Downtown Albuquerque has become a popular nightspot for the young and even the not-so-young. There are movie theaters, restaurants, and bars aplenty. Downtown has become an example of what new urbanist acolytes like Councilor Ike Benton advocate for the rest of the city.
The area has been the focus of the Chavez administration since The Almighty Alcalde's first tenure on the 11th floor. As a result, Downtown Albuquerque has changed a lot and benefited from the city spending large amounts of taxpayer money to expand the convention center, remodel Civic Plaza, and if the mayor has his way we'll be spending hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars more to build a new arena and put in a shiny new trolley.
All of the recreation and the shiny new toys (paid for by the taxpayers) are hiding the dirty underbelly of the Downtown experience. Our Eyes behind the badge tell us Rape, murder, and assault are almost nightly occurences. And despite the disproportionate APD force allocation, crime in the Downtown area is on the rise.
The July 13th murder in the Downtown parking garage is just one example of the danger that is life on Central Avenue (ABQ Journal - Subscription). Our Eyes tell us about another incident involving a Downtown alley, seven men, a knife, a woman, and a rape. Right now, Downtown isn't a safe place to be particularly if you happen to find yourself in city's first street garage - which according to our Eyes is particularly dangerous.
There are a couple of issues here. The mayor has decided that Downtown will be part of his legacy so he's willing to spend large amounts of money trying to get the situation under control. From this month's murder we'd humbly suggest that The Almighty One has failed despite the taxpayer expense. (We talked about the additional Downtown security back in April - read it here.)
Another problem is that The Almighty One decreed from his perch on the 11th floor that officers were to keep a low profile. By low profile, the directive instructed officers not to park on Central. In fact, they're not to park within a block of the Central Crime District. In addition, officers are not to congregate or to walk more than two abreast down the sidewalk.
It's simply foolish to put the kind of money into making Downtown safe and then decree that officers need to remain low profile and park their vehicles at a distance that leaves them without their equipment.
All of this leaves us wondering whether or not we've created a focal point for criminal and gang activity. If we have created an entertainment and crime district, shouldn't those businesses that contribute to the problem also contribute to the solution? Currently, Downtown bars are the only bars in town that receive police protection without paying chief's overtime.
Finally in light of the current situation in the Downtown area, why are we looking to add more people (potential victims) with trolleys and arenas (assuming there'd be anything to see in the 12,000 seat boondoggle) when we can't keep people safe now? The crime problem Downtown is just another problem that The Almighty Alcalde is ignoring... Something like fiddling while Downtown burns.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes