An Open Letter to Everyone Except Martin Chavez

NOB HILL--I have said many times that 90% of us like at least 50% of what Mayor Chavez has done. But there is one thing and only one thing that differentiates the current mayor from everybody else who is running or even thinking of running: Sprawl Mesa. Martin Chavez has done what he could to make life easier for out of state companies like SunCal to sell the city's future and sustainability for short-term profits.

Short-Sighted Money
It all fits. There is the loop road. There are the TIDD's. There is the newly discovered lake of brackish water being claimed by private interests as if they were staking out slices of pie. And there is the promise of water for a hundred years...as if "a hundred years" were eternity itself.

I remember when the developers of the Cochiti Lake resort were offering 99-year leases on lake front property. Lots to build your dream home on. But there was a catch...one that seemed so far into the future it was of no interest to many: 99 years is not eternity. In fact, 38 years have passed since I saw those billboards up and down I-25. In 60 years or so that land reverts to Cochiti Pueblo.

Zero
What value does your house have when it is worth ZERO in 100 years? What value does your house have when the water runs out in 100 years? We don't seem to be hung up about anything that outlasts our own short little lives.

Sprawl and everything that goes with it is a real danger to all of us. SunCal is building on 55,000 acres and having us pay for the infrastructure while they put all their money into building houses. Unsustainability is not very far off. Remember, we are looking at possibly doubling our population.

Not a West Side Issue
The Mayor would like to define this as a "west side vs. east side" issue. It is not. The area encircled by the loop road is so far out of town it might be closer to Grants than the mayor's office in city hall. This new area will take funds and attention from the current west side residents as well.

The mayor's hope is that west-siders will look at the anti-sprawl movement as an assault on them. Again, it is not. If anything, it is an assault on California developers who don't care anything about Albuquerque or New Mexico, and only want to turn a profit on their 55,000 acre gamble. And the mayor seems to be on their side.

The Mayor of Sprawl Mesa
Oh, there are other issues in the race for mayor: jobs, crime, fiscal restraint, etc. But I am sure that ALL candidates will come down on the same side of these...including the mayor. There is only one issue where he is vulnerable and is standing alone, and that is his support for big developers and their proposal to double the size of the city. The next mayor can seek to control it or not. Candidates Cadigan and O'Malley would do that. I doubt Mayor Martin Chavez would do that to any meaningful extent. He certainly hasn't so far.

The question is "Why?" Isn't he looking at the same facts as the rest of us? Sure he is.

The question remains: "Why?"

Views: 76

Comment by Juan on February 17, 2009 at 11:52am
Unfortunately as we've seen in the Legislature in the past many years, contractors and their lobbyists hold a lot of weight in NM. It's definitely unfortunate, for our community and our people, because as you say these California developers could give a damn about our communities, instead they just care about making lots of money. Which is funny, because their commercials they are putting out are full of a bunch of fallacies about what Suncal is going to do "for" our community.
Comment by cathyray on February 17, 2009 at 1:31pm
This is a sore spot for a lot of us. We do not want to be californicated by people who don't even live here. No matter how large we get, I don't want to lose our small town mentality.
Comment by Sarahjmd on February 17, 2009 at 4:07pm
Johnny, I know this will be an issue in the mayoral election. O'Malley and Cadigan will make sure of it. I hope that the real issue that comes out of it is that Cadigan and O"Malley are NOT taking money from any special interest group and Martin Chavez is. Growth for Albuquerque is inevitable, but a mayor collecting contributions to promote this growth is crazy.
Comment by Dan Ehrig on February 18, 2009 at 9:57am
I honestly don't even understand how the impetus for these huge new developments is still there. New housing starts are down by 33% on average across the entire country this year, and home builder groups project that starts will be down even further next year, all because of a lack of demand. That being the case, why are Suncal and whoever is behind Mesa Del Sol building two more Rio Ranchos? We can of course point to the smart growth aspects of Mesa Del Sol as opposed to the Suncal development but who exactly is it who is waiting to buy these houses?
Comment by Carolina Yahne on February 18, 2009 at 10:06am
If you are interested in meeting another candidate for mayor of ABQ, please come to a gathering for Richard Romero on Sunday 22 February at 3 PM at 446 Solano Drive NE. Several Nob Hill neighbors are hosting the event.
Comment by Phil_0 on February 18, 2009 at 11:35am
I was born here, NMGH, and I find that question completely irrelevant. What, only natives can demand smart, sustainable growth?
Comment by Tricross on February 18, 2009 at 12:47pm
Yes, the sprawl situation is bad and needs to be addressed. But is anyone looking at the looming collapse of the commercial real estate market? From what I have read and seen, this could have a far greater impact than the fall of the residential market. Anyone watching that?
Comment by once banned twice shy on February 18, 2009 at 2:58pm
NMGolfHacker, I don't think that those of us who are concerned about sprawl and unchecked growth are saying that all newcomers have to go home. What we want is SMART growth--you know, unlike what has gone on and still goes on in Rio Rancho. Letting developers plan a community results in abominations like Phoenix--and Rio Rancho. No, I'd say most of us who advocate for smart growth realize that more people will move here--there is a way to accommodate growth without making it a nightmare.

And yes, I am a native. The only people I want to leave are the crappy drivers with Texas license plates. Ye Gods are they making the streets a hazardous venture.
Comment by Hunter on February 18, 2009 at 5:19pm
Tricross, have you been keeping tabs on the situation with General Growth Properties, the owner of the Coronado Mall?
Comment by Tricross on February 18, 2009 at 5:27pm
Last I heard is that they are planning to or have filed for bankruptcy. I believe they have three malls in New Mexico but I may be wrong.

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