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.
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.
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?"