Tuesday, October 3, 2023

City Council Watch: Reporting from the War on the Homeless and Vaginas


Passing a measure denying the homeless options for a safe living space and a mic drop moment supporting vaginas put a pause in the moral bullying at the Albuquerque City Council Aug. 15 meeting.

Not Here, Not Anywhere

Some Albuquerque City Councilors went a step farther with their incarcerating-the-homeless-who-don’t-get-it-together stance by passing a year long moratorium on any further, and any pending, safe outdoor spaces where our homeless neighbors can camp out in tents or cars in a contained, clean and supervised area with bathrooms, showers and support services. Councilors have been flip-floppy on this issue. The public that did express their opinions were loud and intimidating enough to make Councilor Brook Bassan take a sharp U-turn to oppose them after she worked hard to get them in place.  Mayor Tim Keller will get it on his desk. He could sign it into law or he could veto it and continue on with reviewing applications, or let it proceed without his input. There are five applications so far. One was approved for a safe outdoor space at Menaul and Interstate 40. Two have been denied and two are still being reviewed by the planning department.

Lady Parts Alert

Some of the same Councilors went as far as to try to pass a measure that tried to yank an already approved $250,000 from the budget that was earmarked for Planned Parenthood. Councilor Renee Grout sponsored the anti-women measure to redirect the money to other needs such as the Barrett House shelter for women and children. The self-righteous Councilors, and some public speakers, wanted to do this because they don’t want “taxpayer money” going to women who want an abortion. The city’s contract with Planned Parenthood does not include abortion services. It is for women’s health care such as breast and other exams, testing for STDs and other women’s health care.

The vocal crowd had to be warned by Council President Issac Benton that the meeting room would be cleared if they did not stop with the rude behavior. Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn gets the hero award. She sponsored the Planned Parenthood money that the Council approved during the budget process.

Councilor Dan Lewis did his self-righteous ramblings and moral interrogation of city administrators trying to build a case to pull the money. In a passionate, verge-of-tears response, Councilor Fiebelkorn amended the measure to keep the Planned Parenthood money and to add $100,000 for Barrett House and $100,000 for an energy efficiency project to help low income folks. Councilor Grout tried to table the amended bill but it didn’t work and it passed on a 5-4 vote with Councilors Fiebelkorn, Benton, Pat Davis, Klarissa Peña and Trudy Jones doing the right thing. Councilors Lewis, Grout, Bassan and Louie Sanchez voted against the funding for all three organizations.

The next meeting of the Albuquerque City Council is set for Wednesday, Sept. 7. For more information, agendas and meeting links go to cabq.gov.


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