Finally, after so many years, the city is moving to declare the Sahara Motel in South East Albuquerque a Nuisance and potentially tear it down by initiating a condemnation action.
(February 27, 2018 Albuquerque Journal, page A-7, “City moves to classify motel as a public nuisance; Police called to Sahara Motel in SE Albuquerque hundreds of times.)
It has been no secret that the motel has been a chronic problem for the area for a number of years, being a magnet for crime and bringing down property values.
The motel has been the source of literally hundreds of calls for service a year to the Albuquerque Police Department costing thousands of dollars a year for the city to deal with and a major drain on law enforcement resources.
A review of the total number of calls for service a year is what is used in part to determine if a property is a public nuisance or a nuisance under city ordinances.
Calls for service to the Albuquerque Police Department to deal with properties that have become “magnets for crime” result in a drain on police resources and costs millions of dollars a year in taxpayer funds.
The average cost of a call for service to dispatch police officers to handle such minor calls as suspicious persons, loitering, loud parties and loud music cost taxpayers between $75 to $150 per call depending on the time spent on the call by police officers dispatched.
What is so damn pathetic is how Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is trying to take so much credit for the city’s action when he said during press interviews:
“When the community and APD alerted me of the problems that persist at the Sahara Motel, despite multiple attempts to work with the owner, I knew we needed to take fast and drastic action. … Working with Safe City Strike Force, the City Attorney’s Office, and the Mayor’s Office we built the case to declare this property a public nuisance, a step rarely taken, but one needed to force action in this situation.”
“We built the case”?
Exactly what did you do Councilor Davis to build the case?
Davis trying to take so much credit for getting something done in his city council district that he had very little to do with the actual work on is so very typical of Davis now that he is running for the United States Congress.
The only truth Davis said in his statement was that declaring the property a public nuisance is a step rarely taken, but even that is a half-truth.
The Safe City Strike Force, which is responsible for the actions to declare a property a nuisance, has indeed rarely taken such a step during the last eight years.
But that has not always been the case, at least from 2003 to 2009.
What the city and the Safe City Strike Force is doing with the Sahara Motel is nothing new or novel at all, but is very effective when done.
From 2003 to 2009, the Safe City Strike Force took code enforcement action against 48 of the 150 motels along central and forced compliance with building codes and mandated repairs to the properties.
The Central motels that were demolished were not designated historical and were beyond repair as a result of years of neglect and failure to maintain, make repairs and make improvements.
The Safe City Strike Force was responsible for the demolition of at least seven (7) blighted motels that were beyond repair, with the city tearing them down and placing a lien on the properties in order to get reimbursed.
Central motels that had historical significance to Route 66 and that could be repaired or redeveloped were purchased by the City for renovation and redevelopment.
The Central motels that the Safe City Strike Force took action against include the Gaslight (demolished), The Zia Motel (demolished), The Royal Inn (demolished), Route 66 (demolished), the Aztec Motel (demolished), the Hacienda, Cibola Court, Super-8 (renovated by owner), the Travel Inn (renovated by owner), Nob Hill Motel (renovated by owner), the Premier Motel (renovated by owner) the De Anza (purchased by City for historical significance), the No Name, the Canyon Road (demolished), Hill Top Lodge, American Inn (demolished), the El Vado (purchased by City for historical significance), the Interstate Inn (demolished).
City Councilor Pat Davis is given upwards of $1 million dollars out of the city’s general fund that he is allowed to dedicate for projects within his district, yet he has failed to seek full funding for the Safe City Strike Force for the last two years.
Additionally, Davis was a staunch supporter of the ART Bus project and voted to expend the $69 million in Federal grant money that has yet to be appropriated or approved by congress.
Davis was able to convince the Berry Administration to add one more ART bus station for ART in his District, but he refused to try and have the ART bus project placed on the ballot for a public vote telling his constituents that there was nothing he could do because it was the Mayor’s project.
For the past eight (8) years, little or next to nothing has really been done by the City of Albuquerque to address blighted and substandard commercial properties like so many of the motels that still remain along Central not to mention the vacant building and vacant residential homes that are deteriorating because of lack of maintenance.
Today, the Safe City Strike Force has one employee, its director, and the Safe City Strike Force exists in name only.
Funding the Safe City Strike Force may not be a construction project like the ART Bus project, a library or fire station that Mayor’s and city councilors always love taking credit for, but it would go a long way to getting rid of blighted commercial and residential properties, which only sully entire neighborhoods and put residents in danger and bring property values down.
Now that Davis has discovered the amount of press he can get by having the city take action against nuisance properties, maybe the Mayor and the rest of the city counsel will jump into the act and restore and fully fund what use to be a model program in the United States.
For more on Pat Davis and his record see June 6, 2017 article “Pat Davis Can Run For Congress But He Cannot Hide From His Record at: