Making One Want to Puke

I think I am going to puke if I hear one more time the metaphor “let’s make lemonade out of the lemons” when it comes to the ART bus project and what City Councilor Isaac Benton has to say about the project.

On Sunday, January 28, 2018, Channel 4 reporter Jen French did an exhaustive “Eye On New Mexico” report dedicated to the ART Bus project.

Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton was the only guest interviewed on the program and Channel 4’s  failure to have at least one opponent of ART to take issue with Benton was disappointing.

It was very painful to watch Benton pathetically drone on and on and continue to defend and promote the ART Bus project as he did for the past three (3) years.

Not at all surprising is that Benton now blames the Berry Administration for all the problems for the project.

It was the Albuquerque City Council and Benton who failed in their oversight responsibilities of the project and failed to press the previous administration for answers and the truth.

Least anyone forget, the Albuquerque City Council voted to approve and authorize the spending of a $69 million dollars federal grant money that has yet to be paid to the City and that congressional committees have reduced by $20 million.

Benton now wants to make lemonade out of a liquid that should be “flushed”.

Benton is a licensed architect by profession and he should have been able to identify early on the design and construction problems with ART, but he did not, and instead said it was the Mayor’s project.

City Councilor Pat Davis is also getting into the “come to the rescue act” by questioning the bidding process on the buses.

It is an embarrassment that Davis is now wondering if the city picked the best bus vendor.

Davis claims he has found out the City is paying millions more for the electric buses than another low bidder.

It was Davis who supposedly secured a bus platform for his district to the tune of $1 Million.

What Benton and Davis both did was get into heated and ugly exchanges with voters at City Council meetings and administration presentations on ART.

More than once, Benton went so far as to berate and humiliate opponents of ART, especially when addressing the audience at city council meetings when he had exclusive control of the meeting as President of the Council.

One exchange I do remember is when Benton was very condescending to a woman in a wheel chair when she said she was a bus rider and was concerned about wheel chair accessibility and being able to safely get to the platforms in the middle of the road and dodging traffic.

Benton assured the lady the architects and contractors knew what they were doing.

Now that the bus platforms have been built, it turns out that they are not in compliance with Federal handicap accessibility requirements.

A few of the platforms will have to be demolished or at the very least modified.

All the problems with ART are so bad, it was announced by the Keller Administration that it will probably not be up and running for at least a year.

City Hall needs to recognize the ART Bus project is never going to be a success in the long run, even if the “kinks” are worked out with the electric buses and the platforms.

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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.