The answer is yes, it was tabled. And yes, unless Councilor Winter's bill (which he plans to be re-introduced on Wednesday) passes, the Transportation Infrastructure Tax will remain in place. According to the Journal Council President Debbie O'Malley indicated that they were "behind a rock and a hard place. ... I don't think we have any choice except to repeal it." (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required). In addition, Mayor Chavez is now pushing for a repeal stating, "it rightly ought to be repealed."
Hey Marty, we're with you on this one! But, forgive us if we're not quite buying it. First, you try with the aid of your accomplices on the council, to railroad us by ramming it through council the day before a hotly contested national election. Second, our Eyes on the Inside tell us you agreed to accept a repeal only after Councilors Heinrich and Benton let you know that the issue was too hot for them and they were pulling their support. Third, one of your biggest supporters Councilor Sally Mayer, manages to get the repeal tabled in the council's finance committee last week. What's the saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me THREE TIMES..."
The fact is that Mayor Chavez is bound and determined to have a trolley and he'll use any trick that he can think of to make sure it will happen. It's legacy building writ large and payed for by our tax dollars. One thing that the Mayor didn't count on is organized and determined opposition to his plan.
Our Eyes tell us that SWAT (Stop Wasting Albuquerque's Taxes) sent out an action alert to a huge number of members, and civic leaders over the weekend. That email ended with the following appeal:
"We ask you to email all of the city councilors and the mayor and reiterate your objection to this project without an unbiased, comprehensive study and the direct consent of the voters. Let them know in clear terms that responsible voter-taxpayers passed the original tax, that we haven't approved a street car system, and that we demand the this issue be decided by voters at the municipal election this fall."Apparently, their efforts generated enough heat to have Mayor Chavez in damage control mode on Monday, claiming that he sent a letter last week to the council asking for a repeal, and for the Council to feel "boxed in." If the Mayor truly wanted to have the Transportation Infrastructure Tax repealed he could have done it with a phone call to Councilor Mayer (a.k.a. The Mayer) and to Councilor (Remember I Held a $500 a Head Fundraiser To Pay Off Your Campaign Debts) Harris, and at the very least gotten it through committee.
The bottom line... Tricks for Trolleys. This isn't the first one and if history is any indication, it won't be the last one.