-Elect Tim Keller, Neighborhood leader Joanne Landry, and City Redevelopment staff at the groundbreaking for street scape improvements for the International Marketplace. The International Marketplace is the area south of Central and Louisiana.

The construction will include alteration of sidewalks, curb and gutter, asphalt, banners, planters, installation of greenery, irrigation system, site furniture, artistic amenities and street lighting.
The design will improve pedestrian orientation and provide a distinct identity. Below are some renderings of pillars that will be placed in the steet scape.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monumental Debate; Linking Terrorism and Iraq

District 6 City Councilor Rey Garduño is featured in the Albuquerque Journal article about a new war memorial that has broken ground.

If you have a subscription to the Journal, you can read the article here.

The article highlights a case that Councilor Rey Garduño and Charles Powell, president of the Albuquerque chapter of Veterans for Peace, brought before City Council months ago. The memorial is to honor fallen soldiers from the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Depictions in the memorial include images and photos of the attacks in Washington D.C. and New York, and the hijacked plane that went down in Pennsylvannia.

Councilor Garduño and others like Mr. Powell view the linking of Terrorism and Iraq as political smoke and mirrors to continue the deception of the public.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout Vote Today

In Washington D.C., the House of Representatives will be gathering to vote on the $700 billon bailout package. Below is an article from MSNBC that highlights the priorities of the Bailout plan.

Democrats got many concessions in bailout
But GOP held fast to not tying $700 billion proposal to homeowner relief

WASHINGTON - Sold to American taxpayers for up to $700 billion: an unprecedented plan to buy distressed banks’ least desirable mortgage assets.

What started as a fairly simple three-page proposal giving the Treasury Secretary unchecked power to orchestrate a bailout of the country’s financial system ended up as a complex rescue package, with enhanced congressional oversight, some added protections for taxpayers and a slap on the wrist to highly paid, underperforming executives.

The ultimate goal of the plan remains the same: buy bad mortgage-related bets from weakened financial companies so they can raise fresh capital and resume normal lending operations to businesses, municipalities and consumers.

Click here to read the rest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Rules for TIDD's

The State Board of Finance has adopted some new rules regarding TIDD's. Below is an article from the New Mexico Independent

TIDD Guidelines for New Growth and development Adopted
By Benito Aragon 9/23/08 3:47 PM

The New Mexico Board of Finance last week adopted new rules for the Tax Increment Development District (TIDDs) application process as well as how future proposals will be evaluated. The Independent laid out the issues in a piece published in July.

According to a press release by New Mexico Voices for Children:

The new rules give the board more oversight and will help to ensure that
developers spend the tax money they receive in a way that benefits the
public. A
loose coalition of nonprofits that has raised concerns over the
state’s TIDD
statue, gave the new rules a fairly positive thumbs up.

Read the rest here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Early Voting Begins October 7th

Click here to get the Bernalillo County Early Voting times and sites.

Also, below is a funny cartoon about the polls.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Governor Releases Possible Uses for EXPO

Last month, Governor Richardson held a community meeting and received ideas about redeveloping EXPO NM. Below is an article from the New Mexico Independent, where some broad themes are listed, with some of them coming from the District 6 Coalition idea proposal.

Governor to create "21st Century showcase"

By Denise Tessier 09/08/2008

As the New Mexico State Fair kicked off on Friday, the governor's office released a number of broad ideas for use of the EXPO New Mexico fairgrounds year-round, promising the state "will move forward to turn EXPO into a 21st century showcase."
The governor received written comments on EXPO's future and also heard directly from individuals, neighborhood associations and groups at a hearing he hosted in Albuquerque last month.
“After reaching out to the community and potential private partners, it is clear that there is overwhelming support to redevelop the existing property,” Gov. Bill Richardson said in a statement from his office today.
The information was sought in light of the Downs of Albuquerque's decision to move its racing operations to Moriarty. The next step will be to issue a Request for Proposals, which will give interested parties an opportunity to develop a concrete plan for EXPO.
The statement issued by the governor's office summarized these six broad themes for use of the property, which will be part of the Request for Proposals:

Keeping the State Fair at the current location and improving the existing
infrastructure. Other ideas include building apartments on site, restaurants and
an urban market.

Creating job opportunities and economic development by building
commercial, retail, workforce training facilities or even an Alternative Energy
Expo Center.

Developing a year-round family recreation center, such as a
cultural theme park or an athletic complex. Ideas included an Old Western Theme
Park, Asian Cultural Center, Deaf Culture Club or a Dubai of the Southwest.

Creating a world class equestrian center for horse shows, rodeos, dirt biking
and family-centered livestock events.

Designing a community green space including a growers market and a public garden. One idea called it a "Lean Innovation Green Business & Entertainment Center"

Building a multipurpose event center or grandstand for concerts, sporting events and conventions. One proposal suggested bringing a professional soccer team to the state


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mayor Chavez: Flip-flopper on binding arbitration?

from the New Mexico Independent

By Marjorie Childress 08/27/2008 79 Views -->
Andrew Padilla, president of public employees union AFSCME Council 18, calls Mayor Martin Chavez’s threat to veto a bill passed last week by the Albuquerque City Council a “punch in the gut to labor.”
That’s because of what the mayor said last fall during his short-lived Senate race.
According to Padilla, Chavez came to the AFSCME union hall to speak with blue-collar workers and union representatives last fall to drum up support for his Senate campaign. During that visit, Padilla said, the mayor clearly voiced support for a binding arbitration measure like the one passed by the City Council.
“When he was running for the Senate last fall, he was for this measure,” Padilla said. “He came down to the union hall and said, in front of blue-collars and union reps, that he was in favor of binding arbitration for noneconomic issues. He said that. His vow to now veto this bill is a big deal for us. It’s a punch in the gut to labor from Marty Chavez.”
The Mayor’s Office did not respond to inquiries by the Independent asking for the mayor’s recollections of last year's campaign visit, or to questions in general about his thoughts on how to resolve the union’s concerns.
The New Mexico Public Employee Bargaining Act provides for forced arbitration to break through an impasse during labor contract negotiations. In such a case, an approved arbitrator is agreed to by both parties and has the final say on unresolved issues. The cost of arbitration is borne equally by both sides.
But when the act was signed into law in 2003, it grandfathered in municipal ordinances already in effect. One of those is the City of Albuquerque Labor-Management Relations Ordinance. The city ordinance allows the two sides to voluntarily enter into binding resolution, but does not allow either side to force the other into arbitration for unresolved issues.
Padilla told the Independent that he could not recall the city ever agreeing to enter into voluntary arbitration to resolve an impasse during contract negotiations, and attributes this to the city knowing that it can simply impose a contract in the end since public employees don't have the right to strike.
For this reason, he said, the city’s labor ordinance has long hampered genuine negotiations between the city and it’s public employees.
“Negotiations really aren’t negotiations if the employer can just impose a contract on you in the end,” Padilla said. “In the past, when we’ve reached an impasse and mediation hasn’t worked, we’ve sent a letter requesting arbitration. Then they say no.”
When asked about concerns that the bill would constitute a “substantial” change, which under the state statute would end the grandfathering provision and make the city ordinance null and void, Padilla said it was pure speculation. Different attorneys say different things, he said, and in any event Councilor Debbie O’Malley offered an amendment to the bill that would make the binding arbitration provision null and void should it be declared a “substantial” change in court.
Other concerns are that the bill would make it difficult for the city to schedule workers when and where they are needed. Padilla said that would not be the case either since O’Malley added an amendment to the bill exempting “management rights.”
Under the City’s labor ordinance, management rights have the following definition:

Subject to existing law, the Mayor and his administrative staff shall have the following rights:
(A) To direct the work of its employees;
(B) To hire, promote, evaluate, transfer and assign employees;
(C) To demote, suspend, discharge or terminate employees for just cause;
(D) To determine staffing requirements;
(E) To maintain the efficiency of the city government and ensure the carrying out ofnormal management functions;
(F) To take actions as may be necessary to carry out the mission of the citygovernment in emergencies; and
(G) To manage and to exercise judgment on all matters not specifically prohibitedby this article or by a collective bargaining agreement in effect between the city employer and an employee organization.

Padilla argues that staffing questions regarding when and where employees would be assigned to work falls under management rights that are exempt from the bill. O’Malley also amended the bill to exclude drug use policy.
There are a whole host of other issues that fall outside of economic issues, management rights, and drug use policy, that are the subject of contract negotiations. Current city contracts can be seen on this Web page.
The table of contents in each shows the scope of issues covered. The City Council passed the bill 5-3, with Councilor Sally Mayer absent. To override the mayor’s veto, Mayer would need to provide the sixth vote in favor of the bill.
Padilla said his union will challenge the city’s ordinance in court if necessary in an attempt to bring it in line with the arbitration provisions in the state statute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Councilors Garduño and O'Malley Sponsor Labor Amendement

Last night, an ordinance that amends the impasse procedure of the City's Labor-Management relations. The bill, co-sponsored by Councilor Rey Garduño and Councilor Debbie O'Malley, allows for binding arbritaration when impasse is declared. Under the current ordinance, binding arbritration could only occur if both parties voluntarily agree to enter it, now only one party can volunteer for binding arbritaraiton and both would have to enter.

Below is an article about the bill from The New Mexico Independent;


By Marjorie Childress 08/19/2008

The majority of the Albuquerque City Council said it was the only fair thing to do when they passed an ordinance tonight to allow binding arbitration to break an impasse during labor/city contract negotiations. The arbitration provision could be triggered by either side if mediation fails to break an impasse, and would apply only to non-economic issues, excluding management rights and alcohol and drug use policies.

Councilor Debbie O’Malley, who sponsored the bill, said the city simply doesn’t have true collective bargaining without the change. Councilor Rey Garduno agreed, saying that the ordinance would “level the playing field.” Currently, public employees are legally barred from striking, and therefore have no recourse to city imposed contracts when negotiations come to a stand still.

“The essence of a union is that if the employer doesn’t negotiate in good faith, they can strike,” Councilor Michael Cadigan explained. “In New Mexico the public unions can’t strike so we need to give them some fair leverage here.”

But Ed Adams, who was confirmed as the city’s Chief Administrative Officer earlier in the evening, said the city’s ability to provide services would be impaired by the ordinance because it would prevent the city from making critical staffing decisions about where and when public employees should work. “The bill is touted as leveling the playing field, but it reverses the playing field,” he said, ”...placing our futures in the hands of an arbitrator who on a whim can make a decision.”

Labor representatives disagreed. Andrew Padilla, president of AFSCME Council 18, said the point is to not get to an impasse, with both sides coming to reasonable agreement. This mechanism would prevent one side from having more leverage than the other, making that outcome more likely.

And AFSCME Council 18’s Josh Anderson added that, ”...as it stands, the union has an underlying belief when they enter into negotiations that the administration doesn’t have enough incentive because at the end of the day they can impose a contract.”

read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Free Computer and Electronics Recycling

On August 22 and 23, you can recycle your old computers, stereos, fax machines, copiers, and mobile phones for FREE at Balloon Fiesta Park.

August 22nd is for commercial businesses, and August 23rd is for Albuquerque residents.
Why recycle? Recycling electronics rather than throwing them away protects Albuquerque's environment by preventing dangerous compounds like mercury, lead, and cadmium from leaching into the ground. Plus, the rebuilt electronics are being donated to local schools.

Accepted Items
~Computer monitors (CRTs and LCDs accepted)
~All office-related equipment, including fax machines, copiers, and typewriters
~CPUs (central processing units) including accessories and peripherals
~Consumer electronics including DVD or VCR players and games
~Radios, telephones, and cell phones
~Stereo equipment

Not-Accepted Items
~Home appliances, such as microwaves, stoves, refrigerators, and air conditioners

Friday, August 8, 2008

City Council District 6 Coalition's Recommendations for EXPO NM

City Council District Six Coalition of Neighborhood Associations
600 San Pablo St NE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

August 7, 2008

For further information contact Nancy Bearce
Coalition President (505) 254-7841

SE Heights Neighborhood Groups Issue Recommendations for Expo NM

ALBUQUERQUE - As part of the RFI process and in anticipation of the Governor’s visit to Expo NM this Friday at 1:30 pm at the African American Performing Arts Center, surrounding neighborhood groups and elected officials have outlined several desired themes to help guide Expo New Mexico's future planning. Earlier last month, 23 citizens representing 7 neighborhood associations, 4 organizations and 5 public officials gathered for a brainstorming session and are pleased to make the following recommendations. Ideas for a new plan for Expo NM include:

1. Keep the State Fair

2. Provide more job opportunities for area residents and be an asset for creating a
community economic engine

3. Incorporate “Best of " ideas from other cities, i.e. Central Park, NYC;
Millennium Park, Chicago; Soulard Market, St. Louis

4. Be an International/Cultural Destination (cultural centers, sister city cultures,
International Consulate offices, etc.)

5. Include a Rt 66/Central Avenue Promenade

6. Home to a Permanent Grower’s Market/Flea Market (open, inviting, public) such as
the Soulard Market, St. Louis

7. Be a Daily and Year-round Destination including Retail, Restaurants and
Government Offices

8. Provide Year-round Family recreation that is community supported and include all
age activities for children, teens, adults and elders

9. Provide Green Open walkways, lighted and no walls

10. A World Class Event Center like O2 in London that is multi-functional

11. Incorporate thoughtful mixed use planning with a parking garage, gate re-designs,
multi-modal transportation, workable traffic flows, and safe

12. Use Green Building and alternative energy, i.e. solar panels on the covered
grower’s market structure and utilize local companies

13. Include Athletic Fields for a variety of community sports such as soccer, Little
League, etc

14. Include an Equestrian Center, depending on Mesa Del Sol plans

15. Exclude ideas for established long-term housing but consider State Fair housing
and ‘artist in residence’ programs like the Santa Fe Opera

16. Follow a process that permanently includes Neighborhoods and other stakeholders

" The Fairgrounds re-development will impact area residents and neighborhoods for 50 years or more. The Governor is well served by having engaged citizens, their sharing of ideas and the value of their input," says Nancy Bearce, Coalition President.

"What to do with Expo NM was an important issue in the recent primary, I'm pleased our district is proactively voicing its ideas. I'm looking forward to working on this in the legislature," says State Senate District 17 Senator - Elect Tim Keller.

"I am excited to work with the Governor and community leaders on promoting a re-vitalized and vibrant Expo New Mexico that will serve the local neighborhoods as well as the entire state,” says State Representative Al Park, District 26.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Governor Richardson to Hold a Community Meeting to Hear Ideas for EXPO New Mexico

SANTA FE - Governor Bill Richardson will hold a community meeting on Friday, Aug. 8, in Albuquerque to hear directly from New Mexicans who have ideas for redeveloping EXPO New Mexico.

“I want to hear from the public, including the private sector and neighborhood associations, to explore every option for renovating the state fairgrounds,” said Governor Richardson.

The Governor will be accompanied by EXPO officials, Finance Secretary Katherine Miller and local legislators, whom will be available to the public for questions and comments about the state fairgrounds.

Governor Richardson is interested in ideas that may include replacing Tingley Coliseum and the Downs Racetrack with a world class EXPO New Mexico Exhibit Center. In effort to maximize the use of the space, the State is open to considering alternative uses for the property, including community green space, multi-use buildings and commercial or residential development.

EXPO New Mexico consists of 237 acres within the city of Albuquerque and contains approximately 1,000,000 square feet of buildings and 7,500 parking spaces.

The community meeting will be held on Friday, August 8, 2008 at 1:30pm in the auditorium at the African American Performing Arts Center on the State Fairgrounds.

This event is open to the media and the public. We urge those who would like to attend, to arrive prior to 1:30pm.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Public Meeting to Discuss Fuel Release

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – Kirtland Air Force Base will be holding a public meeting on Thursday, July 31 to discuss the KAFB Bulk Fuels release and the discovery of fuel product on the water table. The meeting will be held at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial and will start at 6 p.m. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Col. Michael Duvall, Commander of the 377th Air Base Wing, Mark Holmes, Project Manager for the Civil Engineer Division, and project support staff from CH2M-Hill will be giving a briefing on the history of the fuel release to include detection, investigation, and remediation efforts as well as future plans to address the fuels release on and off base.
A question and answer session will immediately follow the briefing to address any concerns or issues the public may have. Members of the New Mexico Environmental Department Groundwater Quality Bureau, the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center, and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility will also be in attendance to answer questions.
The New Mexico Veterans Memorial is located at 1100 Louisiana Blvd SE (near Gibson and Louisiana).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jet Fuel Leaking from Kirtland to City

from the New Mexico Independent
By Trip Jennings, Marjorie Childress 07/11/2008
ALBUQUERQUE -- Air force officials said Friday that 12 groundwater wells would be dug over the next year to monitor a long-term leak of jet fuel that has migrated off Kirtland Air Force and into the groundwater table nearby.
The fuel was discovered on the groundwater table in December 2007 after several years of tracking fuel from a leak detected in 1999, according to a Kirtland Air Force Base press release.
"An interim remediation system has also been installed to initiate removal of the fuel from the groundwater," a press release said Friday of the original leak. "The interim remediation system is removing liquid fuel from the groundwater and collecting it at the surface for recycling." Later, air force officials clarified that the fuel contamination had not made it to drinking water wells nearby.
The proposed wells will serve two purposes, said John Pike, chief of natural resources management at Kirtland Air Force Base: to determine the size and extent of the contamination in the groundwater and to ensure that the spreading of the fuel contamination doesn't get to several nearby wells that produce drinking water for the base, the Veteran Affairs Administration and the city of Albuquerque.
Air force officials briefed Albuquerque city officials Friday morning on the development.
City Councilor Rey Garduno, one of the officials briefed, said he was told that the leak is from fuel that hasn't been used since 1974. Garduno said he asked if the leakage had been happening since 1974 and was told that the Airforce "didn't know."
"It's a plume about two blocks wide and five blocks long, from a fuel storage facility near the northern boundary of KAFB," Garduno said.
"They've known about the leak for awhile and have remediated 130,000 gallons so far—which tells us it's quite large," Garduno said. "They hadn't told the public up until now because they thought it was contained within the base. But apparently, it hit clay and began flowing north to northeast, off the base. The neighborhood affected is the Ridgecrest community just south of Gibson."
Kirtland spokesman Michael Kleiman said the fuel migrating north to northeast and past the base boundary is from the same jet fuel leak discovered in 1999. The leak was caused by a corroded pipe leaking fuel. The leak is believed to have started sometime in the past 40 or 50 years, but it is unclear how long the leak continued. It is from this leak that officials have cleaned up 130,000 gallons of fuel vapors found in the soil, he said.
Garduno said he asked air force officials several questions around the groundwater contamination.
"I asked if it was possible it was causing air contamination, by evaporating up to the topsoil and into the air," Garduno said. "They said they hadn't had an opportunity to test the air but assured me that they would conduct those tests."
Kleiman said it was important to note that no contamination of drinking water wells had been discovered. He added that a $2.8 million contract to dig and install the 12 wells should be let by this fall, with drilling starting soon afterward. All 12 wells should be in the ground by next summer, Kleiman said, and there are no public safety concerns at this time.
A Kirtland air force base press release said that the "leaking pipes have been removed from service and the existing fuel distribution system tested and to date, no additional leakage has been detected." The release also said air force officials had been working "very closely with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Groundwater Quality Bureau (GWB) since 1999 "to identify and institute appropriate remedial actions and to conduct further investigation in order to assess the extent of impacts to the groundwater."
The release said Kirtland has closely monitored the base and Veterans Affairs Hospital water production wells and has verified no impacts to these wells.
The Kirtland and Veterans Affairs wells, located approximately 1,000-2,000 feet away from the edge of the known plume, are tested quarterly and the City of Albuquerque’s wells, located approximately 1.5 miles away from the edge of the known plume, are tested annually.
Kirtland AFB will provide periodic updates of its ongoing fuel release investigation and remediation efforts to the New Mexico Environment Department, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, the Veterans Affairs Hospital and any potentially affected neighborhood associations adjacent to the base.
Garduno said that he "asked that we have some very open, public meetings, so that the public could be informed and have their questions answered. They assured me that they would do that in the next two weeks."
In addition to periodic updates, the base will be scheduling public meetings in the upcoming weeks to further discuss current and future remediation efforts. Kirtland will also hold its regularly scheduled public meeting on environmental issues on Oct. 16, 2008, at the Cesar Chavez Community Center. Subject matter experts will be available at all meetings to provide detailed information and answer any questions. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.
"I commend the AFB for coming forward with the information, since it has such a negative aspect to it," Garduno said. "Now we need a very open and public discussion with full assurances that the air force will fully discover the extent of the contamination and its effects, and take responsibility for complete remediation for any contamination from this fuel leak."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Strength of the Native American Voting Bloc

Below is an article by Rebecca Ford, from the New Mexico Independent, that focuses on the mobilization of Native American voters in Albuquerque. This is a great article that commends the work of our friends from SAGE Council.

SAGE Council is doing amazing work in the Native American community, and we thank them for empowering Native American voice.

Vying for Native American Votes

By Rebecca Ford 07/10/2008 158 Views -->
ALBUQUERQUE -- Native American voters, often treated as an afterthought in presidential elections, are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention from both presidential candidates this year in the battleground state of New Mexico.

It's a development nearly two decades in the making in which a handful of Albuquerque–based activists have been working to create a well-organized and powerful Native American voice.

Today, with 63,000 registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, Native Americans may well be the swing constituency in one of the most politically volatile states in the country.

The Sacred Alliance for Grassroots Equality (SAGE) Council, founded in 1996 by brother and sister Sonny and Laurie Weahkee, was formed to protest the construction of a road through the Petroglyph National Monument on Albuquerque's fast-growing westside. The city planned to build the road through the site, considered sacred to all of the state's pueblos, in order to ease traffic congestion for many commuters.

“A lot of people don’t realize that there’s not really a separation between the earth and the way we practice our cultures and our traditions,” said Sonny Weahkee. The petroglyphs, some of which are over 3,000 years old according to park officials, are still used for religious ceremonies by some tribes today.

The Weahkees and their fellow activists did everything they could to stop the road from being built: collected signed petitions, spoke out at council meetings, and tried to block funding for the construction. Sonny and Laurie were even arrested, along with five other SAGE Council members, when they tried to physically stand in the way of the construction of the road.

“At that time, we started to realize that the City of Albuquerque wasn’t going to move, no matter how many people we packed into the city council office,” said Sonny Weahkee, a Cochiti and Zuni Pueblo member. “They were never ever going to vote on our side.”

The road was built in 2005. While the SAGE Council lost that battle, they learned an important lesson: in order for their voice to be heard, they had to mobilize the Native American vote.

“If we stand together and vote together on whatever issue, we can start to gain some momentum and start turning people's heads,” said Sonny Weahkee.

The SAGE Council created the Native American Voters Alliance, a network of Native Americans living in Albuquerque and rural areas of New Mexico. They registered voters at office buildings, and at the Albuquerque Indian Center. There would be long lines of Native Americans, many of whom had never before been asked to register. The Native American Voters Alliance went from a handful of members to over 6,700 participants.

“The SAGE Council has probably done more for registering Native American voters, identifying registered Native American voters, keeping tabs on them, educating them on important issues, and making sure they get out to vote than any other group,” said Laura Harris, executive director of Americans for Indian Opportunity, an Albuquerque-based group which encourages Native American leadership.

The SAGE Council tries to contact their thousands of members seven times before an election to educate them on what they deem issues important to Native Americans, and then encourage them to vote.

This year, Laurie Weahkee became one of only four Native American superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. She endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama in May.

“He seems to be a lot more interested on root causes of things rather than a band-aid approach,” said Laurie Weahkee.

She adds that the Native American vote is strong enough to make a real difference this year in a state that could be won or lost by hundreds of votes.

“The Native American vote is really critical,” said Laurie Weahkee. “I think it’s even more important as Native people that we really are studying the different current issues and who is speaking to those particular platforms or solutions and then from there choosing our candidates.”
Weahkee also encourages Native people to become involved in politics at any level. While New Mexico has yet to have a Native American member of Congress, there have been several Native politicians in local and state government positions.

“I see a lot more Native people participating and willing to get more involved at the local level, which I think then translates to participating in the electoral process on a larger statewide and federal level,” she said.

An army of activists

Many of the participants from the SAGE Council went on to establish and work for other Native American activists groups in New Mexico. Their efforts to mobilize the Native American vote come with their own distinct set of challenges.

Amber Carillo, who joined the SAGE Council at its birth, went on to work for the All Indian Pueblo Council, which represents 19 pueblos in New Mexico. She continues to actively pursue registering new Native American voters and encouraging those who are registered to go out to vote.

“It’s important to me to really emphasize that having Native folks participate in the decisions that impact them on a daily basis is really the core of what they need to embrace,” said Carillo, who is a board member of the SAGE Council. “There is a great deal of power that we can garner and the was can use.”

There are unique obstacles to registering Native Americans, Carillo added, as many tribal members feel that participating in the federal system can jeopardize their own way of life.

“What I always want to emphasize is that we don’t have to compromise the integrity of our traditions in order to participate,” said Carillo. “I think that if we understand and embrace certain aspects of the American political system that we could actually strengthen where we’re at in terms of preserving who we are.”

Keegan King, who also worked with the SAGE Council and is now director of New Mexico Youth Organized, a group that aims to engage young people in the political process, agreed that Native Americans can be disengaged from politics.

“To Native folks, if we’re working in a rural area or on a reservation there are a lot of times when you find people that say, ‘Why should I get involved? We have our own tribal elections,’” said King. “We’re not living in a bubble. We can retain our traditions but we also need to learn and adapt to our neighbors.”

King, a member of Acoma Pueblo, said he has seen a real increase in voter participation in the Native American community, but also feels there is still a long way to go.

“It’s about our Native people ready to take that step and really start investing in the system that hasn’t always worked for us," King said. "But [it] can if we get involved,”

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Governor Asking for Your Ideas

from the Albuquerque Journal

Got Any Ideas for Expo? Speak Up!
AlbuquerqueJournal-->By Jeff JonesJournal Staff Writer

Gov. Bill Richardson, who envisions a dramatic revamp of the state fairgrounds in Albuquerque, wants to know what developers, businesses, architects and anyone else who's interested have in mind.

The options, including moving the fairgrounds elsewhere, seem to be wide open.

The state on Monday issued a written “request for information” on ideas for the future of the 237-acre Expo New Mexico grounds on Central Avenue. And the state is continuing to explore a public-private partnership to make big changes on the valuable chunk of central Albuquerque real estate.

Richardson earlier this year made headlines when he announced the partnership possibility and tossed out the idea of replacing the aging Tingley Coliseum and the Downs at Albuquerque horse track with a new “world-class” exhibit center.

Some of the other possibilities in the new request for information are also likely to spark conversation.

“Expo New Mexico grounds are large enough and located in an area that lends itself to any number of possible uses, including but by no means limited to a year-round theme park, commercial, residential and/or retail development, an equestrian center, land leases, a state office campus for the Albuquerque area, expansion of the flea market, etc.,” the request says.

The request also says the state is seeking ideas for keeping the fair “as an integral part of the new development” as well as a “development with the state fair moved to an alternate location.”

The potential exhibit center, convention facilities, green space and “destination retail” are also mentioned in the request.

The request for ideas is not a formal request seeking bids on an Expo revamp, and the state is not paying anything for the ideas it generates — though Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the ideas could eventually be incorporated into a bid request.

A meeting for anyone wishing to give their two cents' worth is set to take place 10 a.m. July 18 on the Expo grounds, and responses must be submitted to the state by Aug. 15.

“If there's something we need from the Legislature, we'd like to get it to them by the next session,” Gallegos said of the potential state involvement in an Expo makeover.

Richardson in May announced that he had directed state Finance Secretary Katherine Miller and Expo General Manager Judith Espinosa to hammer out a proposal for a public-private partnership to revamp the aging fairgrounds, which for years has been a major money pit for repair and maintenance work.

The order came after the state Racing Commission approved a request by the Downs to move its track and casino operations to a new site in Moriarty. At the time, Gallegos said moving the track would strip about $2 million a year from Expo's $15.7 million budget.

Gallegos has said Richardson preferred keeping the fair on the Expo grounds, though the new request for information leaves a move elsewhere as one option.

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez would like to see the fair moved to the developing Mesa del Sol area south of Albuquerque.

It wasn't immediately clear whether a new exhibit center would conflict in any way with Chávez's plans to bring a new arena and hotel project to Downtown Albuquerque, though the new request for information appears to refer to the other project at one point:

It mentions “keeping in mind other similarly planned projects in the Albuquerque metro area.”

A message left for Chávez on Monday afternoon wasn't immediately returned, though one city official has said Richardson appears to be supportive of the Downtown plans.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Town Hall to Focus on Proposed Event and Hotel Complex

The city of Albuquerque is considering whether to build a large-scale event and hotel complex for concerts, sporting events, and national trade shows. Should such a project be undertaken? What benefits would it bring the Duke City? What drawbacks exist? What questions should the people of Albuquerque be asking now?

These issues and others will be addressed at the upcoming event:

Town Hall Albuquerque: Making Choices about Our $2 Billion Tourism Industry.

The town hall invites the people of Albuquerque to discuss the possibility of the new event and hotel complex, developing questions for city and project leaders.

Visit our website for more details on the assessment, town hall specifics, and a picture of the proposed development.

When: July 17, 2008

What: Deliberative Town Hall to develop key questions for city leaders and researchers
Where: Albuquerque Convention Center

Cost: $35 (scholarships available for those with financial need)Click here for additional details and sign-up information.

Registration is required, and seating is limited. Reserve your spot today.

I encourage you to take advantage of scholarship offers and also continue the discussion on this blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

¡Arte Si! ¡Guerra No! Silent Art Auction

Friday June 27th, 5:30-8:00pm

Come Join us for an unforgettable night of art, music, culture, food and of course social justice history.

Looking for affordable art?

Here's your chance and you don't want to miss it.

Dinner will be available at 6:00pm for a $10.00 donation.

Download your own copy of the invitation and send it to your friends!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Support for Reforming 1872 Mining Law

Only in NM blogger and former Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca posted about Licncoln County Commission adding to the list of supporters for reform to the 1872 Mining Law.

As you recall, Councilor Rey Garduño sponsored and passed a City Council Resolution to support the Federal Government to reform the 1872 Mining Law. R-08-67 was unanimously passed, you can read the press release here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I wonder who's voice that is.....?

from the Albuquerque Journal

More Primary Analysis

from Clearly New Mexico

A week ago, the earth moved in New Mexico.
It was an electoral earthquake, largely overlooked by the mainstream media that was focused on the high profile U.S. Senate and Congressional races.
But a seismic voter shift occurred that has significantly brightened the prospects for passage of ethics reform in the state of New Mexico. After years of corruption scandals, the voters spoke.

What happened?
The June 3rd primary election left in its wake a vastly altered legislative landscape. In Albuquerque, Democratic Primary voters tossed out three supposedly unbeatable incumbents - and most significantly, two powerful committee chairmen.
And in Roswell's District 57, Republican voters dumped the ethically challenged House Minority Whip, Dan Foley.All four of them were beneficiaries of a State Capitol culture fueled by copious gratuities from lobbyists and gobs of campaign money from industry special interests.Their contribution reports were a veritable "who's who" of special interests -- insurance and pharmaceuticals, big oil and big developers, the banking industry and payday lenders, liquor and tobacco. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash.All of these incumbents were roadblocks to reform. Now they're gone.

Voters send a message.
In Senate District 17, Shannon Robinson, a 21-year incumbent and chairman of the Corporations Committee was crushed by political newcomer Tim Keller - 66% to 34%.
In Senate District 14, James Taylor, a 14-year legislative veteran, took a thumpin' at the hands of former Albuquerque City Councilor Eric Griego - 63% to 37%.
And in probably the biggest upset of all, Dan Silva in House District 13, a 23-year incumbent and chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was defeated by Local 1199 Hospital Workers union organizer Eleanor Chavez - 54% to 46%.

And there were two other incumbents who also had very close calls.
In SD 30, David Ulibarri - known as "Senator Yellowcake" for his relentless promotion of a revival of uranium mining in his mostly Cibola County district, is clinging to a narrow lead over Clemente Sanchez with a recount in process. (In this three-person race, the anti-incumbent vote was a combined 63%.)
Finally, in Albuquerque South Valley's Senate District 11, Rules Committee chair Linda Lopez barely avoided another stunning incumbent downfall by a slim margin (53%). Under Lopez's chairmanship, Senate Rules has become known as the Devil's Island for ethics reform bills. It's where bills were sent to languish and rot as the session clock ran down.In recent weeks, Lopez, Taylor and Silva have all been stung by criticism for their advocacy of a multi-multi-million dollar taxpayer giveaway to a California based developer, SunCal.

Historically Unprecedented.
As is the case with Congress, the incumbent re-election rate to the N.M. legislature is well over 90%. So the toppling of three such prominent and powerful legislators - in a primary election and by landslide margins no less -- is historically unprecedented.
Yet voters in these distinct districts all sent the same unmistakable message. It was a collective rebuke of the special interest, money-driven way business has been conducted at the State Capitol. It was a call for ethics reform.

But at the national level, at least one Democrat does get it:(USA Today, 6/6/08)

Barack Obama put his stamp on the party Thursday, announcing the Democratic National Committee would no longer accept donations from political action committees or federal lobbyists. That brings the party in line with his campaign's policy... "We are going to change how Washington works," he said.

Perhaps some New Mexico legislators still don't get it. But for those who don't, here's a handy compendium of a few of the media and blog stories that grasp the point the voters were making so eloquently last week:

Albq. Journal Editorial: Back Lawmakers Who Support Ethics Reform(Albuquerque Journal, 5/21/08)
Too many are comfortable with the status quo. Some argue that this is a solution where no problem exists or say raising the subject of the potential for corruption in state government is an insult. That's an insult to voters' intelligence.

Progressive victories create hope for ethics reform. (Heath Haussamen blog, 5/6/08)
"On Tuesday, Democratic voters in Albuquerque proved that they want reform and they're willing to vote against candidates who stand in its way. In the process, they knocked out two opponents of reform and changed the landscape in the state Senate."

Roundhouse Roundup: New, progressive order for Senate? (Steve Terrell, Santa Fe New Mexican, 6/4/08)
"It's easy to imagine the two newcomers banding together with fellow Albuquerque progressives like Cisco McSorley, Dede Feldman and Jerry Ortiz y Pino -- plus perhaps Santa Fe's Peter Wirth, who will be moving from the House to the Senate -- and give new life to ethics reform, which for the past few sessions has withered and died in the catacombs of the Senate."

Ethics Issue Propelled Keller (New Mexico Independent, 6/5/08)
"Keller's campaign focused hard on ethics and campaign finance reform, two particularly weak points for Robinson, who had been criticized for improperly diverting funds to the UNM club rugby team (which he coaches), and failing to disclose a long list of tangles with the law."

It's time to speak out, now more than ever.
Governor Richardson is talking about calling a special session of the legislature to address healthcare.
Will the health insurance industry lobbyists call the shots? Will they produce health care "reform" that enriches their industry while the public gets the shaft again?

Send your state senator and state representative a message. (See below.)Let them know that, after years of corruption scandals, the time is NOW to stand up to special interests. It's time for comprehensive ethics reform. The time is now to curb corporate lobbyist influence in Santa Fe and make our legislators accountable to the voters again!Tell them you support:
1. Campaign contribution limits
2. Independent ethics commission
3. Webcasting of legislative floor sessions
4. "Clean Elections" public financing of campaigns

By visiting the Clearly New Mexico website, you can use our Legislator Contact tool to email your senator and representative.

Here's the link to email your legislators! (link)

The movement for ethics reform took a major step forward last week. We can take back our government from industry and corporate lobbyists. Today you can keep the momentum going!


The staff at Clearly New Mexico

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Inspirational Primary

This past Tuesday was an highly anticipated Primary Election for the State of New Mexico and set the ground heading into the November General Election and next years Legislative Session. In an unprecedented year where we have a U.S. Senate seat open, all three U.S. Representative seats open, and many State officials being challenged for their seats, Tuesday was the breaking point for many incumbents and candidates.

In what I view as a true watershed moment in New Mexico, many grassroots campaigns were able get into communities and start the engine for what turned into the locomotive for Community Driven Change in Local Politics.

Voters arrived in high numbers to vote for the community based candidates like; Former City Councilor for District 6 Martin Heinrich, whom won the Democratic Primary for the 1st Congressional District. He now will face Darren White in November.Eric Griego, another former City Councilor, beat incumbent James Taylor for the State Senate seat for District 14. We will see Eric in Santa Fe next year, because he is unopposed for the General Election. The State Senate District 17 seat will now be held be Tim Keller, whom was selected over incumbent Shannon Robinson and like Griego, Tim is unopposed in the General Election. Maybe the most exciting victory was union organizer Eleanor Chavez being voted into State Representative District 13 by beating incumbent Dan Silva. Many viewed it as a major upset but Eleanor was able to gain grassroots support, as well as mobilize new voters which ultimately proved the difference. Like above Eleanor is unopposed for the November election, so we will also see Eleanor in Santa Fe next year.

I would like to congratulate all the winners of the Primaries on Tuesday. It was an exciting and inspirational day for all New Mexicans, especially in the Albuquerque area. I look forward to working with all these grassroots-community based Representatives.

I believe nobody could have summed up "Grassroots-Tuesday" any better than the community lead State Representative Eleanor Chavez, whom told her community supporters on Tuesday night;

"This is not my seat....this is OUR SEAT."


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Department of Peace and Non-Violence Resolution Passes

At the June 2nd City Council Meeting, the Council passed a resolution supporting a Federal Department of Peace and Non-Violence.
The resolution, sponsored by Councilor Garduño, did 3 things;
1) Provides that the City Council supports and endorses proposed federal legislation (HR 808) to create a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence.
2) Urges New Mexico's United States Representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the proposed federal legislation (HR 808) to create a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence and actively support its passage.
3) Urges New Mexico's United States Senators to introduce a companion Bill into the United States Senate to create a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence and actively support its passage.

We would like to thank the Peace Community for bring the resolution forward and for their large tunout and inspiring words at the Council Meeting. Thanks to the Community Leadership of this bill, it passed with a 6-2 vote, with Councilors Jones and Mayer voting against it and Councilor Harris was excused.
P.S. Be sure to participate in Democracy TODAY! Click here to find your polling location.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

REMINDER: Early Voting Ends Saturday;Tuesday is Election Day

The June 3rd Primary is almost here and if you want to beat the long lines on Election Day, then Vote Early!

Early Voting ends Saturday, click here for Early Voting Locations.
Below are the Early Voting Locations in and around Council District 6:
Siesta Hills Shopping Center, 5407 Gibson SE

University of New Mexico, Student Union Building

Integrity Plaza, 1512 Wyoming NE Suites F&G

Market Center East, 11110 Lomas NE Suite E-4

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Green Job Corps Training Introduced

A resolution (R-08-86) sponsored by Councilors Garduño, Benton, Cadigan, and O'Malley was introduced yesterday, that would create a "Green Jobs Corps" in Albuquerque. With Advent Solar and Schott Solar opening manufactoring plants in the Duke City, it will be most important that we have a locally trained workforce to realize the endless potential of Green Jobs.
For more, click here for an article from the New Mexico Independent.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Early Voting for June 3rd Primary

Early voting sites have been opened and are now taking YOUR VOTE!
Click here to see where you can cast your ballot early.
Don't get caught in the long lines on election day, vote at one of the 15 early voting locations.
2008 is a major election year for New Mexico and your vote will play a major role in New Mexico's future.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


April 21, 2008
Contact: City Councilor Rey Garduño, (505) 768-3152

(Albuquerque, NM) – Last night on April 21, 2008, by a unanimous vote the Albuquerque City Council sent a message to United State Senators Bingaman and Domenici urging support of a reform to the General Mining Law of 1872. The law, which governs the mining of hard rock minerals on more than 350 million acres of public lands across the country, has remained unchanged for more than 135 years.

“As of December 2006, there were over 6,500 active mining claims in New Mexico, covering and estimated 170,231 acres,” said Garduño. “These mines have polluted our waters and posed threats to New Mexican communities, wildlife, and our states environment, all while the US government has given away $245 billion of minerals through royalty free mining and patenting.”

House Resolution 2662, a bi-partisan bill, that would provide sensible reform and protect fish and wildlife resources on America’s public lands, was passed by the US House of Representatives by a vote of 244-166 on November 1, 2007. Since then, advocates across the country have been awaiting a hearing on the legislation by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which Senator Bingaman chairs, and in which Senator Domenici serves as the ranking member. Councilor Garduño chose to sponsor R-08-67, because the City of Albuquerque represents a significant portion of each Senators constituency.

Currently, the 1872 Mining Law prevents mining corporations like New Mexico’s Phelps Dodge from paying any federal royalties. In comparison, coal, oil, and gas industries, which also operate on public lands, pay royalties of roughly 12.5%.

Councilor Rey Garduño also states; “This law is badly out of date and puts mining as the highest and greatest use of public lands, ahead of more important public interest. This reform would give land managers, with input from local communities, the right to deny mines that pose threats to public health, provide financial help for cleanup of abandoned mines, protect clean water, and protect highly valued public lands and sacred Native American sites.”

For more information contact City Councilor Rey Garduño at 768-3152 or email at reygarduno@cabq.gov


Monday, April 21, 2008

Subsidizing Growth on Fringes of City Wrong Policy; Op-Ed from Journal

Monday, April 21, 2008 Subsidizing Growth on Fringes of City Wrong Policy
Albuquerque Journal
By Isaac Benton, Michael Cadigan and Rey Garduño Albuquerque City Councilors

Many decisions guiding Albuquerque's transportation and land use trends over the past several decades have contributed to sprawl, loss of open space, global warming and poor air quality.
Rapid development has increasingly occurred on the city's edges, contributing to New Mexico's rank as sixth in the nation for vehicle miles traveled per driver— about 18,500 miles per driver per year. Between 1980 and 2005, New Mexico's population grew by 48 percent, but our vehicle miles traveled grew by 112 percent. As a result, vehicle emissions are the fastest growing and second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the state.
Sprawling growth trends in Albuquerque also mean that the open space and working landscapes that we value in New Mexico are disappearing. Nationally, according to the American Farmland Trust, the United States loses 3,000 acres of farmland to sprawl every day.
Many other cities around the country have made decisions to increase affordable residential options in their urban centers and guide development toward vacant land within the city's core, where residents who need it most can access public transit to and from work.
Such leadership would also protect valued open space and working landscapes around Albuquerque such as our deserts, mountains, grasslands and rivers— and the tourism, jobs, watershed protection and quality of life that these places provide.
The city of Albuquerque, however, with the help of the state's Tax Increment Development District (TIDD) policy, has done the opposite by subsidizing sprawling "greenfield" development on the city's fringe.
Tonight, the Albuquerque City Council will consider an ordinance that would get us moving in the right direction by limiting the city's use of TIDDs.
Although originally used to incentivize urban infill development where revitalization efforts would not occur otherwise, TIDDs could fuel development on the outskirts, providing up to 75 percent of the district's incremental gross receipts and property tax revenues for up to 25 years.
By subsidizing the growth of development on the city's edges, state economists estimate that even more homebuyers and businesses will be lured out of the existing community and into the fringe developments, cannibalizing our urban core and increasing hazardous automobile emissions throughout our city.
We strongly support this ordinance limiting the use of TIDDs to within the 1979 boundaries of the city, as defined in the Planned Growth Strategy, within a metropolitan redevelopment area or in a reserve area in which City Council has previously approved a TIDD. TIDDs would be allowed outside of the 1979 boundaries only if the subsidy were consistent with the No Net Expense Policy and was limited to non-residential development only.
The bill would exclude the use of gross receipts taxes to pay for TIDDs, a risk to taxpayers at a time of economic uncertainties and declining state revenues. By allowing state gross receipts taxes to be committed to providing sprawling infrastructure for such developments, New Mexico's TIDD policy has become the most generous to developers in the nation.
If we're going to reduce pollution and protect what we love about our community, we need to end incentives that drive development to our edges and instead promote smart, infill development and redevelopment. This ordinance will bring forward-thinking leadership to protecting Albuquerque's environment and quality of life.
Lauren Ketcham, director of Environment New Mexico, and Javier Benavidez of Conservation Voters New Mexico also contributed to this commentary.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Councilor Garduño Helps Energize the Power2Change Campaign

On Wednesday March 26, The Sierra Club launced the Power 2 Change Campaign and released their Power 2 Change Report. For the launch of the campaign, a press conference was held infront of the solar carport at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

The Power 2 Change Campaign involves a grassroots organizing effort to educate the public around energy issues for the 2008 Elections and challenge the candidates to push America towards clean and renewable energy.

The report shows the contrast in competing goals for Americas energy use and how crucial they'll be in the upcoming elections. The report also contains a section which focuses on New Mexico; that asks whether New Mexico will continue the toxic uranium mining or be the pilot for the solar manufactoring industry.

Also, here is a link to a KUNM Radio interview with Michael Casaus, from Sierra Club; Odes Armijo-Caster of Sacred Power; and Councilor Rey Garduño, about the Power2Change Campaign.