What's going on, Albuquerque?
Tags: APS, Koats, MorningFix, foodTruck, office, probation
It's a sign of government today that when the Mayor says we must do something quickly the Council proposes putting it to the voters two years from now. (2015 Municipal election.) The proposed review of an initiative by the City Attorney and two Council appointed lawyers strikes me as self-serving and less than impartial. The State law on County recalls provides a better model. Prior to collecting signatures the proposed language should be reviewed by an appropriate court for legality/constitutionality. After all, court is where any of these measures is going to end up if the election result is challenged.
The problem with the parole office is that there is no where in the city that does not have students nearby. Downtown has schools and youth programs and Nob Hill has schools and the University nearby. A parole office really needs to be in the city with reliable transit lines so that the folks going there can go before/after work or during a lunch break. I honestly cannot think of a reasonable place in the city where someone won't be saying "not in my neighborhood!"
KAFB Article: "Invoking Superfund to spur cleanup would incur “devastating environmental and economic impacts to Albuquerque and its residents” by adding a layer of bureaucracy that slows down work, and adding the stigma of a major hazardous waste designation to properties in the area, Environment Department spokesman Jim Winchester said in a written statement."
What's worse, Winchester: the "stigma of a major hazardous waste designation," or refusing to bring federal resources to bear in mitigating the actual hazardous waste? I'm sure it must be great to shove your head in the sand, but anyone living near KAFB who tries to do that will end up with 24 million gallons of jet fuel in their hair.
As for the parole office, Krista is right: PPOs always trigger NIMBYism wherever they are. Downtown, though, has plenty of precedent. Just two blocks away is the county's Public Safety Center, which houses everything from Sex Offender Registration and Tracking to intake for the Metropolitan Detention Center to the Community Custody Program (aka ankle bracelets / house arrest).
Furthermore, Plaza Mayor is in desperate need of an overhaul. Anyone occupying the building will need to completely replace the mechanical system, an expense that is well outside the means of most tenants. It would take a large entity like the state to buy and refurbish the building. In spite of the price tag, though, it would make a lot of sense for the state: they are currently overcrowded in leased space, and for the past ten years have been exploring options to move their departments into owned space. A downtown location like this, accessible by transit, would meet a lot of their needs.
The hue and cry surrounding the proposed downtown probation office truly is a bit ridiculous, as Benny and Krista both point out. To use the kind of rhetoric the Warehouse 508 guys are - to invoke the murder of a teen, even - is irresponsible and absurd given the well-known and obvious concentration of existing services for ex-cons (and current cons, and soon-to-be cons) in the immediate vicinity of Plaza Maya. Talk about crying wolf. Worried about probation services near kids? The Nob Hill office and its 30+ year (mostly) incident-free presence across the street from one of the city's best elementary schools is just one more reason the critics are way, way overblown.
As someone who works just down the street from the probation office on Gold, I can say that until just recently, there have been ZERO problems from people reporting there. They generally go in, take care of business and leave--either the way they came in or by transport back to jail because they tested dirty or failed another condition of their probation. Now, recently there was an incident involving a molotov cocktail and bomb threat, which has resulted in AR15-toting law enforcement types walking around this area. But that is supposed to make us MORE safe, right? The one thing about this probation office and the other one is LACK OF PARKING. They are both close to transit, which is good but man do people have a hell of a time parking in either place.
Benny, Krista and Phil0 are spot-on and I can verify that all of the hyerventilation by "concerned groups" is really completely unfounded.
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