A Brief History of Downtown Albuquerque: 1952 to 2019

This is the first of two articles of what I remember when it comes to the Albuquerque I grew up in, went to school, worked in, raised a family and what the city has become today.

The second article discusses the history of Albuquerque Uptown from 1952 to 2019 and how the ABQ Uptown area has evolved over the years.

You can read the second article entitled “A Brief History of ABQ Uptown: 1952 to 2019” at the link in the postscript below.

(Editors Note: The original first article “A Brief History of Downtown: 1952 to 2019” has been edited, shortened, and updated. Information that was contained in the first article on “ABQ Uptown” was used for the second article with additional information added to it. What many readers who were born and raised here or who have spent most of their lives here will discover is that the mere mention of the names of businesses and locations will bring back a rush of memories to them, hence the writing approach.)

INTRODUCTION

To read this article in perspective a few introductory remarks are in order.

Both articles were written with a heavy reliance on memory followed up with research to confirm dates given.

I was born on March 1, 1952 at Presbyterian Hospital and raised in Albuquerque.

According to the 1950 Census, the city’s population was 97,000 people and in 2018 the city proper had an estimated population of 558,000.

https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1950/pc-02/pc-2-45.pdf

I attended St. Mary’s grade school downtown (1st grade to 8th), Cleveland Junior High (Louisiana, NE) and graduated from Del Norte High School (Montgomery, Ave and San Mateo) in 1970.

Around 1960, the Paul and Rose Dinelli family of six (two boys, one girl with one girl later born) moved from a home on Lomas and 3rd Street to a Mossman Gladden, red brick, tract home on San Pedro, North of Menaul. The home was purchase for a value of $16,000 and today with appreciation has a value of around $150,000.

When I was old enough, I took a city bus everyday from a bus stop at San Pedro and Candelaria NE at 7:00 am, the bus traveled turn south on San Mate and then would turn West on Central all the way downtown to the Sears Department store on Central where I would get off around 7:45 then walk to St. Mary’s grade school with school starting at 8:30. After a grade school day at St. Mary’s ending at 3:00 pm, I would walk from St. Mary’s School South to Central, walk East on Central to Mc Cullen’s store and take the 3:30 pm city bus to San Mateo, the City bus would make a left on San Mateo and go to Candelaria and take left on San Pedro and I would get off at the bus stop on San Pedro at the “Bob White’s” Super Market at the corner of San Pedro and Candelaria and walk home going South to our home in front of Quigley Park.

GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF DOWNTOWN DEFINED

The historical soul of Albuquerque will always be “Old Town” Plaza Albuquerque founded in 1706 with its narrow streets and century-old adobe houses, the historic Francis De Neiri Church and the Old Town Plaza Gazebo.

From approximately 1952 to about 1965, Downtown Albuquerque on Central from Broadway to Rio Grande, including Old Town, was considered the “hub of activity” for retail and business where you would shop, bank and go for entertainment and the area of major tourist activity.

Central Avenue going West from Broadway Ave to the Rio Grande River is traditionally thought of as “Downtown” by many born and raised in Albuquerque or long-term residents.

Downtown Albuquerque should probably also be considered to include a mile north and a mile south of Central between Broadway and the Rio Grande river so as to include Old Town, the Albuquerque Museum, the Children’s Science Museum, the New Mexico History Museum, the Zoo, the BioPak, which includes the botanical gardens and aquarium, and various government buildings including courthouses and commercial office buildings.

GHOSTS OF “DOWNTOWN ALBUQUERQUE”

From 1952 to 1965, Downtown Central with all its retail commercial stores, banks, utility office buildings and theaters was the beating financial heart of the city and in its heyday.

There were many retail stores that existed on Central Street downtown and side streets and included:

Leeds Shoe Store, Mindlin’s Jewelry, Mandell Dreyfus, the Court Cafe and Bakery, Kistler Collister, Sears & Roebuck, Lindy’s Diner, the old Hilton, Liberty Cafe, St. John’s Cathedral, Gambel’s, The Men’s Hat Shop, Skip Maisel’s Indian Jewelry and Crafts Trading, Levine’s, JC Penney, Montgomery Ward’s, Fedway Department Store, Paris Shoe Store, Hale Shoe Store, Stromberg’s Clothing, American Furniture, People’s Flowers, Russell Stover’s candies, Mc Cullens, Tandy’s Leather, The Magic Shop, Kurt’s Camera Coral, Krees’s, Woolworth’s, Payless Drugs, Zales Jewelry, Skaggs, Fogg’s Fine Jewelry, PNM (across from the KIMO) the Sunshine, KIMO, State and the El Rey movie theaters, and First National Bank, Franchini’s Deli and Magnison’s Deli and the YMCA to mention a few. The Alvarado Hotel was located at 1st and Central and the pueblo style 7 story Franciscan Hotel was at 6th and Central.

In 1958, the construction of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, located at 619 Copper, NW, downtown, began with the dedication of the church taking place on March 24, 1960. The Catholic Church with its imposing front entrance with the Crucifixion Christ and on the inside the ornate mosaic of the Virgin Mary flanked by 3 angels on each side as the backdrop of the alter is considered one of the most ornate churches in the city. I went to confession many times at the church and took my first holy communion at the Immaculate Conception Church after which my father Paul Dinelli took me to “Ruppie’s Pharmacy” still located on 4nd Street, about 2 miles South of Central, to visit. I also received the sacrament of confirmation at the Immaculate Conception Church and for some reason remember the sound of the Arch Bishop’s slap resonating on one student in particular.

The demolition of the Franciscan Hotel and the Alvarado Hotel and restaurant signaled the beginning demise of the downtown area to what it is today.

What also contributed to the demise of Downtown was the closure of the old “Albuquerque High School”, dubbed “Bulldog City” named after the school’s mascot, located and Central and Broadway, and the school was moved to its current location at Indian School and the freeway. For decades, the old Albuquerque High School on Central remained vacant and deteriorating until the school buildings were eventually purchased and developed into high end condos.

THE ALVARADO HOTEL

The Alvarado Hotel had a tremendous historical significance to the city.

Albuquerque’s first train station was a small railroad depot on the site of the current Alvarado Transportation Center at First and Central in the 1880’s.

With increasing demand for a larger facility, the Alvarado Hotel, a Mission Revival-style building which served as one of the many Harvey Houses along the train route, was constructed on the site in the year 1902.

“Harvey Girl’s” were trained at the Alvarado with dormitory facilities provided to young woman in need of work. A very young Rose Fresques Dinelli in her mid twenties lived in the dormitory and was trained to be a Harvey Girl. Many years later, she would meet Paul Dinelli at the Alvarado, Paul and Rose married. Many years later Rose would again become a waitress at other restaurants after Paul became seriously ill and she initially supported the family of five on the minimum wage. Rose Dinelli was a waitress for some 30+ years before she passed away in 1997 at age 76 from breast cancer. Rose Dinelli passed away in the very same Mosman-Gladden home she had purchased with her husband Paul around 1962.

Santa Fe Railroad architect Charles Whittlesey designed the Alvarado building, and Mary Colter designed the interior of the hotel. The hotel was named for “Hernando de Alvarado” of the 1540 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado Expedition.

Just south of the hotel a train station was constructed, also in the Mission Revival style, with a large, distinctive tower. In 1902, the Alvarado Hotel, also a Mission Revival-style building which served as one of the many Harvey Houses along the train route, was constructed at 1st and Central. The Alvarado Hotel was renowned for its luxury and food dining, but by the mid-20th century, with the decline in railroad travel in the United States, the hotel fell on hard times and was demolished in 1970. The Alvarado Hotel was demolished in 1970 and the site remained a dirt parking lot for many years and the City eventually purchased the property.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvarado_Transportation_Center

The current Albuquerque Transportation Center (ATC) complex was constructed in the 2000s to resemble the façade of the Alvarado. The first phase of the ATC project was completed in 2002 to serve ABQ Ride and the second phase was completed in 2006.

THE FRANCISCAN HOTEL

Franciscan Hotel was located at Central Avenue and Sixth Street, northwest corner and had 150 guest rooms, of which 50 were equipped with a private bathroom facilities. The hotel was six stories, plus a basement and a penthouse for a total of 7 stories. The Franciscan hotel opened on December 15, 1923, closed in October, 1970, and was demolished in May, June and July, 1972.The Franciscan Hotel was a hotel designed in the style called “Pueblo Revival”. The main lobby had the distinctive “vegas” of the pueblo style revival.

http://www.henrytrost.org/buildings/franciscan-hotel/

Former APD and retired Police Officer Steve Devoti and his grade school classmate Pete Dinelli attended St. Mary’s Grade School and at that time John Devoti, father of Steve, was the general manager of the Franciscan Hotel with the DeVoti family living in the Franciscan Hotel at the time in the Managers Quarters of the hotel. Many years later, John Devoti would become the general manger of the “Stadium Club”, a restaurant built and located on the second floor of the “Dukes Baseball Stadium”. John Devoti hired Pete Dinelli, around 16 at the time, as a busboy at the Stadium Club.

Since its demolition in 1970, the land that the Franciscan Hotel was located has been a vacant parking lot.

DOWNTOWN TRANSFORMS

Around 1960, from San Pedro going east and north east was basically vacant land that was developed over the subsequent years with many homes built by Mossman Gladden Homes and Dale Bellamah Homes. Urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970’s gutted or demolished many historic and government buildings in downtown Albuquerque as well as residential areas. Residential areas in the down town area where civic plaza and the convention center now are and going all the way north to Lomas were condemned and torn down for urban renewal.

The original Albuquerque Convention Center was built in the late 1960’s as part of “urban renewal” as was the old 5 story Frank Horan City Hall building and the 4 story downtown main police station were built and still stand on property that was condemned in the name of “urban renewal”. To the north of the original convention center was built the “Hilton Double Tree” hotel, 201 Marquette, NW, built in 1975, to serve the convention center and the “semi-circular” architecture portion of the hotel was reportedly inspired by “hot air” balloons and originally painted in various bight colors. During urban renewal, many residential areas downtown were demolished and replaced by office buildings and it had an impact on retail businesses along Central Downtown.

In 1960, the 14-floor building known today as the New Mexico Bank and Trust Building, 3701 4th Street, NW, was opened .

In 1965, the 13 story Dennis Chavez federal office building at 500 Gold, SW was opened. Between 1984 and 1989, private Attorney Pete Dinelli tried cases and appeared before Federal United States District Judges Edward L. Mitchem and Juan Burciaga and United States Federal Bankruptcy Judges Stewart Rose and Mark Mc Feely.

In 1966, both the 18 floor Compass bank building, 505 Marquette, NW and 12 story PNM office building, 414 Silver, SW, were built in the mid 1960’s.

In 1972 the 6 story First Plaza building, 200 3rd St, NW, was completed and was the corporate headquarters of First National Bank owned by the Maloof Family. In the basement of First Plaza is the Galeria and at one time had a restaurant “El Esquina”, a NM Motor Vehicle Satellite Office, the art studio of well known New Mexco oil painter artist Author Sussman and a private gymnasium. Concentra Art Gallery is one of the few stores that remain in the lower level of the Galeria. In the front of the Galeria is a bronze statute of George Maloof, Senior and it was orginally placed in front of a New Mexico Motor Vehicle Deaprment (MVD) building and a puplic out cry occurred demanding its removal because Goerge Mallof was the New Mecio distributor of Coors Beer and many felt the placement of the statue was inappropriate given New Mexico’s DWI problems.

In 1973, the 16 story Wells Fargo Building at 200 Lomas, NW opened. In 1978, the law offices of attorney and Republican County Commissioner Skeet McCulock were in the building.

In 1973, the 10-story Bank of the West and Davita Medical building complex located at 303 Roma, NW with and adjoining multi story parking structure across from the Wells Fargo Bank on Lomas was opened. Where the parking structure now sits South of Lomas on third street was the location of Paul’s Barber Shop built by Paul Dinelli on the lot of where the home of Rose and Paul Dinelli once stood before moving to a home on San Pedro. Paul’s Barber Shop would later be condemned by the city, the building leveled in the interest of the urban renewal. Since the construction of the building, the law firm of Modrall, Sperling, Rael, & Sisk, PA one of the largest law firms in the state, have had its office located on two floors of the building. Renown New Mexico landscape artist Wilson Hurley was an attorney with the firm before he bacame an artist full time.

In 1975, the 8 floor, city owned, Plaza Del Sol, 600 2nd, was opened and was originally a bank building.

In 1978, the 8 floor AT&T building at 111 3rd NW, was built.

In 1980, the eight-story, 251,000-square-foot-building Alvarado Square located 415 Silver SW, was built by Hunter Keith Industries expressly for PNM Resources and was the corporate headquarters for PNM. Empty for a full 2 years from 2014 to 2016, it was purchased by Bernalillo County in 2017 and will be renovated and remodeled as the new Bernalillo County Government Main Office and Headquarters and will house about 1,200 county employees.

The old Bernalillo County Detention center building located at 415 Roma, NW was built in 1978 and was updated in the early 2000s. The Bernalillo County Detention Center building at 415 Roma, NW has foot wide windows, with inches thick security glass from top to bottom, where it was very common to see relatives and acquaintances of jail inmates outside on the ground communicating by “sign language” with jail inmates looking down at them. The old jail was the New Mexico Regional Correction Center until 2001 and then later an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility. The old jail building is in need of a total new sewer system and in need of extensive repairs to the point it will be demolished. Over the years, the jail facility has been used for filming but was completely closed down 2014 due to safety concerns.

Built in 1978, the 6 story Bernalillo County Public Safety Building located at 401 Roma, NW was the former Metropolitan Court house until January 20, 2004 when the new Metro Court on Lomas was dedicated and opened.

The 8th floor “Plaza Campana” 400 Tijeras the houses Molina Health care was built in 1981 and has gone under significant renovations over the years.

Locally owned banks such as First National Bank, owned by the George G. Maloof family and the Albuquerque National Bank and SUNWEST Bank started to establish branch banking before the banks were bought by bigger national banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West, CITI Bank, and Compass Bank.

It was not until the early 1980’s that the City-County Government Center, 11 story building located at 1 Civic Plaza west of the plaza and located between the Frank Horan City Hall building and the old District Courthouse was erected. Frank Horan was a long time serving City Attorney whose son and grandson went on to become a lobbyist and an attorney repecttiflly. In 1985, Pete Dinelli was elected to the Albuquerque City Council, District 5, became Vice President of the City Council and was assigned an office on the 9th floor of the newly erected City-County Government Center. Pete Dinelli served on the Albuquerque City Council from 1985 to 1989 with Steve Gallegos, Vince Griego, Pat Baca, Michael Weiner, Richard Chapman, Nadine Bicknell, Tom Hoover, Fran Hill and Hess Yntema when Ken Schultz was Mayor. Years later, Pete Dinelli returned to City Hall in 2001 and served for a full 8 years as a Deputy City Attorney and had an office on the 4th floor of city hall for the Safe City Strike Force. Dinelli made it to the 11th floor in July, 2007 when he became Chief Public Safety Officer but he did not get the 11th floor office he wanted despite trying twice, once in 1989 and then again in 2013.

The distinctly dome designed Albuquerque Civic Auditorium east of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital opened in 1957 and was demolished in 1987 and a city own entertainment venue never replaced it. In 1970, Pete Dinelli was the Del Norte High School Senior Class President and spoke to the 1970 graduating class at the Civic Auditorium where most high school graduations occurred at the time.

At one time, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce offices were located at the Albuquerque Civic Auditorium where the dynamic G.Y. Fails was the Executive Director of the Chamber for a number of years. G.Y. Fails was a proud member of the American Legion where he served as a National Committeeman and was a close personal friend of former Democratic State Party Chairman Drew Cloud, who also was a member of the American Legion and a World War II veteran. For a number of years, both G.Y. Fails and Drew Cloud were Government Councillors at the American Legion New Mexico Boy’s State held every summer at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. In 1969, G.Y. Fails and Drew Cloud met 17 year old Pete Dinelli, a Boy’s Stater who represented Del Norte High School. Dinelli was elected the 1969 New Mexico Boy’s State Governor.

Two businesses that have survived for decades on Central downtown have been the “The Men’s Hat Shop” and “Skip Maisel’s Indian Jewelry and Crafts Trading”. Skip Maisel’s Indian Jewelry and Crafts Trading announced in February, 2019 that it was closing its doors and going out of business.

STEADY DEMISE OF “DOWNTOWN” AS ALBUQUERQUE “GROWS” EASTWARD

Around 1960, from San Pedro going east and north east was basically vacant land that was developed over the subsequent years with many homes built by Mossman Gladden Homes and Dale Bellamah Homes.

After urban renewal of the 1960s and 1970s, Albuquerque’s population growth continued to the North East Heights with Coronado Shopping Center and WINROCK eventually replacing the Downton retail shopping area of the city.

Many of the national downtown retail stores such as Sears, J. C. Penny’s and Montgomery Wards relocated to the malls to follow all the residential development.

It was with the building of the major retail shopping malls in the 1960s and when the city growth and population began spreading to the East and North East when the downtown area very slowly began to wither and die. WINROCK mall was opened March, 1961, Coronado Shopping Center was opened March, 1965 and both were “open malls” and two of the very first malls ever opened in the United States.

It was in 1964 that the 10 story Landmark Apartments, 6303 Indian School Road in Uptown was completed and it was the first “luxury” apartments built and today it has studio, one bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments.

Both WINROCK and Coronado have expanded and transformed repeatedly various times from open malls to closed indoor malls.

The UPTOWN Commons Shopping area opened in 2006.

THE COURTHOUSE DISTRICT CREATED

It was in 1998 that the “Court House” District began to emerge in Downtown Albuquerque.

The Second Judicial District Court was located at 5th and Marquette and law student Pete Dinelli was a law clerk during the summer months of 1975 and 1976 for then District Court Judges Harry Stowers, Joseph Baca, Phil Baiamonte and Rozier Sanchez.

Either as an Assistant Attorney General, Assistant District Attorney, Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney or as an attorney in private practice of law, Pete Dinelli appeared before District Judges Harry Stowers, Joseph Baca, Phil Ashby, William Riordan, Patricia Madrid, James Blackmer, Ross Sanchez, Maurice Sanchez, James Fowley, Frank Ryan, Frank Allen, Gene Franchini, John Brennan, Pat Murdock, Phil Baiamonte, Rozier Sanchez, Gerald Cole and Anne Kass at one time or another at the District Court House located at 5th and Marquette. District Judges Harry Stowers, Joseph Baca, William Reardon and Gene Franchini all went on to become New Mexico Supreme Court Judges and District Court Judge Patricia Madrid became the first and only female ever elected New Mexico Attorney General serving two terms. Glennie Franchini, the wife of Gene Franchini, was the campaign manager for New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Harry Stowers, a roll she would repeat later for her husband Gene Franchini. State District Court Judge Nancy Franchini, the daughter of Gene and Glennie Franchini was elected to the District Court bench in 2014.

In 1998, the 7 story, $41 million United States Federal Courthouse located at 333 Lomas Blvd. NW across the street from the Metropolitan Court was completed and dedicated. Years later, it was dedicated as the Pete V. Domenici Federal Courthouse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_V._Domenici_United_States_Courthouse

During the last 60 plus years, there have been 3 physical locations for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office: the 2nd Judicial District Courthouse, “Union Station” and the Steve Schiff District Attorney Building. Over the last 60 years, the Bernalillo County District Attorney office has grown from a small office of one elected District Attorney and 10 appointed Assistant District Attorneys to an office that employs 319 full time personnel consisting of 118 full time attorneys, and numerous paralegals, secretaries, investigators, and victim advocates.

For many years, and for many elected District Attorneys, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office was located on the second floor of the old 2nd Judicial District Courthouse downtown at 5th Street and Marquette, NW. Assistant District Attorney Pete Dinelli was appointed by District Attorney Steve Schiff, who later was elected to the US Congress. Dinelli served in the White Collar Crimes Division and the Violent Crimes Division and he had an office on the second floor of the courthouse and worked for District Attorney Steve Schiff for two years. Prominent trial attorney Randi Mc Ginnn also served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Violent Crimes Division along with Dianne Dal Santo who later became a District Court Judge. Elected Bernalillo County District Attorneys who worked at the old County Courthouse included Al Sorese, Jim Brandenburg, father of Kari Brandenburg who served for 16 years as District Attorney, Ira Robinson, Steve Schiff and Bob Schwartz. Ira Robinson went on to be elected to the New Mexico Court of Appeals, Bob Schwartz went on to be elected a State District Court Judge, Steve Schiff went on to be elected United States Congressman and Pete Dinelli was appointed by Governor Bruce King as a Workers Compensation Judge with state wide jurisdiction and he served for 7 years as an Administrative Law Judge. The old courthouse at Tijeras and 5th still stands today and it is often used for TV and film productions, including “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul”, for courtroom scenes.

Also located in the courthouse at 5th Street and Marquette was a jail facility on the very top floor that inmates would regularly plug up the toilets resulting in flooding to the below courtrooms and offices.

The historic Union Station building located off of Central and the rail road tracks in downtown Albuquerque housed the District Attorney’s office for about 10 years, with the county remodeling and repairing it over those years. District Attorneys Bob Schwartz and Jeff Romero worked at the Union Station Office. District Attorney Jeff Romero hired Pete Dinelli as Chief Deputy District Attorney and they both had offices at the Union Station building.

As both the 2nd Judicial District Court and the District Attorney’s Office grew over the years, it was necessary for the county to move both the District Attorney’s Office and the District Court to their own separate buildings. In June, 2001, the Bernalillo County Courthouse located at 400 Lomas and the adjacent Bernalillo county District Attorney Office were dedicated.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office at 400 Lomas was built during the term of District Attorney Jeff Romero and Deputy District Attorney Pete Dinelli. Both Romero and Dinelli successfully lobbied the Bernalillo County Commission for funding and construction at the same time as the new courthouse. The building of the courthouse and the District Attorney’s Office were both part of the same project costing $55.9 million dollars to construct both buildings. An emphasis was placed on aesthetics for both the new courthouse and the district attorney office to include public art, including sculptures and paintings. Outside and in front of the entrance of the District Attorney’s office is a commissioned sculpture of an adult “American eagle” in a nest with chicks to symbolize the nurturing of justice. The outside bronze piece is a commissioned work of art by well-known New Mexico sculptor Sonny Rivera.

In January, 2004, the nine story Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court house, with a construction cost of $83 million, and located on the northwest corner of 4th Street and Lomas Boulevard was dedicated.

ATTEMPTS TO REVITALIZE DOWNTOWN

In the early to mid-1980’s, the City Council attempted to revitalize Downtown as a place to go with the multi-million dollar “Festival Market Place”. The Festival Market place was intended to be a large entertainment venue where civic plaza now sits and nearby areas. “Concerned Citizens” of Albuquerque mounted a voter initiative to put it on the ballot that killed the festival market place.

After the demise of the Festival Market Place at the polls, the City Council exerted itself even further with Downtown revitalization by pushing the expansion of the Albuquerque Convention Center with the major addition of an east wing and a parking structure. The 21 story Hyatte Regency and 22 story Albuquerque Plaza complex, which opened in 1990, were built in part with city bonding to coincide with the convention center expansion.

From 1985 to 1989, the Albuquerque City Council continued with efforts to try to revitalize in part Downtown Albuquerque.

In 1987, the City Council enacted the 10-year quarter cent “Quality of Life” tax which included funding for a Performing Arts Center, the Children’s Science Museum, the Botanical Gardens, the Albuquerque Aquarium and the Balloon Museum and the acquisition of critical open space in the Sandia foothills. City Councilor Pete Dinelli was one of the two original sponsors of the “Quality of Life Tax.” The Children’s Science Museum, the Botanical Gardens, the Albuquerque Aquarium and the Balloon Museum were all constructed with the 10 year Quality of Life tax revenues.

The performing arts center was originally proposed to be built at a cost of $60 million and was to be built on the city vacant land located directly north of Civic Plaza in an effort to revitalize downtown. Another voter petition drive initiative was undertaken that forced a vote on the proposed performing arts center and voters said no to the project.

From 1990 to 1994, downtown revitalization took the form of trying to build a new baseball stadium in the area of Broadway and Lomas to again revitalize the area and bring people to downtown.
Relocating the baseball stadium failed and the old baseball park for the “Dukes” baseball team was leveled and rebuilt calling it a “remodeling” and the stadium was renamed “Isotopes Park” after the city was able to lure another professional baseball team.

The Bio Park, with the Rio Grande Zoo, Aquarium and Botanical Gardens, is the number one tourist attraction in the State of New Mexico. During the 2015 municipal election, Albuquerque voters approved with an overwhelming majority the voter petition drive initiative to increase the gross receipts tax for the Bio Park. There are at least $40 million dollars in upgrades and exhibits planned for the Bio Park facilities and without making those repairs, the city risks losing many national certifications.

ART BUS PROJECT

A major impact on the historical character of Route 66 Central was the construction of the ART Bus Project. In 2015, ground was broken for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) bus project at a cost of $130 million dollars with the use of a federal grants and revenue bonds to finance. The ART Bus project is a 10 mile stretch of old “Route 66” along Central from the Westside Coors Road through the downtown area up to Louisiana Street, NE. The ART project was constructed and designed to go directly down the center of Central with “bus stop” platforms constructed in the center of Central. The construction of the bus route eliminated the median improvements made in the ten mile stretch. Downtown dodge a major bullet when the ART Bus route was diverted from Central going west starting at First Street up side streets to 10th Street and back on Central at Old Town with no ART Bus platforms constructed from First Street to Rio Grande Blvd. Although the ART Bus lanes and platforms were completed in 2018, delivery of 22 new buses for the bus route has yet to happen.

A DOWNTOWN IDENTITY CRISIS

“Downtown Albuquerque” has become the government and financial district for the city with the location of city hall, the City/County Government Center, the Metro Court, State District Court, the Federal Courts, the Social Security Administration, the main bank branches of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Compass Bank and other banks and government agencies.

The center of Albuquerque and the new “downtown” is the Uptown Area of the city consisting of Coronado Shopping Center, the many shops at the Commons at Uptown, and the WINROCK development.
The WINROCK development will include even more retail shops and even luxury housing when it’s done not to mention all the restaurants that have popped up in the area with even more planned including commercial office space in the area.

Downtown Albuquerque is clearly part of the sole of the city, as is Old Town, because of the history it represents. There has been a very large number of multi-story apartments and condos developed directly south of Central between 1st Street and 6th Street within the past 10 years along with the Silver Street “grocery store” in one of the developments. The residential developments are Downtown’s biggest hope yet for Downtown revitalization because it will sustain vibrant downtown activity, where people can live, raise a family and work and play which is the “walkable city” concept.

The Albuquerque High School condos and the Lobo Rainforest Building and Innovate Albuquerque development across the street at Broadway and Central will no doubt help with Downtown revitalization. The “One Central” development located at 1st Street and Central, which is now opened, is a public-private mixed-use development, including at least 39,000 square feet of commercial space with an entertainment tenant initially described as an upscale bowling alley with at least two other retail or restaurant tenants, 60 residential units and a 429-space parking garage.

PROSPECT OF RETURNING TO OLD GLORY DAYS

There has been a very large number of multi-story apartments and condos developed directly south of Central between 1st Street and 6th Street within the past 10 years along with the Silver Street “grocery store” in one of the developments.

The Albuquerque High School condos and the Lobo Rainforest Building and Innovate Albuquerque development across the street at Broadway and Central will no doubt help with Downtown revitalization. The “One Central” development located at 1st Street and Central, is a public-private mixed-use development, including at least 39,000 square feet of commercial space with an entertainment tenant initially described as an upscale bowling alley with at least two other retail or restaurant tenants, 60 residential units and a 429-space parking garage.

The historic and vacant Albuquerque Rail Yards are within one mile of the Downtown area located south of Downtown between the Barelas and South Broadway neighborhoods. Lorenzo Dinelli, the father of Paul Dinelli and the grandfather of Pete Dinelli, immigrated from Lucca, Italy to Albuquerque in the year 1900 and years later Lorenzo Dinelli worked at the Albuquerque Rail Yards years later once they rail yards had been constructed. Albuquerque Rail Yards has 18 buildings still standing erected between 1915 and 1925 and include four major maintenance facilities built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The city has upgraded one building at the rail yards, the blacksmith shop, where the Rail Yards Market Place has taken place on weekends each summer since 2014.

In order to create a major tourist attraction, the city is planning remediation efforts and to activate a second building at the Albuquerque Rail Yards. Activating a second building will accommodate additional vendors and potentially be a big tourist draw.

The residential developments are Downtown’s biggest hope yet for Downtown revitalization because it will sustain vibrant downtown activity, where people can live, raise a family and work and play which is the “walk-able city” concept. Downtown Albuquerque slowly but surely is beginning to see a return to its heyday of 70 years ago, but it is doubtful it will ever reach the same quaint pinnacle it was from 1952 to 1965.

Time does indeed march on even for cities as does a city’s vibrant commercial and retail area.

POSTSCRIPT

Following is the link to the second article “A Brief History of Downtown Albuquerque: 1952 to 2019”:

A Brief History of ABQ Uptown: 1952 to 2019

Run Ben Ray, Run!

Over my 42 years of practicing law and as a public servant, I have actually worked for 3 Governors, a United States Senator, a Congressman, 2 Attorney Generals, 2 District Attorneys, and a Mayor.

Each and every one of them I have seen grow and mature and make a difference, which is why they were so successful in the jobs they held.

BEN RAY LUJAN is one elected official who I have never worked for, but I have watched from affair and he falls into the category of those I have worked for and who have accomplished things.

Notwithstanding never having worked for him, he has indeed matured, grown into the offices he has held and has served with distinction.

I can not say that about many politicians I have seen over the years, with many leaving office with nothing to show for during the tenure.

Far more importantly, BEN RAY LUJAN has made a difference and has accomplished something while in office.

BEN RAY LUJAN has a clear understanding of the “Shark Tank on the Potomac” known as Washington politics, he has thrived there and that is what sets him far apart from all the others that are talking about running.

CONGRESSMAN BEN RAY LUJAN has served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district since 2009, and became the Assistant House Speaker since 2019, appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

He was elected to be Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2014, and and many political pundits in New Mexico felt he was not up to the task coming from a small state like New Mexico with little national influence.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saw what many people underestimate: a person genuinely having his pulse on the needs of his community and country committed to do the right thing and not just self-promotion all the time.

Ben Ray Lujan proved a lot of people wrong and when he led the Democrats to win a majority in the United States House in the 2018 elections.

Luján previously served as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from 2005 to 2008.

During his tenure on the Public Regulation Commission, he always advocated for what was best for the consumers and was one again committed to doing the right thing when it came to dealing with utilities and the insurance industry.

Lujan is extremely well liked within the Democratic party and no doubt would be able to run a state-wide campaign and raise the necessary money to run.

All congressman usually have ambitions to become United States Senators, unless you rise to the top in a leadership position such as Lujan has done.

Many legitimately argue that what he should do is stay put and become Speaker of the House.

No doubt if he became Speaker of the House, it would be good for the country, but arguably not as good for the State of New Mexico.

Speaker of the House in this day and age is a highly volatile position and Speakers do not last as long in the jobs as the day long past, just ask Paul Ryan and Dennis Hastert.

Congressmen have to run every two years while a Senate seat is far more powerful.

Lujan has spent 10 years in the House and has to run for office five times.

Had he been a United States Senator, 5 successful runs would be 30 years.

Lujan is no fan of President Trump, he has been very objecting to how Trump treats minorities and his strong opposition to many of Trumps policies.

New Mexico needs Ben Ray Lujan in the United States Senate, and once there, he will continue to grow and accomplish great things for the entire state.

Run Ben Ray, Run.

Following are a few more links for review:

https://www.runbenrayrun.com/

https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/latino-group-seeking-to-recruit-2020-senate-candidates-wants-ben-ray-lujan

APD Use of Force Report Fails To Report On Crisis Intervention Incidents Involving Mentally Ill

April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, submitted a scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18 month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

The investigative report found a pattern or practice of use of deadly force or excessive use of force in 4 major areas:

1. The DOJ reviewed all fatal shootings by officers between 2009 and 2012 and found that officers were not justified under federal law in using deadly force in the majority of those incidents. Albuquerque police officers too often used deadly force in an unconstitutional manner in their use of firearms. Officers used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed. Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force.

2. Albuquerque police officers often used less lethal force in an unconstitutional manner, often used unreasonable physical force without regard for the subject’s safety or the level of threat encountered. The investigation found APD Officers frequently used takedown procedures in ways that unnecessarily increased the harm to the person. Finally, officers escalated situations in which force could have been avoided had they instead used de-escalation measures.

3. A significant amount of the force reviewed was used against persons with mental illness and in crisis. The investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respects their rights and is safe for all involved.

4. The investigation found the use of excessive force by APD officers was not isolated or sporadic. The pattern or practice of excessive force stemmed from systemic deficiencies in oversight, training, and policy. Chief among these deficiencies was the department’s failure to implement an objective and rigorous internal accountability system. Force incidents were not properly investigated, documented, or addressed with corrective measures.

You can read the entire DOJ report here:

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/04/10/apd_findings_4-10-14.pdf

The DOJ investigation included a comprehensive review of APD’s operations and the City’s oversight systems of APD.

The DOJ investigation “determined that structural and systemic deficiencies—including insufficient oversight, inadequate training, and ineffective policies— contribute to the use of unreasonable force.”

DOJ CONSENT DECREE REQUIRED USE OF FORCE REPORTS

In November, 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Albuquerque entered into a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating reforms.

Under the consent decree and settlement, a yearly “Use of Force” Report is mandatory.

APD has not published a Use of Force Annual Report since 2015 with the primary reason being that the previous administration failed to implement adequate data gathering processes and procedures for accurate reporting.

After more than two years, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has released a “Use of Force Report” combining a single report for the years 2016 and 2018.

You can read the entire Use of Force Report here:

https://www.scribd.com/document/402811641/APD-Use-of-Force-Report-2016-2017#from_embed

According to the report, the current police administration encountered major problems analyzing data collected by the previous administration, calling the previous methods “poor at best” in the report release.

The DOJ court-appointed monitor in his audit reports to the federal court over the last 3 years has taken sharp issue with the APD’s data collection and analysis methods with APD ignoring recommendations.

Consequently, the report examines the use of force by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) over the two-year period of between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017.

The CASA was designed to strengthen APD’s s ability to provide:

1. officer safety and accountability;
2. constitutional, effective policing;
3. high quality police services.

The report presents aggregated statistics regarding use of force by type of force, call types, individual demographics, area commands and other measures.

The Use of Force Report was prepared by APD’s Compliance Bureau in conjunction with the Force Division of APD Internal Affairs.

The following definitions were provided in the Use of Force Report to help understand the data reported:

“A ‘Use Of Force Case’ involves an incident with one or more individuals, one or more police officers, and one or more uses of force.

A “Show Of Force Case” involves one or more individuals, one or more police officers, and one or more displays of weapons, but no actual use of force during that incident.

A “Use Of Force Type Or Show Of Force Type” is the specific application of a force type or types in a Use of Force or Show Of Force incident. For example, one police officer may display or use several kinds of force (e.g., display handgun, or empty hand techniques and ECW) with one individual during one encounter. Thus the number of Use Of Force Types Or Show Of Force Types will be higher than the number of individuals involved in Use Of Force or Show Of Force Cases.

Police officers may display weapons, a show of force, as part of an incident which includes an actual use of force. Those cases are categorized as a Use Of Force Case.” (Use of Force Report, page 6.)

The “Use of Force” report for the 2016 and 2017 contains not data regarding APD’s crisis intervention efforts regarding the mentally ill.

GENERAL FINDINGS IN USE OF FORCE REPORT

General findings contained in the report can be summarized as follows:

1. Use of force was low for both years of 2016 and 2017.

2. APD officers were dispatched to approximately 450,000 calls to provide service in 2016 and that number increased to 480,330 in 2017.

3. Individuals involved in uses of force represented less than one tenth of one percent (0.09%) of those dispatched calls which was an increase from 2015. The 2015 report found that .04% of dispatched calls resulted in an officer using force.

4. The 2015 report found .04% of dispatched calls resulted in an officer using force. City officials believe the increase in use of force 2015 over 2016 and 2017 is likely due to more accurate reporting.

5. Fewer than 2% of all APD arrests involved use of force.

6. In 2016, 48.5% , of people involved in use of force cases were unarmed but about 30% were classified as “unknown.”

7. In 2017, 74.8% of people involved in use of force cases were unarmed.

8. In 2016 and 2017, there were three times as many use-of-force incidents as there were “show of force incidents”, defined as an officer pointing a firearm or other impact weapon at a person. ( NOTE: The 2015 Use of Force Report, compiled by the previous administration does not track “shows of force” incidents which explains the increase according to the report.

9. From 2016 to 2017, show of force incidents rose 35% while at the same time use of force incidents remained constant.

10. Firearm discharges made up to 2% of all use of force cases over the two years, but still rose slightly from 2016 to 2017.

11. Empty-hand techniques such as strikes, grabs, kicks, take downs and distraction techniques made up the majority of use of force cases at 70% in 2016 and 60% in 2017.

12. Fewer people were injured in use-of-force cases. In 2016, 68% of the injured needed to be hospitalized while in 2017, 94% needed to be hospitalized.

13. APD Officers were injured in 23% of use of force cases but had to be hospitalized in less than 3% of those cases.

14. Use of electronic control weapons (TAZERS) increased while other types of use of force decreased.

CATEGORY FINDINGS

The 2017 and 208 consolidated report merits review of major reported categories in order to get complete understanding of the general statistics.

Following is a breakdown of a few of the categories:

GENDER AND AGE

Individuals involved in use of force incidents are predominately male.

The percentage of female involved in use of force incidents increased from 15.5% in 2016 to 17.3% in 2017.

Individuals between the ages of 20 and 49 years of age comprise the majority of individuals in use of force incidents.

Individuals between 20 and 49 years of age increased from 2016 to 2017.

RACE AND ETHNICITY OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE INVOLVED IN USE OF FORCE INCIDENTS

The proportion of individuals of Hispanic decent accounted for approximately 48% of all individuals involved in use of force incidents across both years.

The number of individuals who were not proficient in English rose to 6.4% in 2017 from 3.6% in 2016.

The percentage of individuals classified as White involved in use of force incidents declined over the two years.

The percentages of individuals classified as Black and the individuals classified as Native Americans involved in use of force incidents rose from 2016 to 2017.

The report found Native Americans were involved in 15% of use-of-force cases, while they make up less than 5% of the city’s population.

SWAT DEPLOYMENTS

The original 2014 DOJ investigation that found a “culture of aggression” within APD also found that APD would rely too heavily on the SWAT Unit.

SWAT deployments increased from 40 in 2016 to 77 in 2017.

The majority of these deployments were for similar types of calls across both years: Wanted Persons & Warrants, Family Disputes, Suspicious Person, and Auto Theft.

There are no statistics regarding the number of times the SWAT Unit was deployed to deal with the mentally ill and crisis intervention.

COMPUTER AIDED DISPATCH (CAD)

Calls for service, known as (CADS) where officers were dispatched to provide services, accounted for 88% of the CADs resulting in a use of force.

CADs which were categorized as officer-initiated actions accounted for 11% for the use of force incidents.

ELECTRONIC CONTROL WEAPON USE

A steady increase in the use of electronic control weapons (ECW or TAZER) either stand mode, drive stun mode, painting and arcing from 2016 to 2017, while there was a drop in other types of force the same period of time.

The increase could be accounted for by the major revisions in the Use of Force, Use of Force reporting and Electronic Control Weapon policies that occurred in 2016 and 2017, which primarily increased the requirements for reporting a use of force and show of force.

K-9 (POLICE DOG) DEPLOYMENTS

The data reported is that the number of K-9 (police dog) deployments, K9 apprehensions and K9 related injuries increased from 2016 to 2017.

88.6% of use of force incidents resulted in the arrest of the individual in 2016.

91% of the use of force incidents resulted in the arrest of the individual in 2017.

INJURIES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS

The number and percent of Use of Force cases in which an individual was injured decreased from 62.3% in 2016 to 52.9% in 2017.

The number and percent of Use of Force Cases in which an officer was injured remained consistent at 23% for both years.

The number and percent of Use of Force cases in which an individual was hospitalized increased from 42.4% in 2016 to 50% in 2017.

The number and percent of Use of Force Cases in which an officer was hospitalized decreased slightly from 2.7% in 2016 to 2% in 20

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The Use of Force Reports are absolutely critical for the community to evaluate whether the mandated reforms under the CASA are being implemented and working, especially when it comes to APD’s interactions with the mentally ill.

When you read and review the entire 2017- 2018 consolidated “Use of Force Report”, a major omission in the report is that there are no statistics regarding APD’s crisis intervention incidents and interactions with the mentally ill, especially by the SWAT unit.

The April 10, 2014 United States Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation that found a “culture of aggression” within APD dedicated a significant amount of the force review against persons with mental illness and in crisis and APD’s specific responses to suspects that were having mental illness episodes.

What differentiates the DOJ’s investigation of APD from the other federal investigations and consent decrees of police department is that the other consent decrees involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and use of excessive force or deadly force against minorities.

The 2014 DOJ investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respects their rights and is safe for all involved.

Least anyone forget, during the last 10 years, there have been 32 police officer involved shootings and the city has paid out $61 million dollars in settlements to family’s who have sued APD for wrongful death.

A significant number of those lawsuits involved the mentally ill.

The most memorable shooting was the killing of homeless camper and mentally ill James Boyd in the Sandia foothills in April, 2014 where both SWAT and the K-9 units were dispatched.

The Boyd case was settled for $5 million paid to his family for his wrongful death and two SWAT officers were charged and tried for murder ending in a deadlock jury and no acquittal and the charges later dropped against both police officers.

A major concern is that the current report fails to elaborate or explain much other than hard statistics compiled in the various categories mandated by the settlement.

The report fails to include data on how many use of force instances were out of compliance with policy, how many officers were disciplined for use of force and if any policy or training changes were made.

The consolidated two-year report does report a dramatic increase in the percentages of use of force cases that involved unarmed victims without offering any possible explanation for the increases.

Perhaps when the 2018 Report is released at the end of the year, APD’s Compliance Bureau in conjunction with the Force Division of APD Internal Affairs can provide more analysis and not just the regurgitation of statistics with charts that that are difficult for the public to understand.

The 2018 report should also contain a report regarding APD’s interactions with the mentally ill, the number of times the SWAT unit was deployed over the last three years to deal with “crisis intervention” and well as the training of APD officers in crisis intervention.

Place Your Bets On Who Announces First To Replace Tom Udall

Now that United States Senator Tom Udall has decided to retire, the New Mexico political scene has any number highly ambitious elected Democratic officials that will being eyeing to run to replace him.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1296100/udall-will-not-seek-a-third-term.html

For a brief history of Tom Udall’s service to New Mexico see the below postscript:

Following is a list of potential candidates where there is a good chance, they are thinking about running and would have a reasonable shot to organize a statewide race and raise the millions to run.

The list is by no means intended to be exhaustive and no doubt there are many others out there, but for now here is the initial list of potential candidates:

POTENTIAL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES

CONGRESSMAN BEN RAY LUJAN: Luján has served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district since 2009, and became the Assistant House Speaker since 2019, appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He was elected to be Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2014, and led the Democrats to win a majority in the US House in the 2018 elections. Luján previously served as a member of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from 2005 to 2008. Lujan is extremely well liked within the Democratic party and no doubt would be able to run a state-wide campaign and raise the necessary money to run. All congressman usually have ambitions to become United States Senators, unless you rise to the top in a leadership position such as Lujan has done. Congressmen have to run every two years while a Senate seat is far more powerful and is for a six-year term. Lujan is no fan of Trump, and his vote in the Senate may be needed if there is ever an impeachment trial in the Senate. If Congressman Ben Ray Lujan does run, he will likely win.

SECRETARY OF STATE MAGGIE TOULOUSE OLIVER: Toulouse Oliver has always been considered an up and comer within the Democratic Party. First elected in 2016, Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver has focused on providing increased transparency in financial disclosure and campaign finance reporting, modernizing the online campaign finance system, encouraging New Mexicans to get registered and vote, and advocating for good government and stronger ethics legislation. A lifelong New Mexico resident, Toulouse Oliver previously served as Bernalillo County Clerk from 2007 to 2016. She attended Albuquerque Public Schools and earned both her BA and MA in Political Science from the University of New Mexico. Currently living in Santa Fe, the Secretary of State is the proud mother of two sons. The chances are she may be the only woman running for Senate and for that reason alone, she would be a top tier candidate given the wave of woman who are being elected to congress. She would be the first female elected to the United State Senate from New Mexico.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE BRIAN EGOLF: Sources is Santa Fe have said that Egolf has talked more than once about running for the US Senate if Udall decided not to run. Egolf was considered a potential congressional candidate in the 2014 election. Speaker Egolf was elected Speaker of the House by acclamation and just completed one of the most productive sessions in state history and he has the right to be proud. Among his legislative successes, Speaker Egolf championed equal pay for equal work for the women of New Mexico, reduced government corruption through the creation of a statewide independent ethics commission, and passed legislation to penalize the distribution of sensitive images, such as child pornography. As a private practice attorney, Egolf filed suit in New Mexico district court on behalf of a gay couple that was denied a marriage license. The case helped turn the tide toward marriage equality in New Mexico and just a few months later, the state’s Supreme court ruled to legalize gay marriage, making New Mexico the 17th state to do so. Egolf has the progressive record and would have the ability to raise money, but the ability to organize a state-wide race would remain to be seen.

LT. GOVERNOR HOWIE MORALES: Morales is the 30th lieutenant governor of New Mexico, since January 1, 2019. He would not have to resign as Lt. Governor to run for Senate. Morales previously served as a member of the New Mexico Senate, representing the 28th District which includes Catron, Grant, and Socorro counties from 2008 to 2019. On January 9, 2008, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Morales to the Senate as the result of the death of New Mexico State Senator Ben D. Altamirano who died of a heart attack. In October 2013, Morales officially announced he would run for the office of Governor of New Mexico and in June, 2014 he lost the primary to state Attorney General Gary King. During his 11-year career in the New Mexico Senate, Morales held seats on the Legislative Finance Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, both dealing with state budget matters. He sponsored bills addressing public education, environment and universal health care. Having run two state wide races, Morales would be able to put together a viable campaign for the United States Senate, but fund raising may be problematic for him.

BERNALILLO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY RAUL TORREZ: Torrez is in his third year as Bernalillo County District Attorney and he will have to run for reelection in 2020 or he can run for US Seante. Torrez has had very mixed reviews from the New Mexico bar because of his severe criticism of Judges blaming them at one time for our high crime rates. Notwithstanding, Torrez is perceived by the public as doing a very good job and likely will get elected again in 2020 if he runs because of the extensive media coverage he gets. Torrez’s chances for reelection could all change overnight with the handling of high-profile cases such as the prosecution of the 9-year-old Victoria Martens Case, the child who was murdered and dismembered. Torrez may conclude that it may be easier to run a statewide race for United States Senate and not deal with the volatility of the District Attorney’s office and career ending cases. Two years ago, Torrez raised and spent $500,000 to run for District Attorney, which also included over $100,000 from George Soros.

BUSINESSMAN JEFF APODACA: Jeff Apodaca, son of a former New Mexico Governor Jerry Apodaca, is an Albuquerque businessman who ran for Governor in 2018. He secured 22% of the vote in the primary, which may reflect a base of support in a crowded US Senate field, possibly enough to win the nomination. Apodaca now works for New Mexico Democrats for Democracy, a political action committee that backed Apodaca for governor. Apodaca is a graduate of Southern Methodist University (SMU) and the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he graduated in 1986 with a B.A. in broadcast management. Apodaca has an impressive business resume with a 30-year career in media. After graduating from college, Apodaca joined CBS, eventually becoming a senior executive for the network’s Entertainment, Sports, and Olympics Division. Apodaca’s work includes two years at America Online, eight years as a Vice President at Univision, and 6 years at Entravision Communications. A major obstacle Apodaca will have is to overcome is the fact he was not gracious enough in defeat to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham who he criticized after the primary.

LAS CRUCES STATE SENATOR JOE CERVANTES: Democrat State Senator Cervantes is a highly respected trial attorney and capable legislator who ran for Governor last year, but came in third securing only 11% in the Democratic primary. Cervantes was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cervantes graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1979, and the University of New Mexico with a bachelor of arts in architecture in 1983. In 1985, Cervantes received a Master of Architecture degree from California Polytechnic State University. He was licensed as an architect by the State of California in 1987 and became an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1991 Cervantes received a J.D. degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law and has always been in the private practice of law. What would make Cervantes a viable candidate is his wealth and the fact he just ran a statewide race. Senator Cervantes was reported to have spent $2 Million of his own money to run for Governor. Cervantes has also considered running for congress in the past and may decide his opportunity is now.

STATE AUDITOR BRIAN COLON: Colón is of Puerto Rican descent. He was born in New York City and came to Valencia County, New Mexico as a small child. Colon was the first in his family to attend college and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1998 and he then immediately entered the University of New Mexico School of Law and graduated in 2001. Colon is a former Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. In 2010, he ran for and lost his bid for Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico. In 2017, he ran for Mayor of Albuquerque and raised close to $1 million to run. He has chaired Pope Joy Hall’s Board of Directors and has served with the Board of Trustees for the Albuquerque Community Foundation. On November 6, 2018, he defeated Republican Wayne Johnson in the general election to become New Mexico State Auditor. Brian Colon and Attorney General Hector Balderas are very close. If Balderas were to run for Senate, it is not likely that Colon would run. Notwithstanding, Colon is the consummate politician, enjoys running for office, has now run a statewide race and won and has the ability to raise large sums of money.

CONGRESSWOMAN DEBRA HAALAND: In 2018, Haaland was elected to her first term to Congress winning the nomination in June 2018, receiving 40.5% of the vote and winning every county in the district and winning the general election receiving 59.1% of the vote and winning three of the district’s five counties. She is the first native American ever elected in New Mexico to serve in the United States Congress and one of only 2 native Americans ever elected to the Congress. Haaland served as the state’s vote director for Native Americans in Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential reelection campaign. She was elected to a two-year term as the Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico in April 2015. During her tenure, New Mexico Democrats regained control of the New Mexico House of Representatives. She ran for Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico in 2014. Her ticket, headed by then Attorney General of New Mexico Gary King, the party’s nominee for Governor of New Mexico, lost to the Republican ticket of incumbent Republican Governor “She-Who-Must Not-Be-Name and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez. Although Debra Haaland was just elected to congress, she may think the timing may just be right to become the first Native American female to ever be elected to the United States Senate.

NOT RUNNING

ALBUQUERQUE MAYOR TIM KELLER: Mayor Keller released a statement he will not be a candidate to replace Udall. Notwithstanding, Keller has successfully completed his first year as Albuquerque Mayor, he has done a respectful job but he has expressed more than once a desire to run for higher office and more than one source has said he has national ambitions. Keller has high positive name identity and strong support within the progressive wing of the Democratic party who got him elected Mayor. If he changes his mind and runs, he would be considered a top tier candidate.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HECTOR BALDERAS: On March 28, 2019, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that he will not be a candidate for the the United Sates Senate and will not run for the congressional seat of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. Balderas was just elected to a second term as Attorney General and served two terms before as State Auditor for 8 full years and was a NM State Representative from Wagon Mound. Balderas ran against Senator Martin Heinrich 6 years ago and he still probably has aspirations to be a US Senator from New Mexico. Balderas announced he intends to finish his term as Attorney General which ends January 1, 2022.

POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES

FORMER REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR “SHE-WHO-SHALL-NOT BE NAMED”: She was elected twice as the first Hispanic Female Governor succeeding Governor Bill Richardson. After 8 years, she left office with a 35% approval rating. During local TV exit interviews, she said “retiring was not an option” and like a moth to a flame she may decide to run having been offered nothing in the Donald Trump Administration.

FORMER Lt. GOVERNOR JOHN SANCHEZ: Since leaving office as Lt. Governor, John Sanchez has been a candidate looking for a new job. He talked about running for United States Senate before but soon realized his ties to former Republican Governor “She Who Must Not Be Named” was probably an obstacle too hard to overcome. Notwithstanding, Sanchez is still popular within the Republican party and would be a front runner for the Republican nomination, which may not be worth much in an increasingly blue state and he will be saddled with defending Trump when he runs.

STEVE PEARCE: Do not be surprised if former United States Congressman Steve Pearce jumps into the race for one last time. He has yet to run well state wide having run and lost to Tom Udall for Senate and ran and lost for Governor in 2018 to Michelle Lujan Grisham. He is now Chairman of the Republican Party, and there is still talk he may run again for his old congressional seat.

Other potential Republican candidates mulling the race are former Republican Roswell State Senator Rod Adair, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura and former Republican State Senator and City Councilor Janice Arnold Jones who ran for congress in 2018.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

All too often elected officials do not recognize they have overstayed their welcome and instead of moving on they lose an election trying to hold on for any number of years because they are intoxicated with the power they have had for so many years and cannot give it up.

Former United States Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman both knew when it was time to move on and retired.

Both US Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici after decades of service retired at the height of their game and you can now include Tom Udall.

Despite Udall’s statement last year that he would probably run again, no one should be really surprised that he is not.

Udall’s favorable rating has taken a hit in the last few years, is below 50%, and incumbency is still an advantage but no longer a sure thing.

Gone are the days where long serving Senators are elected by landslides.

At 70, after 40 years of public service, and given the national political conflicts in the age of Trump, Udall knows its time to move on.

The fact that the Mueller Investigation found no collusion by Trump with Russia to hand him the election probably means Trump will not be impeached and removed from office, so why should Udall stick around.

If one or more of the potential candidates listed holding office now do decide to run and are elected to the United States Senate it will result in a domino effect with people trying to replace them.

There is no doubt that Democrats will have a large field of candidates to choose from and it is more likely than not whoever is nominated will become the junior Senator of New Mexico.

The Republicans on the other hand will scramble to find a good candidate.

Heather Wilson was recently appointed President of University of Texas at El Paso, and the rumor is she is measuring for new drapes in a house just over the New Mexico border to run for the Senate a third time in case Steve Pearce tries to recruit her to run if he decides not to do so himself.

Get a hold of your odds maker, place your bets and stay tuned New Mexico!
___________________________________________________

POSTSCRIPT

Now that United States Senator Tom Udall has announced that he will not be seeking a third term as United States Senator for New Mexico, his service to New Mexico should be noted.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/25/new-mexico-democratic-sen-tom-udall-will-not-run-for-re-election-in-2020.html

Senator Tom Udall is now 70 and has been around New Mexico politics for close to 40 years.

Udall was born in Tucson, Arizona, is the son of former Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall and he came to New Mexico to attend UNM law school.

Udall started his career in the United States Attorney’ Office for the District of New Mexico as an Assistant United States Attorney.

In 1982, Udall ran for Congress in the newly created 3rd district, based in Santa Fe, and most of north of the state and lost the Democratic primary to Bill Richardson.

In 1988, Udall ran for Congress again, this time in an election for the Albuquerque-based 1st district seat left open by retiring twenty-year incumbent Manuel Lujan, but lost to Bernalillo County District Attorney Steven Schiff.

In 1990 Udall ran for Attorney General of New Mexico, and served two full 4 years terms.

Udall ran for Congress again in 1998 in the 3rd district against conservative Republican incumbent Bill Redmond, who had been elected in a 1997 special election to replace Richardson and Udall defeated Redmond with 53% of the vote.

Udall was elected four more terms to congress with no substantive opposition including running unopposed in 2002.

In November 2007, then Congressman Tom Udall announced he would run for the Senate seat held by retiring six-term incumbent Republican Pete Domenici.

New Mexico’s other two members of the House, 1st and 2nd district’s Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, ran in the Republican primary.

Pearce won the Republican nomination, and lost to Udall, who won 61% of the vote.

Senator Udall won election to a second term to the Senate in 2014 and has now served in the US Senate for 10 years.

Less than two years ago, Udall was saying he wanted to return to New Mexico and run for New Mexico Governor, decided against it, and Michelle Lujan Grisham then announced for Governor.

On July 25, 2018, it was reported Senator Tom Udall had a 46% approval rating, a 30% disapproval rating, with 23% undecided.
You can review the poll at this link:

https://morningconsult.com/2018/07/25/americas-most-and-least-popular-senators-2/

Notwithstanding the poll, Udall was a heavy favorite for re election.

Thank you for your years of service to New Mexico Senator Tom Udall.

Gun Sale Background Checks And Requiring Domestic Abusers To Surrender Firearms Responsible Gun Control

Two major gun control measures were enacted by the 2019 New Mexico Legislature, one requiring back ground checks on private sales of guns and the other requiring domestic violence abusers to surrender firearms.

BACKGROUND CHECKS

On March 8, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill 8 enacted by the 2019 New Mexico legislature which requires background checks for guns sold privately and at gun shows.

Private gun sales will have to go through a federal firearms licensee to do a federal instant background check.

https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/gov-lujan-grisham-signs-gun-background-check-bill-into-law/1836222192

28 counties and municipalities in the state have passed “gun sanctuary resolutions” in defiance to the legislative gun control measures

https://bearingarms.com/tom-k/2019/03/22/nm-sec-state-rejects-gop-petition-put-gun-control-ballot/

It remains to be seen how law enforcement will know if buyers and sellers are even bothering to follow the law and if law enforcement agencies will make such investigations a priority and charge people for violating the law.

Law enforcement officials critical of the new law passed argue it will have to be based on a type of honor system that hopes people follow the law, then hope if a criminal is caught with a gun he admits as to who he got it from, and then proving the seller ignored the background check law.

Elected sheriff’s across New Mexico strenuously objected to the legislation and mounted a strong lobbying campaign to defeat passage to the point of appearing before the legislative committees in mass, fully uniformed and armed to make their point of disdain for the legislation.

On March 21, 2019, it was reported New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver rejected a proposal by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives calling for a statewide referendum on Senate Bill 8.

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/legislature/secretary-of-state-rejects-petition-seeking-gun-law-repeal/article_70f63fb1-3637-5e4e-b67f-75d5cc17164f.html

REQUIRING DOMESTIC ABUSERS TO SURRENDER FIREARMS

The 2019 New Mexico Legislature passed Senate Bill 328 which prohibits gun possession by someone who’s subject to an order of protection under the Family Violence Protection Act.

The bill was jointly sponsored by Democratic Senators Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez of Albuquerque and Democratic Representative Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque.

Under the enacted legislation domestic abusers must surrender their firearms to law enforcement.

The gun possession prohibition also applies to people convicted of other crimes such as battery on a household member.

Opponents of the Senate Bill 328 said people could lose their guns based on a false allegation, without adequate legal protections.

Supporters argued that the measure would help protect families.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1292493/lawmakers-pass-gun-restrictions-for-domestic-abusers.html

NEW MEXICO RANKS 10TH HIGHEST IN COUNTRY FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

State Representative Debra Armstrong had this to say in support of the legislation:

“When a gun is present in a situation of domestic violence, it is five times more likely that a woman will be killed.”

Representative Armstrong was not exaggerating given New Mexico’s domestic violence crisis.

On September 16, 2017, according to an annual study published by the Violence Policy Center, it was reported women are more likely to be killed by men in New Mexico than nearly any other state.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/new-mexico-s-rate-of-women-killed-by-men-among/article_eb7e4a2c-273d-5eb6-8007-e5936639b64f.html

The study found the state has the 10th-highest rate of women killed by men, marking the third straight year New Mexico had appeared toward the top of the list, while New Mexico’s overall homicide rate ranked lower.

A New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee study described New Mexico’s response to domestic violence as fragmented and uncoordinated.

The Legislative Finance Committee report also highlighted the judiciary’s inability to provide effective oversight of domestic violence offenders.

Battery on a household member is a misdemeanor but the magistrate courts and the metro court which handle misdemeanor cases have limited ability to monitor offenders serving probation for domestic violence.

The report found that New Mexico spends little on treatment programs for domestic violence offenders and has little evidence of the effectiveness of those programs.

The study counted 16 women killed by men in New Mexico during 2015, the most recent year for which data was are available at the time.

The rate of 1.52 victims per 100,000 women is higher than the national rate of 1.12.

Nearly all the woman killed were by someone they knew.

Most of the killings were not connected to any other felony.

Half followed arguments between the victim and her killer.

New Mexico has ranked among the top 10 states with the highest rates of women killed by men during the last decade.

The Violence Policy Center promotes gun control and found that each state at the top of the list of women killed by men have a high rate of firearm ownership which no doubt includes New Mexico’s gun culture.

Children exposed to domestic violence often come from broken homes and live in poverty.

Study after study reveal that domestic violence involving children usually results in the child growing up with mental health problems and become an abuser of their own children and spouse.
For more see the following links:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/domestic-violence/effects-domestic-violence-children

https://www.unicef.org/media/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf

A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS IN FAVOR OF STRICTER GUN LAWS

A poll was taken before and after the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand regarding Americans in favor of stricter gun laws.

According to a new poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws.

The poll found that most Americans believe places of worship and schools have become less safe over the last two decades.

The poll found that 67% of Americans support making United States gun laws stricter, while 22% say the gun laws should be left alone and 10% think they should be made less strict.

Overall, 6 in 10 Americans support a ban on AR-15 rifles and similar semiautomatic weapons.

Roughly 8 in 10 Democrats, but just about 4 in 10 Republicans, support a ban on AR-15 rifles.

Republicans are far less likely than Democrats to think that making it harder to buy a gun would prevent mass shootings, 36% to 81%.

Overall, 58% of Americans think making it harder to buy a gun would prevent mass shootings.

The poll did reveal that some gun restrictions get wide support across party lines.

Wide percentages of both Democrats and Republicans support a universal background check requirement, support allowing courts to prevent some people from buying guns if they are considered dangerous to themselves or others, even if they have not committed crimes.

The poll showed a wide share of Americans say safety in churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship has worsened over the past 20 years with 61% saying religious houses have grown less safe over the last two decades.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans believe elementary and high schools have become less safe than they used to be with 57% saying the same about colleges and universities.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1295437/ap-norc-poll-majority-of-americans-favor-stricter-gun-laws.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

BACKGROUND CHECK LEGISLATION

Given all the mass shootings across the country and the general public’s demand for stricter gun control laws, it is very disappointing that so many elected County Sheriffs objected to the background check measures.

Governor Lujan Grisham at the time of signing the background check measure said:

“Even the sheriffs who [opposed the legislation] … are men and women who dedicate their lives to law enforcement, they [need to] follow the law. They will enforce this law, they will do their job and duty”.

What would be tragic is if the elected Sheriff’s just ignore the law making background checks mandatory and make absolutely no effort to enforce it and not set up policies and procedures to enforce it.

Elected Sheriff’s cannot pick and choose the laws they like but have an ethical obligation to honor their oaths of office and enforce the criminal laws as enacted by the New Mexico legislature as best they can in good faith.

The legislation requiring back ground checks on private sales of guns and at gun shows sends a very strong message that the New Mexico gun culture needs to accept a level of responsibility to ensure that they know who they are selling guns to and make sure their weapon is not placed in the wrong hands.

The 28 counties and municipalities in the state that have passed “gun sanctuary resolutions” in defiance to the legislative gun control measures are engaging in “feel good” legislation to merely make a political statement, with such legislation in all likelihood exceeding their authority that would probably set aside by the courts if ever challenged.

Such court challenges to the “gun sanctuary resolutions” could and should be mounted by the the elected District Attorneys or appointed county attorneys for the courts to pronounce the legislation null and void.

The opposing counties and municipalities would better serve their residents and constituencies if they were to promulgate and implement policy measures and provide funding to help the Sheriff’s and Police enforce the law regarding background checks and perhaps fund such services free of charge for their constituents.

REQUIRING DOMESTIC ABUSERS TO SURRENDER FIREARMS

Statics in Albuquerque show that after about the 10th or 11th time there is a call out of the Albuquerque Police Department to a home for domestic violence, it is usually to pick a woman up in a body bag.

Albuquerque’s dirty little secret is that domestic violence is the number-one reason why a woman is admitted to the emergency room of the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Given New Mexico’s ranking as the 10th-highest rate of women killed by men, this legislation is long overdue and will save lives.

Senate Bill 328 is an excellent example of responsible gun regulation that even Second Amendment advocates should not hesitate to support, but no, the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Advocates will say “people kill people” and not the guns they have a right to buy and carry.

No doubt the NRA will argue that fewer woman would be killed in New Mexico if only more woman wore sidearms to protect themselves from domestic violence inflicted upon them by their spouses, partners, or their children’s other parent.

New Mexico spends little on treatment programs for domestic violence offenders and this needs to change and such programs funded by the legislature.

Democratic Senators Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez of Albuquerque and Democratic Representative Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque are commended for sponsoring and getting enacted one of the most meaningful bills passed during the 2019 session.

ABQ City Council Should Thank Gov. MLG and 2019 NM Legislature for $63.7 Million In Additional Funding

The 2019 Legislature that just ended March enacted a $7.6 billion state budget, the largest budget ever enacted in state history.

Financial stress over the budget was greatly reduced from years past because nearly $2 Billion in additional revenue generated by the Southern New Mexico oil boom and increased royalties filled the state coffers.

The legislature appropriated $933 million for infrastructure projects such as road and bridge repairs.

State agencies had submitted a total of $543.4 million in requests.

Requests for senior citizen facilities totaled $28.7 million, and requests higher education institutions, special and tribal schools totaled $125.6 million, for a grand total of $697.7 million to address statewide needs.

The approved budget includes $380 million allocated to lawmakers to spend in their individual districts at their discretion.

The New Mexico legislature consists of a total 70 representatives and 42 senators.

Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have the largest delegation in the New Mexico Legislature.

In years past years, Albuquerque has not done very well when asking for funding for special projects for the city, especially during the last 8 years under former Republican Governor “SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED”.

ALBQUERQUE FARES WELL IN 2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

With the election of Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as Democrats seizing control of the New Mexico House or Representatives, the City did a lot better, especially having a Democratic Governor who use to represent the city in the United States Congress.

New Mexico’s budget surplus of $2 Billion no doubt also contributed to the funding of projects in Albuquerque.

During last year’s 2018 session, only $39 million was secured for city projects

This year, the Albuquerque and the Bernalillo county delegation to the legislature was able to secure $63.7 million in funding for Albuquerque projects or an impressive $24.7 million more than last year.

Approximately $54 million of the $63.7 million is earmarked for city government facilities, infrastructure and equipment.

The remaining $9.7 million is earmarked for items such as little league fields and museums in the Albuquerque area such as the Natural History Museum.

FUNDING BREAKDOWN

More than 100 projects in Albuquerque are included in the Legislature’s capital outlay bill.

Following is a small breakdown of the state funded earmarked projects for the city:

Upgrading the first responder communication network (911 Emergency Communications Center) : $16.8 million

Traffic mitigation efforts around Balloon Fiesta Park including a new ramp onto Interstate 25: $7.5 million

Albuquerque Rail Yards redevelopment: $7.5 million

Albuquerque Fire Rescue vehicles, protective gear and station upgrades: $5 million

West Side Albuquerque sports complex: $1.8 million

Funding for Albuquerque Police Department DNA testing and technology: $4 million

Funding for 14 different little league projects: $2 million

Construction funding for the city’s International District Library: $1.9 million

Funding to the Albuquerque Holocaust & Intolerance Museum: $823,898

Funding for the City/County “Tiny Home Village”: $595,000

Construction Funding for a “bocce court” at North Domingo Baca Park: $147,400

Funding for public murals: $135,000

Funding for a Sandia Vista dog park $70,000

Construction funding for a centralized, 24/7 homeless shelter: $985,000

The amount secured for the homeless shelter was disappointing seeing as the cost of the centralized, 24/7 homeless shelter is projected to be $28 million.

The City officials say $14 million is needed to complete at least the shelter’s first phase and the city intends to seek funding for the shelter in the November general obligation bond request that must be approved by voters.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1293951/state-pumps-money-into-albuquerque-projects.html

NOVEMBER 2019 CITY GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND ELECTION

The next city general obligation bond cycle up for voter approval is on November 5, 2019.

A total of $127 million in projects will be on the November ballot for voter approval.

The $63.7 million in funding allocated by the 2019 New Mexico legislature for Albuquerque capital projects will allow the city considerable leeway in what voters will be asked to fund with general obligation bonds on November 5, 2019.

A few of the largest Keller Administration projects in the latest bond proposal include:

$13 million toward the historic Rail Yards property through 2029. (NOTE: The legislature funded $7.5 million for the rail yards.)

$11 million for various projects at the Albuquerque Museum over the next decade.

$7 million to a new APD southeast substation at Kathryn and San Mateo.

$7 million for a year-round homeless facility. (NOTE: the legislature funded $985,000)

$5.5 million for the International District Library. (NOTE: The legislature funded $1.9 million for the library.)

$5 million in funding for Family & Community Services Section 8 Affordable Housing.

$2.8 million for Community, Health, Social Services Centers.

$2.5 million for a new exit off I-25 to Balloon Fiesta Park. (NOTE: The legislature funded $7.5 million for the new ramp onto Interstate 25)

Links to related stories:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1289355/mayor-city-council-have-different-capital-project-priorities.html

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/city-councilors-raise-questions-concerns-over-mayor-keller-s-project-list/1766843701

COUNCIL’S SUBSTITUTE VERSION

A substitute version of the Keller Administration November, 2019 bond package was introduced by the city council containing a number of major changes.

The City Council’s major changes include:

1.The Council slashed the Keller Administration’s request of $7 million for a permanent homeless shelter by $4 million and allotted $3 million A substitute version of the bond package introduced by City Council budget chair Trudy Jones raised it to $14 million.

2. The Council eliminated the $2.5 million for a new exit off I-25 to Balloon Fiesta Park but the 2019 legislature funded $7.5 million for the new ramp onto Interstate 25.

3. The council plan designates $7.8 million for a pair of storm drainage and pump station projects compared with Keller’s $2.8 million.

4. The council plan quadruples the line item for Albuquerque Fire Rescue vehicles to $4 million. The 2019 New Mexico legislature allocated $5 million for Albuquerque Fire Rescue vehicles, protective gear and station upgrades

5. The council plan proposes $9 million for projects not on the Keller Administration proposed bond package including:

$1.7 million for a North Domingo Baca swimming pool
$1.5 million for a Westside Indoor Sports Complex
$1 million Cibola Loop library and
$1 million a West Central Visitor Center

https://www.abqjournal.com/1289355/mayor-city-council-have-different-capital-project-priorities.html

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

As the saying goes, Albuquerque is the economic engine for the State of New Mexico.

Concentration on capital improvement projects and infra structure needs are always a major need of a growing city and an investment in the entire state economy.

State investment in city projects and city general obligation bond funded capital projects need to always enhance each other in order to get a better return on investment and stretched resources.

The ultimate decision as to what will be placed on the November General Obligation Bond ballot rests exclusively with the Albuquerque City Council.

Hearings and meetings will be held by the Albuquerque Council’s “Committee of the Whole”, comprised of all 9 City Councilor’s, to negotiate a compromise between the council’s version and the Mayor’s version of the capital outlay program to be submitted to voters for approval.

No doubt the city council must now consider the $63.7 million in additional funding from the 2019 New Mexico legislature for Albuquerque projects and make changes to the General Obligation bond ballot measures.

The City Council and the Mayor would be wise to approach individual State Representatives and Senators and discuss what capital projects in their districts they may be willing to help fund with their allotment of the $380 million given to lawmakers to spend in their individual districts at their discretion.

The City Council should recognize and thank Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as the 2019 New Mexico Legislature for their help and financing of major Albuquerque capital projects.