Thursday, March 30, 2023

City Council Watch: New Penalties For Gun Violence and Amazon Love

Council Calls For Resources For Crime Fighting and Closing Loopholes In the System


It was a little subdued at Albuquerque City Council’s Nov. 3 meeting.

The reason? It was held the day after the municipal election where voters gave walking papers to two incumbents and left two open seats in a run-off. The nine-member governing body deferred some items until the new council members are seated on January 1. Councilors did manage to get some items off the table. Outgoing Council President Cynthia Borrego gave a slightly on-the-edge of tears congratulations to the winners of the election, one of whom will be taking her seat. Councilor Lan Sena also lost her seat and appeared to be sad and tired. A couple of other conservative council members, we won’t say names, seemed to be a bit smirky about the future changes at the table.

Not Today, Crime

Approval of a five-page memorial reaffirms the City Council’s commitment to working on the factors that contribute to our crime rates. It doesn’t just have a bunch of words, it also calls for resources to be put into crime fighting and to closing loopholes in the system. One of its strong points is more robust penalties for gun violence.

Stats say that in the first six months of 2021 there have been more than 31,000 crimes with a record number of homicides. Two-thirds of the homicides involved using a firearm. Councilors like the idea of ankle monitoring and denying bail to dangerous offenders. The nut graph is that the council reiterates its enduring support for the law enforcement agencies and other connected agencies that continue to fight the revolving door of recidivism and gun crimes and urges support to improve public safety in our communities. Seems like this could have been passed prior to the election, giving the incumbents a chance to make this statement. Copies of this memorial will be sent to a number of county and state department leaders such as the Attorney General’s Office and the State Police.

Police Oversight Interim Director Steps Up

Diane McDermott was appointed as interim director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. She will fill the position currently held by Edward Harness, whose resignation is effective Nov. 15. McDermott has been with the CPOA since 2016 and is the lead investigator of the agency. This is her second time as CPOA interim director. She has a paralegal certification, a BA in psychology and criminology, a master's degree in security management and a handful of certifications pertinent to the job at hand.

Amazon Love

Councilors approved a ground lease and development agreement between the city aviation department and the e-commerce giant Amazon for a 30,000 square foot air cargo facility at the Albuquerque International Sunport. This is in addition to the five-story fulfillment center and sorting center near Atrisco Vista Blvd. and Interstate 40.

Tweaking the Budget

Councilors adopted the Menaul Redevelopment Study and its recommendations for the area bounded by Candelaria Road on the north, Interstate-40 on the south, San Mateo to the east and Interstate-25 to the west. It focused on non-residential properties and provides a phased-in plan for revitalization. Councilors also tweaked the city budget. Check all the happenings on the city’s website at

Kicking Cans Down The Road

Councilors deferred an intergovernmental agreement to reform the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Commission to include the Albuquerque Public Schools. The Council also deferred a plan for the cross-section of 118th Street to Senator Dennis Chavez Blvd.

The next meeting of the City Council is set for a Zoom meeting at 3pm, Monday, Nov. 15. Watch it at GOV-TV at or on Comcast Cable Channel 16 or on the city’s YouTube channel.


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