By Carolyn Carlson
— Janice Arnold-Jones took former Councilor Michael Cook’s District 7 seat. He resigned in early April after being arrested for DWI. Mayor Richard Berry appointed Arnold-Jones, a former Republican four-term state representative last week. Berry said he has seen her passion for transparency and good government.
City councilors said no to contributing a chunk of change to Bernalillo County’s gun buyback program at the Monday, April 15 meeting. The measure, carried by Councilor Isaac Benton, would have given the county $25,000 to encourage people to get rid of firearms safely. Bernalillo County offers either $100, $150 or $200 gift cards for each gun surrendered. Benton said the program had taken in more than 600 guns.
Councilors Roxanna Meyers and Trudy Jones said the measure was not a good use of tax money since there was already a city program in place where people can call 311 and turn in their unwanted guns. Police Chief Ray Schultz said since the December Sandy Hook shootings, residents have handed over about 150 firearms using 311. The vote came down along party lines with Democratic Councilors Benton and Rey Garduño in favor of pitching in, and Republican Councilors Meyers, Jones, Dan Lewis, Don Harris and Arnold-Jones against it. Councilors Ken Sanchez and Brad Winter were excused for the evening.
During the short, lightly attended meeting, councilors approved:
- A franchise agreement giving the Zayo Group the right to use public space to construct a core fiber broadband network in the metro area, which includes Rio Rancho and Bernalillo.
- Altering the city’s ordinance to make meeting agendas available to the public at least 72 hours in advance, bringing the city into compliance with state’s new ordinance.
- An amended proposal to hire an analyst to help the Independent Review Office, which handles complaints about the Albuquerque Police Department. The analyst would gather data and look at policy reform. Richard Shine, a member of the Police Oversight Commission, spoke in favor of the proposal.
- Extending a moratorium on business permits for auto-related businesses along Central between Rio Grande and Atrisco until the West Route 66 sector planning is completed.
The next City Council meeting is set for Monday, May 6, at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall. Watch it on GOV-TV Channel 16, stream it live or make a personal appearance and sign up for your two minutes of participation.