By Richard Barish
Bosque Action chair
In February, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry plowed a trail through the Bosque with no advance notice to anyone. A public outcry ensued.
As a result, in March, the City, the Sierra Club, and the Bosque Action Team negotiated procedures to allow adequate public input into future Bosque projects. The agreement was unconditional and not dependent on enactment into law, but City Councilors Isaac Benton and Ken Sanchez thought it would be a good idea to make the procedures legally binding.
The Resolution incorporating the procedures came up for a vote on November 16. To everyone’s surprise, the Administration opposed the resolution. The resolution passed, was vetoed, and the veto was sustained, all, sadly, on party-line votes.
The City’s opposition stemmed from the fact that it had decided, apparently in October, that it wanted to extend its trail from the I-40 bridge about a mile north to Campbell Road this winter. By the time the City made this decision, there was not a lot of time to comply with the agreed procedures and still get the work done before nesting season, when it would have to cease work in the Bosque. The City told us on October 21 that it would comply with the procedures, but instead of making that effort, the City then decided to scrap the agreement.
The City has known about that agreement since March. If it wanted to get work done this winter, it could have planned to allow adequate time to follow the agreed procedures. Moreover, there is no urgency to get this work done this winter. The City could instead begin construction as soon as nesting season is over at the end of summer.
The City will now allow almost no time for the public to comment on alternatives. The City plans a public meeting on January 7 at Los Duranes Community Center, 2920 Leopoldo Road NW, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. It will present alternatives and take comments for one hour. It will then allow an eight-day comment period, until January 15, in which comments will be fully considered. Comments can then be submitted until the end of the month, but there is no guarantee that they will be considered at all.
Moreover, the City is only taking comments on one issue — the route of the trail. It is not taking comments on the width of the trail or the materials from which it will be constructed. The City has pre-determined that the trail will be a 6-foot-wide crusher fine trail, the same as the first section of the trail.
The Mayor is doing the barest shadow of a process. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Nonetheless, we need to let the City know what we think! Please plan to attend the public meeting and to submit your comments. For information on the issues, or to get on our listserv to be kept up to date, contact Richard Barish, email@example.com or 505-232-3013.