Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dagger to the Heart

The Bernalillo County Commission is attempting to put a dagger in the heart of downtown Albuquerque.  They want to move county offices out of the historic core of the city, and that would fly in the face of modern urban planning.

Due to eight years of Mayor Marty Chavez not caring about the area after its renaissance began, and then following up with the incompetence of the Berry administration, the efforts of the city to have a heartbeat are dwindling.

Surely, there is a viable alternative in keeping county employees downtown and there  has to be a bright Commissioner that can find it.  Right?


Anonymous said...

Mayor Berry? Paging Mayor Berry. Anybody seen Mayor Berry? Paging Mayor Berry.

Has the same PR person as the cheshire cat governor--that's why we don't see a Mayor.

Calling Mayor Berry. Paging Mayor Berry?

Is there a Mayor in the City?

Bubba Muntzer said...

I'm always suspicious when a hired executive, like the Bernalillo county manager, is pushing a project like this. Sometimes these people are trying to pad their resumes for their next career move, and then the government they leave behind without notice is left with the consequences of their self aggrandizement.

I'm also suspicious when government land is being sold. Who is to gain? is the first question to ask. We the people, who own the land, are almost sure to lose out.

Speaking of who is to gain, this Todd Clarke, head of the "Downtown Action Team," is also pushing the project. He's quoted in Journal and Biz Journal stories about it, and Downtown Action Team is described by both publications as a "non-profit."

It's anything but. Clarke, CEO of a commercial real estate consultant company, and all board members save someone from the council of governments, are downtown business people, most of whom, if not all, stand to gain from the 'tearing down and rebuilding' type of development. Bankers, more real estate people, lawyers, architects, etc.

This is besides what Jim mentions, which is the real tragedy. It's an exciting time in the field of urban planning. People are doing all kinds of innovative and creative things that are bringing downtowns back. Nashville, TN is one place to look at. You might think they're a bunch of guitar twanging hillbillies, but they're at the forefront of making downtown areas the size of Albuquerque's into livable, high density, environmentally friendly, public transport friendly places.

The people who are in urban planning and architecture now are out in front on these things, but it doesn't take much for a Marty Chavez or Marion Barry, or a Ray Nagan in New Orleans, to turn a town over to their real estate buddies and send it all back to the stone age of urban development.

Bubba Muntzer said...

Incidentally, I neglected to mention: Dan McKay, the Journal reporter in the story I read, although he got most of the story from the hired county manager, did talk to a couple of commissioners (this is good reporting - many reporters don't bother with that, since it's easier to get it all from the executive, but then that makes him or her the voice of the elected officials, lets them off the hook, lets the hired person pursue an agenda) but in the comments from the elected officials, that he used anyway, they did not seem to be very engaged in the project or as informed about it as the county manager is.

Busy elected officials who only skim over the "meeting packet" prepared by the manager and staff can be led down the garden path.

Reporters who make them explain what they're voting for and why keep them on their toes. I always thought it made things more democratic by keeping the elected officials engaged instead of them letting the staff do everything for them including their thinking.