I Cannot Support The Re-Election Of Diane Gibson As My City Councilor

I live in Albuquerque City Council District 7 which is basically the “mid heights” around Coronado and Winrock shopping centers and that includes the State Fair grounds.

Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson is the City Councilor for District 7.

I am a native of Albuquerque, as is my wife Betty, and we both have lived and been registered to vote in the district for over 50 years, we have raised a family in the district, and at one time I served as the City Councilor for the District.

Four years ago, I supported and voted for Diane Gibson without any reservation as did my extended family.

I cannot and will not support Diane Gibson for re-election even if she is the only one on the ballot and running unopposed.

To say the least, I am very disappointed in Gibson’s job performance and feel Gibson has not represented District 7 very well and has accomplished very little other than attending city council meetings and holding monthly coffees with constituents and drawing her city council salary.

I hope someone who wants to do a good job for the district runs against Gibson.

Ten (10) good reasons that Gibson should not be re-elected are as follows:

FIRST: Gibson voted repeatedly for and supported Mayor Berry’s ART Bus project and funding. Gibson said to a neighborhood association meeting she “was tired of carrying the Mayor’s water” on the project. Gibson refused to advocate to put ART on the ballot for public approval, saying it was the Mayor’s project. Gibson voted to spend federal grant money that has yet, and may never be, appropriated by congress. The ART Bus project has been a total disaster resulting the destruction of the character of Route 66 and having a negative impact and resulting in a number of businesses going out of business. Gibson did not attend a single public meeting that was sponsored by the administration to listen to constituents complaints on the project.

SECOND: Gibson told her constituents at a neighborhood association meeting to their shock she cannot do anything about the numerous vacant and boarded up homes declared and posted substandard in her district. The properties have become magnets for crime with numerous calls for service to police and the boarded-up homes bring down property values. Each city councilor is given $1 million out of the general fund to designate for use on projects in their districts and the money could be used for tear-downs. The truth is that Gibson could introduce condemnation resolutions to force property owners to do something about their properties but she refuses to act. For 8 years, I was a Deputy City Attorney and Director of the Safe City Strike Force and we routinely initiated condemnation proceeding against substandard properties with city council condemnation resolutions and we torn down condemned properties including residential homes and motels along Central.

THIRD: Gibson declined to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance. Gibson served on a task force that was supposed to come up with major changes to our public finance ordinance. Gibson said “it’s supposed to be hard to qualify” and said it keeps out people “who are not serious candidates”, as if she should be the one deciding who are serious candidates. The only change proposed is increasing the amount of money candidates get and not the process and the lack of changes to the public finance laws favors incumbents such as Gibson.

FOURTH: The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)including controlling its budget. Gibson has done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Monitor has presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Gibson has declined to demand accountability from the Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms. Gibson failed to attend any number of the federal court hearings on the consent decree.

FIFTH: Gibson takes credit as the sponsor of the city ordinance amendments requiring equal pay for woman. The truth is that the equal pay ordinance only applies to city contracts and those who do business with the city. The ordinance is voluntary and gives preferential treatment on city contracts to those who voluntarily comply. The equal pay for woman ordinance should apply to all businesses licensed to do business in Albuquerque and it should be mandatory.

SIXTH: Gibson has never demanded the City Attorney’s office to enforce the existing Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance. Gibson claims to be in favor of increasing the minimum wage, but has never demanded that the Mayor direct the City Attorney to enforce the current city ordinance enacted by voters with a 2 to 1 margin. Currently there is a class action lawsuit where minimum wage workers are being force to defend the city minimum wage ordinance without city hall intervention or help.

SEVENTH: Gibson voted for the final adoption of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers. She declined to vote the deferral of enactment of the ordinance to allow more established neighborhoods to give input on the ordinance. The ABC-Z project rewrite is nothing more than making “gentrification” an official city policy and the “gutting” of long standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character for the sake of development.

EIGHTH: Gibson voted for $13 million dollars in revenue bonds to pay for the ART Bus project that was not voted upon by the public. The $13 million allocation should have been part of the capital improvements (CIP) program.

NINTH: Gibson voted for over $63 million dollars over the past two years in revenue bonds to build pickle ball courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down Central not seeking public input and bypassing the capital improvements process (CIP) that mandates public votes. The use of revenue bonds is discretionary with the City Council requiring seven (7) votes and revenue bonds do not require significant review and public hearings as is required with capital improvement bonds.

TENTH: Gibson voted to award Taser International, a five-year, $4.4 million contract for 2,000 on-body cameras for police officers, and cloud storage despite the fact the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is investigating the $2 million no-bid contract the city entered into with Taser in 2013 because former Police Chief Ray Schultz began consulting work for Taser while he was still on the city’s payroll. This is one contract that should not have been approved as long as there is an ongoing investigation.

Dianne Gibson is part of the problem with city hall for any number of reasons, a few which I have listed.

The qualifying period to collect signatures to get on the ballot and the public finance donations to run for City Council has now begun.

I hope someone runs against City Councilor Diane Gibson who I can support.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.