When Diane Gibson ran four (4) years ago for City Council, I voted for her as did my extended family without any reservation.
Not this time and never again.
There are two (2) other candidates running against Diane Gibson who are gathering signatures to get on the ballot:
1. Independent Timothy Carlton McQueen, December UNM graduate, legislative analyst
2. Republican Eric L. Lucero, retired New Mexico Army National Guard and Air Force
I do hope others will run so we will have other choices.
Not surprising, Gibson is the only one seeking public financing in that she made sure the existing public finance laws favor incumbents when she sat on a charter review task force.
Candidate seeking public finance in city council races have until May 31 to secure the $5 donations.
All the three candidates have until June 28, 2017 to gather 500 qualifying signatures from voters in the District.
NOT A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Police officers are being called out to a vacant bank foreclosed house in our neighborhood almost daily.
The house has now been vacant for five (5) years and continues to deteriorate with ceilings falling in and mold damage from roof leaks.
There is another vacant house a few blocks from us that is in far worse shape, it is boarded up, and is broken in to on a regular basis, and has been vacant for at least eight (8) years.
Just a little over six weeks ago in the morning, another neighbor had her front door kicked in and had all her jewelry stolen and it was lucky she was not home.
My City Councilor Diane Gibson refuses to address the problem, or any problem of crime in our area, by saying there is nothing she can do as a City Councilor.
Despite repeated requests by my neighbors and the neighborhood associations, Gibson refuses to request the City Attorney’s Office to initiate a nuisance abatement lawsuit or introduce condemnation resolutions against any vacant, substandard houses in her City Council District.
In the four (4) years she has been a city councilor, Gibson has not to my knowledge introduced a single condemnation action.
Something needs to be done before someone gets hurt or killed at these properties.
Gibson now wants to form a “citizen’s committee” to study and make recommendations for legal options.
The city attorneys either do not know what they are doing, do not know the law, or are afraid of a courtroom.
For eight (8) years, I was a Deputy City Attorney and Director of the Safe City Strike Force which at one time comprised of upwards of 30 to 40 participants.
The Strike Force would take actions against and file civil nuisance abatement lawsuits against substandard properties that had become magnets for crime.
I would file civil nuisance abatement and code enforcement actions in State District Court against properties while the Planning Department prepared condemnations.
The Strike Force never lost a nuisance abatement case filed in State District Court when I went to court.
Virtually all the condemnation actions filed by the Planning Department were successful.
The law has not changed since I left City Hall, but the City Council’s commitment and the Mayor’s Office commitment to addressing nuisance and substandard properties has with the Safe City Strike Force existing in name only with only a Director and perhaps a few inspectors.
Gibson needs to stop misleading her constituents and wasting our time with a “citizen’s committee” to study and make recommendations.
The City Attorney’s Office already know the legal options and what can be done, and need to file civil complaints in State District Court as well as condemnation actions.
THERE ARE TEN (10) GOOD REASONS THAT DIANE GIBSON SHOULD NOT BE RE-ELECTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL:
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 constituent’s 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 civil lawsuits or condemnation proceeding against substandard properties and we torn down condemned properties including residential buildings 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 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 because there is an ongoing investigation.
Dianne Gibson is part of the problem with city hall for any number of reasons.
Gibson needs to go either voluntarily or voted out of office.
The qualifying period to collect signatures to get on the ballot will end June 30, 2017.
I hope both of Gibson’s opponents and others will get on the ballot so I can vote for someone other than City Councilor Diane Gibson.