Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor 

There will be a lot of tilting at windmills during the 30 day legislative session, with the vast majority of bills never seeing the light of day. That's probably true of this one from Four Corners area GOP State Rep. Paul Bandy, but given the constant controversy and embarrassments over the years at the state Public Regulation Commission (PRC) it looks like an idea whose time has come.

. . . Amend Article 11 of the New Mexico Constitution to have Public Regulation Commission members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; members would be appointed at large from the state and serve four- year terms; of the five members, one shall be an attorney, one shall be a licensed engineer, one shall be a certified public accountant, one shall be a person with at least five years’ experience working in a regulated industry and one shall be a member of the public.

And then there's ABQ Dem liberal State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino whose motto is "never say die" when it comes to his often daring bills. He comes with this one again that would probably pass muster with the electorate but it's doubtful the proposed constitutional amendment will escape the legislative graveyard:

. . . Amend Article 20 of the New Mexico Constitution to allow possession and personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older; the legislature shall provide by law for the production, processing, transportation, sales, taxation and acceptable quantities and places of use of marijuana and hemp; any state revenue generated from the sale off marijuana shall be used to fund the state’s Medicaid Program or drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.


After reporting the on again off again plans of ABQ GOP State Senator Lisa Torraco seeking the gubernatorial appointment for a vacant seat on the state Court of Appeals, we have our finalists--which do not include Torraco:

Three Albuquerque attorneys have applied for a vacant seat on the New Mexico Court of Appeals, a position held for 14 years by Cynthia Frye, who announced her retirement in December. The state’s Judicial Nominating Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the state Supreme Court building in Santa Fe to interview applicants for the judgeship — attorneys Ned Fuller, Stephen French and Julie Vargas — before making a recommendation to Gov. Susana Martinez.


Former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez comments on the recall trouble City Councilor Pat Davis has run into over his support of Mayor Berry's ABQ Rapid Transit Plan for Central Avenue:

This argument over Rapid Bus Transit is yet another example of Albuquerque selling it's future short. Nothing more than an upscale Rapid Ride - yes, that's all it is. Rapid Bus Transit adds no value to adjoining properties and doesn't advance Albuquerque's woefully anemic economy. If the taxpayers are going to take a hit and also see their streets torn up, it ought to be toward joining every other major city with a modern street car system, if not a full-blown light rail system. 

Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Salt Lake City and Dallas have made the jump and property values along the routes have gone up, restaurants and housing have jumped and riders have flocked aboard. I can certainly testify to how contentious rail can be politically. Everyone is against it until it opens and then its hard to find a detractor. But if elected officials are going to sacrifice themselves on the altar of a fancier bus system, they ought to at least make the sacrifice for something that will actually move our community forward on a permanent basis.

While many business owners along the proposed rapid bus route are up in arms over the plan, not all of them are. Here's Robert Munro, co-owner of O'Neill's, the popular east Central pub and restaurant:

Councilor Davis
ART will create a more pedestrian friendly environment throughout Nob Hill, which will in turn create a more robust retail scene. Up to four-foot-wider sidewalks will create a wonderful place to walk while decreasing the distance pedestrians will have to travel to get across Central. The benefits include new landscaping throughout Nob Hill, traffic calming and reduced vehicle speeds due to a single lane of traffic in both directions. 

The construction is the most pressing issue and one that we must all work on together through a myriad of construction mitigation techniques. It must be our goal to ensure that we will all be here to enjoy the overwhelming long-term benefits that the ART will bring to our corridor. 

This is an opportunity for Nob Hill to get to a more level playing field with lifestyle centers such as ABQ Uptown and the new Winrock, which are taking a large portion of the available market share. Shoppers have a comfort zone that lifestyle centers focus on; ART will allow Nob Hill to enter that comfort zone without changing its traditional character.

Munro's full commentary is here.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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