By Carolyn Carlson
— The City Council rings in 2014 with a healthy agenda for its meeting tonight.
A municipal election and a special run-off election held over the last few months changed the dynamics at the Council meetings. Though it’s not meant to be a partisan governing body, before the 2013 elections the Council had a 6-to-3 Republican majority. Berry, and the Republican councilors faced little opposition in passing measures.
But voters put Diane Gibson and Klarissa Peña on the Council to join Rey Garduño, Isaac Benton and Council President Ken Sanchez, tipping the scales to a 5-to-4 Democrat majority. Council Vice President Trudy Jones, Don Harris, Brad Winter and Dan Lewis make up the Republican side of the table.
In 2014, Albuquerque residents should resolve to keep up with their local politicians. Many interesting things that impact daily life start at this level. You can check out the agenda, and access webcasts of meetings at the City Council website. Or you can watch it live on Channel 16 GOV TV.
The Council meets tonight at 5 p.m. in the basement of City Hall.
- A measure carried by Harris at the request of Mayor Richard Berry could ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. The bill will carry a fine of up to $500 or 90 days in jail—the same penalty as for selling tobacco products people under 18.
- A bill sponsored by Benton calls for round-the-clock policing Downtown. According to the measure, an additional $115,000 will be allocated from the city’s Neighborhood Policing program to pay for adding more officers.
- A resolution carried by Garduño endorses the recommendations made by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center Task Force for Public Safety for selecting a new police chief. Those recommendations include requiring the new chief to develop policies that will build trust between police and economically disadvantaged communities and people of color. Another requires the incoming chief to work with other agencies to develop programs that put aside the rhetoric of the drug war.
- In addition, the Council will consider the city’s priorities for the upcoming Legislative session.