I was delighted to have been invited to the January 8, 2017 Progressive Summit to share my ideas on what I feel needs to be done to turn our city around.
Over 320 motivated progressive activists attended the event.
We were given only 5 minutes so I wrote a speech.
I broke from my prepared text to elaborate on what needs to be done with the Albuquerque Police Department and how it deals with the mentally ill.
I broke from my prepared remarks in order to speak from the heart regarding a very personal experience relating to my father who was a 100% disabled American Veteran who suffered from mental illness and I ran out of time to make my full presentation.
There is a video you can see of my presentation on my FACEBOOK page.
Following is the complete text of my speech:
My big idea for Albuquerque is a City Hall dedicated to Democratic Core and Progressive Core Values.
A city hall, mayor and city council who oppose any restrictions on women’s right to choose, believes in marriage equality, who fights for equal pay for woman, who will support immigration reform and make Albuquerque an immigrant friendly city again, who supports campaign finance reform and a City that supports increasing the minimum wage.
To me a good start is enactment of the mandatory sick leave initiative on October’s ballot.
We need a City Attorney’s Office that will enforce the mandatory sick leave once it is enacted and enforce the minimum wage and not leave workers to enforce them on their own.
We need a Mayor and Council who support the increasing the minimum wage and willing to go to Santa Fe and lobby for it.
A BIG STEP TOWARDS DEMOCRATIC CORE VALUES IS ALLOWING PEOPLE VOTE ON MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.
The $129 million ART Bus Project destroying Route 66,
the $40 million to build the Innovate Albuquerque building which is nothing more than a University of New Mexico dormitory,
the $20 million to build the entertainment center for a bowling alley
were all crammed down our throats without a public vote.
A BIG IDEA IS A POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT RESPECTS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL AND OUR CIVIL RIGHTS AND A POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT WILL BRING DOWN CRIME RATES.
Albuquerque is a dangerous city:
Violent and property crimes increased last year by 10 to 12 percent.
In the last 7 years, 42 people have been shot and killed by APD.
$50 million in settlements for police misconduct have been paid by the city.
A complete and total reorganization of APD is needed to get more cops on the street.
WE NEED A CITY HALL THAT TRULY SUPPORTS THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MANDATED REFORMS.
To do that I propose replacing the Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chiefs and the entire upper command staff.
APD has shown it cannot police itself and I propose civilianize internal affairs.
My big idea is “A Community Based Economic Development Plan”.
Albuquerque can turn its economy around with an aggressive and massive investment in ourselves and our neighborhoods.
This has been done by Denver, El Paso, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Columbus, and other cities that have invested billions in their communities.
It can be done by forging a public consensus like was done with the “Quality of Life” legislation and investing in ourselves and our neighborhoods.
The Quality Life legislation built the Children’s Science Museum, Aquarium, Bio-Park, Botanical Gardens, and the Balloon Museum and we acquired critical open space to complete our urban parks system.
We need to go after Albuquerque’s growth industries of healthcare, transportation and manufacturing with a vengeance to diversify our economy.
Special emphasis and support should be given to Albuquerque’s film industry.
Albuquerque’s taxpayers must be convinced by its political and business leaders of the importance of investing in major construction projects and infrastructure.
Albuquerque must take bold and aggressive, calculated risks to attract and create high-paying jobs to keep our youth and talent from leaving.
Improving our schools and vocational school systems, reducing dropout rates, are critical to diversifying Albuquerque’s economy and to provide a trained workforce for new industry and companies that relocate here.
Albuquerque can expand and reprioritize financial incentives for economic development, such as tax increment districts (TIDS), industrial bonds and revenue bonds.
City Hall could promote and help fund an economic development investment programs for initial start up funding with claw back provisions.
We need to develop public-private partnerships in the growth industries wherever possible.
Albuquerque can partner with the State of New Mexico on major facilities that will benefit the entire state.
A good first start is to find a new vision for the State Fair grounds and how that very valuable gem in the center of Albuquerque can be better utilized.
An example would be for the City and State to jointly fund a tear down of Tingly Coliseum and construct a multipurpose, state of the art facility that could be used for entertainment and sports events and operated year round with a joint powers agreement.
Our political and business leaders need to show far more leadership to improving and diversify Albuquerque’s economy.
Otherwise, we are destined to become just another dying, dusty southwest town without any real potential for growth and better economic times.